After a bit of a hiatus (and burnout from Shine Diamond), the Pokemon Anime Remix Project resumes with my imagined Unova remix.
Be warned--this is not quite the games you remember, and not quite the anime you remember!
Prologue: The Way to Unova
Ash raced into his room, grabbed his bag off of his bed, and rummaged through it to check if he had everything he needed for his upcoming journey. "Let's see...updated global passport, check...PokePass for Tintri, check...global traveler ID, check, plane tickets, check, PokeNav has global expansion chip, check...PokeNav has plenty of memory for pictures and video, memory cards for picture and video transfer and upload...Pokeflute, whistles, and my harmonica in case we wanna jam somewhere..."
He smiled as he reached for a red and white hat with a blue Poke Ball design on it. "And of course, my hat..." he smiled as he plopped the hat onto his messy black hair. "We're ready to go, Tintri!" he grinned at a yellow mouse Pokemon. "Unova, here we come!"
[I'm excited too, especially about the Pokemon that live there.] Tintri agreed. [I wonder what the local Electric type is...]
"I'm excited to see all the Water Pokemon Unova has to offer..." Misty agreed as she met Ash in the hallway. "Especially seeing Swannas in their native land..."
"...and I'm excited to find out what kind of lore and music Unova offers." Brock agreed as he too arrived in the large living room of the Ketchum house. "That, and Tarina's been talking non-stop about taking in as many plays and concerts as we can find." He let that hang as he invited a smaller yellow mouse Pokemon wearing a red cloak and a matching hat with a white plume on his shoulder.
Misty smiled as she saw a familiar well loved guitar case as part of Brock's luggage. "Wouldn't be a trip to a new region without you bringing a guitar along..."
"How else could I learn some of the local folk songs?" Brock smiled back before making sure the black fedora complimenting his black, green, and orange outfit looked presentable.
"Finish getting ready, gang--Prof. Oak's here to take us to the airport.' Delia reminded the group from the foyer.
"Right!" Misty smoothed out the wrinkles in a sparkling pale blue T shirt and Ash checked himself over in a mirror.
Delia noticed Ash's hat was slightly askew, so she gently nudged it into place. "There you go--now you're all beautiful, champ."
"Thanks--we'll be right out!" Ash assured his mother before gathering up his luggage and leading the way outside.
He balked when he saw Prof. Oak wearing a shirt with a colorful flower print design. "Uh, Professor? What's with the Alolan flowery shirt?"
"Aren't you going to be doing field work while we're in Unova?" Delia was equally concerned about Prof. Oak's choice of outfit.
"Of course--but I'll have plenty of free time in between all the conferences, lectures, and seminars." Professor Oak assured Delia as Taran arrived with more luggage.
"As tempting is it might be, try not to annoy Prof. Oak with '99 Bottles of Juice on the Wall', okay?" Taran reminded Ash. "The airport's not that far away."
Ash just grinned at his father. "We don't have far to go, so I doubt we'll have time to even sing along with the radio." With that, he climbed in the car.
[What kind of music do they have in Unova?] Tarina asked as Brock followed Ash into the car. [and what else can trainers do besides Gyms and badges?]
"According to this, if a trainer feels the call of the stage rather than the Pokemon League, then a trainer can take part in the Pokemon Musical." Brock read from a brochure as Misty and Taran joined him and Ash in the back seat.
He showed Tarina a picture of humans and Pokemon in ornate costumes dancing on a stage as Delia joined Prof. Oak in the front. "Human and Pokemon work together to bring some of the world's greatest stories, plus some original tales inspired by folklore, to the stage. While there are theaters all across Unova, the most famous location for any theater or Musical fan is Nimbasa City's Trinity District."
[Looks beautiful!] Tarina smiled, picturing her master on a stage as Prof. Oak started the car.
Brock turned the page, then showed Tarina a picture of girls in beautiful costumes acting out a scene. "A variation on the Pokemon Musical is the Pokemon Revue--while boys can compete in the main Pokemon Musical, the Pokemon Revue is for girls only."
[How can a girl play a boy?] Tarina wondered.
"Remember seeing 'Peter Pan' at the Fireside a few months ago?" Brock reminded Tarina as the car arrived on Pallet's main street. "That's an example of a girl playing the role of a boy. The Pokemon Revue is that on a much bigger scale--where girls play all the parts, including boy roles."
[Interesting...] Tarina mused. [Is there some kind of Revue troupe we can see while we're in Unova?]
Brock read a little further down the next page. "One of the most famous Revue troupes outside of Kanto and Johto is the Melody Revue, based in Nimbasa City's Trinity District." he read. "The troupe is itself divided into eight sub troupes, each one named for a flower, and specializing in a specific type of play."
Tarina grew starry eyed at a picture of a girl with wavy black hair in musketeer garb on the page. [She's beautiful...and brave!]
"Do you know who that is?" Prof. Oak asked Tarina as he focused on the road. "That is Christine Mendoza, the star performer of the Melody Revue's Peony Troupe. They say any performance she's in is not to be missed!"
Tarina nodded. [I hope we get a chance to see her and her friends while we're in Unova...]
She noticed planes arriving and taking off from the car window. [I see planes!]
Brock smiled. "In order to get to Unova, we have to ride on a plane. It's much farther than anywhere you've been so far."
"In fact, the Pokémon native to Unova cannot normally be found in any other region." Prof. Oak explained as he pulled up to a curbside drop-off.
"Now I REALLY can't wait to find out what Unova has to offer!" Ash smiled as the car came to a stop.
He smiled as his parents and his companions. "Just think, we'll be seeing Pokemon and places no one in Kanto has ever seen before!"
Now arriving at Nuvema International Airport--local time is 1:00 PM. the intercom announced as the plane elegantly descended towards the water. Please make sure your Pokemon and belongings are accounted for, and take small children by the hand...
"Wake up, sport--we're here." His father's voice jolted Ash awake from a nap. "Hurry and get your stuff together."
"Okay..." Ash yawned, more from the jet lag than being woken up. After sleepily gathering together his belongings, he felt a gentle thump as the plane touched down on the runway.
"Et tu, jet lag?" Misty sleepily smiled as Ash followed his parents and Prof. Oak off the plane and inside the airport.
"Yeah..." Ash replied as the group made their way to the baggage claim.
"So, we're here...what would you like to do first?" Brock replied as he looked his guitar and archery gear over to make sure they had survived the flight intact.
"Take a look around, and see the sights!" Ash replied as he too made sure his luggage had arrived in Unova in one piece.
Once everyone had reunited with their luggage, the group made their way outside and onto a boardwalk. "Wow..." Ash gasped as he looked out at the pier, which seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see in both directions.
But before he could hurry off to explore the boardwalk, he noticed his faithful Pikachu facing the water. "What is it, bud?" he asked as he watched a white spiraling cloud looming over the water.
[I don't like the looks of that cloud...] Tintri explained as he studied the cloud, which was now swirling with crimson flames as it moved towards the pier. [No cloud I know of has fire inside. Lightning, sure, but fire?]
An angry look formed on Ash's face as he watched the cloud approach. If there's something dangerous in there, I'm gonna warn it away before innocent lives are lost!
With that, he turned his cap back, took a deep breath, and sang into the sky Gatrandis favel, secret, edena...
Emusto ronzen fine el balaziis...
Misty and Brock looked on in awe as Ash continued Katoradis favel siicletu edena...
A blue protective aura surrounded him and Tintri as he sang the last line. Emusto koron zen fine, si...
As the last "si" echoed into the clouds, a majestic white mammalian dragon-like Pokemon emerged from the fiery cloud. It looked down at the wheezing boy and his Pkachu in a glowing blue aura on the pier, smiled, then streaked skyward. The white streak created more fire, causing the center of the cloud to glow an exceedingly intense red.
Meanwhile, a brown haired girl and a tiny lizard Pokemon emerged from a forest onto an overlook. She noticed the red clouds in the distance. "Blair! Blair, look at this!"
"What is it, Whitlea?" the girl's partner, a brown haired boy, joined the girl and her Pokemon on the overlook.
"Those clouds...could it be that Reshiram is here?" the girl asked.
"It's possible...we'll have to get closer to know for sure." the boy replied. "Let's keep going--if Reshiram is here, someone with a strong sense of truth and justice is here. It would mean the world to Prof. Juniper if we could get pictures or video of one of Unova's guardians up close!"
"Ash...you okay, sport?" Taran asked as he held his weary son in his arms with Delia looking on. "That was a brave, but risky thing you did..."
"I'm...fine, you guys..." Ash wheezed. "Just very...tired..."
I'm not surprised...even in the most skilled users, the Swanna Song still drains their strength. a gentle female voice began.
Ash noticed the white dragon looking up at him as Taran set him down on a towel Brock had spread out on the pier. "Who are you?" he wheezed. "Friend...or foe?"
I'm a friend, hero...I mean you and your family and friends no harm. the white dragon assured Ash as she healed him from the Swanna Song induced weariness. I foresee you and your companions will do many great things during your time here...if you need me, call me!
With that, she fired a gigantic fireball into the sky before disappearing.
Delia watched as Ash shakily stood up. "Ash...are you sure you're okay? That super song did take a lot out of you..." she let that hang as the clouds parted to reveal the sun again.
"I'm fine..." Ash replied as he dusted himself off and welcomed Tintri aboard his shoulder. "Did you guys see anything inside that odd fiery cloud at all? I could've sworn I saw a Pokémon's shadow from within the clouds..."
"All we saw was a large white cloud...you sure you weren't seeing anything?" Misty asked.
"We all wish we could confirm or deny your sighting, but from our point of view, we only saw a large white cloud." Professor Oak assured Ash. "I'm sure that if we asked Prof. Juniper, the local professor here, she could help us solve this vexing mystery..."
Just then, a light brown haired woman arrived to meet the group as they departed the boardwalk. "My apologies for running late, Sam--I had to help Fennel with a project before meeting you here."
Prof. Oak smiled. "It's no trouble at all, Aurea. We have our own mystery to solve, but I'll tell you more once we get Ash, his family, and his companions settled."
He made a grand gesture to the woman. "Everyone, this is my colleague Prof. Aurea Juniper. She may be, young but she's already made a name for herself in the scientific community."
"Nice to meet you all." Prof. Juniper smiled before starting towards a beautiful metallic red SUV. "Let's head over to my lab--we can talk more there."
Ash did the best he could to snap pictures of the local Pokemon from the back seat while still being restrained by the seat belt. "Any luck with some good shots?" Misty asked as she watched Ash settle into his seat to review the pictures.
"Okay...I got this pretty shot of these deer looking Pokemon..." Ash explained as he showed Misty a picture of some grazing Deerling on a plain. "these gray bird Pokemon..." He swiped over to a picture of some Pidove. "...and these rodent looking Pokemon with big red eyes."
He noticed Tintri's cheeks sparking before he could show Misty more pictures. "You okay, bud? I packed some Spark-eez, just in case..."
"We can check your Pikachu over once we get to the lab, okay?" Prof. Juniper replied from the driver's seat. "If it is serious, a Pokemon Center's not far."
"Okay!" Ash replied.
Something occurred to Prof. Juniper as she focused on the road. "You all came from the Kanto region, right? I've been curious about the Pokemon that live there, and the culture..."
She smiled at Prof. Oak. "You can tell me all about it back at the lab, okay?"
"As a certified storyteller and folklorist, I wonder if there are any interesting folktales in Unova..." Brock mused. "This way I can perform them to audiences at home and elsewhere."
Prof. Juniper thought for a moment. "Well, there is a tale here that explains why there is thunder and lightning...would like to start your lore gathering expedition with that?"
"Please do." Brock replied as he found his new storytelling notebook labeled 'Tales from Unova' and flipped to the first page. "When you're ready." he assured Prof. Juniper as he found a pen.
"All right..." Prof. Juniper began. "Once upon a time in what is today Unova, there lived a great sage. People rarely saw him, for he lived in solitude at the top of a mountain. Still, people talk, and so word spread that the sage possessed magical powers..."
"So, Prof. Juniper, are Pikachu rare in Unova?" Ash asked as Brock finished writing down Prof. Juniper's tale some time later.
"Well, they have never been encountered in the wild out here..." Prof. Juniper replied. "But this is not to say you won't ever find them here."
Ash watched as the SUV made an elegant turn past a lake. I will find all the Pokemon Unova has to offer... he silently vowed as he watched a flock of Swanna fly across the water.
Later that evening, the group watched as Prof. Juniper studied Tintri's voltage levels on a monitor. "Hm...the data doesn’t show any discrepancies, The voltage levels are not consistent with an overload, but further tests are required...."
Just then, one of Prof. Juniper's assistant arrived. "Forgive me for interrupting, Professor, but Blair and Whitlea are here."
"Tell them to come on inside--I'll be with them momentarily." Prof. Juniper replied as she made a few notes on Tintri's condition.
She explained "Blair and Whitlea are two local trainers who are never apart from each other for too long. Whitlea was due to start her journey last year, but she decided to wait until Blair got his first Pokemon, so they could go on their journey together."
"That's sweet." Misty smiled as the group arrived in the lab's main hall, where a brown haired boy in a blue jacket and a red cap with a black Poke Ball design patiently waited. A brown haired girl in a white shirt, a black vest, and short jean shorts waited nearby.
"Hello there, Blair and Whitlea..." Professor Juniper smiled as she met the two relatively new trainers in the lab's foyer. "Come on inside...your first Pokemon is waiting for you."
"Thanks, Professor." Blair smiled as he followed Prof. Juniper and the group into the main research hall. "I've been looking forward to going on a grand adventure alongside Whitlea."
Ash nodded. "I know that feeling...I was stoked the night before I became a Pokémon trainer, too.
"Blair, Whitlea, these three are travelers from Kanto--Ash, Misty, and Brock." Professor Juniper explained.
"Kanto, huh...is it true that modern skyscrapers rub shoulders with ancient temples?" Blair asked.
Ash nodded. "You can walk down the old Indigo Trail and see a lot of temples, or take the Grand Theatrical Tour to learn about the traditional Gekijou theater--the ancestor to today's Pokemon Musicals."
"Wow!" Whitlea was impressed. "Can you guys teach us some Kantonian?"
"For the most part, people in Kanto speak English well--but it's always a good idea to have some survival Kantonian just in case." Ash suggested. "But we'll be happy to teach you some survival Kantonian on the road."
"Now then...come on out, everyone!" Professor Juniper called, summoning a small red pig Pokemon with black ears, a small green lizard Pokemon, and a small blue otter Pokemon on a platform for Blair to see.
Blair studied the three starters for a moment, then covered his eyes, pointing at each Pokemon as he spoke. "My mother told me to choose..."
When he opened his eyes, he found he was pointing at the small pig Pokemon. "...Tepig."
He smiled at Whitlea. "Besides, Whitlea's already got Snivy."
"Okay...here are five Poke Balls and a Pokedex for you..." Prof. Juniper handed Blair a string of Poke Balls and a red and black cell phone-like device.
"Wow...that's nicer than mine!" Ash gasped as Blair analyzed the Tepig with his new Pokedex:
"Tepig, the fire pig Pokemon. It blows fire through its nose. When it catches a cold, the fire becomes pitch-black smoke instead."
"Good to know." Blair smiled before pocketing the Pokedex and his Poke Balls. "I think I'll call you...Shukyu."
"Shukyu?" Prof. Juniper was intrigued by the name.
"I read somewhere that Shukyu was the name of an ancient Kantonian fire god." Blair explained.
He embraced Prof. Juniper. "Thanks so much."
"You're welcome--I wish you and Whitlea the best of luck." Prof. Juniper replied.
"I'm gonna go back to my house and pack for the trip, okay?" Blair told Whitlea.
"I'll meet up with you later." Whitlea replied as Blair departed.
She then addressed the group. "So, do you have any burning questions about Unova, or want to see Sakura, my Snivy? I'll do my best to answer any questions you guys may have."
"What are Gym matches in Unova like?" Ash wondered as he and Whitlea made their way to the lab's yard.
"Just like most anywhere else with a Gym Challenge have to collect eight Gym Badges before they can compete in the Unova League." Whitlea replied.
She was about to say more when she saw Tintri running through the grass to reunite with Ash. [I feel better now!]
Excited, Whitlea consulted her own Pokedex:
"Pikachu, the mouse Pokemon. It stores electricity in the electric sacs on its cheeks. When it releases pent-up energy in a burst, the electric power is equal to a lightning bolt."
"Wow...cute and powerful." Whitlea smiled. "Is it okay if I can see your Pikachu battle? He can try his strength against Sakura, my Snivy."
"Okay!" Ash replied.
"Well go to the forest nearby--that way we don't risk shorting something in the lab." Whitlea suggested.
"I'll referee." Brock volunteered as he and Misty followed Ash into a clearing...
In the forest, an Oshawott gasped in surprise as a referee's whistle pierced the late afternoon calm. It watched in awe from a bush as Tintri rammed into Sakura with a Quick Attack.
in the forested arena, Whitlea grinned as Sakura bounced back on her feet. "Sakura, Tackle the Pikachu!"
Ash watched as Tintri rolled away from Sakura's attack, then jumped away from a Tackle coming from the other way. "Tintri, use Thunderbolt!"
[OOF!] Tintri gasped as Sakura's attack knocked him to the ground.
"And here I was getting all excited for nothing..." Whitlea smirked. "Is that all you've got?"
Ash grimaced at Whitlea's taunt. "Hardly!" he shot back. "Tintri, show Whitlea the power of Volt Tackle!"
"Sakura, use Leaf Tornado!" Whitlea called, spurring her Snivy to create a whorl of leaves.
Both trainers braced themselves as Snivy and Pikachu collided in one last desperate attack. After a few tense moments, Brock's whistle pierced the air again. "White is unable to battle--Black wins!" Brock announced, making a grand gesture to Tintri walking away from Sakura, who was sprawled in a hole, completely unconscious.
Whitlea hurried to collect Sakura. "Whoa...I must've underestimated your Pikachu!" she admitted.
"When you've been together as long as we have, there's nothing we can't do." Ash smiled back. "Let's get back to the lab before it gets dark."
As the sun sank over Nuvema Town, Misty noticed the white cloud from before. "It's that firey white cloud from before!"
Everyone braced themselves as a fire tinged thunderbolt struck the lightning rod at the top of the lab...
The group braced themselves for a massive storm. But instead of the fury of thunder and fire, the white clouds cleared, revealing blue sky once again. "That's odd...why did the clouds disappear as quickly as they appeared?" Delia wondered.
"I wouldn't worry about it for now." Brock assured Delia. "Besides, Ash, Misty, and I will find answers soon enough."
Delia nodded. "You're right...let's go back inside for now."
That night, the group, Ash's family, and Prof. Oak joined Prof. Juniper and Fennel for a massive cookout. "This is great!" Misty raved as Prof. Juniper tended the burger patties and hot dogs simmering over the grill's hot coals.
Ash located his father in the yard. "Dad...can I tell everyone something?"
Taran nodded. "Go ahead--whatever you wanna say, we're here to listen."
Ash nodded, stepped on a box overlooking the yard, then addressed everyone. "Everyone...I want to start a new adventure in Unova alongside Misty and Brock!"
Cheers met Ash's request. "In addition to meeting new Pokémon and making new friends, I will be challenging the Unova League, and supporting Misty and Brock in whatever challenges they wanna try!"
"A wonderful idea." Prof. Oak smiled as Ash stepped off the box. "You need not worry about everyone back at the lab--I'll make sure they are taken care of."
"You'll take care of Ash, won't you, Tintri?" Delia smiled.
"Yeah--make sure our hero and star performer is in top shape!" Taran agreed.
[Leave it to me!] Tintri smiled.
"As you three journey through Unova, be sure and tell me about any new Pokémon and discoveries you encounter." Prof. Oak suggested. "You'd be contributing to ongoing research on Unova, its Pokemon, and its culture."
"Pokedex upgrade chip...." Prof. Juniper took Ash's Pokedex, then carefully inserted an upgrade chip. "There you go...now your Pokedex is up to date to the Unova region."
"Thanks..." Ash smiled as he accepted his upgraded Pokedex.
"And some Poke Balls, if you want to try catching some of the Pokemon here, too." Prof. Juniper next gave Ash a string of five Poke Balls. "Since you're on the Gym Challenge, your first stop is in Striaton City, which is north of here."
"What about Blair and Whitlea?" Ash wondered. "Where are they now?"
"You would do well to travel with Blair and Whitlea, as they are native residents of Unova." Prof. Juniper assured Ash. "They should be headed to Striaton themselves--so you could all go together!"
Ash smiled. "If we find them on our own travels, we'll go with them for as far as they want us to go."
The next morning, Ash's family and the professors met Ash, Misty, and Brock at the lab's front walk. "Be safe, Ash..." Delia hugged Ash. "We love you, and we'll be cheering for you every step of the way."
"Good luck, sport--if you ever get homesick, we're only a phone call or e-mail away." Taran agreed as he embraced his son.
"Love you guys...I promise I will make you proud!" Ash vowed to his beaming parents.
"I'll keep you posted on the native Water Pokemon." Misty assured Prof. Oak.
"And I'll be happy to share what the local stories and songs are like." Brock added. "I'll try to learn as many of them as I can."
Prof. Juniper arrived with a card. "If you need to contact me or Fennel for any reason, here's our info."
"Thanks!" Ash smiled as he stashed the card in his wallet for safekeeping.
He looked back at his family and the professors one last time. "Well, we're off!" Cheers filled the air as Ash, Misty, and Brock made their way down the path towards a forest...
As the group made their way down a trail in the forest, Ash spotted what looked like tents in a clearing. "I think I found Blair and Whitlea's camp!"
"Oh, hi!" Whitlea smiled as she emerged from a blue tent with a white and black top. "If you're wondering where Blair is, he should be back with firewood soon."
"You don't mind if we go with you for a while?" Ash asked. "We're both headed to Striaton City..."
"Not at all--we'll show you the best ways to each city, and must dos at every place we stop." Whitlea assured Ash. "As far as we know, Striaton is the only Gym in the world where you'll have three opponents--Cilan, Chili, and Cress can be triple trouble for the unprepared..."
"The matchups may be easy--Fire, Grass, and Water--but even though they are restaurateurs by day, you could end up being trainer flambe if you take them on one vs. three." Blair cautioned as he arrived with a pile of sticks.
"Point duly noted." Ash replied as Blair built the sticks into a nice pattern.
"Okay, Shukyu...start us a campfire!" Blair commanded his Tepig.
[One campfire, comin' up!] Shukyu smiled as he heaved an Ember at the sticks, starting an inviting blaze.
Tarina watched Blair heat up some meat, then motioned for Whitlea. [What can you tell us about the Pokemon Musical and the Pokemon Revue?] she asked, showing Whitlea the page in the guidebook depicting the dancing girls on the stage.
"The Pokemon Musical and the Pokemon Revue have their own challenge, which can be done concurrently with the Gym Challenge." Whitlea explained.
"But even though you will be performing some of the world's best loved stories as part of the challenge; performing is only part of what you must do." Blair cautioned as he tended the mixture of meat and spices. "in addition to performing alongside humans and Pokemon, stage challengers, or performers, battle each other on the Stage of Dreams, in what is called a Stage Battle."
"Stage Battle? Sounds fun!" Ash smiled. "Is it okay if I can try my hand at a Stage Battle?"
Whitlea nodded. "After we have lunch, I'll take you somewhere in the forest for a demo Stage Battle."
Whitlea led Ash out to a large open clearing not far from the campsite. "Okay...Stage Battles, and their team variant of Revue Battles, are an important part of the Pokemon Stage Challenge, almost as much as the performances themselves." she began. "Part battle and part performance, the object of a Stage Battle is to shatter the Heart Jewel somewhere on the opponent's costume."
"Costume?" Ash felt around him. "But, we're in our normal clothes..."
"That's because we're not on the Stage of Dreams just yet." Whitlea explained.
She next snapped to summon a beautiful purple and gold sword with a guard shaped like a pair of wings. "So, fellow performer from Kanto, do you wish to join me on the Stage of Dreams?"
"W-w-what happens if I refuse?" Ash swallowed hard at the sword in Whitlea's hand.
"Relax--this is only a prop, and not meant to hurt you." Whitlea assured Ash as she rendered a respectful salute with the sword. "Unlike Pokemon battles, a performer has the right and the choice to decline a Stage Battle without repercussion--all performers on the challenge are to respect a refusal once given. Failure to respect a refusal to take part in a Stage Battle is grounds for removal from the overall challenge."
"That's a relief..." Ash smiled.
Whitlea then repeated her challenge. "Fellow performer from Kanto, do you wish to join me on the Stage of Dreams?"
"Yes!" Ash replied.
"All right...next, we need to negotiate the terms of the battle before we go to the Stage of Dreams." Whitlea explained. "Since this is a friendly match between the two of us, there is nothing at stake here. But when you begin the challenge for real, you, Misty, and Brock will receive a bracelet called a Performer Brace. This is where you put the Star Jewels you earn from good performances. If you accept a challenge for a Stage Battle, you have the option to wager some Star Jewels."
"So this would be like trainers betting Badges?" Ash guessed.
"Not exactly..." Whitlea replied. "When you earn them, Badges are yours, no matter what happens. Star Jewels are both rewards and currency--it is possible for a performer to reach the Grand Musical with less than eight Star Jewels. But lose too many Stage Battles, and you may not be able to reach the Grand Musical at all."
She went on "You can wager up to eight Star Jewels at once, and only those Star Jewels inside your Performer Brace. If both sides are putting every Star Jewel in their Performer Brace on the line, they are said to be 'wagering their entire Brace'. But since you don't have a Performer Brace yet, we'll skip this part."
"Can Tintri go with me to the Stage of Dreams?" Ash asked.
"Only if both sides agree to this." Whitlea explained. "Up to three Pokemon apiece can battle on the Stage of Dreams, as full teams can get very chaotic very quickly."
"Since this is just practice, let's have it be just the two of us." Ash suggested.
"All right--Tintri can still cheer from the audience." Whitlea replied. "The last step is to decide how long the battle will be--up to ten minutes."
"Five minutes sounds feasible for a practice Stage Battle." Ash smiled.
"Okay! We are ready to depart for the Stage of Dreams." Whitlea smiled.
With that, she drew a white circle in the grass with the sword, sending both humans, the Pikachu, and the Oshawott from before falling into a black void...
"OOF!" Ash landed on a smooth white surface some moments later. After feeling around him and confirming he was uninjured, he shielded his eyes for a moment as a spotlight appeared on him, revealing that he was in a familiar red, white, and gold musketeer's costume with a matching plumed hat. I know this outfit...this is my costume from when we last put on "The Three Musketeers" at the Fireside! I've become Rowan of the Red Flame!
A wave of nostalgia washed over him as he drew an orange-yellow sword that evoked Moltres rising. This is definitely not the same sword I used in that play, though...this is different, yet it feels familiar...
The clops of boots in the distance alerted him Whitlea had landed at the other end of the stage. When a spotlight appeared on Whitlea a few seconds later, she was now wearing an elegant navy and gold outfit, with matching lace up boots and a white and lighter blue cape to match. "Welcome to the Stage of Dreams, traveler." a tiny sprite Pokemon smiled as she brushed out her green music staff-like hair. "I am Capella--I'll be overseeing your practice Stage Battle. My fellow Meloettas will also oversee any Stage Battles and Revue Battles you actually perform on your journey."
Ash saw that his Pokedex had come with him to this dimension, and read up on the sprite Pokemon overlooking the stage:
"Meloetta, the melody Pokemon. The melodies she sings have the power to make those that hear them happy or sad."
"That explains why they are referees for a Stage Battle..." Ash mused as he put away his Pokedex.
"Now...the object of a Stage Battle is to shatter the Heart Jewel on your opponent's costume in the time limit you agreed to before." Capella explained. "If time expires and you both still have an intact Heart Jewel, the winner is the one that put on the better performance."
Sounds easy enough... Ash mused as he rendered a respectful salute to Whitlea to signal he was ready.
"Be aware...where the Heart Jewel spawns on your costume will be different every time a Stage Battle occurs." Capella cautioned, pointing out the heart shaped ruby on Ash's chest. "So sometimes it is well hidden on a costume, and sometimes it will spawn in a vulnerable location, forcing you to battle more defensively."
"Got it." Ash replied. "I'm ready to try this."
"Me too." Whitlea replied, rendering a respectful salute with a beautiful silvery blue sword.
"All right...Ready?" Capella called. "Engage!"
At this, an exciting melody from an unseen orchestra began as Ash and Whitlea charged at each other. Don't hesitate, this battle's just for practice... Whitlea sang as her blade and Ash's clashed. These swords are props, and won't do lasting harm....
But I'm still going to give all I have,
So do not fear, and do not be alarmed!
I have come from afar to seek glory... Ash sang back in reply as he jumped away from a lunge. I won't back down, no matter what I'll face...
Just as I've fought and won battles before,
I'll win this one with style and grace!
With that, he made an elegant jump, leaving a trail of flames behind him as he spun in the air. "RISING PHOENIX!!!"
Whitlea braced herself as Ash streaked at her in a fiery blaze, then countered with a shining green shield. "VESPER JADE!!!!"
Ash's attack only sent Whitlea sliding backwards, but dangerously close to the edge of the stage! "Careful--knocking an opponent off the Stage of Dreams will cause you to forfeit the battle." Capella warned as Whitlea charged back onto the stage, her eyes on the heart shaped ruby!
A glint of green on Whitlea's costume snapped Ash to attention. There it is--Whitlea's Heart Jewel!
[Come on, Ash! You can do it!] Tintri called from the audience.
[Yeah, you've got this!] the Oshawott agreed as he munched on some popcorn, enthralled by the clash unfolding before him.
Inspired by the cheering Pokemon, Ash aimed his blade at the pale green heart near Whitlea's chest as her shield wore off. As I wield my blade, I head into an unknown tomorrow...
Facing new challenges with my friends by my side...
Though evil may try to knock us down,
We will stand up against it with pride!
With that, he fired a red beam from his blade, shattering the pale green heart in a burst of fire as the unseen orchestra finished its song.
Whitlea seemed unusually happy as she got up. "Wow...you must be a natural!"
"Thanks..." Ash smiled. "Even though this was practice, I still treated it like a real battle."
"That will serve you well in the Stage Battles ahead." Capella smiled. "Do you have any further questions before you two return to your world?"
"What happens if I want Misty and Brock to battle with me?" Ash wondered as a portal appeared at stage right.
"In a Revue Battle, the challenge is harder because you have to shatter all of the opposing team's Heart Jewels to win." Capella explained. "Teams also have Pair Acts and Team Acts in addition to Solo Acts. If even one team member is still standing with an intact Heart Jewel, the whole team wins even if some members were knocked out."
Ash nodded as he and Whitlea stepped into the portal. "I look forward to returning here alongside Misty and Brock." he assured Capella.
Capella nodded. "And thank you, for a wonderful practice Stage Battle. I believe you and your companions can go all the way to the Grand Musical."