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Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Performers of Harmony


The magic of Pokemon
Act 38: Our First Musical (part 3)

After the orchestra finished an interlude, the lights came up on the set of a lake. Ruby arrived in the scene some moments later, where she noticed a Goldeen puppet flopping on the "shore" of the "lake". "Oh, a Goldeen!" Ruby noted. "I don't know how you ended up here on the shore, but let me put you back in the water."

With that, she carefully set the Golden puppet in the "water" on the set. The audience gasped in awe as a blue light materialized before Ruby, making a sapphire drop in her paws. "Thank you, young prince." a female voice began from offstage. "I am Undine, the queen of the sea. As you have done a good deed for me, now I will always do a good deed for you in return. If you ever need my aid, remember this holy song: 'Rou iitsa ron selga vichii...'"

"Rou iitsa ron selga vichii...got it!" Ruby smiled as the lights went down.

The orchestra started another interlude before the lights came up on a forest set. When Ruby arrived, she noticed the Fennekin feigning a struggle in a prop trap. "Oh...a Fennekin caught in a trap...let me get you out of there."

After carefully lifting the trap hinge, the Fennekin eagerly bounded out of the trap. "Thank you for releasing me, hero--my name is Rena. I look after this forest, and all that call the forest home. Since you helped me out, let me help you in return."

She offered Ruby a prop red jewel. "Take this gem--if you ever need my help, remember this song: 'Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...'

"Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...got it!" Ruby smiled. "Thanks, and safe travels!!" She waved goodbye as the Fennekin romped offstage and the lights went down.

The lights came on the set of a different part of the forest some time later. Some in the audience oohed and ahed over the majestic Braviary puppet "struggling" to get out of a thorn bush. "Poor Braviary..." Ruby mused as she entered the scene. "Let me get you out of those thorns."

After carefully edging the puppet's stuck wing free, the Braviary fluttered before Ruby. "Thank you, young hero...I am Arashi, the guardian of the skies. "Since you did a kind deed for me, let me help you in return on your travels.

The puppet then conjured a prop emerald. "Take this jewel--it contains the essence of the skies. Should you ever need my help, remember this song: 'Karuto, iichiida shou...'

"Karuto, iichiida shou...got it!" Ruby smiled before hugging the puppet. "Thank you..."

"Anytime..." the puppet replied. "May the winds guide you on your quest."


The lights came up on the set of a cave, where Keira was feigning crying in a corner. When Ruby entered the scene, she gasped. "Keira?"

The Ninetales looked up and gasped. "Prince Brian? Is it really you?"

"Yes--I've come to rescue you, just like I promised." Ruby replied.

"Aw"s filled the garden as Ruby and Keira embraced over a triumphant theme. "But what about your ladies?" Ruby remembered. "Where are they?"

"My ladies managed to escape, so they are safe from the Hydreigon." the Ninetales replied. "They are back at the palace, awaiting my safe return."

Ruby thought for a moment as the music turned somber. "The next question is how to escape ourselves...."

"We obviously can't just ride away--the Hydreigon would surely catch us and eat us both." the Ninetales cautioned. "He is faster than any mortal Ponyta."

"Well, have you heard of anyone or anything faster?" Ruby asked.

"One night, not long after my ladies escaped, I overheard the Hydreigon bragging to some friends of his that he had been plotting to steal Epona, the god-Ponyta that belongs to the holy Delphox Kitsune." the Ninetales explained over a divine motif. "Luckily, the Hydreigon has not made any progress in this plan, so if you obtain Epona first, we could escape that way."

"Okay! I'll go ask Kitsune tomorrow!" Ruby smiled.

"Kitsune won't give Epona to just anyone." the Ninetales cautioned. "If anyone wants anything from her, they have to serve her three days. Those that serve faithfully receive whatever they wish. Those that serve faithfully and still fail go on to serve Kitsune forever. The evil and impure that fail, meet their holy judgement in divine flame."

She assured Ruby. "But you are a brave, kind, and unselfish person, so you should have no problem with whatever Kitsune asks of you."

"Even if she asks me to go to the ends of the world and slay a thousand monsters, I will do anything to set you free, or die trying!" Ruby vowed as the lights went down...


Ruby's voice singing Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo... in the darkness and the sound effect of a rock rolling away revealed the set of a beautiful jewel studded cave, where Charlotte, in the role of Kitsune, met Ruby on the stage. "Good day, milady!" Ruby smiled.

"Good day to you, young prince. What brings you here to this sacred place?" Charlotte asked.

"I would like to take service with you." Ruby replied.

Charlotte nodded as the orchestra started a jazzy melody. Hold on, wait a moment,
Are you sure you want to do this?
You understand what happens
If you try my task, and still fail?

I understand the risk I am taking,
For someone I love's heart is breaking,
And the only way to set her free
Is a divine undertaking!
Ruby sang back.

She went on I won't run away, even from my failures
Even though I bend, I will not break!
I'll maintain a noble gaze!
And with it, a noble heart!

The audience gasped in awe as part of the set cleared away to reveal a band of dancing Braxiens dancing on an elegant staircase. A rose by the name of love
Has bloomed in your heart...
Charlotte sang as she and Ruby weaved and whirled through the dancing Braxiens around them.

By coming to this place,
That love is reborn...

In your eyes
Is forever reflected the truth...
Ruby sang back.

In my heart, I can feel it,

You can grasp this miracle! Charlotte triumphantly sang.

The audience roared with applause as the epic dance number continued on...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Act 39: The Blazing Tale of a Hero (part 1)

"Doing a musical was so much fun!" Ruby raved as the group departed the Garden of Melodies a few days later. "I can't wait for the next one we do..."

"Overall, I think we did well for our first time doing a musical." Lita agreed. "Granted, it was still rough around the edges, but so was our first play, too."

"It seems like an eternity since we did 'How Ho'oh, Lugia, and Jirachi Were Saved....'" Shimmer mused as the red tinged grasslands the group had been walking on gave way to a red-brown mountain path. "But every troupe has to start somewhere."

Brenna thought for a moment as the caravan rounded a corner in the path. "I mean, if we could do that play over again with what we know now..."

"I could probably think of a hundred things we could cut and tweak from that old script..." Ruby agreed. "But that's not what I wanna do for Moltres..."

Lita smiled. "I'm sure Moltres likes hearing stories about her exploits helping heroes...so do we want to do this as a play or a musical?"

Murmurs of "a play" answered her question. "All right--we'll just do a straight play this time, since we're tired from our first musical...


It was hard to tell if the red sky signaled a sunset, or the glow of lava as the group neared the peak of Mt. Rubin some time later. "The lady Moltres is here now...what business do you have here?" a Arcanine asked as the caravan approached.

"We are a humble troupe of actors on a great journey..." Ruby explained. "Would Her Ladyship be interested in a performance?"

The Arcanine conferred with his partner for a moment, who hurried off towards the peak. When he returned, the first Arcanine replied "Her Ladyship would be thrilled to have you perform--she has ordered the Fiery Stage prepared for you."

"She has also ordered the Pokemon of the mountain to gather here." the second Arcanine agreed as he escorted the group and their gear to the peak. "If you need time to set up and make preparations, take all the time you need."

"Wow..." Ruby gasped as she saw a stage carved into the rock that glowed red-gold with lava. "The lava's a clever way to create lighting..."

I'm glad you think so... a beautiful phoenix Pokemon replied as it fluttered onto a perch overlooking the peak and the stage. The Fiery Stage has stood here for thousands of years--I have seen many a great performance on its burning boards.

"I-I hope you don't mind seeing our attempt at the many tales featuring you..." Ruby stammered. "Or would you prefer to see something else?"

Perform any tale you like. Moltres assured the nervous Scorbunny. So long as you put your hearts into it, even the most horrible, mistake riddled mess will be enjoyable to me.

Ruby nodded. "Okay...we would like to perform a thrilling quest of a young prince, and how he defeated the Nightmare Pokemon Darkrai to save his mother."

How exciting! Moltres smiled as more Fire types and bird Pokemon arrived to watch. I await your performance with baited breath!


"...so please enjoy 'The Queen's Rescue.' Shimmer concluded her introduction some time later.

The peak rang with applause as Shimmer exited the Fiery Stage. The orchestra then started a majestic overture that evoked a time of high adventure, magic, and mystery.

Once the brass' exciting and bombastic main theme had given way to the strings and the flutes, Brenna appeared in a spotlight at stage right. "Long ago, when this world was full of a deeper magic and terrifying monsters, there lived a king--whose name does not concern us--with his queen and their three sons, Alex, Dimitri and Peter, who were all handsome and clever." she began over the music.

The orchestra's theme turned somber. "One day the queen, who had gone on a walk on the open plains, failed to return to the palace." Brenna went on, to some gasps and "oh no"s from the audience. Though the royal army searched far and wide, no trace could be found of her. She had disappeared into thin air." She let that hang as the curtains opened on a majestic palace set, where a variety of Pokemon and a Cinderace in royal garb were all talking with each other.

After a few tense moments, a Ninetales stood up, quieting the nonsense dialogue. "Your Majesty! We have concluded that the queen has been spirited away by Darkrai, the Nightmare Pokemon."

Gasps filled the air as the Ninetales went on "While his own realm and castle are deep beneath this world, he possesses many other strongholds in the land of mortals, and it has long been known that his most beautiful and well guarded palaces are on the tops of the highest and most inaccessible mountains in the world. It is, however, pointless to fight against him, for his palaces are enchanted by the darkest of magics, and Darkrai himself cannot be killed by mortal means, since he carries his life not in his body, but in a secret place that is known only to him. We beseech you, therefore, to choose another bride, for your lost queen you will never see again until Arceus returns triumphant."

The Cinderace froze in horror as the orchestra started a sad melody. "No...no...I love Kenna too deeply to choose another!"

He snapped to summon a few Raboots in herald's garb. "Travel to every kingdom far and wide, and tell all the peoples of the world that I offer wealth and honors to the one who brings Kenna back to me alive."

"Yes, milord!" the Raboots chorused as they hurried offstage.

The orchestra started an adventurous interlude. "Daring heroes, brave adventurers, and great generals came in response to the call, each of them promising valiant deeds, and the king bade each of them take from the royal treasury sufficient gold for his needs." Brenna narrated from her nook. "But though many came and many went, there was no news of the missing queen." She let that hang as the lights came up on a beautiful royal garden set, where the Cinderace was thinking hard about something.

After a few tense seconds, Ruby and two other Scorbunnies in royal grab arrived in the scene. "I think our father is out of his mind," one Scorbunny grumbled. "These boasting heroes who come from afar are galloping off with all his treasures. He is a fool to put faith in them. I imagine I could do as well, if not better, than them."

"Doubtless they are but sorry scoundrels who play upon our lord and father's credulity. With a tenth of the sum that has been given to them I could find our mother myself." the second Scorbunny agreed.

"Not so, my brothers." Ruby cautioned. "If Darkrai the Nightmare Pokemon has her, it will take a strong heart to bring her back, and who knows where that may be found? Would, however, that our lord and father send us abroad to do our best!"

The Scorbunny playing the eldest son thought for a moment. "You raise a fair point, Peter...we will see if Father also sends us forth on the same quest!"

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Act 40: The Blazing Tale of a Hero (part 2)

The orchestra started a relaxed interlude as the lights went down. "Later that evening, the king summoned his sons to the throne room." Brenna narrated as the lights came up on Ruby, the other Scorbunnies, and the Cinderace on a magnificent set of a throne room.

"My dear sons, you know how the loss of your mother troubles my heart and soul." the Cinderace began. "Many brave heroes have searched for her in vain; and I am compelled to send one of you forth."

He addressed one of the Scorbunnies. "Alex, as my eldest, take my fatherly blessing, with as much gold and as many troops as you require, and try your fortune in the quest. If you succeed, you will inherit my kingdom."

The orchestra started an excited interlude as the lights went down. "Prince Alex took a full purse from the treasury; and with fifty thousand troops, he set out from the capital." Brenna narrated. "He rode one day, and then rode one week, he rode a month, and two and three, asking questions of all he met, until he had passed beyond the borders of his father's kingdom, but no one had heard of the lost queen or of the strongholds of Darkrai the Nightmare Pokemon."

The lights came up of the set of a desert, where the Scorbunny staggered into the scene. "Water...." he pleaded. "Water..."

He gasped in awe as a majestic Arceus puppet appeared before him. "Hail to you, Father of the World..." he stammered

"And to you likewise, milord," the Arceus puppet replied, its voice strong and yet gentle. "Where does the wind take you? Have you come here to escape a task or find one?"

"To find one," the Scorbunny playing Prince Alex replied. "I seek the stronghold of Darkrai the Nightmare Pokemon, who has spirited away my mother."

"You are on the right track, but you will not be able to reach it." the Arceus puppet intoned over a somber stinger from the orchestra.

"Why not?" the Scorbunny asked.

"There are three rivers in between, and three Hydreigons guard them." the Arceus puppet explained. "Many a fine hero has tried to slay them so all may cross, but so far, all have failed."

The Scorbunny flicked a gold coin at the Arceus puppet. "I have gold and plenty to spare." he smirked. "After all, what dragon Pokemon doesn't like gold?"

Angry murmurs filled the peak, and Moltres flared her feathers in annoyance at the haughty prince. "Prince Alex rode on to the first of the three rivers." Brenna intoned as the lights went down. "A Hydreigon waited on its bank, its three heads hungrily eying the prince. Prince Alex was so terrified of the huge dragon Pokemon, he rode back the way he had come, to his own kingdom."

The lights came up on the throne room again, where the Scorbunny playing Prince Alex arrived before the Cinderace, Ruby, and the other Scorbunny. "My lord and father! I have searched for many months, in many lands, until not a single one remained of the troops I took with me." he breathlessly explained. "I myself barely escaped with my own life, but no trace of Darkrai the Nightmare Pokemon or of the queen, my mother, could I find!"

"Aw"s filled the peak as the Cinderace and the Scorbunny playing Prince Alex hugged. "My dear son, take my blessing, with gold and troops as much and many as you need, go forth and try. If you succeed, you will have my kingdom after me." the Cinderace told the Scorbunny playing Prince Dimitri.

The lights went down as the orchestra struck up another adventurous interlude. "Prince Dimitri, vowing he would do better than his brother, took a knapsack full of gold and a hundred thousand troops, and set out." Brenna narrated. "He, too, came to the same desert where his brother had met Arceus."

The lights came up on the Scorbunny playing Prince Dimitri in the desert. "Water..." he gasped.

He gasped when he saw Charlotte, in the role of Kitsune, approaching him from stage left. "The holy Delphox herself!" he gasped. "Is it really you, or are you only a mirage?"

"I am no mirage...take my paw, and you will see." Charlotte replied, offering a paw to help the Scorbunny up.

Once the Scorbunny playing Prince Dimitri was back on his feet again, he bowed before Charlotte. "Hail and well met, Envoy of the Divine Flame."

"And likewise to you, milord." Charlotte answered. "Where does my master Arceus lead you? Why do you come here? To escape a task or to meet one?"

"To meet one," the Scorbunny playing Prince Dimitri replied. "I seek the retreat of the Nightmare Pokemon Darkrai, who has kidnapped my mother."

"You go in the right direction, but all the same you will never reach it." Charlotte cautioned.

"Why not?" the Scorbunny playing Prince Dimitri asked.

"There are three rivers in between, and three Hydreigons guard them." Charlotte explained. "Many a fine hero has tried to slay them so all may cross, but so far, all have failed."

The Scorbunny flicked two coins in Charlotte's direction. "I have plenty of that," he chuckled. "Where there's a dragon Pokemon, there is treasure, too!"

"Prince Dimitri remembered what his brother had said, and found another longer way around to avoid the first Hydreigon. But when he approached the second river, the Hydreigon guarding it made him freeze in terror." Brenna narrated.

The lights came up on the throne room set again. "My lord and father! I have wandered many months through strange lands, and not one remains of the great army I took with me." the Scorbunny playing Prince Dimitri breathlessly explained. "As for me, I too narrowly escaped with my life, but I found no sign of the Nightmare Pokemon or of my mother, the queen!"

More "aw"s filled the air as the Cinderace and the Scorbunny playing Prince Dimitri embraced. "Peter...take what you require, and go forth in search of your mother." the Cinderace instructed Ruby.

"I have need of neither gold nor army, Father," Ruby replied. "Give me only a Ponyta of my own choosing and a sword and a bow fit for a hero."

The Cinderace snapped, summoning a Lucario in the role of a guard. "Bring Peter the best sword and the finest bow in the armory." he began. "Inform the royal stableman to prepare the finest steed in the stables."

"Yes, milord!" the Lucario replied before hurrying off over an excited interlude...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Act 41: The Blazing Tale of a Hero (part 3)

The orchestra started an adventurous melody. "Prince Peter rode for a day and a night, for a week, for one month, for two, and then three." Brenna narrated over the music. "He passed the swamps and the fiery desert, and at the edge of the forest, in the brush and briar, met Arceus and Kitsune, this time in all their holy glory, by two stones."

The lights came up on the set of a forest, where the Arceus puppet from before and Charlotte stood waiting. Ruby gasped when she entered the scene. "The Creator of All Things...and his holy envoy!"

She bowed before the Arceus puppet. "Milord, Lady Kitsune...I await your message with a humble heart."

"Why do you come here, young prince? To escape a task or to meet one?" Charlotte asked.

"To meet one." Ruby replied. "Like my brothers, I seek the lair of the Nightmare Pokemon Darkrai, who has kidnapped my mother."

"You have a fine sword, a fine bow, and the mount of a hero, but all the same you will not get to Darkrai." the Arceus puppet sighed.

"Why not?" Ruby asked, confused.

"There are three rivers in between, and three Hydreigons guard them." Charlotte explained. "Many a fine hero has tried to slay them so all may cross, but so far, all have failed. Your brothers turned tail and ran when they met the Hydreigons...so will you too flee for your life, or meet these vile monsters in battle?"

"I'm not like my brothers--even if I had to go to the ends of the world, and slay a thousand monsters, I will do anything it takes to bring my mother home safely." Ruby vowed.

The Arceus puppet looked up at Ruby as a soft and gentle theme began. "I see you are brave and courteous too."It is possible you may yet slay the Hydreigons that guard the three rivers. If you do, ride straight on until you reach a high mountain, where four palaces of Darkrai stand. At the base of the mountain is a cave with an iron door. Enter it and you will find four iron claws. Bind these to your hands and feet and you will be able to reach the top."

Ruby nodded. "I will take Your holy advice to heart, milord...thank you!"

"You're most welcome, hero." the Arceus puppet replied as Ruby departed offstage. "We both will be watching over you on your quest."

The orchestra started an exciting melody. "Prince Peter bade Arceus and Kitsune farewell, rode to the first river, and easily slew the Hydreigon there." Brenna narrated as Ruby and the Hydreigon puppet pantomimed a fight.

She watched as Ruby delivered the final blow to the puppet. "Then he rode on to the second river, and the third, and slew the Hydreigons there too." she continued as the lights went down.

The audience gasped in awe as the lights came up on a beautiful mountain set. "Before long, our hero came to a mountain so high that its top appeared to be propped against the sky." Brenna continued. "He found everything as Arceus had said. After tying the claws to his hands and feet, our hero began to climb the mountain.

Ruby appeared in a spotlight, climbing the majestic prop mountain. Once she reached the top, the audience roared with applause as she looked around. "Thank you, Great One." she smiled before the lights went down again.

"Whether the way was long or short, I don't know, but he came at last to a vast palace made of gold. No guard stood at its gate, and he went inside." Brenna narrated.

Awed murmurs wafted across the peak as the lights revealed a golden palace set. "Wow...everything in here is made of gold!" Ruby gasped as she admired the beautiful set and gold furniture.

She spotted a Dedenne in a gold costume on a golden chair, embroidering on a golden frame. "Hail, and well met, young lady..." Ruby smiled as she approached the Dedenne. "Is this a palace of Darkrai? I seek to battle the Lord of Nightmares, and save my mother."

"This is indeed a palace of Darkrai, young hero," the Dedenne smiled as she set aside her work. "My name is Aurica. I, too, was stolen away from my father's kingdom by the Nightmare Pokemon, who comes here to visit me once every three months. I know nothing of your mother, but if you go to Darkrai's second palace, maybe you may hear of her. The Nightmare Pokemon is hard to conquer, however, and you are the first who has been able to come this far in recent memory. Should you succeed, remember me and take me back with you to the world of light."

"Okay!" Ruby smiled as the lights went down.

More awed murmurs went up as the lights revealed a silver palace set. After a few moments, Ruby arrived in the scene. She spotted a Minccino in a silver costume on a silver chair, embroidering on a silver frame. "Hail, and well met, young lady..." Ruby smiled as she approached the Minccino. "Is this a palace of Darkrai? I seek to battle the Lord of Nightmares, and save my mother."

"My name is Erien." the Minccino replied as she put away her work. "I too was stolen away from my father's realm by the Nightmare Pokemon, and brought to this palace, where he comes to visit me once every two months. I have not seen your mother, but if you go to Darkrai's third palace, beyond this, maybe you may hear of her. If you meet in battle and are the victor over him, do not forget me, but take me with you to the world of light."

"I won't forget you, don't worry!" Ruby assured the Minccino as she exited.

Excited chatter raced across the peak as the lights came up on a crystal palace set. Even Moltres was amazed by how the set blazed like fire in the fading sun.

When Ruby arrived, she found Lita, now in a pale blue costume sitting on a crystal divan, making lace on a crystal pillow.
"Hail and well met, milady!" Ruby smiled as she approached Lita.

"To you likewise, young prince," Lita replied as she put away the prop lace. "But how did you come here? By your own free will or by force?"

"By my own free will," Ruby answered. "I seek my mother who has been stolen away from my father's kingdom by Darkrai. Can you tell me where she is?"

"Why should I not be able?" Lita giggled. "My name is Crisanta, and I too was stolen from my father's kingdom by the Nightmare Pokemon, who visits me here once each month. But your mother he keeps in his fourth palace, which is built of diamonds, and there you must go. But, I beg you, if you do overcome and slay the monster, remember me and take me with you into the world of light."

"Better I give my own life than leave you to Darkrai!" Ruby vowed, to cheers from the audience.

"Listen closely," Lita began. "When you come to the fourth of the Nightmare Pokemon's many palaces, you will see that it lies in a garden which is surrounded like a wall by an enormous Arbok coiled with its tail in its mouth."

She offered Ruby some prop leaves. "Take this bundle of herbs. When you come into the open field around the palace, choose a spot where the wind blows from you toward the Arbok, build a fire, and throw some of the herbs into the flames. Be careful that you do not use it all and that you yourself stand with the wind at your back. The smoke will put the Arbok to sleep, and you may then climb over its body and enter the palace."

"Thanks!" Ruby smiled as she took the leaves. "I will follow your directions to the letter."

She turned to exit the stage. "I promise--I will come back to rescue you!"

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Act 42: The Blazing Tale of a Hero (part 4)

"And so, our hero set out." Brenna narrated over the orchestra. "When he had traveled for a day, he came to a palace which rose from the midst of a green garden. But all around the garden, there lay coiled a huge Arbok, a living, scaly wall." She let that hang as the lights came up on the set of the palace, complete with a massive Arbok puppet.

The audience gawked at the Arbok puppet for a moment before a red flash from stage right and fire noises signaled Ruby's character had put the Arbok puppet to sleep.

Ruby emerged on the set some moments later. "There...now I can go in and see Mom while Sir Hiss-a-Lot snoozes!"

The audience giggled as Ruby entered the diamond palace set. "Our hero passed through room after room till he came to the innermost sanctum." Brenna narrated as the palace exterior set disappeared, revealing Ruby climbing on an even more elaborate indoor set.

After a few moments, Ruby arrived in a ballroom set, where a female Cinderace in a magnificent costume waited. When she saw Ruby, she gasped. "Peter...is it really you?"

"Mom...it's me." Ruby smiled. "I came to rescue you!"

The orchestra played a joyous melody as Ruby and the female Cinderace ran and embraced each other. Once the "Aw"s from the audience quieted, the female Cinderace asked "How have you found me here, my brave and beloved son? For I, your mother, am in the power of this mighty Nightmare Pokemon who comes to me each day. You will strive to overcome him, yet he commands powerful dark magic, while you are but a untested hero--I greatly fear for you!"

"The wind does not blow forever..." Ruby smiled. "Eventually the darkness must yield to the light."

The female Cinderace smiled. "That is true...I can only hope you speak the truth.

A wind sound effect snapped the female Cinderace to attention. "Darkrai comes even now!"

She opened up the beautiful purple cape she wore. "Hide beneath my mantle!"

"Okay!" Ruby hurried inside the long diamond studded cape, seconds before a huge Darkrai puppet entered the scene.

The Arcanines in the audience growled when they saw the puppet's jagged sword and gaping crimson maw. "Have you been lonely, light of my life?" it asked in a deep, but gentle voice.

"Yes," the female Cinderace answered. "You travel far, and have many enemies both in the holy realm and the mortal realm--I fear for your life."

"Don't worry," the Darkrai puppet replied. "My life is not in my body but in another place."

"Where is that place?" the female Cinderace asked.

"It is in the broom that stands beside the door," the Darkrai puppet answered. "But I am tired and I would like to rest."

With that, the puppet sprawled out on an ornate black couch and pretended to sleep as the lights went down. "The next morning, the queen went and got the broom and a basket of jewels." Brenna narrated as the female Cinderace and Ruby pantomimed what she described. "They worked all day decorating the broom before Darkrai returned."

The Darkrai puppet met the female Cinderace and the hidden Ruby some moments later. "Why have you decorated a common broom with jewels?" it asked as it studied the glittering broom.

"You told me that your life was inside it, and your life is more precious to me than many jewels!" the female Cinderace replied.

The Darkrai puppet smirked. "I only told you that to test you. My life is not in the broom but in the hedge that rings the garden."

The female Cinderace watched as the Darkrai puppet disappeared in a plume of black smoke. "Is it safe to come out?" Ruby asked from inside the cape.

"It's safe." the female Cinderace replied as she located a bowl full of gold dust.

Once Ruby emerged from the cape, the female Cinderace gave her the gold dust. "Go cover the garden hedge with this, every twig and leaf."

"Right!" Ruby smiled before hurrying offstage.

After a few moments, the lights came up on the ballroom set again, where the Darkrai puppet again met the female Cinderace and the hidden Ruby. "Love of my heart, as I came here I saw that you had covered the garden hedge with gold. Why is that?"

"You told me your life was contained inside it, and your life is more dear to me than gold!" the female Cinderace replied.

The Darkrai puppet smirked with a chuckle. "I only told you that to test you again. Now, however, I am convinced that you truly love me. Know that my life is in neither the broom nor the hedge, but in an egg. The egg is in a Ducklett, which is in a Buneary, which nests in a great hollow log that floats in a pond in a forest on a far away island."

With that, the Darkrai puppet disappeared again. "This time, my dear son, Darkrai has told me where his wicked soul really lies." the female Cinderace explained to Ruby. "Only when you have found the egg can you overcome him. Go with Arceus, for here your life is in danger with each passing moment." She let that hang as the lights went down...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Act 43: The Blazing Tale of a Hero (part 5)

The orchestra started a quiet interlude. "After bidding his mother farewell, our hero went back the way he had come." Brenna explained from her nook. "He burned some of the herbs which Princess Crisanta had given him, climbed over the Arbok and went on his way. He passed the crystal, the silver, and the gold palaces without stopping, found his iron claws and began to climb down the mountain. At the end of a month he reached its foot, left the iron claws in the cave, found his mount grazing on the open steppe, and set out for the island." She let that hang as the lights came up on an island set.

Ruby arrived some moments later. After taking a minute to look around the set, she spotted a Goldeen puppet flopping on the stage. "Aw...let me put you back in the water, at least." Ruby smiled.

She carefully picked the small puppet up and set it in the "water". "Thank you for rescuing me, young prince." the puppet began. "Follow me, and I will show you the way to what you seek."

The lights went down, save for Ruby following the "swimming" Goldeen puppet. "The Goldeen led him to the island." Brenna narrated. "It swam one day, then two, and on the third it reached the island."

The lights came up on a forest set, where Ruby discovered a Ninetales puppet "struggling" to get its paw out from under a fallen tree. "Poor Ninetales...let me try to get you out." Ruby assured the puppet.

She drew a prop sword, then cut the prop log in half, allowing the Ninetales to get free. "Thank you for your help, hero." the puppet replied as it stretched.

With a flick of one of its tails, a ruby went flying into Ruby's paws. "Take this--it is a gift from me. Only invoke it in a time of great need."

"I promise." Ruby smiled as the Ninetales puppet bounded offstage.

The lights went down for a moment only to come up again on a set of a different part of the forest. "A Buizel puppet was nearby a "river", struggling to get free from a prop trap. "Aw...here, let me get you out." Ruby smiled before undoing the prop trap."

"Thank you for releasing me, hero." the Buizel puppet replied. After stretching, it heaved a prop sapphire in Ruby's direction. "Here--this is a gift from me. Only invoke it in a time of great need!"

"I promise." Ruby replied before departing offstage.

The lights went down for a moment only to come up again on a set of a different part of the forest. This time, Ruby spotted a Talonflame puppet struggling in some tangled vines. "Here...let me get you out of there..." Ruby offered before working to untangle the puppet's majestic wings.

Once freed, the puppet spread its wings. "Thank you for setting me free, hero. As you have done something good for me, let me do something good for you in return.

It pressed an emerald into Ruby's paws. "Take this--it is a gift from me. Only invoke it when you are in great need."

"I promise--thank you." Ruby smiled as the lights went down.

The lights went down for a moment only to come up again on a set of a different part of the forest. On this part of the set was a pond with a log inside. "Hm...I want to walk on that log, but it's just beyond my reach..." Ruby mused as she entered the scene.

A boom snapped her to attention, to some laughter as "rain" appeared on the stage. "I don't like the looks of the water level!" Ruby gasped as the "water" started to rise.

She scrambled onto a tree, moments before where she was standing was engulfed in "water". "That was close..." she smiled.

The log floating to her vantage point gave her an idea." "Oh yeah...if I can tie it down, then I can cut it and catch the Buneary!"

She waited for the "rain" to stop, then climbed down from the tree and approached the log. "HIIIIIIII-YAH!" she cried, only for her prop sword to bounce off the log!

Laughter rippled across the peak at Ruby's annoyed grimace. "No wonder I can't cut the log--it's HUGE!" Ruby sighed.

A red glint got her attention. "The ruby the Ninetales gave me! I am in a bit of a bind, so let's see what it does!"

She held the ruby to the sky, and sang Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...

The ruby glowed, and the audience gasped in awe as the Ninetales puppet rushed from the forest and tore the log in half!

A Buneary puppet appeared in the log, but as it darted towards stage left, Ruby invoked the sapphire--Rou iitsa ron selga vichii...

The sapphire glowed, and the Buizel puppet from before sprang from the thicket. The audience laughed as the Buizel and the Buneary ran a few laps around the stage. But in the end, the Buizel cornered its prey!

A Ducklett puppet emerged from the Buneary puppet's stuffing, but as it climbed higher into the sky, Ruby invoked the emerald--Karuto, iichiida shou...

The emerald glowed, and the Talonflame puppet from before darted after it into the sky and grabbed it. The Ducklett laid an egg, and the egg fell into the sea, much to the audience's and Ruby's frustration.

"NOW how am I supposed to beat Darkrai?" Ruby sighed. "Going in the water is suicide for a Fire type!"

The Goldeen puppet from before emerged, and dropped the egg at Ruby's feet. "Looking for this, brave hero?"

"The egg with Darkrai's soul! Thank you!" Ruby smiled as she took the egg. "Now I can return to the mountain of Darkrai, and free my mother!"

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Act 44: The Blazing Tale of a Hero (part 6)

"Remember--the telling of a story is easy, but the events of the story are often not so easy." Brenna reminded the audience.

Nervous giggles wafted over the peak as she continued "Whether he rode a week or a month, I don't know, but he came at last to the mountain, and returned to his mother's side."

The lights came up on the palace set again, where Ruby and the female Cinderace hugged. "Did you get it?" the female Cinderace asked.

Ruby nodded, and showed off the prop egg. "In here is Darkrai's soul."

"Boo"s filled the air as the Darkrai puppet returned. The orchestra struck up an exciting melody when the Darkrai puppet spotted Ruby, but before it charged, Ruby calmly tossed the egg from hand to hand.

Even Moltres was howling with laughter as the Darkra puppet was hurled violently from one corner of the room to the other. With one last effort the wicked Nightmare Pokemon tried to reach Ruby with his sword, but Ruby threw the egg on the floor with a SPLAT!

The audience of Pokemon cheered as the Darkrai puppet disappeared. "And so, Prince Peter made a great pyre, burned the body of the Nightmare Pokemon to ashes and scattered the ashes to the wind." Brenna narrated as Ruby did this. 'This done, they started off for home."

The Dedenne from earlier met Ruby and the female Cinderace onstage. "Princess Aurica met them with joy, and taking her with them, they visited the palaces of silver and crystal, and the princesses imprisoned there welcomed them as their hero and accompanied them." Brenna narrated as the Minccino and Lita arrived. "They all set out for his father's kingdom."

The lights came up on the forest set again, where the Arceus puppet and Charlotte were waiting. "So you have slain Darkrai!" the Arceus puppet smiled. "I rejoice as well, for he was my greatest enemy."

Awed gasps filled the air as for shining Ponyta puppets arrived onstage. "Take these--they are gifts from us both." Charlotte smiled.

"Thanks!" Ruby replied as she climbed aboard her Shining Ponyta puppet with the female Cinderace.

Once she was aboard, she pantomimed writing something on a piece of paper, then gave it to a Fletchling puppet as the lights went down.

The lights came up on the throne room set from before. "There is a letter here from Peter in the royal mail today, milord." a Raboot herald explained as he gave the male Cinderace the letter.

Excited, the male Cinderace unfolded the paper. "My lord and father! I, your son Peter, am returning home, bringing with me my mother the queen, my own bride-to-be, who is a maiden as lovely as the stars, and princesses for my two brothers. Please come out to meet us."

He gasped. "Peter...he's alive....HE'S ALIVE!!!"

He told the heralds "Proclaim through all the realm a grand festival to welcome my beloved and brave son home! Let all feuds and disputes be set aside, for my beloved Kenna is home!"

"Yes milord!" the Raboots chorused as the lights went down.

Brenna appeared in her nook as the orchestra played a victorious theme. "The king's joy knew no bounds. Minstrels across the land struck up joyous songs on their instruments, and the drummers played a victory cadence as the party was led to the palace. The king then decreed a great festival whose splendor was talked about across the world, and is still remembered even now."

She concluded. "Prince Peter went on many more adventures, but that is another story for another day!"

Moltres' applause was the loudest as the lights came up for the curtain call. Once everyone had taken their bows, she addressed the group. Very well done! You are indeed as skilled as my brother Zapdos says you are!

She went on If I had to offer any constructive criticism, I would suggest you all look into battle training to improve your fight scenes.

"We'd love to learn how to improve our fights, milady." Ruby smiled. "Who could teach us?"

Not far from here is the Battle Dojo, where the Hero's Sword Zacian and the Guardian Shield Zamazenta train all that wish to follow the warrior's path. Moltres explained. They have also trained many actors in all manner of stage fighting.

She conjured a beautiful red stone with a flame etching inside. As thanks for your thrilling performance. I grant you the Ruby of Courage. May it remind you to fearlessly face whatever challenges and dangers come your way.

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 18: The Dancing Dragon Beyond the Hills

"So, where are the bodyguard dragons of the queen?" Misty wondered as the group left the Hata Dojo the next morning.

"They are all across the island." Mitsuna replied. "That's why I'm coming with you."

She went on "The Temple of the Clear Lapis is some days' journey from here, so we will likely have a few adventures on the way."

"What's the name of our first target?" Brock wondered.

Mitsuna was about to answer before a white clump got her attention. "Hm...I have never seen a white flower this pure before..."

Ash watched as the "flower" wriggled up from the ground, surprising Mitsuna when she saw a Alolan Vulpix before her! "That's no flower, that's an Alolan Vulpix!"

"A friendly one, too..." Brock smiled as the Alolan Vulpix trotted up to him. Inspired, he knelt down to the Alolan Vulpix's level, allowing it to nuzzle his cheek. "Kaimana's waiting for you, little one."

Misty smiled as the Alolan Vulpix dashed down the road. "Scratch Alolan Vulpix #3 off the list..."

"I wonder how those exotic white Vulpixes got here..." Mitsuna wondered. "Alola is a long way from here."

"We met a lady who cares for them." Ash explained. "We're doing her a favor by trying to find them--preferably safely. So any white flowers you find may not actually be flowers at all."

Mitsuna nodded. "I hope to Arceus the dragons did not find them..."

"Probably not...dragons are weak to Ice types." Ash assured Mitsuna. "So they may know better than to eat something that would hurt them."

Mitsuna nodded. "This is true...the green dragons we seek especially fear the cold."

She turned business-like again. "The first of the bodyguard dragons is named Viron. His lair lies just over the hills."

"I've got a question about dance martial arts..." Misty wondered. "What do you use when you practice those? A ribbon, like what gymnasts use? Fans? Or do you even need an implement at all?"

[Every dance is as unique as its teacher.] Goukai replied. [Some dances work well with ribbons and fans, some work well with blades, and still others don't require anything but a strong body and courageous heart]

"So it is possible to use twinblades in a blade dance?" Misty asked. Goukai nodded. "Nice! I've always wanted to turn a few bad guys to shish kebabs thanks to a tornado of blades!"

Ash stifled a giggle at Misty's analogy as he brought up MyTube in his PokeNav. "All this talk about dancing made me think of Serena." he smiled as he typed something in the search box. "When we were little, she took rhythmic gymnastics lessons, specializing in the ribbon dance. Any one of her meets and competitions were big events!"

"Does she still ribbon dance now?" Brock wondered.

"She still ribbon dances in an artistic context, but not so much a competitive context any more." Ash replied.

He smiled when he found one particular video in the search results. "Here she is doing a ribbon dance for the Sakura Festival not long after returning to Kanto."

The group crowded around the PokeNav screen. They watched the image of Serena in a glittering gold costume spin, twirl, and jump with a matching yellow ribbon to the beat of the gypsy jazz standard "Minor Swing". [Wow! What a hot beat!] Goukai smiled as he swayed to the music.

"That's a specific style of jazz common in Kalos called gypsy jazz." Brock explained as he watched the image of Serena toss the yellow ribbon in the air. "Only instead of saxophones, trumpets, and clarinets playing the tune, you have guitars, fiddles, and the odd accordion. Very fun style to play on guitar, too." He let that hang as applause signaled the end of the video.

Ash just smiled as the video ended. "This isn't even the first time she's danced to that song--the first time Serena did that routine, it was for an individual ribbon dance competition. I wanted to be there to cheer her on, so on the big day, Mom, Dad, and me all went to the Pallet High School gym, where the competition was being held..."

In Ash's memory, Delia, Taran, and Young Ash applaud the previous performer. "Next to dance is #101213--Serena Lacroix." the announcer reports as the previous performer departs the floor.

"Come on!" Young Ash cheers as Young Serena, now in a sparkling gold leotard, arrives on the floor with a yellow ribbon in tow. "You can do it!"

After a few tense moments, "Minor Swing" blares over the PA system, spurring Young Ash and the audience to clap along as Young Serena twirls, spins, and jumps in time to the music, the yellow ribbon making beautiful patterns in the air all the while. "Do you remember how Serena did in that competition?" Brock asks via voiceover as the scene in Ash's memory fades to the awards ceremony.

"She got silver in the under 10 division--which was amazing considering she'd only been taking lessons for a short time." Ash explains via voiceover as the third place finisher receives the bronze medal.

"In second place in the Junior Division...#101213--Serena Lacroix!" the announcer proclaims. Young Ash's cheers are the loudest as Serena accepts a silver medal from the chief judge. More cheers fill the air as the scene swirls back to the present....

Misty smiles as Ash finishes the story. "Maybe I can study some gymnastics videos to learn how to dance with my blades..."

"I don't think that's quite the same thing..." Brock interjects, spurring everyone to laugh as they continue down the road...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Act 45: Training for a Stage Battle

"Thank Arceus we're back in cooler weather!" Lita smiled as the group made their way across the plains some days later. "Maybe once we visit the Battle Dojo, we can put fight scenes in our plays!"

"How exciting!" Ruby agreed. "I wouldn't mind fine tuning my swordplay and my archery skills...."

"According to Moltres, the Battle Dojo sits in a deep forest, in a place called the Hero's Grove." Brenna explained. "The twin wolf kings--the Hero's Sword, Zacian; and the Guardian Shield Zamazenta; run the dojo, and teach anyone wanting to learn to fight how to fight unarmed, and with weapons. They also teach actors and theater troupes how to fight onstage."

Brenna smiled as the plains gave way to a forest. "If I wanted to play a role in any play, I would want to do 'The Three Musketeers'--in honor of Cobalion, Vizirion, Terrakion, and Keldeo."

Inspired, Ruby held a stick high as the caravan entered the Hero's Grove. "All for one, and one for all!" she proclaimed, to some excited cheers from the forest Pokemon.

A deep, but gentle chuckle filled the air as a large cyan wolf with yellow eyes, a pink tail, and pink braids emerged from a large building with a sloped roof in the center of the grove. Bravo, young one! You must be part of the troupe that thrilled Moltres...

"I am, Great Hero Zacian." Ruby replied with a little bow. "We have come all this way to learn to battle on the stage, and add even more excitement to our shows!"

A bulkier red and blue wolf with a ponytail on its head joined Zacian in the grove. While it is always exciting to see a fight onstage, remember that stage fighting requires practice and dedication to do well.

So if you wish to learn how to battle onstage, come on inside. With that, Zacian led the way inside as the group hurried to secure the caravan...


In the dojo, Zamazenta addressed the group. You know well from your own shows and by watching others perform that many plays have some element of battle. But you should also remember to stage the fights safely. So if you are ever unsure or uncomfortable at any point during a fight scene, stop!

Zacian nodded in agreement. Remember, you are only creating the illusion of battle--but things can and will go wrong, and actors may be hurt. So even though they are props, handle prop weapons as if they are real--very carefully!

"So can we get lessons from a fight trainer?" Lita asked.

A Lucario joined Zacian and Zamazenta in the dojo's main hall, a script in her paws. This is Erza, one of our fight trainers. Zamazenta explained. She will be guiding you through the basics of stage combat, and a practice show for you to perform for us and the forest Pokemon. Once you perform the practice show, we will evaluate how you did, and teach you some more difficult maneuvers. Once you feel you are ready to try out the more difficult moves, we will give you another, more difficult show to do.

If the second show goes over well, then we will allow one of our fight trainers--be it Erza or someone of your choosing--to go with you on your journeys. Zacian continued.

"Your proposal is fair, Great Ones." Lita smiled. "We look forward to learning how to fight onstage."


"All right, everyone..." Erza began as she met the group in a training room. "If you have learned martial arts or sport fighting, none of those rules apply to the stage. Remember what the Great Wolves said--you only want to create the illusion of a fight; and do it safely."

The group nodded. "Before we learn how to fight, we first need to understand the fights in the context of the overall play." Erza explained as she gave the group a copy of the practice show's script. "This way, we understand the character's motivations and emotional stakes in each of the fights."

"'The Three Hero's Blades'...okay..." Charlotte mused as she thumbed through the script. "Oh, we're fighting dragons this time, not trolls."

"Troll puppets are difficult to put together for many troupes." Erza admitted. "This is not to say it's not impossible, but the troupe must really know what they are doing to create a believable troll."

She went on "Fighting with puppets is harder then fighting one on one. This is because you often have to coordinate the fight with multiple performers--especially with larger puppets like dragons."

She looked out over the excited group. "Unlike the original story, there are three heroes in this play instead of one...so do we have any volunteers for those roles?"

"Me!" Lita called.

"Me too!" Ruby agreed.

"I wanna try being a hero for once!" Brenna smiled.

"What other differences are there in this script?" Shimmer wondered as she made some preliminary notes on costumes.

"Aside from there being three heroes, and dragons instead of trolls, the coachmen are kinder to the princesses--three rogue knights steal the credit instead." Erza explained.

"That's good--I always wondered what compelled the coachmen to do that." Rio smiled. "Some rogue knights make more sense."

"When the true heroes return, the rogue knights give them an impossible task--which they manage to complete." Erza went on. "This spurs the princesses to reveal the truth, and the coachmen confirm what they say."

"I like that better than the coachmen as the bad guys and the Beasts revealing the truth." Brenna grinned. "But I'm looking forward to playing my very first heroic role!"

"You'll do just fine as a hero--don't worry!" Lita smiled as the group hurried to prepare for their first fight lesson...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Act 46: The Show of Fire, Ice, and Lightning (part 1)

The Hero's Grove buzzed with activity as Zacian, Zamazenta, and the other Pokemon of the grove gathered to watch the group perform a few days later. "Nervous?" Ruby asked as Brenna emerged from the dressing area in her costume--a blue adventurer's tunic.

"It's a little weird not narrating for a change..." Brenna replied as Erza delivered a sapphire studded blade to her. "But we've practiced this, and done well. That, and Shimmer will do just fine narrating."

Applause in the grove snapped Lita to attention. "Here we go--let's show the Hero's Sword and Guardian Shield what we've learned from our fight training so far." she whispered as the orchestra started the play's overture.

"There were once three siblings--two sisters and a brother--who sought their fortunes in distant lands." Shimmer began "Their father had joined Arceus in the heavens some months before, and the brother and two sisters had to sell what he left in order to bury him."

"Aw"s wafted through the grove at this, and Zacian rendered a respectful salute, never mind the hunter was only in Shimmer's imagination. "All that the three siblings kept of their inheritance were three special swords."

The lights came up on Ruby studying her ruby studded prop sword. "The brother, Rowan, had a blade studded with rubies, in honor of his passionate courage and joy." Shimmer explained.

The spotlight expanded to include Brenna, who was on top of a rock examining her own blade. "The elder sister, Meriel, had received a sapphire studded blade, in honor of her faithfulness and wisdom." Shimmer went on.

The spotlight next included Lita, resting on a hill with her topaz studded prop blade nearby. "The younger sister, Christa, had received a topaz studded blade, in hopes it would bring her deep friendships, abundant prosperity, and eternal happiness." Shimmer went on. "But for the moment, all of them wondered if the promise of abundance and happiness would ever come to pass."

Lita sighed. "Now that Dad has met Arceus in heaven, what is there for us to do? He never taught us a trade in life, so none of us can really follow after him..."

"At best, we can herd Mareep or do some other kind of work on a farm." Ruby sighed.

"I guess the only thing we can do is ask around the hill country and see if a farmer will hire us." Brenna sighed as the lights went down.

"And so, the three siblings traveled from farm to farm in the hill country, but every farmer seemed to have enough hands to help for the year." Shimmer narrated. "Eventually, they found a farmer willing to hire them. The girls helped out with chores around the farm, while Rowan looked after the Mareep."

"The lights came up on a room in a farmhouse, where Ruby, Lita, and Brenna reunited onstage. "What a day! The crops are doing very well this year..." Brenna smiled as she hung a sun hat on a hat stand. "The farmer's wife even has promised us a pie from the Pecha harvest!"

"Mmm"s went up from the audience. "We won't have to worry about cream with our Pecha pie..." Lita agreed as she too hung up a sun hat. "The Miltanks and the Combuskens are productive this year!"

"Well, today something strange happened..." Ruby began. "I was off to take the Mareep out today, but our master warned me to keep away from three particular meadows..."

"Why?" Brenna was intrigued.

"People say that the meadows in question belong to three mountain dragons." Ruby explained over a tense stinger. "This is why the hill overlooking the meadows is named Dragon's Mount."

She intoned. "According to legend, if one of the Mareep were to wander to the meadow, the dragon would come, and not only carry off the Mareep, but their shepherd as well."

Lita was unfazed, despite the orchestra's dramatic stinger. "That's just a bedtime story, Rowan..." she deadpanned, to some laughter from the audience.

"Yeah--the farmer's only telling you that to scare you." Brenna agreed. "Besides, I haven't seen a single scale of a dragon since we've been here!"

"Have you ever given our master any reason to believe you would venture into Dragon's Mount?" Lita asked."

"No--I take good care of the Mareep, and so far, I haven't lost a single one," Ruby replied. "I would do anything to keep the Mareeps safe, including fighting a dragon!"

The lights went down, then came up on the set of a bedroom at night. While Lita and Brenna were "asleep" Ruby laid awake in her bed. "I wonder if it's true there are dragons in Dragon's Mount..." she mused. "If there were, the news would spread across the land, and eventually reach the royal ears of the king. He'd likely send out one of his bravest knights to fight it, so it wouldn't bother us and the other farmers."

The prop ruby studded sword got her attention. "Then again, we still have our jeweled swords--our father's last gift to us. Is it possible they are powerful enough to even slay a dragon?

A devious smile formed on her face. "It's decided--tomorrow, I will purposefully let a Mareep stray into one of the forbidden meadows. If a dragon does come to carry it away and eat it, I will battle it with my red blade!"

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Act 47: The Show of Fire, Ice, and Lightning (part 2)

The orchestra started an ominous melody. "The next morning, Rowan intentionally let the Mareep stray into one of the forbidden meadows." Shimmer narrated as Ruby arrived on the set, and carefully nudged a Mareep doll out on the stage.

A roar startled some in the audience as a majestic red dragon puppet "flew" on the stage. "Who allowed you to let your Mareep graze in this meadow?" it roared.

"I allowed myself to do it, you overgrown Charizard!" Ruby shot back, brandishing her prop blade at the puppet.

In the wings, Brenna watched with Erza as Ruby nimbly jumped around the set to evade the puppets claws and "fire". "Erza...I'm nervous for my fight scene..."

"What are you nervous about?" Erza asked. "You did well when we practiced your fight..."

"Ruby makes it look easy..." Brenna worried as she watched Ruby poke the dragon puppet, then nimbly jump away from more "fire". "I'm afraid I'll blank out on what we practiced..."

"Remember that all we're doing is creating the illusion of fighting to the death." Erza reminded Brenna. "Just pretend the audience is not even there, and go through the progression we practiced."

"Okay..." Brenna swallowed hard as she watched Ruby deliver the final blow to the puppet.

"Now the first meadow was theirs; but not long after this, Meriel felt like visiting the second meadow." Shimmer gave Brenna cue from her nook at stage right.

Here goes... Brenna took a deep breath to dispel the lingering Beautiflies in her stomach, and made her way onstage with some Mareep dolls. After carefully nudging one towards center stage, a roar made her nearly jump out of her shell as a majestic blue dragon puppet landed before her. Who allowed you to let your Mareep graze in this meadow?" it roared.

Brenna did her best to hide her nervousness as she drew her sapphire blade. "I allowed myself to do it, you oversized Gyarados!"

She mentally walked herself through Erza's progression as the puppet lunged at her. Okay...jump away as the puppet lunges at you, lure it up the hill at stage left...

She braced herself, then performed three quick stabs at the puppet. One, two three, go down the hill and corner it....one, two, three...head to stage right and lure it up the hill...

In the wings, Lita watched Brenna battle at stage right. Keep it up, Brenna...you're doing great!

One, two, three....jump up the hill... Brenna reminded herself as she hopped onto the next level of the prop hill. One, two, three, jump up the hill...One, two, three, jump up the hill...

A confident smirk formed on her face as the blue dragon puppet met her at the hill's next to last level. Lunge and hit the head, and we're done!

The audience roared over the orchestra's victorious theme. I did it...I remembered Erza's progression without blanking out!

She hurried offstage as the lights went down. "How'd I do?" she asked Erza as Lita got in position to battle a gold dragon puppet onstage.

"Very well." Erza replied. "My only suggestion is to try and make the fight flow like water, not jerky and robotic. But this will come with time, practice, and the more fights you do."

"Make the fights flow...got it!" Brenna smiled before hurrying to get a drink of water...


Later, Ruby, Brenna, and Lita returned to the house to find a Grovyle in farmer's work clothes waiting for them. "Welcome home, you three. We all thank you for getting rid of the mountain dragons, so they won't bother us any more."

"Aw, it was nothing!" Lita smiled.

"Rowan...Meriel...Christa...although I am well pleased with you all for what you did, I must ask you to stop singing." the Grovyle went on.

"Why?" Ruby asked, confused.

"What's wrong with singing?" Lita agreed.

"Because I said so." the Grovyle replied, to some laughter from the parents in the audience.

"We're not kids anymore!" Brenna shot back. "All we want is an answer to our question--no more and no less."

"Did the king just make a no singing law?" Lita asked.

"If we sound terrible, you can just tell us that!" Ruby agreed. "So why are we not supposed to sing?"

"Okay...I'll tell you if you promise not to tell anyone what I am about to tell you three." the Grovyle sighed.

"Arceus' honor!" Brenna smiled, making the three fingered scout sign for emphasis.

The orchestra started a sad melody as the Grovyle went on. "You three know very well that great sorrow reigns throughout the land..."

"Yeah--His Majesty has been forced to give each of his three daughters to three dragons..." Lita replied.

"The dragons will come to take them very soon." the Grovyle continued. "The king has promised a third of the kingdom to anyone who can save them. Should the hero be male, he will also receive the hand of the princess he saved as well. This is why you three are not to sing in town, although you may still do so out in the fields."

Ruby sighed. "The poor princesses...about to meet a horrible fate through no fault of their own..."

"Maybe we might be able to save them!" Brenna suggested as the music turned hopeful. "We have the magical swords our father left us, after all."

"Besides, we can leave the farm behind with a clear conscience, since now the townsfolk in this area do not have to worry about the mountain dragons any more." Lita agreed.

Ruby smiled. "Yeah--farmers today--dragon slayers tomorrow!"

"If we have slain the dragons that once lurked in these mountains, we can take these dragons too!" Brenna vowed as the lights went down...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Act 48: The Show of Fire, Ice, and Lightning (part 3)

The orchestra started an adventurous interlude. "And so, the three siblings left the farm behind, although not without first bidding their employer and his family farewell." Shimmer narrated. "They received a generous amount of money and supplies for their travels, but this paled in comparison to what they would discover as they explored Dragon's Mount...."

With that, the lights came up on a set of a majestic fantasy hillside. Lita was first to arrive onstage, happily scatting a jig as Ruby and Brenna followed her. The audience clapped along as Lita sang "The Hearthome Pilgrim".

Once the applause for Lita's performance died down, Lita made a grand gesture to the hill. "Here we are--this is Dragon's Mount!" she smiled

"Not too much different from hundreds of other hills..." Brenna smiled. "Although...there had to be something valuable inside for dragons to take up residence. You know well from the bedtime stories Dad always told us that dragons like gold and jewels."

"Well, now that the dragons are gone, we can go take a look!" Ruby suggested. "Maybe save a princess or three, as well!"

The lights blinked back to Shimmer's nook. "What the siblings found inside Dragon's Mount was not gold or jewels. Nor did they find lost princesses inside--instead, they found gear and worthy companions for the heroes that they were."

Awed chatter echoed through Hero's Grove as Ruby, Brenna, and Lita arrived on a sparkling cave set. "Greetings, heroes that slew the dragons that held us prisoner." a Raikou puppet began.

"We have awaited our deliverance for some time, but we never lost hope that we would be rescued." an Entei puppet agreed.

The spotlight expanded to reveal a Suicune puppet, three Ponyta puppets, various props. plus the rest of the cave set. "As thanks for your bravery and valor, we offer these gifts to you." the Suicune puppet explained.

"We also pledge our loyalty to you, now and forevermore." the Entei puppet added.

Ruby hurried to a normal Ponyta. "I'll take this mount and the red armor." she smiled.

"The shiny Ponyta and the blue armor is mine." Brenna smiled.

"I'll take the Galarian Ponyta and the gold armor." Lita suggested before dashing by the Galarian Ponyta puppet's side.

"Wise choices..." the Entei puppet replied.

"But how are we going to feed you guys, our mounts, and ourselves?" Ruby asked. "Much less pay the food bill?"

"Worry not, little one--we three Beasts can hunt for ourselves." the Raikou puppet assured Ruby. "Not to mention all the gold in this horde should be more than enough to cover expenses as you travel."

"Thank you!" Lita smiled.

"Yeah, thanks!" Ruby agreed.

"We promise not to use these gifts for our own selfish gain." Brenna replied. "Instead, we will use them for the glory of Arceus!"

"And save the princesses from horrible fates!" Ruby agreed.

"About that..." the Suicune puppet interjected. "This was why Arceus led you here to slay our oppressors. He believes more than anyone that you can save the king's three daughters."

"We won't let Him down!" Ruby vowed.

"Let us hurry to the royal city." the Raikou puppet suggested. "If fortune favors us, we will learn when the eldest princess is due to meet the ruby dragon."

"Let's go!" Lita called as she led the charge offstage, to a victorious theme and cheers from the audience.


The lights appeared on Shimmer in her nook as the entourage of puppets "ran" across the stage. "With their gifts in tow, the three siblings made their way to the royal city. The three Beasts went on before them, scouting ahead for danger and informing them of items and places that would bring luck on their quest. The adventures they went on while on their journey are stories in themselves."

Giggles filled the air at Shimmer's quip. "Eventually, the siblings reached the royal city." Shimmer went on as the lights came up on a majestic royal city gate set. "Every house in the city had a black banner for mourning, even the city gatehouse." She let that hang as Ruby, Brenna, Lita, and their puppet entourage arrived at stage right.

"We're here..." the Raikou puppet noted before the three Beast puppets transformed into three shining prop jewels. "We would cause quite a stir if we roamed the city streets." it continued from the topaz in Lita's paws. "So we have chosen to disguise ourselves as jewels to avoid rousing unwanted attention."

"In the event that you need our help, hold the jewels in your hands, and invoke the mystical melody the jewel will sing to you." the Suicune puppet explained from the sapphire in Brenna's hands. "This will summon us from the jewels."

Ruby, Brenna, and Lita nodded, then made their way through the gate, where a crowd of extras playing townsfolk milled about. "Poor Princess Robin..." a Bulbasaur sighed.

"The heir to the throne, about to be cut down in her prime through no fault of her own..." a Chikorita agreed."

"Rumor is that the ruby dragon will take her this Fire Day." a Charmander interjected.

The lights blinked back to Brenna. "Fire Day...that's two days from now." she reported.

"Sol Day...Luna Day...Fire Day...you're right!" Lita gasped.

"Maybe the Beasts could give us strategy advice that we didn't have before..." Ruby mused. She let that hang as the lights went down.

"That night, the siblings met with the three Beasts to determine the best strategy to defeat a ruby dragon." Shimmer narrated from her nook. "It was agreed that Rowan would battle the fiend."

The lights came up on Ruby, Brenna, Lita, and the Beast puppets inside a majestic house somewhere in the royal city "I know a ruby dragon is a lot more powerful than the red dragon I fought before--so how do I adapt my strategy?" Ruby asked.

"The red armor you wear will protect you against the flames it breathes." the Entei puppet replied. Like all dragons, it is weak against ice and light, but also has an additional weakness to water."

"Before you march to battle in the morning, I will imbue your red blade with cold, and give you some sapphires and aquamarines as burst attacks." the Suicune puppet offered. "These gifts should serve you well in the fight."

To Be Continued...