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Pokemon Shine Diamond


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 23: Getting the Pre-Contest Titters

[Hey, Stormy...] Tintri whispered as he bounded onto a rock near where Stormy was resting. [Want a tip on how to pull off electrical fireworks?]

[Yeah!] Stormy replied.

After checking to be sure Dawn was still working with Kori, Tintri began his lesson. [The trick to making fireworks is a big burst, okay?] he explained. [So rather than letting out immediately, charge your power a bit. This will make the resulting burst bigger.]

[Will you show me how?] Stormy asked.

[Sure...] Tintri paused to charge some power until his cheeks were almost white. He then unleashed a volley of sparkling electrical fireworks into the sky!

"WOW!!!" Dawn gasped, impressed. "I didn't know you competed in Contests, Tintri!"

[You can learn a thing or two about appealing to your audience when you battle too.] Tintri replied. He smiled, pleased his master and Brock were showing him the scorecard with the dark green 10 on it.

He turned to Stormy. [Okay, now it's your turn to try.]

[Okay...] Stormy charged some power in her cheeks until they too glowed white, then unleashed a massive burst of her own!

[There you go!] Tintri called as Dawn applauded.

"I think you deserve a Poffin for that little display." Dawn smiled as she offered Stormy a red Poffin.

[How'd I do?] Stormy asked Ash between bites.

"That was cool!" Ash agreed as he showed Stormy a green 9 card.

"I'd give it an 8." Brock began as he showed Stormy a lighter green 8 card. "Work on holding and controlling your power, and that should put the appeal over the top."

[Got it!] Stormy smiled.

Dawn froze when she heard a voice call "Hey, Dee-Dee!" in the distance. Oh great...Barry's back...

"Dee-Dee?" Ash asked, confused.

"Remember that blond haired boy with me when you rescued me at Lake Verity?" Dawn reminded the boys. "That was Barry. He's a childhood friend of mine."

"Oh yeah...that guy with a Turtwig that was always on the go." Brock remembered.

Just then, Barry joined the group. "I'll have you know that Flora evolved."

With that, he heaved a Poke Ball skyward. "Come on out, Flora!"

Ash decided to read up on on the large green and gold turtle Pokemon with bushes on its back:

"Grotle, the grove Pokemon. The shell is hardened soil. Some Pokemon come to peck the berries growing on the trees on its back."

Kori wasted no time in walking up to Flora. [Um...remember me?]

She did not expect Flora to whack her away with a vine! [WAUGGH!!!]

"Kori!" Dawn hurried over by a rock, where Kori rubbed her head in pain. "Are you okay? Does anything hurt?"

[Just a bit of a headache, that's all...] Kori replied.

"I am so sorry!" Barry gasped, bowing before Dawn. "Flora doesn't like when others get too close."

He turned business-like again. "I fancy myself a coordinator too, you know--I watched the Jubilife Contest on TV.

"Really?" Dawn asked, trying oh so hard not to laugh at Kori and Flora staring each other down. "I don't recall you ever being interested in Contests when we were little. In your words, you found them 'lame'!"

"After giving it a go, I found them pretty cool." Barry replied. "I was doing great in the Appeal round of my first Contest, but lost to some girl named Zoey and her Glameow, Sylvie."

"You've met Zoey too?" Dawn asked.

Barry, meanwhile, ignored Dawn completely. "Are you competing in the Floaroma Contest too?" he asked Ash.

"Actually, I plan to conquer the Shinou League." Ash replied.

"Remember the time you attempted to give yourself a perm?" Barry smirked. "You were so excited about lookin' all pretty for school picture day. But when you got to class on the big day, it looked like you stuck your finger in an electrical socket!"

"I quite LIKED my wavy hair, thank you!" Dawn shot back. "Mom supervised me the whole time to make sure I did it right."

"Remember the time you forgot her lines in the class play?" Barry went on. "All you had to say as the White Buneary was 'I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!'. But you were so nervous, you ran offstage crying!"

Dawn growled even more. "That was in the third grade!"

Barry went on "Then there was the time you forgot to wear shoes to school. If I remember right, I showed you in the middle of math class!"

"Ooooh...I demand a duel for your embarrassing me!" Dawn roared. "Flora vs. my team! Singles or doubles, I don't care--name your terms!"

"I'm more interested in dueling your friend's Pikachu here..." Barry mused. "If only for the experience.

"You're on!" Ash replied as he led Barry into a field.


A referee's whistle pierced the air some moments later; signaling the match between Ash and Barry was underway. "Okay! Open with Thunderbolt!" Ash commanded.

He balked as Flora used Razor Leaf to block the attack, sending it back in a flurry of charged leaves. "How'd you do that?"

"Even outside the Contest Hall, we battle with pizazz." Barry grinned. "Flora, use Heavy Slam!"

"Watch out, Tintri!" Ash called.

Tintri managed to spin away from the charging Grotle. He next smacked his opponent with Iron Tail. [Top that!] he taunted as Flora went flying towards the line Brock had designated the Pearl safe zone.

He watched as Flora created a patch of grass to land on, cushioning her fall. [What move was that?]

Brock noticed Flora heaving in exhaustion, and blew a quick blast. "No contest! This match is a draw!"


The Contest Hall hummed with activity as people filed in to watch the contest. "I hope you're ready, cool Meowth!" Dawn taunted as Barry emerged from the dressing room in a pale yellow suit. "You wouldn't dare taunt a princess, would you?"

Try as Barry might to think up a retort to the green clad girl before him, he couldn't think of a taunt. "Told you." Dawn smiled.

Just then, both coordinators heard the call of "It's time--all competitors, line up for the opening parade!"


In the backstage area of the Fantasy Stage's outdoor theater, Brock emerged from a dressing room in costume. [Lookin' sharp, coach!] Kage raved.

"Glad you think so..." Brock replied as he retrieved the harp he had received from Nando and started tuning it.

He looked out a window at the Contest Hall across the street. Dawn--I hope you reclaim your honor after what happened yesterday. Barry had no right to embarrass you like he did.

[Parade of Minstrels in five minutes!] he heard Hinata call.

"Okay." Brock replied before making sure his instruments were tuned and his bow was close by...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 24: Settling a Not-so-Old Score!

A majestic melody started playing in the Contest Hall, signaling to the audience that the parade of contestants was underway. "Contestant number F-44759784--Dawn Solberg and Stormy!" the emcee announced as Dawn emerged from the entry tunnel to thunderous cheers. Stormy was perched on her shoulder, waving at the audience as Dawn led the walk around the hall.

Ash waved back at Stormy from his place in the stands, then observed the other competition. Okay...we have Dawn...Barry... he noted as Barry, now in an elegant gold suit, walked by with Flora. Marta... he noted as Mars walked past leading Leona. and some guy with a Manetric.

Once the competitors had made their walk around the hall, the emcee introduced the Visual competition. "For today's contest, your challenge is to create a natural look..."


In the dressing room, Stormy rummaged through the fashion case. [If Mr. Judge wants a natural look, I don't see anything!] she complained.

"Calm down, Stormy...I have an idea.." Dawn replied as she fished out a variety of feathers.

Stormy smiled as Dawn gently pressed feathers into her fur. [Oh, I see! You want me to pretend to be a bird!]

"Well, at least look like a bird." Dawn replied as time expired.

"Okay! Entrant number F-44759784, come on out!" the emcee announced.

Laughter and "aw"s filled the hall as Stormy ran onto the judging platform, flapping her arms like wings all the while. [That's cute!] Tintri giggled as Stormy attempted flying again and again, to the crowd's delight.

"Creative, as well." Ash agreed as Flora came out with a variety of puffballs on her.


"Well done, Stormy." Dawn smiled. "Your bird dance got us first place, which means we go first in the Dance competition."

[Okay...] Stormy began as the Bailatron rose from the floor with a whir. [What's that big black thing?]

"That's what you'll be dancing on, remember?" Dawn replied. "It measures how you do as you step on it. If you do well, it will flash rainbow lights and shoot smoke."

[COOL!] Stormy gasped, starry eyed.

Dawn offered Stormy the song selector. "So, what song do you want to dance to this time?"

[This one!] Stormy showed Dawn the selector, which displayed the title "Conga Feeling"

Dawn giggled. "But you danced to a Latin song in the unofficial contest before. You don't want to bore the judges with the same kind of song again and again."

[That's true...] Stormy looked through the song list again. [How's this one?] she asked as she showed Dawn the song title.

"'I'm in the Mood for Dancing'." Dawn mused. "Nice choice."


A festive techno beat blared over the speakers as Stormy began her dance some moments later. The crowd clapped along as the Pachirisu spun and twirled to the beat. I'm in the mood for dancing, romancing,
Ooh, giving it all, tonight...
I'm in the mood for chancing, I feel like dancing,
Ooh, so come on and hold me tight!

[Stormy's doing great down there!] Tintri cried as the score meter inched higher and higher.

"She could trigger the lights and effects." Ash agreed. "But can she still focus with all those potential distractions?"

He let that hang as the song continued I'm in the mood for dancing, romancing,
You know I should never stop tonight!

Both the boy and his Pikachu watched as the music swelled to an epic crescendo. I'm in the mood, I'm in the mood, I'm in the mood,

To dance! Get up and dance! Come on and dance!

At this, a burst of smoke fired onto the stage. But Stormy kept on dancing, lost in the music and the swirling rainbow lights.

I'm in the mood to take a chance!
Yeah, let's dance! Come on and dance!
I'm in the mood to take a chance!
Yeah, let's dance! Come on and dance!
Get on your feet, now make your dance!
Let us dance! Come on and dance!
I'm in the mood to take a chance!
Yeah, let's dance! Come on and dance!...


"...Devin fell to his knees and asked Queen Titania what he could do to repay her." Brock went on, kneeling down before an imagined person for effect. "Queen Titania smiled and told him to travel to the plains by the cliffs and grow a fairy ring there. She also told him to build three walls around the ring, but to leave a space open to the sea. That way, the fairies would be able to come and go easily."

He got up as he continued "Devin did as he was told. It wasn't long before a small ring of white mushrooms were growing at that place, surrounded by rock on three sides."

Intrigued murmurs wafted through the Fantasy Stage amphitheater as Brock went on. "But Queen Titania knew she had to find a way to overcome the witch’s power. She also knew the only way to do that was by the hand of a human. She asked Orla if she knew of any strong and brave men in the world of humans, and Orla suggested Devin."

"Aw"s filled the air at this. "Queen Titania made her way to Devin's house, and asked him to come with her to the fairy ring." Brock explained. "When he arrived, he found millions of fairies there, planting a pole in the ground. When the pole was planted, the fairies hung a mirror from the pole, and fastened a many colored streamer from the top."

He paused to retrieve his harp from stage right. "They began to walk in a circle around that pole. Each fairy held a bell in one hand and a cup of burning incense in the other."

With that, Brock proceeded to play "The Fairy Waltz" for effect. Many in the crowd nodded their heads to the gentle rhythm, or closed their eyes to savor the melody.

But no one was more proud than Nando. Such a beautiful melody! Brock has been practicing hard to perform this well this soon. he thought as the stately tune rang through the theater.

Applause filled the theater at the song's end. "A few moments passed before Queen Titania asked Devin to look in the mirror." Brock continued when the applause quieted. "Devin looked, and saw the witch transform into a Buneary, and run into the mill. He agreed to meet Queen Titania there at noon."

He set the harp aside. "The next day at noon, right on time, Devin met Queen Titania at the door to the mill. She gave him a bow and some arrows."

Excited murmurs filled the air as Brock showed off his own bow and arrows to the audience. "She explained she had enchanted the arrows with holy magic. "When the clock in the town square struck three, he was to climb the hill and stand in the middle of the fairy ring. When he heard the click of the mill, he was to fire one of the enchanted arrows as fast as he could."

He prepared a shot as he went on. "Devin did everything Queen Titania had told him, and just after three, he heard the click of the mill."

A click at the other end of the theater alerted Brock his target was in place. "He looked up and saw the Buneary racing toward the mill, and he fired an arrow with all his strength."

The crowd watched in awe as Brock fired a shot of his own for effect, with a thunk confirming a hit.

"The arrow reached its target, lodging itself in the Buneary’s skull." Brock explained as he set aside his gear. "She transformed into her true form. Devin called to all the hunters to come help, and so they did. They fastened the witch’s body to a Ponyta and dragged her to the bottom of the valley. They buried her in a grave so deep, she would never escape. The townsfolk were elated the witch was gone, and rewarded Devin well."

He concluded "The fairy ring Devin planted is still there today. If you're lucky, you might see the fairies and their magic mirror."

The crowd roared with applause at the story's end. "The winner, number K-42207!" the emcee announced as Brock took a bow...


"Brock!" Nando called as he met Bock near the judge's podium. "I just wanted to say my heartiest congratulations to you. You've proven yourself the victor today!"

"Thanks." Brock replied as he admired the red plastic jewel he had received. "It's still sinking in that I finally won after some close calls."

"I do admire your grit and determination." Nando smiled. "That will serve you well on your Loremaster's journey."

Something occurred to him. "I will confess that I have never seen someone shoot an arrow live onstage before--that was an amazing idea."

"Well, I don't perform them very often because it takes a lot of practice to get the shot right." Brock explained. "But when I can pull it off, the crowds love it!"

Nando nodded. "At any rate, I look forward to seeing what other surprises you have in store for your next performance."


"Guys!" Dawn cried as she met Ash and Brock in the town square that evening. "I did it! I won my first ribbon!"

"Nice..." Ash smiled as he admired the orange ribbon in Dawn's hand.

"I got my first Miracle Jewel, too." Brock proceeded to show Dawn the red jewel. "Stunned the crowd with some stage archery."

"I had to bail out to catch Brock's free performance in time." Ash confessed. "Mind giving us a recap of how you won?"

"Sure!" Dawn smiled. "We started off with a Nuzzle and Spark combo..."

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 25: The Champ Twins

"Well done on your first ribbon." Ash smiled as he admired the orange ribbon glittering in Dawn's ribbon box. "And well done to you, Brock." he added as he watched Brock admire the plastic ruby he had earned.

"I'll admit shooting an arrow live onstage was a great idea." Dawn agreed.

"Well, what you don't know is that it takes weeks and sometimes months of practice to do the shot safely." Brock explained.

He gestured to the quiver on his back. "Remember, these are only props, but I treat them as if they were real weapons. Most damage they can do is puncturing heavy materials or popping a balloon."

Just then, Dawn noticed some TV cameras being set up in the distance. A familiar auburn haired woman was nearby, addressing a camera. "Oh, hey! 'Shinou News Now' is on location!"

"What's that?" Ash asked.

"'Shinou News Now' is the most popular news TV show in the whole region." Dawn explained. "Everyone and their Bidoof watches it. Despite the name, it doesn't just cover news. They cover the weather, sports, the arts, and more!"

She went on "That lady there is Rhonda...one of the roving reporters."

"When we come back, you'll learn all about the two trainers that test the strength of all their challengers, right here, on 'Shinou News Now'. the woman concluded.

"And cut!" the director called.

Seconds later, the boom operator dropped the microphone on the ground. "Again?" Rhonda sighed. "Those things are expensive to replace, you know..." she reminded the young operator.


"Welcome to Camp Phoenix..." Ash read as the group approached a campsite. "Nice digs for a summer camp..."

"Good luck beating the Champ Twins...you'll need it." a girl sighed.

"Not even my Meganium could take them down." a boy agreed. He pointed out two green haired boys in near identical clothing talking with Rhonda. "Bryan's the older one with the messier hair, and Ryan's the one with the neat hair."

"Thanks." Dawn smiled before leading the way into the camp square, minutes before the boys finished their interview.

Ash strolled before the boys. "I am Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town, and I have journeyed from afar to see if you two are as strong as people say!"

"Two against one is unfair...this is why we compete in Tag Battles only." Ryan explained.

"What's that?" Dawn asked.

"A Tag Battle is a specific kind of doubles matchup where two people and their Pokemon work together as a team." Brock explained. "You're not limited to a single Pokemon per person, but it's best to start there."

Dawn nudged Ash. "Okay if you let me be your partner?"

"Sure!" Ash smiled. "I'll be using Diddy, okay?"

"I'll cover you with Kori." Dawn replied.

"Remember, we're on camera, so let's do our best!" Ash reminded Dawn, gesturing to the Shinou News Now team preparing to film the match...


"Pyro, start with Flame Wheel!" Ryan called.

Diddy leaped away from one flaming wheel, but in his rush to dodge the Croconaw's attack, he crashed into Kori. [Hey, Einstein, I'm on your side!] Kori snapped.

She noticed a Water Gun headed for both of them. "They're sitting Psyducks!" Dawn gasped as the attack landed with a splash.

The whistle and Brock's voice confirmed her worst fear. "Game Set! The match goes to Team Pearl."


"Some partner you are!" Dawn snapped. "Why was Diddy trying to get in the way?"

"I was TRYING to cover Kori, not upstage her!" Ash shot back.

[I am not a pinball bumper, Nanab breath!] Kori snapped at Diddy.

[Well, if you moved, we wouldn't have this problem!] Diddy retorted.

[OKAY!!!] Tintri finally broke up the shouting with a Thunderbolt to the sky. [Clearly we have a problem that needs to be solved, but can't we work it out in peace?]

"The entire point of a Team Battle is to show how the two partners work as a team." Brock explained. "They don't try to one-up each other. Instead, they know how to use each other's strengths, and cover for each others' weaknesses."

[Instead of squabbling over what you did or did not do, remember you are partners, and working towards the same goal.] Tintri agreed.

Diddy sighed. [Kori...I'm sorry I kept knocking you around like a pinball-mon...]

[And I'm sorry I kept getting in the way.] Kori replied. [Will you forgive me?]

[Sure...] Diddy smiled.

"Aw..." Dawn smiled as Diddy and Kori embraced. "Maybe just charging into the fray like we did wasn't such a hot idea..."

"That's the spirit!" Ash smiled. "So, are we a team?"

"Yeah...let's give 'Shinou News Now' a battle to remember!" Dawn replied.

"Okay...so we're up against Pyro the Quilava and Maui the Croconaw." Ash began. "If it would work better, I can pull Diddy for Tintri so we are each covering a type..."


Brock's whistle pierced the air as Ash and Dawn faced the twins again. "Welcome back to 'Shinou News Now'. In case you've just joined us, another tag battle is underway at Camp Phoenix. This time, a brave challenger from Kanto and his coordinator partner try to unseat the Champ Twins!" Rhonda reported as Tintri knocked Maui backwards with a Thunderbolt. This bought Kori time to fire a Bubblebeam at Pyro, making his attack fizzle out.

"Go time?" Ash smiled at Dawn.

"Go time." Dawn replied with a wink. "Think like a coordinator, and use Tintri's moves in cool and creative ways."

Ash nodded. "Tintri, use Brick Break!"

"Kori, use Bubblebeam!" Dawn called.

"Hammered where it hurt!" Rhonda reported as Tintri smacked Pyro, allowing Kori's bubbles to swirl around him. Tintri next used Thunderbolt, which spiraled around Maui and shocked him, buying Kori time to use Scald...


"Game Set!" Brock announced some time later. "This match's winner is Team Diamond!"

Rhonda smiled as Ash and Dawn threw their hats in the air and cheered. "That was quite a show, you two!"

"Yeah--we have no qualms about losing." Bryan agreed. "These two beat us, fair and square."

"Tell me, what was you two's secret out there?" Rhonda asked.

"Just a combination of a trainer's know how..." Ash smiled.

"...and a coordinator's pizazz." Dawn agreed.

"Well, we're going to air your second attempt on the show...is that okay?" Rhonda asked.

"Go ahead and purge Round 1--that wasn't one of our proudest moments." Ash sighed, to everyone's laughter.

"All right...the episode will air in two weeks, so check your local listings, okay?" Rhonda smiled, waving as the group departed...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 26: Some Enchanted Sweetening

"Up next is Eterna City..." Brock began as the group made their way down a road some days later. "Nestled deep within a forest, it is known as 'the town that ties the past to the present.' This is due to the immense number of historical landmarks there."

"You could learn quite a lot of stories there." Dawn smiled as the group approached a signpost. "Eterna Forest, the place where time stands still--one mile.

"We're getting close..." Ash mused as he led the way into the forest. "I'm sure there's plenty of lore in here Brock could learn..."

"They say an old house that is supposedly haunted lies somewhere in the forest..." Dawn began. "That, and if you want to evolve your Eevees to Leafeon, several Moss Rocks lie here. But trying to get an Espeon or Umbreon here won't work. The forest does live up to its nickname."

"This must be a Moss Rock..." Ash grinned as the group passed by a large rock covered in moss.

He was snapped to attention by the noise of battle in the distance. After motioning for Dawn and Brock to follow him, he followed the sounds to a clearing. He peeked through the brush to see a woman in green battling what looked like a leafy Pokemon with a Chansey.

"Emina, use Attract!" he heard the woman say.

The odd bug Pokemon gained heart eyes, prompting the woman to cheer. "Don't you have to attack a Pokémon to make sure you catch it?" Dawn asked.

"I think that's how it works..." Ash replied.

Inspired, the woman called "Okay, Emina, use Doubleslap on the Burmy!"

Ash decided to read up on the woman's target as the battle raged on:

"Burmy, the bagworm Pokemon. To shelter itself from cold, wintry winds, it covers itself with a cloak made of twigs and leaves."

"Fascinating!" Dawn smiled as the woman heaved a Poke Ball at her target.

"They're also known to nest in people's beds. Once they infest a house, good luck getting them out." Brock cautioned. "This is why people do Burmy checks even at nice hotels."

He noticed the woman approaching them. "Thank you all for helping me get a male Burmy." she smiled. "I have three Wormadam already, and I needed a male."

"Can we see your Wormadams?" Dawn asked.

"Sure!" With that, the woman heaved three Poke Balls to the sky. "Jada, Sandra, Rosa, come on out!"

Dawn admired the three beautiful moth-like Pokemon. "I see...you named them based on what cloak they had when they evolved."

"So why did you need a boy?" Ash wondered.

"I wanted the end result to be a Mothim; since I have the three forms of Wormadam already." the woman replied.

"What's so wonderful about Mothim?" Now Ash was curious.

"Oh, listen to me blathering on without even introducing myself." the woman smiled. "My name is Cheryl, and I'm a treasure hunter by trade. My grandpa amassed a huge collection of treasures from across the world. One of the few he never could find was the Miele Dorato, or Golden Honey. It is said that the Miele Dorato is sweeter than any other honey in the world."

"We'll be happy to help!" Ash offered. Dawn and Brock nodded in agreement.

"Okay, Mr. Loremaster--what are some tales you know that involve food or treasure?" Dawn asked.

"Let's see here..." Brock thought for a moment. "Far away from here stood a town populated by living food. Mayor Mushroom looked after the town and its daily operations. Miss Tamato managed his mail and planned events. But all the food looked forward to visits from Cheddar the minstrel."

Cheryl giggled in bemusement as she pictured the whimsical town. "One spring, Mr. and Mrs. Eggplant welcomed their first child. The whole town turned out to give gifts and their well wishes." Brock explained. "Mayor Mushroom had asked everyone to bring a meal so Mrs. Eggplant would not need to cook."

"A smart idea." Cheryl smiled.

"Everyone had agreed, but Mr. Carrot panicked." Brock went on. "He didn't know how to make anything the Eggplants would like, and most of what he tried to cook was terrible. Mr. Tofu had gone into town to try and make something organic and all natural for the Eggplants. But not one of the stalls he checked sold organic ingredients. Mr. Cinnamon had been mobbed by girls because of his sweet smell. The list of problems--or excuses, depending on who you asked--grew longer..."


"...The Talonflame flew away, and soon came back with Leviathan's heart." Brock wound down another tale some time later. "Destrian cut it in two with his magical sword. Then he went to the cave, still invisible. Leviathan was now vulnerable, for his heart had been found and killed. Destrian killed him with his sword."

Tintri and Kori cheered at Leviathan's demise. "Then he removed his magical coat and showed himself to the girls who sat in the cave." Brock explained. "He brought them all back to the palace and their husbands came and claimed them."

He went on "The king gave Destrian a large house close to his castle. There Destrian and his wife Princess Perla lived happily. Destrian also sent for his mother, and brought her to live with him and his wife."

Cheryl listened as Brock concluded "The years passed, and when the king died, he left all his money and possessions to Destrian. Destrian ascended to the throne, and was king of all the land. He lived to be very old, and he did many wonderful deeds with the sword, the shoes, and the cloak."

He smiled "But that is another story for another day!"

Cheryl's applause was the most enthusiastic. "Bravo! That was exciting! You have a nose for lore like I do treasure!"

Dawn gasped when she saw a white glow. "Is that..."

Ash noticed the male Burmy glowing. "It is!"

Brock smiled as the Burmy transformed into an orange and red moth Pokemon. "I think I inspired this Burmy to evolve..."

[Oh, you did!] the Mothim chittered. [I want to be a brave hero, like in the tales you tell!]

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 27a: The Grass-type is Always Greener! (part 1)

"Okay, Kaikoga...our destination is the Amber Castle, okay?" Cheryl assured her Mothim. She pointed out an orange-colored castle-like drawing on the map.

Kaikoga chittered in reply, and flew off to the north. "Hey, wait!" Dawn called as the group followed the orange and red moth-Pokemon through the brush.

When the group emerged in a clearing some moments later, Ash recognized the flowers and trees in the area. "This place looks familiar..."

Cheryl smiled at Kaikoga, a Caterpie, and a Ledyba licking a orange gold liquid that dripped down a tree trunk. "This was the tree I slathered honey on earlier."

Brock noticed the sunlight fading from the trees. "It's getting late, guys...what say we make camp here for tonight?"

"Good idea!" Dawn agreed as the group hurried to find their tents...


When the group departed the next morning, Cheryl noticed Kaikoga was chattering with excitement. "What is it?" she asked the Mothim whirling through the air.

She gasped when she felt something wrapped around her foot. "Whoa!"

"Cheryl?" Dawn hurried up close to a tree, where Cheryl was hanging by a vine. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah...but unless you guys have a way to get me down, we'll be hanging out here for a while." Cheryl grumbled.

"Gaia, cut Cheryl free with Razor Leaf!" Ash heaved a Poke Ball skyward.

Cheryl heard her bindings snapping, then tumbled into Brock's arms. "Oof!"

"You were expecting the hard ground?" Brock smiled as he looked Cheryl over for injuries, unaware of the many Kakunas clattering to the forest floor.

"I'm okay..." Cheryl assured Brock. "I do thank you for catching me, though."

She heard Kaikoga squawking in the distance. "Okay, we're coming!" she assured her Mothim as the group hurried to catch up to the moth Pokemon...


The group caught up to Kaikoga near a group of shrubs some time later. "What is it?" Cheryl asked the Mothim as it observed a brown haired woman observing a plant Pokemon Ash remembered as Gloom.

"You think she set that vine trap before?" Ash asked as he watched the woman write something.

"No...she looks friendlier than a Team Galactic goon." Dawn replied.

She gasped as the Gloom leaped over the group, spraying a sickly yellow gas as it ran. "Oh, ew!" Dawn gasped as she pulled her shirt over her face to block the nasty smell.

"Not a smell I'd prefer to remember!" Ash agreed before he too pulled his shirt over his face.

"Makes me wish I still had my AirPak from Houen!" Brock gasped as he too struggled to block the horrible smell.

The woman sighed in defeat. "Aw...I couldn't catch that Gloom..."

She gasped when she spotted Gaia by Ash's side. "Aw, what a cute Budew!"

"Thanks..." Ash smiled. "My friends found her wandering in Oreburgh City, and it didn't seem to have an owner, so I claimed her."

He offered his hand to the woman. "I'm Ash, and these are my companions Dawn and Brock; and our guide, Cheryl.

"Nice to meet you." the woman smiled she she shook hands with Ash. My name's Gardenia--I'm the Gym Leader of Eterna City."

Ash sighed as he heard a familiar guitar playing a reggae groove. "Of all the times for Brock to sing..."

Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep...
Brock sang, much to Gardenia's bemusement.

Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true
Saying', this is my message to you...

[Go deliver that message somewhere else!] Kage snapped, creating a discordant Eb chord as he dragged Brock off.

Gardenia just laughed at Brock's pained look. "Aw, I was kinda enjoying that!"

She turned business-like again. "Fancy a match out here in nature?"

"Sure!" Ash smiled. "It'll be great practice for our real match in the Gym!"

"But, what about--!" Dawn protested.

"Let them battle--I could use the break." Cheryl smiled as Brock hurried to draw a Poke Ball in the underbrush...


"Ugh, where are they?" Mars sighed as she and Jupiter trudged through the brush. "Couldn't they have made a trail marker or something we could follow?"

"Like the boss always says, don't lose the trail once you find it." Jupiter began. "We're bound to find hat-boy's trail sooner or--!"

Mars gasped as Jupiter tripped on a Kakuna, falling into the brush. "You okay?"

"Ow..." Jupiter winced as she gingerly stood up. "I tripped on a Kakuna..."

Mars swallowed hard as the Kakuna Jupiter tripped on and some others on the ground all started to glow. "I have a bad feeling about this..."

"RUN!!!!" Jupiter called as the new Beedrill swarm took flight...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 27b: The Grass-type is Always Greener! (part 2)

The sound of a referee's whistle rang through the forest, signalling that the match between Gardenia and Ash was underway. "Sakura, let's go!" Gardenia called as she revealed a cherry-like Pokemon before Ash and Diddy.

"Looks cute..." Dawn decided to read up on what Gardenia had summoned:

"Cherubi, the cherry Pokemon. The small ball holds the nutrients needed for evolution. Apparently, it is very sweet and tasty."

She looked up to see the Cherubi running to avoid Diddy's fiery charge. "Come on, Ash!" she called.

Gardenia watched for a moment, then called "Sakura, return."

"Huh?" Ash asked as Diddy's attack fizzled out. "What was that for?"

"Your Chimchar is very powerful." Gardenia explained. "He put his heart and soul into all he did, just like you. Your hearts burn with the brightest fire, to burn away the weeds of evil, sadness, and despair..."

I see..she was analyzing Diddy's abilities. Brock thought as Gardenia waxed poetic on Diddy for a moment.

He was about to tell Gardenia to hurry when Gardenia tossed another Poké Ball skyward. "Peony, here we go!"

Dawn recognized the small turtle-like Pokemon Gardenia had summoned. "A Turtwig!"

Ash was unfazed by his opponent's move. "Time to go full throttle into this match! Let's show off some speed with a Flame Charge!"

He balked as Peony dodged at the last second. "Okay...let's try that again. Flame Charge!"

Peony leaped away from the charging Chimchar, sending Diddy crashing into a tree. "Okay, Peony! Use Leech Seed!" Gardenia commanded.

All Ash could do was watch as the dull green seeds sprouted on his Chimchar, rendering him helpless. Peony next used a powerful Tackle, sending Diddy crashing against a tree. [Ash...she was too...strong...]

"Wow--Peony was faster than Diddy!" Dawn was impressed.

"She didn't move much, but when she did, Peony outpaced Diddy by a lot." Brock agreed.

He looked over at Ash. "Make your next selection, Diamond."

"Estrella, I choose you!" Ash called. The type advantage and flying speed should overcome Gardenia's Turtwig!

"Eh-streh-yah!" Brock correcting him snapped him from his thoughts.

"Start with Wing Attack!" Ash called.

But no matter how many attacks Estrella fired, Peony dodged every last one. [Got any better ideas? Wing Attack isn't working...] Estrella wheezed.

Ash growled in frustration. "Okay, Estrella, new plan. Let's try Aerial Ace--I know that attack is unavoidable!"

He watched in amazement as Peony jumped at the last moment. Estrella went crashing into the bushes some moments later. "Wha...how?" he gasped as Estrella recovered and circled around to try again.

But no one expected Peony to pummel Estrella with Leaf Storm, pinning Estrella to a tree. "Diamond is unable to battle--Pearl wins!" Brock announced.

Tintri nudged Ash as Cheryl and Gardenia talked for a moment. [Even I'm amazed at this Gardenia lady's Pokemon.] he explained. [I know, it hurts to lose.]

"Yeah--this hurts even more because I thought I had an advantage against her." Ash explained as he went to collect Estrella.

[We've beat hard opponents before, and we can do it again!] Tintri smiled. [With a little help from my Super Shocking Special Training!]

A smile formed on Ash's face. "Great idea, Tintri! Your special training hasn't failed me yet!"


"...and so they agreed to help me search for the Miele Dorato." Cheryl finished explaining to Gardenia some time later. "My grandfather wanted so much to find this special honey, but could not. So I want to find it myself and complete what he could not." Brock finishing an intricate melody on his guitar punctuated her point.

"I see..." Gardenia smiled. "All the Combee colonies in the forest are connected. I know a spot where Combee gather to form a massive colony known as the Golden Wall."

She smiled at Brock. "There are actually a few folktales in this area about the Miele Dorato and the Golden Wall. Interested in learning a few?"

"I would be honored." Brock replied as he worked out an improvised melody in A major.

"Okay...two princes once went out in search of adventure. But they got so wrapped up in wine, women, and song, they never returned home." Gardenia began over the guitar. "The youngest--we'll call him Jake--set out to find his brothers..."


"Ow..." Mars winced at the many wounds covered in Band-Aids all over her and Jupiter. "The sooner we find that special honey, the better!"

"They say honey has healing properties, so who am I to think this special honey is a powerful medicine?" Jupiter agreed.

Mars was about to answer when she spotted the group approaching where they were standing. "I see Hat-boy and pals! Let's ambush them!"

"Come on, Leona..." Mars motioned for her Purugly to join Jupiter and Noctis in the bushes.

Neither admin expected Gardenia to peek in the bushes some moments later. "Wow! What's a Skuntank doing here in the bushes?"

"Noctis was...looking to find some medicine for all these Beedrill stings my partner and I got yesterday." Jupiter lied as she and Mars emerged from the brush.

"Would you like to trade?" Gardenia smiled. "I have many fine Pokemon to offer!"

"N-no thanks..." Jupiter stammered, a little unnerved by Gardenia's enthusiasm. "I'm happy with Noctis."

"Gardenia, you realize you're talking with an admin of Team Galactic?" Ash hissed.

"Team Galactic member or not, someone that raises powerful Pokemon can't be all bad." Gardenia replied, causing everyone's mouths to drop open."

"Jupiter...come in Jupiter." Mars whispered, waving a hand in front of Jupiter's unnerved face.

She grimaced in annoyance. "Leona, use Bite!"

"Aw, a kitty-Pokemon!" Ash heard Gardenia cry.

"Gardenia, wait!" Brock leaped into Leona's path and pushed Gardenia away. Dawn crashed on top of him some moments later.

"Errrgh...Noctis, use Poison Fang!" Jupiter commanded, annoyed that Gardenia had stymied Mars' attempt at wounding the group.

"Peony, teach these Galactic goons a lesson!" Gardenia called as she summoned her Turtwig.

Jupiter watched in shock as Peony bit Noctis' tail, then threw him into the brush. "If her Turtwig's that strong, I'd hate to see what other powerful Pokemon she's got!"

"We'll deal with you later, Hat-boy!" Mars called before she and Jupiter fled into the forest.


"Thanks, Gardenia...you saved our skins." Cheryl smiled. "Arceus hoping we don't find those Galactic goons again."

"Aw, it was nothin'!" Gardenia smiled. "I know a strong Pokemon when I see one."

She looked over at a Nuzleaf running to meet her. After reading over the note the leafy humanoid Pokemon carried, she turned to leave. "I'm gonna have to leave you--I'm needed back in the city."

"Thanks, Gardenia!" Ash waved as Gardenia departed. "I hope to battle you for a Badge soon!"

Dawn spotted a Combee flying around a flower patch Kaikoga was studying. "Follow that Combee! It could lead us to the Golden Wall!"

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 28: An Angry Combee-nation!

"Keep the Combee and Kaikoga in view!" Ash instructed as the group dashed after a Combee.

Dawn decided to read up on the tiny bee Pokemon, looking up at the Mothim all the while:

"Combee, the tiny bee Pokemon. This Pokémon is a set of three. When they sleep, they gather up and form a giant hive of 100 Combee or more."

"Neat." she smiled as the group arrived in a grove of large red flowers. "What are these?"

"Those are Pomeg Berry flowers." Cheryl explained. "Combee are said to love Pomeg nectar."

"We must be on the right track..." Ash mused as he looked around for any sign of the Combee. "But we've lost our Combee..."

"Easy way to find it again--follow the Pomeg flowers." Brock assured Ash.

He was about to rally the group when Kaikoga chittered to get the group's attention. "What is it, Kaikoga?" Dawn asked.

She gasped as a huge swarm of Combee emerged from a bush. "That has to be the Golden Wall! Come on!"

The group wound their way through the forest underbrush. They emerged near a waterfall with many Combee walls flying nearby. "Okay...which one of all these is the Golden Wall?" Ash wondered.

Tintri noticed Kaikoga flying off towards the waterfall. [Cardinal rule of RPGs--there's always good stuff behind a waterfall!] he smiled. With that, he hopped across some rocks to the bank.

"That's true." Ash smiled as he followed Tintri across the river. Dawn followed him, then Brock, and Cheryl brought up the rear.

Brock gasped when he spotted a cave behind the waterfall. "Speak of Darkrai...the Amber Castle has to be there."

"Failing that, there's a dungeon for us to explore!" Ash agreed as he followed Brock into the cave.

The group was unaware that Mars and Jupiter had followed them from a hidden tunnel. "You'll find a dungeon all right..." Jupiter grinned as she and Mars went inside the cave. "A Team Galactic dungeon!"


As the group collected themselves in a passageway, Tintri sniffed the air. [Mm...something smells good...]

"Let's head that way, then." Ash suggested. "Lead the way, bud."

"How did Tintri know which way to go?" Dawn asked.

"Pikachu actually have very good noses for a rodent Pokemon. I wouldn't be surprised if Tintri smells the honey." Brock replied as the group followed Tintri and Kaikoga into a wide open room with many pathways.

"Now which way?" Dawn asked.

[You guys! This way!] Tintri called from a spiral walkway. [We need to reach the route all the way at the bottom of this room.]

As the group wound around the walkway, Kaikoga discovered a tunnel in the wall. [Hey, Kaikoga!] Tintri called, dashing after the Mothim.

Ash's first thought was to dash after Tintri, but Brock pulled him back. "Easy, Ash. I know you're worried about Tintri, but we need to stay together, okay?"


I think we're the ones lost in the dungeon..." Mars sighed as she and Jupiter wandered around the cave. "What if all those video game cliches are true?"

"How a castle could be hidden down in the caves? That's what I wanna know..." Jupiter grumbled.

"You're the Loremistress, you should know that underground castles show up all the time in lore." Mars replied. "Let's think positive! Hat-boy and pals have to be around here somewhere!"


"Have we been this way already?" Dawn asked as the group emerged in another pathway.

"This is worse than trying to figure out Demon in Zelda..." Ash sighed in frustration.

"It all looks the same to me..." Cheryl agreed.

[Hi!] Tintri waved from a fork in the path, getting the group's attention.

"Tintri!" Ash hurried to embrace his Pikachu. "I was worried sick about you!"

Tintri noticed some angry Combee flying down an eastern passage. [Something must've riled those Combee up...]

"I probably know what it is..." Dawn smiled as the group hurried down the passage.


The group arrived in time to see a red eyed silhouette hiss. The hiss prompted the Combee to surround the admins. "Figured...their digging must have made the Combee angry." Brock mused as Mars and Jupiter desperately looked for a way out.

"Leona, I need you!" Mars called as she heaved a Poke Ball.

"You too, Noctis!" Jupiter replied.

The silhouette hissed again, and the Combee countered Leona and Noctis' attacks with glowing beams of light. "Kaikoga, use Supersonic!" Cheryl commanded.

Once sure the Combee were all confused, Dawn heaved a Poke Ball skyward. "Kori, use Whirlpool!"

Ash smirked as the admins swirled down towards a large hole in the cave floor. "Team Galactic's goin' down the drain!"


"Wow..." the group gasped as the group approached a giant Combee wall. "Is this the Golden Wall?" Dawn asked, intrigued in the thousands of Combee.

As if on cue, the Combee wall parted. The group gawked at a large orange-yellow castle nestled in a forested cavern. "By Arceus...we found the the Amber Castle!" Ash gasped.

"Let's go inside!" Cheryl lead the way towards the castle.

[Welcome, heroes.] a large bee Pokemon that appeared to be wearing a honeycomb-like "dress" smiled. [I am Beatrice, the keeper of the Amber Castle and the Miele Dorato. My guards knew you were trying to help us before, and so allowed you here.]

Dawn decided to read up on the majestic bee Pokemon:

"Vespiquen, the beehive Pokemon. When endangered, grubs from its six-cell honeycomb strike back. There is only one in a colony."

"Beatrice...as a reward for saving your colony, I wish to take a little of the Miele Dorato." Cheryl requested. "My dream was to find it, and complete what my grandfather could not."

[And you have found it.] Beatrice smiled. [I will allow you to take a little, as thanks for rescuing us.]

Cheryl accepted the bucket some Combee brought to her. But before she could take some of the shining gold honey, a huge crash got the group's attention. "Surprise!" Mars called as she and Jupiter slid in the room.

"We're gonna take all this honey and use its energy for Lord Cyrus' new world!" Jupiter explained before summoning Noctis. "Have fun!"

Ash growled as Mars summoned Leona. "Wait...if we battle here, we could destroy the castle." Brock cautioned.

Beatrice buzzed an angry command as she pointed her honeycomb scepter like a sword at the admins. The Combees rushed at the admins, but no one expected the castle walls to crack.

"Lola, use Ice Beam to seal the cracks in the walls!" Dawn heaved a Poke Ball skyward.

Brock watched as the honey was frozen solid. "I will commend you for the good idea, but it is only a temporary fix, as the ice will eventually melt."

He watched as the Combee flew down until they were above the honey. "Terra, Kage, help the Combee out!"

"Stormy, use Sweet Kiss to confuse Leona and Noctis!" Dawn heaved another Poke Ball.

Cheryl spotted Mars and Jupiter trying to flee as the ice melted. "Kaikoga, use Supersonic!"

The supersonic waves froze the admins in place, allowing the Combees to attack. Beatrice then created a large peridot, sending the admins flying through several floors of the cave.

"Goodbye, and good riddance, Team Galactic!" Ash grinned. Beatrice giggled in agreement.


"Thanks for the help, you two." Brock smiled as he watched the Combees repair the damage from before.

Beatrice then presented Cheryl with a jar of the glowing honey. [As I was saying before those rogues rudely interrupted us...here is some Miele Dorato, as I promised.]

"Thank you, Beatrice." Cheryl smiled as she accepted the jar. "Is it okay if my companions have a taste?"

[Of course--they had a role in guiding you here and saving the castle, too.] Beatrice smiled.

"Mm...this is way better than the stuff at the store!" Ash raved as he licked a little off his finger, then got another finger full for Tintri to taste.

[Good stuff, coach--talk about a sweet payment for our hard work!] Kage agreed.

A guitar chord got Dawn's attention. "A song for the queen bee?" Brock asked the Vespiquen as he finished tuning up.

[Of course, minstrel--we await your sweet song.] Beatrice buzzed happily. Some Combee gathered around to listen with the group.

"I call this song 'The Ballad of the Miele Dorato'." Brock explained before starting a lighthearted melody...

To Be Continued...
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The magic of Pokemon
Episode 29: The Beautifly's Return

"Today in Eterna City, dancers will converge on the Starlight Stage. There, they will showcase their best moves and smoothest grooves." Rhonda began as she watched people stream inside an auditorium. "But only one of them will walk away with an Explorer's Kit! All this and more on Shinou News Now!"

After the theme song concluded, Rhonda began the next part of her script. "From its humble beginnings in 1958, the Eternal Dance Contest has grown into a competition worthy of its name. Thousands of amateur and pro dancers alike have grooved their way to superstardom on the Starlight Stage..."

Elsewhere, group watched as people filed into the stands. "Remind me how a dance contest can benefit us?" Ash asked as he found a seat.

"Well, the object of the contest is to create the most beautiful and creative dance." Dawn explained. "It doesn't matter if a human or Pokemon dances. All genres and skill levels of dancers are welcome. Like Rhonda says, many great dancers got their start here."

"Sixty years is a long running show..." Brock agreed as he thumbed to a page about the contest from a guidebook. "It is the highlight of the summer for many people in Shinou. Many people come from all over to compete, as well."

"Then what are we waiting for?" Ash cried as he motioned for the group to follow him backstage, where hundreds of people were in line signing up. "I'm told a massive underground network lies beneath this place..."

Dawn nodded. "You need an Explorer's Kit to reach the caves. Some people even build elaborate secret bases down there."

"I've heard tales of treasure untold down in the caves." Brock explained. "I wanna see if that's true or not."

"We can all enter, but there is a line for a reason." Dawn reminded the group as they reached the signup tables.

After filling out his personal info and receiving an ID number, Ash took a song selector and perused the available songs. "Let's see here..."

"This is the Bailatron in Contests, multiplied by about 10..." Dawn mused as she located a certain song.

"I'm gonna pick this one." Ash smiled as he selected the song he would perform to.

"I've got my choice picked too." Dawn agreed as she too selected a song.

Brock perused the list for a moment, but smiled when he spotted a familiar name and face in the entrant list. "How bout it? Show off some real kung fu moves?" he grinned at Kage.

[Go for it, coach!] Kage grinned. [Give'em a taste of some real kung fu fighting!]


"Okay, so that guy that danced to that rock inspired techno beat got a 7, which is decent..." Dawn mused as she looked over the current standings in the wings some time later. "That girl that did the teenybopper song was okay, as well."

"You liked that acoustic power ballad..." Ash grinned at Brock. "I think that one should've scored higher..."

"Me too, but the judges have the last word." Brock replied. "Then there was that guy that did that powerful Latin routine..."

"That blew Stormy's version of 'Conga' out of the water!" Dawn agreed. She turned her attention to the scoreboard again. "And that hip hop beat a few minutes ago only got a 6."

Ash balked as a familiar brown haired girl wearing a green bandanna stepped onto the stage. No way...that's May! he thought as the girl struck a reverent pose.

Brock recognized the melody that started playing over the speakers. "This is different from the version of 'Beautifly' I remember in the arcades..."

"I didn't know a slow version of 'Beautifly' existed..." Ash was equally impressed by May twirling and swaying to the song...

I've been searching for a man,
All across Japan,
Just to find, to find my samurai...

Someone who is strong,
But still a little shy,
Yes I need, I need my samurai...

Ai-yai-yai, I'm your little Beautifly...
Green, black and blue,
Make the colors in the sky...

Ai-yai-yai, I'm your little Beautifly...
Green, black and blue
Make the colors in the sky...

"Who is that girl?" Dawn wondered. "Is she a friend of yours?"

"That's May--she is a fellow coordinator from Houen." Ash explained.

"She went with Ash and I on our previous trip." Brock added as he got up to leave, just as the crowd applauded May's routine.


After a few tense moments, some gasps went up as a familiar Oriental riff played. May turned to look at where the Japanese war cry and the sounding of a gong had come from. But it wasn't until the familiar Oh... of "Kung Fu Fighting" started that the audience started cheering.

"Y'all ready?" the rapper asked over the speakers as Brock struck a fighting pose in time to the music."Aw yeah...let's go!"

The crowd roared as Brock strolled onstage in time to the music, spinning and jumping all the while. After he walked up to May, he kissed her hand, as if he was her "samurai". She giggled in embarrassment as Brock strolled out to center stage and struck a fighting pose.

"Now here it is, one to make you move..." the rapper began as Brock spun in place twice. "A song with a funky kung fu groove. Something that'll make you shout, make you play to the crowd and make you want to turn it out." The crowd roared as I landed a Thundering Drum move on the word "out". "So ladies, gather round, I'll pick you up and take you on; go pound for pound. Cause I'm the only man who'll please ya; I got a little something that'll tease ya." The crowd roared at Brock's display of the Raikou Claw.

"So throw those hands up high..." At this, Brock jumped, performing a Rising Raikou Claw on the way up. "Shake your body, move from side to side." Brock complied with the rapper's command, making him look like an Ekans about to strike. "'Cause we've just begun, party people in the place; yeah, we're having fun. Oh yeah, I'm gonna be a big star..." Brock nodded at this, as if agreeing with the rapper. "I'm gonna lay it on and go 'woo-ha'" Brock did two quick strikes with the "woo-ha" part, to some applause. "'Cause when the move gets excited, when everybody's kung fu fighting."

Everybody was kung fu fighting, came the sung chorus.
Brock performed the move Hidden Thunder Strike on the Huh!.
Those kids were fast as lightning... Brock did Raikou Tail Kick on the Hah!.
In fact, it was a little bit frightening... Brock next did Eternal Palm.
But they fought with expert timing... Brock concluded the first chorus with a very fast spin kick named Raikou Tornado.

The rapper joined back in with the next verse. "Dance, bright lights, Orinoco flow; kung fu fighter's in the disco." Brock did a cheesy disco dance move as a disco ball descended on the stage, to some laughter and cheers. "He's on the floor, he's got a black suit on. Five past one and the night's just begun. Cause when he lays it on with style, a ladies man with a nice smile."

Half the girls in the audience screamed when Brock flashed them a grin in response to the rapper. "And right before his eyes, sees a pretty young thing looking real fly..." Brock noticed May still watching him dance by stage left, so he strolled over to her. "He wants to make the score, so he takes her hand and leads her to the dance floor..." Brock offered his hand to May, and she accepted it, following Brock to center stage. "He's giving her line after line..." Brock pantomimed speaking to May. "She tell him that he looks real fine..." May nodded, as if interested in Brock's imagined conversation. "'Cause he's the man of expert timing, just like when he's kung fu fighting..." The crowd roared when both Brock and May struck fighting poses. Brock was in the Raikou "ready" pose, while May assumed the Swanna "ready" pose.

Everybody was kung fu fighting, Brock did Clever Submission on his side, May did Swanna Diamond Peck.

Those kids were fast as lightning... Brock followed with Rising Raikou Claw again. May "covered" him with Goddess' Pose.

In fact, it was a little bit frightening... Brock did Hidden Thunder Strike on his imagined opponent. May did Swanna Beak.

But they fought with expert timing... Brock next did Flying Taiilows. May delivered a Cheri Blossom Punch to her imagined opponent.

The crowd ate up the performance of moves as the Oh... continued. "Wow--they look great together." Dawn raved.

"Oh, Brock taught May a few martial arts moves as self defense on our Houen trip." Ash explained. He smiled as he applauded Brock and May's final back to back pose.


Backstage, Mars and Jupiter fumed as they watched Dawn weave and whirl to the beat of 'Golden Sky'. "I'm sick of people taking bows for our talent! What do Hat-boy and pals have that we don't?"

"Stage presence, for one thing." Jupiter sighed as Dawn took a bow for the crowd. But just because we're out of the competition doesn't mean we can't stir up some mayhem..."

Mars noticed a shot of the Explorer's Kit on the holding room's TV screen. "Wait...that's an Explorer's Kit! If we were to swipe that, think of what kinds of treasures we could find! We could create our new world!"

"Exactly." Jupiter smiled as the screen displayed Ash stepping aboard the machine. "Let's go find where it is while everyone's watching Hat-boy."


Back out on the stage, the crowd quieted as the lights went down, save for a spotlight on Ash.

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh... a young female voice sang as Ash struck a heroic pose. Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh...

Ash started twirling and spinning across the platform as the music picked up. Sweet little bumble bee, I know what you want from me,
Dup-i-dup-i-do da da
Dup-i-dup-i-do da da
Sweet little bumble bee, more than just a fantasy
Dup-i-dup-i-do da da
Dup-i-dup-i-do da da...

After striking another pose, Ash starting lightly skipping and jumping across the stage as the singer went on My heart skips a beat
When you walk in the room
I go boom boom boom...
Ash stomped three times in time to the singer's words, to some giggles.
You go zoom zoom zoom... Ash timed three steps in time to the singer's words for effect.

You're my playboy, playtoy
Lover, my friend...
the singer went on as Ash spun across the stage.
I wanna be with you until the end...

I give my heart and my soul to you,
To make you see its true...
I'm so confused, baby, cant you see?
Please come rescue me!

The crowd roared as the machine triggered a disco ball to appear as Ash continued his performance. Sweet little bumble bee, I know what you want from me,
Dup-i-dup-i-do da da
Dup-i-dup-i-do da da
Sweet little bumble bee, more than just a fantasy,
Dup-i-dup-i-do da da
Dup-i-dup-i-do da da


Dup-i-dup-i-do da da
Dup-i-dup-i-do da da


Dup-i-dup-i-do da da
Dup-i-dup-i-do da da...

Ash capped his performance by striking a triumphant pose, to cheers and applause. "Way to go, Ash!" Dawn cheered as the judges gave him three perfect 10s. "If Pokemon training doesn't work out, you can always look into becoming a dancer!"


[Wow! I'm amazed you made it to the finals!] Kori smiled as Dawn joined May, Ash, Brock, and a blonde haired girl near the stage.

"As well as we did to make it this far, don't get your hopes up about winning the Explorer's Kit." Dawn replied.

"I'm amazed I even got into the finals, especially on my first try dancing competitively." Brock mused as the champion took her place on the stage.

May smiled as a pounding 80's beat began. "It helps that we still make a great team."

The group didn't see Mars and Jupiter sneaking up to the pedestal holding the Explorer's Kit. After making sure the crowd was occupied watching the champion, Jupiter signaled Mars. Mars nodded, and carefully reached out to take the large leather bag...

As the applause died down, Kage spotted the admins. [Hey, coach! Bogeys tryin' ta make off with the prize!]

Brock fumbled for his referee's whistle and blew it, startling the admins and the crowd. "Hey! You've already had a chance to strut your stuff, and it wasn't even prize worthy!"

"You want this?" Jupiter smirked as she and Mars threw off their alter ego costumes. "Come and get it!"

Gasps and screams filled the air as Jupiter led Mars to a balloon near the auditorium. "Are you sure you want to escape this way?" Mars asked. "Minstrel-Boy has a bow, remember?"

"I know that, but if we get a head start, we'll be long gone before Minstrel-Boy has a chance to shoot!" Jupiter assured Mars as the two of them took off.


Ash and others hurried to keep the balloon in sight as the Shinou News Now team chased the balloon in a helicopter. "Tintri, use--!" Ash started.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you..." Brock cautioned. "A Thunderbolt could damage the Explorer's Kit."

[HAAAAAAAAAHHHH!] Estrella screeched as she charged forward to perform a Wing Attack.

Noctis growled back in reply, knocking Estrella back with Poison Sting.

Dawn looked over at May. "You can tell me what Houen Contests are like later. For now, let's coordinate some power!"

She then called "Kori, use Bubblebeam!"

"Niji, I need you!" May heaved a Poke Ball skyward, revealing a beautiful butterfly-like Pokemon. "Help my new friend out with Silver Wind!"

Brock watched as Kori's attack gained a silvery sheen from the Silver Wing. "Kage...think you can knock back those two?"

[With pleasure, coach!] Kage smirked before delivering a Poison Jab to Mars.

May smiled as Kage's attack connected. "Niji, use Sunny Day!"

"Gah, bright!" Mars screamed, knocking over the Explorer's Kit as she bumped and banged around the small gondola.

Dawn spotted the falling Explorer's Kit and heaved another Poke Ball. "Lola, catch the Explorer's Kit."

Ash watched as Lola made a huge jump, catching the Explorer's Kit before it hit the pavement. "Now it's time to shoot Team Galactic down--again!"

"Just like old times!" May smiled as Brock retrieved his archery gear and aimed at the balloon.

He fired a few moments later, a POW!!! confirming a hit as the admins went flying...


"And the winner of this year's Eternal Dance Contest is..." the judge announced.

A drum roll played as the spotlights swirled around for a moment. They converged on Brock, to everyone's surprise and the crowd's cheers.

"No way!" Dawn gasped. "Brock won?"

"If he did the best of all, I respect the judge's decision." Ash smiled as Brock accepted the Explorer's Kit from the chief judge.

"Thanks for your help before." Dawn said to May. "If you're here on your own Contest Challenge, I look forward to seeing you in the Contest Hall."

"I would be honored to take part." May replied before hugging Ash and Brock. "It's good to see you both again--maybe we can get together sometime and chat."

"My pleasure." Ash replied as he hugged May.

[So, when are we gonna go treasure huntin', coach?] Kage asked as Brock rejoined the group. [I'm eager to dig up some treasure.]

Brock chuckled a little at Kage's enthusiasm. "Be patient, Kage. There will be plenty of time for that as our journey continues."

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 30: Buizel Your Way Out of This!

"You've won an Explorer's Kit...what are you gonna do next?" Dawn grinned as Brock admired the Explorer's Kit he had won a few days before.

"Well, I can hardly wait to show it to Tarina." Brock replied after stashing the kit in his bag. "She'd love digging for treasure."

Dawn smiled "Besides, the best part is the mystery of what kind of treasure you find."

Ash noticed that every person they had passed was carrying a battered or fainted Pokemon. "Something up ahead must be powerful to knock out this many Pokemon..."

He flagged down a man carrying a Zigzagoon. "Pardon me, sir, but what was it that battered your Zigzagoon?"

"A powerful Buizel attacked him while we were fishing earlier today." the man replied as he petted the beaten raccoon Pokemon in his arms. "If you plan to go fishing at all, pick a different lake besides Sapphire Cove."

"Sapphire Cove, huh..." Ash mused as the man disappeared down the road. "Maybe Tintri could take down something that strong!"

"I don't know--this Buizel could even be too powerful even for Tintri." Brock cautioned.

"The only way to find out is to find this Buizel." Dawn mused as the group passed a signpost that read "SAPPHIRE COVE--ONE MILE".


"Mini-Misty DX, don't fail me now!" Ash announced as he cast his line.

Dawn noticed the lure that resembled a familiar orange haired girl as a superhero. "Interesting lure...where'd you get it?"

"One of my good friends is Misty, who runs the Cerulean Gym back at home." Ash explained. "She went with Brock and me on our first trip around Kanto and our Johto trip."

"She hand makes lures like that one, and sells them at outdoor fairs." Brock added as Ash reeled in his line. "Not too shabby a fiddler herself, either."

"Is it okay if I can try out your lure?" Dawn asked.

"Okay, but be careful with it." Ash replied as he gave Dawn the lure. "Misty made this one just for me."

In the brush overlooking the lake, Misty watched as Ash hooked his own Mini-Misty DX onto Dawn's rod. "Good to see Ash is making some new friends this trip...and that he's finally learned to share the Mini-Misty DX I made him."


"Hey, gang..." Dawn looked up to see Zoey approaching the bank. "How's everything been?" she asked as Sylvie jumped in her lap.

"Well, I got my first ribbon in Floaroma Town..." Dawn showed Zoey the orange ribbon.

"I got my first Gym Badge at the Oreburgh Gym." Ash went on, showing Zoey the Badge in his case.

"What about you? How've you been?" Dawn asked.

"Well, I have two ribbons already, and narrowly missed getting a third." Zoey replied. "Some girl with a Shinx edged me with a clever combo during the last contest. So I'm taking a little break for now."

After checking her PokeNav, she asked Dawn "Are you going to enter the Hearthome Contest?"

"There's a Contest in Hearthome City?" Dawn gasped. "I didn't even know about it until you said something."

She smiled. "Of course I plan to enter--maybe we'll even see Fantina there!"

Zoey grinned as she petted Sylvie. "We might--her Drifblim is a bit of a legend on the Contest scene."

Sylvie mewed with excitement as Zoey put some bait on her own rod. "But for now, I guess I'll do a little fishing. Sylvie deserves a roast Magikarp or Goldeen for her hard work."

Brock watched as Zoey cast her line. "We're out here because we heard rumors that a powerful Buizel was in the lake."

Zoey was about to answer when she saw Dawn's line jerking. "Hey, you've got something!"

Excited, Dawn pulled at the line as she reeled in a small otter-like Pokemon. "No need to worry--I've got this!"

Ash looked at the dazed otter Pokemon on the grass. "That's the Pokemon that's been causing so much trouble out here?"

Dawn, meanwhile, read up on her catch:

"Buizel, the sea weasel Pokemon. It spins its two tails like a screw to propel itself through water. The tails also slice clinging seaweed."

Ash grinned at the Pokedex's description as Dawn summoned Kori. "Sounds a lot like a game character I know..."

"Since Kori and Buizel are both Water types, it should be a very close battle." Brock commented as he watched the Buizel weave away from Kori's attempt at pecking him.

Both boys gasped as the Buizel used Water Gun, sending Kori into the air." "Whoa...all those people weren't kidding." Ash mused as Kori landed on the grass, then collected herself.

Kori then heaved a Bubblebeam at the Buizel. The Buizel countered by slamming into Kori from the water! "That's Aqua Jet!" Zoey recognized the move as the Buizel slammed into Kori two more times.

The group watched as the Buizel leaped into the air, then slammed into Kori again, knocking her out. [Is that all you've got? Come at me!]

"Showtime, Sylvie." Zoey smiled as she watched her Glameow run to engage the Buizel. "Start with Shadow Claw."

Even she gasped as the Buizel weaved through the shadowy claws. It then leaped into the air and creating a loud boom, knocking Sylvie backwards.

[All right, who's next?] the Buizel challenged as Zoey hurried to collect Sylvie.

"I will!" Ash challenged before whistling for Tintri.

"Using Tintri here is a good idea." Brock explained as Tintri darted onto the bank. "An Electric type should give you the advantage in the battle. But you should still be careful, since this Buizel is very strong."

[HAAAAAAAAAHHH!] Tintri screeched as he unleashed a Thunderbolt. The Buizel ran out of the way of the rain of lightning, then unleashed another loud boom. "Sonic Boom!" Ash recognized the attack.

He heaved a relieved sigh as Tintri darted away with a Quick Attack. "Try hitting him with Iron Tail next!" he called as the Buizel jumped into the air.

A smile formed on his face as Tintri smacked the Buizel to the ground. But his confident grin turned to horror as the Buizel got up.

"Watch out, Tintri!" he called as the Buizel leaped into the air and used Sonic Boom again. The loud boom showered sparks out of the water and sent Tintri flying into a try.

Ash growled in frustration as the Buizel swiped the group's rods and tackle, giggling all the while. "Don't think you've won yet, Buizel!" he vowed. "I'm not backing down that easily!"

"Yeah, we're not backing down!" Dawn yelled in agreement.

"Follow that Buizel!" Brock led the way into the brush.


The group emerged from the underbrush near a waterfall some time later. "I found our stuff!" Zoey reported, pointing out the group's gear lying on the ground by some rocks.

Ash hurried over to examine the rods. Let's see...they're in one piece...

He smiled when he saw a familiar lure dangling from Dawn's rod. And the Mini-Misty DX is all right too! he thought as he carefully detached the lure.

Some splashing in the distance got his attention. He found the Buizel smashing rocks with Water Gun attack, before it spotted him. [Hey, Hat-boy! You and your Pikachu back for more?]

[You bet we're back for more!] Tintri shot back as he fired a Thunderbolt.

Brock watched as the Buizel fired a Water Gun as a counterattack. "Thunderbolt should have the edge, if our knowledge of the type chart is correct..."

The group balked as the Buizel's Water Gun overpowered the Thunderbolt; knocking Tintri down. "Don't give up!" Ash called.

"Slippery as always..." Zoey grinned as the Buizel weaved away from a Quick Attack.

The group braced themselves as the Buizel used Sonic Boom. "I'd say Tintri's just as slippery!" Brock smiled as Tintri rolled away from the shockwave.

Everyone watched in awe as the Buizel tried to use Aqua Jet to pin Tintri to the ground. Tintri fired off a Thunderbolt in midair, while Buizel dodged and countered with Water Gun. Tintri dodged one Water Gun, only to be hit with another as Buizel flipped upside down.

"Ash, c'mere..." Zoey whispered. "I know you are a trainer, but sometimes it pays to think like a coordinator."

"What do you mean?" Ash asked.

"In a Contest, a coordinator's job is to use their Pokemon's moves in creative ways." Zoey explained. "But this can also help you as a battler--so try using Tintri's moves in creative ways."

"Okay...Tintri, create a thunder tornado!" Ash called.

Dawn watched as Tintri charged a Thunderbolt, then spun in the air to create an electric tornado. "Oh my! That is so cool!"

"The Buizel doesn't have a clue!" Ash gasped in amazement.

"This Buizel is great when dealing with raw power, but it hasn't seen moves used in creative ways." Brock explained. "So Zoey has a point--sometimes it pays to think outside the box in battle."

He let that hang as Tintri dove in the water while using Shockwave. The Buizel countered with Aqua Jet, but both attacks hit at the same time, dazing both Pokemon.

With the Buizel dazed, Ash saw his chance. "Poke Ball, go!"

"One...two...three..." Brock counted the wiggles before the center of the ball dimmed. "You got him, Ash."

"I did it!!!" Ash cried as he held the Poke Ball to the sky. "I caught a Buizel!"

[The only thing I wanna catch is some Z's...] Tintri groaned in exhaustion.


"The Buizel had a whole bunch of other fishing stuff in its little hideout." Zoe explained as the group returned to the lake that evening. "I'll make sure they get back to their rightful owners."

She noticed Tintri heaving in exhaustion. "You may wanna find a Pokemon Center--that took a heroic effort today."

"What about you? What are your plans, Zoey?" Dawn asked.

"I'm gonna stay here for a while, and catch some Pokémon." Zoey replied before addressing Ash. "So? What are we naming our new Buizel?"

"His name will be Tails--after Sonic the Zoroark's sidekick." Ash replied as he admired the Poke Ball holding his new Buizel.

"A very fitting name." Zoey smiled. "I'll see you guys in Hearthome, okay?"

"Bye, Zoey!" Dawn waved back as the group departed. "See you soon!"

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 31: An Elite Meet and Greet

"Okay, everyone...meet Tails!" Ash called as he heaved the Poke Ball containing his Buizel skyward.

[Hi, I'm Tintri!] Tintri smiled.

[I'm Diddy--nice to meet you!] Diddy grinned.

[I'm Gaia--welcome!] Gaia smiled.

[And I'm Estrella--welcome aboard!] Estrella chirped.

[Nice to meet you guys.] Tails grinned. [I look forward to making some waves with you all.]

Ash seemed pleased that Tails and the other Pokemon would get along. "If there's any problem or disagreement, you guys can always come to me, okay?"

[Gotcha.] Tails smiled.

"Hey, Ash, come check this out!" Ash heard Brock call from a TV lounge. Piqued, he hurried over to the lounge near the front desk. Brock and Dawn were on a couch, watching a TV tuned to a tournament.

"Brock happened to find highlights from past Champion Leagues. This guy Lucian, is powerful!" Dawn explained.

She invited Ash to have a seat on the couch. "I've even made popcorn."

"Don't mind if I do." Ash smiled, taking some popcorn as he watched the raging battle on the TV. Onscreen, a dark haired girl was battling a dull blue haired boy in an elegant red suit.

He noticed Tails had followed him to the lounge. "Come on--there's plenty of room." he assured Tails as Tails scrambled onto the couch.

[Wow...] Tails gasped. He watched as a yellow and black giraffe-like Pokemon slammed the girl's Scizor against a boulder. [Who is that guy?] he asked as the giraffe-Pokemon wove around the Scizor's desperate Slashes.

The group watched in awe as the giraffe-Pokemon jumped, making the Scizor's claw get embedded in a rock. It then leaped to the top and fired a Psybeam, knocking the Scizor out. "Whoa..." Even Brock was impressed.

"How do you even begin to face someone that skilled?" Ash wondered.

"Lots of preparation, and faith in your Pokemon." a male voice replied.

Dawn whirled around and gasped to find the same dull blue haired boy approaching them. "No way...it's Lucian!"

"I am humbled and amazed a real Elite Four member would be so kind to join us here." Brock began.

Lucian stifled a giggle as Brock bowed before him. "We do publicity as much as other regions' League members' do. Tell me...what brings you three here?"

"I am Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town, in Kanto." Ash began. "I'm here to challenge the Shinou League."

"I am Dawn Solberg of Twinleaf, and I wish to follow in my mother's footsteps as a Grand Coordinator." Dawn replied.

"I am Brock Harrison of Pewter City, in Kanto." Brock began. "I aim to make my mark on the Fantasy Stage, and jump start a career as a singer and storyteller."

"A pleasure to meet you all." Lucian smiled. "Let's go outside and visit--it is a nice day, after all."

"Good idea!" Dawn led the way outside, unaware that Mars and Jupiter were watching them through the bushes.


"So, how do I get a chance to face you or your fellow Elites in battle?" Ash wondered as the group gathered around a picnic table. "You looked so calm battling that girl!"

"Well, trainers that win a Pokémon League Conference earn the right to enter the Champion League." Lucian explained. "There, they battle the Elite Four and the Pokémon League Champion. "In order, you must face Aaron, the bug tamer. Bertha, the mistress of the ground. Flint, the brave flame. Then me, the Psychic sage. Once you defeat me, you earn the right to face our Champion, Cynthia."

[Wow!] Tails gasped. [I wanna battle you, right now!]

"Tails!" Ash hissed. "Asking someone to battle right away is rude!"

He sighed. "My apologies, Lucian--I just got my Buizel Tails yesterday..."

"No need to apologize--I can sense his energy and resolve." Lucian assured Ash. "I have no qualms about Tails battling me here in a friendly match."

"I'll referee, if you'd like." Brock offered as Dawn found some chalk and started drawing a Poke Ball on a nearby blacktop...


A whistle echoed through the park as Lucian summoned a bell-shaped humanoid Pokemon. "Brund, let's go!"

Ash made a T sign at Brock, then fumbled for his Pokedex to read up on his opponent:

"Bronzong, the bronze bell Pokemon. It can summon rain clouds. People long ago revered it as the bringer of plentiful harvests."

He waited for the whistle blast that signaled his time out had expired. "Okay, start with Water Gun!"

Tails heaved a familiar stream of water. But the Bronzong's body turned silver, nullifying the attack.

That was Iron Defense...let's try something a little stronger. Ash thought. "Tails, use Aqua Jet!"

[Hah!!!!] Tails cried as he sped towards the Bronzong; only to crash into a shining silver barrier. [No go, Ash--this guy's way too strong!]

"Brund, use Gyro Ball!" Lucian called.

Ash gasped when he saw a massive silver ball headed for his Buizel. "Tails, watch out!"

[AUGGGHHH!] Tails cried as the large ball sent him flying into a tree. [Ow...]

"Game Set! This match goes to Pearl." Brock announced as Ash hurried to assess Tails.

"Ash...I'm so sorry..." Lucian began. "I let my excitement get the better of me, and I got carried away. Will you ever forgive me?"

"Sure." Ash replied. "I know you didn't mean to hurt anyone..."

"All I ask is your Buizel gets medical care and rest." Lucian replied.

Dawn gawked in amazement as Lucian left. "Lucian really is the psychic sage...Tails couldn't even make a dent in his Pokemon at all."

"This wasn't Lucian's fault--Tails got in over his head, simple as that." Ash assured Dawn. "Once he recovers, I'll teach him how to handle opponents at his level."


"Okay...your Buizel took quite a beating, but he pulled through." Nurse Joy reported as she returned with Tails on a gurney.

Tails sighed as Dawn and Brock arrived. "Do you think Tails is depressed, Nurse Joy?" she asked. "When we first encountered him, he seemed unbeatable. This was his first real loss."

"It's possible, but depression is much more serious than a bout of low morale." Nurse Joy reminded Dawn. "For now, keep an eye on him. If his sleep patterns, mood, or eating habits change, let me know."

[Tails...you did your best, okay?] Tintri began. [That Bronzong may be too strong for you now, but if you keep training and getting stronger, you can beat him.]

Tails sighed again as Ash rubbed his back. "There's a pool nearby--want to go swimming?" Ash offered.

Tails grunted in reply as Lucian arrived in the room. "Is your Buizel okay?" he asked.

"Physically, yes, but he's taking losing to you hard." Ash explained. "Before, he had never lost to anyone..."

"Defeat is never a pleasant thing, but every Pokemon--even the great ones--have to face it at some point." Lucian explained. "I will agree that it hurts the most when you have never lost before, or came within a narrow margin of loss."

A guitar chord got the group's attention. "Maybe I could inspire Tails with a tale of a hero who bounced back from defeat?" Brock offered.

"What a great idea!" Lucian smiled. "Please, sing your songs, and tell your tales, and we will listen."

Brock played a few uncertain notes as he thought of a suitable story. "Okay...this is called 'The Hero's Sword'. It's a type of hero tale from Johto."

With that, he began. "There was a man who had a son, who lived with him. The man was a hunter, but as the years went by and he grew older, he got weaker and weaker. Eventually he had to tell his son--we'll call him Greg--that soon he would no longer be able to hunt for him. Greg tried to comfort him, and assured him he would recover; but his father said no. If his time to die was close, he had nothing to leave him. What money they had would be enough for his own funeral. Yet he had one thing of value to pass on to his son. It was a sword, and rusty at that, but it would cut down any foe that dared harm its wielder..."


"...The three deceivers were put to death right then. The true hero received Princess Alyssa's hand and the third part of the kingdom." Brock concluded his tale in the park some time later. "He had a long and prosperous reign, and went on many more adventures with the Beasts. But that is another story for another day!"

"Bravo!" Lucian led the applause as Brock took a bow. "You are as skilled as you say!"

Suddenly, a steel cage clamped on top of Tails! [Gah!]

"I knew you'd show up sooner or later, Team Galactic..." Dawn muttered as Mars and Jupiter arrived to take the cage.

"Why do you want Tails?" Ash demanded. "Give him back, now!"

"Wait!" Lucian called. "Maybe a situation like this will allow Tails to renew his fighting spirit."

[Trying to cage me and take to the zoo, are you?] Tails growled. [I am NOT some wild Pokemon to be locked away and gawked at! I have a master that loves me, and friends that care! And you lot will NOT take them away from me!] he vowed as he banged against the cage.

With that, he fired a Sonic Boom at the bars, but it only made the cage swing in the air. "Come on, Tails!" Dawn called in encouragement. "Try it again! Sonic Boom! Sonic Boom! Sonic Boom!"

Say... Ash grinned. After bringing up MyTube on his PokeNav, he typed in something in the search bar. Tails, meanwhile, battered the cage again and again.

Ash then tapped the PLAY button and turned the volume all the way up, blasting a familiar driving pop beat in Tails' direction. If you're strong, you can fly,
You can reach the other side of the rainbow...
some female singers sang as Tails kept attacking.

It's all right, take a chance!
Cause there is no circumstance that you can't handle.
When you use your mind!
the singers continued, spurring Tails to finally break the cage.

He landed by Ash's side some moments later. [Keep blastin' that tune...it's reminded me why I fight.] he purred as Mars and Jupiter ran towards them. [I want to protect this world from people like those ladies!]

"If it's okay, Ash, may I take control of Tails?" Lucian asked as Mars and Jupiter summoned Leona and Noctis. "I have an idea..."

"Sure." Ash replied. "I think the looping version of 'Sonic Boom' from Super Smash Bros. Brawl is helping!"

Lucian shepherded Tails by his side, aware of the Pokemon trying to attack Tails. "Tails, knock both Pokémon back with Water Gun!"

"I can't believe Tails is listening to Lucian!" Dawn gasped as Leona and Noctis went flying back with a wave of water.

"This should amplify Ash's musical motivation!" Brock smiled as he plugged in two wireless speakers, making the song even louder.

Tails launched his own Sonic Boom, knocking out Leona as the singers sang Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom (Trouble keeps you running faster).

He then slammed into Noctis with Aqua Jet as the song continued Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom, Sonic Boom (Save the planet from disaster).

Lucian watched as the admins fled. "Well done. Remember that Tails has a unique battle style. If you can adapt to it, you two will be unstoppable."

"Point noted." Ash smiled as he stopped the music.


"You did great, Tails." Ash smiled as he petted his Buizel.

[That tune reminded me that I want to be a hero.] Tails explained. [It's like you were telling me one loss is not the end of the world.]

"Well, we did make a great team." Lucian smiled. "I have faith that you two will continue to grow ever stronger in your quest."

"I look forward to facing you for real!" Ash smiled. "Not just with Tails, but my whole team!"

"And you will, with a spirit and resolve like that." Lucian replied. He waved goodbye as the group set off towards the setting sun...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 32: A Secret Sphere of Influence

"Welcome to Eterna City--the town that ties the past to the present." Brock smiled as he made a grand gesture to the city.

"Wow..." Ash was impressed. "So, what is there to do here? Besides the Gym, of course."

"Well, there's a name rater that lives here..." Dawn began. "She has her own segment on 'Shinou News Now'. She'll pick a postcard from a random person, go into a little history and origins about the Pokemon's name, and then rate it. It's quite interesting, and very well researched."

"How do you think she would rate Kori?" Brock asked as the group arrived on the city's main street.

"I'm not sure..." Dawn replied. "Maybe I should send in a postcard to her and find out!"

"Does she rate names from outside of Shinou?" Ash asked.

"Yes! She has rated names from elsewhere." Dawn smiled. "Usually as part of International Week or if the featured topic is from elsewhere."

She then pointed out a bike shop on the left end of the street. "That's Rad Rickshaw's Cycle Shop. I got my bike from there."

"Best not to go in there with Tintri." Brock grinned.

"Yeah..." Ash giggled before telling Dawn "Whatever you do, never leave a bike unattended around an Electric type. Trust me."

"I'll watch Stormy like a Braviary around my bike, then." Dawn smiled back.

As the group approached another corner leading into the historic district, a ringing got Dawn's attention. "The museum's security alarm!"

"Looks like the cops are already there." Brock noticed as several police cars sped down the street to join the officers already at the scene.

Ash located Officer Jenny and a small purple skunk Pokemon putting up police tape around the museum entrance. "What happened here, Officer?"

"One of the museum's prized artifacts, the Adamant Orb has been stolen." Jenny explained. "I'll give you three guesses about the prime suspects, and the first two don't count."

Dawn spotted Mars and Jupiter running for the street. "Team Galactic!"

"After them!" Brock called as the group ran as fast as they could to catch up with the fleeing admins.

"Noctis, use Haze!" Dawn heard Jupiter say before the group was lost in a grayish mist.

Ash coughed a little as the haze cleared. "That's one way to give us the slip..."


"Is everyone okay?" Gardenia asked as she met the group in the square overlooking the museum. "I heard all these sirens this morning, and then saw the news report of the robbery..."

Kage noticed Brock had a dreamy smile on his face. [Don't even think about singin', coach.] he warned. [Save the singin' for after we catch the crooks.]

"Do we know anything about how Team Galactic took the orb?" Dawn asked.

"According to the cops I talked to, the crooks used a Grass type to steal the orb." Gardenia replied. "That's why they're questioning every Grass type owner that was in the area at the time."

"That explains why Nando is here..." Brock mused as the group approached a sidewalk. Officer Jenny was nearby, taking a statement from Nando.

"I fully maintain my innocence." Nando replied to Jenny's question. "I came to the museum simply to study the history of the Shinou region; and nothing more."

"I can vouch for this young man--he gave me a wonderful match at the Gym this morning." Gardenia agreed. "Doesn't look like the thieving type at all."

"All right, but that still doesn't explain this photo of a Sunflora stealing the orb." Jenny mused as she showed the group the picture in question.

"It is true I had my Sunflora, Soleil, with me. She was looking at one of the nature exhibits when you arrived to question me." Nando explained.

Jenny thought for a moment. "One of the cornerstones of the justice system is 'innocent until proven guilty'". she explained to Nando. You seem to be a man of fine character, but I still have some unanswered questions about this photo. Would you be willing to talk more at the station?"

"I will gladly answer any question you have." Nando replied.


Ash smiled as a familiar Jenny with an Earth Badge pin on her hat arrived in one of the conference rooms at the police station. "Hi! I didn't know Kanto was pitching in with this investigation."

"It's great to see you too, Ash." Earth Jenny replied. "My sister asked for help with this morning's robbery, so I decided to use my day off to help out."

She then addressed Forest Jenny. "We could start by questioning every trainer with Sunflora..."

"That would spread the force out too thin." Forest Jenny explained. "There's likely hundreds, if not thousands of people with Sunflora here. With something so powerful as the Adamant Orb stolen, time is of the essence."

She addressed the group. "Here is what we know so far...as soon as we got the report of the robbery, we surrounded the museum. Assuming Galactic Admins Mars and Jupiter were the perps, there wasn't a way for them to get out with police everywhere. So they decided to fight their way out."

"That was where we came in." Ash added.

"If you don't mind my asking, why is the Adamant Orb so valuable?" Brock wondered.

"The orb Is somehow linked with the Legendary dragons, Dialga and Palkia." Gardenia replied. "That's why we need to find it, and fast!"

"It's also why we need to prove Mars and Jupiter did it, and tried to frame Nando." Ash agreed.

He looked over at Forest Jenny. "If it would help the investigation, we'd like to search the museum ourselves for the perps or evidence."

"I'll let the force know you're coming, and to let you guys inside." Forest Jenny replied. "The more we question your friend here, the more we realize his alibi is airtight. So we need that crucial evidence that he is innocent."

She gave the group some radios. "If you need to report to me, my codename is Forest Angel."

"PokeMaster01, standing by." Ash replied.

"SunrisePearl standing by." Dawn replied as she flipped on her radio.

"PewterSong, standing by." Brock replied. "Let's go."


"Okay, everyone..." Ash began as he addressed his team in the museum foyer. "If you see anything interesting or suspicious, call me."

[PokeMaster01--got it!] Tails smiled before leading Tintri, Esrella, and Diddy into the art wing.

"You guys can start in the nature wing." Dawn addressed her team. "If you see something, call me. My codename is SunrisePearl."

[Leave it to us!] Kori smiled as she lead Stormy and Lola down another hall towards the nature wing.

"I have my team investigating the history wing." Brock replied. "Kage's leading Terra and Hinata."

"Now all we have to do is wait on our teams to report." Ash smiled.


[The easiest way to prove Nando is innocent would be to find his Sunflora.] Tails mused as he admired a painting.

Diddy spotted a gold flower-like Pokemon near a statue. [There she is!]

Neither Pokemon expected the Sunflora to fire a volley of glowing green seeds. The force of the attack sent them tumbling to the ground in pain. [ShockingYellow64 calling PokeMaster01--Li'l Kong and Sonic Twintail are down, over!] Tintri reported over the radio.

He noticed the Sunflora ducking into the air vent. [Goldieflower is headed for the air vent!]

"Stay put, ShockingYellow--I'm on my way." Ash's voice crackled back. Tintri nodded.

As Ash and the others arrived to tend to Tails and Diddy, they did not see Mars and Jupiter hiding on the ceiling. "Okay, we're clear." Mars reported before elegantly jumping to the ground.

"Hat-boy and pals are busy tendng to their Pokemon, so let's go back to the room and plan our next steps there." Jupiter agreed as she saw Ash tell Tintri something.

Once sure no one was watching or following them, the admins disappeared into the vent.


[Ah ha!] Kori cried as she and Tintri spotted a Sunflora wandering the nature wing.

[Are you Soleil?] Tintri asked.

[That's me--is my master okay?] the Sunflora asked. [He ran outside when the alarm went off, but he has yet to return.]

[He's helping the police figure out who caused all the chaos] Kori explained. [Did you see who took the Adamant Orb?]

[I did...] Soleil explained. [I saw two suspicious women set down an automaton that looked like a Sunflora. It then walked off towards the rarities wing.]

[Were they wearing Team Galactic garb?] Tintri asked.

Soleil nodded. [One had short red hair, and the other had purple hair in a high bun.]

[Could that Sunflora in Officer Jenny's picture have been a robot?] Kori wondered.

Tintri spotted what appeared to be a Sunflora walking towards them, and fumbled for his radio. [ShockingYellow64 calling PokeMaster01, we have a breakthrough in the case! The Sunflora Officer Jenny saw was really a robot, over.]

[The admins are here in this area!] Kori added.

"Copy that, Rainguin--we're coming." Ash's voice replied.


"So, where did you see Mars and Jupiter?" Ash asked as the group meat Tintri, Kori, and Soleil in the nature wing.

[I see them...right here!] Soleil growled as she Cut the two cloaks Mars and Jupiter had been using to disguise themselves.

"I knew you guys were the real perps all along!" Ash growled.

"Yeah, we confess, we did it." Jupiter sighed. "But we were ordered to steal the Adamant Orb by someone.

"Give back the orb--NOW!" Dawn demanded as the group's Pokemon surrounded Mars and Jupiter.

"Venom, spray the perps!" Brock heard a voice call.

"Officer Jenny!" Ash smiled before pulling up his shirt to block the sickening smell.

Gardenia gasped as Jupiter dropped the orb. "Peony, protect the Adamant Orb!"

"That was close..." Dawn wheezed as Gardenia's Turtwig created a bed of leaves for the orb to land on.

"Yeah, but it seems our perps have escaped..." Brock noticed Mars and Jupiter were gone.

"Your friend's story checked out, so there was no way he would've been involved." Forest Jenny agreed. "At least the Adamant Orb is safe."


"I'm glad the Adamant Orb was found safe. " Nando smiled as the group met in the police station parking lot that evening.

"You were actually a big help to the investigation." Forest Jenny smiled. We were only doing our due diligence when we asked you to come.

"Nando...while we were in the museum, I saw these interesting dragon Pokemon statues in the art wing." Ash began. "Are they the creation trio that local lore talks about?"

Nando retrieved his harp, and started a mysterious melody. "They say that in the beginning was Arceus, the Original One. He helped shape the world by creating Dialga to rule over time, and Palkia to rule over space. This done, he created three other Pokémon to act as the world's spirit. Azelf gave the world the gift of will. Mesprit gave the world the gift of emotion. Uxie gave the world the gift of knowledge. From their gifts came all that is good and pure."

He smiled as he concluded his song. "Of course, this is but one version of the tale. There are many more across Shinou and elsewhere."

"Here's another question for you..." Earth Jenny mused. "Who told the admins to steal the Adamant Orb?"

"Team Rocket!" Ash suggested.

"It's not impossible, as they do like rare and valuable things." Earth Jenny replied. "But I have heard no chatter from them since they were defeated in Johto."

"What about J?" Dawn suggested. "She could have her sights on Dialga, Palkia, or even Arceus!"

"The most likely suspect is the head of Team Galactic, but we don't know for sure who is responsible." Forest Jenny sighed. "But whoever they are, we won't rest until they are brought to justice."

Brock sighed. "We'll know the answer to this mystery soon enough."

To Be Continued...
Last edited:


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 33: The Grass Menagerie

"You're here...good." Gardenia smiled as the group arrived in a large spacious arena that resembled a forest. "Here's how this will work--three Pokemon a side, single match. Is that okay?"

"Fine by me." Ash replied as he hurried to the Diamond side of the arena.

He nudged Tintri. "You're not mad for sitting this match out?"

[Not at all.] Tintri smiled. [I wouldn't be able to do much against Grass-types anyway.]

With that, he hurried to join Dawn and Brock in the stands. [Good luck!]


"Sakura, let's go!" Gardenia heaved a Poke Ball into the arena.

"Diddy, I choose you!" Ash heaved a Poke Ball skyward, revealing the Chimchar on the Diamond side of the arena. "Start with an Ember!"

He grimaced as the Cherubi twirled away from the small fireball. "Okay, let's heat things up with a Flame Wheel!"

Brock watched as Sakura flew over the large flaming wheel and landed behind Diddy. "Wait a minute...Sakura's going so fast because of her ability."

"Oh?" Dawn asked.

"Cherubi has the ability Chlorophyll, which relies on sunlight to double speed." Brock explained.

[Whoa!] Diddy gasped as Sakura fired a Solar Beam, jumping away from the massive yellow beam.

"Focus, Diddy! Try Flame Wheel again if you can!" Ash called.

He gasped as the Cherubi fired another Solar Beam, hitting Diddy and knocking him down. "H-how?"

"You forget that Solar Beam needs no time to charge in sunshine." Gardenia reminded Ash. Combined with the double speed, Sakura can get off two attacks in one turn."

Ash shuddered as the Cherubi created a wave of shining leaves. I'm not leaving Diddy to be a sitting Psyduck! he thought as he called his Chimchar back.

"Good call. Luckily for you, Sakura's Solar Beam only clipped Diddy." Gardenia assured Ash. "Remember that sometimes the better part of valor is discretion."

"Point taken." Ash replied before finding his next Poke Ball. "Estrella, let's take flight!"

"Eh-streh-yah!" Brock corrected Ash, making Gardenia giggle as the Staravia materialized in the arena.

Ash watched Gardenia's Cherubi launch another Solar Beam. "Watch out, Estrella! Get close and use Wing Attack!"

He growled in frustration as the Cherubi leaped away from the oncoming bird Pokemon. It fired a Solar Beam, trying as best it could to hit the black and white bird. But the shining ball fizzled out as clouds obscured the sun. Thank you, Arceus! Ash grinned.

He noticed Gardenia's Cherubi conjuring another Magical Leaf. "Estrella, take flight!"

Both competitors and the audience watched in awe as Estrella raced straight up, away from the Magical Leaf. She waited for a moment for the sun to return, watching it force the Cherubi to shield its eyes.

She folded her wings and raced back to earth, striking the Cherubi with Aerial Ace to knock it out.


"Sakura, come back." Gardenia commanded as she recalled the fainted Cherubi. "I will commend you for turning Sakura's strength to your advantage. Thinking outside the box will take you far."

"Thanks." Ash smiled. "Who's next?"

"Peony, I choose you!" Gardenia next summoned her Turtwig.

Estrella let out a disgusted squawk as the small turtle-like Pokemon appeared. [I have a bone to pick with Sprout-turtle there...]

"If you have a score to settle, this is your chance." Ash told Estrella. "See if you can get in a hit on Peony."

[HAAAAAHHH!!!] Estrella screeched as she streaked at Peony. But Peony jumped away, forcing Estrella to loop back around.

"Circle around and try to use Wing Attack again!" Ash called.

Gardenia grimaced as she watched Peony leap back to avoid Estrella. Estrella would then loop around and dive at Peony again. What's Ash doing? Why is he not changing tactics?

Ash, meanwhile, grinned as Peony ended up getting wedged into a tree. There was a method to my madness. If your Turtwig dodged enough times, it would get stuck in the tree, leaving her vulnerable!

He smiled as Estrella slammed into the Turtwig. "Game over, Peony."

"Not so fast!" Gardenia countered. She watched Peony fire a volley of glowing green seeds, draining Estrella's strength.

[Ash...I'm...sorry...] Estrella wheezed before fainting due to the Leech Seed.

"It's okay...you did your best." Ash assured the Staravia before recalling it. "Diddy, welcome back!"

[HAH!] Diddy leaped to scratch Peony, only to be smothered in leaves.

As the Leaf Storm swirled around him, he noticed a tree near the arena's edge. [Leaf-turtle can't get me there!]

He scrambled up to one of the middle branches as the Leaf Storm slammed onto the safety barrier. [Missed me!]

[Oh yeah?] Peony countered before firing more Leech Seeds up into the tree, seeding Diddy.

Ash made a T signal to the referee, then motioned for Diddy to come down and receive a Potion. "You okay?"

[I did NOT expect Leaf-turtle there to shoot Leech Seeds up here.] Diddy grumbled.

"You've almost got Peony, so hang in there for a little longer." Ash assured Diddy as his time out expired. "Now, go get her!"

"Peony, use Leaf Storm!" Gardenia called.

Diddy leaped away from the swirling leaves and into the sun; slamming down on top of Peony with a massive THUD. "Peony is STILL standing after such a massive attack?" Dawn gasped as both the Chimchar and Turtwig charged at each other.

Gardenia watched as both Pokemon collapsed in exhaustion just before impact. "Well done." she smiled as she recalled Peony. "I have to commend your courage and your love with each of your Pokemon."

"That's how I got this." Ash smiled, showing Gardenia his Mega Ring. "Be glad I don't have any Pokemon I can Mega Evolve yet!"

"Mega Evolution or not, your final opponent is a Pokemon of mine you've never met before. But you will eventually receive one." Gardenia replied before heaving another Poke Ball skyward. "Tsubaki, here we go!"

"A Roserade?" Dawn recognized the flower-being Pokemon Gardenia had summoned. "Ash's two advantaged Pokemon are down, and Tintri won't help."

Brock smiled as Ash summoned Tails, Tails emerging with a heroic backflip. "Ash may stand a chance with Tails, as the Buizel family has some Ice attacks open to them. But using Tails is also a double-edged sword, as he does have a type disadvantage."

"I will admit that Tails does know how to put on a show when he appears." Dawn smiled. "If he ever wants to try out a contest, I can do that!"


"Tails, try Double Team!" Ash called.

He balked as Gardenia's Roserade heaved a giant vine, destroying all the duplicates! "Look out!"

[Relax, I've got this.] Tails assured Ash. With that, he leaped over the massive knot and fired an Ice Beam.

The Roserade heaved a flurry of Magical Leaves, but Tails wove through all the shining leaves. "Tsubaki, blind the Buizel with Flash!" Gardenia called.

Even Ash shielded his eyes. "Tails, try another Ice Beam if you can!"

[No go--I can't see a thing!] Tails called back as he groped about the arena.

"Tails, listen up." Ash began. "While we wait for your eyes to recover, you can rely on your other senses to sense what's happening."

Tails nodded. [Okay...I'm hearing a humming, crackling noise...]

"That's Weather Ball!" Ash gasped when he saw the Roserade charging a flaming ball. "Try using Ice Beam as a shield!"

He grinned as Tails created an icy shield, blasting the Roserade by its own Weather Ball. "Eyes doing okay?"

[Yeah...things are coming back into view...] Tails reported as he rubbed his eyes.

He noticed a wave of familiar shining leaves, and counter with a Swift attack. The shining stars managed to surround the Roserade. [I think it's time to chill!] Tail taunted as he fired an Ice Beam.

"That was so cool, if you'll forgive the pun." Dawn raved. "It would look great as an appeal."

"I'll say." Brock smiled.

Tails fired another Ice Beam, slamming the Roserade into a tree. "Pearl is unable to battle." the ref announced. "The winner is Diamond."

Ash ran to hug Tails. "You did it! Even though we had the disadvantage, you managed to come through for me."

[Aw, it was nothin'.] Tails smiled.


"Ash...in recognition of your creative tactics, and your courageous heart; I award you the Forest Badge ." Gardenia smiled as she offered Ash a green badge that resembled a group of trees.

"Thank you." Ash smiled as he accepted the badge, admiring its yellowish glow in the fading sun.

"Go on, show the world what you did." Gardenia smiled. "Shout it from the treetops!"

Ash smiled, and held the Badge high as his friends and Pokemon surrounded him. "I got a Forest Badge!"

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 34: Chu Times Two

"Woo-hoo!" Ash's excited cry rang through the air as he led Dawn and Brock down a bike trail. "This is just like the Cycling Road at home!"

"I know, right?" Brock called back.

[Whee!] Tintri squeaked as Ash weaved around a corner, enthralled by the trees and forest racing by.

[This is fun!] Kori agreed as the group broke single file formation long enough to discuss their next move.

"Doing okay, Hinata?" Brock asked the Vulpix peeking out of the basket on his bike.

[Very much.] Hinata smiled as she stretched, then fanned out her six tails. [This Cycling Road is more a scenic trail than the long drop at home.]

Brock smiled in agreement, then retrieved his guidebook. "Okay...now that Ash has the Forest Badge, Dawn can compete in her next Contest. As Zoey told us before, that's in Hearthome City."

"You think Cycling Road goes all the way there?" Ash asked. "The views here are awesome!"

"Actually, this Cycling Road ends at the town before Hearthome, so we can't ride all the way there." Brock replied.

"Besides, these bikes are rental bikes anyway." Dawn added as she took a moment to readjust the metallic blue bike helmet she was wearing.

A rumble in the distance got her attention. "That sounded like thunder..."

"Is it okay if I can lead for a while?" Brock asked. "There should be a Pokémon Center up ahead, so let's get back in single file and be on our way before a storm hits."

"Lead the way, Brock." Ash smiled as the group set off again.


"There it is..." Brock pointed out a familiar red roofed building by the trail.

Ash noticed that the lights in the building were off. "You sure this Pokemon Center is open?" he asked as he chained his bike to a bike rack.

"I'm sure." Brock replied. "It's very rare for one to close down, and rarer still if it happens without notice."

"Okay..." Ash replied as the group made their way up the path.

As the door whirred open, Ash called "Hello, anyone here?" into the lobby, wincing at all the boxes, paper, trash, and other junk cluttering the floor.

[You'd think they'd do a better job keeping clean...] Tintri agreed.

Ash spotted a Chansey arriving with a bucket and mop. "Hey..do you know where Nurse Joy is?"

The Chansey sighed. [She's outside, in the yard. But good luck getting through to her...]

"That's odd, normally Nurse Joy is a happy and pleasant person to be around..." Dawn mused as she led the way out a back door into a yard. Nurse Joy was sitting against a tree, sighing as she looked out on the trail and the ominous clouds.

"Is everything okay?" Dawn asked as the group approached. "I'm Dawn, and these two are my companions, Ash and Brock."

Nurse Joy sighed again. "I hope you'll forgive the state of the Pokemon Center. Ever since the Cycling Road opened, people zoom right past it. I've wondered if I should even keep it open at all..."

"So, no one ever wants to stop here because they're too excited to see the entire Cycling Road in one trip?" Brock asked to make sure he heard Nurse Joy correctly.

Nurse Joy nodded to confirm Brock's suspicions, tears shining in her eyes. "I've worked so hard to build this Pokémon Center, but why do I continue maintaining a place no one ever stops at? All my hard work's been forgotten. Maybe this place is better off forgotten...forgotten by the whole world."

"That's not true." Brock assured Nurse Joy as he started off towards his guitar case. "Maybe a song will cheer you up?"

Ash noticed that a mysterious blob was moving around in Brock's bag. "Is there something in there that should be moving?"

Piqued, Brock found the pocket the bulge was located in and unzipped it. He balked when a Pichu wearing an elegant red hat with a white plume and matching red cape emerged. [Hi!]

"Tarina?" Brock gasped when he recognized the Pichu. "How did you get here?"

[Simple--you left that pocket open, so I climbed inside.] Tarina replied.

Brock weighed the pros and the cons of punishing Tarina. On the one hand, I was expecting her to stay home. But I did leave that pocket open for her to climb inside, so I share some of the blame too...

A smile formed on his face. Since he had left the pocket open to begin with, Tarina's journey wasn't worth punishing. "Okay...you can come with us, but the next journey I go on, you can come if you ask first, okay?"

[Yay!] Tarina cheered as she hurried to hug Tintri.

Dawn, meanwhile, read up on the tiny mouse Pokemon as she watched Tarina and Tintri embrace:

"Pichu, the tiny mouse Pokemon. Despite its small size, it can zap even adult humans. However, if it does so, it also surprises itself."

"Thankfully, Tarina's getting better at holding her power, thanks to training and effort." Brock grinned.

Dawn felt a wet spot on her arm as more thunder rumbled. "We need to get inside, it's starting to rain."

"Let's go inside, Tarina--then we'll look you over and clean you up." Brock assured Tarina as Ash led the way inside.


"Okay, Tarina...let's get you a bath. You probably have gunk all over you from being in Brock's bag for so long." Ash smiled at the Pichu patiently sitting on the exam table.

He looked through the cabinets in the exam room for something to use as a Pichu sized tub. "This okay?" he asked, showing Brock a large bowl.

"That works fine." Brock replied. "Next we need some warm water and plenty of clean towels."

"Ow!" Ash yelped as Dawn arrived with some towels. "I need to cool that down a bit." he admitted as he added some cold water. "Brock would never forgive me if I burned Tarina."

Nurse Joy, meanwhile, examined Tarina's ears to finish a general exam. "Okay...both of them are clean and healthy."

She reported to Brock. "Whatever you do to care for Tarina, keep doing it. Her vitals are great, energy levels are perfect, and she's none the worse for wear."

"Your bath's ready, Tarina!" Dawn called.

[Coming!] After hanging up her cloak and hat on the hooks by the exam table, Tarina jumped in the tub with a splish.

"Come here, sweetie..." Brock coaxed as Tarina paddled up to him.

[Who's the girl with you guys?] Tarina asked.

"That is Dawn--she is a coordinator like May." Brock replied as he started lathering soap in Tarina's fur.

Inspired, Dawn heaved all her Poke Balls skyward. "You guys, I have someone for you to meet!"

"And you guys!" Ash also heaved his other Poke Balls skyward.

Brock noticed the crowd of Pokemon in the room. "Most of my team you know already, but I have a newcomer too."

He then heaved a Poke Ball skyward. "Kage, I have someone for you to meet!"

[You called?] Kage asked as he materialized near the tub. [Who's this?]

"This is Tarina--I adopted her after a gig back at home." Brock told Kage as he lathered Tarina's fur a little more.

[You always did have a heart for the little ones, coach.] Kage smiled as Brock rinsed Tarina off.

[Why does Kage call you 'coach'?] Tarina wondered.

"He knows very well he is a part of a team, and the leader of a team is called a coach." Brock replied.

He looked out at the crowd of Pokemon before the tub as Tarina shook off the excess water from her fur. "Why don't you guys introduce yourselves?" he told Dawn's Pokemon.

[Hi, I'm Kori!] Kori chirped.

[My name's Lola.] Lola smiled. [Nice to meet you!]

[I'm Stormy!] Stormy chittered.

[Kori...Lola...Stormy....and Dawn.] Tarina mused. [Did I get everyone right?]

"You did." Dawn replied.

Tarina giggled a little as Brock scritched her left ear. "Now it's time to meet the newcomers on Ash's team."

[I'm Estrella.] Estrella began.

[My name's Gaia.] Gaia smiled.

[Hey there! I'm Diddy!] Diddy grinned.

[I'm Tails--pleased to meet ya, little girl.] Tails smiled.

"And you know me and Tintri." Ash smiled as Tarina hopped out of the tub.

[Gaia...Tails...Diddy...Estre-yah?] Tarina asked. She looked up to Brock to make sure she had pronounced Estrella correctly.

"That's right." Brock replied as he dried Tarina off. "Two L's are pronounced like a Y in Spanish, remember?"

"Something Ash tends to forget." Dawn smiled.

Ash took Dawn's comment in stride. "You got everyone--and of course, you know me and Tintri!"

"Here you go..." Brock gave Tarina her hat and cloak, then addressed Nurse Joy. "Because of you, Tarina was found safe."

Nurse Joy blushed a little. "Oh no, I should be thanking you..."

[It's lunchtime--I'm sure our guests are hungry.] the Chansey smiled as she rubbed Nurse Joy's back.

[Yay! I'm starved!] Tarina led the way down the hall to the dining area.

"You don't have to worry about Tarina--she has no known food allergies, and is very open to trying new things." Brock assured Nurse Joy.


"Here we are--what I like to call the Kindergartener's Charcuterie." Brock smiled as he set a plate before Tarina. "It's ham, turkey, and roast beef slices, some cheese cubes, and some Berries. Tarina prefers to call it the 'everything plate'."

"So far, I've got two Badges, Dawn has a ribbon, and Brock earned a jewel in the Fantasy Stage." Ash explained. "They're not real jewels--just plastic trinkets."

[What's a Fantasy Stage?] Tarina asked as she bit into a Leppa Berry.

"A Fantasy Stage is a competition for musicians and storytellers, only you also get to dress up." Dawn explained.

"Yeah--all the competitors wear beautiful minstrel costumes, in keeping with the 'fantasy' part." Brock explained. "I'll show you my costume later."

"Speaking of costumes..." Nurse Joy smiled as she delivered plates of meatloaf to the others. "Tarina resembles a red mage from 'Final Fantasy' in her hat and cloak."

"Well, Tarina sees herself as a hero, so not long after I adopted her, I bought her those at a summer festival." Brock explained. "She apparently had had a hat and cloak like it, but they had been lost somewhere. She almost never takes them off, except for bath time and bedtime."

"She looks very much like a hero." Dawn smiled before offering Tarina a bite of her meatloaf.

[Mm...] Tarina smiled before returning to her half finished "everything plate".

She looked outside to see that the skies had cleared. [The rain stopped! Can we go play outside?]

"We'll go play after we finish lunch, okay?" Brock assured Tarina between bites of his own food.


[So, what kinds of games do you like, Tarina?] Tails asked as the group's Pokemon huddled outside some time later.

[I do like a good game of hide and seek...] Tarina replied. [That okay with everyone?]

[YEAH!!!] the other Pokemon cheered.

[What's the highest number you can count to?] Gaia asked.

[A hundred should be plenty of time for everyone to hide, but I can go higher, if you like.] Tarina replied.

[A hundred's fine by me.] Kage grinned. Diddy nodded in agreement.

All the Pokemon scrambled to find a hiding place as Tarina started counting. [One...two...three...]


[...ninety-seven...ninety-eight...ninety-nine...a hundred! Ready or not, here I come!] tarina's tiny voice rang across the yard some time later.

She grinned when she saw Tintri's tail peeking from a bush. [Ah-ha!]

[Okay, you found me.] Tintri smiled as he emerged from the bush.

Tarina next spotted Kori in a flower pot. [Found you!]

[You're good at this.] Kori giggled.

Neither Tintri or Kori expected a mechanical arm to grab Tarina! [What in the...?] Kori gasped.

Ash hurried into the yard and gasped when he found Mars and Jupiter looking back at him from a hovercraft. "Where is Tarina?" he demanded.

"Oh, this little red mage rat?" Mars smirked as she held Tarina up for Ash to see, Tarina wailing in fear all the while.

"We plan to use her energy to bring about Team Galactic's new world, thank you." Jupiter explained.

Ash growled as the other Pokemon emerged from their hiding places. "Tintri, use Thunderbolt!"

"Noctis, use Poison Sting!" Jupiter called, sending both the humans and the Pokemon scrambling for cover from the poisonous barbs as they flew away...


"...I told Tintri to use Thunderbolt, but Jupiter told Noctis to use Poison Sting. That bought them time to get away." Ash finished explaining what had happened to Brock some time later.

He whistled for Estrella. "Estrella, think you can find Tarina?"

[The admins went to the north, so I'll start there.] Estrella replied as she soared away.

Nurse Joy burst into tears. "I am so sorry your little one was taken from you! This is all my fault...admit it, I'm a failure, aren't I?" she asked Brock between sobs.

"No, you're not." Brock replied as he watched several wounded and sick Pokemon emerge from the brush. "Even if no one ever comes here, the forest Pokémon need you too. You play an important role in making sure they survive."

A weak smile formed on Nurse Joy's face. "You're right. I could ask any of the Pokemon rescues in the area if I could help provide medical care free of charge."

"That's the spirit!" Brock smiled as he administered an Antidote to a sick Bidoof. "All Pokémon need you to take care of them."

"Really?" Nurse Joy smiled. "You're right--I've been so hung up on the lack of human traffic, I forgot that my main service is to the Pokemon."

She hugged Brock. "Thanks you...for helping me rediscover why I became a nurse to start with."

Brock was about to answer when he spotted Estrella. "Where's Tarina?" he asked.

[Follow me--their hideout's to the northwest, in the forest!] Estrella called.

"I'm coming, Tarina!" Brock called as the group hurried after Estrella.


"Come on, give Auntie Jupiter a smile!" Jupiter pleaded as the admins struggled through the brush with Tarina.

Her look of feigned happiness turned to anger as Tarina stuck out her tongue at her. "Ooh...didn't your master teach you to respect your elders?" she snapped as she found a rock. "I oughta--!"

"Jupiter!" Mars pleaded. "We may be crooks, but even crooks have to have standards. "What would Lord Cyrus say if he found out we had hurt an innocent Pokemon? Red mage rat is only bait for Hat-boy and pals..."

Tarina snapped to attention when she saw Ash and the others burst into the clearing. [I knew you guys would come save me!]

"Your're not getting away with a Pichu found in my Pokémon Center!" Nurse Joy demanded. "Give her back to her rightful owner! NOW!"

Jupiter sneered, and summoned Noctis. "Noctis, use Fury Swipes!"

"Chiyu, use Egg Bomb!" Nurse Joy commanded her Chansey.

Mars winced at the exploding eggs that sent Noctis flying backwards. "Leona, Bite the little rat!" she commanded as she summoned Leona.

"Be brave, Tarina!" Brock called, aware of the Purugly running for Tarina. "Here's your chance to be the hero you've always wanted to be!"

Tarina nodded, took a deep breath, and sang Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo.... The attack knocked Leona to the ground with a flurry of leaves and green sound waves.

"A different Disarming Voice!" Dawn mused as Noctis charged at Tarina, his claws glowing with dark energy.

"Since Tarina belongs to Brock, his Heart Song is her Disarming Voice." Ash explained as Tarina used Iron Tail to batter Leona even more.

Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo... Tarina sang again. Noctis went stumbling back from more leaves and soundwaves.

"Noctis, try Venoshock!" Jupiter called. "Let's finish this!"

[Not today, Space-meanie!] Tarina grinned. With that, she charged a huge yellow beam, sending the admins and their Pokemon flying.

Brock arrived soon afterwards. "Nicely done, Tarina. You're not hurt or tired, are you?"

[Nope!] Tarina smiled. [I could've gone a few more rounds if I wanted to.]

"I'm impressed. How is Tarina so powerful for a Pokemon her size?" Dawn asked as Brock and Tarina embraced.

"Great things sometimes come in small packages." Brock replied as Tarina climbed onto his shoulder. "And Tarina's quite the package."

He smiled when he saw Tarina had climbed on his shoulder, as if mimicking Tintri. "Okay, you can ride on my shoulder too."

[I'm so ready to see what this place has to offer!] Tarina smiled.

"Let's go back to the Pokemon Center and rest first--it's getting late." Dawn assured Tarina, pointing out the setting sun as the group returned to the Pokemon Center.


"Windows are done!" Dawn reported as she and the Chansey cleaned up the foyer and the windows the next morning.

"I could use a little more soap over here." Brock requested from the other end of the room. "I'm letting Tarina wash the very bottom, since she can reach it."

"Floor's done!" Ash smiled as Nurse Joy arrived in the now clean foyer. He wrung out the mop one last time, then went to dispose of his used water.

"The good news is, the Pokémon you guys left with me are feeling much better." Nurse Joy reported. "There are a few that need another day of care, but most of them are ready to return to the wild."

"Remember, even if there aren't many people coming, someone still needs a Pokémon Center to go to." Brock reminded Nurse Joy as he watched Tarina scrub a smudge on the last window.

"Thank you..." Nurse Joy smiled. "You've all been a big help, but you also helped me remember that my skill is needed somewhere."

"Anytime." Ash replied as he inspected Tarina's work. "We'll drop by any time we are in the area."

Tarina whispered something to Brock, making him smile. "Okay...I think a sing-along is a great reward for a job well done."

Once Brock had settled in and tuned up, the others gathered around as he started a hopeful melody. I'll walk in the rain by your side...
I'll cling to the warmth of your hand...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 35: Top Down Training

Brund uses Flash Cannon...but Shenlong blocks it! a familiar TV announcer reported. Onscreen, a purple dragon Pokemon blocked a bright flash from Lucian's Bronzong.

"Whoa!" Ash gasped as the purple dragon Pokemon flew skyward, its body surrounded by spiraling orange streaks. At the peak of its flight, a purple energy sphere surrounded the dragon Pokemon's body. It next streaked down to slam into the Bronzong. "What was that?"

"That was Giga Impact--it was what that Aerodactyl Mars and Jupiter released used." Brock explained. "One of the more powerful Normal moves."

"That Pokemon's owner...is that the famous Cynthia Lucian told us about?" Ash asked as the TV displayed a blonde haired girl shaking hands with Lucian.

"That's her. If you wanna meet her, I've been hearing rumors that she is in someplace called Amity Square." Dawn replied.

"Speaking of which...Tarina doing okay after we found her in your bag?" Ash asked.

"Yeah--spent the rest of the way to Hearthome on my shoulder gawking at the scenery." Brock smiled.

He looked over to see Tarina dozing on the couch's left arm. "But she's likely tired from the trip, so I'll let her nap for the time being."

"The battle's over, so you can switch it to something else." Dawn offered. "The Cartoon Channel is on channel 46, in case Tarina wakes up and wants to watch something."

After setting the TV to the channel, Brock nudged the dozing Pichu on the couch. "Hey...we're going to explore the city for a while. If you need anything, ask Nurse Joy or any of the Chanseys, okay?

[Okay...] Tarina replied with a yawn as Ash led the others outside.


"So this is Amity Square..." Dawn mused as the group arrived at the gate of a large park-like area some time later. "It's beautiful..."

The attendant smiled when she saw Tintri and Kori. "Go on in...this is a fun and safe environment for all Pokemon to play together."

"Thanks." Ash replied before noticing a huge crowd near the center of the park. "I guess those rumors of Cynthia being here are true..."

He then spotted Paul in the crowd. "Hey, over here!" he called, waving a hand to get Paul's attention.

Paul looked over and sighed. "What do you want, Wonder-Boy?"

"I've gotten two Badges since our last meeting." Ash smiled. "I'm curious...how many have you gotten?"

"Why should I go around earning cheap trinkets?" Paul muttered as he eyed a familiar blond haired girl in black clothing signing autographs near an ice cream truck. "I only care about getting stronger. If I can take down Cynthia over there, even better."

He then approached Cynthia. "Milady...I hereby challenge you to a battle."

Gasps went up from the crowd at this. "Not just any battle...I want to see your full strength in a complete six on six match."

There was an awkward silence for a moment as the crowd waited to see what Cynthia would do. "Okay...but I'm warning you--I'm not some youngster by the roadside." Cynthia cautioned.

She looked around. "Is there anyone with a whistle or some other signal?"

"I'll referee, if you'd like." Brock offered as Cynthia lead Paul to one of the many battle arenas drawn in the dirt.


A whistle rang through Amity Square signalling the battle was underway. "Shenlong, here we go!" Cynthia called as she summoned the large purple dragon Pokemon from before.

Ash took a moment to read up on the dragon Pokemon as Paul summoned Goku:

"Garchomp, the mach Pokemon. It is said that when one runs at high speed, its wings create blades of wind that can fell nearby trees."

"Oh my..." Dawn gasped when she heard the Pokedex info. "Paul may be in over his head..."

"Goku, start with Fire Spin, then Dig underground!" Paul commanded.

He did not notice that Shenlong had burrowed underground, making the Fire Spin miss. A few moments later, the huge Garchomp and the Chimchar collided, sending the Chimchar flying. "Goku! I thought we had a chance to trap the Garchomp!"

Ash motioned for Cynthia to listen as Paul continued ranting. "Are you the only one with a sick feeling right now?"

"I'm more than sick. I have half a mind to stop the battle right now and tell him he has no right to berate his Chimchar like that." Cynthia replied. "He's so focused on raw power, he doesn't take tactics or strategy into account."

Paul summoning a new Pokemon snapped her back to attention. "Okuni, let's go!"

"A Weavile..." Dawn mused. She admired the black mammalian Pokemon with a magenta hood before Shenlong.

"Chill the Garchomp with a Blizzard!" Paul commanded.

The crowd shivered from the swirling snow that engulfed the battlefield. But both Cynthia and Shenlong looked unfazed. [Now?] Shenlong purred.

Cynthia nodded, and showed the crowd an onyx ring on her left hand. Aran ya haquin khetsaram...

Ash balked as Shenlong was engulfed in a blackish purple light. "No way...Garchomp can Mega Evolve too?" he gasped as Shenlong glowed cyan, then sent the Weavile flying in a massive explosion.

"Look here..." Dawn pointed out a MORE... icon under the picture of Garchomp on Ash's Pokedex screen.

"Garchomp is capable of Mega Evolution if its trainer has awakened their Heart Song." the Pokedex reported. The now Mega Garchomp slammed into a Murkrow with Giga Impact.

"Demeter, let's go!" Paul then summoned a large turtle Pokemon that appeared to have a forest on its back. "Use Giga Drain!"

Ash read up on the massive turtle Pokemon as the exhausted Mega Garchomp had some energy drained out of it by a bright green light.

"Torterra, the continent Pokemon. Groups of this Pokemon migrating in search of water have been mistaken for 'moving forests'."

"Demeter, try Frenzy Plant!" Paul's voice snapped Ash back to the battle.

The crowd braced for the whirling tornado of leaves, flowers, and wind. But when the dust cleared, cheers filled the air when they saw Shenlong defending with his fins! "Wha...how?" Paul demanded.

"Shenlong, use Brick Break." Cynthia commanded.

Paul winced from the impact of the attack on his Torterra's head. "That's it...I withdraw from the match."

"No contest! Pearl has withdrawn." Brock announced, to angry shouts from the crowd.

"You may want to do something before things get ugly..." Dawn whispered as she watched the protests, jeers, taunts, and teasing escalate.

Brock nodded, and blew his whistle again. "Everyone, please! If someone wishes to withdraw from a match, that is their choice and their right."

"While I don't agree with many of Paul's methods, he still put in a heroic effort." Ash agreed. "It takes a lot of bravery and guts to face a Mega Pokemon. That being said, sometimes the better part of valor is discretion. This is what Paul did here. It's not cowardice--he knew he would likely lose, and cut his loses so he could battle another day."

Dawn smiled as the crowd applauded Ash's speech. "You should speak in public more often--you have a way with words!"

Paul, meanwhile, approached Cynthia as the crowd turned to leave. "I clearly underestimated you. I'll have to train even more before we meet again in the arena."

"I have no qualms about you withdrawing." Cynthia replied. "But you need to get your team to a Pokemon Center as soon as possible."

She winced when she got a text on her PokeNav. "Hearthome Pokemon Center at full capacity, please go elsewhere for Pokemon care..."

After unzipping her bag, she started laying out some Pokemon care items on the ground. "Here...I'll heal your team."


"There we go..." Cynthia smiled as she finished healing Paul's team some time later. "They're all well trained, especially your Torterra."

The stern look on Paul's face softened a little. "Thanks...Demeter was my very first Pokémon. I traveled around Kanto, Johto, and Houen first. This is where I got my Murkrow Mystic and my Weavile, Okuni. When I didn't do so hot at any of the Leagues, I came home to Shinou, where I got Goku, my Chimchar."

"Goku was very brave to face Shenlong like he did..." Cynthia smiled.

"Yeah, but that doesn't change the fact he lost to your Garchomp." Paul muttered.

"But how were you to know that Shenlong would also use Dig?" Ash spoke up. "There was no reason to yell at Goku for something out of your control!"

"Your point?" Paul asked, looking over at Ash.

"Answer me this...why do you not care about your Pokémon?" Ash asked.

"Because then my Pokémon will get spoiled; and not try hard enough in battle." Paul replied. "Goku was the perfect example."

"If that were true, then how could Cynthia have induced Shenlong before?" Ash asked. "Mega Evolution is the ultimate display of love and trust between trainer and Pokemon. If you want to see that sort of power, you have to support your Pokémon."

Paul sighed. "Look, all I want to do is become stronger, Wonder-Boy. And love gets in the way of that goal."

Cynthia watched as Paul departed. "It seems the two of you have a history. But your point is truer than you think."

She led the group further into the park, where a stone tablet stood. "See if you recognize the message on this tablet."

With that, she read "I open my heart to reveal a secret power, which I promise to use to end evil's rule. The song in my heart becomes this power. Will I fight even to the end? Yes."

"That's the meaning of the Swanna Song." Ash replied.

Cynthia nodded. "Before I saw that message, I used to train endlessly. Then I discovered that all Pokémon have different personalities; and I wanted to get to know them all."

"Aw..." Brock smiled.

"So, where are you going now?" Dawn asked.

"I'm heading for Celestic Town, to the north." Cynthia replied. "The ancient ruins there are said to hold the Lustrous Orb, which is related to the legendary Pokémon Palkia. The Lustrous Orb is in turn related to the Adamant Orb, which is currently on display in Eterna City."

She smiled at the group. "I wish you three good luck on your travels, and hope we meet again soon."

To Be Continued...
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The magic of Pokemon
Episode 36: A Stand Up Sit Down

"Okay, Kori...having an ice move or two will be a big help in both battle and contest situations." Dawn began as the group arrived in a clearing. "Lola has Ice Beam, so we'll start there."

"Good way to diversify--a lot of Ice moves are Beautiful themed." Ash agreed as he showed Dawn his Pokedex, which had a blue Beautiful icon on the move profile.

A meow got his attention. "Sylvie?" he asked as Sylvie and a Misdreavus arrived in the clearing. "Where's Zoey?"

[Zoey hurt her leg while training.] Sylvie mewed. [Garnet here did her best to make her comfortable, but she asked us to find you.]

[How did Zoey get hurt?] Tarina asked as she helped Brock gather up medicine and gauze.

[She tripped on a rock while searching the woods, and landed on her foot funny.] Sylvie explained. [Garnet and I will take you to our camp.]

"Lead the way." Brock grinned at the Glameow as she and the Misdreavus led the group through the brush.


The group emerged from the brush into Zoey's campsite in another clearing. Zoey was resting on a mattress in the tent. "Sylvie, Garnet, thanks for finding Dawn and the gang for me..." she smiled before a spasm of pain from her ankle forced her to lie back down.

"Here's an ice pack to help ease the pain." Brock offered as he laid a bag of ice cubes on Zoey's ankle. "Once the swelling goes down, I'll compress it till we can get an expert to look at it."

"Thanks." Zoey replied. "Seems you got a few more additions to the crew after Ash got Tails..."

"Actually, I found out I had a little stowaway in my bag." Brock blushed a little.

He pointed out Tarina helping Ash and Dawn make ice packs. "This is Tarina...I found her lost in an alleyway back at home. Once she got a clean bill of health and no one came forward to claim her, I adopted her as my own. She came with me on our Houen trip and our second trip around Kanto, but I had no idea she was gonna come with me here."

"That's sweet..." Zoey smiled before motioning to a pink snail-like Pokemon to join her in the tent. "This is Shelia... I got her shortly after Ash got Tails."

"Hi, Shelia...I'm Ash!" Ash smiled. "And this is Tintri, my partner."

Zoey noticed Shelia backing away from Tintri. "She's still a little leery around Pokemon that aren't mine." she explained. "Which wouldn't work for the next contest."

"Why not?" Dawn asked.

"Because each competitor will be using two Pokemon." Zoe explained. "This also means both Pokemon will dress up. They will also dance together, and show off ten solo appeals between both Pokemon or five duo appeals."

She motioned to the Misdreavus. "Garnet, will you levitate my laptop over here?"

[Okay!] Garnet smiled. She used her psychic aura to send a silver laptop and its charging station onto Zoey's stomach. A matching silver and black mouse and a mousepad flew onto a large rock near the cot.

"Bring up MyTube here..." Zoey typed something on the small computer.

After a few moments, she turned the screen for Dawn and the others to see. "Okay...this is Grand Coordinator Marina. The video doesn't say where this Contest took place. I want you to watch what she does using her Feraligatr Wani-Wani and her Jigglypuff Pink."

"Oh, I see...great coordinators are called Grand Coordinators." Ash mused. He watched the Jigglypuff's music notes meld with an Ice Beam to create an aurora of music, wowing the crowd.

"Wow!" Dawn gasped as the voltage meter maxed out with the crowd's excitement. "I'm gonna have to do something like that?"

"Yeah." Zoey smiled as she closed up the laptop for a moment.

She called "Okay, Shelia--fire a Mud Bomb into the air!"

Once a huge mud ball was in the air, Zoey called. "Now, Sylvie; use Shockwave!"

"Oh my..." Ash asked as the thunderbolts Sylvie generated created a tether for the muddy ball. Shelia then fired a volley of icy cyan balls, creating a beautiful and flashy fireworks display.

"Amazing!" Brock raved as he applauded. "What was that third move?"

"Hidden Power--it's an appealing Clever themed move that audiences always love." Zoey explained. "So you can use it again and again without boring the judges and the audience."


"Okay...let's have Kori and Stormy go first." Dawn explained to Lola. "Then you'll get a turn with each of them.'

[Got it!] Lola replied as the boys settled in to watch Dawn practice in an alcove not far from Zoey's camp.

Dawn next addressed Kori and Stormy. "All right...Stormy, start with Sweet Kiss; the Kori, use Whirlpool!"

Brock winced as the whirlpool covered up the hearts from the Sweet Kiss. "It is a neat idea, but we need to see the hearts in the water." he suggested as he showed Dawn the 7 card.

"Point noted..." Dawn replied before addressing Ash. "Now it's your turn to judge a combo."

"Show me what you've got." Ash replied.

"Now...Stormy, use Discharge on Kori's Whirlpool!" Dawn called.

Ash winced as the thunderbolt cut through the water tornado, zapping both Dawn and Kori. "I think that worked a little TOO well..."

Dawn sighed in frustration. "Maybe we should take a break from appeals and work on some other aspect of the Contest." Ash suggested.

"Like?" Dawn wondered.

"Two Pokemon dancing?" Ash suggested.

"Say..." Brock reached for his PokeNav and found a video on his own MyTube channel. "Here's a little something to inspire you. This is me and Misty performing to the song 'Jump in the Line' for a talent contest a few years ago. We got second place in the Dance and Creative Movement division for this."

Kori motioned for Dawn, Stormy, and Lola to join her as a festive Latin melody played on the PokeNav screen...


"Why?" Dawn sighed as she slumped beneath a tree some time later. "Why did none of my combinations work very well?"

"Maybe a little friendly competition would help?" a voice asked.

"Marta?" Dawn asked as Mars approached the clearing, in disguise as Marta.

"You may not think they're good, but I'll be happy to give you feedback." Mars grinned. She'll fall for this. Then I can intimidate her into withdrawing from the contest while she's still faltering!

"Actually...I'll accept your appeal competition challenge." Zoey began as she limped into the clearing.

"You sure?" Ash noticed Zoy limping.

"Yeah--I have to defend a fellow coordinator's honor." Zoey replied.

Mars, meanwhile, summoned her Bronzor from before and Leona. "Leona, use Shadow Claw towards the sky!"

The group watched as Mars' Bronzor used his psychic power to shape the claws into a tornado. "Nice..." Zoey smiled. "Sylvie, use Iron Tail on the claws!"

Ash balked as the claws went twirling through the air. "Whoa!"

The group watched as Sheila used Mud Bomb to destroy the claws. This left a beautiful purple sparkle behind.

[Go time?] Sylvie purred.

[Go time.] Shelia gurgled.

With that Sylvie fired a round of Shadow Claws skyward. Shelia then used Blizzard on the Shadow Claw, creating a beautiful purple mandala in the sky.


"Thanks for giving Marta what for." Dawn smiled as some medics loaded Zoey in an ambulance later that evening.

"Once my ankle heals up, I hope to see you guys at the Hearthome Contest." Zoey smiled before offering a pinky. "Promise?"

Dawn grinned as she linked pinkies with Zoey. "We'll be there, don't worry!"

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 37: Malice in Wonderland

"I hope Zoey's okay..." Dawn mused as the group made their way down the road. "Although I have to wonder if traveling through the night was a good idea."

"We should be approaching a gate. The Pokemon Center is by there." Brock explained, pointing out a tunnel with gates at each entrance.

A rumble of thunder snapped Ash to attention. "Quickly! Into the tunnel!" he called as rain started pouring down. "We can take shelter here until the storm blows over."

"The weather is clear on the other end." Brock reported, pointing out clear sky on the other end. "We can still make it to the Pokemon Center before another wave comes."

Dawn brought up the weather app on her Poketch. "We may want to keep moving--there's a fog advisory and the storm warning."

"Okay...let's keep going." Ash replied, motioning for the group to follow him through the tunnel.

They did not expect a bright purple flash to shine through the fog, sending the three friends tumbling to the ground as the fog rolled in...


"Everyone okay?" Brock asked when the group came to some moments later.

"I think so..." Ash replied as he bushed some leaves from his shirt.

"There it is!" Dawn pointed out the familiar red roof of a Pokemon Center in the distance. "Let's go in!"

Brock balked in surprise to see a crowd of people waiting for him in the Pokemon Center lobby. "Everyone! Brock's here!" a girl called.

The crowd cheered as they hurried up to request a song or a story from Brock:

"I wanna hear the tale of Moltres!"

"Sing 'Yellow Submarine', please?"

"Please sing something in another language?"

"Tell the story about the knight, the Dragonite, and the fey!"

Brock wasn't sure what to make of the crowd or their requests. "Hey, Tarina..." he whispered to the Pichu on his shoulder. "Can you give me a good hard pinch?"

[Why?] Tarina asked. [You usually get mad if I pinch someone...]

"I won't be mad, pick a spot and give me a good hard pinch." Brock assured Tarina. "If this is a dream, we'll wake up near the tunnel exit, where we saw that purple flash."

[Okay!] Tarina hurried down Brock's arm and gave the hardest pinch she could on his hand. An "Ow." confirmed Brock had felt the pinch.

"Okay, so maybe this isn't a dream..." Brock mused as he walked by Mars and Jupiter gorging at a large buffet. The crowd followed him all the while, eager to see him perform.

"Ash, it's great to see you." Ash heard a voice say.

"Fancy seeing you here, hon!" Dawn heard someone say.

"Prof. Oak?" Ash gasped as he saw Prof. Oak and Joanna approaching him and Dawn.

"Mom?" Dawn was surprised to see Joanna. "What are you doing here?"

"How would you like to take part in the Grand Coordinator's show?" Joanna asked Dawn.

"I came to tell you there's a Tournament of the Masters going on." Prof. Oak explained. "So named because the winners are crowned Pokemon Masters and Mistresses."

Ash couldn't believe his ears. "Would I ever!"

"Sign me up!" Dawn told Joanna.


"Wow..." Ash and Dawn gasped as they arrived at a magnificent glittering stadium. Inside, a huge crowd cheered as a Rayquaza and Groudon battled.

"We're gonna compete here?" Dawn gasped as she watched the Rayquaza hit the Groudon with Ice Beam.

"This place is amazing!" Ash agreed as the Groudon broke free from the ice seconds later.

Dawn recognized who was commanding the Rayquaza. "Is that Cynthia?" she asked as Cynthia commanded the Rayquaza to use Twister.

"It is!" Ash gasped as the Groudon's Hyper Beam negated the shining tornado.

"Cynthia will be your opponent, due to your great victories in the past. "Prof. Oak explained. "I hope you came prepared."

"You believe you have the best appeals?" Joanna challenged Dawn. "Let's face off in a battle of appeals!"

Brock, meanwhile, struggled to find a way out as more and more fans approached him. "Do you know 'The Dragonite's Destiny'?" a boy asked.

"I want to hear 'The Hot Dog Rockstar'!" a young girl asked.

[Coach, wake up!] a familiar voice croaked through the chaos. [Can you hear me?]


Brock woke up in the field, his heart pounding all the while. [You okay, coach?] Kage asked. [You were rolling around in the grass like you were trying to run from something!]

"I'm fine, Kage." Brock replied as he eased himself to his feet. Ash and Dawn were nearby, rolling around the grass in sheer euphoria. "It seems Ash and Dawn are still in the dream world..."

[Maybe that witch-ghost thing had something to do with your weird dream, coach?] Kage asked.

Brock noticed a sinister purple witch-like Pokemon hovering over Ash and Dawn. That's a Mismagius...those weird dreams were Hypnosis induced.

The Mismagius began to chant in a strange language, casting another purple flash on Brock and Kage...


Brock and Kage materialized in the dream world before a crowd of fans! "Kage, we need to find Ash and Dawn and get them to awaken." Brock instructed Kage as he ran down the rainbow road. A cloud-TV displayed Jupiter trying out for a talent show, and Mars showing off appeals.

[I see it!] Kage pointed out the crystal stadium.

Brock hurried inside, moments before Ash could deliver the final blow to Cynthia's Rayquaza. "Both of you, listen!" he pleaded, snapping Dawn from ordering a Whirlpool appeal. "This place is an illusion! None of this is real!"

Ash gasped as the announcer transformed into a Mismagius. "Mismagius, the magical Pokemon. Dawn's Pokedex began as the group reunited. "Its cries sound like incantations. Those hearing it are tormented by headaches and hallucinations.

"NOW you tell me..." Dawn gasped as the stadium disappeared, leaving the group in a swirling rainbow void.

She looked at the leaves in her hands. "Those ribbons were just leaves..."

"My Badges were rocks." Ash mused as he studied a few small rocks in his hands

Some ethereal laughter snapped him to attention. "We have to find a way out!" he called as the crystal stadium materialized again.

"How?" Dawn called back. "The halls loop back onto where we start!"

"We'll find a way if we work together!" Brock called as the admins caught up to the group.

The group stopped in their tracks as the Rayquaza appeared before them! "RUN!" Dawn screamed as the majestic green dragon fired a Hyper Beam.

"Better them then me!" Ash smiled as the admins went flying before the Groudon. The huge red reptilian Pokemon fired another Hyper Beam to send them off. They landed in front of a Milotic, which used Hydro Pump to send them off. The force of the majestic fish-Pokemon attack send the admins flying before a pack of Persian, sending them flying again...


"There it is! The exit!" Ash called, pointing out a shining rainbow door at the end of the path.

Moments before they could jump into the portal, the Rayquaza appeared with a roar! "Tintri, use Thunderbolt!" Ash called.

"Kori, use Bubblebeam!" Dawn called to her Piplup.

"Kage, try Poison Sting!" Brock called.

The Rayquaza seemed unfazed by the flurry of attacks. "NOW what do we do?" Ash asked as Tintri, Kori, and Kage fired a desperate combo of attacks.

Something occurred to Brock. "Maybe if we combine our Swanna Songs, we can escape! There's no way illusion magic can overpower Arceus' authority, right?"

"Let's try it." Ash smiled, grabbing Brock's hand.

With that, the two boys sang. Gatrandis favel, secret, edena...
Emusto ronzen fine el balaziis...
Katoradis favel siicletu edena...
. At this line, a rainbow aura surrounded Tintri, Kori, and Kage, causing them to grow three times as big!
Emusto koron zen fine, si...

[HAAAAAAAAAH!!!!] the giant Pokemon screamed as their last attack went flying over the last 'si'. The force of the combined attack knocked back the Rayquaza, turning it back into Mismagius.

"It worked!" Dawn smiled as the Pokemon shrunk back to normal. "We're going home!"


"What a weird dream..." Dawn yawned as she woke up in the real world.

"I'll say..." Ash agreed before he saw the Mismagius approaching them. "What do you want?"

"Please don't send us back in that nightmare." Dawn pleaded as she watched the sun peek over the hill.

[No--you did well to pass my test.] the Mismagius replied.

It delivered a full Badge case to Ash, a full ribbon case to Dawn, and a full bag of Miracle Jewels to Brock. [Here...these are gifts from me.]

Ash looked at the full set of Shinou badges for a moment. "I want to thank you for your gift, but we can't take it." he explained.

"We want to work hard, and earn the whole set ourselves." Dawn agreed as she gave back the full ribbon case. "Besides, how can we learn and get better if we get the whole set for nothing?"

"It would make for a boring story if I already had a complete rainbow." Brock explained as he gave back the bag of Miracle Jewels. "A good story needs the thrill of adventure."

The Mismagius smiled as Ash gave back the full Badge case. [You three are wise beyond your years. I wish the highest blessings of heaven upon you, and wish you well on your travels.]

"Thanks." Dawn smiled as the group got back on the road.

Ash noticed Mars and Jupiter tossing and turning in a clearing. "Should we tell them it was all a dream?"

"Leave them be." Brock replied. "They'll figure it out before too long!"

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 38: Ill Will Hunting

The sun shone down on Mt. Coronet a few days later. The light was enough to help the group protect a small reptilian Pokemon with a metallic head. "Tintri, use Thunderbolt!" Ash called. "Protect the Shieldon at all costs!"

[WAUUGH!!!] Tintri yelped as a Golbat whacked him with Wing Attack, sending him flying against a tree.

"Tesla, use Thunderpunch!" Ash heard a familiar voice call.

He gasped as a large black and yellow feline Pokemon he recognized as Electivire sent J's minions flying with a sparking fist. "Gary?"

"Love to reminisce on old times, Ash, but let's get this little guy to safety first." Gary smiled as the feline Pokemon picked up the Shieldon. "You remember Tesla, right?"

"How could I not forget after that friendly match we had after I got back from Houen?" Ash grinned.

"This is Gary--he is Prof. Oak's grandson and a budding scientist himself." Brock explained to Dawn as the group hurried down the road. "For a while, he and Ash were bitter rivals, but they've long since patched things up."

"That's sweet." Dawn smiled.

J grimaced as she watched the group disappear down the road. "Don't just stand there, after them!"


"And here we are...Diamante Preserve." Gary smiled as the group arrived inside a wide, fenced off area that mimicked a desert. "Our Shieldon should be safe here."

"It's beautiful..." Dawn gasped as Tesla set the Shieldon on the ground.

"You like it now, wait until we finally open it up for the public to see." Gary smiled. "Before that though, lemme brief Gramps' colleague here on what's going on..."

After dialing a number on his PokeNav, he commanded "BlueOak calling Master Rowan, come in..."

"I read you, BlueOak--any news on the preserve?" Prof. Rowan's voice crackled back.

"We have a bit of a situation down here. Ash and pals are trying to stop a gang of Pokemon hunters, and I had to intervene before things got bad." Gary explained. "What should we do about our Shieldons here?"

"We must not let the Pokemon hunters get their hands on the Shieldons." Prof. Rowan warned. "Nor must they find out about the preserve."

A map with a starred point on the road appeared on the PokeNav screen. "We will rendezvous at this point." Prof. Rowan explained. "I will take the Shieldons to a secure location from there."

"What happens if the hunters catch up to us before then?" Ash asked.

"If the worst happens, do everything in your power to save the Shieldons." Prof. Rowan replied. "Since the two of you are trainers in arms, you are more than welcome to help out."

"I have no qualms with Ash and pals pitching in." Gary replied. "See ya at the meetup point."

"Master Rowan out." With that, Gary's PokeNav blipped off.

Gary pocketed his PokeNav. "Okay, Tesla...we can lose the hunters if we take the shortcut in the woods..."


Dawn gasped as she saw the minion's vehicle approaching from the road some time later. "You were saying about losing J and her men?" she asked as the group emerged from the forest.

"I've got an idea..." Gary assured Dawn before heaving a Poke Ball skyward. "Neptune, spray that car's windshield with Water Gun!"

Ash watched as Gary's Blastoise heaved a spray of water onto the car's windshield. "Okay, Tintri! Stop the car with Thunderbolt!"

Gary swallowed hard as the thunderbolts overloaded the car's engine. This could be bad... he thought as the driver minion got out of the car and summoned a Golbat. "Hold back, Neptune." he instructed his Blastoise. "I'll let Vega take over from here."

Oh, so Gary decided to evolve his Eevee into Umbreon. Ash grinned.

He watched as a familiar black fox-like Pokemon materialized before the Golbat. It's also nice he took my suggestion of naming Pokemon to heart.

"Vega, use Sand-Attack!" Gary called.

The Golbat tried to file a volley of wind sickles at Vega, but Vega leaped away. This caused the Air Cutter to hit a tree, angering a swarm of Beedrill. "Good thinking, Vega." Gary smiled as he recalled his Umbreon and his Blastoise.

"Later, minions!" Ash taunted as the Beedrills attacked.

"That should keep them busy long enough for us to make a break for it!" Dawn agreed as the group raced off over a hill.


"If we take the trail here, that would make for a faster route to the meetup point..." Brock explained as he showed the group a comparison of the two routes on MapNav.

Gary smiled. "Not just a rockstar, but a great navigator, too!"

He nudged Brock. "If you happen to write a little ditty about this mess, I wanna hear you play it."

Brock smiled back. "I'll get going on 'The Ballad of Ash and Hunter J', then--and make sure to give you a verse or three."

"Pity Blaze isn't here..." Gary sighed. "Then you could induce him and really make some noise. Seeing him Mega Evolve inspired me to become a researcher, remember?"

"I remember it like yesterday." Ash smiled. "I don't have any Mega Evolve-able Pokemon here yet. I do have another superpower that you haven't seen before!"

"Oh?" Gary asked, interested

"But I can't use it just anywhere--it has the side effect of making you tired for a while afterwards." Ash cautioned. "So I'm saving it for an emergency!"

"Gotcha." Gary replied.

Dawn smiled when she saw a police car approaching on the dusty road. "Officer Jenny!"

"Need a ride?" Officer Jenny smiled as she met the group. "Come on inside and I'll take you up the trail to your meetup point. Prof. Rowan asked me to escort you guys."

"Thanks." Ash replied. "We've run into J and her goons again..."


As the police car rounded a corner to the top of a hill, Dawn gaped when she saw J waiting for them aboard her Salamence. "No way! J followed us here?"

"You forget I have wings in Ridley, girlie." J smirked as she landed before the group. "And now your Shieldons will be mine!"

[Oh yeah?] Tintri challenged as he whacked away J's grapple-gun with an Iron Tail.

She heaved a Poke Ball skyward. " Mathayus, use Cross Poison on the electric rat!"

Gary gasped in horror at the shining acidic X heading for Tintri. "Neptune, protect Tintri!" he called as he summoned his Blastoise.

"Run for it!" Brock motioned for Dawn to follow him down the hill to safety. Dawn watched in horror as Ridley fired a familiar orange beam. The Hyper Beam clashed with the waves Neptune created, creating a watery orange glow over the road.

Ash watched in horror as J located her grapple gun and fired it, grabbing one of the Shieldon. "Oh no!"

He called "Tintri, use Thunderbolt!"

[Not today, wonder-rat!] Mathayus grinned as he blocked Tintri's attack with his claws.

J arrived a few moments later as Gary joined Ash. "Mathayus, use Pin Missile. Ridley, use Hyper Beam."

Ash swallowed hard as he can Gary braced themselves for the attacks. I have a bad feeling about this...


"...and the last thing I remember was J's Pokemon about to use Pin Missile and Hyper Beam on Tintri and Neptune." Dawn explained to Prof. Rowan. "I'm scared they took those attacks."

Officer Jenny showed Gary leading Ash onto the undercarriage of a vehicle. "They appear to be doing well. I'm sure they have a plan for taking down the hunter base."

Dawn watched as the convoy started down the road, making sure to follow a helicopter leading the way. I hope they know what they're doing...but if Ash took down J once, he can do it again!


"We made it." Gary smiled as their vehicle arrived at the base. "If you've got a flyer Pokemon, send it back to the others to tell them we are safe inside the base."

After climbing out from the vehicle, Ash summoned Estrella. "Go back and tell the others Gary and I are okay." he instructed. "We'll take down the base from here."

[Right!] Estrella replied as she flew off, unseen by J's men or the security cameras...


Inside the base, Ash and Gary gathered their Pokemon around them. "Okay, gang...let's make as big of a mess as possible in here." Gary instructed as he pulled up a map of the base. "Tintri, Tesla, short out the security system."

"Diddy, Tails, mess up as many weapons as you can." Ash instructed. "Once you've made a big enough mess, let me know and I'll use my secret power."

"If there's any innocent Pokemon in here, save them as well as our Shieldon." Gary instructed his team.

[YEAH!!!] the Pokemon cheered as they hurried off to carry out their instructions.

Tintri and Tesla wasted no time in shorting out the security system. Diddy and Tails went to work freezing and melting firearms, and Gaia went to work picking locks.

Tesla arrived with the Shieldon some moments later. [Here's our Shieldon.] he reported over all the pops, crashes, snaps, and explosions.

Ash watched as an air blast popped a door open on the third floor of the base, allowing him to see J and her minions. "Now?"

Gary nodded. "Now."

Ash smiled, and made a flying leap from the door, to J's shock. Gatrandis favel, secret, edena...
Emusto rozen fine el balaziis...
Katoradis favel siicletu edena...
. At this line, rainbow thunderbolts began forming in Ash's hands. The ethereal attack gave the base and the crowd down on the ground an otherworldly glow.
Emusto koron zen fine, si...

A wave of rainbow thunderbolts went flying on Ash's last Bb, causing the crowd of minions to scatter. "Fall back!" J called. "Retreat, now! We don't have a chance against this boy!"


"That WAS an amazing power!" Gary smiled as the two friends reunited with the others some time later. "Who would've thunk the power of the Swanna Song is real?"

"At least you kept your promise from before." Dawn smiled. "I can imagine what J's face looked like when you unleashed the rainbow thunderbolts!"

"Mortal words couldn't describe it, but I'll do my best when I perform the ballad." Brock smiled.

"I still wanna hear you play it when it's done!" Gary smiled.

He looked over at Ash. "Thanks for everything, Ash. You've inspired me to look deeper into the power of the Swanna Song. I'm sure all the myth and legend around it has some truth to it."

He offered his hand to Ash. "Friends to the end, no matter what."

"That's a promise!" Ash agreed as he and Gary shook hands.

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 39: Dawn's Early Night

"Last one there's a rotten Exeggcute!" Ash called as he raced down Hearthome's main street. "My third badge is waiting for me, and I'm gonna take it!"

Estrella squawked in agreement as she looped over the city square. She smiled down at the three humans dashing to keep up. "Hey, wait for us!" Dawn called as the group circled around a fountain and down a path lined with flowers. The majestic Gym stood at the end of the path, evoking a countryside mansion more than a Gym.

Ash came to a screeching halt when he saw Nando and a large cricket-like Pokemon waiting for them. "Nando? What are you doing here?" he asked.

"I regret to inform you that the Gym Leader isn't here at present." Nando replied, gesturing to a note on the door.

Ah-la-la-la-la-la-ua! sang the cricket Pokemon in agreement.

Piqued, Ash read up on Nando's companion:

"Kricketune, the cricket Pokemon. By allowing its cry to resonate in the hollow of its belly, it produces a captivating sound."

"It was captivating, all right!" Ash smiled as he pocketed his Pokedex.

"Well, Allegra was saying hello to you." Nando smiled as the group returned to the city square. "If you three would like to try out your performance skills, the Hearthome Theater is not far from here."

He made a grand gesture to a beautiful theater on the west end of the street. "If you wish, auditions are underway for its latest show."

"I wouldn't mind trying my hand at being an actor." Ash smiled. "I mean, I've played in the ensemble before, and had a few parts in school plays through the years."

"It would definitely help hone my performance skills for the Fantasy Stage." Brock agreed.

Nando smiled. "In that case, I look forward to seeing what you have planned for your performance this time. I've entered the Fantasy Stage myself."

"Ooh, that reminds me--I still need to register for the Contest!" Dawn remembered.

"Luckily, the Contest Hall and the Fantasy Stage theater are right next to each other." Nando pointed out two familiar buildings as the group rounded the corner. "Shall we head over?"

"Yeah!" Ash smiled before addressing Brock. "I'll look after Tarina while you perform, okay?"

"Okay." Brock replied.

He motioned for Tarina to listen. "Ash can't cheer for both Dawn and me at the same time. So we divide our time at the Contest Hall and the Fantasy Stage theater. The main event of the Fantasy Stage begins right as the Dance competition is finishing up."

"We'll bail out of the Contest Hall as soon as Dawn takes her turn in the Dance competition." Ash explained. "This way, we can make it to the theater in time to see Brock perform."


Dawn smiled as Nando showed her an orange and a yellow jewel as well as a red one. "Wow--you've already got a rainbow going!"

"Thanks--I hope to win my emerald this time." Nando smiled.

"Tell the longest, most magical tale you can. Brock's not holding anything back!" Dawn warned.

"He is indeed very skilled with song, acting, and stage combat." Nando replied. "I still vividly remember when he shot an arrow live onstage back in Floaroma Town."

Dawn smiled. It's been a while since I got my first ribbon. But thanks to Zoey's help, I'm confident I can do a great Double Performance.

She spotted Zoey relaxing with Sylvie and Garnet on a couch in the foyer lounge. "Zoey!"

"Dawn, you made it!" Zoey smiled as she and Dawn embraced.

"I see your leg's doing better." Dawn noticed Zoey was walking well compared to some weeks before.

"Took a lot of bed rest and therapy, but I'm good as new now." Zoey replied as she got up from the couch. "Who's your friend?"

"This is Nando, wandering minstrel and Fantasy Stage performer extraordinaire." Dawn replied, gesturing to Nando.

"A pleasure to meet you." Nando smiled as he and Zoey shook hands.

"Enlighten me here--what is the Fantasy Stage?" Zoey asked.

"Basically, all those gifted in story and song gather together to tell their best stories." Nando explained. "Whoever tells the best story, wins a Miracle Jewel."

"Huh. Never knew there was such a thing as a storyteller's competition." Zoey smiled.

"You need to see Brock perform!" Dawn cried. "He sings, he does the voices for every character, and even fights onstage!"

"Cool!" Zoey was impressed. "I'll consider it whenever a Contest and a Fantasy Stage are not happening at the same time."

She motioned for Dawn to follow her. "Come on, let's get signed up for the Contest."

"I will take my leave now." Nando told Dawn as he turned to leave. "I wish you fortune's favor in the Contest!"


[Whoa...] Tarina gasped as the Bailatron appeared from the Contest Hall floor. [What IS that?]

"That's the Bailatron. It's an advanced dancing platform that measures a dancer's skill." Ash explained. "Each Pokemon--or in this case, pair of Pokemon--does their best dance to a song of their choice. How well they do determines the starting order for the Appeal competition."

[I see...] Tarina mused.

"Since Dawn finished first in the Visual competition, Kori and Stormy will go first here." Ash added.

The emcee snapped him back to reality. "Entrant number H-4453843655, performing to 'Jump in the Line'."

[Good luck, you guys!] Tarina called over the cheers. Ash whistled in agreement.

The lights went down, signaling the audience that the performance was about to begin.

As the song's familiar introduction filled the air, the audience started clapping along. Kori and Stormy marched onto the familiar black platform in time to the eight blinking lights on the Bailatron that kept the beat, swaying and shaking along to the singer:

Shake, shake, shake, Senora, shake your body line,
Shake, shake, shake, Senora, shake it all the time!
Work, work, work, Senora, work your body line,
Work, work, work, Senora, work it all the time!

Both Pokemon opted to pose to the music hits during the verse, then twirled to the beat as the chorus began:

My girl's name is Senora,
I tell you friends, I adore her.
And when she dances, oh brother!
She's a hurricane in all kinds of weather...

Laughter and cheers filled the air as Stormy shook some pantomime maracas to the beat. Kori spun around her all the while. They then jumped and twirled in time to the beat of the chorus:

(Jump in de line, rock your body in time) OK, I believe you!
(Jump in de line, rock your body in time) OK, I believe you!
(Jump in de line, rock your body in time) OK, I believe you!
(Jump in de line, rock your body in time)

As the singer cried "WHOOOOOA!" Kori made a flying leap over the Bailatron. The crowd roared as she rotated in the air and stuck the landing. This prompted the Bailatron's air cannon and rainbow lights to trigger. Both the Pachirisu and the Piplup spun and jumped in an attempt to appeal to the crowd.

Shake, shake, shake, Senora.... At this point, the music paused as Kori urged the audience to clap in the style of a flamenco dancer. <i>shake your body line,[/i]

Work, work, work, Senora... Stormy urged the other half of the audience to clap. She did another twirl as the chorus begin again. work it all the time!

(Jump in de line, rock your body in time) OK, I believe you!
(Jump in de line, rock your body in time) OK, I believe you!
(Jump in de line, rock your body in time) OK, I believe you!
(Jump in de line, rock your body in time) WHOA!

Shake, shake, shake, Senora, shake your body line,
Shake, shake, shake, Senora, shake it all the time!
Work, work, work, Senora!

On the final line, Stormy and Kori struck triumphant poses as the crowd roared with applause.

[Bravo!] Tarina cheered as Kori's and Stormy's results appeared for the crowd to see. [Encore!]

"Come on..." Ash motioned for Tarina and Tintri to follow him to the exit. "Let's go see Brock now..."


"All right!" the emcee smiled as the lights came up on the main stage. "Now it's time for the Appeal competition. The rules are simple. Each pair will perform two solo moves or a single combo move in each round to impress the judges and the audience. Every known move is worth hearts. If you use a move and the excitement meter reaches the max, the pair will receive lots of hearts! But use the same move twice, and you'll likely bore the judges and the audience. Whoever has the most hearts at the end of five rounds, wins!"

He made a grand gesture to the stage. " Leading off Round 1 is pair number H-4453843655--Stormy and Kori!"

Cheers filled the air as a spotlight appeared on Dawn, who wore a beautiful red gown with gold trim and matching gloves. "Kori, use Mist!"

Kori heaved a cloud of mist in the room, making intrigued murmurs waft through the crowd. "Stormy, use Flash!"

The murmurs turned to cheers as Stormy created a flash of light, creating a shining fog effect. "Nicely done--that earned you four hearts!" the emcee smiled as the excitement meter inched up a little.

Once Dawn had made her way to the holding area, the emcee announced Zoey. "Pair number H-5614083331--Sylvie and Garnet!"

A spotlight appeared on Zoey in a silver and blue pantsuit. "Okay! Sylvie, use Echoed Voice through Garnet's Psybeam!"

Dawn watched in awe as Sylvie unleashed a melodic meow. The rainbow Psybeam cut through the Echoed Voice, coloring the sound waves. When she looked up at the scoreboard, she saw Zoey had earned six hearts for her appeal over her four. What have I gotten myself into? she thought as Zoey returned to the holding area.

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 40: The Song of the Ancient Lore

[We made it...] Tintri wheezed as he led Ash and Tarina into a row overlooking the stage. [Brock's up next to perform!]

[What's Brock gonna tell?] Tarina wondered.

"Watch and see." Ash assured the excited Pikachu and Pichu as the crowd quieted.

Number K-42207, telling 'The Legend of Kaitou'. the announcer told the crowd as Brock stepped onto the stage.

[WOW!!!!] Tarina gasped, starry eyed over Brock's costume. [He's beautiful!]

"I'm glad you think so, but we need to calm down now." Ash whispered as Brock waited for the cue to begin.

Once Brock saw the blue flash, he began "Long ago, a fisherman and his wife lived in a tiny hut near the river. They had seven children, and the wife was expecting yet again. The fisherman worked day and night, but seldom had enough to feed his family."

Murmurs wafted through the theater as Brock continued. "One day, the oldest son returned from a walk with a Growlithe. The poor Pokemon was almost starved to death, but the oldest son requested to keep it. The fisherman could never refuse his children. That day, as he cast his net, he prayed for a way to feed his family. Just then, he heard a voice from the river...

"Landman, I am Seiryu, the river guardian." he intoned in a deep male voice for the character. "I will reward you with all the fish you desire if you promise to give me whatever new item you find in your home today."

He continued "Although the fisherman knew his son would be sad to lose the Growlithe, he could not refuse such an offer of fortune."

"Tomorrow morning, bring me your gift, or you will give your life in exchange." he warned as Seiryu.

Tarina shuddered at the voice. [No matter how many times Brock does a monster voice, it makes me shiver...]

"The fisherman cast his net, and when he pulled it in, there were more fish than he could count." Brock went on as himself. "He ran all the way home with an overflowing basket. but when he reached the hut, he received the worst possible news. An eighth child had been born that afternoon."

Gasps went up at the turn of events. "The fisherman raced inside and wrapped his arms around his wife. He sobbed as he told her of his vow to the river guardian."

Even Tintri wiped away a tear as Brock continued. "She also wept and all night they tried to think of a way to get out of their promise, but they could think of nothing. The next morning, the fisherman's wife kissed her baby goodbye. The fisherman carried the child, who they had named Kaitou, to the riverbank. As promised, he set the child into the water, and the great Gyarados named Seiryu took the baby into his strong coils and carried him to his undersea palace..."


"...There, Kaitou saw the first human being he had seen since the day he was born -- the king!" Brock went on some time later. "He explained he was a poor traveler seeking work, and was hired as an apprentice to the royal gardener. He kept the plants watered, trimmed any dead branches, and pulled weeds. He also planted new seeds to replace dead plants, and harvested herbs and Berries. But his favorite thing to do was help his master design bouquets. These bouquets were often gifts for the royal family, the court, and the king's daughter, Hibiki."

[That's a good name.] Tarina smiled, lost in her master's tale.

"Kaitou proved a hard worker, and every morning he brought a fresh bouquet to Princess Hibiki." Brock continued. "Meanwhile, princes from other lands were coming from far and wide to woo Princess Hibiki. When they sang to her, Kaitou listened. However--he had an advantage the princes did not--he knew the ancient songs of the water."

He retrieved a pitch pipe from his pocket as he went on. "So one night, he made his way to Princess Hibiki's tower, and knelt before her balcony to sing to her. Although no one had a clue what the words meant, Kaitou's voice was as powerful, and soothing, as the rushing river."

Brock blew an A to establish his starting note, then proceeded to sing "Ah, Rosheen" in the original Gaelic. The audience had no idea what Brock was singing, but they continued to listen as Brock's powerful tenor rang through the theater.

When the last note died, the theater roared with applause. "It goes without saying Princess Hibiki fell in love with him. He was gentle and handsome, and his voice was more beautiful than anything she had ever heard." Brock smiled when the applause quieted.

He went on "The next day, a wild Liepard raced toward the kingdom. All the princes gathered to capture or slay it. but it was Kaitou -- alongside Epona and his magical sword -- who killed the dark Pokemon. But that is a story in itself."

Tarina giggled at Brock's quip. "Although the princes all claimed they had slain the Liepard, the villagers all knew who the real hero was."

Cheers went up as Brock continued. "Princess Hibiki was overjoyed, for she loved Kaitou more than any of the other princes."

He concluded "The wedding was held the very next day. When Seiryu heard about the wedding, he sent the new bride a necklace of rainbow pearls as a wedding present. This was both an apology and out of love for his adopted son. Kaitou next sent word for his family to join him at the castle, and they all lived happily for many years."

Ash's applause was the loudest as Brock took a bow. "Wonderful, as always!"


<i>Number S-50396, telling 'The Prince's Spellsong'.</i> the announcer explained as Nando took his place on the stage some time later.

Back in the holding room, Brock was interested in the story's title. <i>I've never heard this one before...I wonder what it's like?</i>

"Once there lived a king and queen who had a daughter they loved very much." Nando began. "She was so graceful, pretty, and clever that she was called Charissa, which means "grace". Her mom and dad loved her so much, they would rather lose everything they owned than see Princess Charissa unhappy."

He started an elegant melody as he continued. "Every day she gave Princess Charissa a lovely new dress made of something valuable. When she was hungry she had the choicest food and drink. Princess Charissa was well loved and well liked in the kingdom. Everybody said she was the happiest princess in the world."

The harp's song turned somber as Nando introduced the villain of his tale. "Now, in this land's court was a very rich old duchess whose name was Amara. She was infamous for her hair trigger temper. Her hair, now icy white, had once been red as fire, and she had piercing green eyes that many said could see into your soul!"


"...Charissa was surrounded in a bright rainbow light, and warped into a enchanted garden." Nando went on over a victorious melody. "Flowers and fruit grew on every side, fountains splashed, and birds sang in the branches overhead. She reached a great pathway lined with trees. When she looked up to see where it would lead her, she found herself close to the palace of crystal. The queen and Tristan were coming to meet her at the gates.

He concluded "Princess Charissa finally confessed her love for Tristan. They were married right then with the greatest splendor; and all lived happily ever after."

The crowd roared as Nando took a bow, but Ash and the Pokemon balked when they saw Nando's score bar power past Brock's. [Wow! This Nando guy sure knows what he's doing!] Tarina gasped as Nando accepted a green plastic jewel.

[Brock's not the type to dwell on a loss...] Tintri mused as the crowds started to leave. [He'll reflect on it, contemplate what he needs to do better, and then he's ready to go again.]

Ash nodded in agreement. "Even the losses have lessons."


"So, how'd you do?" Dawn asked as she met the boys in the town square. "I got clobbered in the Appeal competition--again."

"I thought I had done pretty well, but then Nando wowed the crowd with a tale I've never heard before." Brock sighed. "But I'm not letting this get me down."

"Yeah..." A smile formed on Dawn's face. "I'm going to work even harder so I don't choke in the Appeal competition any more!"

"I'll keep looking for the best stories I can find, that not even Nando has heard before!" Brock agreed.

"And I'll give you both my support, all the way." Ash smiled as the three friends laid their hands on top of each other as a sign of their promise.

To Be Continued...
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The magic of Pokemon
Episode 41: The Not-so-Greatest Show on Earth! (part 1)

"Mail call!" Brock announced as he arrived in the group's room with some mail. "This is for you..." He offered Dawn a card with a letter attached to it.

Dawn took the card and read the letter. "Dear Dawn...After I won the Appeal competition yesterday, I felt horrible giving you such a beatdown. True, we weren't battling like trainers, but you still looked crushed. I believe you have the passion and heart needed to be a coordinator like your mom. You only need a little help finding your footing. I'm enclosing an invite card for the Hearthome Theater with this letter. I hope the acting experience will be helpful to your coordinating. See you soon, Zoey."

"That was sweet of Zoey to give you that." Ash smiled.

"Some acting experience could boost my confidence." Dawn mused. "After all, coordinators do act in Contests."

"Well, we're no strangers to the stage ourselves." Ash replied. "Bit part, lead role, player in the ensemble, narrator--whatever role we were asked to play, we did it well."

A smile formed on Dawn's face when she saw the play she would be auditioning for. "Wow! I've always wanted to see a stage version of a Robin Hood story!"

She grinned at Ash. "How bout it? You guys want to audition with me? It says auditions are open to all."

"I wouldn't mind giving it a try." Ash replied as Tintri bounded on his shoulder.

"Why not?" Brock smiled. "I've acted in the community theater at home, so how hard can this be?"


"How'd you do?" Ash asked as Dawn emerged into the auditionee holding area some time later.

"I did pretty well." Dawn replied. "I'm not Shinouian Idol worthy material, so playing Jocelyn the apprentice is out."

Ash smiled "You'd be a perfect Maid Marian."

Dawn smiled. "I'd love it even more if you got the part of Robin Hood. We'd match, looks wise."

[I wanna know if Brock got the part of Alan-a-dale!] Tarina smiled as Dawn petted her. [He already has the costume.]

"That he does." Dawn agreed.

She reared back at a dull green haired boy eying her across the room. I have a bad feeling about this guy...

The creak of the door opening and Brock's voice calmed her a little. "Keely! What a surprise!"

"It's good to see you and Ash again..." a familiar plum haired girl smiled as she hugged Brock. "Where's Misty?"

"She returned home to Cerulean after a quick jaunt to Houen." Brock replied. "Although lately she says she wants to check out the Pokethlon scene here in Shinou too."

He made a grand gesture to Dawn. "This is Dawn--an aspiring coordinator who hopes to follow in her mom's footsteps."

"Nice to meet you." Keely replied. "They say Joanna Solberg is a living legend in the contest scene here."

"I know, and I plan to write my own chapter of the Solberg story." Dawn replied. "But I'll admit my acting and appealing need some work."

"Is Alex here with you?" Ash wondered.

"He is--just exploring the city while I'm doing this." Keely replied. "I heard you hit the top eight in both Johto and Houen."

"I'll be happy to tell you all about it later." Ash grinned. "But for now, I'm focused on seeing how I do in the League here."

Keely smiled. "As for Alex and me, we've continued our own travels. Even though I didn't make it to the Johto Grand Lore Stage, we still had a productive trip to Houen. Then we came here looking for more tales."

"I learned they have their own storytelling competition--the Fantasy Stage." Brock explained, showing Keely his one Miracle Jewel. "It's an upgrade to the Lore Stage. You get to dress up in a pretty costume as part of the theme. You also make up your own story on top of sharing one of your learned tales."

"Sounds fun!" Keely smiled. "Maybe if you get the part of Alan-a-dale, you can use it as your costume."

The door opening again got the group's attention. "Looks like the director's made his decision." Ash mused as a young man in a loose fitting outfit and a blue beret made his way into the holding room.


"Okay!" the director announced. "First of all, thanks for coming to audition today. Many of you showed off real talent, so it was no easy task deciding some of the roles."

He then looked over his cast list. "So on that note, here's who will play what role."

Brock gasped when the director read "Brock Harrison, as Alan-a-dale."

[YAAAAYYY!!!!] Tarina cheered. [Now I get to see you as a real minstrel!]

"Keely Doran, as Jocelyn, the minstrel apprentice." the director continued. "Ash Ketchum, as Robin Hood...Dawn Solberg, as Maid Marian..."

"WOO-HOO!" Ash cried as he hugged Dawn in excitement.

"I can't believe it!" Dawn was just as happy. "We get to play the main roles!"

She vowed "It may be a big part, but I will put everything I can into being the best Maid Marian to grace the stage!"

Their happiness came to a halt when the director read the next names on the list. "Conway Kemp, as the Sheriff of Nottingham...Paul McClain, as Prince John..."

No way! Paul was auditioning too? Ash balked as Paul received his script from the director.

Dawn reared back as the green haired boy from before received his script. So that guy's name is Conway, huh? I don't know what it is, but he gives me the willies!

"Here's your scripts..." the director began as he delivered the group their scripts. "Start reading over your roles now. It'll be a big help when we start rehearsals in a few days."

Ash read over the first scene before reading ahead to the tournament itself. "Uh, sir? Will we be shooting real arrows during the tournament scene? Or will we pantomime shooting to sound effects?"

"You'll be shooting real arrows." the director replied. "If you need a crash course in archery, you can talk to one of the combat trainers. If you've got an archer companion, even better."

Ash froze in horror. <i>Brock is the one that has the bow, not me! How can I learn to shoot in a few days?</i>

Paul smirked when he saw Ash's shocked look. "Maybe you shouldn't have auditioned for Robin Hood, Wonder Boy. You couldn't even pop a balloon at a carnival with a bow!"

"Oh yeah?" Ash shot back. "I will train at the bow like I do my Pokemon!"

He made a grand gesture to Brock. "Besides, I already have a teacher!"

"I'm not so sure you can do this in a few days..." Paul mused. "But I'm holding you to your vow. Don't disappoint me!"


"Good thing there's an athletic complex with an archery range here..." Dawn mused as she watched Brock help Ash trade gloves for some protective bracers. I'm gonna go explore more of the complex while you two have your archery lesson."

Brock nodded, then addressed Ash. "Now that we have our bracers on, let's first go over the basics of shooting. Stand shoulder-width apart completely sideways to the target. Your toes should be at a 90 angle to your target."

He observed Ash trying to mimic his pose, but his feet were too close together. "Almost..."

Ash readjusted his feet so that his toes were at a 90 degree angle. "Better." Brock smiled. "There shouldn't be any bending at the knees or waist, and no leaning either."

He winced when he saw Ash slouching. "You want to keep a straight back." he reminded Ash. "Your head is the only thing that turns toward the target, and your arms are the only body part that moves, okay?"

"Got it!" Ash replied as he straightened up.

"We'll worry about shooting from a kneeling position once we get standing down, okay?" Brock assured his student before showing Ash one of his own arrows. "On most arrows, there are three fletchings. Two fletchings are the same color and the third is a different shade of the same color. When nocking your arrow, the different color fletching should face towards you. Once your arrow is in position, place the nock of the arrow..."

"What's that?" Ash wondered.

"That's the split ending at the back of the arrow." Brock explained.

He resumed his explanation. "...on the string of your bow, pushing it in until you hear a subtle click."

Ash did his best to follow along with what Brock was doing. "Okay!"

"Now, form your stance again." Brock instructed.

He waited for Ash to get in position, then went on "First of all, that's a much better stance than before. To shoot, start by straightening your hand with the bow ahead of you. Keep it flexible with a slight bend in the elbow. Whatever you do, don’t lock up your shoulder."

"Got it!" Ash smiled.

"You want to hold the bow like you would the handle of a teacup, with three fingers; but keep the thumb lowered." Brock explained as he prepared his own shot. "There are several different grips, but you pick the one that's best for you."

Ash readied his shot, then waited for Brock's instructions. "Moving on...to draw, draw with three fingers around the string below where the arrow goes." Brock explained. "Try to keep the elbow of your drawing hand in line with the arm that’s holding the bow."

He smiled as Ash assumed the correct pose. "Very good. Now, anchor your drawing hand on your face, ideally somewhere in the region of your mouth and cheek. You did it right if you can see down the shaft of your arrow."

A few tense seconds went by as Ash drew his bow. "When you're ready to shoot, relax your drawing hand and follow through with the shot."

Ash fired a few seconds later, his shot landing on the outermost ring of the target. "One last thing--don’t put down your bow or change your position until your arrow is in its target." he explained before observing Ash's shot. "If this were a competition, you'd get two points for that shot."

"Yes!" Ash cried. "At least I hit the target on my first try!"


"How's the archery lesson going?" Dawn asked as she returned to the range some time later.

"Very well, actually." Brock replied as Ash readied another shot. "Ash is an eager student."

"Watch this!" Ash smiled before firing, making his arrow sail into the outer yellow ring of the target.

Dawn applauded. "Brock has taught you well."

"Keep practicing your shooting, but don't forget working on your lines and cues as well." Brock agreed.

Ash set aside his gear long enough to lay his hand on top of Dawn and Brock's hands. "Let's make this the best show ever!"

To Be Continued...