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Pokemon Storm Gray


The magic of Pokemon
(rated E10+ for fantasy violence)

After a bit of a hiatus (and burnout from Shine Diamond), the Pokemon Anime Remix Project resumes with my imagined Unova remix.

Be warned--this is not quite the games you remember, and not quite the anime you remember!

Prologue: The Way to Unova

Ash raced into his room, grabbed his bag off of his bed, and rummaged through it to check if he had everything he needed for his upcoming journey. "Let's see...updated global passport, check...PokePass for Tintri, check...global traveler ID, check, plane tickets, check, PokeNav has global expansion chip, check...PokeNav has plenty of memory for pictures and video, memory cards for picture and video transfer and upload...Pokeflute, whistles, and my harmonica in case we wanna jam somewhere..."

He smiled as he reached for a red and white hat with a blue Poke Ball design on it. "And of course, my hat..." he smiled as he plopped the hat onto his messy black hair. "We're ready to go, Tintri!" he grinned at a yellow mouse Pokemon. "Unova, here we come!"

[I'm excited too, especially about the Pokemon that live there.] Tintri agreed. [I wonder what the local Electric type is...]

"I'm excited to see all the Water Pokemon Unova has to offer..." Misty agreed as she met Ash in the hallway. "Especially seeing Swannas in their native land..."

"...and I'm excited to find out what kind of lore and music Unova offers." Brock agreed as he too arrived in the large living room of the Ketchum house. "That, and Tarina's been talking non-stop about taking in as many plays and concerts as we can find." He let that hang as he invited a smaller yellow mouse Pokemon wearing a red cloak and a matching hat with a white plume on his shoulder.

Misty smiled as she saw a familiar well loved guitar case as part of Brock's luggage. "Wouldn't be a trip to a new region without you bringing a guitar along..."

"How else could I learn some of the local folk songs?" Brock smiled back before making sure the black fedora complimenting his black, green, and orange outfit looked presentable.

"Finish getting ready, gang--Prof. Oak's here to take us to the airport.' Delia reminded the group from the foyer.

"Right!" Misty smoothed out the wrinkles in a sparkling pale blue T shirt and Ash checked himself over in a mirror.

Delia noticed Ash's hat was slightly askew, so she gently nudged it into place. "There you go--now you're all beautiful, champ."

"Thanks--we'll be right out!" Ash assured his mother before gathering up his luggage and leading the way outside.

He balked when he saw Prof. Oak wearing a shirt with a colorful flower print design. "Uh, Professor? What's with the Alolan flowery shirt?"

"Aren't you going to be doing field work while we're in Unova?" Delia was equally concerned about Prof. Oak's choice of outfit.

"Of course--but I'll have plenty of free time in between all the conferences, lectures, and seminars." Professor Oak assured Delia as Taran arrived with more luggage.

"As tempting is it might be, try not to annoy Prof. Oak with '99 Bottles of Juice on the Wall', okay?" Taran reminded Ash. "The airport's not that far away."

Ash just grinned at his father. "We don't have far to go, so I doubt we'll have time to even sing along with the radio." With that, he climbed in the car.

[What kind of music do they have in Unova?] Tarina asked as Brock followed Ash into the car. [and what else can trainers do besides Gyms and badges?]

"According to this, if a trainer feels the call of the stage rather than the Pokemon League, then a trainer can take part in the Pokemon Musical." Brock read from a brochure as Misty and Taran joined him and Ash in the back seat.

He showed Tarina a picture of humans and Pokemon in ornate costumes dancing on a stage as Delia joined Prof. Oak in the front. "Human and Pokemon work together to bring some of the world's greatest stories, plus some original tales inspired by folklore, to the stage. While there are theaters all across Unova, the most famous location for any theater or Musical fan is Nimbasa City's Trinity District."

[Looks beautiful!] Tarina smiled, picturing her master on a stage as Prof. Oak started the car.

Brock turned the page, then showed Tarina a picture of girls in beautiful costumes acting out a scene. "A variation on the Pokemon Musical is the Pokemon Revue--while boys can compete in the main Pokemon Musical, the Pokemon Revue is for girls only."

[How can a girl play a boy?] Tarina wondered.

"Remember seeing 'Peter Pan' at the Fireside a few months ago?" Brock reminded Tarina as the car arrived on Pallet's main street. "That's an example of a girl playing the role of a boy. The Pokemon Revue is that on a much bigger scale--where girls play all the parts, including boy roles."

[Interesting...] Tarina mused. [Is there some kind of Revue troupe we can see while we're in Unova?]

Brock read a little further down the next page. "One of the most famous Revue troupes outside of Kanto and Johto is the Melody Revue, based in Nimbasa City's Trinity District." he read. "The troupe is itself divided into eight sub troupes, each one named for a flower, and specializing in a specific type of play."

Tarina grew starry eyed at a picture of a girl with wavy black hair in musketeer garb on the page. [She's beautiful...and brave!]

"Do you know who that is?" Prof. Oak asked Tarina as he focused on the road. "That is Christine Mendoza, the star performer of the Melody Revue's Peony Troupe. They say any performance she's in is not to be missed!"

Tarina nodded. [I hope we get a chance to see her and her friends while we're in Unova...]

She noticed planes arriving and taking off from the car window. [I see planes!]

Brock smiled. "In order to get to Unova, we have to ride on a plane. It's much farther than anywhere you've been so far."

"In fact, the Pokémon native to Unova cannot normally be found in any other region." Prof. Oak explained as he pulled up to a curbside drop-off.

"Now I REALLY can't wait to find out what Unova has to offer!" Ash smiled as the car came to a stop.

He smiled as his parents and his companions. "Just think, we'll be seeing Pokemon and places no one in Kanto has ever seen before!"

To Be Continued...
Last edited:


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 1a: In the Light of Reshiram! (part 1)

Now arriving at Nuvema International Airport--local time is 1:00 PM. the intercom announced as the plane elegantly descended towards the water. Please make sure your Pokemon and belongings are accounted for, and take small children by the hand...

"Wake up, sport--we're here." His father's voice jolted Ash awake from a nap. "Hurry and get your stuff together."

"Okay..." Ash yawned, more from the jet lag than being woken up. After sleepily gathering together his belongings, he felt a gentle thump as the plane touched down on the runway.

"Et tu, jet lag?" Misty sleepily smiled as Ash followed his parents and Prof. Oak off the plane and inside the airport.

"Yeah..." Ash replied as the group made their way to the baggage claim.

"So, we're here...what would you like to do first?" Brock replied as he looked his guitar and archery gear over to make sure they had survived the flight intact.

"Take a look around, and see the sights!" Ash replied as he too made sure his luggage had arrived in Unova in one piece.

Once everyone had reunited with their luggage, the group made their way outside and onto a boardwalk. "Wow..." Ash gasped as he looked out at the pier, which seemed to stretch as far as the eye could see in both directions.

But before he could hurry off to explore the boardwalk, he noticed his faithful Pikachu facing the water. "What is it, bud?" he asked as he watched a white spiraling cloud looming over the water.

[I don't like the looks of that cloud...] Tintri explained as he studied the cloud, which was now swirling with crimson flames as it moved towards the pier. [No cloud I know of has fire inside. Lightning, sure, but fire?]

An angry look formed on Ash's face as he watched the cloud approach. If there's something dangerous in there, I'm gonna warn it away before innocent lives are lost!

With that, he turned his cap back, took a deep breath, and sang into the sky Gatrandis favel, secret, edena...
Emusto ronzen fine el balaziis...

Misty and Brock looked on in awe as Ash continued Katoradis favel siicletu edena...

A blue protective aura surrounded him and Tintri as he sang the last line. Emusto koron zen fine, si...

As the last "si" echoed into the clouds, a majestic white mammalian dragon-like Pokemon emerged from the fiery cloud. It looked down at the wheezing boy and his Pkachu in a glowing blue aura on the pier, smiled, then streaked skyward. The white streak created more fire, causing the center of the cloud to glow an exceedingly intense red.


Meanwhile, a brown haired girl and a tiny lizard Pokemon emerged from a forest onto an overlook. She noticed the red clouds in the distance. "Blair! Blair, look at this!"

"What is it, Whitlea?" the girl's partner, a brown haired boy, joined the girl and her Pokemon on the overlook.

"Those clouds...could it be that Reshiram is here?" the girl asked.

"It's possible...we'll have to get closer to know for sure." the boy replied. "Let's keep going--if Reshiram is here, someone with a strong sense of truth and justice is here. It would mean the world to Prof. Juniper if we could get pictures or video of one of Unova's guardians up close!"


"Ash...you okay, sport?" Taran asked as he held his weary son in his arms with Delia looking on. "That was a brave, but risky thing you did..."

"I'm...fine, you guys..." Ash wheezed. "Just very...tired..."

I'm not surprised...even in the most skilled users, the Swanna Song still drains their strength. a gentle female voice began.

Ash noticed the white dragon looking up at him as Taran set him down on a towel Brock had spread out on the pier. "Who are you?" he wheezed. "Friend...or foe?"

I'm a friend, hero...I mean you and your family and friends no harm. the white dragon assured Ash as she healed him from the Swanna Song induced weariness. I foresee you and your companions will do many great things during your time here...if you need me, call me!

With that, she fired a gigantic fireball into the sky before disappearing.

Delia watched as Ash shakily stood up. "Ash...are you sure you're okay? That super song did take a lot out of you..." she let that hang as the clouds parted to reveal the sun again.

"I'm fine..." Ash replied as he dusted himself off and welcomed Tintri aboard his shoulder. "Did you guys see anything inside that odd fiery cloud at all? I could've sworn I saw a Pokémon's shadow from within the clouds..."

"All we saw was a large white cloud...you sure you weren't seeing anything?" Misty asked.

"We all wish we could confirm or deny your sighting, but from our point of view, we only saw a large white cloud." Professor Oak assured Ash. "I'm sure that if we asked Prof. Juniper, the local professor here, she could help us solve this vexing mystery..."

Just then, a light brown haired woman arrived to meet the group as they departed the boardwalk. "My apologies for running late, Sam--I had to help Fennel with a project before meeting you here."

Prof. Oak smiled. "It's no trouble at all, Aurea. We have our own mystery to solve, but I'll tell you more once we get Ash, his family, and his companions settled."

He made a grand gesture to the woman. "Everyone, this is my colleague Prof. Aurea Juniper. She may be, young but she's already made a name for herself in the scientific community."

"Nice to meet you all." Prof. Juniper smiled before starting towards a beautiful metallic red SUV. "Let's head over to my lab--we can talk more there."


Ash did the best he could to snap pictures of the local Pokemon from the back seat while still being restrained by the seat belt. "Any luck with some good shots?" Misty asked as she watched Ash settle into his seat to review the pictures.

"Okay...I got this pretty shot of these deer looking Pokemon..." Ash explained as he showed Misty a picture of some grazing Deerling on a plain. "these gray bird Pokemon..." He swiped over to a picture of some Pidove. "...and these rodent looking Pokemon with big red eyes."

He noticed Tintri's cheeks sparking before he could show Misty more pictures. "You okay, bud? I packed some Spark-eez, just in case..."

"We can check your Pikachu over once we get to the lab, okay?" Prof. Juniper replied from the driver's seat. "If it is serious, a Pokemon Center's not far."

"Okay!" Ash replied.

Something occurred to Prof. Juniper as she focused on the road. "You all came from the Kanto region, right? I've been curious about the Pokemon that live there, and the culture..."

She smiled at Prof. Oak. "You can tell me all about it back at the lab, okay?"

"As a certified storyteller and folklorist, I wonder if there are any interesting folktales in Unova..." Brock mused. "This way I can perform them to audiences at home and elsewhere."

Prof. Juniper thought for a moment. "Well, there is a tale here that explains why there is thunder and lightning...would like to start your lore gathering expedition with that?"

"Please do." Brock replied as he found his new storytelling notebook labeled 'Tales from Unova' and flipped to the first page. "When you're ready." he assured Prof. Juniper as he found a pen.

"All right..." Prof. Juniper began. "Once upon a time in what is today Unova, there lived a great sage. People rarely saw him, for he lived in solitude at the top of a mountain. Still, people talk, and so word spread that the sage possessed magical powers..."

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 1b: In the Light of Reshiram! (part 2)

"So, Prof. Juniper, are Pikachu rare in Unova?" Ash asked as Brock finished writing down Prof. Juniper's tale some time later.

"Well, they have never been encountered in the wild out here..." Prof. Juniper replied. "But this is not to say you won't ever find them here."

Ash watched as the SUV made an elegant turn past a lake. I will find all the Pokemon Unova has to offer... he silently vowed as he watched a flock of Swanna fly across the water.


Later that evening, the group watched as Prof. Juniper studied Tintri's voltage levels on a monitor. "Hm...the data doesn’t show any discrepancies, The voltage levels are not consistent with an overload, but further tests are required...."

Just then, one of Prof. Juniper's assistant arrived. "Forgive me for interrupting, Professor, but Blair and Whitlea are here."

"Tell them to come on inside--I'll be with them momentarily." Prof. Juniper replied as she made a few notes on Tintri's condition.

She explained "Blair and Whitlea are two local trainers who are never apart from each other for too long. Whitlea was due to start her journey last year, but she decided to wait until Blair got his first Pokemon, so they could go on their journey together."

"That's sweet." Misty smiled as the group arrived in the lab's main hall, where a brown haired boy in a blue jacket and a red cap with a black Poke Ball design patiently waited. A brown haired girl in a white shirt, a black vest, and short jean shorts waited nearby.

"Hello there, Blair and Whitlea..." Professor Juniper smiled as she met the two relatively new trainers in the lab's foyer. "Come on inside...your first Pokemon is waiting for you."

"Thanks, Professor." Blair smiled as he followed Prof. Juniper and the group into the main research hall. "I've been looking forward to going on a grand adventure alongside Whitlea."

Ash nodded. "I know that feeling...I was stoked the night before I became a Pokémon trainer, too.

"Blair, Whitlea, these three are travelers from Kanto--Ash, Misty, and Brock." Professor Juniper explained.

"Kanto, huh...is it true that modern skyscrapers rub shoulders with ancient temples?" Blair asked.

Ash nodded. "You can walk down the old Indigo Trail and see a lot of temples, or take the Grand Theatrical Tour to learn about the traditional Gekijou theater--the ancestor to today's Pokemon Musicals."

"Wow!" Whitlea was impressed. "Can you guys teach us some Kantonian?"

"For the most part, people in Kanto speak English well--but it's always a good idea to have some survival Kantonian just in case." Ash suggested. "But we'll be happy to teach you some survival Kantonian on the road."

"Now then...come on out, everyone!" Professor Juniper called, summoning a small red pig Pokemon with black ears, a small green lizard Pokemon, and a small blue otter Pokemon on a platform for Blair to see.

Blair studied the three starters for a moment, then covered his eyes, pointing at each Pokemon as he spoke. "My mother told me to choose..."

When he opened his eyes, he found he was pointing at the small pig Pokemon. "...Tepig."

He smiled at Whitlea. "Besides, Whitlea's already got Snivy."

"Okay...here are five Poke Balls and a Pokedex for you..." Prof. Juniper handed Blair a string of Poke Balls and a red and black cell phone-like device.

"Wow...that's nicer than mine!" Ash gasped as Blair analyzed the Tepig with his new Pokedex:

"Tepig, the fire pig Pokemon. It blows fire through its nose. When it catches a cold, the fire becomes pitch-black smoke instead."

"Good to know." Blair smiled before pocketing the Pokedex and his Poke Balls. "I think I'll call you...Shukyu."

"Shukyu?" Prof. Juniper was intrigued by the name.

"I read somewhere that Shukyu was the name of an ancient Kantonian fire god." Blair explained.

He embraced Prof. Juniper. "Thanks so much."

"You're welcome--I wish you and Whitlea the best of luck." Prof. Juniper replied.

"I'm gonna go back to my house and pack for the trip, okay?" Blair told Whitlea.

"I'll meet up with you later." Whitlea replied as Blair departed.

She then addressed the group. "So, do you have any burning questions about Unova, or want to see Sakura, my Snivy? I'll do my best to answer any questions you guys may have."


"What are Gym matches in Unova like?" Ash wondered as he and Whitlea made their way to the lab's yard.

"Just like most anywhere else with a Gym Challenge have to collect eight Gym Badges before they can compete in the Unova League." Whitlea replied.

She was about to say more when she saw Tintri running through the grass to reunite with Ash. [I feel better now!]

Excited, Whitlea consulted her own Pokedex:

"Pikachu, the mouse Pokemon. It stores electricity in the electric sacs on its cheeks. When it releases pent-up energy in a burst, the electric power is equal to a lightning bolt."

"Wow...cute and powerful." Whitlea smiled. "Is it okay if I can see your Pikachu battle? He can try his strength against Sakura, my Snivy."

"Okay!" Ash replied.

"Well go to the forest nearby--that way we don't risk shorting something in the lab." Whitlea suggested.

"I'll referee." Brock volunteered as he and Misty followed Ash into a clearing...


In the forest, an Oshawott gasped in surprise as a referee's whistle pierced the late afternoon calm. It watched in awe from a bush as Tintri rammed into Sakura with a Quick Attack.

in the forested arena, Whitlea grinned as Sakura bounced back on her feet. "Sakura, Tackle the Pikachu!"

Ash watched as Tintri rolled away from Sakura's attack, then jumped away from a Tackle coming from the other way. "Tintri, use Thunderbolt!"

[OOF!] Tintri gasped as Sakura's attack knocked him to the ground.

"And here I was getting all excited for nothing..." Whitlea smirked. "Is that all you've got?"

Ash grimaced at Whitlea's taunt. "Hardly!" he shot back. "Tintri, show Whitlea the power of Volt Tackle!"

"Sakura, use Leaf Tornado!" Whitlea called, spurring her Snivy to create a whorl of leaves.

Both trainers braced themselves as Snivy and Pikachu collided in one last desperate attack. After a few tense moments, Brock's whistle pierced the air again. "White is unable to battle--Black wins!" Brock announced, making a grand gesture to Tintri walking away from Sakura, who was sprawled in a hole, completely unconscious.

Whitlea hurried to collect Sakura. "Whoa...I must've underestimated your Pikachu!" she admitted.

"When you've been together as long as we have, there's nothing we can't do." Ash smiled back. "Let's get back to the lab before it gets dark."


As the sun sank over Nuvema Town, Misty noticed the white cloud from before. "It's that firey white cloud from before!"

Everyone braced themselves as a fire tinged thunderbolt struck the lightning rod at the top of the lab...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 2: All There in Black and White!

The group braced themselves for a massive storm. But instead of the fury of thunder and fire, the white clouds cleared, revealing blue sky once again. "That's odd...why did the clouds disappear as quickly as they appeared?" Delia wondered.

"I wouldn't worry about it for now." Brock assured Delia. "Besides, Ash, Misty, and I will find answers soon enough."

Delia nodded. "You're right...let's go back inside for now."


That night, the group, Ash's family, and Prof. Oak joined Prof. Juniper and Fennel for a massive cookout. "This is great!" Misty raved as Prof. Juniper tended the burger patties and hot dogs simmering over the grill's hot coals.

Ash located his father in the yard. "Dad...can I tell everyone something?"

Taran nodded. "Go ahead--whatever you wanna say, we're here to listen."

Ash nodded, stepped on a box overlooking the yard, then addressed everyone. "Everyone...I want to start a new adventure in Unova alongside Misty and Brock!"

Cheers met Ash's request. "In addition to meeting new Pokémon and making new friends, I will be challenging the Unova League, and supporting Misty and Brock in whatever challenges they wanna try!"

"A wonderful idea." Prof. Oak smiled as Ash stepped off the box. "You need not worry about everyone back at the lab--I'll make sure they are taken care of."

"You'll take care of Ash, won't you, Tintri?" Delia smiled.

"Yeah--make sure our hero and star performer is in top shape!" Taran agreed.

[Leave it to me!] Tintri smiled.

"As you three journey through Unova, be sure and tell me about any new Pokémon and discoveries you encounter." Prof. Oak suggested. "You'd be contributing to ongoing research on Unova, its Pokemon, and its culture."

"Pokedex upgrade chip...." Prof. Juniper took Ash's Pokedex, then carefully inserted an upgrade chip. "There you go...now your Pokedex is up to date to the Unova region."

"Thanks..." Ash smiled as he accepted his upgraded Pokedex.

"And some Poke Balls, if you want to try catching some of the Pokemon here, too." Prof. Juniper next gave Ash a string of five Poke Balls. "Since you're on the Gym Challenge, your first stop is in Striaton City, which is north of here."

"What about Blair and Whitlea?" Ash wondered. "Where are they now?"

"You would do well to travel with Blair and Whitlea, as they are native residents of Unova." Prof. Juniper assured Ash. "They should be headed to Striaton themselves--so you could all go together!"

Ash smiled. "If we find them on our own travels, we'll go with them for as far as they want us to go."


The next morning, Ash's family and the professors met Ash, Misty, and Brock at the lab's front walk. "Be safe, Ash..." Delia hugged Ash. "We love you, and we'll be cheering for you every step of the way."

"Good luck, sport--if you ever get homesick, we're only a phone call or e-mail away." Taran agreed as he embraced his son.

"Love you guys...I promise I will make you proud!" Ash vowed to his beaming parents.

"I'll keep you posted on the native Water Pokemon." Misty assured Prof. Oak.

"And I'll be happy to share what the local stories and songs are like." Brock added. "I'll try to learn as many of them as I can."

Prof. Juniper arrived with a card. "If you need to contact me or Fennel for any reason, here's our info."

"Thanks!" Ash smiled as he stashed the card in his wallet for safekeeping.

He looked back at his family and the professors one last time. "Well, we're off!" Cheers filled the air as Ash, Misty, and Brock made their way down the path towards a forest...


As the group made their way down a trail in the forest, Ash spotted what looked like tents in a clearing. "I think I found Blair and Whitlea's camp!"

"Oh, hi!" Whitlea smiled as she emerged from a blue tent with a white and black top. "If you're wondering where Blair is, he should be back with firewood soon."

"You don't mind if we go with you for a while?" Ash asked. "We're both headed to Striaton City..."

"Not at all--we'll show you the best ways to each city, and must dos at every place we stop." Whitlea assured Ash. "As far as we know, Striaton is the only Gym in the world where you'll have three opponents--Cilan, Chili, and Cress can be triple trouble for the unprepared..."

"The matchups may be easy--Fire, Grass, and Water--but even though they are restaurateurs by day, you could end up being trainer flambe if you take them on one vs. three." Blair cautioned as he arrived with a pile of sticks.

"Point duly noted." Ash replied as Blair built the sticks into a nice pattern.

"Okay, Shukyu...start us a campfire!" Blair commanded his Tepig.

[One campfire, comin' up!] Shukyu smiled as he heaved an Ember at the sticks, starting an inviting blaze.

Tarina watched Blair heat up some meat, then motioned for Whitlea. [What can you tell us about the Pokemon Musical and the Pokemon Revue?] she asked, showing Whitlea the page in the guidebook depicting the dancing girls on the stage.

"The Pokemon Musical and the Pokemon Revue have their own challenge, which can be done concurrently with the Gym Challenge." Whitlea explained.

"But even though you will be performing some of the world's best loved stories as part of the challenge; performing is only part of what you must do." Blair cautioned as he tended the mixture of meat and spices. "in addition to performing alongside humans and Pokemon, stage challengers, or performers, battle each other on the Stage of Dreams, in what is called a Stage Battle."

"Stage Battle? Sounds fun!" Ash smiled. "Is it okay if I can try my hand at a Stage Battle?"

Whitlea nodded. "After we have lunch, I'll take you somewhere in the forest for a demo Stage Battle."

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 3: Taking the Stage of Dreams

Whitlea led Ash out to a large open clearing not far from the campsite. "Okay...Stage Battles, and their team variant of Revue Battles, are an important part of the Pokemon Stage Challenge, almost as much as the performances themselves." she began. "Part battle and part performance, the object of a Stage Battle is to shatter the Heart Jewel somewhere on the opponent's costume."

"Costume?" Ash felt around him. "But, we're in our normal clothes..."

"That's because we're not on the Stage of Dreams just yet." Whitlea explained.

She next snapped to summon a beautiful purple and gold sword with a guard shaped like a pair of wings. "So, fellow performer from Kanto, do you wish to join me on the Stage of Dreams?"

"W-w-what happens if I refuse?" Ash swallowed hard at the sword in Whitlea's hand.

"Relax--this is only a prop, and not meant to hurt you." Whitlea assured Ash as she rendered a respectful salute with the sword. "Unlike Pokemon battles, a performer has the right and the choice to decline a Stage Battle without repercussion--all performers on the challenge are to respect a refusal once given. Failure to respect a refusal to take part in a Stage Battle is grounds for removal from the overall challenge."

"That's a relief..." Ash smiled.

Whitlea then repeated her challenge. "Fellow performer from Kanto, do you wish to join me on the Stage of Dreams?"

"Yes!" Ash replied.

"All right...next, we need to negotiate the terms of the battle before we go to the Stage of Dreams." Whitlea explained. "Since this is a friendly match between the two of us, there is nothing at stake here. But when you begin the challenge for real, you, Misty, and Brock will receive a bracelet called a Performer Brace. This is where you put the Star Jewels you earn from good performances. If you accept a challenge for a Stage Battle, you have the option to wager some Star Jewels."

"So this would be like trainers betting Badges?" Ash guessed.

"Not exactly..." Whitlea replied. "When you earn them, Badges are yours, no matter what happens. Star Jewels are both rewards and currency--it is possible for a performer to reach the Grand Musical with less than eight Star Jewels. But lose too many Stage Battles, and you may not be able to reach the Grand Musical at all."

She went on "You can wager up to eight Star Jewels at once, and only those Star Jewels inside your Performer Brace. If both sides are putting every Star Jewel in their Performer Brace on the line, they are said to be 'wagering their entire Brace'. But since you don't have a Performer Brace yet, we'll skip this part."

"Can Tintri go with me to the Stage of Dreams?" Ash asked.

"Only if both sides agree to this." Whitlea explained. "Up to three Pokemon apiece can battle on the Stage of Dreams, as full teams can get very chaotic very quickly."

"Since this is just practice, let's have it be just the two of us." Ash suggested.

"All right--Tintri can still cheer from the audience." Whitlea replied. "The last step is to decide how long the battle will be--up to ten minutes."

"Five minutes sounds feasible for a practice Stage Battle." Ash smiled.

"Okay! We are ready to depart for the Stage of Dreams." Whitlea smiled.

With that, she drew a white circle in the grass with the sword, sending both humans, the Pikachu, and the Oshawott from before falling into a black void...


"OOF!" Ash landed on a smooth white surface some moments later. After feeling around him and confirming he was uninjured, he shielded his eyes for a moment as a spotlight appeared on him, revealing that he was in a familiar red, white, and gold musketeer's costume with a matching plumed hat. I know this outfit...this is my costume from when we last put on "The Three Musketeers" at the Fireside! I've become Rowan of the Red Flame!

A wave of nostalgia washed over him as he drew an orange-yellow sword that evoked Moltres rising. This is definitely not the same sword I used in that play, though...this is different, yet it feels familiar...

The clops of boots in the distance alerted him Whitlea had landed at the other end of the stage. When a spotlight appeared on Whitlea a few seconds later, she was now wearing an elegant navy and gold outfit, with matching lace up boots and a white and lighter blue cape to match. "Welcome to the Stage of Dreams, traveler." a tiny sprite Pokemon smiled as she brushed out her green music staff-like hair. "I am Capella--I'll be overseeing your practice Stage Battle. My fellow Meloettas will also oversee any Stage Battles and Revue Battles you actually perform on your journey."

Ash saw that his Pokedex had come with him to this dimension, and read up on the sprite Pokemon overlooking the stage:

"Meloetta, the melody Pokemon. The melodies she sings have the power to make those that hear them happy or sad."

"That explains why they are referees for a Stage Battle..." Ash mused as he put away his Pokedex.

"Now...the object of a Stage Battle is to shatter the Heart Jewel on your opponent's costume in the time limit you agreed to before." Capella explained. "If time expires and you both still have an intact Heart Jewel, the winner is the one that put on the better performance."

Sounds easy enough... Ash mused as he rendered a respectful salute to Whitlea to signal he was ready.

"Be aware...where the Heart Jewel spawns on your costume will be different every time a Stage Battle occurs." Capella cautioned, pointing out the heart shaped ruby on Ash's chest. "So sometimes it is well hidden on a costume, and sometimes it will spawn in a vulnerable location, forcing you to battle more defensively."

"Got it." Ash replied. "I'm ready to try this."

"Me too." Whitlea replied, rendering a respectful salute with a beautiful silvery blue sword.

"All right...Ready?" Capella called. "Engage!"

At this, an exciting melody from an unseen orchestra began as Ash and Whitlea charged at each other. Don't hesitate, this battle's just for practice... Whitlea sang as her blade and Ash's clashed.
These swords are props, and won't do lasting harm....
But I'm still going to give all I have,
So do not fear, and do not be alarmed!

I have come from afar to seek glory...
Ash sang back in reply as he jumped away from a lunge.
I won't back down, no matter what I'll face...
Just as I've fought and won battles before,
I'll win this one with style and grace!

With that, he made an elegant jump, leaving a trail of flames behind him as he spun in the air. "RISING PHOENIX!!!"

Whitlea braced herself as Ash streaked at her in a fiery blaze, then countered with a shining green shield. "VESPER JADE!!!!"

Ash's attack only sent Whitlea sliding backwards, but dangerously close to the edge of the stage! "Careful--knocking an opponent off the Stage of Dreams will cause you to forfeit the battle." Capella warned as Whitlea charged back onto the stage, her eyes on the heart shaped ruby!

A glint of green on Whitlea's costume snapped Ash to attention. There it is--Whitlea's Heart Jewel!

[Come on, Ash! You can do it!] Tintri called from the audience.

[Yeah, you've got this!] the Oshawott agreed as he munched on some popcorn, enthralled by the clash unfolding before him.

Inspired by the cheering Pokemon, Ash aimed his blade at the pale green heart near Whitlea's chest as her shield wore off. As I wield my blade, I head into an unknown tomorrow...
Facing new challenges with my friends by my side...
Though evil may try to knock us down,
We will stand up against it with pride!

With that, he fired a red beam from his blade, shattering the pale green heart in a burst of fire as the unseen orchestra finished its song.

Whitlea seemed unusually happy as she got up. "Wow...you must be a natural!"

"Thanks..." Ash smiled. "Even though this was practice, I still treated it like a real battle."

"That will serve you well in the Stage Battles ahead." Capella smiled. "Do you have any further questions before you two return to your world?"

"What happens if I want Misty and Brock to battle with me?" Ash wondered as a portal appeared at stage right.

"In a Revue Battle, the challenge is harder because you have to shatter all of the opposing team's Heart Jewels to win." Capella explained. "Teams also have Pair Acts and Team Acts in addition to Solo Acts. If even one team member is still standing with an intact Heart Jewel, the whole team wins even if some members were knocked out."

Ash nodded as he and Whitlea stepped into the portal. "I look forward to returning here alongside Misty and Brock." he assured Capella.

Capella nodded. "And thank you, for a wonderful practice Stage Battle. I believe you and your companions can go all the way to the Grand Musical."

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 4: The Rufflet Has Landed

Misty and Brock watched as Ash, Whitlea, and the Pokemon materialized back in the forest clearing. "So? How did your first Stage Battle go?"

"Exhilarating!" Ash smiled. "I can't wait for when we can do our first Revue Battle together."

He noticed the Oshawott looking up at him. "Although this little guy joined Tintri in the audience..."

He retrieved his Pokedex to read up on the tiny blue and white otter Pokemon as Blair and Whitlea departed:

"Oshawott, the sea otter Pokemon. It fights using the scalchop on its stomach. In response to an attack, it retaliates immediately by slashing."

"I see...that cockleshell is actually a blade of some kind..." Misty smiled. "Is it okay if I have him?"

"Actually, I think he wants to be with me..." Ash replied as the Oshawott clambored on his shoulder.

Tintri, meanwhile, balked at the Oshawott on Ash's shoulder. [Hey, that's MY spot! Go find a different spot!]

[I was here first, so you find a different spot!] the Oshawott retorted.

Brock was about to intervene when he watched Tintri fire a Thunderbolt, only for the Oshawott to counter with its scalchop! "HOLD EVERYTHING!" he called as the Thunderbolt disappeared into the sky with a crackle. "There's two shoulders, so why don't we sit on the other shoulder so Tintri can have his spot?" he suggested to the Oshawott. "There's no sense in fighting over one spot..."

[You're right...] the Oshawott admitted before approaching Tintri. [Look, I'm sorry I took over your spot--will you let me have the other shoulder as my spot?]

Tintri's angry look softened. [Okay--we'll each take a shoulder as a spot.]

He offered a paw to the Oshawott. [Friends?]

[Friends.] the Oshawott smiled as he and Tintri shook paws.

"Well, if this Oshawott's joining the team, next is deciding on a name..." Ash mused before thinking for a moment. "How about...Kaitou?"

"A beautiful name for a samurai-mon!" Misty smiled. "Very appropriate, since it can mean 'sea' or 'ocean'."

Kaitou gave Misty a little bow. [I am honored to lend my scalchop to your noble quest, milady.]

"Speaking of quests, let's get going to..." This was as far as Ash got before he realized he was about to fall in a pit! "WHOA!!!"

He was surprised to discover he was hovering above the pit, thanks to a small bird Pokemon with a ruff of white feathers and a red plume on its forehead. "Thanks..." he sheepishly smiled as the bird Pokemon set him down on safe ground.

"Careful, travelers--the wild Sandile in the area have dug out a lot of pits here..." a brown haired boy cautioned. "You're lucky that wild Rufflet saved you from falling in."

Piqued, Ash read up on the bird Pokemon that had rescued him:

"Rufflet, the eaglet Pokemon. "They bravely stand up to any opponent, no matter how strong it is. These frequent fights help them become stronger."

"Is it possible Mr. Rufflet here actually keeps Sandile away..." Brock started before realizing the group had not asked the boy's name.

"Dan, please." the boy smiled. "I help my dad run a spa resort hotel, although the spa isn't open right now due to all the Sandile. The star attraction is a hot sand pit, but ever since this Rufflet showed up, the wild Sandile have gotten all riled up."

"That is weird." Misty mused.

"Well, the best thing I know to do is to replicate what was going on the first time the Sandile started rampaging." Ash suggested. "Were the Sandile making trouble, or is there more to the story?"

Dan smiled. "A great idea! If you'll follow the Rufflet, he can take you to our resort. I'll even let Dad know you guys are coming!"


"Mm...this is heaven...." Misty smiled as the three companions relaxed in a row of sand tubs some time later."

"This definitely ranks in the top five." Brock agreed as he kept a watchful eye on Tintri, Tarina, and Kaitou relaxing in Pokemon sized sand tubs. "How is it, everyone?"

Before Tintri could answer, a Sandile emerged from a sand pit. [You again?] the Rufflet challenged. [Lay a claw on these Pokemon, and you're getting an Air Slash to the face!]

[But I don't wanna hurt them!] the Sandile pleaded. [I've tried to tell you that you and your friends are all in very real danger, but you just chase us away! Will you please believe me?]

The Rufflet's angry look softened. [If you'll show me that all the other Pokemon you and your cohorts took are safe, I'll believe you.]

Ash sat up as the Sandile accepted the Rufflet's proposal. "It seems like the Sandile never meant any harm at all..."

"Let's get dressed and follow them--just to be sure the Sandile keeps its word." Brock suggested, spurring the others to climb from the sand and return to the changing rooms.


The group watched from a bush as the Sandile showed the Rufflet a wide array of Pokemon. [Here they are...they're all safe.]

The Rufflet nodded, pleased that the Sandile told the truth. [I wonder...how are we all in real danger at the resort? What was it you were trying to save us from?]

A rumble got Misty's attention. "I have a bad feeling about this..."

"WHOA!!!" Ash gasped as he watched a geyser erupt where they had been minutes before.

Dan watched as more and more geysers erupted from the sand. "I see... the Sandiles knew that this would happen, and so they tried to warn away all of the people and Pokémon so they would be safe. The Rufflet believed the Sandile were causing trouble...and here we are."

Ash spotted Tintri in the crowd of Pokemon. "Let me get Tintri's side of the story..."

[No, wait! Human boy, it's not safe!] the Sandile called.

Ash watched in horror as massive geysers erupted around him. "Oh no..." he shuddered as the ground was surrounded by boiling hot water.

Terrified Pokemon cries and crumbling rock spurred him to try and reach out and help the trapped Pokemon. I'm...gonna...try...and save you all...but I can't reach!

The Sandiles noticed Ash desperately trying to reach out and help the Pokemon. [Come on, everybody! Let's give the human boy a helping claw!] one suggested.

The Sandiles cheered as they hurried to bite each other's tails, creating a bridge back to safe ground! "Thanks, you guys!" Ash smiled as he dashed across the Sandile bridge to reunite with Tintri.

He spotted the terrified Pokemon huddled at the edge of the newly created island. "Come on! I know the way to a safe place!"

[Quickly! Before all you guys are burned in hot water!] Tintri agreed.

For a while, the humans, the Pikachu, and the Oshawott worked quickly to bring the stranded Pokemon to safe ground. But just as the last few Patarats made their way to safety, the lead Sandile lost his grip on a crumbling rock! "Sandile down!" Brock called to Ash.

Ash made a flying jump and held the lead Sandile close to his chest. "I've got you...it's okay..."

Suddenly, another large geyser erupted dangerously close to the wobbly Sandile bridge, threatening to engulf Ash in boiling hot water! "I can't hold on...much longer..." he growled as he felt his fingers slipping off the Sandile...

Misty raced over to where Ash was trying to hold on, and grabbed Ash's wrist. "I've got you...now don't let go!"

Gatrandis favel, secret, edena... Ash desperately sang, making Misty gasp.

Emusto ronzen fine el balaziss...

Misty's and Brock's terrified looks turned to joy as a rainbow aura surrounded Ash, Tintri, Kaitou, and the Sandile bridge:

Katoradis favel siicletu edena...
Emusto koron zen fine, si...

On the last "si", Ash, his Pokemon, and the Sandiles disappeared, reappearing in the brush moments later. "Whoa, what was that?" Dan gasped. "I thought something like that only worked on TV!"

"Well, very few can actually use the Swanna Song for real." Brock explained as he tended to Ash. "But since it makes you very tired after using it, it's best to save it for a dire emergency."

"And saving the Sandiles and his Pokemon counted as a dire emergency." Misty explained.

Dan smiled. "Well, as thanks for all you've done, you guys will be the first to try out the hotel's new hot spring..."

"I would be...honored..." Ash weakly smiled in his exhaustion. "Saving the day...can be hard work!" Everyone laughed in agreement, relieved Ash would be okay.

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 5a: We Will All Do Pokemon! (part 1)

"What a day! We help someone out, and I get two more Pokemon for my new team in return." Ash smiled as he watched Tintri and Kaitou romping down the road ahead of him, as well as a familiar Rufflet on his shoulder. "His name will be Washi--Kantonian for 'eagle'."

Misty nodded in approval of the Rufflet's new name. "Well, here's hoping Dan, his family, and the local Sandiles get along."

Ash nodded back in agreement, but did a double take as the group emerged from the forest to find a sprawling city in the distance. "Wow! That has to be Striaton City! Maybe we can see if Cilan, Chili and Cress are as strong as Blair and Whitlea said they are!"

"Hate to break it to you, but Striaton City is the next town over." Brock interjected, prompting Ash to sigh. "The good news is, there should be a Pokemon Musical theater here, so there's something we can try for."

"Wonder if I'll finally get to do a Revue Battle or a proper performance with you guys..." Ash mused, now in a better mood.

"Actually, when you get to a theater, you do a proper performance." a male voice explained.

Ash whirled around to find Blair and Whitlea joining them on the path leading into the city. "Oh, hi! As you can see, I've gotten pretty popular with the local Pokemon."

"I remember the Oshawott, but who's the Rufflet?" Whitlea asked.

"I decided to name the Oshawott Kaitou..." Ash explained, gesturing to Kaitou. "...and this is Washi." The Rufflet happily spread his wings as Ash gestured to him.

"Nice to meet you, Washi." Whitlea smiled.

"If you're planning to take part in the Pokemon Musical, you need to head for that building right there." Blair pointed out a large green building in the distance, where a line was forming. "There are several different ways performances work on the Stage Challenge, but the two most common are the Star Musical, and the Speed Musical."

"The Star Musical is your standard musical performance, no frills or gimmicks." Whitlea explained. "The Speed Musical is where you're given a role and have to play that role on the fly, with minimal rehearsal. You may not always have to sing in a performance, either."

She looked at the theater's marquee as the group approached. "...and there's a Speed Musical going on today...care to give it a try?"

"Would I ever!" Ash gasped, excited.

"I'll be happy with any role you give me." Misty agreed.

"Tell me the role, and I'll do my best to perform it, mistakes and all." Brock replied.


Applause filled the theater as the Speed Musical began. "There was once a king and queen, who had three daughters." Brock, now in a majestic purple, red, and gold costume, began over the orchestra's overture. "The two eldest were twins—Homura and Sora—and their parents loved them dearly. They were beautiful and intelligent to be sure, but they were not very good in heart. The third princess was named Kiiro, and was three years younger than her sisters. She was beautiful, wise, and as kind as she was beautiful."

Intrigued murmurs filled the theater as Brock continued over the orchestra "The light fairy Hikari was Kiiro's godmother, and this made her two sisters, Homura and Sora, very jealous. Some days after Kiiro was born, the king and queen sent her to the country, on a farm, to be nursed. Kiiro lived there happily for fifteen years without her parents coming, not even once, to see her. Every year they sent a little money to the farmer to pay for Kiiro's expenses, and asked some questions pertaining to her health and well-being, but they never came to see her nor cared about her education."

The murmurs in the audience started to turn angry, but Brock assured the audience "Kiiro would indeed have been very rude and ignorant if her good godmother, the fairy Hikari, had not sent her teachers to teach her everything a princess needed to know. Kiiro learned to read, write, do math and build things. She also became an accomplished musician, knew how to draw, and spoke several languages. In fact, some said Kiiro was the most beautiful, attractive, friendly, and excellent princess in the world. She had never disobeyed her nurse or godmother, and therefore never needed to be disciplined. She did not regret her father and mother, as she did not know them, and she did not desire any other home than the farm where she had been so happy."

He intoned as the long overture finished "It is there that our story begins..."

The lights came up on a wavy haired girl in the role of Kiiro, sitting on a bench before the door of a farmhouse set, reading a novel. After a few tense moments, a boy in a laced hat and coat approached her. "Pardon me, good lady, but may I speak to the princess Kiiro?"

The girl looked up from the book. "I am her, and she is me."

"Then, princess, be graciously pleased to receive this letter, which the king your father has charged me to deliver to you." the boy replied as he handed the girl a fancy prop envelope.

The girl took the letter, carefully opened it, and read "Dearest Kiiro: Your sisters are now eighteen years old and it is time they were married. I have invited princes and princesses from all the kingdoms of the world to come join us for a festival, which I intend to give in order to choose husbands for Homura and Sora. You are now fifteen years old and can properly appear at this festival. You may come and spend three days with me. I will send for you in eight days. I cannot send you any money for your room as I have spent plenty for your sisters; besides, no one will look at you. Come, therefore, in any clothes you wish. Regards, The King Your Father."

After folding up the prop paper, the girl hurried into the house, where a dull blonde haired woman playing the nurse was tidying the kitchen area of the set. "I've received a letter from the castle--the king wishes me present at a great festival." she explained as she set the letter on the table.

"Do you wish to go to this festival?" the woman asked as she sat down before the girl at the table.

The girl nodded. "Yes, my good nurse, I am delighted and honored to be invited. I will enjoy myself and get to know my father, mother and my sisters, and then I will return to you."

"But what will you wear?" the woman asked.

"The beautiful robe of white satin that I always wear on holidays and festival days." the girl smiled.

"That robe is suitable for the country, but would appear miserably plain at a party of kings and princes." the woman mused.

"Why does it matter? My father himself has said that no one will look at me. This thought will make me much more at ease. I will see all and no one will see me." the girl assured the woman.

The lights blinked over to Brock as the woman pantomimed sewing and ironing a white gown. "The nurse sighed, but started to mend, whiten and smooth Kiiro's white robe. The day before the king was to send for her, the nurse called her and said..."

"Here is your dress for the royal festival." the woman began as she delivered the gown to the girl. "Be very careful with it, as I will not be there to whiten and smooth it for you."

"Thank you so much." the girl smiled as she watched the woman pack the satin robe and white skirt, a pair of cotton stockings, black shoes, and a bouquet of flowers as a hair accessory.

Moments before the woman closed the trunk, a light appeared in the window of the set as Brock started a familiar melody on his own harp, revealing Misty in a sparkly yellow fairy's costume. "Hikari!" the woman gasped.

"You are going, then, to your father's court?" Misty asked the girl.

"Yes, Hikari, but only for three days." the girl replied.

"But what dress have you prepared for those three days?" Misty asked.

"Look here!" The girl proudly showed Misty the white gown.

Misty "flew" down to the gown. and laid her hands on it. "I wish that my dear Kiiro will create a sensation with her dress. This is unworthy of her."

With that, she sang Seios, higarima laisido... making the gown and its accessories seemly transform into junk.

Laughter went up at the girl's and the woman's shocked reactions. "In this manner do I wish my Kiiro to appear." Misty explained. You must dress yourself in all this, and to complete your ensemble, here is a necklace of nuts, a hairband of burrs, and bracelets of dried beans."

More laughter went up as Misty gave the confused girl a hug, and disappeared in a flash of light and a harp flourish. "Alas! it was not worth my while to go to all the trouble of preparing this poor robe." the woman cried through feigned tears. "Oh, my poor Kiiro! Don't go to this festival. Say you're sick, or something!"

Giggles went up at the woman's melodramatic pose. "No, that would displease my godmother Hikari." the girl replied. "I am sure that she knows what is best for me, as she is much wiser than I am. I will go and I will wear all that my godmother has brought me."

The lights went down as Brock continued "Kiiro had hardly arranged her hair and dressed herself the next morning when Hikari's coach came for her. She embraced her nurse, took her little trunk and departed..."

Blair and Whitlea smiled as the lights went down. "Ash, Misty, and Brock have this acting thing down..." Blair smiled over the orchestra's interlude.

"I know..." Whitlea agreed. "I can't wait for Ash's first scene!"

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 5b: We Will All Do Pokemon! (part 2)

As the orchestra concluded a traveling interlude, Brock narrated from his nook "It only took them two hours to get there, since the royal city was only thirty miles away from the farm. When Kiiro arrived, she was surprised to see that she had to descend in a tiny dirty courtyard, where a page attended her."

Nervous laughter filled the air as the lights came up on a dingy out of the way corner of a castle. More nervous laughter went up as the girl playing Kiiro winced at the imagined dust on the ground. "Come, princess, I am instructed to show you to your chamber." a boy playing a page smiled as he arrived to meet the girl.

"Can I not see the queen my mother?" the girl asked as she brushed the imagined dust from her costume.

"In a few hours, princess--when they are assembled for dinner, you will see her." the boy assured the girl. "In the meantime you can get ready."

The lights went down, save for a spotlight on Brock. "Kiiro followed the page, who led her through a long corridor with a narrow staircase at the end of it. She climbed, slowly, and after what felt like an eternity, arrived at another corridor where she entered the chamber reserved for her--in one of the servants' rooms."

Giggles went up as the lights came up on the girl playing Kiiro and the boy playing the page arriving in a simply furnished servants' quarters. "A thousand pardons, princess, for having led you into this chamber, so unworthy of you." the boy begged as he set the prop trunk in a corner. "The queen has reserved all the other apartments for her guests, the kings, queens, princes and princesses. There was no other room vacant and--!"

"I do not blame you. Besides, this is comfortable enough." the girl assured the boy.

"I will come for you, princess, to lead you to Their Majesties at the proper time." the boy replied as he started for stage left.

"I will be ready." the girl playing Kiiro called back.

Once the boy playing the page had left, she retrieved the prop trunk and set it on the bed with a sigh.

"Kiiro took out her robe of coarse cloth and the other pieces of her outfit." Brock narrated from his nook, hiding the girl changing costumes. "But imagine her amazement when she saw that it was made of gold brocade, embroidered with rubies that glowed like little flames. Her shoes were now white satin, adorned with ruby buckles; her stockings were of silk and as fine as a Spinarak's web; her necklace was of rubies surrounded with large sapphires, emeralds, and diamonds; her bracelets of diamonds and pearls."

'Wow's and applause filled the theater as the lights came up on the girl in the outfit Brock had described. "Kiiro ran to the mirror and saw that the Pidgey feather had become a magnificent locket, and the pendant was a ruby of such beauty and brilliancy that a fairy or deity alone could possess it." Brock continued, trying oh-so-hard not to laugh and break character at the girl's reaction of feigned shock.

"Oh, wow! Wow, wow wow!" the girl playing Kiiro cried as she danced around the set in the new costume. "Thank you, Lady of Light, for rewarding my faithfulness to you!"

A knock from offstage startled the girl. "Come in?" she asked.

The boy playing the page balked when he saw the girl's new costume. "Oh, Arceus in heaven; that looks beautiful! I know not where you acquired that outfit, but it is worthy for a princess like you."

He composed himself, and offered a hand to the girl. "Come...Their Majesties await."

The orchestra started a majestic interlude before the lights went down. When they came up again, the girl playing Kiiro and the boy playing the page arrived on a set of an elegant ballroom, filled with extras playing kings, queens and nobles. A brown haired man, a brown haired woman, and two more girls in elegant royal garb watched them approach from stage left.

The boy plaing the page made a grand gesture to the man and the woman. "Princess, behold the queen your mother and the king!"

There was an awkward silence before the man playing the king spoke. "Madam, be graciously pleased to tell me your name. You are no doubt some great queen or still greater deity whose unexpected presence is an honor and a happiness for us."

"Sire, I am neither a great queen nor a powerful deity, but your daughter Kiiro, for whom you were kind enough to send." the girl playing Kiiro replied.

"Kiiro! Kiiro clothed more magnificently than I have ever been! Who, then, miss, has given you all these beautiful things?" the woman playing the queen asked.

"My godmother, madam." the girl playing Kiiro replied. "Graciously permit me to kiss your hand and present me to my sisters."

The woman nodded, and gestured to the other girls. "There are your sisters."

Laughter filled the air as the red clad girl and the blue clad girl reared back from the wavy haired girl's attempted embrace. "Don't come any closer, I just had my makeup done!" the red clad girl protested.

"What if you have some disease, or something?" the blue clad girl protested. "Arceus forbid I spend the whole festival sick in bed because of you!"

A crowd of extras approached the girl playing Kiiro as she trudged away from the throne area. "Don't mind them, milady--they're far too concerned about their looks than the true treasure." a male extra assured her.

The extras and the girl playing Kiiro pantomimed talking, feigned amazement, and laughing as Brock narrated "As Kiiro conversed with the guests and spoke several languages upon request, she charmed all those who approached her. Homura and Sora were beyond jealous. The king and queen were furious that Kiiro absorbed all the attention and no one paid any attention to the sisters."

The orchestra started another song as the lights went down, revealing a majestic royal dining room set. The auburn haired girl in red was pantomime playing a prop harp near stage left, pantomiming singing with the navy haired girl in blue along with the orchestra.

It was only when the orchestra finished playing did the red and blue clad girls actually sing. All at once, everything looks different, now that I see you...

The gathered extras and the girl playing Kiiro politely applauded the imagined song's end. "Thank you..." the navy haired girl smiled as she took a bow.

"Now that we've sang, it's our little sister's turn." the auburn haired girl began as she got up from the prop harp.

"What?" the girl playing Kiiro gasped. "I-I'm sorry, but I don't really have anything prepared to perform...perhaps I can sing tomorrow night, when I have had time to rehearse?"

"No!" the navy haired girl snapped back.

"You're just saying that because you probably sound awful!" the auburn haired agreed as both of them approached the wavy haired girl.

"I'm speaking the truth--I don't have anything prepared!" the wavy haired girl pleaded.

"Kiiro, I command you to sing!" the woman demanded. "NOW!!!"

The wavy haired girl sighed as she got up from the table, and walked out onto center stage. "Very well, Your Majesty. I will apologize in advance for any mistakes."

With that, Brock started the introduction to a lighthearted love song on his own harp. Oh, the summertime has come... the wavy haired girl sang over the harp.

And the leaves are sweetly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather....

Will ye go, laddie, go?
And we'll all go together,
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather....
Will ye go, laddie, go?

I will build my love a bower
By yon crystal fountain...
And on it I will pile
All the flowers of the mountain...

Will ye go, laddie, go?
And we'll all go together,
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather....
Will ye go, laddie, go?

If my true love, he were gone...
I would surely find another,
Where wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather...

Will ye go, laddie, go?
And we'll all go together,
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather....
Will ye go, laddie, go?

A tin whistle joined in with the harp and some of the strings as the wavy haired girl swayed and danced to the song. Even Blair and Whitlea couldn't help smiling as they nodded along to the beautiful song from their seats.

Oh, the summertime has come.... the wavy haired girl sang again.

And the leaves are sweetly blooming,
And the wild mountain thyme
Grows around the blooming heather....

Will ye go, laddie, go?
And we'll all go together,
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather....

Will ye go, laddie, go?
Will ye go, laddie, go?

The extras and the audience roared with applause as the song ended and the wavy haired girl took a bow. Just then, Ash--now in an elegant green, blue, and gold costume--approached the girl. "Princess, I have never heard so beautiful a voice." he began. "May I have the honor of hearing you again?"

The girl looked around. "Forgive me milord, but it has been a long day, and I am tired."

Ash nodded. "All right...at least allow me to escort you back to your room, and see that you are comfortable for the night..."

"Please do." the girl replied as the lights went down...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 5c: We Will All Do Pokemon! (part 3)

The orchestra started an ominous melody. "While Kiiro was only occupied with happy thoughts, the king, the queen, and the princesses Homura and Sora were choking with rage." Brock explained from his nook. "They had all assembled in the queen's apartment."

The lights came up on a beautiful set of a royal apartment. "This is too horrible...why did you send for this Kiiro, who has such dazzling jewels and makes herself admired and sought after by all these kings and princes?" the blue clad girl complained as the actors playing the royal family arrived. "Was it to humiliate us, my father, that you called us to the court at this time?"

"I swear to you, my beautiful darlings, that it was by the order of the fairy Hikari I was compelled to write for her to come." the man playing the king replied. "Besides, I did not know that she was so beautiful and that--!"

"So beautiful! Where do you find her so beautiful?" the red clad girl snapped. "She is indeed ugly and coarse. It is her magnificent attire alone which makes her admired. Why have you not given to us your most superb jewels and your richest robes? We have the air of farm girls by the side of this proud princess."

"Where could I possibly have found jewels as magnificent as hers?" the man protested. "I have none which would compare with them. It is her godmother, the fairy Hikari, who lent her these jewels."

"Why, then, did you summon a fairy to be the godmother of Kiiro, when you gave to us only queens for our godmothers?" the blue clad girl complained.

"It was not your father who called her--the fairy Hikari herself, by her own choice, appeared to us and told us that she would be Kiiro's godmother." the woman playing the queen explained.

"It is not worthwhile to spend time complaining and arguing--what's done is done." the man playing the king sighed. "It is better to find some means of getting rid of Kiiro and preventing Prince Mamoru from seeing her again."

"Nothing more easy than that." the woman playing sneered over a tense stinger. "I will have her deprived tomorrow of her rare jewels and her beautiful robes. I will order my servants to grab her and carry her back to the farm which she shall never leave again."

The four actors onstage did not expect Misty to appear in the scene with a flash! "If you dare touch Kiiro, if you do not keep her at the palace, if she is not present at all the parties, you will feel the terrible effects of my anger." she warned.

She scolded "You unworthy king and you heartless queen, you will be changed into Froagies and you, odious daughters and sisters, will become Sevipers. Are you still worthy to harm Kiiro now?"

With that, she vanished, leaving the actors playing the royal family gawking in awe and fear as the lights went down.


The orchestra's song turned happier as the lights came up on the small room where the girl playing Kiiro lay, "asleep". A soft knock startled her. "Who is it?" she asked as she climbed from the bed.

"I come to bring you breakfast." an offstage voice replied.

"Come in." the girl replied, prompting a girl playing a servant to arrive with a plate of prop food.

"Here you are--just leave the plate outside when you finish." the girl smiled as she set the plate of prop food on a small table. "Do you need assistance getting dressed?"

"No thank you--I can dress myself." the girl playing Kiiro replied.

"Very well." the girl playing the servant replied with a little bow before departing.

The girl playing Kiiro noticed a new note on the trunk, so she took it. "Here are your things, Kiiro. Dress yourself as you were yesterday, in the clothing you brought from the farm." she read as the lights went down.

"When she saw her own reflection in the mirror she was amazed." Brock narrated from his nook. "She was dressed in the richest riding suit of sky blue velvet and pearl buttons as large as walnuts, at least. Her stockings were bordered with a wreath of pearls; her headdress was a cap of sky blue velvet with a long plume of dazzling white, which floated down to her waist and was attached by a single pearl of unparalleled beauty and splendor. The boots were also of blue velvet embroidered in gold, diamonds, and pearls. Her bracelets and necklace also were of pearls, so large and so pure that a single one would have paid for the palace, and then some."

Cheers came up as the lights revealed the girl in the costume Brock described. "Come--their Majesties await." the boy playing the page smiled as he met Lita in the room.

"Kiiro, do not mount any other Ponyta than the one Prince Mamoru will present you." Misty whispered from offstage.

The girl playing Kiiro just smiled as she followed the boy offstage. "Thanks, Hikari..."


The lights came up on the ballroom again, spurring extras to balk and crowd around the girl playing Kiiro. "The page conducted her, as the day before, into the royal salon, where her appearance produced a greater effect than before. Her fine, sweet countenance, her splendid figure, her magnificent dress, allured all eyes and captivated all hearts." Brock narrated, clearly enjoying the poetic descriptions in the narration.

"Prince Mamoru of Violight!" a herald announced as Ash met the girl at center stage.

"Good morning, princess." Ash smiled with a bow. "Permission to be your companion during the midday hunt?"

"It will be a great pleasure to me." the girl smiled. "Permission heartily granted."

"It seems to me, that I am your brother, so great is the love I feel for you." Ash smiled. "Allow me to remain by your side and to defend you against all enemies."

"It will be an honor and a pleasure for me to be protected by a king so worthy of the name he bears." the girl smiled as the orchestra started an interlude.

The lights came up on a stable set, where another page met the girl and Ash. A Ponyta puppet "danced" at stage right, despite being "restrained" by a few extras.

Ash noticed his costar's feigned unease. "Bring another Ponyta for the princess."

"The king and the queen gave orders that the princess should ride no other Ponyta than this one." the girl playing the page protested.

"Dear princess, wait there." Ash assured the girl playing Kiiro. "I will bring you a Ponyta worthy of you myself, but I beg you not to mount this dangerous Pokemon."

"I will await your return." the girl smiled as Ash raced offstage over an interlude.

"Instead of traveling to the royal hunting grounds with everyone else, Prince Mamoru and Kiiro explored the beautiful shady walks of the forest, talking of their childhoods and many other things." Brock narrated as the lights came up on the set of a sunny forest clearing. The girl playing Kiiro and Ash sat together in a circle of rocks, with two elegantly decorated Ponyta puppets near stage right.

"But if the king your father has not allowed you to reside in his palace, how is it that he has given you such beautiful jewels, worthy of a fairy or deity?" Ash asked.

"It is to my good godmother Hikari that I owe them." the girl replied. "My parents were always jealous of me, and so they sent me away to live on a farm. I thank Hikari for teaching me everything a good lady must know, and all that I value."

Ash nodded. "Well, my parents joined Arceus in heaven when I was seven years old. The fairy Hikari also taught me all I know. She sent me here to the festival, telling me that I would find my future queen there."

He went on over a romantic theme "I believe, dear Kiiro, that you are the charming and beautiful lady Hikari foretold all those years ago. Will you ask, princess, to join your life with mine and authorize me to request your hand of your parents?"

"Before answering, milord, I must obtain permission from Hikari." the girl replied. "But you may be sure that I will be very happy to spend my life with you."

"Aw"s filled the theater as the girl and Ash embraced...

To Be Continued...


The magic of Pokemon
Episode 5d: We Will All Do Pokemon! (part 4)

"The day flew by for Kiiro and Mamoru, and they returned to the palace to get ready for dinner." Brock narrated over an interlude. "Kiiro entered her humble chamber and got ready for the evening, but when she saw herself in the mirror, she could not suppress a cry of admiration."

"Oh!" the girl playing Kiiro gasped from the dark stage.

"Her robe was of velvet, and was so fine and light, and brilliant it looked as if it had been woven from Beautifly wings." Brock went on. "It was studded with diamonds that glittered like the stars. The hem of this robe, the corsage and the waist were trimmed with diamond fringe which sparkled like a thousand silver suns. Her hair was partly covered with a net of diamonds from which a tassel of immense diamonds fell to her shoulders. Every diamond was as large as an Aspear, and was worth a kingdom, at least. Her necklace and bracelets were so immense and so brilliant that you could not look at them for very long without being blinded."

"Wow"s and cheers filled the theater as the lights came up on the girl in the costume Brock described. "Thank you, Hikari." she whispered as she followed the boy playing the page offstage.

The lights came up on the royal ballroom set again, where Ash waited for the girl. "Good evening, Kiiro." he smiled.

He noticed the actors playing the royal family looking jealously at the girl. "I can't imagine why your family would shun you like this." he sighed. "No matter--I will be here to protect you from whatever evil they may be plotting."

"I don't understand this either..." the girl replied. "What have I done to offend them to the point of wanting to destroy me?"

"You have done nothing to deserve death, Kiiro." Ash replied. "When will you permit me to ask your hand of your father? In my kingdom everyone will love you, and I will love you more than all the rest."

"Tomorrow, dear prince, I will send you the reply of my godmother when I ask her tonight." the girl replied.

The lights went down over a tense interlude. "At last, they were called to dinner. Mamoru placed himself at Kiiro's side and they conversed through every course." Brock narrated.

The lights came up on the royal dining room set, where the cast was finishing up a pretend dessert course. "Now, let the dancing commence!" the man playing the king smiled.

Brock started an elegant melody on his own harp as the red clad girl and the blue clad girl danced along. They bowed to the applauding cast members and the audience, then eyed the girl playing Kiiro. "Now, sister...it's your turn." the red clad girl sneered.

The girl nervously backed away. "What's the matter, do you have two left feet?" the blue clad girl mockingly asked.

"N-no...I have not practiced anything..." the girl playing Kiiro stammered.

"Kiiro! I order you to dance!" the woman playing the queen roared. "Don't give us any of this practice stuff!"

Ash hurried to the girl's side. "I will be your partner, dear Kiiro. If you do not know a single step, let me do it for you alone."

"Thank you, milord. I recognize and am grateful for your courtesy." the girl smiled with feigned nervousness.

The audience watched as Ash and his co-star proceeded to dance to, appropriately enough, "The Fairy's Waltz". When the harp's last note died, their applause drowned out the applause of the cast onstage! "I'm sick of people taking bows for my talent!" the red clad girl grumbled.

"What does she have that we don't?" the blue-clad girl agreed.

"Remember the threats and power of the fairy Hikari! Tomorrow shall be the last day." the woman playing the queen whispered, which seemed to calm the two girls.

The other cast members crowded around Ash and his co-star, all begging to see them dance again. "All right everyone, calm down." Ash smiled. "We will gladly dance again for you."

He then called to Brock in character "'The Riverside Waltz', please."

The audience watched in amazement as Ash and the wavy haired girl danced again, applauding along with the cast as the song ended. "The applause and enthusiasm for Kiiro and Prince Mamoru was so overpowering that they took shelter in the garden." Brock narrated, holding his own harp close as the lights went down.

The lights came up on a royal garden set, where Ash and the girl pantomimed a conversation as they walked. "They walked side by side for the rest of the evening, and talked happily about their plans for the future, if the fairy Hikari would permit them to unite their lives. Kiiro's diamonds sparkled with such brilliancy that the alleys where they walked and the little groves where they seated themselves, seemed illuminated by a thousand stars." Brock continued.

He intoned "At last, it was time to part."

"Tomorrow! Tomorrow I hope to say, yours eternally." the girl called to Ash as she exited and the lights went down.

They came up on the small room, where the girl was in nightclothes, lying in a modest bed. "Hikari, tomorrow I must give a definite answer to Prince Mamoru." she mused. "What should I say, dear godmother? I will obey your command, no matter how painful it may be."

Brock started Hikari's motif from his nook as Misty materialized before the girl. "Say yes, my dear Kiiro, to Prince Mamoru. I myself foretold this marriage. It was to allow you to get to know Prince Mamoru that I forced your father to invite you here."

The girl smiled as Misty disappeared in a flash of light and a giggle. "Thank you, Hikari...."

To Be Continued...