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Pokemon: The Jeweled Towers of Armor (some Isle of Armor spoilers ahoy!)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by FlamingRuby, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    (rated E10+ for fantasy violence and frightening images)

    To celebrate the Isle of Armor coming out, I decided to story-fy and expand on the DLC into a much bigger location, and more Urshifu forms to choose from. The story is based on the Sword version of the DLC. While it does follow the DLC at first, most of the story is all new. So be warned--this is not quite the same DLC you played through!

    Prologue: To a New Challenge


    "So, how does it feel to be not just a victorious team, but the Heroes of Galar?" Victor asked Ash as the group strolled down the bustling streets of Wyndon. It had been a few weeks since Ash, Misty, and Brock had defeated Leon and been crowned a Champion Team. Chairman Rose, once widely revered across Galar, was now widely shunned by most Galarians for unleashing the primal dragon Pokemon Eternatus during the height of the Champion's Tournament. Fortunately, Ash had used his Swanna Song to call the wolf-kings Zacian and Zamazenta to the stadium, where they had combined their Swanna Songs to banish Eternatus once and for all.

    "While the world may never know the definitive reason why Chairman Rose wanted to destroy Galar, I'm just thankful that Eternatus is sealed again, and Galar is safe." Ash replied.

    "Yes--thank you so much for saving us all from another Darkest Day." Victor smiled.

    "Fingers crossed that no one else gets the bright idea to release that big ol' dragon." Misty grinned as the group approached a pier.

    "But if someone does, you'll just fire rainbow thunderbolts from the Master Sword again, right?" Brock agreed, giving Ash a playful nudge.

    Everyone laughed at this, including Ash. "So what's next for you three?" Gloria asked. "If you like, you can explore the huge Isle of Armor, or the northern wilds of the Crown Tundra..."

    "What's the Isle of Armor?" Ash was intrigued.

    "The Isle of Armor is a huge island off the eastern coast of here, close to Spikemuth." Gloria explained. "It could very well be a region in itself, with all the towns, cities, and martial arts dojos there."

    "Martial arts? Sounds cool!" Ash smiled, memories of hundreds of kung fu heroes from movies, TV shows, comics, and plays dancing in his mind.

    "I looked into taking lessons, but never could find a style I wanted to learn." Misty mused.

    "I wanted to take lessons, but at the time, Pallet's dojos were a little expensive for Mom and Dad's comfort." Ash admitted. "Maybe one of the dojos on the Isle of Armor could teach me!"

    Gloria smiled. "Well, if you need a suggestion for a dojo to train in, there's the Kikuzu Dojo. People say Leon studied martial arts there when he was a lad."

    "Never knew Leon was a martial artist as well." Brock mused as Ash took a Poke Ball and prepared to heave it skyward.

    "Cuidachta! Show us the way to a new adventure!" Ash called as he heaved the Poke Ball skyward, making a large raven Pokemon materialize on the pier.

    [Good day, Young Master--how does it feel to be immortalized in Galar's lore for ages to come?] the majestic black bird Pokemon asked as it stretched its wings.

    "It always feels amazing to save the world--no matter how much pain and trouble you went through." Ash replied.

    He embraced Gloria. "Thank you...for all you and Victor have done for us, and fighting alongside us."

    "The pleasure's all mine." Gloria smiled. "It is an honor to be part of a Champion Team, especially if the Heroes of Galar were your teammates. If you ever need a place to stay in Galar, my door is open for you."

    "Sonia gives her regards--she wishes you three well on your next journey, and asks that you continue delighting and inspiring the world with your music and stories." Victor added.

    Gloria nodded. "I can't wait to hear 'The Ballad of the Heroes of Galar'." she told Brock.

    "I'll get on writing a song about the trip." Brock smiled. "When we come to Circhester next, I'll play it in the Noble Mare's next session."

    "I still get chills when I remember your rendition of 'Ah, Rosheen'..." Victor smiled at a memory.

    Ash motioned for his faithful Corviknight as his companions finished their last conversations and said their goodbyes. "Cuidachta...do you know the way to the Isle of Armor?"

    [Of course I do.] Cuidachta replied. [After you have said your farewells, I'll take you three there.]

    Ash nodded, then looked back at Victor and Gloria. "Aren't you guys coming with us?"

    "We'd love to, but helping Hop learn the ropes of being the Champion comes first." Gloria replied.

    Ash offered Victor and Gloria a card with his, Misty's and Brock's contact information on it. "If you want to say hi, or come visit us in Kanto, here's all our info."

    "And here is ours in return." Gloria smiled as she too gave Ash a card. "Good luck, and safe travels on the Isle of Armor!"

    "Thanks!" Ash smiled back as he climbed on Cuidachta's back, with Misty and Brock not far behind. Once sure his friends were safely aboard the majestic raven Pokemon, Ash called "Okay! Take us to the Isle of Armor!"

    ---------

    The flight to the island was uneventful, and before long, the Corviknight was elegantly circling down towards the train station connecting the island to the Galarian mainland. "Wow..." Misty gasped as she spotted an elegant blue pagoda-like tower far off in the distance.

    "Wonder what that is?" Ash mused as Cuidachta touched down near the station entrance.

    [That is the Tower of Water, Young Master--one of twelve such towers on the island.] Cuidachta replied. [You'll likely learn their secret if you head for the dojo Gloria was telling you about.]

    Ash nodded as he climbed on the ground. "I will--but how will I know which one's the right one?"

    "Look for some Kantonian monji at the entryway--this monji always spells the dojo's name." Brock explained as he climbed on the ground.

    After retrieving a piece of paper, he wrote three characters, plus their transliteration into English letters for Ash to see. "These are the three characters we need to look for--ki, ku, zu.

    He noticed a girl in purple, white, and green garb, and a large wing like bow crowning her pink hair. "Uh, hello?" he stammered.

    The girl smiled as she approached the three friends. "Hey, have we met before or something?" she asked, aware of Ash's nervous look.

    When Ash didn't reply, she giggled. "Oh, it doesn't really matter, I guess! I'm Klara!"

    "Nice to meet you, Klara." Misty smiled. "Forgive Ash--I guess your clothes intimidated him a bit..."

    "I suppose I can be intimidating..." Klara replied before turning business-like again. "I've been at Kikuzu Dojo for a while, so they sent me to help out the newbies! Kept making a big to-do about them being heroes or somesuch...so if you need directions, Kikuzu Dojo's just up the hill! See you there!"

    Ash collected himself as Klara dashed away. "Heroes or somesuch? It's Gary all over again…"

    "Look at it this way--just like Gary came to learn to love and respect Pokemon and people; maybe Klara will come around soon enough." Brock assured Ash.

    "I can only hope you're right..." Ash replied as he recalled his Corviknight. "Let's head on up to the dojo."

    To Be Continued...
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
  2. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 1: The Masters of Kikuzu Dojo

    For a while, the path up the hill was relatively uneventful. But an Alolan Vulpix wandering in a patch of flowers made Ash do a double take. What's an Alolan form doing all the way over here?

    "There you are, Alba!" a female voice called. The Alolan Vulpix seemed to recognize the young woman in breeder's garb, and romped into her arms. "One Alolan Vulpix down, 150 more to go..."

    "How did you get that many Alolan Vulpixes, miss?" Ash wondered as the young woman checked the Alolan Vulpix over for injuries.

    "My name's Kaimana--I came here some years ago because I fell in love with the cooler climate--that and the Alolan Ninetales that came with me loved having a proper winter with snow. the woman explained. "So I started an Alolan Vulpix and Ninetales sanctuary, where people can see this beautiful Pokemon up close. From the original four Alolan Ninetales I brought with me, I ended up with twelve as the years passed."

    She assured Ash "I'm very careful to breed my Alolan Ninetales ethically. The mothers are treated well, and not overbred. This year turned out to be very productive--all my active females had large litters. All the babies added up to 151."

    "That explains the big number..." Brock mused.

    "Two weeks ago, a huge storm came through, and one of my apprentices forgot to close the main outdoor pen." Kaimana went on. "A huge thunderbolt startled the babies, and they all scattered around the island to Arceus knows where. It would mean the world to me if you could keep an eye out for them as you travel around the island."

    "We'll do our best to find them--don't worry." Ash assured Kaimana.

    "Do any of them have defining features, such as a marking, clothing, or fur color?" Brock asked.

    Kaimana gave Brock a list with the names and pictures of the missing Alolan Vulpixes. "Here's a list of all of them. They know my name and scent, so if you tell them I'm waiting for them, they should find their way back to me."

    "Well, the one we found is already marked as found..." Misty smiled as she noticed Alba's entry on the list had been stamped with a "FOUND!" stamp.

    "Now to find the other 150..." Brock agreed.

    "Good luck!" Kaimana called. "If you show me how you're doing on your search, I can reward you with some Alolan Pokemon dolls you can use to befriend Pokemon, or make someone happy."

    "Deal!" Ash smiled as the group turned to leave.

    "If you can find five of them, an Alolan Meowth doll is your first reward." Kaimana explained, showing the group a plush Alolan Meowth.

    "Aw..." Misty admired the doll. "Someone would likely enjoy that..."

    Ash nodded in agreement. "Let's make sure all the Alolan Vulpixes make it home safe."

    ---------

    "This must be the dojo Gloria was telling us about..." Brock mused as the three friends approached a majestic building with a sloped roof some time later.

    Some familiar characters at the top of the main entrance got his attention. "These are Kantonian monji, all right..."

    He studied the three characters for a moment. "Ki...ku...zu...yeah, this is it."

    About then, a brown haired woman in a majestic green robe came out to meet the group. "Hello! It is indeed an honor to welcome the Heroes of Galar as students."

    "I'm--!" Ash started.

    "Your exploits have even reached this far, Ash Ketchum of Pallet Town." the woman smiled. "The world was watching when you rained rainbow thunderbolts on the primal dragon Eternatus--was that a unique power waiting to be awakened?"

    Ash didn't know what to make of the woman seemingly knowing of his adventure on the Galarian mainland "I guess you could call it a unique power--that was me combining my Swanna Song with the Hero's Sword Zacian, and the Guardian Shield, Zamazenta."

    "Basically, the Swanna Song can be traced back to ancient times, where it was actually used to beseech Arceus directly if prayers were seemingly going unheeded, resulting in unleashing great power at the cost of the singer's strength." Brock explained. "Over time, the song made its way into countless folkloric traditions, but the rise of radio and TV introduced the song to a wider audience, usually as a desperation spell or finishing spell."

    "People that can actually harness the song and its power usually have a deep bond with a Pokemon, have met a Legendary, or both, but they are fairly rare." Misty added. "The three of us can use it, but to my knowledge, Brock is one of the few that can sing it for show without any ill effects..."

    As the group continued to visit with the woman, they did not see Klara listening in from a bush. How come they're all buddies with Master Mitsu all of a sudden? Why do THEY get superpowers, and I don't?

    She gritted her teeth. You three claim to know a superpower song? I'm gonna find a way to have you demonstrate the song before the whole dojo!

    Up on the dojo's roof, a tiny bear-Pokemon with a red headband observed the group visiting with he woman. So these three are the Heroes of Galar...maybe they can guide me on my journey!

    ---------

    In the dojo's main training room, the woman addressed a group of students. "Everyone--we are honored to have the Heroes of Galar join our ranks. But just because they saved the world does not mean they should get any special treatment--for our purposes, they are no different from you."

    "Yes, Master Mitsu!" the students chorused as they bowed before their teacher.

    Master Mitsu smiled at the group as a man with wispy pale purple hair in a deep yellow robe joined the others in the room. "Why don't you three introduce yourselves to Master Karashi and the students?"

    "I'm Ash Ketchum, of Pallet Town!" Ash proclaimed as Tintri bounded on his shoulder. "...and my faithful Pikachu, Tintri."

    [Hi!] Tintri squeaked as he waved to the students.

    "I am Misty Williams, of Cerulean City, in Kanto." Misty smiled. "A pleasure to meet you all."

    "I'm Brock Harrison, of Pewter City, in Kanto." Brock began. "Though I am mainly a musician, storyteller, and folklorist, I'm proud to include martial artist among my talents.

    "What style did you train under?" a boy asked.

    "I'm a second dan black belt in Raikou kung fu." Brock explained. "This means I can fight unarmed or with a number of weapons."

    This got Master Karashi's attention. "Second dan black belt? That's impressive for someone so young...would you be willing to showcase your skill by sparring with me?"

    "I would be honored, sensei." Brock replied as he exchanged a bow with Master Karashi. "How shall we battle in this friendly match? Unarmed, or with weapons?

    "Unarmed--the best form for a friendly match." Master Karashi replied, aware of the crowd of students gathering to watch the match. "If you need to change into a uniform, the dressing rooms are down the hall."

    Even Ash was excited. "No matter how many times Brock battles, it's a thrill to watch!"

    "I know--but I'm sure Master Karashi knows a thing or two himself." Misty mused as Brock emerged in the black robe of a kung fu master, complete with a gold Raikou kanji on the chest. "But Brock knows what he's doing--he takes everything he does very seriously."

    On the sparring floor, Master Mitsu explained the rules. "Okay! Brock and Master Karashi will battle for two minutes, with the goal of knocking down or ringing out their opponent. The first person to knock down or ring out the opponent, or the one with more stamina at the end of two minutes, wins."

    "Go, Brock!" Misty cheered as Brock faced Master Karashi on the floor. Ash whistled in agreement.

    After a few tense seconds, a gong sounded to start the match! "Seiryu Emerges From the Water!" Master Karashi charged at Brock in preparation for a spin kick.

    "Raikou Moves the Mountain!" Brock braced himself, then intercepted Master Karashi, pushing him backwards.

    "Nice move!" Ash smiled as Master Karashi collected himself.

    Misty balked as Master Karashi appeared to create copies of himself. "Did Master Karashi just use Double Team???"

    "Nope--it's actually one of many different martial arts that replicate the effect of Double Team." Ash explained as he watched Brock land a jump kick on the real Master Karashi, dispelling the copies. "Keep in mind they're not even going full tilt, here--they're on a time limit, and this is just a friendly match."

    In the arena, Brock watched as Master Karashi lifted his hands and appeared to rise in the air. That's the Swanna move 'Swanna Spreads Her Wings'...if I can just channel my ki...

    He focused for a moment, charging some thunderbolts in his hands. "Thousand Thunderbolts Rain Down!"

    The audience, Ash, and Misty watched in awe as thunderbolts rained from Brock's hands, knocking Master Karashi to the floor. "We have a winner!" Master Mitsu called, to cheers from the students.

    Master Karashi smiled as he got up from Brock's final blow. "Well done! Your sensei in Pewter has taught you well in the way of Raikou. I see why you are second dan--you have learned much on your martial arts journey, but there is still more you can learn. Maybe I and Master Mitsu may be able to teach you something."

    "Thank you, Master." Brock smiled as he and Master Karashi exchanged bows.

    "As for you two...have you ever thought about studying martial arts for yourselves?" Master Karashi asked Ash and Misty as the students dispersed.

    "I wanted to, but the local dojos' lessons were too expensive..." Ash replied.

    "After seeing all those cool moves in the movies, it looks like fun." Misty smiled.

    Master Karashi smiled. "It is a challenging, but very rewarding journey."

    "What styles can you teach us?" Ash asked.

    "Well, which Pokemon's path do you desire to walk?" Master Karashi asked. "If I know that style, I will teach you. If I do not, I'll find a dojo with a master that does."

    Ash thought for a moment. "My dream style would be power and speed based, with some defense."

    "Based on your courage, dedication, and noble heart, you would do best walking the path of Arcanine." Master Karashi smiled. "Arcanine moves quickly, and hits hard. Ever vigilant against evil, and a fiercely loyal companion, he strives to protect the world."

    "Sounds like me, all right!" Ash grinned.

    "In addition to unarmed fighting, Arcanine can wield swords and bows, as well." Master Karashi explained.

    "What about you, mizushi?" Master Mitsu asked Misty as she joined Master Karashi and Brock on the floor. "Which Pokemon's path would you prefer to walk?"

    "If I had to pick a style...I'd want a balanced style, since water can both hurt and help in both its forms." Misty replied, flattered she had been called a master.

    Master Mitsu nodded. "You would do well on the path of Suicune. As the Guardian of the North Wind, Suicune can battle evil with the fury of a tsunami, or the bitter cold of a wintry chill. Yet he is not all power like his cousin Raikou--Suicune understands that sometimes the best offense is a good defense, and supports his allies if they need help."

    "Works for me!" Misty grinned as both she and Ash accepted white student uniforms, complete with a white belt. The only difference between the two uniforms were the kanji on them--Ash's had a red Arcanine kanji, and Misty's had a blue Suicune kanji.

    "This is very comfy..." Ash smiled as he admired himself in a mirror.

    "Now then, Nincadas..." Master Karashi began. "As students here at Kikuzu, do you promise never to misuse your skill in a rash battle, fight fairly, respect others as you respect yourself, protect those that cannot protect themselves, stand up for truth and justice, and battle evil in whatever form it presents itself?"

    "We promise." Ash replied as both he and Misty exchanged bows with their masters.

    "I renew my commitment to do likewise, as a Raikou master." Brock agreed as he too exchanged a bow with Master Karashi...

    To Be Continued...
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
  3. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 2: The Three Trials


    "Okay everyone...you all have a chance to do something very special for both Master Mitsu and me." Master Karashi explained as the group and the other students gathered in the dojo's main hall a few days later. "In order to do this very special task, you must complete three trials to prove your abilities. You each will receive a weapon of your choice for your second trial, which is unique to each person."

    "So even two people that choose a sword will have two very different trials." Master Mitsu cautioned.

    Before Master Karashi could ask if there were any questions, a familiar voice cried Sensei! I never got a student's uniform!"

    "Here, Klara, let me give--!" Master Mitsu started before a blur of pink snatched away the white student's uniform! "What on earth?"

    Even Misty was surprised when she saw that a Slowpoke clutched the student's uniform meant for Klara! "That was a Slowpoke???" she gasped as two more of the odd Slowpokes arrived.

    "No Slowpoke I've ever seen has gold on its forehead and tail..." Brock mused as the three Slowpokes dashed out of the dojo. "Usually they are all pink, and go as fast as a brisk walk. But these Slowpokes are sprinting!

    Piqued, Ash fumbled for his Pokedex to read up on the odd Slowpokes:

    "The Galarian Slowpoke, a regional variant of Slowpoke. Because they eat the seeds of a plant that grows only in Galar, their tails have developed a spicy flavor."

    "That explains the gold on them..." Ash mused. "But how can they go that fast?"

    "By practice and dedication, Nincada." Master Karashi smiled. "This is your first trial--chasing the fast Slowpoke. Find the one that took Klara's uniform, and bring back the uniform as proof."

    I'm not sure how chasing Slowpoke will help train Arcanine martial arts, but maybe Master Karashi has a reason for us to do this.... Ash thought. "Okay, we'll do what we can to find the speedy Slowpoke!" he smiled before following Misty, Brock, and the other students outside.

    ---------

    As the students and the group arrived in a flowery field, Ash watched as one of the Galarian Slowpokes sent a boy flying!

    "Whoa!" a girl gasped as a second Galarian Slowpoke sped by her.

    "How are we gonna catch these guys, and get the uniform back?" an older boy asked, dumbfounded by the fast Slowpoke running in circles around the field.

    "I'm gonna see if I can match their speed!" a third boy smiled before focusing his ki. "Braviary Hunting Buneary!"

    Misty watched as the boy dashed away in an attempt to catch the Galarian Slowpoke with the uniform. "Not sure how a speeding up move will help..."

    "We could try blocking its path..." Brock mused. "Or we could somehow trap it or trip it up...."

    "SAY..." Ash made a note of the path the Galarian Slowpoke was running in, then dashed into the circular path. "Arcanine Corners the Demon!"

    He threw himself onto the Galarian Slowpoke, and wrestled the uniform free from the Galarian Slowpoke's tail. "You guys! I got it!" he called, waving the white uniform like a flag for Misty, Brock, and the others to see.

    Applause rippled through the field at this. "Nicely done, Ash--cornering the speedy Slowpoke turned out to be a good idea!" Misty smiled.

    "You guys take the uniform back--we'll get the other speedy Slowpoke!" one of the students offered as Ash gave Misty the uniform.

    "Right!" Ash smiled as he led the way back to the dojo...

    ---------

    Ash smiled when he saw a Bulbasaur and a Squirtle playfully chasing each other in the dojo's main practice arena. "Aw, who are these two?" he asked.

    "The Bulbasaur is named Ayame, and the Squirtle is Ketsuro." Master Mitsu replied. "These two are special--they have awakened the power to Gigantimax when they evolve."

    "Guess not only Charmander can Gigantimax..." Ash grinned, savoring a memory of Leon's Charizard Linton.

    A pop of a Poke Ball got his attention. [Wow...is this a place to learn kung fu?]

    Ash smiled when he saw his Squirtle Brenna gawking over the elegant dojo and the many training items in the room. "Not only can humans learn kung fu, Pokemon can learn too." he assured the tiny blue turtle Pokemon at his side.

    Excited, Brenna dashed to where Mister Mitsu was watching over Ayame and Ketsuro were playing. [Please, mistress of martial arts, teach me the way of Gigantimax.]

    Master Mitsu just smiled at Brenna. "Of course--we train Pokemon as much as people."

    Ash remembered the uniform as Master Mitsu led Brenna to a training room. "I got Klara's uniform back." he smiled as Master Karashi arrived in the room.

    Master Karashi smiled as he accepted the uniform from Ash. "Nicely done, you three. The second trial is unique to each person, because it involves weapons. So tell me...what sort of weapon have you longed to wield?"

    Ash thought for a second. "While I'm enjoying learning all the unarmed moves of Arcanine so far, learning to use a sword for real would be cool!"

    "I wouldn't mind learning to use a blade myself...or two!" Misty smiled. "With twinblades, I could create a dance that is beautiful to watch, and deadly to the forces of evil!"

    "Of all the weapons I have learned to use on Raikou's path, my best one is a bow." Brock replied.

    "All right...Ash, come with me." Master Karashi replied. "We will start your unique weapon trial first."

    ---------

    "Ash...choosing a sword is a fine choice of weapon for an Arcanine user." Master Karashi smiled as he led Ash into a training room. "While not as powerful as unarmed Arcanine moves, a sword allows you to showcase the speed that Arcanine is famous for."

    Ash however, was more interested in the beautiful flame designs in his red, orange and gold blade. "So, do I get to keep this?" he asked as he watched his blade project orange and gold lights from the sun into the room.

    Master Karashi nodded. "The Radiant Phoenix Sword can be yours if you pass your unique weapon trial--cut down 100 training dummies using what you have learned from the sword moves of Arcanine so far."

    Ash nodded, then braced himself for a running jump. Focus, Ash...remember what Master Mitsu's taught you so far, and all those stage swordfights you've done...

    He then charged at the row of 100 training dummies before leaping into the air to perform a jump slash on the first training dummy. "'Embers Fall from Arcanine's Mane'...great choice for an opening move." Master Karashi smiled, interested in how Ash would cut the other 99 training dummies in the room...

    ---------

    Master Mitsu smiled as she admired Misty holding a pair of small glittering cyan swords. "Those twinblades suit you well..."

    "But am I sacrificing some defense for a powerful offense?" Misty asked as she admired one of her two blades. "I thought Suicune was a balanced style."

    "You can use your blades to defend as well as attack." Master Mitsu explained. "This is your trial--defending yourself with your blades from targets that come from all directions."

    She gestured to all the ball launchers surrounding the arena. "Your challenge is to deflect or knock away as many balls as you can with your blades in two minutes. If you can deflect at least 50, the Glorious Aurora Blades are yours to keep."

    She went on. "The challenge will start simple, but as time progresses, you'll have multiple balls coming at you. Remember what you've learned so far, Nincada, and trust in your blades."

    "Deflect 50 balls with these--sounds easy enough..." Misty mused as she drew her blades again and braced herself for the onslaught of balls...

    ---------

    "Now then...Master Brock." Master Karashi couldn't help but smile at how regal Brock looked in the black robe of a master. "Since you tell me you are an expert archer, your unique weapon trial is a target test."

    "Okay..." Brock mused as Master Mitsu brought him an elegant pale green bow with thirty matching arrows. "Where is the target you want me to hit?"

    "This is part of your trial--the targets are hidden around this area." Master Karashi replied. "Trust in your bow, and you'll find your mark."

    He explained the rules. "Hidden in this area are twelve statues of the Pokemon of the Zodiac. Shatter the glass orb they hold with your arrow, and we'll move on to where the next one is hidden. If you can break all twelve orbs, you'll pass the trial, and the Venerable Jade Bow you now hold is yours to keep."

    "Those are fair rules." Brock smiled. "May I have a few practice shots before we begin the trial?"

    "Of course...you can practice in the dojo's target range all you like." Master Karashi smiled. "When you are ready to begin your trial, inform Master Mitsu, and she will take you to where the Pikachu statue is hidden. I will be waiting for you there."

    To Be Continued...
     
  4. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 3: The Ruthless Rival

    "Hut! Hah!" Ash cried as he cut the last two training dummies for his trial.

    Master Karashi smiled and applauded, prompting Ash to take a bow. "Well done, Nincada--you've passed your unique weapon trial. The Radiant Phoenix Sword is--!"

    "Wait!" a voice called.

    "Klara?" Ash asked, surprised that Klara was framed in the doorway. He noticed that Klara was holding a purple and silver blade that evoked a Drapion's claw.

    "Why are you and your friends the favorites of Master Karashi and Master Mitsu all of a sudden?" Klara asked. "If you're really one of the Heroes of Galar, I challenge you to a duel! Your Radiant Phoenix Sword against my Fierce Drapion Sword!"

    "Klara...this is not the place for a duel." Master Karashi explained. "If you and Ash clearly want to duel, come to the main arena--you can duel all you like there."

    "Fine..." Klara signed before departing in a huff.

    "If Klara really wants to duel, then I will accept her challenge." Ash replied.

    ---------

    "All right--here are the rules for your duel..." Master Karashi began as Ash and Klara met in the main arena. "The first one to knock down or ring out their opponent in two minutes, wins. You have ten offensive moves with which to do this. Defensive moves, such as blocks or parries, will not count."

    "Two minutes--got it!" Klara smiled as she drew her blade.

    "Ready...and begin!" Master Karashi called, causing a clock set for two minutes to begin ticking away.

    Ash braced himself as Klara charged at him. "Too Dark To See the Sun!"

    Ash stumbled backwards from the fierce attack, but noticed that his field of vision had dimmed a bit, as if a dark cloud had fell over his eyes. Did Klara just...blind me?

    He heaved a relieved sigh as a whistle stopped the fight. "Klara...you are not to use moves that stymie the opponent, injure them, or otherwise give you an unfair advantage." Master Karashi began. "If you cannot fight fairly, I will declare Ash the winner of the duel."

    Master Mitsu hurried to Ash's side. "Are you okay? That was a hard hit that Klara attempted to use..."

    Ash blinked a few times as the darkness faded, allowing him to see Master Mitsu and the dojo's main arena clearly again. "I think so...what was that that Klara did?"

    "That was a move from the Fierce Drapion Sword--'Too Dark To See the Sun'." Master Mitsu explained. "Even when blocked, it will dim the opponent's vision for a few seconds, leaving them vulnerable to attack."

    That explains why everything looked so dark for a minute... Ash mused as he got up and sheathed his sword.

    Misty arrived by Ash's side a few minutes later. "Huh...Klara challenged you too..."

    "Wait, Klara challenged you?" Ash gasped. "But you have twinblades--you'd have the advantage against a one handed sword!"

    "She also has a pair of twinblades..." Misty explained. "Shiny black blades, too...she called them Invincible Void Blades. I managed to beat her, then she ran off to challenge you,"

    "So if she has a one handed sword and twinblades, then she may have a bow on her person too, so she can challenge Brock!" Ash concluded.

    "Then we need to head for the target range, just so she can't cheat in a shooting match, too." Master Mitsu led Ash and Misty to the target range...

    ---------

    Misty winced as the group arrived at the target range, where Klara was showing off a sleek blue bow that evoked tears. "Just as you said, Ash...she has a bow too."

    "I don't know how she acquired all these weapons, but she needs to learn that in order to be the hero she so desperately longs to be, she has to fight fairly." Master Mitsu explained as she joined Brock and Klara. "Is everything okay up here?"

    "Klara's wanting to have a shooting match..." Brock explained. "Her Beauteous Tear Bow against my Venerable Jade Bow."

    "Very well..." Master Mitsu replied. "Each of you will take turns making three shots. The highest combined score, wins. A perfect score is 30."

    "Okay...I can do that." Klara mused.

    "You are not allowed to use guides, sights, or anything else that would help you." Master Mitsu cautioned. "If you are caught using a guide or a sight, you will forfeit the match, and the opponent gets an automatic 30. Understand?"

    "Understood." Brock replied with a bow.

    "Yes, sensei." Klara replied with a pious smile, snickering a little. Once Master Mitsu was distracted with setting up the targets, she took a small laser sight from her pocket and attached it to her bow.

    Ash, meanwhile, retrieved a coin from his pocket as Klara arrived. "Okay...Pikachu face is heads...Kanto League crest is tails." he explained before flipping the coin.

    "Heads!" Brock called.

    "Tails!" Klara smiled as the coin landed in the dirt.

    Ash checked the coin. "It's heads...Brock will shoot first."

    "Okay!" Brock smiled as he made his way to an open lane.

    Master Mitsu watched as Brock carefully aimed his shot, then fired. "Nicely done! 8 points!" she smiled when she saw Brock's arrow in the inner red ring.

    Misty balked when she saw the sight on Klara's bow. "Didn't Master Mitsu say no guides or sights?"

    "Yeah, but since it's bright right now, I don't think Master Mitsu can see the laser." Brock replied as he saw Master Mitsu applaud Klara's bullseye.

    He noticed some clouds dimming the sunlight as he approached the line to take his second shot. Maybe the clouds will make the laser easier to see... he thought as he readied his second shot.

    Master Mitsu saw Brock's second shot fly into the inner red ring again. "Well done--8 points!"

    Ash saw the red dot from Klara's sight on the bullseye. "Sensei! Klara's using a sight!" he called.

    Klara grimaced as Master Mitsu arrived to scold her. Drat! I was so close to successfully cheating my way to a perfect 30, but then Pika-Boy has to ruin it all! Somehow, Pika-Boy, I will confound you with my strategies, if it's the last thing I do!

    ---------

    Later that afternoon, Master Mitsu led the group to a hill outside the dojo that overlooked a large canyon and a waterfall. "I am so sorry you three have had to put up with Klara--but maybe now we can have Brock complete his unique weapon trial without her interference. Master Karashi has talked with her, and confined her to her room until dinner."

    "Fingers crossed he was able to get through to her that cheaters never prosper." Brock agreed before preparing his first shot.

    After a few tense moments, he fired towards the waterfall. "I heard it hit something..." Misty smiled as she heard a tink off in the distance.

    Ash led the way down the path, where he saw Brock's arrow embedded in a garnet that a Pikachu statue was holding. "Wow! Brock got it!"

    Master Mitsu smiled as Brock carefully edged his arrow out of the jewel. "Very good--Tauros is also here in the canyon, but to find him, we must enter the forest..."

    To Be Continued...
     
  5. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 4: Ancient Dinner Theater (part 1)


    That evening, the dojo's residents and the Trio got together to enjoy a large spread of Kantonian and Johtonian delicacies. "Nice, there's tempura Combusken and veggies!" Ash smiled as he admired plates full of lightly fried meat and vegetables on the table.

    "The masters have thought of everything!" Brock agreed as he admired a massive bowl of fried rice with all the fixings.

    He noticed Klara a few places down the table, looking glumly at her plate. She looked up at the group, smiled, then returned to staring at her plate.

    "Arceus' blessings on this meal, and for the guests that join us at our table tonight." Master Karashi began, spurring the group and the students to help themselves to the huge meal.

    "Is it true that there's an ancient form of drama that was revived in Kanto and Johto?" a boy asked. "Master Karashi and Master Mitsu talk all the time about the Gekijou theater, and how martial arts were featured in the plays."

    "Maybe..." Misty glanced over at a stage overlooking the main arena. "Once we're done eating, would anyone like to help Ash, Brock, and me put on a Gejikou play?"

    "MEEEEEEEEE!!!!" Hands went up around the table at Misty's question.

    "Do I get a part? Please say I get a part!" Klara was just as enthusiastic.

    Brock smiled at Klara's enthusiasm, never mind that she and the group had been mortal enemies hours before. "All right...if you want a part, come join us in one of the training rooms--we'll decide roles, decide who makes up the musicians and chorus, and rehearse in there."

    ---------

    "...So without any further ado...please enjoy 'Crimson Parasol'." Misty concluded her introduction spiel some hours later.

    Applause filled the air as Misty exited and the lights went down, leaving the main arena in complete darkness. After a few seconds of silence, the notes of a vina playing the tune "The Scent of Flowers Everywhere" filled the air. The audience whispered who the performer playing the exotic harp could be for a moment, but the whispering quieted when the lights came up on Brock, now clad in a purple robe with white, gold, and green trim, playing his vina.

    After playing the haunting melody through several times, he let the last note fade away before addressing the audience. "Good afternoon and well met, travelers...I am Kataribe-san, your storyteller for today. I travel from town to town playing my harp and singing..."

    He proceeded to play a bouncy melody as he sang Come one, and come all--come and hear my tales!

    The audience laughed as Brock danced around the stage for a moment. "Then the old and the young, the rich and the poor, they all come from their homes and the streets and join me in the town square, eager to hear what tales I have to tell." Brock continued in character. "Today I have a new twist on an old favorite to tell you--you yourselves learned this tale from a storyteller named Jacob Grimm, but where he learned it from, we may never know."

    He smiles "You just can't keep a good story at home, can you?"

    Affirmative murmurs wafted in his direction. "The tale concerns a girl in red, a fearsome Mightyena, and a woodcutter that saved the girl and her grandmother from a terrible fate--I speak, of course of 'Little Red Riding Hood'." Brock explains over a mostly improvised soft melody. "But when that same story came to this land, Little Red Riding Hood transformed into Crimson Parasol." He played a soft chord for effect.

    "Now, with a little help from the Nijiiro Chorus..." Brock made a grand gesture to stage right as the lights came up on a crowd of about thirty people, not including Ash. While the other musicians wore a plain colored robe and carried some form of a percussion instrument, Ash wore a red and gold robe, and the other instrumentalists wore colorful robes themselves. "...we will tell you this tale just as it was told many suns ago."

    As if on cue, two stagehands in black arrived--one carrying a gold disc and the other a silver disc. The vina and the three stringed fiddle-like tikin started a soft melody as the stagehands spun the two disks in opposing directions as they exited. "Many many suns ago..." a male speaker began.

    "On an island in a land far away..." a female speaker continued.

    "There was a mountain capped with snow." a second male speaker explained.

    "Below that mountain was a green valley." a second female speaker continued.

    "In that valley was a meadow of tall grass..." a third male speaker went on. Those chorus members with shakers shook them for effect, to some bemused giggles from the younger students in the audience.

    "And on that meadow stood a cottage." a third female speaker continued as the two stage ninjas brought on a screen that depicted an Asian-esque house on a meadow.

    "In that cottage, there lived a mother..." a fourth male speaker began.

    Oka-san! a female singer called.

    As if on cue, an older female student, now clad in a pale blue and green robe, slowly walked on stage in time to the vina, the woodblocks, and bells. When she got to the center of the stage, she bowed to the audience before walking towards stage right.

    "And with the Oka-san," the first male speaker explained.

    "There lived a young daughter." the first female speaker replied.

    Klara, now wearing a deep red tunic-like robe, black leggings, and black shoes, entered from the right, with the woodblocks and bells providing a playful beat for her steps. She bowed to the girl playing Oka-san and the audience as they noticed the small red parasol she carried, then walked over by the girl's side as the vina and tikin joined back in again.

    "This is Crimson Parasol." the first male speaker explained as a spotlight appeared on Klara. Klara waved hello to the audience at this.

    "She has a feather head." the first female speaker commented as Klara feigned a giggle.

    "She has a wandering eye." the second female speaker added as Klara looked around the room in feigned awe.

    "Listen well, Akane-san." the singer cautioned.

    "Listen to your Oka-san." Ash agreed. At this, the vina and tikin abruptly stopped.

    "Listen to me, Akane, my love." the girl playing Oka-san began. "I would like you to visit your Oba-san that lives to the east." As the girl said her first lines, the stage ninjas brought on a small table, a tea set, and a small covered basket, then exited as quickly as they had come.

    "Yes, Oka-san." Klara replied.

    "Bring her this basket filled with Berries and sweet cakes." the girl playing Oka-san smiled, gesturing to the small basket on the table.

    "How delicious--fresh Berries and sweet cake!" Klara gasped, to some "aw"s from the crowd.

    "Pay attention, Akane." the girl playing Oka-san began as the vina played a drone. "Do not go through the southern jungle. It is dark, it is dangerous, and Raikous lurk in the shadows." A soft drum roll punctuated the girl's line.

    "Yes, Oka-san." Klara replied.

    "Then go, Akane, before it grows hot." the girl smiled. "Do not linger to pick the flowers..." Some bells jingled for effect. "Do not chase the Beautiflies...."

    Ash interjected on his bansi with the notes that matched "Ai-yai-yai, I'm your little Beautifly!" for effect, to giggles from the audience. "...and do not sit and dream on the rocks in the fields." Some larger woodblocks tapped for effect. "Furthermore, take your crimson parasol--who knows whether it will be warm or it will rain?" The vina's drone ended with a soft flourish.

    "I understand, Oka-san." Klara replied before taking the basket from the table and hugging the girl, so more "aw"s. Itekimasu!

    With that, she walked off in time with the bells and woodblocks as the girl waved goodbye...

    To Be Continued...
     
  6. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 5: Ancient Dinner Theater (part 2)


    Backstage, Misty--now in a navy blue swordsman's robe--alternated between studying the script and listening to Brock's narration out on the stage. I'm thankful that's not me playing the tikin... she smiled as she watched a girl frantically saw away at the majestic three stringed instrument in time to the chorus' pleas. Even though Kuni offered to give me lessons back in Johto, bowing it was just too hard! I'll stick with my fiddle, thank you!

    The stage ninjas bringing on a tree with pink flowers snapped her to attention. Oh, this is the Beauitifly's scene! Ash did say he had a solo in this scene...

    ---------

    Onstage, Klara stopped at the pink flowered tree at as the frantic melody concluded. After a few tense seconds, a girl wearing a green, blue, and silver dress-like costume danced onstage to the accompaniment of bells and finger cymbals. "Oh! A flower...a beautiful dancing flower." Klara smiled. "I will present this dancing flower to Oba-san as a gift."

    She approached and tried to grab at the girl several times, but then the girl waved her away. "Halt! Don't touch!"

    Ash then started what sounded like an improvisation in B minor along with the percussion as the girl continued dancing around Klara, speaking all the while. "No thank you very much! I am no earthly bud! No blossom of the mud! I'm here, I'm there! I am queen of the air! Foolish child, use your eyes! For I am Nabi the Beautifly, princess of the summer skies!" The music ended there.

    "A thousand pardons, sora-hime." Klara replied with a little bow. "I was confused, for the shadows teased my eyes. Please excuse this unworthy Akane-chan!"

    "Very well, but don't let it happen again." the girl warned. "Now, I must be off, for I have an audience with the sakura.

    With that, she danced off as the tikin joined Ash's bansi and the percussion. Some in the audience giggled when they recognized what the instruments were actually playing.

    Oh....oh...oh... the singer sang along.

    "Beautifly! Flutter by!" the chorus chanted over the music.

    "Flash and flitter!"

    "Skip and skitter!"

    "Black and blue!"

    "Colors in the sky!"

    "Green, black, and blue, make the colors in the sky!" At this, the instruments and the singer stopped as Brock appeared in his spotlight, playing the chorus to "Beautifly" one last time on his vina.

    "An encounter with a haughty Beautifly...do you think that stopped Akane-chan?" Brock asked the audience.

    "No"s and murmurs wafted through the audience. "In fact, she went on, even further into the jungle..."

    ---------

    Misty smiled as she admired a beautiful Raikou puppet in the backstage area. "Wow...he's beautiful!"

    "Thanks--we've used him in quite a few performances." the lead puppeteer replied as she led her two partners to get the puppet ready for its grand entrance.

    "Your archer companion is a great speaker, so Niko had no problem syncing to him." one of the assistant puppeteers grinned. "Klara's never seen this puppet before, so her reaction to this big guy's gonna be awesome!"

    Misty noticed Klara and a fourth puppeteer performing a Wartortle puppet were nearing the end of their scene. "Well, when I arrive to save Klara, I'm gonna come like I'm really gonna fight, so can I trust you guys to give me a good struggle?"

    Niko nodded. "We'll do our best." she replied before disappearing inside the puppet.

    ---------

    The stage ninjas brought on a third tree with a yellow flower on it as the tikin began an uneasy drone with accents from the shakers. Listen, listen, what is that? the singer sang.

    Ash joined in with a shuddering note. "Only a bird in the treetop high." a male speaker replied.

    Hush! Hush! Who goes there? the singer sang again.

    The woodblocks answered the singer's sung question with a playful rhythm. "Only a child on the jungle path." a female speaker replied.

    Listen, listen, a sound in the bush. the singer sang again.

    A foreboding drum roll punctuated the tikin and bansi's song, which was now growing more and more tense. Look! Look! A shadow falls!

    Misty jumped as Ash blasted a high note that sounded amazingly like a female scream as a gong sounded and Brock mimicked a perfect Raikou's roar offstage as the magnificent Raikou puppet ran onstage, to "ooh"s and "ahh"s from the crowd. Even though we've done this play hundreds of times since our Johto trip, that STILL startles me!

    "AUGH!!!" Klara yelped, surprised at the huge puppet. She took a few steps backwards before opting to hide behind the parasol. "Oh! You look like...you look like..."

    "What do I look like, shoujo-chan?" Brock asked in a deeper version of himself from offstage. To the audience, it appeared the majestic puppet had asked the question.

    "Well, you LOOK like a Raikou...you SOUND like a Raikou....but I don't think you ARE a Raikou." Klara explained.

    "What? I've never heard such a thing...how can I not be a Raikou?" Brock asked in character.

    "Because I THINK you are a Raikou...today I have made two mistakes." Klara went on. "First, I mistook a Beautifly for a flower. Then, I mistook a Wartortle for a rock. So if I think you are a Raikou, then you have to be something else. Understand?"

    "Not very well." The audience laughed as the Raikou puppet shook its head. "So if I am something else, what am I?"

    "Hm..." Klara looked the Raikou puppet up and down. "Fur...stripes...four legs...a tail...so you must be a Zebstrika! I should tell my Oba-san about you."

    "Ah, an Oba-san!" Brock excitedly gasped in character.

    Nervous giggles filled the air as the Raikou puppet licked its chops. "Two fine meals for the great Langi!"

    The puppet turned to face Klara again. "Of course I am a Zebstrika, shoujo-chan--you do not fear me, do you?" Brock asked in character.

    "No." Klara replied.

    "Then allow me to come with you to your Oba-san's house--I could protect you from any Raikous that lurk in this place." the puppet offered.

    "You are too kind, Zebstrika-san." Klara smiled.

    With that, the puppet and Klara walked in place as the lights went down, with the woodblocks, bells and the drum keeping the beat. Suddenly, a fearful bansi phrase stopped the beat as a spotlight appeared on the chorus.

    "Oh, foolish Akane!" Ash cried.

    "Oh, wicked Raikou!" a female speaker agreed.

    "What will happen now?" the singer asked.

    A tense tikin riff played as a spotlight appeared on the Raikou puppet. "I will tell you what will happen now." Brock explained in character as the stage ninjas brought on another screen of a house in a field and placed it stage left as Master Mitsu, playing Oba-san, entered. "I will get this foolish shoujo to her Oba-san's house, and then I will have a feast!"

    Ash punctuated this with another note that sounded like a female scream. "But how will I do this, you ask?" Brock continued in character, clearly enjoying playing the villain. "Worry not, for I, Langi, am a clever Raikou!"

    The puppet then turned to address Klara again. "Look, out at the sky!"

    "What is it? What do you see?" Klara asked.

    "I see Ho'oh off to the west, with her beautiful golden plumes. If you look towards the setting sun, you just might see her as she passes here." Brock explained in character.

    Klara nodded and froze in a reverent westward facing pose. With Klara distracted, the Raikou puppet tiptoed up to the unsuspecting Master Mitsu and shoved her back behind the screen, complete with Ash blasting another scream-like note as the gong sounded again.

    "There! Into the closet with you while I deal with your precious shoujo-chan!" Brock growled in character as the stage ninjas arrived with a copy of Oba-san's costume.

    Boos filled the room as Brock mimicked another Raikou roar. Memo to self--ask Ash how he can mimic a girl screaming with a flute! Misty grinned--her big scene was coming soon!

    To Be Continued...
     
  7. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 6: Ancient Dinner Theater (part 3)


    Later, Klara spotted the Raikou puppet's tail peeking from the blanket. "Tails? Oba-sans don't have tails..."

    She pulled off the blanket, to a panicked riff. "A Raikou! Where is my Oba-san?"

    "Don't try to escape, shoujo-chan!" Brock growled in character.

    With that, he mimicked a roar as the Raikou puppet sprung at Klara as the bansi, vina, tikin, and percussion played an exciting melody. Klara, meanwhile, used the closed parasol as a sword.

    Misty meanwhile, listened for the bansi flourish that served as her cue from the wings. Ash said he'd play a distinct little melody for my cue...

    She smiled as she heard a descending phrase down the B minor scale. There it is... she grinned as she drew a prop katana and dashed onstage.

    "Praise Arceus, help has come!" a female extra cried.

    "It is Takuya, a great hunter!" a male speaker agreed.

    "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!" the singer cried as Misty cornered the Raikou puppet, prompting the music to stop.

    "Get away from her, you wily Raikou, before your head falls to the great Kanemoto!" Misty warned the puppet, brandishing the katana for effect.

    "What? Cut off my head? You must be mistaken--the girl claims I am a Zebstrika." Brock protested in character.

    "A Zebstrika indeed! I know you too well, Langi of the Southern Jungle." Misty grinned.

    "Please, have mercy, dear hunter!" Brock pleaded in character. "I have not harmed the Oba-san...she was in the closet the whole time!"

    Cheers went up from the audience as Klara brought Master Mitsu out from behind the screen. "Since you have not harmed the Oba-san nor the girl, I am feeling merciful." Misty mused before pointing the katana at the Raikou puppet. "Do you promise to return to the jungle from whence you came?"

    The Raikou puppet fearfully nodded yes as the katana inched closer to its head. "Do you promise never to bother another human again for the rest of your days?" Misty asked.

    The Raikou puppet fearfully nodded yes again. "Now go, before I change my mind." Misty growled.

    Ash smiled as a drum roll played to signal Langi bounding offstage. Misty definitely has this hero thing down! he thought as Master Mitsu hugged Klara, and Misty sheathed the katana over a triumphant vina and bell flourish.

    "Shoo, shoo! Wily Raikou!" he called offstage.

    "Never return again!" a female speaker scolded.

    "Hail! Hail! Wielder of Kanemoto! You've saved the red-clad child!" the singer called.

    Applause went up as the lights went down, except for Brock in a spotlight nearby the chorus, playing an interlude on his vina. "And so, Langi the Raikou returned to the southern jungle--never again did he show his whiskers around that place." he narrated as himself. "Word of Takuya's brave deed spread to even the Pokemon League, and he received a great crystal medallion from the Pokemon Master."

    At this, the instruments played an Asian style rendition of "Advance Galaria Fair" as Misty knelt at center stage, and one of the stage ninjas draped a large sparkling medallion around her neck before all of them exited...

    ---------

    Master Karashi smiled as he met Ash, Misty, and Brock in his chambers later that night. "Thank you all for the wonderful play this evening--I never knew Klara or Master Mitsu could be such wonderful actors!"

    "The pleasure's all ours." Brock smiled. "It's a play we enjoy performing, and we can easily put together with a willing group."

    Master Karashi turned business-like again. "Now, back to the task at hand--Klara has asked if she could battle you all in the morning for your third trial. Since three of you against one wouldn't be fair, which of you will represent the group against her team?"

    "I will." Ash replied.

    "We'll support Ash from the sidelines." Misty offered.

    Master Karashi nodded. "Very well...Ash, you and Klara will battle in the Battle Court in the morning."

    ---------

    That night, Klara snuck out to the Battle Court not long after everyone had gone to bed. So I have to battle Pika-boy in the morning... she thought as she shepherded a small purple scorpion Pokemon by her side. Let's see how he battles when every member of his team is poisoned when they are swapped in!

    She addressed the scorpion Pokemon. "Venus, use Toxic Spikes."

    To Be Continued...
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020
  8. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 7: A Clash with a Cheat

    Ash woke up with a yawn the next morning. "That Gekijou play we did last night was so much fun..."

    A pop of a Poke Ball got his attention. [I agree, Young Master--although it is a simple children's tale at its heart, you manage to infuse it with enough excitement and thrills for the adults, too.] Cuidachta agreed as he flexed his metallic wings.

    He looked out the window, which overlooked the Battle Court. [That's odd...how did all these spikes get here? The Battle Court had no such obstacles when we went to bed last night.]

    "Huh?" Ash hurried to the window, where he could see hundreds of purple spikes decorating the left side of the Battle Court. I KNEW Klara would attempt to cheat again... he grumbled.

    Another pop of a Poke Ball snapped Ash from his anger. [Calm down, love...we'll find a way to expose the fraud, and allow you a fair playing field to battle on.] a large white rabbit Pokemon with red and gold "pants" assured Ash.

    [Yeah--Klara's not the first cheater you've battled, and likely won't be the last.] Tintri agreed.

    Ash smiled as his concerned Pokemon. "Thanks guys...I think I have an idea to let Master Karashi and Master Mitsu know what happened, so Klara doesn't get an unfair advantage.

    [Allow me to lead--I can destroy those Toxic Spikes.] Cuidachta offered.

    Ash nodded. "Okay...Cuidachta, Ruby, Tintri, and Yume--you guys are my lineup for this battle!"

    ---------

    A gong and cheers filled the air as Ash summoned his faithful Corviknight, and Klara summoned her Skorupi. "Okay, Cuidacta! Gather up all these poison spikes and destroy them with Air Slash!" Ash called.

    "What on earth?" Master Mitsu gasped. She watched in awe and horror as Cuidacta gathered up all the Toxic Spikes on Ash's side of the field, then cut through them with a massive windy blade.

    Master Karashi sighed. "It was as I feared--Klara was so determined to win against Ash, she went so far as to cover the opponent's side with Toxic Spikes. With Ash busy dealing with the poison, it would put her in an unfair position to win. In the Battle Court, both sides meet as equals." He let that hang as Klara's Skorupi attempted to bite Cuidachta with a Poison Fang, only to be cut down with an Air Slash.

    On the field, Klara grimaced at her swirly eyed Skorupi. "Ooh...let's see what happens when you can't hit a Pokemon physically at all!" she called, summoning a green poison puffball with stovepipes on both their heads.

    Ash recognized the odd Pokemon. Oh yeah, this is like when Brock faced Opal! he remembered as he consulted his Pokedex to refresh his memory:

    "Galarian Weezing, a regional variant of Weezing. This Pokémon consumes particles that contaminate the air. Instead of leaving droppings, it expels clean air."

    He turned business-like again. "Cuidachta, use Flash Cannon!"

    Klara watched in shock as the bright green flash overwhelmed her Galarian Weezing. "All right, if you want to pound with raw power..."

    She next summoned an insectoid Pokémon encased in a hard, segmented shell. "...I can answer with raw speed! Say hi to Racer!"

    Cuidachta watched in shock as the insectoid Pokemon sped away. [Oh my...how do I even begin to hit that?]

    "Let's see..." Ash retrieved his Pokedex to refresh his memory:

    "Whirlipede, the curlipede Pokemon. This Pokémon spins rapidly and charges into its opponents. Its top speed is just over 60 miles per hour."

    He heard the whir of the Whirlipede approaching Cuidachta. "Watch out!"

    [He may be fast on the ground, but Miss Klara doesn't know I can take to the sky!] Cuidachta smiled before elegantly looping over the Whirlipede.

    Ash smiled as the Whirlipede came to a screeching halt, confused as to where its opponent was. Maybe, if I intercept the Whirlipede...

    He held up Cuidachta's Poke Ball. "Cuidachta, return!"

    He then heaved another Poke Ball skyward. "Ruby, I choose you!"

    [Hah!] Ruby called as she landed on the field with a jump, only to find that nothing was on the other side of the arena. [Um, where's my opponent?]

    Ash spotted a cloud of dust headed in Ruby's direction. "There! Try to intercept the Whirlipede with a Pyro Ball!"

    Ruby nodded. [It's the eighty ninth minute, and the match has come down to the wire...] she smiled as she kicked a large fireball into existence. [Let me score you the winning goal!]

    The Whirlipede did not see the huge fireball coming, and was quickly engulfed in fire. "Akai has one Pokemon left!" the student referee called.

    Klara growled in frustration as she collected her fainted Whirlipede. "Fine, I've saved my very best for last!" she began as she summoned a Slowbro with purple splotches on its body and a Shellder shell on its arm instead of its tail.

    Piqued, Ash consulted his Pokedex again:

    "Galarian Slowbro, a regional variant of Slowbro. A Shellder bite set off a chemical reaction with the spices inside Slowbro's body, causing Slowbro to become a Poison-type Pokémon."

    A Poison and Psychic Pokemon, huh? Ash mused. Tintri won't be much help at all, then...

    After recalling his Cinderace, he heaved a third Poke Ball skyward. "Yume, I choose you!"

    A lavender cat-like Pokemon with twin tails materialized in the arena. Be careful, Ash...Galarian Slowbro still maintains its secondary Psychic type. It's Shell Side Arm move is very powerful!

    "Okay...then let's dig underground!" Ash suggested to the Espeon.

    Yume nodded, then buried into the soft earth of the arena. "Hey, no fair going underground!" Klara protested."

    "Dig is a valid move..." Ash shot back. "Not covering my whole end of the field with spikes in hopes of poisoning my whole team!" He let that hang as Yume slammed into the Galarian Slowbro, making it teeter backwards.

    He noticed his offbalance opponent. "Finish this with Iron Tail!"

    Tears welled up in Klara's eyes as she heard the KA-WHANG! WHANG! of the Espon's twin tails impacting. "Akai is unable to battle! Aoi wins!" the student referee announced, to cheers as Ash, Tintri, and Yume took a bow.

    Master Karashi and Master Mitsu arrived on the field some moments later. "Klara...is it true you covered Ash's end of the field in Toxic Spikes in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage?"

    "It's true..." Klara managed to whisper as she choked back tears. "All I wanted was a chance to say I defeated the Heroes of Galar somehow, and prove myself a hero."

    "A true hero never cheats." Ash began.

    Master Mitsu nodded in agreement. "Ash won because because he played fair, and believed in his Pokemon. A true hero does not tear others down in an attempt to reach the top--instead, they support them. That's why Ash, Misty, and Brock are the Heroes of Galar--they trust in their abilities, cover their weak points, and support each other through thick and thin."

    "Since you confessed and are genuinely remorseful, Klara...I want you to look after the dojo's Pokemon on your own for six months." Master Karashi told Klara. "We hope that by then you will appreciate the value of honest work."

    "I understand, Master." Klara sobbed as Master Mitsu tended to Ash's Pokemon.

    She located Ash reuniting with Misty and Brock on the northern sideline. "Before you go inside, may I give you something as a sign of an apology for being a jerk to you guys?"

    "What is it?" Ash asked.

    Klara shakily held out a card. "Here...this is my League card. I hope that you'll think of me as you travel around the island...but will you ever forgive me, after all I put you through?"

    "Of course." Ash smiled as he offered Klara a copy of his own League card. "A hero always forgives and forgets."

    "I hope this has taught you to be humble, and not steal all the glory for yourself." Misty agreed as she gave Klara a copy of her League card.

    "Everyone wants to be heroes..." Brock added as he gave Kara a copy of his League card. "But you don't tear others down on your way to the top--that will come back to haunt you eventually. I hope that you'll learn to be kind, humble, and unselfish--only then will you be the hero you've always wanted to be."

    Klara looked up at the group with her tears shining in her eyes. "Now I know…why you three are the Heroes of Galar."

    To Be Continued...
     
  9. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 8: The Evolutionary Journey


    "Good morning..." Master Mitsu smiled as the group met her and Master Karashi in the main arena. "Well done on passing the three trials."

    "You three have proved yourselves as diligent students." Master Karashi agreed. "By passing the three trials, you have proven yourself worthy of doing something not many of our students get to do."

    "What would you have us do?" Misty asked.

    "Over the course of your time here, have you noticed many of the students training alongside small gray and white bear Pokemon?" Master Karashi asked.

    "I have--those little guys are kinda cute." Brock smiled.

    "Those small bear Pokemon you've been seeing with the students are Kubfu--they have long been companions of warriors for years." Master Karashi explained. "Kubfu does not evolve by experience, by stone, by bond, or by trade. In order to evolve, all Kubfu must undertake a long quest--master a thousand unique martial arts, and claim the jewels from the tops of the Jeweled Towers, which I'm sure you've seen on your way here."

    "A thousand?" Misty gasped. "That's a lot!" Brock whistled in agreement.

    "If a Kubfu can do this, they will become an Urshifu that reflects the jewel style they are most attuned to, and train Kubfus of their own." Master Karashi went on. "Many Kubfu don't even complete the quest--this is why they deeply revere an Urshifu of any style."

    "What are the Jeweled Towers?" Ash wondered as he set the Radiant Phoenix Sword at his side.

    "In no particular order, they are the Towers of Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Thunder, Snow, Wood, the Sun, the Moon, Spirit, Darkness, and Light." Master Karashi explained. "They can be visited in any order, but this is the 'suggested' order; if you will."

    He went on "I wish to entrust you three with the honor of guiding a Kubfu on the journey."

    "Would we ever!" Misty gasped, excited.

    "Can we see the Kubfu we have to guide?" Brock asked.

    "Of course..." Master Karashi smiled before calling "Here, Goukai!"

    [Coming, master!] came a tiny male voice as a familiar Kubfu wearing a red warrior's headband scampered into the room.

    "Everyone...this is Goukai." Master Karashi explained, prompting the Kubfu to wave hello. "He is one of the more dedicated Kubfu students of mine, and has handily proven himself ready for the quest of evolution."

    "Hello, Goukai." Ash smiled before kneeling to the Kubfu's level. "I'm Ash, and these two are my companions, Misty and Brock."

    "Nice to meet you." Misty smiled at Goukai.

    "Pleased to meet you, Goukai." Brock smiled.

    [It is an honor to meet the three Heroes of Galar face to face.] Goukai replied with a little bow. [And even more of an honor for them to guide me down the Road to Evolution.]

    "You have our word we will do everything we can to guide, teach, care for, and protect Goukai." Brock assured Master Karashi as he watched Ash give Goukai a big hug.

    Master Mitsu gave Brock a large book. "This is a guidebook to help you find your way around the island."

    "Thanks...I promise to use it well." Brock replied.

    Misty studied the map of the island at the front of the book. "So, where do we even begin Goukai's journey?"

    "Kikuzu Dojo is right here." Brock pointed out the dojo on the map. "So the closest tower from here is the Tower of Earth. That still means we have a ways to go before we get there."

    Misty swallowed hard, memories of the otherworldly monsters in every historical fantasy and martial arts drama she had ever watched dancing in her memory. "What happens if we run into any monsters on the way?" she stammered.

    "Not every fantastic creature means to hurt people." Brock reminded Misty. "Some creatures in lore mean to help people. If we do run into one that wants to harm us, we can use the skills we learned here to fight them off."

    Misty looked back at the two swords crossed neatly in their sheaths on her back. "Yeah...we didn't spend the last few weeks learning martial arts to run away crying like Sobbles!"

    "Eventually Sobble learns to be brave, becoming Drizzile, and then Inteleon." Master Karashi agreed. "Today, you will go forth and use what you've learned in practice as you guide Goukai on his journey."

    "Thank you...for all you've taught us." Ash smiled as both he and Goukai exchanged one last bow with their masters.

    Something occurred to Ash as Misty and Brock exchanged their last bows. "Although...can you pass on a message to Klara from me?"

    "All right...what is it you want to say?" Master Mitsu asked.

    "Tell her I mean no hard feelings for beating her yesterday, and I wish her all the best." Ash replied.

    Master Mitsu nodded. "I will pass on your message."

    ---------

    After departing the dojo, the group traveled to a hill overlooking the sea to plan out their route. "Now then..." Brock mused as he set the guidebook on a rock. "From Kikuzu, if we follow the road through the Courageous Cavern, we will emerge onto the Emerald Highlands. The closest dojo from there is the Tsunematsu Dojo, which specializes in the Golden Lightning Wheel...whatever that means."

    Misty pictured a ninja being clobbered with sparking car tire and stifled a giggle. [Actually, the wheel used in martial arts is more like a boomerang.] Goukai explained. [A lot of them are very ornately designed.]

    "So basically, a weaponized Frisbee..." Ash mused.

    "That's actually a fairly accurate description..." Brock smiled, showing Ash a picture of a bladed ring-like weapon with small thunderbolt-like spokes in the guidebook. "Although we could also call these chakrams or rings, the martial arts community just calls them wheels."

    Ash nodded, then looked over at the Kubfu excitedly punching the air. "Well, Goukai...we're off on the adventure of a lifetime..."

    Goukai nodded. [I have long prepared for this day...and I know you three will be the perfect guides. I'll also do my best to show you other interesting places the island has to offer besides the thousands of dojos and the Towers.]

    "Don't forget to keep an eye out for the lost Alolan Vulpixes, too..." Misty reminded Ash.

    Ash looked out and the waves gently lapping the beach below them. "We'll do that, and see Goukai's journey through to the end! Our biggest journey yet starts now!"

    To Be Continued...
     
  10. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 9: The Legend of the Four Guardians


    "It's beautiful in here..." Misty smiled as she admired the rock formations in the Courageous Cavern. What sunlight there was glinted off the jewels embedded in the walls, creating hundreds of tiny colored lights on the cave floor.

    Ash, meanwhile, recognized a drawing of a familiar large turtle Pokemon on one of the cave walls. "Is this a Torterra?"

    [Not just any Torterra...] Goukai agreed. [That is Genbu, the Black Torterra of the North. He watches over the Tower of Earth from his mountain abode.]

    "Genbu...so does that mean Seiryu, Byakko, and Suzaku are here too?" Brock asked.

    Goukai nodded. [Genbu represents Earth, Suzaku represents Fire, Byakko represents Wind, and Seiryu represents Water. Many Kubfus on their journey usually stop to see them--and they are not above teaching humans that are brave, pure, and unselfish their holy arts.]

    "So, where does Genbu live?" Misty asked.

    [He lives in a cave near the Temple of the Golden Earth--so we will have a chance to visit him on our way to the tower.] Goukai replied.

    As the group rounded a corner past a river flowing through the cave, a white blur on the other side snapped Goukai to attention. [That's odd...I have never seen a white Vulpix before...]

    "One of the lost Alolan Vulpixes!" Misty gasped.

    Ash looked across the river. "Unless you guys know where a bridge is, we're gonna have to swim across..."

    [Allow me!] Goukai volunteered.

    "Are you sure?" Brock asked, gesturing to the river's rushing rapids. "You could get washed away in the rapids...and that's if you don't drown first."

    [If you'll trust me, I can get the white Vulpix safely over here without getting wet.] Goukai assured Brock. [So, will you trust me?]

    "Okay..." Brock nervously replied. "Let's see what you can do..."

    Goukai nodded, braced himself, then sped across the water so quickly, all the group saw was a blur! [Yanma Skims the Water!]

    "WOW!!!" Misty gasped, impressed as Goukai returned with the Alolan Vulpix on his back.

    [There you go...] Goukai replied as the Alolan Vulpix climbed off of him.

    "Kaimana's waiting for you." Brock added. The Alolan Vulpix nuzzled Goukai in thanks, then dashed out of the cave and into the sun.

    [I have heard of the exotic region of Alola...] Goukai mused as the group continued through the cave. [How is it that a place so warm is home to a Pokemon of the snow?]

    "Alolan Vulpixes live in the mountains--one of the very few places where you can see snow in Alola." Misty explained. "The normally red Vulpix turned white to adapt to the cold and snow."

    "The native Alolans see the Alolan Ninetales as a guardian god." Ash explained. "So to see one is very lucky indeed."

    "Do the four elemental guardians talk to ordinary people at all?" Misty asked, changing the subject. "I kinda wonder what Genbu would tell us if he does talk to mortals at all..."

    [Oh, the guardians do talk to worthy mortals.] Goukai assured Misty. "Master Mitsu says they will only talk to someone brave, true, and unselfish--usually if they need direction on their adventure, but sometimes they will talk to a hero if the world needs saving."

    Piqued, Ash yelled into the sunshine "Hey, Genbu? Where do you suggest we go first in guiding a Kubfu?"

    At first, no answer came as the group emerged into a cave. But after a few tense moments, a gentle deep male voice echoed in Ash's mind. You could start your long journey by teaching your Kubfu about the martial arts and culture of your homeland. This way, he learns to appreciate cultures different from his, and where many martial arts began. Learning martial arts is for nothing if you do not understand the art's history, traditions, and place in the wider culture.

    "Okay? Thanks?" Ash replied. "I guess traveling to the Tsunematsu Dojo will have to wait..." he mused as the group stopped to make a temporary camp.

    "Look at it this way--if we teach Goukai what we have learned, that's three or more arts out of a thousand." Misty smiled as the group pitched their tents. "So we can start by teaching him about the paths of Pokemon martial arts."

    [So...where do I even begin to learn at least thousand unique styles of martial arts?] Goukai asked as the group settled into their camp. [That's a lot of styles!]

    "Well, the easiest place to start are the different Pokemon styles." Brock explained. "The five most common Pokemon styles are Raikou, Suicune, Gyarados, Scyther, and Swanna. Some variations of these five are Raikou, Suicune, Gyarados, Arbok, and Swanna; or Raikou, Infernape, Scyther, Arbok, and Swanna. The version I learned back home in Pewter City was Raikou, Suicune, Gyarados, Scyther, and Swanna. Of those five, I trained under Raikou style--so we'll start with what I know."

    [What other Pokemon paths are there?] Goukai was intrigued.

    "Besides the main five and its variants, there's the variants of Urshifu that is your ultimate goal." Brock explained. "There's also Pangoro style..."

    "Made famous by the movie 'Kung Fu Pangoro', its sequels, and the TV show." Ash interjected. "Great movies and great TV show."

    "...Emboar style, Tauros style, Centiskorch style, Combusken style, Clawncher style, Honchkrow style, Sawsbuck style, Arcanine style, Braviary style, Donphan style, Delphox style, Greninja style, Pidgeot style, Ponyta style, Entei style, Charmander style, Drapion style, Swellow style, Toxicroak style, Wartortle style, and Mightyena style are the ones I know of." Brock muses, amazed he remembered the long list. "There may be even more that I don't know about."

    He turned business-like again. "But for now, let's focus on learning the Raikou style first."

    "Yes, sensei Brock!" Goukai gave a little bow, then retreated to a rock to listen.

    "Now--the path of Raikou focuses on a powerful offense." Brock explained. "But this doesn't mean he is pure raw power like Tauros or Emboar. Raikou is strong, but he is gentle too. He is proud of who he is, but never boasts about it. He is fiercely loyal to those he trusts, and would gladly give his own life if it meant saving others..."

    To Be Continued...
     
  11. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 10: The Judgement of the Golden Wheel


    After walking along the road for a while, Goukai gasped when he saw the sloped roof of a dojo in the distance. [We're here! The Tsunematsu Dojo!]

    "So after I taught you a little of the Raikou style, this will be art number 2." Brock mused as he led the group up the hill and into the dojo grounds. It was smaller than the Kikuzu Dojo, and had plenty of open space for students to practice throwing the Golden Lightning Wheel.

    A young blonde haired man in a black master's robe came to meet Goukai and the group. "Hello there, travelers--I am Master Katsura. What brings you to my humble dojo?"

    "We are guiding this little guy..." Ash shepherded Goukai close to him. "...on his journey of evolution."

    "We are travelers from far away Kanto on a journey of discovery as we guide our Kubfu." Misty explained. "So we too would like to learn as much as we can alongside our Kubfu, to protect him when our own Pokemon cannot."

    "So what is the Golden Lightning Wheel?" Ash asked.

    Master Katsura showed Ash a shiny gold ring with lightning decor and thunderbolt shaped spokes. "This is the Golden Lightning Wheel. Like all wheels, it can be thrown like a boomerang, or launched from a launcher mounted on the user's wrist. There's no difference in difficulty between these methods--you only need to choose which method is more comfortable for you."

    [I'll be fine learning to throw it, Katsura-sensei.] Goukai replied with a little bow.

    Ash smiled. "I'd like to try using the launcher, if you don't mind teaching me."

    Master Katsura smiled. "If one truly desires to learn any martial art, the dojo is always open to them--even if the one seeking to learn is one of the Heroes of Galar."

    He motioned for Ash to follow him as an older female student led Goukai inside a training arena. "If you'll come with me, we will begin our training."

    ---------

    "All right..." Master Katsura smiled as he secured the launcher to Ash's right wrist. "If you need to switch to the other wrist at any point, let me know."

    "This should work fine, Master." Ash smiled as he admired the small white launcher with gold lightning trim. "Besides, I'd still be able to use a blade freely."

    "If you decide to learn the way of the bow, you can combine an arrow and the wheel to create a spinning missile-like weapon that can home in on a target." Master Katsura interjected. "But for the moment, let's begin with the basics of the wheel."

    Ash nodded as Master Katsura explained "Now...what you are basically wearing is a launchable boomerang--to launch a wheel, press the button behind the hand guard with the other hand. Once you fire a wheel, watch its arc carefully so you can catch it with the launcher as it comes back to you. A full attack cycle goes 'launch-arc-catch'."

    "Launch-arc-catch...got it!" Ash smiled.

    "Now than, let's try firing the launcher a few times so we can practice the attack cycle." Master Katsura suggested. "Remember--launch, arc, catch."

    Ash nodded, then fired a wheel with a click. He almost fell backwards as one of the golden wheels went flying into the sky, creating what sounded like a peal of thunder as it arced majestically through the air.

    He managed to collect himself enough to catch the spinning wheel with the launcher, then contemplated what he had just done. "What was that? Recoil?"

    "Not necessarily." Master Katsura replied. "That was the basic move of the launched Golden Lightning Wheel--the Sound of Rolling Thunder. If you were to try throwing the wheel, the move would be the Sound of the Spring Breeze."

    "I see..." Ash mused. "But, what if I don't want to tip off a bad guy to where I am? Is there a way I can fire quietly?"

    Master Katsura nodded. "To fire quietly, simply press the button as gently as possible. This will create the Sound of the Silent Storm."

    Ash nodded. "Since we're on a long journey, is there any people or sects we should keep an eye out for...or keep away from?"

    Master Katsura thought for a moment. "There are many you should watch out for, and just as many you should be on your guard against. But the ones that most want to help you and your Kubfu are the 777 Saints."

    "Who are they?" Ash wondered as he quietly launched another Golden Lightning Wheel into the sky.

    "The 777 Saints are heroes who have dedicated their lives to fighting for peace and justice." Master Katsura explained. "They wander the world helping others that guide a Kubfu on their journey of evolution. Should you meet one of them on your journey, it would be wise to befriend them."

    "Okay...how do I tell them apart from any other wandering martial artist we may meet?" Ash wondered before jumping to intercept his wheel.

    Master Katsura showed Ash a picture of a stylized Beautifly design. "This is the emblem of the 777 Saints. Long ago, the Saints chose Beautifly as their guardian Pokemon, as a sign of their promise to cleanse evil, and bring new life, hope, creativity and joy in its place. This emblem, or the choushirushi, is usually worn on an armband, but headbands, scarves, sashes, and other locations are not unheard of."

    His face turned somber. "As for martial artists you should watch out for, the ones considered the most dangerous are the 999 Black Dragons."

    "Are they anything like Team Rocket?" Ash wondered. "Or even worse than Chairman Rose?"

    "Much worse." Master Katsura replied. They will stop at nothing to sow the seeds of discord wherever they go, and will go to any lengths to prevent a Kubfu from becoming an Urshifu. Some have said that they have allied with youkai, or are youkai themselves."

    He showed Ash a picture of a tribal Eternatus design. "This is their emblem--like their sworn enemies the 777 Saints, this too is worn on an armband, but other locations are not unheard of."

    Ash nodded. "We will do our best to find the 777 Saints and bring the 999 Black Dragons to justice!" He unleashed another wheel with a peal of thunder to emphasize his point...

    To Be Continued...
     
  12. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 11: The Song of the Dutiful Delphox


    "So, how does it feel to add the wheel onto your list of arts?" Misty asked as the group made their way along the road again some days later.

    "Interesting...it'll be a nice ranged attack option if I can't use my sword or a bow." Ash replied. "The launcher's in my bag--just in case."

    He went on "But I'm more interested in finding one of the 777 Saints, or catching one of the 999 Black Dragons!"

    Goukai shuddered at the mention of the 999 Black Dragons. [Are you sure you want to try and battle them? Master Karashi always said that they are very dangerous...they are feared across the island.]

    "If we find them and capture them, they can't bother the righteous sects anymore." Ash assured his nervous Kubfu.

    "If anyone, Black Dragon or otherwise, attempts to hurt you or take you from us, we will do everything in our power to rescue you, okay?" Brock assured Goukai. "That was our promise to Master Mitsu and Master Karashi when we left Kikuzu."

    A low pitched sound Ash recognized as the end-blown kidi snapped him to attention. "A kidi? Here?"

    "Who would be playing a kidi?" Misty asked, interested in the haunting melody that seemed to be approaching them.

    "Who's playing?" Ash called as the kidi's last note echoed into the sky. "Friend or foe?"

    He balked when he saw the performer--a blonde haired woman in an ornate red, orange, gold, and black robe. "Serena?"

    The woman smiled as she she put away the long, slender flute and removed her Kantonian straw hat. "No...I can assure you I am not the one you seek." she began before showing Ash a familiar Beautifly wing crest on one sleeve of her robe. "I am the Dutiful Delphox--one of the 777 Saints that wander the island."

    Goukai's eyes turned to stars when he saw the woman. [WOW!!! I've always wanted to see one of the 777 Saints in person! They say the Dutiful Delphox never breaks her promises...if she promises you something, she will do everything she can to keep it, no matter how long it takes!]

    Brock couldn't help bowing before the Dutiful Delphox. "It is indeed an honor to see one of the guardians of the island. We are three travelers from Kanto, guiding a Kubfu on its journey of evolution."

    "A worthy task of the Heroes of Galar." the Dutiful Delphox replied. "If you happen to defeat any of the 999 Black Dragons on your long quest, you can report your victory to our chief, Great Rainbow, at the Silver Pavilion. It's not far down the road."

    "Was there a thousandth Black Dragon at some point?" Misty wondered.

    The Dutiful Delphox nodded. "You've defeated him already--Chairman Rose was the thousandth Black Dragon. Though he had no skill in martial arts, he had the skills of cunning, deception, and evil magic...how else could he have awakened the primal dragon Pokemon Eternatus?"

    "Don't remind me..." Ash shuddered at a memory of Chairman Rose and Eternatus.

    "But with their leader gone, the other 999 Black Dragons now wander the island, seeking to cause trouble." the Dutiful Delphox explained. "That's why it is important for you to befriend as many of my fellow Saints as you can, and capture the remaining 999 Black Dragons as you guide your Kubfu."

    The red tassel of Ash's bansi dangling from a pocket of Ash's bag got the Dutiful Delphox excited. "Oh, a bansi! How long have you played for?"

    "Five years now..." Ash replied as he unzipped a side pocket and retrieved the ornately decorated side-blown flute. "This one was a gift from a friend in Johto."

    "Would you be interested in learning to channel your ki through your instrument?" the Dutiful Delphox asked. "This is one martial art I know with my kidi."

    "Yeah!" Ash smiled, images of him playing thunderbolts and fire through his own instrument dancing in his head.

    "While you can eventually play ki on the instrument you have, it helps if you learn the art on an instrument specifically designed for ki channeling." the Dutiful Delphox explained as she set down her large traveling bag on the ground.

    After digging in the bag for a moment, she unearthed a beautiful red and gold bansi decorated with thunderbolt and fire designs. "Here...this is the Melody Fire Flute. I hope when you play it, you think of me, and the other Saints."

    "Thanks..." Ash smiled as he accepted the beautiful instrument. It felt warm to the touch, a warmth that felt powerful and yet comforting. "So, how do you channel ki through an instrument?"

    "Simply playing any song you like won't do anything." the Dutiful Delphox replied. "You have to channel the desired effect into your song to get it to manifest. This is why the many techniques of the Melody Elemental Flutes have hundreds of possible songs to create them, and new techniques are created by both novice and skilled performers."

    "Okay...I have an idea as to what I want to attempt to do first..." Ash took a few steps back, then played the Zelda whistle music into the sky.

    A familiar roar got Misty's attention. "Ash...did you just..."

    Her shocked look turned to joy as a familiar Charizard elegantly circled in to land on the grass. "Blaze!"

    "Been a while, big guy..." Brock smiled as he watched Ash pocket his instrument and hug the majestic orange dragon-Pokemon.

    [So it has...] Blaze purred. [The tribe has spoke of a mystical energy here that can make us Charizard and other Pokemon grow to mammoth proportions...is this true?]

    Ash nodded. "I have seen a Charizard do this before during my time here. The phenomenon's called Dynamax. Charizards are one of the few than can take Dynamax one step farther--Gigantimax. But we can't induce a Dynamax just anywhere--we have to be somewhere with the energy to do it..."

    Misty smiled as Ash and Blaze continued to visit. "It has been a while since Ash has seen Blaze, so it was no wonder Ash called him here."

    "There is a Charizard calling technique in the manual of the Melody Fire Flute." the Dutiful Delphox replied as she stashed a copy of the manual in Ash's bag. "It is called 'Flute Calls the Flame Dragon'."

    "A fitting name." Brock agreed. "So if Ash wants to call Blaze, he can use that song no matter where we are on the island." He let that hang as he watched the boy and his faithful Charizard fill each other in on what had transpired since their last visit...

    To Be Continued...
     
  13. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 12: Meeting the Great Rainbow


    "Okay...according to the guidebook, the Silver Pavilion is located off the eastern shore of Temple Lake." Brock began as he led the group down the road. "The lake gets its name because the pavilion looks like a temple from far off. Like the Dutiful Delphox told us, the pavilion complex is where Great Rainbow, chief of the 777 Saints, calls home."

    "Is there anything special we need to to do to see Great Rainbow?" Ash wondered as he admired the sun glinting off of the Melody Fire Flute.

    Goukai thought for a moment. [According to all the stories Master Karashi has told me, the best way to have an audience with Great Rainbow is to say you come on behalf of another Saint.]

    He giggled. [But doing a great deed like saving a region always helps!]

    "Yeah, we have the saving the world part covered." Ash agreed as he returned the Melody Fire Flute to his bag. "Fingers crossed the next dojo we come to can help me better control playing ki."

    "Is there any lore about Temple Lake at all?" Misty asked. "Like folktales or legendary creatures?"

    [It has a guardian spirit, named Amabiko.] Goukai explained. [If you happen to see Amabiko, she will predict your future. If she sees good in your future, she will give you something to preserve that luck. But if she sees bad luck in your future, she will give you something to protect you from that bad luck. But her prophecies may not be as straightfoward as you may think.] He let that hang as the group approached a long bridge leading to a large silvery complex of buildings on the water.

    "This must be the Silver Pavilion..." Ash smiled as he motioned for the others to follow him across the bridge.

    He did not expect a beautiful blonde haired lady in an elegant blue, white, gold, and silver costume to appear in the water before him! "Huh?"

    [Amabiko!] Goukai gasped in amazement.

    "Great lake guardian, what awaits us as we travel on the island?" Brock asked as he bowed on one knee on the grass.

    Amabiko studied a water droplet for a moment, then gave her prophecy. "When the sky is colored brightly, the young one shall usher forth a world of light."

    With that, she offered a box full of candies that resembled marbles. "Thanks?" Ash replied, a little confused.

    Amabiko noticed Ash's confusion. "Don't worry, young hero--the prophecy will reveal its meaning to you in due time."

    Misty watched as Amabiko disappeared in a cloud of dew. "She gave you Bead-amas, Ash--those gumballs are said to help keep you calm and focus."

    "So you don't 'lose your marbles', if you will, if the going gets tough." Brock smiled. "You can get a good sized bubble from just one of them, but you need at least two to get a big one."

    "We'll chew some of these after we see Great Rainbow." Ash mused as he put the box of Bead-amas away. "We want to make a good impression on the leader of the 777 Saints."

    ---------

    A beautiful woman in a long rainbow gown smiled as Ash, Misty, Brock, and Goukai bowed before her. "Welcome, heroes from a far away land. It is only fitting that you have been chosen to guide a Kubfu on its journey to evolve."

    "We are three travelers from Kanto, and we come on behalf of the Dutiful Delphox." Ash explained. "She bid us come see you in your lakeside abode."

    Great Rainbow smiled. "If one of the other saints thinks highly of you, then you truly are the heroes the world--and now Galar--cheers about."

    She studied the group. "Ash...Misty...Brock...as thanks for the heroic deeds you have done on the mainland, and for the heroic deeds you have yet to do during your time on the island, I will be happy to teach you and your Kubfu one of my powerful rainbow arts. For every nine of the remaining 999 Black Dragons you defeat, I will reward you, and teach one of you another art."

    "Okay...which one are we going to start with?" Ash wondered as one of Great Rainbow's attendants signaled for them to stand up.

    "We will begin with the Resplendent Beautifly Flute." Great Rainbow then conjured a glittering rainbow colored bansi in Ash's hands. "This instrument will allow you to play powerful magical melodies that belong to all the elements."

    [Sensei Ash...will you show me how to play the flute?] Goukai asked. [If the venerable Great Rainbow will allow me to have one.]

    Great Rainbow smiled as she conjured a rainbow colored Kubfu sized bansi. "Here you are--now you have an instrument of your very own to practice on."

    [Thank you, Great One.] Goukai replied as he bowed before Great Rainbow in thanks. [I promise to never play evil melodies on it, and only use its song for peace and justice.]

    "Well, I didn't learn all the tunes I know overnight." Ash began.

    [In order to have some songs to battle evil with, we first need to practice the basics.] Tintri agreed.

    Great Rainbow smiled. "You can practice on the terrace overlooking the lake, if you like."

    ---------

    "Okay, Goukai..." Ash began as he settled in to begin the Kubfu's first bansi lesson. "In order to play any type of flute, you can stand or sit upright."

    [Which is easier?] Goukai wondered.

    "Every performer is different." Ash explained. "Some find it easier to sit, some find it easier to stand, and some can do both well. As for me, I prefer to stand, as I find it easier to get good air support that way. But I do well sitting too."

    An empty soda bottle on a table gave him an idea. "Playing a sideblown flute is very similar to blowing across the top of a bottle." he explained. "So see the one hole that's bigger than the others?"

    [Yeah...] Goukai replied.

    "That's where you blow into your instrument." Ash explained. "So relax, form a small circular opening with your lips, take a deep breath, and blow."

    Even Misty and Brock jumped at the squeaky D note Goukai produced. "I think Lesson Two should be blowing GENTLY." Brock smiled as he peeled Ash off the terrace roof...

    To Be Continued...
     
  14. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 13: The Phoenix of a Far Away Land


    "So? Did Goukai finally manage to get a good sound?" Misty asked as the group traveled down a path some days later.

    "Yeah--I did teach him not to overblow, and blowing gently was the key to a good sound on...any sort of flute, really." Ash replied, beaming with pride as he watched Goukai attempt to perform the children's song "I Hear a Little Fletchling Sing".

    [I just wish I could find some more sources for songs--although the books of songs sensei Ash has given me have been very helpful.] Goukai replied as he put his instrument away. [Perhaps if we could see a play in a Gekijou theater, I could be inspired to learn one of the solos...]

    "Well, where is a Gekijou theater?" Ash wondered. "All we've seen on the island so far are plains, caves, and the odd dojo or lake..."

    [If we continue following this road, we'll come to the town of Kitamata.] Goukai explained. [There, we'll find the Joyous Child Theater...so named because their plays are meant to be enjoyed by all.]

    A poster advertising the Joyous Child's latest show got Goukai's attention. [Hm...Moltres and the Princess Va...Varu...Varuen...]

    "Valencia." Brock gently corrected Goukai. "You were on the right track, though."

    [I don't think I have ever heard that story before...] Goukai mused. [Although...the Joyous Child and other Gekijou theaters do sometimes base a play off of a foreign story.]

    Brock studied the poster for a moment. "The play doesn't sound like the version of 'Moltres and the Princess Valencia' I'm familiar with..."

    He explained to Goukai "In most versions of this tale type, the hero finds a feather of Moltres on the roadside. In some versions, he attempts capturing Moltres, and ends up with the feather."

    He went on "Despite Epona's warnings, our hero takes it to the king, who commands him to find Moltres herself. How exactly our hero goes about this differs from version to version, but with help from Epona and maybe Kitsune, he succeeds. Then the king asks our hero to find the titular princess, even though he does not truly love her--what her name is differs from version to version. She also may or may not have a connection to the Legendaries, as well."

    [And then?] Goukai was interested.

    "Again, how our hero finds the princess differs from version to version." Brock reminded the excited Kubfu. "Once the princess arrives, she sets a number of impossible tasks, and the hero comes through for her on the king's behalf every time. Towards the end, she asks the king to undergo a test of purity or some other trial by ordeal. When the hero is used as the lab Rattata for the trial, he passes with flying colors--usually thanks to a spell of protection Epona taught him. When the king attempts the trial, he usually pays with his life, or otherwise disappears. The hero is crowned king, he takes the princess as his bride and all live happily ever after."

    "Lately, there's been a trend of giving both Moltres and the Princess Valencia more active roles...and the Gekijou theater's version of the story follows this style." Misty added. " In the version we're probably going to see, Moltres' feather is a good thing rather than a bad thing--the hero believes it may heal his king, who is very sick with a terrible disease. Moltres reveals that it is the evil miasma of the evil Koschei that is sickening the king, and the only way to dispel the miasma across the land is to defeat Koschei. But Koschei has put up a magical barrier around his castle, and only ten magical jewels can dispel it."

    [How exciting!!!] Goukai cried.

    "Moltres tells the archer to find the Princess Valencia, and the adventure begins." Misty continued. "From there, the tale departs from the original story, usually becoming a Zelda-esque quest."

    Goukai was confused. [Who is this Zelda? Is she a sage of some kind?]

    Ash racked his brain to figure a way to explain "The Legend of Zelda" at a level Goukai could understand. "Do you remember seeing any game consoles in Master Karashi's room back at Kikuzu?"

    [Oh, so that's what all those strange boxes connected to the big TV in his room were!] Goukai smiled. [Even though I was never allowed in there to use them...]

    "Well, 'The Legend of Zelda' is one of the best loved game series in the world." Ash explained. "The titular Zelda is the princess that rules the far away land of Hyrule--where most of the games take place.

    "In most of the games, the hero, Link, has to collect so many magical things to save the world." Misty continued. "So when other media--or even folktales--attempt this, people always compare it to a Zelda game."

    [I see...] Goukai smiled.

    "Mind you, collect so many shiny things to save the world is not a bad thing in a story..." Brock assured Goukai. "It's what you do with that trope that makes it one of the best things ever, or doomed to be forgotten."

    "But we digress..." Ash smiled as he noticed the rooftops of a town in the distance. "That has to be Kitamata..."

    [I know the way to the theater...come on!] Goukai motioned for the group to follow him into town...

    ---------

    [...around this corner past the town square....and we're here!] Goukai made a grand gesture to a majestic building with colorful banners hanging from the sloped roof.

    "Wow!" Misty gasped in amazement at the beautiful theater.

    Brock noticed the theater was beginning to attract a line. "If we're going to see the show, we'd better hurry and get in line for tickets."

    Goukai nodded. [It would be a waste if we arrived and the show was sold out...]

    "It looks like we've arrived in time for the first show of the day..." Misty mused as she studied the theater's marquee, which read "NOW SHOWING: 'MOLTRES AND THE PRINCESS VALENCIA 12:30 3:00 6:00"

    "Have you been to a theater before?" Ash asked Goukai as the group got in line to buy tickets.

    Goukai nodded. [Master Mitsu would often take me and the students to see plays as rewards for ranking up or passing some other difficult trial. So I know very well how to behave in a theater.]

    He smiled at the group. [I'm so excited! My first time seeing a tale from the mainland!]

    To Be Continued...
     
  15. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 14: Moltres and Kubfu


    The Joyous Child Theater rang with applause as the narrator came out onstage, her beautiful vina cradled in her arms. "Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Joyous Child Theater." she began. "If this is your first time seeing a Gekijou performance, understand that is an ancient style of theater that is very different from a traditional play..."

    Brock just smiled as he listened to the traditions spiel. A slightly different version from what I typically say, but still mostly the same spiel I remember!

    Misty noticed the smile on Brock's face. "Sound familiar?" she whispered.

    "Yeah...a little different from how I say it, though." Brock replied before turning his attention back to the stage.

    "The story we want to tell you today is a tale told around the world, adapted specifically for the Gekijou stage." the narrator explained. "In our version, it is Princess Valencia that is the hero of the story, and it is she who goes on a grand quest to rescue her prince from the evil wizard Koschei. It will take many friends, ten magical jewels, and the song of Moltres to defeat Koschei, rescue Prince Alex, and bring peace to the land once more. But through it all, Princess Valencia's courage and loyalty never falters, creating a new take on a beloved fairy tale."

    She readied her vina to play. "So please enjoy 'Moltres and the Princess Valencia'."

    With that, she started to play a mysterious melody that evoked a far away land. "Once upon a time, there lived a kind and just king who had an only daughter..."

    "This is certainly very different..." Misty mused as the narrator continued to speak.

    "Like we were told earlier, this is an all new story just for the stage." Brock replied, aware of the ominous theme the orchestra played.

    "One night, days before Princess Valencia and Prince Alex were to wed, the evil wizard Koschei looked down on the festivities with jealousy in his eyes." the narrator went on. "Enraged, he kidnapped Prince Alex in the night, and locked him deep within his castle dungeon."

    She went on "The only way to dispel the magical barrier surrounding Koschei's castle and unlock the ten locks was to find the ten Jewels of Awakening, and combine their power with the song of the legendary phoenix Moltres."

    Tintri sparked with excitement and Goukai smiled as the narrator went on "Many a brave hero tried to rescue Prince Alex, but all of them failed to return or returned empty handed."

    She intoned "Finally, Princess Valencia got a bold idea--what if she were the one to attempt the quest that so many had failed?" She let that hang as her spotlight blinked off.

    The lights came up on a beautiful palace set that evoked a Kantonian castle of old. A brown haired girl in an ornate blue, silver, and gold costume glanced out a window with a sigh. In this short moment, before dawn breaks
    I wish for your happiness, no matter where you are...
    she sang.

    Although many have set out to find you,
    Not one of them has returned,
    And I feel the call to embark on the hero's road...


    She went on The lands of old, fields covered in golden wheat
    The melody of flutes, singing out like birds in the sky...
    A bansi played a heroic phrase at this, to Goukai's excitement.

    They start falling as large flakes of snow, from a night sky filled with diamonds,
    To the bottom of the ocean where they slumber, turning into pearls...
    Indeed, the breaths of the faraway stars
    They are all hymns
    Silently dedicated to the heroes of the past...

    But why should I, be excluded from their number?
    Is bravery, only the domain of men?
    I too, would gladly face any challenge
    If it means seeing my beloved again!

    So now, I've made my bold decision...
    The sun will rise, peace and light will endure...
    With the Legendaries in heaven guiding me,
    I grasp my courage, and embark on a grand adventure!


    Applause filled the theater at the song's end. "This is definitely not the story you've told before!" Ash raved as he applauded.

    "And it is all the better for being told like this." Brock replied. "By telling the story in a new way, it challenges the audience to rethink what they know about the story and the characters."

    The vina snapped the group to attention. "And so, Princess Valencia departed her father's castle late that night, while everyone slept." the narrator went on. "She traveled a long way, until she came to a flowery grove deep in a forest."

    Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo... the girl's voice rang through the darkness.

    Even Goukai was awed at the jewel studded cave set and the Kitsune puppet that welcomed the actress playing Princess Valencia. [Wow...she's beautiful!] he whispered. [I wonder how many performers are in there...]

    "Usually, Kitsune is portrayed as a live actor, but depending on how the puppet is designed, there could be a single performer inside the costume, or up to three performers." Brock whispered back. "This one appears to be the kind that is both a puppet and a costume..."

    [How does that work?] Goukai wondered.

    "We'll explain after the show, okay?" Misty whispered before turning her attention back to the stage...

    ---------

    [That was amazing!] Goukai raved as the group departed the theater some hours later. [The fight scenes and Kitsune were the best parts!]

    "Well, now I can explain how the Kitsune puppet they used is both a costume and a puppet." Brock explained as he turned up the volume on his PokeNav again. "The Kitsune puppet we saw is an example of a full bodied puppet. You can argue that these are not so much true puppets as costumes to which a puppet head has been attached."

    "If you need another example, they are very similar to the character costumes in an amusement park." Misty agreed. "But while amusement park characters are almost always silent..."

    "They're working on some that actually talk to you!" Ash smiled.

    "...full bodied puppets have the capability to speak, thanks to the performer inside." Misty went on.

    [So, how would the performer see where they're going without crashing all over the set?] Goukai wondered...

    "There's a special camera hidden inside the head, allowing the puppeteer to see where they're going." Brock explained.

    Ash smiled as Brock and Goukai continued their discussion about the puppetry in the play. Forget learning new songs--I wonder if you can use puppets as martial arts implements!

    To Be Continued...
     
  16. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 15: The Kubfu's Arrows


    "I wonder..." Brock mused as the group continued down the road. "Are all the different archery arts interchangeable? Can you use the same bow to fire off hundreds of unique arrow skills?"

    [Well...yes, and no; if what Master Karashi has told me is true...] Goukai mused. [While some skilled archers can use hundreds of different arrow arts with the same bow; there are some that work best with a specific bow. It's also a good idea to learn a new archery art with a bow designed for that art--so we probably will be accumulating a lot of weapons on our adventure.]

    "That's okay--whatever we can't use or don't want to use, we'll pass on to someone that can." Misty assured the Kubfu at her side.

    Brock nodded before checking his homemade guidebook of the island. "We should be approaching the Okuda Dojo soon..."

    [That dojo specializes in the Glorious Moon Arrow.] Goukai explained. [Its pure white glow strikes fear in the hearts of yokai, and Master Mitsu once said it was strong enough to even beat the primal dragon, Eternatus."

    "Arceus willing I don't ever have to test that claim..." Brock shuddered as he remembered Ash defiantly singing the Swanna Song to Chairman Rose and Eternatus in Wyndon Stadium.

    [Sensei Brock? Since you are a master archer, will you show me how to use a bow?] Goukai asked. [I want to at least master the basics before we get to our next dojo.]

    "Sure." Brock smiled as the group stopped to rest in a grove of trees that overlooked a hill that led down into the plains. "Let me see if one of us has a bow that is Kubfu sized, and I'll teach you the basics.

    ---------

    [Thank you, Tarina-san, for letting me have this bow.] Goukai smiled, giving the red-cloaked Pichu a little bow in respect.

    [Anytime--I hope you'll get as much use out of that bow as I did when Brock first taught me.] Tarina replied.

    "Okay, Goukai...I'm sure you understand that above all, a bow is a weapon first." Brock cautioned. "So be very careful to follow any rules a practice range may have, always wear safety gear, and always remember to use good form when you shoot."

    [Understood.] Goukai replied as he carefully put on some Kubfu sized bracers.

    Once Goukai was ready, Brock began his lesson. "Now then...let's begin by showing you what good shooting form is, and walking you through what a good shot looks like."

    "We'll go get a target ready for you guys to shoot at!" With that, Misty and Ash hurried off down the hill with some practice targets in tow--a larger one for Brock to demonstrate a good shot, and a smaller one for Goukai to shoot at.

    Brock, meanwhile, began his lesson, aware of Misty and Ash working to set up the targets in the distance. "First and foremost, any shooting not for battle or competition should be done in a wide, open space; or on a training range."

    [Yes, sensei!] Goukai smiled.

    "Now--to form the proper stance while standing, you want to stand shoulder-width apart completely sideways to the target, with your toes at a 90 angle to your target." Brock explained, mimicking the pose as he spoke.

    He observed Goukai trying to mimic his pose, but his tiny feet were too close together. "Almost..."

    Goukai quickly 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 reminded Goukai "Your head is the only thing that turns toward the target, and your arms are the only body part that moves, okay?"

    [Got it!] Goukai smiled.

    "We'll worry about shooting from a kneeling position once we get standing down, okay?" Brock assured his Kubfu student before showing Goukai one of his own Venerable Jade Arrows. "On most arrows, there are three fletchings--two fletchings of the same color and one of them a slightly different shade of the same color. When nocking your arrow, the different color fletching should face away from the bow and towards you. Once your arrow is in position, place the nock of the arrow--that's the split ending at the back of the arrow--on the string of your bow, pushing it in until you hear a subtle click."

    Goukai did his best to follow along with what Brock was doing. [Okay!]

    "Now, form your stance again." Brock instructed.

    He waited for Goukai to get in position, then went on "To shoot properly, start by straightening your hand with the bow ahead of you, but keep it flexible with a slight bend in the elbow. Whatever you do, don’t lock up your shoulder."

    [Got it!] Goukai smiled.

    "You want to hold the bow like you would the handle of a teacup, with three fingers--typically the index, middle and ring--but keep the thumb lowered." Brock explained as he prepared his own shot with the Venerable Jade Bow. "There are several different grips, but you pick the one that's best for you."

    He heard two calls of "Clear!". "Don't even begin to prepare to shoot until you have been cleared to shoot." he cautioned Goukai as Ash and Misty returned. "'Clear' means there's no one in the way, and nothing that can block your shot."

    "We put Goukai's target a little closer than yours..." Misty explained. "Once Goukai's comfortable with shooting from up close, we'll move the little target back."

    Brock nodded, then addressed Goukai as he approached the area facing the bigger target. "Moving on...to draw, draw with three fingers around the string below where the arrow is placed." he explained. "Try to keep the elbow of your drawing hand in line with the arm that’s holding the bow."

    He smiled as Goukai hurried to the area facing the small target, and assumed the correct pose. "Very good...now anchor your drawing hand on your face, ideally somewhere in the region of your mouth and cheek just below your eyes or nose so that you can see down the shaft of your arrow."

    Goukai watched as Brock drew his bow. "When you're ready to shoot, simply relax your drawing hand and follow through with the shot."

    With that, he fired, his shot landing on the bullseye of the big target. "One last thing--don’t put down your bow or change your position until your arrow is in its target." he explained.

    [Here I go...] With that, Goukai drew his tiny bow, then fired at the small target.

    Brock smiled as he spotted Goukai's shot in the outer black ring of the small target. "Nicely done for the first try! If this were a real shooting contest, you'd get three points."

    [How'd I do?] Goukai wondered. [Did I at least do the shot right?]

    "You did well following along with my instructions." Brock replied as Ash ran to retrieve both arrows. "It may sound like a lot to remember, but we'll keep practicing so it becomes second nature."

    "Keep at it, and you'll impress every archer sensei we meet." Misty agreed as the boys returned...

    To Be Continued...
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  17. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 16: The Moonlit Arrow

    "There it is...the Okuda Dojo." Ash smiled as the group admired the dojo nestled in a wooded area. "Home of the Glorious Moon Arrow."

    "Goukai's been doing well with his archery lessons." Brock agreed. "So he may be ready to learn a real archery art."

    "What about you?" Misty asked as the group approached the large hill leading to the dojo's front gate. "Would you want to learn another archery art yourself?"

    "One of the cornerstones of the Raikou style is being versatile in your attack." Brock explained. "So you need to meet your foe in a way that gives you the advantage. Coming at you with raw power? Be ready to defend. Moving fast? Find a way to intercept them. Melee fighting too dangerous?"

    He smiled as the group reached the top of the hill. "Then come at them with a ranged attack--be this a ranged weapon or magic."

    A white haired woman in an elegant moon print kimono met the group at the dojo's front gate. "Greetings, travelers. I am Kimani Haine, Twenty-second Keeper of the Glorious Moon Arrow."

    She noticed Goukai peeking from behind Brock's left leg. "Seeing as you guide a Kubfu on its journey to evolve, I would be honored to lend my art to your cause."

    [I would be honored to learn, Haine-sensei.] Goukai replied with a bow.

    Kimani noticed the quiver of pale green arrows on Brock's back. "Would you like to learn as well, master archer? she asked--the bright arrows made a nice contrast to the black robe he wore.

    "An archer can never learn how to use too many arrows." Brock smiled as one of Kimani's students arrived to take Goukai inside...

    ---------

    "Okay then, Brock...the Glorious Moon Arrow's primary purpose is the element of surprise, and purifying evil." Kimani explained as one of her students brought over a bright white bow, and a quiver full of thirty silvery-white arrows. "Yokai especially fear this arrow."

    "Point noted...should we run into any yokai on our adventure." Brock mused, admiring one of the glowing white arrows as two other students set up a target for him to practice on. "I'd imagine these would do a number on one of the 999 Black Dragons, as well."

    Kimani nodded. "Yes--they will turn tail and run as soon as you have them in your sights!"

    She turned business-like again. "The basic move of this style is an arced shot named Shooting Star Crossing the Sky. While it is generally bad form to shoot an arrow directly into the sky, this is one of the few exceptions to that rule. We have to fire the arrow into the sky to create an arc."

    "Clear!" a student called by one of the angled targets.

    Brock shuddered a little at how far back the targets were. "Are you sure you can hit the target from that far out?" he asked.

    "I'm sure--watch." With that, Kimani nocked her own brilliant white bow and fired.

    Brock watched the glowing white arrow elegantly arc through the afternoon sky, then land in the outer ring of the bullseye. "Wow! That's amazing!"

    "By allowing the arrow to arc like this, your target won't even know you have fired until too late." Kimani explained as the students hurried to retrieve her shot.

    She invited Brock to the firing line. "Now it's your turn to attempt the shot."

    Brock nodded. "Here goes nothing..." he replied as he nocked one of his own brilliant white arrows.

    Ash and Misty watched as Brock fired his shot, making it elegantly arc across the sky. "Cool!" he smiled as Kimani went to check to see where the arrow had landed.

    "The outer blue ring...not bad!" Kimani smiled. "Just relax, and imagine an arc from your bow to the target.

    "I'll admit I was a little nervous..." Brock admitted as he prepared another shot.

    He took a deep breath to calm the Beautiflies in his stomach, readied his shot, and fired again. This time, the arrow sailed into the outer ring of the bullseye!"

    "There you go!" Kimani smiled as the students went to retrieve Brock's two shots. "Focus, and remember the arc, and your arrow will strike true."

    ---------

    "Next, we'll go over a stealth attack shot." Kimani explained as the students took down the targets and set up some training dummies. "This is called Opening the Window to See the Moon."

    "What does it do?" Ash wondered as the group followed Kimani into the brush.

    "The move has this name because you fire the shot from a concealed location--your 'window'." Kimana replied. "As you aim your shot, you are opening the proverbial window to see the moon--your target."

    "That makes sense!" Misty smiled as Brock found a space to shoot from in the underbrush.

    "This is no different from rescuing you guys on the outskirts of Pewter City all those years ago." Brock assured his companions as he prepared to shoot at the training dummies from the bush.

    He looked over at Kimani. "Is there a specific place I should be aiming for?" he asked.

    "Aim for the training dummy's chest." Kimani replied.

    "Training dummy's chest--okay." Brock mused as he readied his shot.

    He fired a few moments later, his arrow creating a white burst as it streaked from the bushes to land in the chest of a training dummy.

    "What was that?" Ash gasped as students arrived to retrieve Brock's shot.

    "Since you are hidden as you make this shot, it is more powerful like this." Kimani explained. "You can attempt this move in the open, but it will not be as powerful."

    Even Brock couldn't resist smiling. "This will definitely come in handy against the 999 Black Dragons!" He let that hang as he readied another shot...

    To Be Continued...
     
  18. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Episode 17: The Dragon and the Arrow


    "Up next is the Hata Dojo, which teaches the Whirling Storm Bow..." Brock mused. "That sounds like a bow made just for you, Ash."

    Ash just grinned. "It would give me another ranged option if the wheel wasn't an option--and a more precision based ranged attack than the wheel. Besides, I still remember those archery lessons from way back in Shinou--those came in handy on my trip to Kalos."

    "Speaking of which..." Brock unfurled a letter on Fennekin themed paper. "You got a letter from Serena..."

    "Oh?" Ash asked as he accepted the paper from Brock.

    He read over the letter for a moment before reading the contents to his companions. "Dear Ash, how are things in Galar? Your Swanna Song of defiance to Chairman Rose made the news all the way back in Kanto. All I can say is what goes around, comes around--often a little too quickly..."

    ---------

    "...I'm thinking of all of you, and look forward to your next letter soon. Love, Serena." With that, Ash folded up the letter and stashed it in his bag. "I'll start on a reply as soon as we make camp tonight--Serena would probably love hearing about the island..."

    He looked down at Goukai. "What can you tell me about the Hata Dojo? Besides the fact that it teaches the Whirling Storm Bow..."

    [They are often called 'the dragon hunters of the island'.] Goukai replied as the group made their way into a forest. [So named because of all the dragons that call this forest home...]

    "Dragons?" Misty mused. Do you mean Dragon type Pokemon? Or do you mean 'Chambers and Charizards' dragons?"

    [What's that?] Goukai was intrigued.

    "At least once a week, Brock, Misty, and I--and anyone else that wants to join in--host a grand storytelling game." Ash explained. "The point of the game is not to win, but tell stories of epic adventures and brave heroes. And as the storyline progresses, you often get to do battle with dragons and other powerful creatures."

    [That sounds fun!] Goukai smiled as the group emerged into a clearing to find the dojo.

    The dojo mistress hurried out to meet the group. "How fortunate that three travelers guiding a Kubfu have come! Maybe you three can help solve a vexing problem I have..."

    "What is it you would have us do?" Ash asked as he shepherded Goukai to his side.

    "Meet me in the dojo's main hall." the dojo mistress replied. I will tell you everything there."

    ---------

    "All right..." the dojo mistress explained as she and a deep brown haired girl met the group in the dojo's main hall. "This is Mitsuna, one of my top students."

    "Hello there." the brown haired girl smiled.

    "Mitsuna has handily proven herself ready for the trial that all prospective masters of the Whirling Storm Bow has to face--slaying a green dragon." the dojo mistress explained. "She says it has been a lifelong dream of hers to become a master of my art. But even though she has risen to the challenge and completed many difficult tasks, I still worry that she is getting in over her head. So I now give you three a request--will you guide Mitsuna on the trial like you are your Kubfu?"

    "Before we give a hard yes or no, the real question is if Mitsuna wants us there to help her." Ash explained.

    He addressed Mitsuna, who was nervously toying with the long neat braid her hair was tied into. "Mitsuna...do you want us to come with you on your dragon-slaying quest? If you do, we won't step in to help unless you specifically ask us to help."

    "Yes--it would give me and sensei peace of mind knowing someone is there to help if the hunt goes horribly wrong." Mitsuna replied. "Do you require payment for your services?"

    Misty just smiled. "We don't require money--all we ask is that we get to know our opponent, and our Kubfu and one of us gets to learn the Whirling Storm Bow."

    Mitsuna nodded, then addressed the dojo mistress "May I train my escort's Kubfu, sensei?

    The dojomistress nodded. "Of course--training a Kubfu will be good practice for teaching students of your own."

    As Mitsuna escorted Goukai to a practice range, the dojo mistress addressed the group. "Now then...which of you wishes to learn the Whirling Storm Bow?"

    "I will." Ash volunteered. "Though I do not claim to be an expert archer, I have some skill at the bow."

    "All right, come with me." the dojo mistress smiled, leading Ash to an outdoor training range...

    ---------

    "Now then, Ash..." the dojo mistress began. "At its heart, the Whirling Storm Bow is an offensive power, shocking its target with a burst of wind and thunder. It can also damage nearby targets in the area."

    She went on "The first move of the Whirling Storm Bow is the Mountain Piercing Bolt." Even though you were taught as a Pokemon Trainer that electricity won't do a thing to the ground and rocks, this arrow is strong enough to even shatter a mountain."

    Ash watched in awe as the dojo mistress readied a shot, then fired, making a windy electric explosion on the sturdy target. "Wow! Cool!" he smiled as he applauded.

    He hurried to the firing line and accepted some bracers from a student. "Like all archery arts, the key to the Mountain Piercing Bolt is to relax." the dojo mistress explained as Ash put on the bracers. "If you focus on the target and trust in your bow, you will shatter the highest mountains."

    "Right!" Ash smiled as he accepted a glittering gold bow with thunderbolt trim and a quiver of matching gold arrows from a student.

    After finding a suitable arrow, Ash took a few breaths to calm his nerves as he nocked his shot. Focus, Ash...remember everything Brock taught you... he reminded himself as he readied his shot.

    The dojo mistress watched as Ash fired his shot, making a windy electric explosion on the inner red ring of the target. "Nicely done! Can you try breaking one of our rock targets?" she asked, gesturing to a large rock with a target painted on it.

    Ash nodded. "If I can hit a standard archery target, I can probably break one!" he smiled as he accepted his arrow from a student...

    To Be Continued...
     
  19. FlamingRuby

    FlamingRuby The magic of Pokemon

    Interlude: The Legend of Ash, Misty, and Brock


    Later that evening, Mitsuna pulled down a large thick book off a bookshelf in the dojo's library. "The specific green dragon I have to slay is named Thanisa." she explained as she thumbed through the book for a picture of her mark. "Unlike most green dragons here, she is a queen dragon--meaning she has green dragon bodyguards to protect her."

    "Are these like tabletop RPG green dragons, or video game dragons?" Ash wondered. Memories of every green dragon he had ever fought in a campaign came flooding back to him--usually in triumphant final battles. "Are they cunning and evil, or are they more like guardians?"

    "They're actually a bit of both..." the dojomistress explained as she joined the group and Mitsuna in the room. "No matter what color they are, some are good, and some are evil. Only the evil ones are allowed to be pursued and slain--and Thanisa is an evil queen dragon of the worst caliber. If she had a rap sheet, it would likely be a mile long, if not more."

    Misty swallowed hard at this. "So, how are we supposed to kill something that powerful?"

    "The answer? Slay all eight of her bodyguards, and retrieve the Guardian Emerald they drop." the dojo mistress replied. "The bodyguard dragons form a living shield around their queen, and once they are all slain, only then can you slay the queen."

    It was Ash's turn to swallow hard. "We're inside a Zelda game..."

    "Don't tell me we'll have to go all over the island just to find them..." Brock was equally frustrated at the prospect of yet another long journey on the group's plate.

    The dojomistress nodding yes made the group groan. "There's our main quest of getting Goukai to evolve, the 151 Alolan Vulpixes..." Ash began.

    "Wherever those are..." Misty agreed.

    "Meeting the 777 Saints, capturing the 999 Black Dragons..." Brock listed off the group's quests on his fingers. "...and now this on our list."

    He assured Ash and Misty "Look at it this way, you two...we can knock out or make progress on some of our other objectives while we track down the dragons."

    "This is true..." Misty smiled, now in a better mood.

    "If you are seeking out the 777 Saints, the one named Enchanted Dancer is currently at the Temple of the Clear Lapis." the dojo mistress explained. "She is the one that teaches the miko their sacred dance--appropriately called the Clear Lapis Dance."

    She went on "But the miko's sacred dance is beautiful yet deadly to the forces of evil--they use the dance to defend the temple, if need be."

    [So it's a martial art!] Goukai smiled.

    "Lapis...that must mean it's a wind elemental dance, right?" Ash mused.

    "Not really..." Brock cautioned. "Game logic doesn't always apply to the real world."

    Misty, meanwhile, was more interested in the book of dragons on the table. "So, is there any info on Thanisa and her bodyguard dragons? Or any friendly green dragons we can ask?"

    "You can tell friendly dragons from foes by how they are named." Mitsuna explained. "Friendly dragons, regardless of their color, are named similarly to the 777 Saints, and are jewel-like in appearance. Evil dragons simply keep their draconic names."

    She turned to a map of the area in the book. "The closest friendly green dragon from here is Verdant Cloud. She is the guardian of the forest, and knows all that goes on on the island and the mainland."

    "I see...do they understand any of the native Galarian dialects?" Brock asked. "I can speak Low Galarian, but not so much High Galarian..."

    "You can speak one of the native Galarian dialects?" Mitsuna gasped. "Please--speak some Low Galarian!"

    Brock thought for a minute, then decided to say the Low Galarian version of the best known worldwide storyteller's greeting. Fadó, fadó, fadó a bhí ann, tharla rud éigin. Mura dtarlódh sé, ní inseofaí é.

    He looked over at the confused dojomistress. "In other words, once upon a time, something happened. If it hadn't happened, it wouldn't be told." The dojomistress nodded to show she understood.

    Goukai noticed Brock's guitar case lying near a box in the room. [What's in there?] he wondered. [Is it a moji?]

    "Not quite--what's in there is a guitar, one of the moji's modern cousins." Brock explained as he opened the case and carefully took the black instrument inside. "Unlike the moji, a guitar can play groups of notes at the same time. Learning these note groups, or chords, is the foundation of good playing."

    [I see...] Goukai mused as he watched Brock prepare to tune the beautiful instrument.

    "But before I can play anything, I first have to tune it--in other words, assign each of the six strings to a particular note." Brock explained.

    After bringing up TuneNav on his PokeNav, he next cued a MIDI file of an E note. "So to start the tuning process, I need an example for my first note--mi."

    Once satisfied that his first string was in tune, Brock went on "Now, if we count five steps up the scale on the first string, we can use that to tune the second string, la."

    He winced at how out of tune the A string was. "This one needs some major adjustments..." he explained as he carefully tuned. "You want to get the string you're tuning to match your reference."

    "Trust me, an out of tune instrument doesn't sound very pretty." Misty smiled as she watched Brock tune.

    "Gonna sing a Low Galarian song, Maestro?" Ash smiled as Brock finished tuning.

    "If you guys wanna join in, I have no problem letting Mitsuna and her mistress hear 'Pikachu Went out to Ride'." Brock smiled as he fine tuned the top strings.

    He explained to Mitsuna "That's a sing along song common around the world." as he watched Ash and Misty hurry to get their instruments and get tuned...

    To Be Continued...
     

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