@Elite Four Lugion; @Tophat Dragoneye;
Tale 5: The Tale of the Siege of Plants (part 2)
When our previous tale ended...
The elder hung his head. "As much as I would wish to help you, you would have better luck asking the order of monks at Chamizu. Dealing with Kotsumori has drained our resources."
"I see." Ash replied.
"However, I can tell you that the Honogin Players have been traveling in this area." the elder continued, his mood noticeably happier. "If you can drive Kotsumori away, I will tell you where they will next be performing."
"It's a deal!" Ash jumped up from his chair. I just smiled--he and Brock, the lead actor of the troupe, had been close friends for a long time. If Ash knew he was in the area, he would go to any lengths to see his friend perform.
So the next morning, the teion played its first signal boto in a long time--and the crowd roared as the rhythmic notes pierced the morning air. Yet Ash stood nearby the platform and gazed off into the woods, awaiting when--or if--Kotsumori or one of his monsters would appear.
As the last two notes faded away into the rising sun, some rustling got Ash's attention--and he drew his blade when he saw he was staring down not just any Ariados, but a Ariados ruler--a tsuchigumo!
"Be careful, Ash!" I called as Ash approached the tsuchigumo. "Tsuchigumos can poison you if you're not careful!"
Ash nodded before calling into the woods. "Kotsumori! These people mean no harm to the forest, and take great pains to protect it! So why do you attack them?"
"Because they defile it by killing the trees for wood and the Pokemon for food!" came a high pitched raspy voice. "If they do not seek another place for their town, I will send forth my army of trees to attack them!"
"Bloodshed is not the answer." Ash assured Kotsumori. "You would be defiling the forest yourself with the blood of innocents."
Silence filled the air for a moment before Kotsumori spoke again. "Very well then, young warrior--if you and your friends can defeat the creature you see before you, I will trust your claim and leave this place."
Ash nodded, unfazed by the growling tsuchigumo. "Deal."
"If you need our help, play the Song of Six Points." Dawn smiled. "May Arceus protect you."
Ash wasted no time in running up to the tsuchigumo and delivering a crescent shaped slice to its body. The one slash became two, then two became three. We then heard his cry of "Crescent Sword Dance!" in the swirling tornado of blades.
The tsuchigumo countered by spraying a noxious green goo all over Ash. The sickening smell made his eyes water and drained his strength, making it incredibly difficult for him to get up. But Dawn was quick to cast a healing spell, clearing away the noxious goo in a flash of light.
Ash then ran and cut one of his opponent's legs, only to be startled by the tsuchigumo lunging to bite him. It was a long struggle, but almost comical as Ash twisted and writhed around the dusty path. Despite its best efforts to hang on, Ash managed to throw off the tsuchigumo from his arm, making it land against a rock with a sickening thud. Thankfully, his sword arm was not the one bitten.
He examined his wound through the torn sleeve of his robe for a moment as the tsuchigumo circled him, growling all the while. After concluding that it was not serious, he sheathed his blade and reached for Utahime. "Fire of a thousand suns, burn and set my heart aglow...ignite my courage in this song, so all the world my name might know! Resonating Heat Wave!"
With that, he played a calm, yet inspiring song, catching the tsuchigumo off guard as it was engulfed in bright orange flames. Angered at being burned, the tsuchigumo spewed thick purple venom at Ash, but it only splattered the dusty path leading into the woods as Ash leapt on top of a rock, Utahime still in his hand.
The Song of the Six Points resonated through the misty morning air, prompting me to grab my bow. "Ash needs our help--let's go!" I told Dawn as I readied an arrow.
"What would you like me to do?" Dawn asked as she watched my arrow graze the tsuchigumo's head.
"Support the two of us with your healing magic, and use offensive spells when you can." I replied as Ash slashed at another of the tsuchigumo's legs.
Dawn nodded and closed her eyes. "Guiding light from Arceus' land, become a holy sword in my hand! Celestial Blade!"
The tsuchigumo darted away from the rain of shining blades that flew from Dawn's hands, but fell to the ground as each explosion of light made the earth shake. It noticed my aiming another shot, and leapt at my arm, causing me to drop my arrow as I yelped in pain.
My right arm throbbed with the tsuchigumo's venom, but I managed to retrieve my arrow and fire it at another of the tsuchigumo's legs, making blood drip onto the ground.
"Demon Piercing Blade!" Ash called as he cut a star design on the tsuchigumo's skin. It wasn't enough to kill the mighty spider monster, but the technique managed to slow it down considerably.
"Dawn, try a water spell." I suggested as I bound up the wound on my arm. "Maybe if you freeze the tsuchigumo in place, our attacks may have a chance to critically wound it!"
"It's worth a shot." Dawn replied before charging a blue ball of light. "Great Lord, if it be your will, grant me the fury of winter's chill! Subzero Chilling Wind!"
The swirling snow and icicles were the last straw for the tsuchigumo--it skittered through the icicles that surrounded it and bit down hard on Dawn's foot. Try as she might to charge some healing magic, the venom proved too much as she moaned with pain.
"Here..." The town elder offered me a white strip of fabric flecked with green. "Tie this around your friend's foot--it will help with the poison."
"Thanks!" I paused to fire another shot at the tsuchigumo's legs, then tied the herb-flecked ribbon around Dawn's wounded foot. It eased the pain enough for her to cast a healing spell, making her foot good as new.
A "oof" got my attention as the tsuchigumo charged at Ash, sending him flying into a tree. But I managed to shoot at another leg, and Dawn fired a ball of light, which stunned the tsuchigumo.
The tsuchigumo being stunned was enough for Ash to get up and hack at one of the unwounded right legs. But he didn't expect the tsuchigumo to bite him in the leg, poisoning him again. Dawn was quick to heal him, though, and his blade combined with my bow to strike hard.
Dawn noticed that our attacks and fatigue was taking its toll on its opponent--it wasn't moving as swift as it had before. "Now's our chance! Hit it, and hit hard!"
I focused all my rage into my next arrow, making it burst into flames. "Three Burning Arrow!" The townsfolk gasped in awe as I appeared to unleash not one, but three flaming arrows into the tsuchigumo's three remaining unwounded legs.
Ash did likewise, channeling his energy into his blade until it sparkled like thousands of stars. "Glittering Sword of Stars!" The final blow was so strong, and so bright, the crowd saw a few sparks fly onto the ground. But when the light faded away, cheers went up when we saw the tsuchigumo was slain.
"Words cannot express my gratitude for your saving our town." the elder smiled as Dawn healed the rest of our wounds. "As I promised, I will tell you where the Honogin Players are performing next--they will premiere 'The Legend of Yochi, the Song Mystic' in Kasura tomorrow. Kasura is a half day's journey to the east of here, so you should arrive by morning if you left tonight."
We left Oriman later that evening after resting and sharing dinner with the townsfolk. But Ash had a smile on his face as he led the way into the moonlight--just what role was Brock going to play in Yochi's story?
To Be Continued...