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  1. #16
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 12: "Arrival in Crystone Town! The master storyteller's freshly picked tales!" (part 1)

    Brock looked around in awe at all the fields around him as he and Wendy continued down the path to Crystone Town. They had left Lake Crystone that morning after an eventful day exploring the lake and all it had to offer.

    He had particularly enjoyed being able to practice his aim at the archery range. I can safely say I can hit a moving target... he thought before turning his attention back to the fields and farmhouses around him. "It's beautiful out here..."

    "I'm glad you think so--a lot of the stuff at the Crystone Market comes from these very farms and workshops." Wendy replied. "Many of the farmers and artisans will put out samples for you to try before you buy."

    Ash would probably love playing a handmade whistle... Brock thought. I'm sure they sound as good as they look....

    Just then, Hinata spotted the rooftops of houses and colorful awnings in the distance. [There it is!] With that, she took off down the road.

    "Hey, wait for us!" Brock and Wendy were not far behind.


    It did not take long to find the Crystone Town Pokemon Center--it was nestled in a quiet corner of town, away from the bustling market that stood in the nearby town square.

    Wendy, meanwhile, was relieved to enter a Pokemon Center. "Let's rest our teams before we check out the market--I'm sure they're tired after romping around the lake all d-" She looked beside her to discover Brock had disappeared.

    She spotted him eying Nurse Joy a few feet away, a dreamy look on his face. "Oh, Joy! You are a beautiful pink rose brightening up my heart's garden!" Judging from the look on Nurse Joy's face, she wasn't sure what to make of this lovelorn traveler's rambling.

    A splash of water interrupted his eloquent profession of love. [That's quite enough!] Mizuchi scolded as Nurse Joy and Wendy giggled at Brock's dripping wet face.

    "I think Mizuchi doesn't want you going gaga for pretty girls." Wendy assured him as she led Brock away from the counter and gave him a towel.

    I gathered as much... Brock silently grumbled as he dried off.

    The phone made him forget about Nurse Joy. That's right, I need to check in with Prof. Willow... After settling before the phone, he dialed Prof. Willow's number.

    "Hello?" Prof. Willow asked as her image blipped on the phone screen.

    "Hello again...we made it to Crystone after we spent a day at the lake." Brock began. "After we're done caring for our Pokemon, we're gonna explore the Crystone Market."

    "That should be fun--don't be afraid to show off your storytelling prowess if you find the open stage." Prof. Willow smiled. "The open stage is a place where anyone, regardless of origin or skill, can share their talents with market visitors."

    "I do have a few tales in mind if we find it." Brock smiled. "I plan to lead off with a tale from Pewter that explains a springtime tradition of ours, then an adventure tale about a miko's apprentice who was saved by three magic spells, then a tale about a prince's faithful Pokemon..."

    Willow smiled. "You should tell those for me sometime--they all sound pretty exciting."

    "I've had a lot of practice telling at home, and those three are just a few that audiences ask for again and again." Brock replied. "I am honored, and excited, to be sharing them here in Minami."

    Prof. Willow just grinned. "I hope the people of Crystone enjoy them as much as you love to tell them."


    The group departed the Pokemon Center and made their way over to the town square, where various booths and stages lined the crowded sidewalks.

    [Wow...] Emi gasped at the sheer array of booths, as well as the dull roar of crowds of people, the merchant's calls, the occasional melody of a band or performer, laughter, and the ringing of coins.

    [Look at all this stuff!] Hinata agreed as she admired a handmade Pikachu doll on display in a toy booth.

    "Fresh Berries, straight from the bush and the vine to your table!" a woman called.

    "Hats and parasols here!" came another call a few booths down.

    "Would the lady like a necklace?" a man smiled as he showed Wendy a handmade sapphire necklace. "Every jewel came from the lake."

    "It's beautiful..." Wendy smiled and gave the man a nod before continuing down the sidewalk.

    Just then, Emi's eyes widened when she saw one particular booth with a dizzying array of homemade candies and baked goods. [Candy! And cookies!]

    The girl at the booth grinned as Emi dragged Brock over. "Every treat you see here was handmade in our test kitchen with all natural ingredients. If you like, you can take a taffy bag or a mini brownie as a sample." She gestured to an array of small bags filled with taffy and some wrapped brownies by a "FREE SAMPLES" sign.

    [Please?] Emi begged.

    A smile formed on Brock's face--she'd been doing very well behaving on the trip, so a sweet treat was probably in order. "Taffy or brownie?" he asked Emi.

    Emi thought for a moment over which sample she wanted, then grabbed a taffy bag. [This one!]

    "Don't eat them all at once." Brock reminded her as the group continued on their way.

    After passing by a clothing booth, an art booth, and a stage where a small band was performing, Brock noticed a large empty stage in the center of the square marked "OPEN STAGE--ALL TALENTS WELCOME!"

    [Here's your chance...] Tenku smiled.

    "Go get'em, Brock!" Wendy called as Brock made his way over to the stage.

    Brock gave Wendy a nod of thanks, stepped on the stage, took a deep breaths to ease the Beautiflies in his stomach, then started telling the first tale that came to his mind. "There was once a young man who enjoyed getting gifts, but never gave anything he owned to those in need."

    He adds as an aside "This was probably why he never found a wife."

    Some gentle laughter goes up from Wendy and the Pokemon as Brock continues "One day, a girl came to his house, and asked if she could stay for the night. The man invited her in, but when morning came, she did not leave, but cleaned the house and provided for him. He also didn't find it odd that she never ate--she made food for him, but never ate any herself."

    Piqued murmurs went up from some passersby as Brock went on "The other townsfolk were convinced the girl wasn't human, but the man didn't believe them at first. The townsfolk told him to look in the storehouse--and when he did, he found it was empty, despite it being full seconds earlier."

    Some louder laughter goes up as Brock balks in feigned surprise, as if he is the man discovering the empty storehouse. "The next day, he told the girl he was going into town, but this was only a ruse to find out what was really happening." Brock goes on. "He hid in the attic, where he saw his wife making rice balls and fish. Then, she undid her hair, which concealed a mouth in the back of her head!"

    Gasps and screams from some children go up as more and more people come to listen to Brock's tale. "The man was terrified, and ran away as quick as he could." Brock continues. "He looked back and saw the girl's true form, an orge, chasing him. Despite his best efforts to escape, he was captured and dragged into the mountains, presumably to be the orge's next meal.

    "Oh no!" a girl gasps as she holds her balloon close.

    "Luckily, the man managed to wriggle free of the ogre's grip, and grabbed onto a tree branch." Brock assures the girl, but the smug look on his face tells the crowd the man is not out of the woods yet. "but the ogre transformed into an Arbok and chased the man again!"

    The crowd is on the edge of their seats to know what happened next. "The man arrived in a field, where he found a statue of Arceus." Brock continues. "Arceus appeared to him, and told him to stay put. The man did as he was told, and hid behind the statue."

    After pausing for a few beats, he continues "After a few agonizing minutes had gone by, the man saw all the flowers blooming around the statue and got an idea. He heaved some Cheri blossoms at the Arbok, defeating it." Cheers go up as Brock pantomimes throwing something."

    He concludes "Arceus instructed him to scatter Cheri blossoms at the front door to his house so the ogre would not return. To this day, that is why people in my hometown of Pewter City decorate their front doors with Cheri blossoms on the first day of spring."

    Enthusiastic cheers go up at the story's end, so Brock immediately jumps into his second planned tale. "In a certain land, the leaves were changing colors, and in a certain village, the children were out picking the newly ripe Berries that grew in the mountains. The miko's apprentice at the temple--we'll call her Riko, which means 'child of truth' wanted to go and pick Berries too. The miko told her no, for a mafu--a monster that had the body of a Raikou and the head of a young lady--had been spotted on the mountain. After Riko pleaded and pleaded for about an hour, the miko finally relented and allowed her apprentice to climb the mountain, giving her three enchanted jewels to protect her. She told Riko not to invoke their power unless it was an emergency."

    Interested murmurs fill the air as Brock continues. "Riko stayed out until nightfall gathering Berries. Just as the moon rose over the mountain grove, a Zubat suddenly startled Riko. But just as she eluded the Zubat, she ran into the mafu!"

    Gasps go up from the children in the crowd. "Riko was taken to the mafu's lair, and she frantically pondered a way to escape as she watched the mafu boil water in preparation to eat her." Brock intones. "Then, a crazy idea occurred to her--she first told the mafu that she had to go to the bathroom."

    Laughter erupts at this--it isn't often character in a tale asks to do this. Brock waits for the laughter to quiet, then continues "The mafu bought Riko's ruse, and untied her. Riko then ran past the bathroom and into a shed. Once sure she was not being followed, she tied the last rope that held her on the wall, and invoked the first jewel, a ruby, with the incantation..." Brock then sings Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... before continuing "The ruby released a small ball of light, which would answer in her voice. Once sure her ruse was in place, she fled into the night."

    "And then?" Wendy urges Brock to continue.

    "Meanwhile, the mafu was growing impatient and she asked if Riko was done yet." Brock continues. "But the ruby light answered in Riko's voice she wasn't done yet. The mafu would wait a while and then ask again, but the ruby light would say she wasn't done. Finally, the mafu went to check, and discovered that Riko was gone!"

    Nervous giggles fill the air at this. "Riko ran as fast as she could, but the mafu was not far behind." Brock intones, silencing the laughter. "She next invoked the second jewel, an emerald, with the incantation..." Brock sings again Karuto, iichiida shou...

    Some applause goes up at the sung "spell". "The spell conjured a large sand dune." Brock replies, making a form in the air to give his audience an idea of the sand dune's size. "That bought Riko a little time as the mafu waded through the sand, but the mafu was soon right behind her again. Riko invoked the third jewel, a sapphire, with the incantation..." Brock proceeds to sing Rou iitsa ron selga viichii... before continuing "conjuring a huge river. This bought her enough time to get to the temple. Just before the mafu could catch up to her, the miko took her inside, and drove the mafu away with a fire spell--also invoked by..." He sings Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... again.

    Everyone heaves a sigh of relief as Brock concludes "They say Riko studied her holy spells even harder after that, inspired by her mistress' bravery."

    Wendy's applause is the loudest. They love him! I wonder what he will tell next?

    Brock acknowledges his applause, then continues with his next tale. "In a far away land, there were three princes, who had a stepsister. One day, they all set out hunting together. While they were traveling through a deep forest, they discovered a great Mightyena with three babies. Just as they were going to shoot..." Brock pantomimes aiming a bow. "the mama Mightyena pleaded for them not to shoot her, and she would give each of them one of her cubs in return. So the princes went on their way, and a little Poochyena followed each of them."

    "Aw"s fill the air at this. Then they found a mama Entei with three cubs." Brock continues. "She too begged them not to shoot her, and she would give each of them a cub. This went on for a while, with the princes meeting a Ninetales, a Lopunny, a Pignite, and an Ursaring, till each prince had a full team of young Pokemon trotting along behind him."

    He waits for a beat, then continues "As the sun set, they came to a clearing in the forest, where three trees grew at each path of a three way fork in the road. The eldest prince--we'll call him Takuya--took an arrow," Brock pantomimes aiming a bow again. "and shot it into the trunk of one of the trees. Turning to his brothers, he said..."

    "Let each of us mark one of these trees before we travel on different paths." he fills in Prince Takuya's dialogue using a slightly high pitched version of himself. "If any one of us returns to this place, he must walk around the other trees. If he sees the mark in the tree has turned black, he will know that that brother is dead or has suffered misfortune, but if the mark glows, he will know that his brother has found fortune."

    "So the other princes did as Prince Takuya had said, and when the three trees were marked by their arrows they turned to their stepsister and asked her with which of them she wanted to stay with." Brock continues as himself. Then the brothers went their separate ways, followed by their Pokemon. The stepsister--we'll call her Aina--went with Prince Takuya, as that was the one she was closest with."

    "What sorts of adventures did they get into?" a woman asks.

    After they had gone a little ways down the road they came into a forest, and in one of the deepest glades they suddenly found themselves near a castle in which there lived a gang of bandits." Brock replies. "Prince Takuya walked up to the door and knocked..." He knocks on the stage floor for effect. "No sooner had the door opened did Prince Takuya's Pokemon charge in and kill the bandits before the bandits could kill them."

    He quickly interjects "Now, one of the bandits was only badly wounded, but he lay very still as if dead like the others."

    Wendy swallows hard as Brock continues "The next morning, Prince Takuya went out hunting. Before leaving he told Aina that she might go into any room in the house except into the cave where the dead bandits were. But his instructions went in one ear and out the other--after looking through all the other rooms, she went down to the cellar and opened the door. As soon as she looked in the bandit who had played dead sat up and said to her..."

    "Don't be afraid. Do what I tell you, and I will be your friend." he fills in the bandit's dialogue in character as James. "If you marry me you will be much happier with me than with your brother. But you must first go into the kitchen and look in the cupboard. There you will find three bottles. In one of them there is a healing balm which you must put on my chin to heal the wound; then if I drink the potion in the second bottle it will make me well, and the third bottle's potion will make me stronger than I was before. When your brother returns from the forest with his Pokemon, you must go to him and say, 'Brother, you are very strong. If I were to fasten your thumbs behind your back with a stout silk cord, could you wrench yourself free?' And when you see that he cannot do it, call me."

    Some applause goes up at Brock's performance. "When Prince Takuya returned, Aina did as the bandit had told her, and fastened her brother's thumbs behind his back. But with one wrench he set himself free, and said to her..." he continues as himself.

    "Sister, that cord is not strong enough for me." he retorts as Prince Takuya.

    "The next day, he returned to the forest with his Pokemon." he goes on as himself. "and the bandit told her to bind his thumbs with a stronger cord. But again Prince Takuya freed himself, though not so easily as the first time, and he said to Aina..."

    "Even that cord is not strong enough." he replies as Prince Takuya.

    "On the third day, on his return from the forest he agreed to have his strength tested one more time." he continues as himself. "So Aina took a very strong cord of silk, which she had prepared by the bandit's advice, and this time, though Prince Takuya pulled and tugged with all his might, he could not break the cord. So he called to her and said...

    "Sister, this time the cord is so strong I cannot break it. Come and unfasten it for me." he pleads as Prince Takuya.

    "But instead of coming, Aina called to the bandit, who rushed into the room brandishing a dagger!" he announces as himself, making the crowd gasp. But Prince Takuya said..."

    "Wait for a moment." he instructs as Prince Takuya. "I would like before I die to sound three calls on my signaling whistle..." This gives Brock time to dig a silver whistle from a pocket as he continues as Prince Takuya "One in this room, one on the stairs, and one in the courtyard."

    "So the bandit consented, and the prince blew the whistle." Brock proceeds to play the Zelda whistle theme for effect, making laughter go up as many in the crowd recognize the familiar melody. "At the first note, the Vulpix, which was asleep in the cage in the courtyard, awoke, and knew that her master needed help. So she woke the Poochyena by stroking his eyes with her tails. Then they woke the Entei, who heaved against the door of the cage with all his might, so that it fell in a gazillion pieces on the ground, freeing them all. They rushed through the court to their master's aid--the Vulpix gnawed the cord that bound Prince Takuya's thumbs behind his back, and the Entei flung himself on the bandit, killing him."

    Some applause goes up as Brock continues "Prince Takuya set a huge bowl before Aina, and instructed her not to come out of the house until the bowl had been filled with her tears of remorse."

    After waiting for a beat, Brock continues. "He called his Pokemon together, and set out on his travels. For a while, Prince Takuya's travels were uneventful until he came to an inn in another land. Everyone in the inn seemed sad, so when he asked them what was wrong, they replied that the princess of the land--we'll call her Remina--was to be given as a sacrifice to a dreadful Hydreigon."

    "Why should she die?" he declares as Prince Takuya. "I will save her myself!"

    "So he set out to the plain where the Hydreigon was to meet Princess Remina." he goes on as himself. "As he waited with his Pokemon, a great procession came along, accompanying Princess Remina. When the the procession reached the plain, all the people left her, and returned sadly to their houses. But Prince Takuya remained, and after a few tense moments, he saw movement in the water a long way off. As it came nearer, he knew what it was--the Hydreigon!"

    Everyone is on the edge of their seats as Brock continues. "Then Prince Takuya told his Pokemon to attack, and as the Hydreigon approached the shore, the Vulpix drew her tails through the water and blinded the Hydreigon by scattering the water in his eyes. The Teddiursa and the Entei threw up more water with their paws, so that the Hydreigon was both blinded and confused. Then Prince Takuya rushed forward with his sword, and slew the Hydreigon!"

    Cheers go up as Brock concludes "When the king learned what had happened, he was amazed that someone managed to slay the Hydreigon, and offered Prince Takuya Princess Remina's hand in marriage as a reward. It wasn't long before Prince Takuya was married to Princess Remina and rewarded with half the kingdom to boot."

    He looks out at the enthralled crowd. "As for what happened to Prince Takuya's brothers, that is another story for another day!"

    WOW!!! Wendy grins as she applauds. Brock was right when he said he was a great storyteller! Her eyes shine in anticipation of Brock's next tale...

    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

  2. #17
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 13: "Arrival in Crystone Town! The master storyteller's freshly picked tales!" (part 2)

    Meanwhile, in the forest nearby Crystone Town...

    A procession of boys and girls in navy blue outfits make their way through the brush leading to Crystone Town. "Let's go over the plan again..." the boy leading the group begins as he cuts through some vines with a small sword. "Our objective is to locate and destroy the Gems of Song so Meloetta can't be summoned."

    "But didn't Meloetta seal them in eight well guarded and hidden locations?" a girl asks.

    "I know that, but the boss wants to be absolutely sure that they are not hidden as trinkets to be bought and sold." the leader replies. "Legendaries have done this before."

    "The boss thinks of everything..." another boy sighs, tired from the long walk.

    "Not that that's a bad thing." his partner smiles as the line of roughly fifty boys and girls continues on their way....

    Back in Crystone Town....

    "In a certain village lived three brothers and their mom." Brock begins after making sure a target is in place. "One day, the mother came down with a terrible disease, and no healer within miles knew how to cure her."

    Concerned murmurs race through the crowd. "But one healer told the boys that the only way to cure their mom was to find a mystical Aspear Berry that grew in the mountains." Brock assures his audience. "However, all those that had attempted the quest before had failed."

    Wendy is about to say something, but Brock quickly silences the murmurs as he continues "The eldest boy--we'll call him Hajime--volunteered to go first, and set out early the next morning. At first, Hajime's journey was uneventful, but as he was traveling through the mountains, Celebi appeared to him, and asked..." In a breathy male voice he asks "Where are you going, young lad?"

    "My mother is very sick, and I am searching for a legendary Aspear Berry said to cure her." he replies as an older boy.

    "The place you speak of is the Shining Grove, but you mustn't go there!" he cautions as Celebi. "A fearsome Gyarados lurks within the water around the tree you seek."

    "But I have to save my mom!" he pleads as Hajime.

    "Very well, if you must find this Aspear, I will give you a hint." he assures the audience as Celebi. "If the wind warns you not to approach the Aspear tree as it rustles through the reeds, the Gyarados is awake, and you must turn back. If the wind says it is safe, you can approach the tree, for the Gyarados is sleeping."

    Applause goes up at Brock's skillful interplay. "When Hajime got to the Shining Grove, the wind warned him not to approach many times."

    "Don't go, the Gyarados is waiting!" Wendy fills in the wind's voice. "Don't go, the Gyarados is waiting!"

    "Finally, Hajime grew impatient, and approached the tree despite the wind's warning not to." Brock intones. "Sure enough, the Gyarados appeared to him with great roar, and as Hajime had no weapon, he was quickly eaten."

    The audience is silent, stunned by the turn of events. "The middle brother--we'll call him Tetsuya--left the next morning, and the same thing happened." Brock continues. "He met Celebi, explained his quest, was told the secret to obtaining the Aspear Berry, ignored the wind's warning, and was eaten by a Gyarados."

    "Did the youngest brother have better luck?" a woman asks.

    "Finally, the youngest brother--we'll call him Yuji--set out, met Celebi, explained his quest, and was told the secret to obtaining the Aspear Berry." Brock goes on before switching to his Celebi voice again. "I sense the flame of determination inside you to save your brothers and heal your mother. So take this magical bow, in case you too meet the Gyarados as your brothers did." He shows the crowd his own bow for effect.

    As himself, he goes on "When Yuji got to the Shining Grove, he waited for some time as the wind cautioned..."

    "Don't go, the Gyarados is waiting!" Wendy fills in the dialogue. "Don't go, the Gyarados is waiting!"

    "Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Yuji heard the wind say..." Brock narrates.

    "You can go, the Gyarados is sleeping." Wendy replies. "You can go, the Gyarados is sleeping."

    "So Yuji carefully made his way through the grass and safely picked one of the legendary Aspear Berries." Brock explains as he walks up and pantomimes picking an Aspear Berry from an imagined tree near where Wendy is standing. "But just when Yuji was about to leave, the Gyarados appeared from the water with a great roar, intent on eating him too!"

    "And then?" A boy swallows hard, fearful for Yuji.

    "Yuji was not afraid, and easily killed the Gyarados with one arrow from his magical bow, freeing his brothers, who were miraculously unharmed, in the process." Brock narrates, before taking an arrow and firing it at the target, where it lands in the red zone close to the bullseye.

    "Nice shot!" Wendy is impressed at how well Brock's aim and skill with a bow has improved as the crowd applauds his shot.

    "The mother ate the Aspear Berry and was healed." Brock concludes as he sets his bow and quiver aside. "and she was always grateful to her boys for their bravery."

    He takes a bow as everyone applauds and the stage is cleared. [I didn't know Brock was going to actually shoot an arrow live on stage!] Raku gasps.

    Onstage, Brock cradles his harp in one hand as he begins "Once upon a time, in a fair away land, there lived a king and queen. They had a son--I'll call him Alex--who dreamed of being a great hero like the minstrels sang about." He adds a soft chord on the harp for effect. "When Alex was old enough to choose a bride, he asked his father the king where the most beautiful princess in the world lived."

    [Yay!] Emi is excited at the mention of a princess.

    "So the king took Alex into the royal gallery, where the portraits of many beautiful princesses from all over the world hung." Brock continues.

    "I bet Alex had a tough decision to make..." a boy muses.

    "Alex looked at all the portraits very carefully...." The crowd giggles as Brock examines a tree by the stage, as if he is Alex examining a portrait. "He finally saw the portrait of the princess of Azulona--I'll call her Mina--and fell deeply in love with her. So with his mother and father's blessings, he left on a great journey to ask for Princess Mina's hand in marriage."

    "And then?" Wendy is piqued.

    "As Alex traveled on his way, he saw a shining palace on a hill. When he went inside, there was not a person or Pokemon in sight." Brock continues. "But there was a room with some food and a bed, so Alex rested there for the night. "In the morning, he found the palace garden, bursting with exotic flowers he had never seen before. He eventually wandered into the royal stables, where he saw a shining Rapidash."

    "Did he try to ride it?" a man asks.

    "He rode it, and no sooner had he told it giddy up, did it go speeding across the plains and hills!" Brock replies.

    He plays a series of long glissandi to represent the Rapidash running. "They went through forests, plains, mountains and rivers...and by the time the Rapidash showed the first sign of being tired, Alex was soaked."

    Some children snicker as they picture the drenched prince. "Suddenly, the Rapidash spoke to Alex." In character as a girl, Brock continues "It has been many years since I last bore a great hero...I see you are strong, wise, and brave, and so I will serve you.' Alex made camp for the night, as he and his mount were very tired."

    [But what happened when Alex got there?] Emi asks--she's never heard this story before.

    "What happened when Alex got to Azulona?" Brock smiles. "He told the king of Azulona that he wanted to take Princess Mina's hand in marriage. The king of Azulona replied that in return for Princess Mina, he would defend Azulona from an enemy army."

    [Oh no!] Satomi gasps at this.

    "Alex agreed, and the king held a grand feast to celebrate the engagement of Princess Mina." Brock continues. "The enemy armies approached Azulona the next morning, but Alex defeated them and captured the enemy king singlehandedly!"

    'Wow!" Wendy is impressed.

    "With Azulona safe again, preparations were made for the wedding, but Princess Mina brought up an important point--with no minstrels due to arrive for some weeks, how would there be any music at the wedding?" Brock continues. "She told him of the dark immortal Tochisha, and the celestial harp he owned that was said to play itself."

    He adds a soft chord at the mention of the titular instrument. "So Alex set out for the darklands, and came to a cottage where a great mage lived. He asked Alex what he was doing there, and when Alex told the mage of his quest for the Celestial Harp, he told him..."

    The crowd listens as Brock fills in the mage's dialogue in a deeper version of himself as he plays the Ballad of the Goddess. "When you travel to the darklands, arrive at noon. Nearby Tochisha's palace is a great garden, and in that garden, a captured princess walks. She will be glad to see you and help you on your quest, as it has been six years she has been held as Tochisha's slave. Ask for her aid, and she will guide you to the Celestial Harp."

    This is getting good...then what happened? Wendy wonders.

    "Alex thanked the mage for his aid, and went on his way." Brock replies. "When he got to Tochisha's domain at noon, he heard the Celestial Harp playing a relaxing melody..."

    He takes that opportunity to play his version of "Arran's Lullaby" for effect. "Alex then remembered his quest, and entered the royal garden, where he saw the captured princess--who I'll call Chloe." he explains as the last note of "Arran's Lullaby" echoes into the blue sky. "Princess Chloe was understandably scared of Alex at first, but when Alex told her of his quest, she trusted him. She told him to wait in the garden, went into the throne room, and began flattering Tochisha." In character as Chloe, he asks "My lord, is it true you will never die?"

    "It is true." he replies in character as Tochisha over an ominous chord.

    "Then where is your soul?" he asks as Chloe. "Is it here?"

    "It is under the broom by the door." he replies as Tochisha.

    "So Chloe tossed the broom in the fireplace, but Tochisha still lived." Brock continues as himself. "Princess Chloe pressed Tochisha further on the location of his soul, and when he finally relented, he told her..."

    He fills in Tochisha's dialogue. "In a certain field stands three trees. Under the largest tree lives a Wurmple--and when it dies, I will die too."

    "So Princess Chloe told Alex what she had learned, and Alex went out to the field with three trees and found the Wurmple, but when he killed it, Tochisha still lived." he continues as himself. "By now, Alex suspected Tochisha was hiding something, and told Chloe to really press him on where his soul was. Chloe spent several hours pressing Tochisha on his soul's location, but when he finally relented, he told her..."

    As Tochisa, he continues "On a certain island grows a certain tree. Beneath the tree is a treasure chest--if you open it, you will find a basket inside. Attempt to take this basket and a Buneary will appear--when you kill it, a Pidove will appear. Follow it to its nest and take the egg inside, and inside that egg is my soul."

    The crowd listens intently, eager to learn what happens next. "Alex set out for the island, where he found the tree..." Brock takes a deep breath and begins rattling off the list. "and he found the chest beneath it. He opened it and found a basket inside, but when he tried to take it, a Buneary jumped out. Alex killed it with a well placed arrow, and Pidove flew from the Buneary's body into the sky. Alex followed it to its next, took the egg inside, and smashed it on the ground--killing Tochisha."

    The crowd applauds and he plays a triumphant chord. "Alex took the Celestial Harp, and took Princess Chloe home." Brock continues. "He then returned to Azulona and his beloved Princess Mina, where they were married the next day. All the wedding guests were amazed at how beautiful the Celestial Harp sounded, and it played many airs and dances for everyone to enjoy."

    He plays a festive jig for effect as he concludes. "Alex returned to his homeland to a hero's welcome, where he lived happily ever after with Princess Mina."

    [I love harps--they sound so beautiful.] Mizuchi smiled as the crowd roars.

    "In a far away land, there lived a king and queen that ruled over a vast kingdom." Brock begins as he sets the harp aside. "They also had a son they loved very much--we'll call him Kiran. Kiran was well loved and well liked across the kingdom--he was a fine hunter, sailor, singer, and storyteller, among other things."

    Sounds a bit like you.... Wendy smiles.

    Brock just continues "One year, just before Kiran came of age, the queen died from a terrible disease. The whole kingdom mourned for her, but it wasn't long before the king married again. But Kiran never forgot his mother, and cherished the memories of her."

    After pausing for a beat, he goes on "Now, Kiran particularly enjoyed hunting, usually alongside a Ninetales he had befriended--we'll call her Kitsune. So one morning, he was searching for Kitsune in the forest, when he saw a great gold Pidgeot fly past him."

    "Whoa!" Wendy balks when she pictures what the shiny Pidgeot might have looked like in comparison to Tenku.

    "Try as Kiran might to hit the majestic Pokemon, his arrows merely grazed its feathers." Brock pantomimes shooting a bow to illustrate this. "As it was getting late, Kiran took the feather and set out for home. When he got home, his stepmother desired the golden Pidgeot for herself, and banished Kiran from the castle until he found it." He next takes his guitar and starts a relaxed melody. "Kiran traveled for many hours with not so much as a sign of the gold Pidgeot. Finally, he made camp in a forest as the sun set, and drifted to sleep."

    "Did he find Kitsune?" Wendy asks.

    Brock plays a soft harmonic chord to represent Kitsune appearing. "As Kiran slept, Kitsune met him in the forest." In his best mimic of Ash's Riolu character Erin, he intones over a mystical melody "I hear ye are on a journey, milord; so I bring ye a meager meal te get ye true te night."

    As himself, he interjects "Kiran told Kitsune about his quest over the small meal of Buneary meat and Berries. Kitsune told him... As Kitsune again, he replies "Te Pidgeot ye seek belongs te a terrifying giant in te mauntains. I will show you te his house, and you are te present yeself as a servant. Treat his Pokemon well, and ye will earn his troost. One dey, he will leave on a journey himself--wait until he is out of sight, ten trow a cloak over te gold Pidgeot. Boot if even one of her gold featers touches anyting in te giant's cave, terrible tings will happen."

    Wendy applauds at Brock's spot on mimic as he continues. "The next morning, Kitsune led Kiran to the giant's cave, and everything happened as Kitsune said--Kiran took such good care of the giant's Pokemon, that he earned the right to handle and groom the gold Pidgeot."

    Awed murmurs fill the air. "One day, the giant told Kiran he was leaving to see a friend that lived in a neighboring mountain." Brock continues. "Kiran waited until the giant was out of his sight, threw a cloak over the Pidgeot, and started for the cave entrance." Tense giggles fill the air as Brock plays a "sneaking" riff. "But he accidentally brushed a feather against the entryway--and the Pidgeot made so much noise, the giant came rushing back in seconds."

    Raku gasps over Brock's tense chord. "Kiran was afraid at first, but the giant said..." In a deeper version of himself, he intones "If you want my golden Pidgeot, bring to me the Sword of Magic Auras the forest wisps guard, and I will consider."

    He sets the guitar aside as he continues. "Kitsune met Kiran on the forest path, and told him..." As Kitsune, he suggests "Te forest wisps are everywhere in te wood, but teir queen lives in a wood across the sea. I will transform inte a ship te take ye tere. Ye are te present yeself as a swordsmith--treat teir bledes well, and tey will troost you with te Sword of Magic Auras. Boot if te sheath touches even wan ting in te palace, terrible tings will happen."

    "With that, they arrived on the coast, and Kitsune transformed herself into a ship." Brock then sings as Kitsune Rou iitsa ron selga vichii... He continues as himself "Kiran sailed to the island wood, and everything happened as Kitsune said--he did so well polishing the various blades, that the wisp queen let him handle the Sword of Magic Auras. As he was taking it out of the palace, he tripped over a vine, making the sword fall to the floor."

    "Oh no!" a girl yelps.

    "Luckily, the wisp queen was feeling merciful." Brock assures his audience before assuming a younger version of his "Kitsune" voice. "If ye want te Sword of Magic Auras, you must first trede us te shining Ponyta of the king of Fuyan."

    As himself, he continues. "Kitsune met Kiran on the coast, and told him..." As Kitsune, he intones "Fuyan is fahr awey from here, so I will again transform into a ship te teke ye tere. Ye are te present yeself as a stable boy--treat te Ponytas and te Rapidashes well, and His Majesty will troost ye wit te shining Ponyta. Boot if even wan hair touches te stable..."

    "Terrible things will happen." the crowd repeats along with Brock.

    Brock just grins. "Have you guys heard this one before?" he asks.

    Laughter just meets his playful question as he continues "Kitsune transformed herself into a ship again..." He pauses to sing as Kitsune Rou iitsa ron selga vichii... before continuing as himself. "When Kiran got to Fuyan, everything happened as Kitsune said--he took such good care of the Ponytas and Rapidashes, that the king finally trusted him with the shiny Ponyta. But as he was leading it out of the stables, he brushed against the entryway by mistake. The Ponyta made so much noise, that the king came rushing to the stables to see what was wrong."

    He then assures his audience "Luckily, the king was feeling merciful..." In an older version of himself, he intones "If you desire my shining Ponyta, bring to me the princess of Atalan."

    [Yay!] Emi cheers.

    "You're going to cheer for every princess, aren't you?" Wendy coos. Emi nods.

    "Kitsune met him on the road out of the capital city, and said to him..." As Kitsune, Brock intones "Someting must nut want ye te return te your homeland for so much misfartune te befall ye. Boot I will help ye all te same--I will transform myself inte a ship to take ye to Atalan, and run agraund on te coast. Ye are te tell te king of Atalan that ye ship has wrecked and ye are the sole survivor. Also tell him tat te king of Fuyan has offered help in exchange for te princess."

    He continues as himself. "Kitsune transformed into a ship again..." He again sings as Kitsune Rou iitsa ron selga vichii... "and set off for Atalan. When she had run aground on the coast, Kiran told the court of Atalan the most heartwrenching rendition of the story Kitsune had told him to tell. The princess of Atalan--we'll call her Talia--couldn't bear to see anyone in need, and so agreed to help Kiran in return for becoming the wife of the king of Fuyan. But Princess Talia saw how kind and brave Kiran was, and loved him more than the king of Fuyan."

    Odd--usually it's the boy having second thoughts in this kind of story... Wendy muses.

    "When they arrived in Fuyan, Kitsune transformed into Princess Talia..." Brock then sings a different song as Kitsune. Imultao, ame no ga bakeno...

    As himself, he continues "The king of Fuyan fell madly in love with 'Talia', and eagerly gave Kiran the shining Ponyta. As Kiran led the shining Ponyta back to where the real Talia waited, the king of Fuyan was about to crown Kitsune when she revealed herself, and gave him a Fire Fang he never forgot!"

    Laughter fills the air as the crowd pictures the chaotic scene. "They then made their way back to the island woods, where Kitsune transformed into a shiny Ponyta." Brock then sings as Kitsune Karuto, iichiida shou...

    [And then?] Hinata asks as she wipes away a tear of laughter.

    Brock continues "The wisp queen was thrilled to see the 'Ponyta', and eagerly gave Kiran the Sword of Magic Auras. But when the wisps tried to ride Kitsune, it was a ride they never forgot!"

    More laughter fills the air. "They then made their way to the giant's cave in the mountains, where Kitsune transformed herself into the sword." Brock then sings as Kitsune Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...

    Cheers go up at the gibberish song. "The giant was pleased to see the 'sword', and gave Kiran the golden Pidgeot." Brock continues. "But when he tried to wield it, Kitsune burnt him so badly that it took a long time to recover."

    The crowd can hardly contain their laughter at this. "It was only when Kiran arrived home did he discover Kitsune's warning was true--and that his stepmother was about to cast a dark spell on him." Brock continues.

    [Did he fight back?] Tenku panics, afraid for Kiran and his party.

    "But the Sword of Magic Auras protected him and the Pokemon, and after a long battle, Kiran emerged victorious!" Brock assures Tenku and the crowd.

    Tenku heaves a sigh of relief as he concludes "Kiran and Talia were soon married, and they were revered throughout the kingdom. Kitsune received a special place on Kiran's court, for it was her cunning and magic power that guided him on many more adventures."

    He smiles at his enthralled audience. "But that is another story for another day!"

    Wendy's grin is the largest as she applauds. Keep it up, Brock--you're doing great!

    Last edited by LightningTopaz; 19th February 2013 at 10:21 PM.
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  3. #18
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 14: "Eyes in the shadows! Brock vs. Team Elegy!"

    "...Yusha and the Beasts returned to a hero's welcome." Brock concludes his final story over a triumphant song from the harp. "That is why today, you can see statues of the Beasts commemorating this hero, the Beasts, and their adventures all over the world."

    The crowd roars as Brock takes a bow, then turns to leave. [That was amazing!] Mizuchi gasps as Brock gathers his gear and steps off the stage. [You really are as skilled as you say you are!]

    Her rave review was cut short by a female voice crying "Stop, thief!"

    Brock snapped to attention at the cry. Someone's in trouble--I have to help!

    He motioned for Wendy to follow him to a jewelry booth with a dull yellow awning, where Officer Jenny and a number of other officers were milling about, dusting for fingerprints and collecting evidence. "What happened here, Officer?" Wendy asked.

    "The booth owner says that a gang of boys and girls ransacked her booth and stole many of her stock, claiming they were 'Meloetta's jewels', and needed to be destroyed." Officer Jenny explained. "The odd part is, we have not seen anyone wearing an outfit like what the owner described."

    "Is there any way we can help?" Brock asked, ever aware of the wary glance Mizuchi was giving him as a warning to not go nuts over Officer Jenny as well.

    "Well..." Officer Jenny thought for a moment. "If you see anyone wearing a full navy blue outfit with a silver stripe on the pants, please let us know." After making sure all the evidence was accounted for, she and the squadron departed.

    Wendy hurried up to the teal haired girl in charge of the booth, who was softly sobbing over her ransacked cabinets, boxes, and display cases. "What can you tell us about what happened?"

    The girl wiped a few tears from her eyes in an attempt to compose herself, then began. "I was setting out some new stock when that gang of hoodlums attacked. I tried to tell them to not take anything, but they said they were taking my stock because it was "Meloetta's jewels"--whatever that means--and they were going to destroy all those rings and necklaces I worked so hard to make!"

    Team Elegy! Brock gasped. "We'll do whatever we can to find those troublemakers that stole your work and get your jewelry back, okay?" he assured the girl.

    "Thank you." The girl mustered a weak smile through her tears as Brock and Wendy disappeared into the crowds.

    Wendy thought for a moment. "Those guys that stole the girl's jewels--they had to be Team Elegy goons. But, how come we haven't seen a trace of them anywhere?"

    Just then, some laughter startled the two of them as more Team Elegy grunts began emerging from the trees, the grass, empty booths, and storage buildings. "We were hiding all along, Miss Sherlock." a boy in a slightly more elaborate navy blue and silver outfit sneered as the crowd of grunts surrounded Brock and Wendy. "We got what we came for, so there's no need for you two to interfere."

    "Oh yeah?" Brock countered as he retrieved his bow and aimed an arrow at a Beedrill hive hanging over the Team Elegy leader's head.

    "You want to fight, then?" the leader sneered. "Okay--if you two can defeat all of us in a massed Pokemon battle, we'll give back what we stole and be on our way."

    "Deal." Brock replied as he returned the arrow he was going to shoot to the quiver and put his bow away.

    "Tenku, Mizuchi, get ready." Wendy instructed as the Team Elegy grunts all released their Pokemon, creating a crowd of about 20 Whismurs.

    "Terra, help Wendy's Pokemon." Brock instructed.

    [Got it!] Terra flexed her claws and hurried by Wendy's side.

    "My team and Terra will take out the mooks." Wendy explained. "You look a lot more skilled in battle than I am, so I'll leave the leader to you."

    "That the way you wanna do it?" the leader smirked. "You summon your Pokemon, and I'll unleash mine to get this started."

    "Showtime, Hinata!" Brock heaved the Poke Ball containing Hinata skyward, forming the Vulpix on the pavement.

    "Kricketune, let's go!" the leader called as he too heaved a Poke Ball skyward.

    Ah-la-la-la-la-la-ua! sang a large red cricket Pokemon as it brandished its knife-like arms before Hinata.

    [Your war cry doesn't scare me!] Hinata retorted. She ran at the Kricketune and fired an Ember at it, singing its body.

    "Kricketune, sing the warsong of Team Elegy!" the Team Elegy leader commanded.

    Brock watched in horror as the Kricketune began singing a hypnotic melody, making Hinata's eyes begin to droop. Kricketunes can hit hard with a Slash, X Scissor, or even the dreaded Fury Cutter....granted, Hinata has a type advantage, but she is only a first stage Pokemon, facing an evolved Pokemon

    The glint of his whistle got his attention as Hinata fell to the ground with a plop, asleep. This never fails to wake her up!

    With that, he blasted the loudest and highest A note he could muster, making Hinata wake up with a jump! [mm-what?] she yawned, still groggy from the Sing attack.

    "Try and burn the Kricketune--maybe with its power and speed down, we can level the field a bit." Brock suggested as he watched Tenku bring down a Whismur. He heard Wendy say something in the chaos of battle, but when he saw Mizuchi fire a blue white beam at another Whismur and freeze it, he smiled before focusing on his own battle.

    Hinata, meanwhile, conjured a ring of blue-white fire and sent it flying at the Kricketune. The Kricketune howled in pain at being burned. It charged at Hinata, but before Hinata could dodge, she was slashed with both of the Kricketune's arms, creating an X shaped gash.

    "Hinata!" Brock grabbed a Super Potion from his bag and sprayed it on Hinata's wound.

    [Thank you--I'll finish this now!] With that, Hinata unleashed a Flame Burst, sending the Kricketune falling to the ground. Its final weak cry alerted the grunts that were still battling Wendy that their leader had fallen.

    The Team Elegy leader sighed as he studied his fainted Kricketune. "You may have won today, squinty-eyes, but know that this is only the beginning...we will not rest until the Gems of Song are destroyed, and this world is torn apart!"

    My URPG stats: Maya's status

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  4. #19
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 15: "The eight Gems of Song!"

    "...ruby necklace, and a few diamond rings." Brock mused as he and Wendy finished taking inventory of the jewelry Team Elegy had stolen. "That all of it?"

    "I think so." Wendy replied. "After you took down the leader's Kricketune, they just turned tail and ran, dropping all this jewelry."

    As Brock continued gathering up the many necklaces, he noticed Mizuchi perched upon a stool. "How'd you know I liked Officer Jenny too?"

    [You were giving her that same dreamy look you gave Nurse Joy before.] Mizuchi explained. [And no proper gentleman gives a lady a look like that.]

    Wait, Mizuchi sees me a proper gentleman? Brock was confused at the Vaporeon's observation for a moment. Considering my clothes, I probably look like one...

    Then again, it goes back to Dad saying not to go nuts for girls... He winced at the thought of being sprayed every time he went gaga for a girl.

    The jeweler giggled at the pained look on Brock's face. "I don't blame you for that look, carrying all that has to be pretty heavy." she assured Brock as she took the pile of jewelry from his hands. "Since you two were so brave to defeat those hooligans and get my jewelry back, I'll give you anything you want."

    "Anything we want, huh?" Brock thought for a moment, piqued in the girl's offer. Free jewelry sounded very attractive, considering the many rings and necklaces he and Wendy had just returned. So did a meal at one of the many restaurants in town.

    But something else weighed on his mind. What does this girl know about the legend of Giratina and Meloetta, if anything?

    He sighed and told the girl "All I ask is some information about the story of how Meloetta sealed Giratina with eight powerful spellsongs."

    "Oh?" The girl was interested. "What do you not understand about the story?"

    "Specifically, I'm curious about the eight gems Meloetta sealed her spellsongs into." Brock continued. "Do they have names or titles, or something?"

    The girl smiled. "You know that the eight Gems of Song were sealed in places well guarded by all manner of monsters and traps?"

    "and that should someone make it to where a Gem is held, Meloetta will grant them the gift of singing magic." Brock added."

    "The Gems correspond to the badges of Minami." the girl explained. "In order, they are the Fire Ruby, the Night Onyx, the Dragon Opal, the Storm Topaz, the Wise Garnet, the Steel Diamond, the Icy Sapphire, and the Gaia Emerald."

    "Then, then--does that mean the Gym Leaders are the guardians of these gems?" Wendy asked.

    "Not guardians per se, but the descendants of guardians from long ago." the girl replied. "That means that the negative energy of the Gym Leaders' emotions can weaken and break Giratina's seals. If all eight are broken, the world will be torn apart in Giratina's fury, unless someone who has been chosen by Meloetta and learned the spellsongs inside the gems can sing the spellsongs again. That's what my grandma told me when I was little."

    Brock smiled. Of course--now it makes sense! "Of course, no one has ever ventured inside one of these places and returned alive--yet."

    "That's right." the girl smiled. "If you want to see one of the places where one of the gems supposedly lies, the Tower of Runes stands on Route 50, just outside Honoru City."

    "We were on our way to see that next." Brock grinned as he and Wendy turned to leave. "Thanks for the information."

    "You're welcome--have a safe journey!" the girl called as she waved goodbye.

    As Brock hurried to keep up with Wendy in the crowds, the thought never occurred to him that the story of Giratina and Meloetta, considered to be one of the most well known folktales in Minami, was in fact true--and he and Wendy had a role to play in it!

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  5. #20
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 16: "A choice is made! The PokeTheater challenge begins!"

    Brock found Wendy some moments later staring at a poster on a lamppost. "What's this?"

    "It's a PokeTheater actor registration poster." Wendy explained, allowing Brock to look at the poster depicting a boy portraying a fantasy hero and a girl portraying a superspy:

    Actors/Actresses Wanted!

    Do you have a passion for acting? Want to share your talent with the public?

    The PokeTheater Challenge is accepting entrants this week!

    Try your luck performing on some of Minami's biggest stages--you may be lucky enough to go all the way to the Minami League!

    "Are you going to take the challenge?" Brock asked as Wendy copied down the contact information and instructions on the poster.

    "Of course, I'm not being pulled a hundred different directions wrangling baby Pokemon." Wendy replied. "My family has always been big fans of the theater..."

    "What was the first play you remember seeing?" Brock asked as he observed a long line snaking through the western part of town and leading up to a small theater.

    "Wow...it had something to do with King Arthur and Queen Guinevere wanting to give each other the perfect gift to celebrate their first anniversary." Wendy replied. "They told the Knights of the Round Table to track down the perfect gift. They agreed to find some color changing Leppa Berries..."

    [I remember that play!] Tenku chirped as the group joined the line. [I was just a Pidgey then, and you held me in your hands so I could see the stage. Merlin's costume was so beautiful, even rivaling the King and Queen!]

    "On top of that, there was an unnamed Pokemon terrorizing the Dark Forest--but the roaring and sounds made it seem a Charizard was the Pokemon in question." Wendy went on. "To this day, I still wonder what Pokemon it was."

    [I remember those knight wannabes poor Lancelot had to train!] Mizuchi giggles at a memory. [Oh, they were so funny!]

    "So did the King and the Queen get their color changing Berries?" Brock was intrigued.

    "Yeah, after dealing with the witch that guarded said Berries--a friendly hunter led them to a secret way into the witch's Berry grove." Wendy went on. "Said witch was in cahoots with a greedy baron, and it turned out the beast Pokemon was really people in a costume..."

    [The looks on the knights' faces when they found this out was priceless...] Mizuchi whispers to Emi, who giggles.

    "The only reason they did that was so the baron would be talked about more, not the Knights." Wendy continues. "Turned out the so called witch was putting on an act at the baron's behest too."

    "Moral of the story--respect is earned, and never demanded." Brock smiles.

    "You mentioned before you've been in plays yourself..." Wendy mused. "What characters have you portrayed besides minstrel Flynn Devine?"

    "Well, my most famous one is Señor Alegria, a fun-loving mariachi performer that loves a good yarn almost as much as he loves to sing and dance." Brock explained.

    [Come on now, la-la-la, it is so wonderful!] Terra sang as she teetered across the sidewalk, trying to mimic Brock dancing as Señor Alegria. [La-la-la, la la la, hear a word's beautiful sound!
    La-la-la, and it is, la-la-la,
    And it is...
    My lovely one...]

    Hinata, meanwhile, was singing the familiar tune of the <i>jarabe pateño</i> as she danced around Wendy's feet, lost in a memory of Brock doing the same dance as Señor Alegria. "No wonder he's your best known character, even the Pokemon remember him!" Wendy giggled, enamored at Hinata's shaky attempt at the dance.

    "Anyway..." Brock shepherded Hinata and Terra back to him. "My other characters that I portray regularly include the Gekijou variant of Flynn Devine, a minstrel-like storyteller named Kashu, Ace Chandler, my melodrama host and occasional hero..."

    "I've always wanted to play the heroine in a melodrama!" Wendy gasps. "Or take part in a Gekijou play!"

    "You may get your chance to do both if you take the challenge." Brock smiled, as Wendy approached the counter to register for the PokeTheater Challenge....


    Wendy smiled as she studied the sparkling silver box that would hold her rose buttons for the PokeTheater challenge. <i>I can't believe it--I'm actually taking the PokeTheater Challenge!</i>

    "Everything okay?" Brock's voice snapped her back to reality. "You haven't said a word since we left town..."

    "Well, one, it's still sinking in that I'm actually taking the PokeTheater Challenge, something I've wanted to do ever since I was little." Wendy explained, her ecstatic smile still on her face. "But something the lady at the registration table said is bugging me--I've never really auditioned for anything on this level before."

    "Being no stranger to the stage myself, an audition at any level is no laughing matter." Brock mused. "I've done too many plays, concerts and storytelling shows to even count--including my most current one; a variety show called 'Live From the Fireside'. Even then, I still get jangled nerves at an audition."

    "So enlighten me, sage of showbiz...what is an audition like?" Wendy smiled.

    "It really depends on the show, but at the very least, the director will need to see if your talents are the best fit for his--or her--show." Brock explained. "Most of the time, they will make you read a few lines from the show, sing, and maybe dance."

    "And in the case of the PokeTheater, maybe even do something even crazier, if the registration people are to be believed." Wendy added.

    "Even then, despite whatever it is you decide to do, you may still not make the cut." Brock cautioned. "Can you handle a little heartbreak on the road to stardom?"

    Wendy nodded. "I would've never gotten in that line if I didn't believe in my heart I had the courage and talent to take the Challenge, setbacks and all."

    She grinned. "Besides, I have the best acting coach and audition partner in the world--you!"

    Brock almost fell on the grass as Wendy threw herself in his arms for a joyous hug. "Goodness, we're excited tonight..." he nervously giggled.

    "Akari City won't know what hit it when we take the stage there!" Wendy grinned.

    "Well, we have a ways to go before we get there, so you have plenty of time to think about what our audition act should be." Brock assured Wendy as the group walked off into the setting sun...

    Last edited by LightningTopaz; 7th March 2013 at 10:23 PM.
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

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  6. #21
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 17: "Arrival in Honoru City! A debut times two!"

    "...Telling jokes?" Wendy suggested as she, Brock, and the Pokemon walked over the massive bridge leading into Honoru City.

    [Nah--who knows what the director's sense of humor is like?] Raku replied.

    [If you're gonna be an actor, you guys need a dramatic pose!] Satomi interjected. [Every good actor and actress has at least one dramatic pose!]

    The lamposts and camera stands lining the bridge gave Wendy an idea. "Got a camera?"

    "Yeah..." Brock replied as he fished a silver and black digital camera from his bag. "Why?"

    "We're gonna grant Satomi her wish of an actress' and an actor's dramatic pose!" Wendy explained as she dragged Brock by one of the lampposts.

    Brock giggled, slightly embarrassed at Wendy's enthusiasm. But he started tinkering with the camera's timer settings anyway--a walking tour wouldn't be complete without at least one goofy picture in the photo album.

    After making sure the camera timer was set, he set the camera in the stand. "Okay--the camera's going to go off in ten seconds, so think of a good dramatic pose!" he explained as he got on one knee and held a hand in the air, as if he were an opera singer in the middle of an aria.

    [Five...four...three...two...one...] Tenku counted down before the camera flash got her attention.

    [Lemme see!] Satomi begged as Brock got up and took the camera from the stand. [I wanna see!]

    Brock reviewed the picture of himself comically mimicking an opera singer and Wendy doing a jazz hands pose. "Well! Not a bad shot for one try..." he smiled before allowing the Eevees to see the picture.

    A familiar cry overpowered the Eevees laughing. "Emi!"

    "That's odd...we had breakfast a short while ago, it's not naptime yet, and she went to the potty before we left..." Wendy muses as she thinks about why the Happini in Brock's arms is crying profusely.

    "I know why--it's the cranky cry." Brock smiled as the group continued into the large town square and sat down on one of the benches overlooking the small garden and rocks. "Which means it's time to get out the toy that never fails to stop cranky crying."

    "What's that?" Wendy asked as she set Emi on the bench.

    "This little guy..." Brock replied, showing Wendy what looked like a Meowth doll. "My best puppet, a Meowth puppet I named Leon."

    "Looks like any old Meowth doll to me..." Wendy sighed, silently wishing all the while that Emi would stop crying.

    "Or is it?" Brock intones before retreating behind a rock. After slipping his hand inside a hidden hole in the Meowth's back, and positioning it to where Emi, the other Pokemon, and Wendy can see it, but not his hand, he speaks in a perfect mimic of Team Rocket's Meowth "Why did da candy store close at two o'clock?"

    [Why?] Mizuchi asks the Meowth puppet.

    "Because it was two's day!" Brock replies as Leon.

    The Eevees howl with laughter at the corny joke. "What makes music on ya head?" Brock starts another joke.

    [Hee hee...what?] Raku asks.

    "A head band!" Brock replies as Leon, making the Pokemon laugh even more.

    Even Wendy is laughing as Brock emerges from behind the rock, Leon still on his hand. "It worked...Emi's laughing!" she cried, gesturing to Emi laughing through her tears.

    "Thank you..." Brock takes a bow for his "audience".

    "Got any more of those puppets?" Wendy asks. "We could do a two person show, so I can practice projecting my voice."

    Brock rummages through his bag some more, and unearths the Sandshrew puppet from earlier, a Chikorita puppet, and a script. "If we can make a copy of this script--a two person bit called "Jogging", we could possibly do a little show for our teams."

    "Cool!" Wendy smiles. "I've always wanted to learn to work a puppet."

    <i>An hour or two later...</i>

    "Okay...ready?" Brock, now completely in black, asks Wendy as she finishes changing into a black outfit of her own.

    "i still don't get why we have to wear these..." Wendy sighs as she joins Brock back behind the rock serving as their stage.

    "Remember the Gekijou theater?" Brock explains "Anyone in black--be it a musician, puppeteer, or stagehand, is a shadow, and therefore unseen to the audience."

    "Oh..." Wendy smiles before accepting the Chikorita puppet and putting her hand inside a hidden hole near the puppet's head,

    "Remember--don't let the audience see your hand." Brock whispers before pressing PLAY on a small radio.

    A happy interlude plays for a moment before the Meowth puppet and the Chikorita puppet run on an pose over a drumroll in the music. "Peach!" Wendy announces in a higher pitched version of herself.

    "and Leon in..." Brock adds as Leon.

    "Jogging!" both announce in character before they hurry off again. The Pokemon applaud as the interlude finishes.

    Wendy makes her Chikorita "run" in the scene some seconds later. "What a lovely day for a jog..." she muses, never mind that her puppet has a very noticeable limp as it "runs".

    "Sure is..." Brock agrees as Leon.

    "But we have to be mindful of the road...." Wendy's Chikorita cautions.

    "Whatsamatta with da road?" Brock asks, making Leon shake his head.

    "It's all bumpy!" Wendy's Chikorita complains.

    "Bumpy? I don't feel any bumps here..." Brock replies as Leon.

    "But there's a gazillion of them!" Wendy's Chikorita gasps.

    "Look, dis road is straight as a board, and I'm runnin' straight, straight, straight." Brock's Meowth assures Wendy's Chikorita as it "runs" about.

    "Then why am I running crooked, crooked, crooked?" Wendy's Chikorita asks, to some giggles from the Pokemon and a growing crowd that is gathering to watch.

    "Peach...somethin's wrong with ya feet." Brock's Meowth explains. "Mind if I play docta here for a minute?"

    "Please do--don't hold anything back!" Wendy's Chikorita replies.

    After "examining" the Chikorita puppet thoroughly, the Meowth puppet announces. "Ah, I see da problem! Ya wearin' two different kinds of shoes!"

    The crowd laughs at this. "Oh, how silly of me!" Wendy's Chikorita giggles as it pantomimes taking off one shoe. "Could you run back to my house and get the other shoe's mate?"

    "Sure!" With that, Brock's Meowth hurries off as the lights go down.

    "Here ya go!" he announces when he returns some moments later.

    After the two Pokemon trade the imaginary shoes, they start "running" again. "Dat feel better?" Brock's Meowth asks, which is now running with the same limp as Wendy's Chikorita.

    "The road is still bumpy!" Wendy's Chikorita complains.

    "Now I know how ya feel!" Brock's Meowth agrees as the two Pokemon limp off to a "wah-wah-wah-wah..." stinger.

    The audience laughs and applauds as Brock and Wendy emerge from behind the rock with their puppets and take a bow. That was fun! Wendy grins as she soaks up the cheers and applause. Now to see if I can do it on a real stage!

    Last edited by LightningTopaz; 9th March 2013 at 08:04 PM.
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  7. #22
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 18: "Trouble in Honoru City! The archer of flame, Ardea!" (part 1)

    "Remember that huge tower we passed on the way here?" Wendy asked as the group strolled down Honoru City's main street. It was approaching noon, and what restaurants were not already full either had lines or beginning to attract crowds.

    "What about it?" Brock asked as he admired the various menu boards that stood on the sidewalk.

    "That is the Tower of Runes." Wendy explained. "Maybe if we find the Gym Leader, Ardea, she could tell us more about what's in there--and possibly help you sharpen your own archery skills."

    "She uses a bow too?" Brock was intrigued.

    "Yeah, and she loves fire Pokemon almost as much as she loves the bow." Wendy explained. "So much so she's been nicknamed 'the archer of flame.'

    "So would be trainers start with..." Brock pondered a few possible names for Ardea's badge. Flame Badge, Inferno Badge, Blaze Badge...

    "Her badge is the Ember Badge." Wendy replied, pointing out a billboard advertising the Gym that depicted a tiny orange and yellow teardrop-like Badge.

    Just then, an older female voice calling "Kitsune!" in the distance snapped her to attention. "That sounded like Ardea..."

    "Or someone else looking for a lost Pokemon..." Brock mused as the female voice called "Kitsune, where are you?"

    Tenku spotted a dull orange haired girl digging in the bushes around the Gym, which resembled a large log cabin. [That's her! Ardea!]

    Wendy motioned for Brock to follow her, and made her way to the Gym plaza, where Ardea was still digging through the brush as a Torchic and a Charmander looked on in fear. "Is there any way we can help?"

    Ardea looked up and smiled, relieved someone had heard her. "Of course you two can help--have you seen any Fennekins in the area?"

    Wendy was about to answer when she saw Brock had sauntered up to her, the same dreamy look he had with Nurse Joy on his face. "I may not have seen any Fennekins, but I have spotted this firey Cupid, whose flaming arrow has pierced my heart--!"

    That was as far as he got before Mizuchi sprayed him. [This is a Gym Leader you're talking to!] she scolded. [Now, behave yourself!]

    Ardea just chuckled. "I'm glad you find me beautiful, Romeo, but right now I have more pressing matters to worry about, like finding my Fennekin, Kitsune."

    "Oh, Brock just has a thing for pretty girls." Wendy explained as she offered Brock a towel to dry off. "Where did you see Kitsune last?" she asked.

    "Well, I fed him this morning, and he was with me while I went out to my private target range in the forest, but when I came back to the Gym, he was gone." Ardea explained, fanning herself with a red wide-brimmed hat that looked similar to a red mage's hat in "Final Fantasy".

    "So somewhere between the forest and the Gym was where he disappeared." Brock mused. "Was he acting nervous, or scared?"

    "Nope--he was pretty happy." Ardea sighed as she brushed some leaves from her shirt. "It's not like him to just run off..."

    "Then he may not have run off on his own choice..." Wendy suggested.

    Ardea's eyes narrowed in anger. "If someone took Kitsune, then they picked the wrong person to mess with." she grumbled. "I will go to the ends of the earth to find him!"

    "Was Kitsune your first Pokemon?" Wendy asked.

    "No...he was hatched from an egg I won in an archery competition, not long before I became the Gym Leader." Ardea explained before gesturing to the Charmander. "Hinote here was my first."

    [Hi...] the Charmander shyly smiled. [Are you going to try for a badge?]

    "Unfortunately, no...we're going to help your master find your friend." Wendy replied.

    The Torchic, meanwhile, noticed Brock's bow peeking from his bag. [Oh! Did you make that yourself?]

    Brock nodded. "I'm not too bad a shot, but it's been a while since I've practiced seriously."

    "Really, now?" Ardea gasped, now in a better mood. "For someone who hasn't shot in a while, you put a lot of effort into making this." she smiled, admiring Brock's bow.

    Then, a thought came to her. "Are you two planning on going in the Tower of Runes that stands outside of town?"

    "Yes." both Brock and Wendy replied.

    "It's earned its reputation for a good reason--many brave adventurers have gone in there, but so far, no one in recent memory has come out." Ardea cautioned. "Supposedly, one of Meloetta's mystic gems is at the top--so if you're going in there to see if that's true, I have an idea..."

    "What?" Wendy asked.

    "If you two can help me find Kitsune--hopefully alive--I will give you and your Pokemon some combat training to better survive the monsters and traps in the tower. "Ardea offered.

    "Sure!" Wendy replied.

    Brock offered a hand to Ardea. "Deal."

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  8. #23
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 19: "Trouble in Honoru City! The archer of flame, Ardea!" (part 2)

    "I have a bad feeling I know who swiped Ardea's Fennekin..." Wendy grumbled as she and Brock followed Ardea through the brush.

    "Well, whoever took Kitsune has some explaining to do when we find them." Ardea agreed. "They may not go down without a fight, either--so I hope you brought your best Pokemon."

    "I have Mizuchi, my Vaporeon..." Wendy reported.

    "...and I have Hinata, my Vulpix." Brock replied. "Just in case your team needs a little boost." He had left Terra behind to help Tenku look after the babies, but for some reason, a sickening feeling in his stomach was telling him that Hinata would probably not be enough.

    What am I thinking? Hinata's very capable in battle--if she can take down a fully evolved Pokemon, she can take on any Pokemon! he reminded himself. Memories of Hinata's victory over the Kricketune in Crystone Town danced through his head for a moment. As Ash would say, maybe I have been making a mountain out of a Diglett hole...

    "I found some tracks!" Ardea's voice snapped him back to reality.

    He hurried over to the edge of a clearing by a stream, where Ardea was examining some Fennekin tracks on the path. "Are they Kitsune's?" he wondered.

    "They're Kitsune's, all right..." Ardea replied. "and judging how they are embedded in a human footprint and how the trail is not always consistent, the Poke-napper is probably carrying him...."

    "or he is being dragged." Wendy suggested.

    "Dragged?" Ardea gasped.

    "Look here..." Wendy pointed out what looked like an indentation of a rope, a clump of Fennekin pawprints, and a sweeping indentation that matched a tail on the path. "There's a rope pattern here, and the tracks are all in a big clump, like there was a struggle."

    "We have to be close to the perp's location, if Kitsune's tracks are here." Ardea mused, her heart pounding all the while. "When we find the camp, I'm going to free Kitsune before we deal with the perps."

    "Good idea--we don't want to hurt him if we have to fight." Brock agreed.

    Just then, a yip got everyone's attention. Ardea's first thought was to nock an arrow in her own bow, but her concerned look turned to a joyful smile when a Fennekin emerged from a bush. "There you are!" she smiled. "You scared me there for a moment!"

    [Well, you know I would never run off on my own free will.] Kitsune grumbled. [I'd like to give those navy blue guys a real hot foot!]

    "You mean, Team Elegy Poke-napped you?" Wendy asked as Brock examined Kitsune for any injuries or trauma.

    Kitsune nodded. [Wanted to hold me for ransom in exchange for Master giving them the location of the Fire Ruby.]

    "The Fire Ruby?" Brock was confused at first, but then the jewel's name clicked. "You mean, the first Gem of Song?"

    "Exactly." Ardea replied. "But I'm not giving them that info..." she growled as a Team Elegy squadron arrived. "I'm giving them a piece of my mind!" With that, she aimed an arrow at the squadron leader.

    "Watch where you aim the pointy things, okay?" the leader stammered, half feigned concern, and half afraid at the arrow aimed at his chest. "Those are dangerous."

    "I know, and I've trained for years at using the pointy things." Ardea retorted, still aiming her shot. "But if you dare lay another finger on Kitsune, I'm not afraid to fire this pointy thing!"

    "And I won't hesitate to fire a pointy thing, either!" Brock agreed, aiming an arrow of his own at a Beedrill hive hanging on a tree several yards away.

    "Okay, so we won't lay another finger on your precious Fennekin." the leader smirked as he unveiled a Poke Ball he had concealed in his pants pocket, prompting Ardea to put her bow away. "We will, however, demonstrate the power of Team Elegy!" With that, he heaved the Poke Ball skyward, revealing a ghostly Pokemon with a ball-like body, a long "tail" and a bell-like appendage on its head as he and the other Team Elegy grunts fled.

    "What IS that?" Wendy fumbled for her Pokedex to learn more about the strange Pokemon.

    "Chimecho, the wind chime Pokemon." the Pokedex began. "It makes its cries echo inside hollow body. When this Pokemon becomes enraged, its cries result in ultrasonic waves that have the power to knock foes flying."

    Ardea noticed Brock still aiming at the Beedrill hive. "Go ahead, take your shot."

    "This'll make a great distraction..." Wendy agreed as Brock's arrow whistled towards the hive. Screams and the low buzz of Beedrills in the distance confirmed that his shot was successful. "That was the longest shot you've made so far!"

    "Once we deal with Mr. Chimecho here, I'll teach you how make even longer shots." Ardea smiled, impressed at Brock's meager skill.

    [Then allow me the honor of battling!] Kitsune begged. [I wanna pay them back for Poke-napping me!]

    "Go for it." Ardea smiled.

    With that, Kitsune unleashed a circle of flames at the Chimecho, singing its tail. The Chimecho winced at the flames, then unleashed a siren-like scream that rang through the forest.

    "It's...using Uproar!" Brock yelled over the noise, which knocked Kitsune backwards.

    "Mizuchi, we need your help!" Wendy pleaded as she heaved a Poke Ball, revealing the Vaporeon.

    [Take Kitsune! I'll handle this!] Mizuchi screeched over the Uproar as she angrily eyed the screaming Chimecho and fired a rainbow beam that shifted between many colors, making the Chimecho scream even louder.

    [Signal Beam...that's pretty clever.] Kitsune smiled.

    "Well, Chimecho is a Psychic type..." Ardea assured him as the noise continued.

    Meanwhile, the Chimecho had calmed down, and opened its mouth wide in a big yawn. "Hope you know how to play the Pokeflute, or something..." Wendy stammered as Mizuchi's eyes started to droop.

    The whistle Ash gave me! Brock grinned. "I can a little, but I've found its little brother to be just as effective." he assured Wendy, showing her a small gold flute with a green mouthpiece as Mizuchi fell to the ground with a plop, asleep from the Chimecho's Yawn.

    The Chimecho took a deep breath in preparation to unleash a Hyper Voice, but it was startled by the reel Brock started playing, which jolted Mizuchi awake!

    [Thanks for the song!] Mizuchi smiled before firing a pulsing wave of water at the Chimecho, making it faint with a plop.

    "You're welcome." Brock replied as he pocketed the whistle. "But what matters is Team Elegy is gone and Kitsune's okay."

    [You guys are my heroes!] Kitsune smiled, nuzzling Brock in thanks.

    Ardea was just as happy. "The two of you make a great team!" she grinned as she lead the way back to town. "I'm gonna teach you how to make that bond even stronger!"

    Last edited by LightningTopaz; 3rd July 2013 at 09:19 PM.
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  9. #24
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 20: "Ardea's white hot training method!" (part 1)

    "Here we are!" Ardea smiled as she led Brock and Wendy inside the Gym. "If you're going in the Tower of Runes, you two will need training as much as your Pokemon will." She then addressed Wendy. "Ever wanted to learn to wield a weapon?"

    "Yeah--for stage combat." Wendy replied.

    "What you may not know is stage combat is based on actual fighting." Ardea explained as she led Wendy over to an open arena, where a brown haired boy was sparring with a sword against a training dummy. "So if you learn how to actually fight, not only will you get a leg up on the dangers of the Tower of Runes and give Brock support, it'll make stage combat that much more realistic."

    Just then, the boy noticed Ardea and Wendy. "You're back, Ardea!" he smiled. "Was Kitsune okay?"

    "Yeah--Team Elegy lowlifes tried to hold him for ransom in hopes we could spill the beans on the Tower of Runes." Ardea explained as Kitsune romped off to be tended to by another attendant. "Key word here is tried--this young lady's brave Vaporeon helped me save him."

    "Nice to meet you--I'm Wendy." Wendy replied as she and the boy shook hands.

    "I'm Rory, and I'm in charge of sword training." the boy replied. "Whether you want to learn as a martial art, actually fight with a sword, or learn stage combat, I'm the guy to see."

    Ardea then looked at Brock. "As for your training, come with me over here..."

    Brock nodded and followed Ardea to a large archery range on the left side of the room. "Okay...you've got your own bow, so mind showing me a few shots?"

    "Before I do..." Brock began before retrieving his bow. "Back home, I like telling stories to an audience..."

    "Really?" Ardea was intrigued.

    "Sometimes, if a bow is involved in whatever tale I am telling, I will actually shoot an arrow live onstage." Brock continued. "So as thanks for letting me and Wendy help save Kitsune, I want to share one of these tales--so you can see my form and style at the same time."

    "Okay...fire away." Ardea replied.

    Brock thought for a moment as to which of his bow-tales Ardea would like, and could be told quickly. "The Aspear Hunter" was too long, and he didn't have too many arrows left, so "The Purrloin and the Teapot" was out as well.

    After ruling out a few more stories, he then began "Once a warrior named Touta was traveling on the road. As he approached a bridge, he spotted a Seviper that had taken up residence on the bridge."

    He adds as an aside "In fact, no one could cross the bridge because they were so afraid."

    "I see..." Ardea smiled.

    "Touta jumped over the Seviper easily, but when he looked behind him, he saw a girl in the Seviper's place." Brock went on, making Ardea giggle over his look of feigned surprise. "The girl explained that she was the guardian of the Gyarados that watched over the lake, and the Seviper was one of her many forms. She told Touta that a great Scolipede had made its home in the nearby mountain, and all the burrowing was driving King Gyarados crazy. Touta agreed to slay the Scolipede."

    "So how did he do that?" Ardea wondered.

    "Touta was taken to King Gyarados' palace, where King Gyarados told him that the Scolipede would attack again that night." Brock explains as he approaches the guideline to the target in the center lane. "That night, when the Scolipede attacked, Touta saw that it was so large, it could go completely around the mountain seven times."

    Awed murmurs go up at this, even from Rory and Wendy. "Try as Touta might to attack, his arrows kept bouncing off the Scolipede's skin." Brock then fires a shot at the center target, where it lands in the yellow zone.

    "Then, Touta got an idea, and moistened the tip of an arrow with some water from the lake." Brock pantomimes doing this to his next arrow. "After a quick prayer to Arceus, he fired..." He then fires the "wet" arrow, which lands in the yellow zone close to the bullseye. "...and it hit, killing the Scolipede!"

    "Nice shot!" Ardea smiles, more interested in observing Brock's shooting form than the tale he is telling.

    "King Gyarados was grateful for Touta saving him and the lake Pokemon, but wondered why Touta moistened the arrow." Brock explains. "Touta replied that water moistened the earth, and a Scolipede is a Pokemon of the earth. King Gyarados was pleased with that answer, and gave Touta some of the enchanted food from his storehouses that never ran out. To this day, the story of how he defeated the Scolipede is told across the seven regions."

    Ardea applauds the tale's ending. "Cool tale...but I want to see you take a few more shots."

    Brock nods, readies another arrow, and fires. "Okay...lower your bow for a second and let me see your stance..." Ardea instructs. Brock complies and allows Ardea to walk around him. "Your feet are properly spread apart, good...feet are at a 70 degree angle, good..." Ardea then notices Brock is tense. "Relax...archery is supposed to be fun." she assures him.

    Brock heaves a sigh of relief and stretches, easing the tension in his shoulders. "Now, let me see how you hold the bow..." He gives Ardea a nod, and nocks an arrow.

    Ardea grimaces when she sees how Brock is holding the bow. "I see you're holding the bow with your strong hand--your strong hand should be the one pulling the string."

    "Hm..." Brock tries switching hands for his next attempt.

    "You have your index and middle fingers under the arrow--good!" Ardea smiles as Brock readies his shot.

    After giving Brock some tips on how to aim, she watches him fire his shot, which lands in the white area of the target. "Don't get discouraged if your first few shots miss--this is probably a new feeling for you." she assures him. "But to your credit, you have the stance and nocking the arrow down. It's aiming that you need work on."

    "I also wouldn't mind a stronger bow, either..." Brock adds as he gives his bow to Ardea to examine.

    "You did very well for attempting to make a bow yourself..." Ardea muses as she examines Brock's handiwork. "And it's yew wood, too--the best bow wood!"

    She then gives Brock a practice bow. "Why don't you practice drawing with your weak hand and aiming with this bow while I make the one you made stronger?"

    "Sure!" Brock smiles.

    "While I'm working on your bow, I want you to practice shooting from four different distances--10 feet, 30 feet, 50 feet, and 70 feet." Ardea continues. "When you can consistently hit the target at one distance, move back to the next distance. Questions?

    "Not really..." With that, Brock prepares his first shot...

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  10. #25
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 21: "Ardea's white hot training method!" (part 2)

    "How is everything in here?" Ardea asked as she returned to the training arena.

    "Doing great!" Wendy replied before parrying a move from Rory.

    "Yeah, Wendy's doing very well." Rory agreed before he blocked Wendy's next attack

    [Pull!] Hinata called to Kitsune. Kitsune heaved a target into the air, which Hinata aimed an Ember at, shattering the target in an explosion of flames and clay shards.

    "Can I shoot something else yet?" Brock sighed as he fired yet another shot from 70 feet away. "Or better yet, shoot with my own bow?"

    "You can take a break now..." Ardea assured Brock before showing him his bow, which now had ivy inlays etched in it. "Okay, I first gave you a stronger string, so your arrows can go farther and faster. Then I tweaked the design a bit, into a recurved bow. This way it's easier to maintain, but requires a little more strength than what you had before."

    "It's beautiful...." Brock smiled as he took the newly refurbished bow from Ardea and returned the practice bow he had been shooting with. "The decorations are a nice touch."

    "Glad you like it." Ardea smiled before retrieving a tape dispenser. "Where do you put your hand when you're shooting?"

    "Right here..." Brock replied, pointing out the place in the center of the bow where he usually held it.

    Ardea said nothing, but put a piece of tape on the point Brock showed her and on his hand. "Okay...what I want you to do is take a few shots, making sure the piece of tape on your hand and the piece of tape on your bow match."

    Brock nodded, and readied a shot, being careful to remember to match the tape on his hand with the one on his weapon. He tried this a few more times, with Ardea looking on all the while.

    After he had taken about six shots, Ardea removed the tape from him and grabbed a deck of playing cards. "Well done...your hand position is very nice for someone that hasn't shot in a while..." she began. "Now...what I want you to do is try and hit the heart in the ace of hearts." She paused to set the card in question into a small horizontal pulley. "Since I saw you're a good shot with a still target, I'm gonna make this drill a bit harder by making the card move."

    Brock swallowed hard--he had never tried hitting a moving target before. "A-any suggestions for h-hitting a moving target?"

    "Easy--just keep your eyes on the target." Ardea assured him. "You're more often than not going to find moving targets in the Tower of Runes and in the other seven Gem locations, so better learn now than later." With that, she started the pulley, making the card slowly approach the target, travel past it, then approach it again. "When you can hit the heart consistently at a slow speed, I'm gonna speed it up a little." she cautioned.

    Brock nodded, and readied his shot as the card approached, but his shot just barely nicked the card. Not to worry, let's just try again...

    His next shot managed to make a hole in the left edge of the card.Maybe if I released my shot just before the heart arrives...

    He gasped in awe when sure enough, his third shot hit the middle of the heart! "YES!!!"

    "Do it again!" Ardea urged.

    Brock nodded, and fired another shot into the center of the heart, making sure to time his shot just before the heart came into his line of sight. But after a while, the heart was now riddled with arrow holes. "I think we need a new ace of hearts..."

    "Not a problem--I keep tons of boxes of playing cards for this kind of practice." Ardea assured him as she set a new ace of hearts into the pulley. "I've gone through plenty of aces--spades, clubs, and diamonds as well as hearts."

    After adjusting the pulley's speed, she continued. "Now, try hitting the heart at a little bit faster pace."

    "Got it!" Brock replied before readying another shot....


    "Thank you so much for the training." Wendy smiled. "I feel like I could take on anything, whether for real or on stage!"

    "Anytime!" Ardea replied. "Consider it returning the favor for saving Kitsune."

    "But before you go, I have something for you..." Rory interjected, handing Wendy a blue sword sheath. "This should protect you in the Tower of Runes--I call it the Blessed White Sword!"

    Brock smiled as Wendy drew the blue and white blade and tried a few moves with it. She looks like a natural--a beautiful blade for a beautiful and brave companion.

    "I just hope that you two are the first ones to return from the Tower of Runes alive." Ardea smiled. "Who knows what amazing things are in there just waiting to be found?"

    "Well, when we get out of there, we'll tell you all about it!" Brock replied as he and Wendy departed the Gym and into the setting sun...

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  11. #26
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 22: "The Tower of Runes! Seeking the song of fire!" (part 1)

    "Well, this is it..." Brock mused as he and Wendy approached the Tower of Runes the next morning. "We brave the Tower of Runes and find out what wonders and terrors lie inside."

    "In case we don't make it..." Wendy laid a hand on Brock's. "You are one of the best friends I've ever met."

    "And to you likewise." Brock replied. With that, he gathered his gear and motioned for the Pokemon to follow him inside.

    "Hello?" Wendy called as they entered the first room of the tower. "Anyone here?"

    Brock noticed that the walls of the tower were covered in odd runes that faintly glowed every few seconds. "Well, now we know why this place is called the Tower of Runes..."

    [But where's Meloetta?] Raku wondered.

    [Yeah--if she knows we're trying to find one of her spellsongs, she should at least appear to us, or give us a test of courage--or something!] Satomi stammered, unnerved by the faintly glowing runes.

    Just then, an oddly pleasant female voice singing in an alien language resonated through the large room. Cair, in cair, a chár imh gcirlalann,
    Emh au bion la ghallran lig cev do slan...

    [Who's there?] Tenku squawked, surprised at the voice.

    As if in response to Tenku's call, a small sprite-like Pokemon appeared in the room, brushing her green music staff-like hair as she kept singing in the strange language. Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò...

    Au gcot gida mibrar ach bruin,
    Neag emh au ala lel, au gcot mhagád...

    Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò...

    Hinata shook her head. [If Meloetta wants to tell us something, I don't have a clue what she's saying!] Brock just motioned for Hinata to be quiet as he listened to the song...

    Ach ogod bion fe mala do bel,
    Be lig la gcen en fen arnin.

    Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò...

    Brock suddenly found himself tapping his foot in time to the song, making a slow, yet rhythmic beat echo through the room as Meloetta kept singing...

    Neag au ciga chellrar fe biga la gcen,
    No gorlol do ghallran ach bobrol líor ben...

    Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò...

    La teandno nean tadh gcont gola,
    Malal letha ke gceiv me ogod...

    Mizuchi gasped as she heard Wendy join in the song. Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò...

    The lightbulb went off in Terra's head. [I get it! Meloetta is testing our hearts--and if they are pure, we'll know her language and sing with her!] She listened intently as Meloetta would sing a verse, then Wendy, Brock, and seemingly hundreds of other voices chimed in on the chorus, Brock doubling Wendy an octave below:

    La irian cen la min imh la horn,
    Pog ilo no la daus ach la fhinn...

    Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò...

    La irnid loran es diro remmenn
    La diro remmenn imh é lirbesn limma...

    Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò...

    La fernin len gcont tengol learlar
    Neag a gcot suínda au lein la fhen...

    Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò...

    La silag cen elorona gcoleth
    Lelala he delrbid gcot ogar lef...

    Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò..

    La muistech en an lel an fhiod,
    Eg gcot heg nach, her gcot eg lain...

    Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò.

    La bilola loran é lelfo lí,
    Est chellrar gces'g cin é cain lig'n brí.

    Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò.

    Ach pim, la ostaliv, lios an la aen
    Gcot mhega é cheala cain'n brí gcen!

    Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò.

    Kas la ben imh latha éirn resta ferbasar,
    La ogod iran gcot na niroladh gelagar!

    Hi rì him bò hill ò bha rò hò
    Hi rì him bò hìrì ri ri ù
    Hi rì him bo hill ò bha rò hò.

    With that, Meloetta smiled. "Well done, travelers...you have proven yourself worthy to proceed further into the tower." A door on the other end of the room rumbled open to emphasize Meloetta's point.

    "How is it we could sing in your language, despite not knowing it innately?" Brock wondered.

    "Your hearts were in tune with mine--and your desire to find my jewels is pure and sincere." Meloetta replied. "And not a moment too soon--the seal of fire has already begun to weaken thanks to Team Elegy's attempt to take the fire guardian's Fennekin."

    "Oh--you mean Ardea's sadness over losing Kitsune?" Wendy wondered.

    Meloetta nodded. "The guardians in anguish , sadness, anger and fear weakens the seals holding Giratina. "The ruby at the top of this tower is the only thing keeping the seal of fire from breaking. I beg you to prove yourselves worthy of its song by braving the tower's trials."

    Brock nodded. "We'll do it!!"

    "If it means protecting Minami and the world, I'll do anything!" Wendy agreed.

    Meloetta smiled. "Very well, then--I'll be waiting at the tower's highest room." With that, she disappeared in a flash of green light.

    "Let's go!" Brock led the way to the door leading the second floor of the tower....

    To Be Continued...
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

  12. #27
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 23: "The Tower of Runes! Seeking the song of fire!" (part 2)

    "Here we are--the famed Tower of Runes." Brock mused as he and Wendy arrived in the first room of the tower's second floor.

    "Nobody here but us Rattatas and...a harp?" Wendy was intrigued by a harp sitting by the door leading to the next room.

    Brock, meanwhile, picked up a piece of paper, and examined it. "Wonder what this is...looks like a piece of sheet music..."

    [Let me see!] Hinata offered. After studying the piece of sheet music in Brock's hands for a moment, she gasped. [The notes on the staff are the same notes for Brock's "fire" spellsong!]

    [Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul....] Emi sang, but the door didn't budge. [It didn't work...]

    [No, look...the notes here are the notes Brock usually sings for this song--low re, la, ti, do, re, ti, so, la....] Tenku explained, pointing out each note to Emi as she named them.

    A thoughtful look appeared on Brock's face."Maybe If I tried playing those notes on the harp...."

    "Worth a try..." Wendy mused. "Maybe this is how all those other would be explorer's died--they had no clue how to solve Meloetta's puzzles, and literally died trying to solve them."

    Brock, meanwhile, hurried over to where the harp stood, and very gently plucked the strings that matched the notes on the piece of sheet music, making the door to the next room rumble open. [It worked!] Satomi squeaked.

    "Onward!" Wendy led the way into the room.

    "And that harp was somehow still in tune..." Brock grinned, pleased with himself for figuring out the puzzle's solution. "After Arceus knows how many years..."

    "This is Meloetta's domain, so I'm sure she keeps every instrument in here tuned." Wendy replied. "The next question is how we're going to get out of here with no apparent exit besides where we came from...." Sure enough, aside from a few ragged tapestries from an era long past, and the walls filled with glowing runes, there was no obvious exit.

    [Silly, just do what Link does!] Raku giggled. [Hit a switch or something with an arrow and ta da! There's a door!]

    "Well, there's a huge difference from video games and the real world, Raku." Wendy explained. "Although I have a feeling some of our knowledge from Zelda and RPGs may help us here...."

    "So if I have to hit something to open the door, where's the target?" Brock asked Raku.

    [Yes--what is Brock supposed to hit to open the door?] Tenku asked Raku.

    [Um...] Raku glanced around the room, desperately looking for something that remotely resembled a switch or a target. [Maybe one of those ancient banners has a switch!]

    [Great idea!] Hinata agreed.

    Tenku fluttered over to a tapestry hanging by the entryway and carefully lifted the edge with her beak. [No switches there...] She then flew over to another tapestry, where she found a dull red stone behind the ragged tapestry. [Try hitting this red stone!] she called down to Brock.

    "Okay..." Brock readied an arrow, then fired. The arrow struck the stone, making a soft A note as the arrow impacted, and making part of the northern wall slide open like a door.

    [What I tell ya?] Raku smiled as the group made their way through a dark passageway.

    Some giggles and laughter filled the air as the group emerged into the next room. "Aw, Ralts!" Wendy gasped as an array of white humanoid Pokemon gossiped with each other and played games,all under the watchful eye of a Gardevoir.

    The Gardevoir heard Wendy's cry and smiled. I commend you and your companion for finding the way into our secret place.

    "We come in peace--Meloetta bade us find the Fire Ruby." Brock explained.

    I know--we heard the whole song when you arrived. the Gardevoir replied. My name is Ariane--my children and I watch over the tower, and inform Meloetta on a seeker's progress.

    "Can you tell us anything about what else to expect in the tower?" Wendy asked.

    While I can't specifically name anything that awaits you here, I can tell you that the two of you must use your wits and battle skills as you progress. Ariane replied. As you discovered when you played the harp, not every puzzle will have an obvious solution.

    "In other words, what we've used in video games is real here?" Brock wondered.

    Not quite--while what you have learned in the virtual worlds may help you on your quest, no part of the Tower or the other seven sanctums is an exact replica of places you may have found in those worlds. Ariane cautioned before two Ralts brought her a ruby ring and a sapphire ring. if you should somehow perish in the sanctums, these rings will revive you in the sanctum's safe room--which is here, in the case of the Tower.

    "Thanks!" Wendy smiled as she put on the sapphire ring.

    [Oooh....] Emi admired her reflection in the small circular ruby surrounded in leaf and swirl inlays.

    When you do earn the right to sing spellsongs, the ring can also be an option to channel the magic, as well. a Ralts added.

    Wendy admired the deep blue stone surrounded in a silvery starburst design. "Thank you, again--we promise we will not lose or break these."

    Last edited by LightningTopaz; 3rd July 2013 at 09:30 PM.
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

  13. #28
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 24: "The Tower of Runes! Seeking the song of fire!" (part 3)

    "Let's see..." Wendy mused as she studied the hole in the middle of the floor of the next room. "I'm not the best jumper in the world..."

    "I doubt basketball jumps would be any help..." Brock agreed. "Not unless we were going up or I had a running start."

    [Don't be silly!] Tenku scolded. [This hole is small enough for even a Pidgey to fly across! Watch!]

    With that, Tenku took off across the hole, but when Brock heard a THWACK!!!! and a weak [Ow...] as Tenku appeared to hit something solid, then slide into the dusty pit, dazed.

    "Funny...how could there be something there halfway across the hole?" Wendy wondered.

    Inspired, Brock readied an arrow and fired at the place Tenku had crashed. A <i>tink</i> as the arrow impacted what appeared to be a wall and fell into the dust near where Tenku was struggling to get up confirmed his suspicions. "There's an invisible wall about halfway across...."

    [I know that, Captain Obvious, but would you guys hurry up and get down here?] Tenku snapped. [My head hurts!]

    [We'll be right there as soon as we find a way to get to you without hitting the wall ourselves.] Hinata called back, then studied the edge of the pit for any sign of a stairway or ladder.

    Wendy, meanwhile, handed Raku a Sitrus Berry. "Take this to Tenku--and while you're in the pit, let us know if there's a way to climb under the invisible wall."

    [Okay!] Raku replied before taking the Berry, jumping into the pit, and hurrying to Tenku's side. [Here--this is to ease that headache.] he smiled after setting the Berry at Tenku's side.

    [Thanks...] Tenku weakly replied, her head still spinning from the hard blow. [I think I see a ladder near where everyone else is standing....]

    Sure enough, Raku spotted a dull brown ladder in the dust at each end of the pit. [Guys! There's a ladder at each end!]

    Wendy led the way down, and after crawling through the dust, cradled Tenku in her arms. "Are you okay, Tenku?"

    "She did take a hard hit..." Brock mused before holding up two fingers. "How many fingers do you see?"

    [Two...] Tenku weakly replied.

    Brock heaved a sigh of relief. "That's a good sign that her injury isn't serious, but we'll keep an eye on her just in case."

    [I've smacked harder things before, but this is the first time I've hit an invisible wall.] Tenku stifled a weak giggle as the group climbed through the pit and into the next room.

    [I'm ready to go to the next floor...] Satomi announced as the group entered what appeared to be a kind of performance hall, with a lone guitar-like instrument by a chair where a performer would sit. Sableye statues kept a watchful eye on the tranquil room.

    Just then, Hinata spotted a message in the glowing runes on the wall. [A minor key will see you to the next floor...]

    [That's easy!] Satomi giggled. [All Brock has to do is play two chords, and the door opens!]

    Brock examined the cryptic message for a moment, causing a smile to form on his face. "It's not quite that simple, Satomi--while you're right about my needing to play two chords for the door to open, the clue also tells us exactly which two chords I need to play and open the door."

    [Huh?] Raku asked as Brock settled in the performer's chair and checked to see if the guitar-like instrument was in tune.

    Wendy examined the clue again. "Of course! A minor and C major!"

    Sure enough, the door rumbled open as the two chords in question resonated through the room. [Two floors down, eight to go!] Hinata called as she led the group upstairs....
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

  14. #29
    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    @Tophat Dragoneye;

    Episode 25: "The Tower of Runes! Seeking the song of fire!" (part 4)

    "Some adventure this is..." Wendy grumbled as the group arrived on the third floor, which opened into a large cavern-like room. "I haven't even had a chance to use my weapon yet...."

    Oh but you will. Ariane's voice assured the group. This floor is a dungeon in itself--if you can brave the traps within, and lay your weapons on Meloetta's Glimmering Baton, it will enchant it so you can face any foe, including Ghost Pokemon.

    Just then, a roar startled Wendy, prompting her to draw her blade. "I don't want to know what that is..."

    [Angry Rhydon!] Hinata gasped as a large gray reptilian Pokemon lumbered in the room, making the ground shudder with every step. But before the Rhydon could attack, Hinata rammed into it with a Quick Attack, but the attack barely made the earthen behemoth move.

    [Look out!] Tenku screeched as she watched the Rhydon's foot land where Hinata had been standing minutes before, nearly throwing the entire group to the ground.

    "Good thing you ran before that Rhydon stomped..." Brock heaved a nervous sigh of relief.

    [I do NOT wanna become a Vulpix-cake...] Hinata replied.

    [Aren't you guys forgetting something?] Mizuchi interjected, but her voice was barely audible as the room shook with the Rhydon's roars. [I'm a Water type, so I have an advantage over this big ol' windbag!]

    "Well, why don't you try to weaken it?" Wendy called, nearly screaming to be heard over the Rhydon.

    Mizuchi nodded, than fired a shining rainbow beam at the Rhydon, making it scream in pain at the cold. [It worked!] she reported when the Rhydon winced in pain from the weakening effects of the Aurora Beam.

    "Thanks!" Wendy called before yelling at the Rhydon "You wanna piece of me, big shot? Come and get it!" She then dashed up to the Rhydon and slashed it in the leg, making the room rumble with another roar of pain.

    Terra, meanwhile, flung some of the dust on the floor in the Rhydon's face. [Take that, you bully!]

    "Take this, too!" Tenku heard the whistle of one of Brock's arrows flying and impacting one of the Rhydon's stubby fingers.

    "Great shot!" Wendy smiled at Brock.

    [My turn!] Tenku flapped up a large tornado that went flying at the Rhydon, carrying it high into the air.

    "Brace yourself...." Brock cautioned, only wincing when the Rhydon landed on the floor with a huge thud some seconds later.

    [Heads up, Mr. Rhydon!] Mizuchi called seconds before a large wave crashed on top of the Rhydon.

    [Talk about hanging ten...] Raku mused as he, Emi, and Satomi watched the battle raging feet away from them.

    [To be fair, splashing him with Surf seemed like a great idea!] Emi noted as the Rhydon tried to get up, which was made even harder by the Surf turning most of the floor into mud.

    [Now to confuse this big guy...] Hinata fired a bright teal beam at the Rhydon, making it stumble about the room.

    "Let's give it all we've got!" Wendy led the charge and slashed the Rhydon in the other leg.

    [See the sword, be the sword...] Terra mused as she danced about the floor, making a red aura shaped like swords appear around the group.

    [Thank you, Terra.] Hinata smiled. With that, she unleashed a Flamethrower at the Rhydon, making it fall in some charred mud with a SPLOTCH!

    Wendy noticed the Rhydon struggling to get up. Maybe if I jump slashed it.... With that, she ran towards the Rhydon and jumped, delivering a large gash to one arm on the way down.

    "Terra...try digging underneath the Rhydon." Brock suggested. Terra nodded, and wasted no time digging a hole in the floor.

    [Round and round you go in this trial by fire!] Hinata screeched as she surrounded the Rhydon in a tornado of flames.

    "Fire Spin--there's an idea..." Wendy mused.

    Suddenly, the Rhydon eased itself into all fours position, then rapidly barreled at the group, making a large gash in the wall as everyone scrambled out of the way. "We forgot that Rhydon knows Rapid Spin...." Brock wheezed as he assessed Hinata and Terra, who had been sent flying by the force of the Rapid Spin.

    [Shoot at it before it can attack again!] Satomi screeched.

    Brock nodded, readied an arrow, and fired at the Rhydon's horn--the Rhydon's most sensitive location. That bought Hinata time to unleash another Flamethrower, Mizuchi to use some of the mud on the floor in a Muddy Water attack, and Tenku to dive bomb it with Aerial Ace. But it was Terra that delievered the final blow some moments later, when she surfaced beneath the Rhydon and sent it flying in a tower of earth.

    [Good riddance...] Mizuchi muttered as the Rhydon landed on the ground some seconds later, swirly eyed.

    Wendy just sheathed her blade. "Great fighting, everyone...."

    "And you did great yourself." Brock replied as he motioned for the group to follow him. "Rory taught you very well."

    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

  15. #30

    Default Re: Pokemon: The Song of Jewels

    Not sure whether we're expected to post feedback for The Review Game here or there, but here goes...

    I read Chapter 1 and these are my thoughts on it, more or less as they happened. Advance warning - I am very detail oriented.

    Overall, not a bad read.

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