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...
TO BE CONTINUED...