Life with Brock--Enter the Raikou (mini-series)
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    Default Life with Brock--Enter the Raikou (mini-series)

    An expanded reboot of "Sun, Fun, and Memories, now with entries from Terra, Mia, and possibly Brock. Each storyline will be its own fic--you won't have to read the others to understand the story.

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
    Part 5
    Last edited by LightningTopaz; 11th February 2012 at 12:12 PM.
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

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    Default Re: Life with Brock--Enter the Raikou (mini-series)

    Life with Brock--Enter the Raikou (part 1)

    Terra

    In addition to being a master storyteller, comedian, dancer, puppeteer, and actor, plus a multi-talented musician, Pokemon trainer and aspiring breeder, master chef, and general all around cool big brother, Brock is on his way towards adding another talent to his resume--kung fu master.

    I can tell when he is training, because every day around 5:30. I start hearing Chinese and Japanese music drifting from the passageway downstairs leading into the basement, which Dad converted into his training arena. Brock says it's to help him focus and relax, but it helps me concentrate too--especially if I'm doing homework at that time. Dad also moved an incense burner Mom bought during a trip to Ecruteak a long time ago down there, so I also smell sage, vanilla, cinnamon, and mint wafting upstairs. We all need to relax by then, and just smelling those gives us all a sense of relaxation and calm. (probably more than the trainee gets--and he's smelling the scents' full power)

    He takes a class at Pewter Dojo three times a week, (under the guidance of Raikou Kung Fu Master Meiyin Xiang--one of the very few young women to master the Raikou style.) and trains on the days he doesn't go to class.

    I got to meet Meiyin the day we went to watch Brock earn his gold belt--her sweet and calm demeanor is a perfect guise for her firm approach in the training arena. Brock has come home on plenty of occassions dripping with sweat and waxing poetic on some amazing and difficult feat she made the class do. They don't just learn their preferred style--Brock has also learned bits and pieces of the Scyther and Ekans styles, in addition to his preferred Raikou style. He's nowhere near a black belt yet, but Meiyin believes he can go that far.

    So on this particular day, I had been tasked with writing a report on a martial art for reading class. We had been reading a story about a boy in ancient China that performed in the opera, and although kung fu and other martial arts weren't used in the story, the forms and styles were referred to. So I figured, why not ask Brock and possibly Meiyin about the styles of kung fu?

    I came down into his training arena, where I found him meditating in prepartion to train. He looked so peaceful in his black uniform, breathing slowly and deeply in time to an exotic zither melody. I saw a small gold kanji on the right side of the outfit towards his chest. I figured it probably meant "Raikou", but it never hurt to ask.

    "Forgive me for interuppting your training, Sifu Brock, but would you tell me what the symbol on the chest of your uniform means?" I asked when the song ended.

    A smile formed on his face at my question. "It means 'Raikou', my preferred style of fighting." he replied as he got up from the thinly carpeted floor and led me to a markerboard on an easel by the room's right wall. "Most kung fu styles are based on a Pokemon. When you sign up for a kung fu class at the dojo, they ask which style you want to focus on. They then put the kanji for this Pokemon on your practice uniform. You get a new one with a different color every time you earn a belt."

    "And the color you get matches your belt?" I asked. "But wouldn't a black kanji be hard to see on a black uniform?"

    "The only time the uniform changes color is when you reach the black belt." Brock assured me. "It turns white if you want to use your skills in performance, red if you want to compete, and blue if you wish to teach others, like Meiyin does."

    "What do you want to do when you get that far?" I wondered as I wrote down what I had learned.

    "I'm not sure, but I have plenty of time to think about that on my quest for a black belt." With that, Brock reached for a black marker and drew the Raikou kanji on the board. "I chose the Raikou style because of the strength and power a Raikou exudes--you'll notice that when I battle in the gym, I tell my Pokemon to hit and hit hard." I nodded as he drew another kanji next to it. "The other four big Pokemon styles the dojo teaches are Suicune..." He gestured to the kanji he drew and labeled it before drawing a third. "Swanna..." Another kanji. "Gyarados..." The fifth kanji was a little scrunched, but Brock made it fit in what little space he had. "and Ekans. Questions so far?"

    "Nope." I replied as I tried to draw the five Pokemon kanji in my notebook. They came out looking more like scribbles, though.

    "Pay attention, Nincada--I have a test for you at the end." Brock intoned, trying to channel a master in a kung fu movie. But I could see the playful smirk that meant he was kidding. "Since I had class today, I'm mainly taking it easy and not doing anything strenuous."

    "What did Sifu Meiyin teach you today?" Now I was interested.

    "We practiced climbing with the Raikou Claw hand position." Brock explained before showing me the position. "So named because your fingers are curled like a Raikou's claws."

    "Like this?" I tried mimicing his hand.

    "Close--you don't want to curl your fingers too much." he cautioned. "In fact...you know how to do a wall pushup, right?"

    "Yeah--we do those in gym all the time." I replied. In fact, I was the first in my class to pass the teacher's challenge of a hundred wall pushups.

    "Now try doing one with your hands in the Raikou Claw position." Brock challenged as he led me to the back wall of the room.

    I assumed the wall push up position, formed my hands into the Raikou Claw position, and tried to push, to no avail.

    "Not as easy as I'm making it look, is it?" Brock smiled as he continued doing Raikou Claw pushups next to me in time to another exotic melody.

    "Not at all..." I wheezed.

    "27...28....29...30." Brock counted off his last four Raikou Claw pushups as the song ended. "Meiyin told us that thirty was our new benchmark for those today, since everyone could do twenty five." He then led me to the center of the room and wheeled out a projector. "Sometimes, when I've had a hard day in class, I will use the training time to watch kung fu movies so I can study their moves."
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

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    Default Re: Life with Brock--Enter the Raikou (mini-series)

    Brock


    Taking a martial arts class is probably one of the best things I have ever decided to do.

    Not only am I learning how to defend myself and my loved ones, I'm learning courage and confidence. Great exercise and lasting friendships are bonuses.

    It's even helped curtail my "gaga episodes", as Mia calls it when I do crazy things for a girl in that initial euphoria of love. All I have to do is remember when I went gaga for my <i>sifu</i>, Meiyin, on the first day of class. My face throbbed for two weeks from the Raikou Claw Strike she gave me. I haven't gone gaga for Meiyin since then.

    All I have to do when I feel that rush around a pretty girl is imagine Meiyin is hiding somewhere in the immediate vicinty of the girl and me, ready to Raikou Claw Strike me if I go gaga. It works most of the time.

    But I digress.

    Don't get me wrong, Meiyin looks beautiful in the regal blue robe reserved for kung fu masters (she holds the distinction of being one of the very few female masters of Raikou kung fu), and she plays a mean zither (which she will often play as we practice our moves in slow motion)

    So there I was in one of the dojo's training rooms for the adult classes, listening intently as Meiyin explained our lesson for the day. "Today, we will learn a handy technique that holds your opponent back and catches them off guard with a swift attack. We call it Hidden Thunder Strike." She then strolled up to a vaguely humanoid training dummy at the front of the room. "First you clamp a Raikou Claw on your attacker's face to obscure his eyes." She proceeded to form her hand into a Raikou Claw and set it on the dummy's face. "Then, you deliver a punch with your other hand while he cannot see--the hidden thunder."

    "<i>Sifu,</i> is it possible to kick your opponent while holding with a Raikou Claw?" the girl next to me asked.

    "There is such a thing as Hidden Thunder Kick, but for now, focus on the Strike first." Meiyin assured her. "Are there any further questions before we practice?"

    I raised my hand next. "<i>Sifu</i>, what if our opponent tries to resist or fight back?"

    "Then have your claw grip tighter or push your opponent backwards with your palm before delivering the hidden thunder." Meiyin replied. "Any other questions?"

    Nincadas chirped in response.

    "Very well then, my Raikou cubs, rise and practice this technique in time to my song." Meiyin instructed as she settled before a majestic zither and began playing a hypnotic melody in D major. The twenty of us followed along with the melody, gripping and punching the air along with the song.

    <i>Grip the face with the Raikou Claw...</i> I reminded myself as I formed my hand into the Raikou Claw and used it to grip an imaginary person's face. <i>Then deliver the punch when he can't see.</i> I then formed a fist with my other hand and delivered a quick punch to my imagined opponent's stomach. <i>Grip...</i> I formed the Claw again. <i>and punch...</i> I delivered another blow to the air. <i>Grip...and punch...</i>

    "Not too quickly, now..." Meiyin reminded us as she played. "Relax, and let the music guide you." I nodded and savored the music and all twenty of us practicing the move together. We may have been twenty random young adults from all walks of life to the outside world, but there in that room, we were one entity with one desire--to be the best we could be.

    The zither's last note fading away and the clanks of an assistant bringing Meiyin the climbing spurs snapped me from my peaceful trance. "Now that we have practiced a new move and limbered our bodies a little, let us practice the challenge you will face for your silver belt--climbing the Pole of Tenacity."

    I shuddered at the wooden pole that towered over all of us. In our last class, I had been volunteered to climb the pole, and had failed horribly,

    The task sounded simple--climb up the pole, retrieve a flag, and climb back down. However, we had to use the Raikou Claw to grip the pole with our hands. Combined with the heavy spurs attached to our feet, it made for a considerable test of strength and endurance. Meiyin wasn't timing us--she only wanted to see if we could do it. Then we would all do it before an audience with the silver belt and the right to learn to wield weapons at stake.

    As some of my classmates made the climb, I pictured myself battling Team Rocket with the staff seen in every kung fu movie and drama I had ever watched. I even imagined delivering the Hidden Thunder Strike to Jessie, making her drop the cage that held Pikachu....

    "Brock-san, are you lost to us in the world of dreams?" Meiyin's voice snapped me back to reality, making some of my classmates laugh. "Perhaps you'd like to tell us what you were dreaming about?"

    I hung my head, embarrassed. "I dreamed I was defending a dear friend's Pokemon from Team Rocket..."

    "Then maybe you'd like to channel that feeling into climbing the Pole?" Meiyin challenged, gesturing to the ornate pole by the room's left wall.

    "I will." I replied. A good student never refused a challenge from their <i>sifu</i>, and Arceus only knew what Meiyin would make me do if I refused her.

    After the spurs were fitted on me and I was hoisted onto the pole's base, I formed my hands into Raikou Claws and began the long, slow trek upward. At first, I only made a few inches of progress, but then I pictured Pikachu on the top of the pole. That gave me a burst of strength as I pictured him crying for help at the top.

    "Come on, Brock! You can do it!" someone called. Cheers of encouragement followed, giving me the drive to power past the halfway point--where I had failed the previous class.

    For a moment--I feel like I had been supercharged by Raikou's thunder as my spurs' rhythmic <i>tink, tink, tink</i> grew faster and faster. <i>Hang on, little guy--I'm coming!</i> I promised the imagined Pikachu at the top.

    Cheers and applause filled the air when I made it to the top some minutes later. "Well done, my Raikou cub...maybe your daydream gave you strength." Meiyin smiled as I was guided back down to the floor. "Can I trust you to have that same spirit when you climb for real in a few weeks?"

    "Yes, <i>sifu</i>." I replied as I was unhooked from the harness and the spurs were removed. More cheers went up as Meiyin and I bowed to each other as a sign of my promise.

    My body was very sore from my ordeal when I got home, so after throwing my uniform and headband in the wash, I immediately hit the shower. The warm water was heaven to my throbbing arms and legs, and before long, I found myself humming the song Meiyin had played as I lathered on the soap.

    "Interesting song..." I heard a familiar male voice say. "Where's it from?"

    I peeked from the shower to find Forest at the sink about to wash his hands. "It's a song my <i>sifu</i> often plays as we practice our moves. I think its name translates to 'Swanna on the Moonlit Water.'

    "Are you going to train today?" Forest asked.

    "I think it'd be fun if you did a dance incorporating your kung fu moves in our school dance contest." Terra added as she unfurled a poster that read "Get your groove on in Pewter Elementary's Dance Contest!"

    "Are grown-ups allowed to dance?" I asked as I began rinsing the soap off of me.

    "Yeah--they have an adult category so family members and teachers can dance too." Terra replied.

    "Okay, so what do I have to do to enter?" I asked.

    "Just write your name, the category you're entering in, and what you are going to dance to." Terra explained. "You have to drop it off in the entry box in the office by Friday."

    A wry smile formed on my face as I shut the water off. I had to be there anyway to help with the popcorn sale tomorrow, so I was going to fill out an entry form and surprise both Forest and Terra with my own take on "Kung Fu Fighting"!
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

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    Default Re: Life with Brock--Enter the Raikou (mini-series)

    Forest

    Of all the field trips I've been on, I've never really explored the dojo in detail.

    Sure, there's training rooms for all the kids and grownups taking different classes (kids have white uniforms, and adults wear black), and the exhibition hall for when a class wants to show their skills or try for their next belt. I was there when Brock earned his gold belt in Raikou kung fu by "defeating" three training dummies in a row using Raikou Claw Strike. He looked very much like a hero in a kung fu movie, even though he has only studied the art for six months.

    So there we were in the exhibition room, listening as the dojo master, Master Shuji, welcomed us. "We are honored you have come here today, Nincadas. It is my wish that our five kung fu masters will give you the knowledge you seek about our ancient arts. Each style of kung fu takes a different approach to fighting, but no matter which Pokemon's path you follow, you will gain strength, courage, confidence, friendship, and many other lessons for your life's journey." Some of the teachers applauded in agreement.
    Master Shuji then made a grand gesture to the exhibition stage. "Now, I would like for you to meet our five masters, beginning with Raikou Master Meiyin Xiang."

    My cheers were the loudest as Meiyin appeared on the stage and bowed to us. "Good morning, everyone...I will begin our lecture today with an explanation of the Raikou style. This style seeks to emulate the Raikou's strength and power. But unlike its cousin, the Ursaring style, Raikou does not rely on brute strength alone. He is not just strong, but swift, and tends to fight in close quarters." She then formed her hand into a curved shape resembling a claw. "This is the Raikou Claw--the foundation of this style's every move." I dutifully copied down every move and its description as I watched Meiyin show off her skill--Raikou Claw Strike, Raikou Tail Kick, Legendary Thunder Kick, and many more.

    We applauded Meiyin's demonstration, then she stood off by stage right as Master Shuji announced the next Master we'd be hearing from. "Suicune Master Takuya Natsume."

    Takuya looked a bit like Brock build-wise, but I could see some muscles beneath his blue master's robe. "Good morning--it used to be Suicune was a rare style, but thanks to the movies, it is becoming more popular. Unlike Raikou, Suicune employs a little of everything when he fights, but still has his focus on offense." He then formed his hand into a kind of fist. "This is Suicune Fist, the basis of this style's moves." He then formed a claw shape with his hand, but it looked more relaxed compared to Meiyin's claw. "Of course, Suicune has his claw too, but Suicune prefers to attack pressure points rather than attacking directly as Raikou does."

    With that, we watched as Takuya showed us some of his moves--Suicune Claw, Suicune Fist, Spirit Lift, and more. Sapphire Touch was my favorite--he had Meiyin attack him, but he deflected her Raikou Claw Strike by poking her in the stomach with two of his fingers in a Y shape, knocking her back.

    Next came Gyarados Master Nami Aizawa. "Greetings, Nincadas--my preferred style relies on agility than strength. But, it is through this agility and fluid movement comes true strength."

    I watched, wide eyed, as she demonstrated some Gyarados moves--Leaping from the Water and Cheri Blossom Punch were my favorites.

    Ekans Master Jin Mingzhe was interesting. "Ekans relies on quick movements, designed to take an attacker by surprise."

    But Swanna Master Yueqin Lan took an interesting approach--she told us the story of how the Swanna style was formed because of a girl trying to catch a Swanna, and saw how it moved, then showed us the Swanna Beak and the five elemental hands.

    I had a blast learning all those fighting moves--Terra was talking about how she would incorporate some of the Swanna and Gyarados moves into her dance for the contest.

    But I really wanted to show Brock what I had learned.

    I found him practicing in his training arena that afternoon. As soon as he finished rehearsing the movements of a move, he noticed my presence. "So? How did the field trip go?" he asked before carefully moving through the steps for Rising Raikou Claw.

    "It was fun--I got to see your <i>sifu</i> and the other kung fu masters show their stuff." I replied as I spread out the six pages of notes and diagrams before him. "Do you get to work with the other Masters?"

    "I've learned a little bit from Master Jin and Master Takuya, and next class, Master Yueqin's gonna show us some Swanna moves for defense." he replied. "I'm hoping to learn some Gyarados moves from Master Nami too." With that, he retrieved a thunderbolt print ribbon from one corner of the room. "I've found that ribbon dancing is great for developing stamina and agility." he explained before pressing PLAY on a CD player.

    An exotic drum rhythm filled the room as Brock twirled, jumped and spun around the room, the sparkling gold ribbon creating hypnotic patterns in the air as he worked some of his moves into the dance--Hidden Thunder Strike, Kitsune Fang, Wild Thunder, Raikou Tail Kick, and my favorite, Thundering Drum (a type of jump kick where both feet hit the ground hard, making a thump like a drum)

    "Bravo!" I applauded as the song ended. Brock was heaving with exhaustion, but he had enough strength left to take a bow for me.

    He hit the showers not long after, but I fell asleep dreaming kung fu warrior dreams that night. I hoped he would dance for the whole school--to them, he'd be a kung fu master!
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

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    Default Re: Life with Brock--Enter the Raikou (mini-series)

    Mia


    I never knew Brock was secretly a ninja.

    Every afternoon around dinnertime, I see him down in the basement practicing kicks, punches, and other attacks from ninja movies in time to music. He looks so cool in that black outfit with a matching headband, punching and kicking the air. His attacks have such names as "Hidden Thunder Strike", "Flying Taillows", and "Aurora Fist".

    But every once in a while, he'll sit down and watch a ninja movie for ideas on what attack to learn next.

    That's where I found him Wednesday afternoon when I got home from school. I was crying because some high school kids picked on me for the third time that week. I don't know what I'd done to upset them, but every time I passed them going to and coming back from the bus stop, they would call me all kinds of terrible names. (which I won't tell you in case Brock reads this)

    I asked him why those boys were calling me horrible names, and he told me they were probably wanting attention or showing off to their friends about how "strong" they were.

    "Can you go with me to the bus stop tomorrow?" I asked. "and show them what it really means to be strong? They said they'd try to hurt me tomorrow too!"

    "Well...I won't hurt them back, but I'll at least see to it they don't bother you or anyone else again." Brock assured me before settling in to watch a movie about a boy that wished to be strong, so he sets out in search of a kung fu master and uses his new power to drive away some bad guys that wanted to kill a princess.

    The next day, we left for the bus stop like normal, but just as we rounded the corner to the bus stop, I heard their taunts:

    "Hey girlie! Ready for your pounding?" one wearing a denim jacket and a a white cap called as we approached

    "Come on, pipsqueak, tears won't help you this time!" a shorter one in a red shirt agreed. Those were just some of the cleaner things they said as we approached the three boys.

    I gasped as the third one, who had a lot of muscles, charged at me in an attempt to punch me, but suddenly, I saw Brock's hand grip Muscle's face and punch him in the stomach, knocking him backwards into his two buddies.

    "If you ever try to hurt or tease my sister again..." Brock warned as he approached the three frightened boys. "Be prepared to meet the Raikou's fury."

    Denim Boy was not impressed. "Where? I don't see any Raikou, punk!"

    "I have trained in the way of the Raikou for almost a year now..." Brock explained. "I could glady show you a few moves if you wanted..." he added as he struck a fighting pose.

    About then, Denim Boy decided he'd seen enough, and he and his two friends fled down the sidewalk, allowing Brock and me to continue to the bus stop in peace.

    I found out later my three tormentors got in so much trouble for picking on me and about ten other kids. But the biggest surprise for me came later that day, when I found Brock in his training room, practicing some jabs with a bamboo pole. "Aren't you supposed to wait until you get your next belt to use that?" I asked. Brock's trial to get his silver belt wasn't for another week.

    "I told my <i>sifu</i> about what happened this morning." he explained as he set the pole on the floor. "She was so proud that I protected you, and granted me permission to start weapons training early. Granted, I only have to work with the pole for now, but I'll learn the other weapons when I do get my silver belt. You know what else happens then?"

    "What?" I asked, piqued.

    "The sign on my uniform will turn silver too." he replied as he set the pole against a wall. "Can I trust you to keep a secret?"

    "Is it a good secret or a bad secret?" I asked.

    "A good one." Brock assured me. "You know the dancing contest that Forest and Terra's school is having tomorrow?"

    "The one Terra's practicing 'Beautifly' for?" I asked.

    "That one." Brock replied. "What neither of them know is I'm going to be competing in it too."

    "Really?" I gasped. "I thought only kids could dance in it!"

    "Nope--they have a division for the grown-ups to dance too." Brock replied. "So can I trust you to not tell them about my appearance? I want them to be surprised."

    "Deal!" I smiled. "In return, you have to show me what you're dancing to."

    "I'm dancing to the Dancing Star version of this song..." With that, Brock pressed PLAY on a CD player before retreating to the middle of the floor.

    <i>Oh...</i> a male voice sang as Brock struck a peaceful pose. <i>Oh....</i> He stood on one foot, not unlike a Swanna. <i>Oh...</i> He lifted his hands high. <i>Oh...</i> He clasped his hands before his lips.

    I watched, amazed, as Brock performed an elegant dance to the song "Kung Fu Fighting", complete with doing a fighting pose on every <i>Huh!</i> and <i>Hah!</i>. Some of them I recognized, such as the grip and punch move he had done that morning. but most of them I didn't know.

    When the song ended, I asked. "What were all those moves you were doing?"

    "See this?" Brock then curled his hand so it looked like a claw. "This is the Raikou Claw--the basic move in Raikou style kung fu. My challenge for my silver belt involves climbing up a tall pole using that grip."

    "Wouldn't you get tired?" I asked.

    "Yes, it is a lot of work, and yes, I do get tired; but that's why I'm training in here every day--to build up my strength, endurance, and stamina." Brock explained. "That way, I don't get tired so much." He then formed the Raikou Claw again. "If you relax the Raikou Claw..." He then opened his hand a little, but still made it look like a claw. "you get Suicune Claw."

    "I thought it was Raikou, Mankey, Ekans, Scyther, and Swanna..." I protested.

    "That's a common variant of the five Pokemon, but Gyarados and Suicune are known styles of kung fu too." Brock explained. "There's more Pokemon than what you saw in 'Kung Fu Ursaring'" Plus, you did see Suicune style in the movie too--remember the bad guy?"

    The lightbulb went off in my head. "Oh, now I remember! Tai Lung the Suicune!" I raced upstairs to my room, and returned with my DVD of "Kung Fu Ursaring" "Can you show me which moves in the movie are real?"

    "Sure." Brock set up my DVD in his projector, and we settled down to watch as the opening credits rolled.

    "There's the move you did this morning again!" I noticed when the animated Ursaring creamed the Tauros bandit onscreen.

    "Hidden Thunder Strike." Brock explained. He put his arm around me as we watched Po's adventure unfold for the millionth time, with Brock pointing out moves he recognized along the way. I just smiled--I didn't need a fearsome five to protect me anymore--I had Raikou in Brock, and that was all I needed.
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

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    Default Re: Life with Brock--Enter the Raikou (mini-series)

    Brock


    The day of the dance contest finally came. Thankfully, Forest nor Terra had any idea of my plan as they left for the bus stop that morning. Terra had asked if I was going to come watch her dance, but I told her I would do my best to be there if Happini's checkup didn't run too long. My ruse was partially true--Happini did have a checkup scheduled that day, but I had made the appointment early in the morning. I would then have time to get home and get my gear together for my dance.

    So after seeing everyone off to school, I went to check on Happini. She was trying to sing "Kung Fu Fighting" and teetering about her crib, trying to mimic my fighting moves. "Hi, sweetie..." I smiled as I picked her up and slipped her in her travel bundle. "Time to see how you're growing..."

    "Pini pini Pini?" she asked.

    "Yes, I'm going to dance with Terra today, but remember--she has no clue I'm going to be appearing in the dance contest." I explained. "If I time it right, I'll go on after Terra's done--and include her in the dance." Happini giggled at this as she pictured Terra's reaction to my appearance onstage in my full uniform.

    Happini's checkup went very well, and before long, we were home again. I left her in Mom's care and troops upstairs to my room.

    I pulled my gear bag--a black gym bag with my name and the kanji for Raikou embroidered in white on the left side--and began getting my stuff together.

    Uniform? Check.

    Headband? Check.

    CD with music on it? Check.

    Bottle of water? Check.

    Towel? Check.

    Extra pair of black socks? Check.

    Book to pass the time? Check.

    Once satisfied that I had not forgotten anything, I told Happini, Mom and Dad goodbye, and caught the bus, making sure to take the route that included Pewter Elementary School.

    I arrived at 11, not long before the younger kids' lunch period. After checking in with the other adults that were going to be competing, a stagehand showed me to the stage door and led me to a backstage nook leading out to the wings at stage left. Surprisingly, it wasn't that cluttered--there was a screen to change behind, and a storage locker close by for me to stash my gear.

    It would be another hour before the dance contest began, so I settled in with "The Crystal Moon." I had read all my spy novels, so I had raided Mom's bookshelf for something different to read. "The Crystal Moon" did not disappoint-the thrilling tale of an elf mage and her friends racing to stop a demonic plot made the couple of hours fly by.

    Some applause jolted me from my adventure--I had to start getting ready!

    After marking my place at the start of Chapter 9, I set my book aside and stepped behind the screen to change. After emerging in my uniform and setting my bag behind the screen, I did some stretches and slow movement exercises to warm up.

    "Ready?" a stagehand asked as she approached my little nook.

    "Almost." I replied as I did one more stretch, then tied on my headband.

    "You're on after this little lady." the stagehand assured me. Sure enough, I could see a spotlight appear on Terra onstage. She looked beautiful in the blue and green kimono-like robe Mom had made. The audience also gave her applause after every twirl, jump and spin as the music sang the familiar lyrics of <i>Ai-yai-yai, I'm your little Beautifly! Green, black, and blue, make the colors in the sky!</i> The only difference? This was one of the slow versions of the song, not the upbeat pounding bass versions I had heard in arcades and on consoles hundreds of times.

    The final plea of <i> Where's my samurai?</i> and the roar of the crowd signaled to me that Terra was finished. My turn.

    I motioned for the stagehand to cue my music, and I waited for the applause to die down for a moment.

    Some gasps went up as the familiar Oriental riff played, and Terra turned to look at where the Japanese war cry and the sounding of a gong had come from. But it wasn't until the familiar <i>Oh...</i> of "Kung Fu Fighting" started that the audience started cheering.

    "Y'all ready?" the rapper asked over the speakers as I struck a fighting pose in time to the music."Aw yeah...let's go!"

    The crowd roared as I strolled onstage in time to the music, spinning and jumping all the while. After I walked up to Terra, I kissed her hand, as if I was her "samurai". She giggled in embarrassment as I strolled out to center stage and struck a fighting pose.

    "Now here it is, one to make you move..." the rapper began as I spun in place twice. "A song with a funky kung fu groove. Something that'll make you shout, make you play to the crowd and make you want to turn it out." The crowd roared as I landed a Thundering Drum move on the word "out". "So ladies, gather round, I'll pick you up and take you on; go pound for pound. Cause I'm the only man who'll please ya; I got a little something that'll tease ya." The crowd roared at my display of the Raikou Claw.

    "So throw those hands up high..." At this, I jumped, performing a Rising Raikou Claw on the way up. "Shake your body, move from side to side." I complied with the rapper's command, making me look like an Ekans about to strike. "'Cause we've just begun, party people in the place; yeah, we're having fun. Oh yeah, I'm gonna be a big star..." I nodded at this, as if agreeing with the rapper. "I'm gonna lay it on and go 'woo-ha'" I quickly did two quick strikes with the "woo-ha" part, to some applause. "'Cause when the move gets excited, when everybody's kung fu fighting."

    <i>Everybody was kung fu fighting,</i> came the sung chorus, complete with me doing Hidden Thunder Strike on the <i>Huh!</i> <i>Those kids were fast as lightning...</i> I did Raikou Tail Kick on the <i>Hah!</i> <i>In fact, it was a little bit frightning...</i> I next did Eternal Palm. <i>But they fought with expert timing...</i> I concluded the first chorus with a very fast spin kick--Raikou Tornado, my favorite move.

    The rapper joined back in with the next verse. "Dance, bright lights, Orinoco flow; kung fu fighter's in the disco." I did a cheesy disco dance move as a disco ball descended on the stage, to some laughter and cheers. "He's on the floor, he's got a black suit on..." I nodded and pointed out the gold Raikou kanji on my uniform. I swore I heard Forest cheering as the rapper continued "Five past one and the night's just begun...Cause when he lays it on with style, a ladies man with a nice smile." Half the girls in the audience screamed when I flashed them a grin. "And right before his eyes, sees a pretty young thing looking real fly..." I noticed Terra still watching my dance by stage left, so I strolled over to her. "He wants to make the score, so he takes her hand and leads her to the dance floor..." I offered my hand to Terra, and she accepted it, timidly following me to center stage. "He's giving her line after line..." I pantomimed speaking to Terra. "She tell him that he looks real fine..." Terra nodded, as if interested in my imagined conversation. "'Cause he's the man of expert timing, just like when he's kung fu fighting..." The crowd roared when we both struck fighting poses. I was in the Raikou "ready" pose, while Terra asumed the Swanna "ready" pose.

    <i>Everybody was kung fu fighting,</i> I did Clever Submission on my side, while Terra did Swanna Diamond Peck. <i>Those kids were fast as lightning...</i> I followed with Rising Raikou Claw again, while Terra "covered" me with Goddess' Pose. <i>In fact, it was a little bit frightning...</i> I did Hidden Thunder Strike on my imagined opponent; Terra did Swanna Beak. <i>But they fought with expert timing...</i> I next did Flying Taiilows, while Terra delived a Cheri Blossom Punch to her imagined opponent.

    The crowd ate up our performance of moves as the <i>Oh...</i> continued--me showing of mostly Raikou moves, and Terra demonstrating what little Swanna and Gyarados moves she knew. But they really cheered on our final back to back pose.

    In the end, Terra won second place in the 3rd grade solo division, and the two of us ended up winning the Family Duo Division. As we went to claim our prizes, kids mobbed us everywhere, begging us to take pictures with us. Terra's favorite picture was one Miss Yamada (her teacher) took of us in costume before we went to claim our free meal coupons and millions of free Fun Zone tokens. It's in the center of her bulliten board in her room, and it's labeled "My samurai and me!"
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

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