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COMPLETE: Live From the Fireside: Season 15 (Week 400: The Lucky Warrior)

@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 390: How Jack Got the Giant's Treasure

(real tale: The Giant's Treasure)

"Once upon a time there lived a peasant who had three sons." Brock begins as he arrives onstage. "The two elder ones--whose names are not important--often went with him to the fields and to the forest, and helped him in whatever work needed to be done, but the youngest--who was named Jack--stayed at home with his mom, helping her out around the house. His brothers despised him for doing this, and whenever they had a chance they laughed at him and called him all kinds of terrible names--which I won't repeat here."

Giggles go up at the wry comment. "One winter, both the father and mother succumbed to a horrible disease, and the sons divided the property among themselves." Brock continues. "As you might expect, the elder brothers took everything that was of any value for themselves, leaving nothing to Jack but an old cracked kneading-trough, which neither of them figured was worth having. Jack, however, thought the trough was a useless thing to inherit, but he couldn't do anything about it. He realized that it would be no use staying at home, so he bid his brothers farewell, and went off to seek his fortune."

The lights brighten a little to mimic daytime. "He walked for several days, until he came to a lake. Inspired, he covered the bottom of his trough with some watertight cloth, turning it into a little boat. After finding two sticks for paddles, he set sail." Brock continues, pantomiming rowing a boat for effect. When he had crossed the water, he saw a large palace, and once inside, he asked to speak with the king. The king asked him who he was and why he had come."

"I am the son of a poor peasant, and all I have in the world is an old kneading-trough. I have come here to seek work." he explains in a mimic of Ash for Jack.

"You have not inherited much, but fortune smiles on those that persevere despite humble beginnings." he smiles in a gentle older voice--his go-to "king" voice.

As himself, Brock continues "And so, he made Jack one of his servants, and he became well loved and well liked for his courage and honesty."

Once back at center stage, he continues "Now, the king had an only daughter named Abigail, who was renowned for her beauty, wisdom, and pure heart across the kingdom, and many came from far and wide to ask her hand in marriage. Princess Abigail, however, rejected them all, saying that she would only marry the one who brought her four wondrous treasures belonging to a giant who lived on the other side of the lake--a mythril sword, three shining Torchics, a gold lantern, and a harp made of glittering crystal. Many princes, adventurers, and good warriors had tried to win these treasures, but none of them had returned alive. The king was saddened at this, for he feared that his daughter would never get a husband, and he would not have an heir to succeed him."

Excited whispers fill the air as Brock makes sure a prop sword, three shiny Torchic dolls, a prop lantern, and his harp are accounted for. "Jack heard the rumors in the palace, and took it upon himself to try to win Princess Abigail's hand. So he went to the king one day, and told him what he meant to do. When the king heard Jack's plan, he was furious."

"Do you think that you, who are only a servant, can succeed where great warriors have failed?" he gasps as the king.

As himself, he continues "Jack, however, was not one to be deterred, and continued to beg. Finally the king calmed down and reluctantly gave him his permission. The next morning, Jack went down to the shore of the lake, rowed across in his trough, and once he had arrived at the giant's house he hid in some bushes, and made camp there."

The lights dim a little, mimicking a sunrise. "Very early in the morning, before it was light, the giant went to his barn, and began to thrash, making such a noise that the mountains echoed." Brock goes on. "When Jack heard this he collected some rocks and put them in his pouch. Then he climbed up on to the roof of the barn and made a little hole so that he could look inside. He noticed that the giant had the mythril sword, which had the ability to glow and shoot beams of light if it sensed danger to its owner. While the giant was busy thrashing at full speed, Jack threw a rock through the roof which hit the sword, and caused it to glow."

"Why do you glow?" he asks in a deeper version of himself for the giant. "There is no danger here."

Brock pauses to set the prop sword at his side before continuing as himself "He went on thrashing, but a few moments later the sword glowed again. The giant thought nothing of it and continued his work, and the sword glowed a third time, firing a beam of light through the scabbard and into the giant's leg. The giant got so angry that he threw the sword, scabbard and all, out the barn door."

Laughter fills the air at this. "Jack saw his chance." Brock intones, quieting the laughter. "He climbed down from the roof, put on the sword, ran to his boat, and rowed across the water. Once he reached the other side he hid his treasure, and was full of joy at the success of his mission."

He draws the sword and proceeds to show off some fighting moves against an imaginary opponent for a moment. "The next day he filled his pouch with Cornn Berries, put a bundle of string in his boat, and set off to the giant's house." he continues as he sheathes the prop sword. "He hid in the brush for a while, until he saw the giant's three shiny Torchics walking about on the shore, and spreading their fuzzy down feathers, which sparkled beautifully in the bright sunshine."

"Aw"s fill the air as the lights expand to include the three shiny Torchic dolls lying at stage left. "As he approached, he coaxed them, scattering Cornn Berries for them out of his pouch." Brock continues as he picks up the three dolls and sits them on a bench that is part of the set. "While they were eating Jack gradually led them to the water, until he got them into his little boat. Then he jumped in himself, secured the three tiny Pokemon with his string, and rowed as quickly as he could to the other side of the water."

Chuckles go up at Brock almost tripping over himself getting back to center stage. "The third day he put some lumps of salt into his pouch, and again rowed across the lake." he continues. "As night came he noticed how the smoke rose from the giant's house, and concluded that the giant's wife was busy making dinner. He crept up on to the roof, and, looking down through the chimney, saw a large cauldron boiling on the fire. Then he took the lumps of salt out of his pouch, and threw them one by one into the pot. Having done this, he crept down from the roof, and waited to see what would happen."

"Ooh"s go up as Brock goes on "Meanwhile, the giant's wife took the cauldron off the fire, ladled out the soup into a bowl, and put it on the table. The giant was hungry, and dug right in, but he had hardly tasted the soup when he found it too salty. The giant's wife tried to appease her husband with some excuse or another, and assured him that the soup was good; but the giant replied he would eat no more of it, and told her to taste it for herself. She took a bite, and you should have seen the look on her face!"

The crowd roars with laughter as they picture the giant's wife's yuck face. "She had never in her life tasted something that terrible." Brock grins. "The only thing to do was to make a new batch of soup. So she grabbed a bucket, took the gold lantern down from the wall, and went to the well to draw water. She put the lantern down on the ground nearby, and just as she was stooping down to get the water, Jack ran to her, and threw her head over heels into the well. He then grabbed the golden lantern, ran away as fast as he could to his boat, and rowed across the water to safety."

More laughter goes up at this. "The giant waited for a long time wondering what was taking his wife so long. Finally, he went to look for her, but couldn't find her at first. Then he heard a splashing in the well, and finding she was in the water, he, with a bit of effort even for a giant, carefully lifted her out." Brock continues as he lifts a pantomime being before him.

"Where is my gold lantern?" he asks as the giant.

"I don't know," he stammers in a mimic of Serena for the giant's wife. "Somebody came and threw me into the well."

"Three of my treasures are gone, and only my harp is left. But, whoever the thief may be, he will not get that; I will lock it under twelve locks." he vows as the giant.

As himself, he assures the crowd "Meanwhile, Jack sat on the other side of the water, rejoicing that things had worked in his favor. The most difficult task, however, had yet to be done, and for a long time he thought about how he could get the crystal harp. Finally, he decided to row over to the giant's house one last time and see if fortune would favor him still."

He intones "On the fourth day, he rowed over and hid in the brush. But this time, the giant was prepared--he grabbed Jack and locked him up in a box in hopes of killing and eating him."

Gasps go up at the turn of events. "Jack didn't mind that he was a prisoner, and made the best of his predicament." Brock assures the jittery crowd. "After some time the giant wanted to find out if he was fat enough to be killed. So he went to the box, drilled a hole in the wall, and told Jack to put his finger through it. Jack knew what he wanted; so instead of putting out his finger he put out a tree branch. The giant cut the twig, and red sap ran out. He figured Jack was very skinny since his flesh was so hard, so he delivered even more food for Jack to eat. Some time later, the giant ordered Jack to put his finger through the hole in the wall again. Jack put out a cabbage stalk instead, and the giant, after cutting it with his knife, concluded that Jack was fat enough to eat. The next morning the giant said to his wife..."

"Jack seems to be fat enough now--take him and bake him in the oven, while I go and ask our friends to come over for dinner tonight." he instructs as the giant.

He goes on as himself "The giant's wife promised to do as she was told. After preheating the oven, she took Jack out to bake him."

"Sit on the shovel," he instructs an imagined person as the giant's wife.

As himself, he continues "Jack did as he was told, but every time the giant's wife lifted the shovel Jack always fell off. Jack finally said that he did not know the correct way to sit on the shovel."

"Look at me," he explains as the giant's wife. "I will show you."

He continues as himself "So she sat down on the shovel, and Jack pushed her into the oven and slammed the door. Then he took the giant's wife's fur cloak, stuffed it with straw, and laid it on the bed. After finding the giant's keys, he opened the twelve locks, snatched the crystal harp, and ran down to his boat, which he had hidden among the reeds on the shore."

After retrieving his own harp and quickly putting on the fingerpicks, he goes on "The giant came home moments later. When he saw what had happened, he rushed out to find Jack and kill him for real. He came down to the edge of the water and found him sitting in his boat, playing the harp."

With that, he plays "The Beautifly" on his own harp for effect. "The music drifted over the water, and the silver strings glittered in the sunshine." Brock narrates as he plays. When the song ends, he adds "The giant jumped into the water after Jack; but as he didn't know how to swim, he sank like a rock." He plays a glissando for effect, to some laughter over the giant's demise.

He retrieves the Torchic dolls and the prop lantern, then continues "Jack rowed away across the lake, full of joy. When he came to shore, he combed his hair, put on fine clothes, fastened the mythril sword by his side, and, taking the crystal harp in one hand and the gold lantern in the other, he led the three shiny Torchics after him, and went to the king, who was sitting in the throne room surrounded by his courtiers. When the king saw Jack he was overjoyed. Jack went to Princess Abigail, saluted her, and laid the giant's treasures before her."

After setting his props down, Brock concludes "To say there was great joy in the palace is an understatement. The wedding was celebrated soon after with great splendor and rejoicing; and when Jack succeeded the old king, he ruled over the land both long and happily, and went on many other adventures with the giant's treasures."

He grins at the enthralled crowd. "But that is another story for another day!"

The crowd roars with applause as Brock takes a bow...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 391: Buneary's Trick)

(real tale: After the Race)

"Everyone knows the story of Wartortle and Buneary, and their big race--that's not the tale we want to tell you this week." Brock explains as Ash, Misty, and Serena join him onstage. "What you may not know is that Buneary has always played tricks on everyone, and that somehow, she has always managed to outsmart her fellow Pokemon--all but Wartortle, that is."

"Ooh"s fill the air at this. "Now, Buneary was determined to trick Wartortle, and so one day she went to visit him. Wartortle was bathing in a shallow pool, and Buneary wanted to lure Wartortle away." Brock continues.

"Wartortle, old friend, I believe it's time we mend our feud, don't you think?" Misty asks Ash as Buneary.

"What feud?" Ash wonders as Wartortle, to some laughter.

"Wartortle was understandably wary of Buneary's question." Serena explains. "He knew Buneary's reputation well because of their big race, and was determined not to be fooled."

"Never mind...what's past is past." Misty sighs as Buneary. "What do you say you and I go steal some Berries from Emboar? Wouldn't Berries taste delicious? Oh, I can taste them now. That sweet, rich, juicy center...mmm, mmm, wouldn't you love to eat some Berries, my friend?"

"Wartortle's mouth began to water, for he did love Berries." Brock continues, trying oh-so-hard not to laugh at Ash daydreaming about Berries. "But then he stopped to think, and he slowly shook his head."

"Oh, Emboar would be very angry...he would burn us badly if we stole his Berries, Buneary." Ash cautions as Wartortle.

"How could he catch us? Emboar is not nearly so wise as you and I, Wartortle. Think about it. I am a trickster extraordinaire, right?" Misty smiles as Buneary, to more laughter as she poses cutely.

"That you are." Ash admits in character.

"And you managed to trick me, which means you are a genius, right?" Misty asks.

"I suppose..." Ash stammers.

"Wartortle, you and I are as wise as they come, and together we can outsmart anyone, and we have nothing in the world to fear, and oh, my, those Berries would taste delicious just about now, don't you think? I can imagine them, can't you?" The crowd laughs even more at how well Misty is portraying Buneary.

"Buneary went on and on like this, flattering Wartortle and tempting him with the Berries, until at last Wartortle agreed." Serena narrates.

"And so, they walked off to dig up Emboar's Berries." Brock continues the story after the group plays a "walking" interlude. "Finding his orchard, they picked enough to fill two bags. Then together they built a small fire and prepared dozens of Berry pies of all kinds. The smell of them made Wartortle's mouth water and his stomach growl, and he could just imagine the taste. 'Soon, soon,' Buneary said, turning the roasted Berries in the fire one more time."

"Let us divide them now." Misty suggests as Buneary.

"Yes, let's." Ash agrees as Wartortle.

"And so they did--one for Wartortle, one for Buneary, one for Wartortle, one for Buneary, they plopped them into their separate sacks." Serena narrates as Ash and Misty pantomime dividing a pile. "Then suddenly Buneary looked up."

"What's that? I thought I heard Emboar coming. Wartortle, you see if Emboar is nearby. I'll guard the Berries and the pies." Misty tells Ash as Buneary.

"Of course, Buneary was actually planning to sneak away with both sacks while Wartortle was distracted." Brock reveals to the audience, to some giggles of anticipation.

"No, no...if I go that way, Emboar might sneak up on you from behind. Better for us both to look. You go that way, and I'll go the other, and we'll meet up here later." Ash offers as Wartortle.

"Buneary thought for a while, and agreed to Wartortle's idea--with a twist." Serena explains. "She would go left, and Wartortle would go right, but she would return for the Berries."

"They parted ways, but Wartortle did not go very far." Brock picks up the story again. "Instead, he hid behind a bush, and when Buneary was gone, he crawled inside Buneary's sack and began to eat Buneary's Berries."

Laughter goes up as Ash pantomimes eating something. "A little later, Buneary returned. She looked this way and that, and seeing that Wartortle was gone, she dumped all of Wartortle's Berries into her own sack, and then threw the sack over her shoulder and ran for the hills, unaware Wartortle was in the bag the whole time." Serena continues, playing a "running" motif on her mandolin for effect. "Buneary tried to run fast, but the sack was heavier than she had realized, and she had to slow down."

"Finally, after she was far away from Emboar's Berry orchard, she stopped and laughed again at her own cleverness." Brock narrates as Serena slows the motif down. "Then she reached into his sack and pulled out...a Berry skin."

The lounge roars with laughter at Misty's feigned look of shock. "She brushed it off, and reached in to pull out another, only to find another skin." Brock continues. "Confused, she opened the sack wide and looked inside, and at that moment Wartortle slowly climbed out and looked her in the eye."

"Thank you for that delicious meal and for the nice long ride." Ash smiles as Wartortle. "And oh, of course, thank you for reminding me that I am really quite wise."

"From that day on, Buneary was more determined than ever to trick Wartortle one day." Serena concludes the story, stifling a giggle at Misty's feigned temper tantrum as Buneary. "As far as we know, she has yet to succeed!"

Laughter and applause fill the auditorium as the group takes a bow...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 392: To Catch a Thief

(real tale: To Fool a King)

"Long ago, it was not just trainers and coordinators that left on a journey." Brock begins as he leads Ash and the girls onstage. "It was the custom for young men and women who wanted to learn all that they could to leave their homes and travel across the land as students. They studied with teachers, scholars, poets, musicians, chiefs and hunters, and that's only naming a few professions they studied."

"They learned a great deal, and were known as clever men and women, but they were very poor." Misty picks up the story. "The king grew worried about the many poor students traveling in his kingdom. He could not understand why anyone would choose to be poor, and he feared what they might do."

She intones "So one day, he went to his advisers and made a bold accusation: the students were thieves."

Gasps and "ooh"s fill the auditorium as Ash picks up the story. "His advisers just smiled, and assured their lord that the students only wished for knowledge, and nothing more."

"But the king did not believe this, and so he had it proclaimed that anyone who was found to be a potential thief would be arrested." Serena continues the tale. "But there was one problem--how would they catch potential thieves?"

"The king, however, had a plan." Brock explains. "He commanded his guards to scatter gold coins in the palace courtyard, then invite the students to the palace. If anyone stooped to pick up a coin, that person would be arrested on sight."

He retrieves his harp and plays a few chords to mimic the guards tossing coins as he continues "The guards could not argue with their king, and so they scattered the coins and invited thousands of students to the palace, under the ruse that the king wanted to hold a grand feast in their honor."

"The students, of course, were understandably suspicious." Misty continues. "The king had never trusted them, and they all knew he likely had some trick up his sleeve. So they would beat him at his own game, and point out the flaw in his proclamation."

"So they gathered in the palace courtyard beneath the bright sunshine, and the king welcomed them." Ash narrates.

"Make yourself at home in my garden." Brock smiles, as the king, making a grand gesture to an imagined place. "Enjoy your day. Free food and drinks for everyone!"

"The students saw the coins gleaming in the sunshine." Ash continues. "And they also saw the guards watching from towers overhead."

"The day passed, and not a single student reached or stooped for a coin. The sun began to set, and the guards shook their heads, wondering at how these poor men and women disregarded temptation." Serena picks up the story again. "When the students had left, the king emerged from the palace."

"How many people picked up coins?" Brock asks Misty as the king.

"No one, milord." Misty replies.

"But when they looked down, they discovered that all the coins were gone." Ash interjects.

"If no one reached for a coin, then where are they?" Brock presses Misty for more information.

"Your Majesty, we watched the men and women like Braviaries." Misty protests. "We saw no one take a single coin."

"The guards and the king stared at the ground, bewildered by what had happened." Serena picks up the story again."They agreed to call the students back to the palace the next day."

"The next day, the king invited the students to attend another banquet in their honor." Ash continues. "The students feasted and drank, and the guards again watched closely. This time the king had appointed spies to mingle with the crowd, to eavesdrop. If they heard someone boast of newfound wealth, they were to make a star mark on that person's hand."

"The evening passed, and it seemed they might never discover the truth, when finally one of the spies overheard a student whispering about his brilliant ploy." Brock explains. "He had spread wax on his shoes, and when he walked across the courtyard, the coins that lay upon the ground stuck to them."

"The spy was overjoyed. He made the star mark on the student's hand while he was distracted with a conversation." Misty interjects. "The king invited the students to stay for the night, as a courtesy."

"As the students slept on the millions of royal beds, the king told the guards that when morning came, they would watch the students leave, and when they spotted the star on the thief's hand, he would instruct the guards to arrest that person." Brock narrates, to some "ooh"s.

"Morning came, and the students, after a hearty breakfast, made their way outside, past the guards and the king, toward the gates. The king and his spy watched closely, but they discovered to their astonishment that every single man and woman present had the star mark on their hands!" Ash announces.

"These were clever men and women, after all." Serena reveals what the students had done. "When the supposed thief had seen the star on his hand, he promised he would share his coins with anyone who dared to wear the same star, and all the students joined in."

"And so the king's proclamation was rescinded, and the students went on their way, for no one had proof that anyone among them was a thief." Brock concludes, to laughter and applause as the group takes a bow...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 393: The Prince of the Lonely Island)

(real tale: The Queen of the Lonesome Isle)

"The king of a certain land went out hunting one day, but fortune did not favor him." Brock begins as Ash, Misty, and Serena join him on the stage. "It was only around sunset when he spotted a Shiny Emboar."

"Excited, the king eagerly pursued said Shiny Emboar." Ash grins, to some laughter.

"Eventually they came to the seaside, and the Shiny Emboar rushed out into the deep water straight from the shore." Brock continues. "After leaving his Rapidash in the care of a servant, the king decided to swim after his quarry."

The lights dim a little to represent nighttime. "After swimming for a while, the king came to an island." Misty picks up the story. "By now, night had fallen, so he now had to find a place to spend the night. After exploring the island for a while, he saw a great castle in a valley before him. The path to the castle was covered with golden gravel, and the gates were open as if the residents had been expecting him."

"Once inside he saw a great fire on a broad hearth, and he decided to stay there for the night." Serena continues the tale. "As he sat and warmed himself by the fire, a table came out before him with every sort of food and drink, as if the castle's owner knew he would come. The king ate and drank his fill, then was led to an ornate bedroom. He wasted no time in falling asleep."

"In the morning, the king was stunned to find a beautiful garden." Brock picks up the tale again. "It took him all day to walk through it, never mind that he didn't know who had planted it. That evening, a beautiful lady was waiting for him when he returned to the castle."

"Welcome to the Lonely Island, traveler." Serena fills in the lady's dialogue. "I am the shining Emboar that led you to this place, and I am queen of the island. My two sisters and I are under an evil spell, and we cannot escape from it until your son and mine will free us. I will give you a boat in the morning, so you may return to your own kingdom."

"The lady--her name is not important to us--saw off the king the next morning." Brock narrates. "The way home was relatively uneventful, and before long, he was back in his own land."

"Some time later, the queen of the Lonely Island gave birth to a son." Serena continues. "She raised him with care from day to day and year to year until he was a fine young man. She taught him the way of the world for part of the day, and the way of magic for the other half."

Excited whispers fill the auditorium as Brock picks up the tale. "One day, Eamon, the prince of the Lonely Island, returned from hunting, and found his mother crying."

“What has happened?" Ash asks in character as he approaches Serena, who is feigning tears.

“My son, great grief has come upon me." Serena explains through feigned sobs. "I fear a friend of mine is going to be killed tomorrow."

"Who is he?" Ash asks as Eamon.

“The king of a distant land." Serena replies as the lady. "A rival king has come against him with a great army. He wishes to sweep him and his men off the face of the earth, and take the kingdom himself.”

“Well, what can we do? If I were there, I’d help your friend.” Ash vows in character, complete with turning his cap back for effect.

“Since you say that, my son, I’ll send you there tonight." Serena replies.

Some applause goes up for the acting. "By the time the sun came up, Eamon had arrived in the king's land." Brock goes on. "He went ashore, and saw the whole land black with the rival king's forces, all ready to attack. Eamon called for a day's truce, which the rival king readily agreed to. The king that had met the Queen of the Lonely Island welcomed Eamon as if he was his own son. While he spent most of the day in good company, Eamon also offered his friend ways to beat his opponent."

"The next morning, Eamon armed himself accordingly, and went to engage the rival king." Misty picks up the tale. "The battle raged all day, and by the time the sun had set, not a single one of the rival king's army was left."

Cheers go up at this. "Now, our hero king had two sons, who were beyond cowards." Misty explains, quieting the cheers. "They had hidden in terror during the battle; but their mother told him that her elder son was the one who had destroyed the rival king and all his men, not Eamon. In the midst of all the festivities, she slipped Eamon a potion of sleeping. She next convinced the people that one of the princes was the hero that had saved them all."

Angry chatter races down the rows as Brock picks the story up again. "Once sure Eamon was asleep, the queen pushed him into the moat, where he drifted out to the ocean."

He assures the angry crowd "Luckily, Eamon was rescued by a ship that was sailing that way. After having his wounds tended to and having a hot meal, he told them to take him to the Lonely Island. The captain knew where the Lonely Island was, and gladly agreed to take him there. The queen of the Lonely Island was standing on the shore as the ship arrived."

“Welcome home. What took you so long to return?” Serena asks as Ash joins her at stage right.

“The wife of the king you saved threw me into the sea after I had saved them both.” Ash explains as Eamon.

“Well, what goes around will eventually come back around.” Serena assures Ash, to giggles of agreement from the audience.

"Some time passed after this." Brock narrates. "A few months later, Eamon returned from a hunt to find his mother crying again. This time, it was the rival king's son who wanted to attack the king his mother had saved."

"Just like before, Eamon came to rescue his friend a second time." Misty takes up the story. "The queen was even more jealous then before, never mind her two sons had hidden like frightened Growlithes the whole time."

"The queen decided to give Eamon an impossible task--this way, she assumed, he would be out of her hair long enough for her to put one of her cowardly sons on the throne." Brock explains. "So the queen faked sick. When the king asked what was the matter, the queen said that she was very sick, and only a bottle of the Water of Life from the Well at the World's End could cure her."

"Eamon traveled a long way, until he came to a house by the roadside." Serena narrates. "The lady of the house welcomed him, and asked where he was going."

"Eamon told the lady of his quest, but the lady tried to get him to turn back. No mortal had yet survived the perils and challenges on the way to the World's End." Ash interjects.

Brock then reveals who the lady is. "This lady was one of the sisters of the Queen of the Lonely Island. Her sister had told her all that had happened to Eamon, and the reason why he journeyed to the World's End. After dinner that evening, she told him what she knew of the World's End."

"The queen of the World's End has an enormous castle." Misty explains in character to Ash. "She has a countless army of monsters to guard the castle and the flaming well. There are millions upon millions of them, of every shape and size. When they sleep, they sleep for seven years without waking. The queen has twelve attendant maidens, who live in twelve chambers. She is in the thirteenth and innermost chamber herself. The queen and the maidens sleep during the same seven years as the monsters. When the seven years are over, they all awaken, and remain awake for seven years. If anyone could enter the castle during the seven years of sleep, they could do what they liked."

Brock narrates "The lady then played a magic whistle to the sky..."

Ash fills in the Zelda whistle theme on his own tin whistle. "...and all the bird Pokémon of the world gathered around her." Brock continues. "She asked each one in turn where it had come from, but none of them seemed to know of the World's End. Finally, an old Braviary said that he had come from the World's End. He told the lady that its residents had been sleeping since the day before. The aunt dismissed the birds; and sang to the hills..."

Epona, Epona, come out here by me! Misty fills in the song.

"Hello, Eamon--son of the king of the west lands and the queen of the Lonely Island." Serena greets Ash as Epona.

"This was the first time our hero had heard of his father." Brock explains to the audience. "He had often wondered who he was, but had never seen his father's face until he came to rescue him the first time."

He narrates "Epona told Eamon..."

"Hold on tight, I will clear the river of fire at a single bound, and pass the poison trees." Serena tells Ash as Epona. "If you touch any part of the trees at all, the poison will kill you in a moment. As we approach the castle of the World's End, you must jump from my back through an open window that is there; if you don’t get in at the window, you’re done for. I’ll wait for you outside until you are ready to go back home."

"Eamon did as Epona told him." Brock continues."They crossed the river of fire, escaped the touch of the poison trees, and as Epona shot past the castle, Eamon jumped through the open window, and landed safe and sound inside. The whole place was filled with sleeping giants and monsters of both the land and the sea—great Wailords, long slippery Eelectriks, Ursarings, and wild Pokémon of every shape and size. Eamon passed through them until he came to a great stairway. Then he went into a chamber, where he found a beautiful lady stretched on a couch asleep. He paid her no mind, and went on to the next; and so on until he had looked into twelve chambers. In each was a woman more beautiful than the one before. But when he reached the thirteenth chamber and opened the door, the flash of gold almost blinded him. He waited for his focus to come back, and then went in. In the great bright chamber was a golden couch, sitting on a gold turntable that turned continuously, without needing contact or maintenance. On the couch lay the queen of the World's End. If her twelve maidens were beautiful, they paled in comparison to their mistress. At the foot of the couch was the well of fire. There was a golden cover over the well, and it too turned along with the couch."

"Our hero wasted no time in filling the three bottles with water from the flaming well." Ash explains. "After leaving a note explaining who he was and why he was there, he returned the way he had come."

"Luckily, the queen of the World's End was none the wiser." Misty assures the audience.

"On the way back, Epona stopped and sang..." Brock interjects.

Gatrandis favel, secret, edena... Serena fills in the song.
Emusto ronzen fine el balaziis...
Katoradis, favel siicletu edena...
Emusto koron zen fine, si...

"It turned out that the queen of the west kingdom was the one that had put the spell on the Lonely Island in the first place." Brock explains. "As the holy Swanna Song rang through the air, the queen and her two cowardly sons disappeared in a rainbow light, never to be seen again."

Cheers go up at this. "With the queen gone, the spell was broken." Misty continues. "The king was confused to her whereabouts at first, but after Eamon told him everything, all agreed that Eamon made a far better heir than either of the princes."

"And so it was that Eamon was named the heir, with the court, the people, and Arceus as their witnesses." Brock finishes the tale.

The crowd roars with applause as the group takes a bow...

When the time came for Eamon to rule, he did not forget the Queen of the Lonely Island, and how she had helped him and his father. The two of them remained close friends for a long time, reigning over their respective lands for many years.
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 394a: The Legend of Princess Melanie (part 1)

(real tale: Princess Dark-Eyes)

"Oh's" fill the air as Ash, Misty, and Serena follow Brock onstage. "We'll be doing something different for the next few weeks--Ash will lead the telling of what many say is his signature tale." Brock explains before allowing Ash to begin.

Once sure Brock and the girls are safely offstage, Ash begins his tale. "There was a young prince, long ago, whose name was Rory. He was fond of hunting, and especially liked hunting Sawsbucks. One day, he followed a Sawsbuck for so long, he lost all his hunting party and even his Growlithes. But he kept following it until it reached the banks of a river, which it swam across and disappeared into the brush."

"Aw"s go up at this. "Rory came home disappointed. But the next day, at the same exact place, he found the same Sawsbuck and followed it until it disappeared across the river." Ash goes on. "But though he lost the Sawsbuck on the banks of the river, he managed to save the life of a beautiful lady with dark hair in the nick of time. She had lost control of her boat, and about to go over a waterfall when Rory arrived on the banks. He dove into the river and, risking his own life, saved hers."

Then something occurs to Ash. "But then again, he would have risked his life a thousand times to save any lady."

Laughter ripples through the auditorium as Serena joins Ash onstage, in the role of the lady. "As I have magical powers, for your bravery and goodness I'll grant you any three reasonable wishes you ask."

"A Sawsbuck has just escaped me here for the second time." Ash explains in character as Rory. "Since I am sure to find him again tomorrow, I wish for a bridge over the river at this spot, a road through the marshes beyond; and you for my bride."

He interjects as himself "The lady turned a lovely shade of Charizard red, and said..."

"You will have the first two wishes." Serena replies in character as the lady. "But for your own sake, I beg that you'll alter the third. My name is Melanie, and the man who wins me has to face indescribable terror and do things impossible to mortals."

"It doesn't matter. Your beauty and your grace have won my heart." Ash pleads as Rory. "It would be sweeter to die seeking you than to live in misery without you, even if all the world were mine."

"Well, if you are prepared to brave all dangers, you just might win me." Serena smiles as the lady. "Goodbye for now, but follow your Sawsbuck tomorrow. We'll meet again before too long."

"With that, the lady disappeared beyond the river, and Rory rode home." Ash narrates as Serena departs offstage.

About then, Misty, Brock, and Serena join Ash onstage--Misty tuning a well loved fiddle, Brock tuning his guitar, and Serena tuning a well loved mandolin. "Sure enough, the next day, Rory found the same Sawsbuck at the same place, and chased it to the river, which it swam across." Ash explains as he fishes out a harmonica from a pocket. "But when Rory reached the river, he found a beautiful bridge, which he crossed like the wind. Through the marshes on the other side, which no one could travel through before, was a road, which he rode many a mile over on the trail of the Sawsbuck. But the Sawsbuck always kept one step ahead of him. When he was on the hill, the Sawsbuck was in the next hollow, and when he reached the hollow, the Sawsbuck was on the next hill."

The group claps along as the group plays the tune "Chasing the Fennekin" as chase music. "Before long night fell, and Rory found himself all alone in an unfamiliar land." Ash continues as he pockets the harmonica. "He wandered for a long time before he saw a light. Riding toward the light, he discovered a castle on a hill, and a silver haired lady greeted him at the gates, saying..."

"You're welcome, Sir Rory." Misty smiles as she emerges from stage left.

"She bade him enter, and treated him to a fine dinner and a soft bed." Ash narrates. "As the lady left Rory in his room, she said..."

"The snows are beginning to fall, and you must not be alarmed, no matter how fast they fall." Misty cautions in character.

"Oh! Sleeping in such a strong castle as this, I don't care if all the snow in the heavens should fall." Ash smirks as Rory.

He intones as himself "No sooner was he in bed did the snowfall come so fast and so thick and so heavy that the windows of his room were crushed in, and the snow came blowing into the room; every snowflake was at least the size of a small plate. He had himself well covered, but the snows piled high on top of him-as well as filling every nook, cranny, and corner of the room; and he felt the castle quivering with the pressure of the snow and quaking with their weight. The cold of the snow on top of him chilled him to the marrow of his bones, and he shivered so much that he shook loose his toenails."

The audience braces for the storm Ash described. "Relax, we're not in a 4-D theater." Ash assures the audience, to nervous giggles. "The lady appeared in the morning, took him out, and asked him what kind of night he had."

"To tell you the truth, I had the worst night of my life, and if I should live to be a hundred or more, I wouldn't take the wealth of the world to spend such a night again." he complains as Rory, to more laughter.

Misty reveals who Rory's hostess is. "I am the Snow Queen. This is only the first taste of the trials you have to go through before you win the Princess Melanie. I gave you this taste of the danger because I am your friend, and want you to turn back before it is too late."

"I'm not turning back. Even if the dangers ahead are a thousand times as dangerous, and the terrors a thousand times as terrible, I want to win the hand of Princess Melanie, or die trying." Ash vows as Rory.

"Very well. Great is your power, great is your wisdom, and great is your courage, and if you do manage to win her, you rightfully deserve her." Misty smiles as the Snow Queen "You can now mount your Ponyta, and follow the Sawsbuck forward. Whether you go fast or whether you go slow, you will reach the castle of a brother of mine, who will host you for the night."

"What did Rory encounter on the second night?" Ash smiles as the others join him onstage. "We will tell you more next week!"

The crowd roars as the group takes a bow...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 394b: The Legend of Princess Melanie (part 2)

(real tale: Princess Dark-Eyes)

Intrigued murmurs fill the air as Ash, Misty, Brock, and Serena arrive with their instruments in tow. "Rory thanked her, mounted his Ponyta, and rode off; but he hadn't gone a hundred yards when the Sawsbuck sprang out before him, and off they went." Ash begins. "Rory followed close behind, but the Sawsbuck kept its distance. When he was on the hill the Sawsbuck was in the hollow, and when he reached the hollow, the Sawsbuck was on the next hill."

The crowd claps along as Ash, Misty, Brock, and Serena play "Chasing the Fennekin" again to simulate the pursuit. "This went on till night fell, and the Sawsbuck disappeared." Ash continues as he pockets his harmonica. "Wandering on, he saw a light, and, riding toward it, found a castle. A young man greeted him at the gates, saying..."

"You are welcome, Sir Rory. Come on in and rest." Brock fills in the dialogue as he meets Ash at the center of the stage.

"Rory got a nice meal, and a soft bed. Before the young man left him in his bedroom, he said..." Ash narrates.

"The rains have begun to fall, but don't be alarmed at anything that may happen." Brock assures Ash in character before departing offstage.

"In a castle as strong as this, I don't care if all the rain in the heavens should fall tonight." Ash shoots back as Rory, to some laughter.

"That's good." Brock smiles back before disappearing backstage to wait for his next cue.

Ash intones "But Rory had barely gotten in bed when the rolling thunder and the lashing of the rains on the windows increased to a fever pitch. Before long the windows burst, and the rain poured in. Every drop would fill a bucket, and at every new gust of rain the castle rocked to its foundations. Very soon the room was submerged, till Rory had only his nose above water."

He narrates as Brock returns "The young man came in the morning, and asked..."

"Rory, what kind of night did you have?" Brock asks in character.

"The most terrible night in my life, and even if I live to be a hundred or more, I wouldn't pass another such night for all the wealth of the world." Ash replies as Rory.

Brock next reveals who the young man is. "I am the Master of Thunder. Last night was only to give you a taste of the terrors and dangers that lie ahead of you, if you persist in following Princess Melanie."

"I don't care if the terrors are a thousand times more terrible, and the dangers a thousand times more dangerous, I'll never stop or rest till I have found and won Princess Melanie." Ash vows as Rory, to some cheers.

"Well, great is your power, great is your wisdom, and great is your courage, and you well deserve her if you win her." Brock smiles. "Take your breakfast now, and then follow the Sawsbuck. Whether you go fast or whether you go slow, you'll reach the castle of another sister of ours, who will host you for the night."

"What did Rory encounter on the third night?" Ash smiles as the others join him onstage. "We will tell you more next week!"

The crowd roars as the group takes a bow...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 394c: The Legend of Princess Melanie (part 3)

(real tale: Princess Dark-Eyes)

"Rory thanked the Master of Thunder, and after breakfast mounted his Ponyta, and rode off." Ash picks up the tale from the previous week as the group arrrives with their instruments. "He had hardly gone a hundred yards, when he found the Sawsbuck, and followed it like before. But whether he went fast or slow, the Sawsbuck always kept its distance. When Rory was on the hill, the Sawsbuck was in the hollow, and when Rory reached the hollow the Sawsbuck was on the next hill."

The crowd claps along as Ash, Misty, Brock, and Serena play "Chasing the Fennekin" again. "This went on until evening came, and the Sawsbuck disappeared." Ash continues as he pockets his harmonica for later. "Rory wandered around for some time, not knowing where he was. Finally, he saw a light, and, going toward it, came to a castle. A red haired lady greeted him at the gate, saying...

"You are welcome, Sir Rory. Come in and rest." Misty meets Ash onstage, now in the role of the second lady.

"Rory got a fine meal that night, and a soft bed. Before she left him in his bedroom, the lady said..." Ash narrates.

"The wind has been rising, and the fire is coming, but do not be surprised or alarmed at anything that may happen to you tonight." Misty warns.

"In such a strong castle as this, I don't care if all the winds in the heavens blow and the fire of a thousand suns rage tonight." Ash replies as Rory, to some laughter.

"That's good." Misty smiles before departing, leaving Ash alone onstage.

Ash just continues "Rory was hardly in bed when he heard his windows begin to rattle, and in a very short time the wind burst them in; and filled the room, lifting his bed from the floor, and laying it down again. All the wind and fire of the world seemed to have gathered around the castle, all of them struggling to see which one of them all would have it. The trees for miles around seemed to be torn by the whirlwinds and flung against the castle--if they were not burned first. The castle quivered and shivered in every stone from the rafters to the foundation. All the broken and burning branches of the wood, too, seemed to fly into Rory's bedroom, where they banged and battered him as he lay in bed, tossed about in the wind with the fire around him. He thought that for all intents and purposes that it was the end of the world."

After pausing for a beat, Ash continues "The morning came as the wind died down, and the last flames fizzled to nothing. When the lady appeared, she asked Rory how he had fared during the night. Rory said he had the worst night in his life; and that even if he lived to be a hundred or more, he couldn't be bribed with the wealth of the world to pass such a night again."

Misty reveals who Rory's third host is. "I am the Flame Queen, and this night is only a little taste of what's ahead of you, if you persist in trying to find the Princess Melanie."

"If the dangers are a thousand times as dangerous, and the terrors a thousand times as terrible, I'll never give up till I find and win her." Ash shoots back as Rory.

"Great is your power, great is your wisdom, and great is your courage, and I hope you will succeed." Misty smiles as the Flame Queen. "When you ride after the Sawsbuck today, it will disappear into a cave in the mountainside. If you go far enough through that cave, you'll reach the land beneath the world, whose king is the father of Princess Melanie. It is only then that your greatest trials will begin. However, if you have faith and trust in Melanie, who, I have reason to know, loves you well, you may yet succeed."

Ash continues "Rory thanked the Flame Queen, bade her farewell, mounted his Ponyta, and set off. He had hardly gone a hundred yards when, he found the Sawsbuck he had been chasing, and followed it till it ran into a cave in the hillside. Rory galloped after it into the cave, and through it like the wind-his only light the fire that flashed from his Ponyta's eyes."

The audience claps along as Ash, Misty, Brock, and Serena play "Chasing the Fennekin" a fourth time. "He rode for a long time, and when he seemed to have been riding for at least a day, he finally came out in the land beneath the world." Ash continues as the group puts away their instruments. "It was a beautiful place, which he had only heard about in bedtime stories. The Sawsbuck was still before him, and at the same distance. He followed it far over this lovely land, and when he was on the hill, the Sawsbuck would be in the next hollow, and when he reached the hollow, the Sawsbuck would be on the next hill. This went on until late that evening, when he saw a great castle on a hillside in the distance. The Sawsbuck headed straight for this castle, but disappeared at a stream just below it."

Ash looks out on the excited crowd as the group joins him onstage. "What dangers awaited our hero in this new land? We will tell you more next week!"

The crowd roars as the group takes a bow...
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@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 394d: The Legend of Princess Melanie (part 4)

(real tale: Princess Dark-Eyes)

"Rory crossed the stream and rode up to the castle." Misty picks up the story as a spotlight appears on a familiar trumpet at stage right.

After waiting for Ash to take the beautiful silvery instrument, Misty continues "He found hanging from above the castle gate a great horn tipped with gold. Taking this horn, he played a attention call he knew from home..."

The audience cheers as Ash plays "To the Colors" on the trumpet for effect. "...and soon a great, dark, ugly-looking gentleman appeared, frowning at Rory, and demanding to know what his business was there." Misty narrates.

"My name is Rory, son of a king of the surface world." Ash explains in character as the trumpet is whisked away. "Several days ago, I saved the life of your daughter, the Princess Melanie, when she was sailing on a river. As a reward she granted me three wishes. One of my wishes was to win her. To do that, I have come through terrors and dangers from which many tried in vain to turn me. Now I am here to ask her as my wife."

"The ugly, dark fellow frowned even more when he heard this, and said..." Misty narrates.

"If you have come through terrors and dangers to reach here, they are only a taste of what you have to go through before you win her." Brock intones in a low deep voice from offstage. "I advise you to turn back now before it is too late, and give up all thought of her."

"If the dangers were a thousand times more dangerous, and the terrors a thousand times more terrible, I'd gladly have them all and lose my life rather than give up Princess Melanie." Ash retorts as Rory.

"Well, if you are bent on dying, what does it matter to me?" Brock shoots back before revealing who his character is. "I am King of the World Beneath the World, stepfather to three girls, the youngest of whom is the Princess Melanie. Ninety-nine heroes, bewitched with her beauty, have come here so far to claim her, but because, like you, they wouldn't turn aside, they faced the dangers, and lost their lives. Do you see the hundred spikes on that castle wall; every spike, but one, having on it a skull?"

"I see that..." Ash replies as he looks off towards stage left.

"Well, the hundredth spike is waiting for your skull, if you fail to do even one of the three tasks I have for you, which you must perform before my daughter is won." Brock explains as the Underground King.

"To win the beautiful Princess Melanie, there are no tasks in all the world that I won't do, or die trying." Ash vows as Rory.

"Very well, in the morning, I'll give you your first task." Brock replies as the Underground King.

"He gave Rory a fine meal and a soft bed that night." Misty narrates. "In the morning, after Rory had had breakfast, the king led him out into his courtyard, and showed him seven stables, each of them holding seven hundred Ponytas, seven hundred Miltanks, seven hundred Tauros, and seven hundred Gogoats--2800 Pokemon in all. It didn't help that the stables had not been cleaned for seven years."

Brock waits for the "ew"s to quiet before addressing Ash as the king. "I want you to clean out these stables. If you don't have every one of them so clean that they sparkle like diamonds, your skull will go on the hundredth spike."

"With that, he left poor Rory looking at the daunting task that was laid before him, and sadly shaking his head." Misty narrates as Ash does this. "But he remembered his promise, and decided to try."

Ash pantomimes shoveling something as Misty continues "So he took a pitchfork, and went at his work. But, every forkful that Rory flung out the door, seven more were flung back in, through each of the seven doors of all seven stables!"

Laughter goes up at Ash's feigned temper tantrum before Serena calls from offstage "Rory, my brave fellow, how is your work going?"

"Who should he see standing by him but the Princess Melanie! Her smile could light the world, if she wanted." Misty narrates as Serena joins Ash onstage.

"Oh! I'm sorry to say I have found out that your advice not to try to win you was maybe the wisest that could have been given to mortal man." Ash explains as Rory.

"I can still save you." Serena assures Ash.

"No! I would rather die trying to win you, than live a joyless life without you. I'm heartily willing to die for your sake." Ash vows as Rory.

"I'm proud of you, Rory, and perhaps I can help you with this task." Serena smiles in character. "Take all the pitchforks from all the stables, and arrange them in rows."

"Rory did this, and when he had a hundred pitchforks ranged in rows, Princess Melanie just sang..." Misty narrates as Ash does this.

Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo... Serena fills in the spellsong, making Brock's Mega Ring glow from offstage.

"...and the hundred pitchforks began to work by themselves!" Misty grins. "For every forkful that each of them threw out of the door, seven hundred other forkfuls went along with them out of every one of the forty-nine doors-and in a matter of minutes, the stables were so clean that they shone like a million diamonds!"

Some applause goes up at this. "Now, Rory, at least you have a third of me won-but on pain of death; don't say I helped you." Serena warns as Princess Melanie.

"Rory, in sheer joy, couldn't thank Princess Melanie enough." Misty narrates, to some laughter at Ash thanking Serena profusely in character. "But she said..."

"Rory, do not mention thanks. I would gladly do this a thousand times over for you." Serena assures Ash in character.

"That evening, when the king walked into the stables, and saw every one of them so clean that they sparkled like diamonds, he said..." Misty narrates

"You had help, didn't you..." Brock deadpans from offstage as the Underground King.

"No--I did it all myself." Ash replies as Rory.

"Okay, I'll trust you for now." Brock replies in character. "But I'll give you a task tomorrow that you surely cannot do. And then your skull will be mine!"

"I'm not worried. Let each day do its own deeds." Ash calmly replies in character.

Intrigued murmurs go up as the group reunites onstage. "What was Rory's second challenge? We will tell you more next week!"

The crowd roars as the group takes a bow...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 394e: The Legend of Princess Melanie (part 5)

(real tale: Princess Dark-Eyes)

"After breakfast the next morning, the king came to Rory again, and told him to come with him." Ash begins as he leads the group onstage. "He took Rory into the courtyard, and showed him the seven stables that were each a mile long, and pointed out that during the night the wind had come and stripped every straw off the thatched roofs of the stables."

"Your task today is to thatch these seven stables that are each a mile long." Brock explains as the king. "You must thatch them with the feathers of the birds, but no two feathers should be from the same kind, or from the same bird. If you haven't done this before nightfall, your skull will sit on the hundredth spike."

Ash narrates "Poor Rory looked at the seven miles of stables and thought about how they had to be thatched before nightfall with bird feathers-and then sadly shook his head, saying..."

"Great terrors and dangers were prophesied for me, if I pursued Princess Melanie, but I did not think that anything so terrible as this would be put before me a task that no mortal man could do. However, I'll do my best, and the best can do no more." he sighs as Rory.

As himself, he narrates "So he immediately began chasing after every bird he could see. For three hours he ran over hill and over dale after the birds. When he couldn't run any more, he had gotten just three feathers in all. He soon sat down in despair. Just then he heard the sweetest voice in the world saying..."

"Rory, how is your work going today?" Serena calls as she meets Ash onstage.

"Oh! The wisest man would have been well advised to have taken your advice, and not come after you." Ash sighs as Rory. "I was prepared to undergo any terror or danger for your sake, but I never dreamed that such terrible tasks as this would be put before me."

"Rory, it isn't yet too late to rue." Serena assures Ash. "I think I can still save your life, and send you back, if you will."

Ash pauses to retrieve a familiar gold whistle with a green mouthpiece from a pocket. "So she took out a little golden whistle and played it..." he narrates as himself.

Giggles fill the room as Ash plays the Zelda whistle theme on his own whistle for effect. "Rory saw what he thought were the ends of the world coming toward him-but instead it was flocks of birds from all the world coming over the horizon--birds of all shapes and sizes, from the forests, the plains, the lakes and the seashore, birds from the marshes, and birds from the meadows, and Fletchlings from the blue, blue skies-from under the world, and over the world they were coming, in droves." he narrates, pocketing the whistle as he speaks.

He continues "When they arrived at the castle they flew over the stables, each bird dropping from its wing a feather. And every feather fell into its own place on the stable roofs. In moments, all seven stables that were each a mile long, were thatched with the feathers of the birds of the air, no two feathers of the same kind, or from the same bird."

"Well, Rory, you have now two-thirds of me won." Serena smiles as Princess Melanie.

"Rory, filled with joy and gratitude, didn't know how to thank Princess Melanie enough." Ash narrates

"No need for thanks, Rory; for I would do this a thousand times over for you. But whatever you do, don't tell anyone that I helped you." Serena warns in character.

Brock arrives as Ash narrates "When the king came in the evening he was smiling with pleasure at the thought of having Rory's skull. But when he saw the stables, and how they were thatched with the feathers of the birds of the air, no two feathers being of the same kind or from the same bird, he said..."

"You rascal, you had help, didn't you?" Brock sighs, a note of anger in his "evil king" voice.

"No--I did it all myself." Ash replies as Rory when the giggles quiet.

"All right, you have done these two tasks; but tomorrow I'll give you one you cannot do, and then I'll have your head for sure!" Brock vows in character.

"I'm not worried. Let each day do its own deeds." Ash replies in character.

Intrigued murmurs go up as the group reunites onstage. "What was Rory's second challenge? We will tell you more next week!"

The crowd roars as the group takes a bow...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 394f: The Legend of Princess Melanie (part 6)

(real tale: Princess Dark-Eyes)

"The next morning, after breakfast, the king took Rory with him to a pond at the foot of his lawn." Ash explains as the group arrives onstage. "In the middle of the pond was a green island, and on the island grew a tree, five hundred feet high. For the first four hundred and ninety five feet from the ground, there was neither branch, knot, nor knob on the trunk of the tree-nor rough bark either-but it was smooth and oily. The topmost five feet of the tree threw out branches and in them was a Swanna's nest. The king said..."

"There are three eggs in that Swanna's nest which I want for dinner tonight. You must get them for me without any of them breaking, or else I'll have your head." Brock warns in character as the king.

Ash assures the antsy audience. "Rory looked at this tree that was smooth and slippery for the first four hundred and ninety five feet; and then sadly shook his head. But he told himself to try anyway."

He pantomimes climbing as he continues "Throwing off his coat, he began to try to climb the tree. But he could get neither hold nor grasp on it. He could barely raise himself up six inches before sliding back down again. After Rory had been trying to climb the tree for about three hours, his feet were still on the ground-and the Swanna's nest as far from him as ever. In despair he sat down, with his head resting between his hands."

"Rory, have you robbed the Swanna's nest yet?" Serena asks Ash as she arrives onstage.

"Oh! no! no! I thought the tasks which he gave me yesterday and the day before were the most difficult, but today's task is more difficult still." Ash sighs as Rory. "Wise was the man who heeded your warning, when you asked me not to try to win you."

"If you rue not taking my warning, I may have the power to save you still, and send you home unhurt." Serena assures Ash. Their repartee continues like this:

"No! No! I'd rather die a thousand times over trying to win you, than lead a lonely life without you."

"Then maybe I can help you in this third task too."

"Oh no! no! You might clean out the stables for me, and thatch them but there's no chance in the world you could climb this terrible tree."

Misty picks up the narration. "Princess Melanie only smiled, and sang..."

Gatrandis favel, secret, edena... Serena starts singing a familiar song.
Emusto ronzen fine el balaziis...
Katoradis favel siicletu edena...
Emusto koron zen fine, si...

Applause fills the air when the Swanna Song ends. "As the last 'si' echoed into the air, a great wind caught her hair and wound it around the tree, allowing Rory to climb up." Misty narrates. "When he had gotten the eggs and climbed back down, the wind blew again, and Melanie's hair was tied up as it always was, as if nothing had happened."

"Listen closely--my stepfather, who has all along suspected me of helping you, will discover our secret." Serena warns Ash. "At bedtime every night he washes the feet of my sisters and me, and when he comes to mine, and finds my hair all messy, he will know the truth-and will have the lives of both of us."

"Losing my own life, I don't mind, but that your life be lost for me is what I cannot get over." Ash stammers as Rory.

"Well, Rory, I wouldn't mind losing my life if it saved yours. But at the same time, there's just one chance for our escape." Serena tells Ash in character.

"What's that?" Ash asks, intrigued.

"The king always washes the feet of my sisters before he washes mine." Serena explains. "While he is busy with my sisters is our only chance. You must go quickly to the stables, and saddle for us the swiftest Ponyta there."

"How will I know the swiftest Ponyta?" Ash asks.

"You must pass the first six stables by, and go into the seventh." Serena instructs. "When you enter there you'll first find a row of three hundred and sixty five normal Ponytas. Don't take any of them, for they are weak on a long run. You will next see a row of three hundred and sixty five gold maned Ponytas. Don't take any of them, because they aren't swift Ponytas on a long run. You'll next find a row of three hundred and sixty five shining Ponytas. Take one of them, because a shining Ponyta is the strongest, and the swiftest, and the most lasting on a long run. Don't take the first, and don't take the second, and don't take the third---don't take any of the shiny Ponytas until you come to the last one. Her name is Epona, and she is is the strongest, swiftest, and most lasting Ponyta in the stables. Saddle and bridle her, and bring her under my window."

"Rory promised to do this, and Princess Melanie went away to prepare for their flight." Misty narrates. "When Rory presented the king with the three eggs from the Swanna's nest that evening, the king said..."

"You rascal, you have done this third task; but you had help, I am sure!" Brock claims as Ash returns to the stage.

"Oh no, I did it myself." Ash assures Brock in character.

"I must keep my word. If you are still alive by tomorrow morning, come to me and you'll have the Princess Melanie." Brock reluctantly sighs as the king.

"That evening, Rory did everything Princess Melanie had said to do." Misty narrates as the others join her. "He saddled and bridled Epona, led her out under Princess Melanie's window, who, jumping down, mounted behind Rory-and both of them were away like the wind."

"Was the flight successful?" Ash asks the audience. "We will tell you the exciting conclusion next week!"

The crowd roars as the group takes a bow...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 394g: The Legend of Princess Melanie (part 7)

(real tale: Princess Dark-Eyes)

"Now, before Princess Melanie left, she had hidden four ruby shards in her room." Ash explains as the group arrives onstage. "One was laid at her bedside, one by her nightstand, one at the threshold of her room, and one in the hall that led toward the king's room. As soon as the king had finished washing the feet of his two older daughters, he called for Princess Melanie..."

"Are you coming to have your feet washed?" Brock calls offstage as the king.

"I'm coming as soon as I have taken my stockings off." Serena replies as the shard.

"After a while he called again, asking if she was coming to have her feet washed. The shard by the nightstand answered..." Ash narrates.

"I'm coming as soon as I have my hair put up." Serena replies as the shard.

"After a while the king called again. The shard that was on the threshold of her room said..." Ash narrates.

"I'm coming as soon as I close my door." Serena replies as the shard.

"After a while the king called a fourth time, asking if she was coming to have her feet washed. The shard in the hall said..." Ash narrates.

"I'm coming along the hall." Serena replies as the shard.

"When he called again, asking if she was coming to have her feet washed he got no answer." Misty picks up the tale as Ash and Serena hurry into position for the next scene. "He jumped up immediately, suspecting there was something wrong, ran to her room, and found her gone. Then he ran to Rory's room, and found him gone, too. He saddled the second swiftest Ponyta in the stables, and rode like the wind after the flying pair."

Brock watches as Ash and Serena race onstage. "When Rory and Princess Melanie had ridden far away, and Rory thought they were safe, Princess Melanie said..." he narrates as himself.

"Rory, I feel the heat of the king's hot, angry breath burning my back. Look behind you, and see if he's pursuing." Serena requests as Princess Melanie.

"Yes! He's pursuing. He'll soon be on us." Ash replies as Rory after looking back behind him.

"Not yet, Rory. Look into my bag and find the sapphire I hid in there. Sing to it 'Rou iitsa ron selga vichii'!" Serena calls in character.

Ash finds a familiar prop sapphire and sings to it Rou iitsa ron selga vichii... The audience whispers excitedly as the prop jewel and Misty's Mega Ring glow in response.

"...and in seconds there was a great rushing river flowing across their tracks between them and the pursuing king." Brock explains. "When the king came to the banks of the river, he had to look for a boat. This gave Rory and the princess plenty of time to get ahead."

Ash and Serena perform the rigamarole again. "Rory, I feel the heat of the king's hot, angry breath burning my back. Look behind you, and see if he is following."

"Rory looked behind him, and sure enough, he saw the king. Fire was flashing from his eyes, and he was drawing his sword to slay them, as his Ponyta at every bound was nearing our heroes." Brock interjects.

"He is overtaking us! We're goners for sure." Ash screams in feigned panic.

"Not yet, Rory. Look into my bag and find the emerald I hid in there. Sing to it 'Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo'!" Serena calls in character.

Ash sings in character to a prop emerald Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo... making it and Brock's Mega Ring glow in response.

"Immediately a great forest that was twenty miles in all directions, and so thick and so high, that a bird couldn't fly through it or over it, sprang up behind them, between them and the pursuing king." Brock narrates. "When the king reached the forest, he had to search for people with axes and saws to cut a way through. This gave Rory and Princess Melanie even more time to escape."

Ash and Serena perform the scene a third time. "Rory, I feel the heat of the king's hot, angry breath burning my back. Look behind you, and see if he is following."

"Rory did, and saw the King following them, and riding close behind them. Fire was flashing from his eyes, and he had his drawn sword raised in the air to cut them down." Brock narrates as Ash looks behind him, as if something is there.

"We are surely lost this time." Ash sighs in character.

"Not yet, Rory. Look in my bag for the ruby I hid in there. Sing to it 'Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...'!" Serena calls in character.

Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul... Ash sings to a prop ruby, making it and his Mega Ring glow in response.

"...and there appeared a river of fire between them and the king." Brock narrates. "But the king was so mad, he never paused or halted or tightened a rein, but plunged into the river of fire, where he and his Ponyta were burned alive!"

Relieved cheers fill the theater as Serena takes over narrating. "Rory and his beloved Melanie rode through the cavern in the mountain, and out on the other side. They swept past the castle of the Flame Queen, who was waving to them from a tower-but no flames or wind stirred the grass. They swept past the castle of the Master of Thunder, who was waving to them from his tower---and no rain fell on the fields. They next swept past the castle of the Snow Queen, who was waving to them from her tower-but no sprinkle of snow did they find. They did not stop until they crossed the bridge over the river, entered the country of Rory's father, and rode to his father's castle."

Ash explains "His father and his mother had given up Rory for dead. Both of them ran out, overjoyed, when they heard he was home again. But far greater was their joy when they found that he had with him the Princess Melanie-the handsomest lady they ever seen at that or any other court."

He concludes as the group reunites at center stage "It was not long before Rory and Princess Melanie were married. Rory's father gave a wedding feast, which lasted twenty one days and twenty one nights in all, and each day and night was just as fun and joyous as the first. "

"Aw"s and applause fill the air as the group bows together...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 395: Epona and Christine

(real tale: The Black Horse)

"Once upon a time something happened. If it hadn't happened, it wouldn't be told." Brock began as he came onstage.

With that, he begins "There was once a king of Galar who had three sons. When the king joined Arceus in heaven, they only gave the youngest son an old, lame Ponyta. As his elder brother had inherited the throne, the only thing to do was to go seek their fortune elsewhere."

Intrigued murmurs filled the air at this. "As the youngest prince walked along, he met a man leading none other than the divine steed, Epona!" Brock went on.

"Greetings, good sir--would you like to trade your mount for a divine steed worthy of a prince?" he asks in a gentle male voice for the man.

"Would I ever!" he gasps as Ash for Prince Brian.

As himself, he continues "So they traded, and the prince--whose name was Brian--received Epona."

The audience listens as Brock goes on "One day, Brian got the idea to go to the Undersea Kingdom. His father had been good friends with Manaphy in life. It helped Manaphy knew everything going on in the world. Before dawn the next day, he was there. Being a divine Ponyta, Epona's shiny blue flames were not extinguished by the water."

Excited murmurs race down the rows at this. "When he got there, Manaphy was holding court." Brock continues, quieting the chatter. "He listened to the requests and petitions of the underwater Pokemon and the land folk alike. The rumor in the sea realm was who would marry Christine, the Princess of Kalos. When no one volunteered, Prince Brian stepped forward."

"Well met, Sir Brian of Galar. I charge you to have Christine here before dawn tomorrow." he replies in a mimic of the real Manaphy.

He interjects as himself "Prince Brian returned to the land with a sigh. Epona sensed this, and said..."

"Peace--I know how to fulfill your charge." he explained in a mimic of Serena for Epona.

He continues as himself "Off Epona went, crossing the sea to Kalos."

"When we get to the city of Illumis, go to the palace." he explains as Epona. "Christine will see me from a high window, and ask for a ride on me. Tell her she may ride, but she must ride behind you, and hold on tight."

"As himself, he goes on "When they arrived in Illumis--what is today Lumiose--all were amazed at Epona. They came to the palace like a pair of heroes. Sure enough, Christine saw Epona from her bedroom window."

"May I have the honor of riding the steed of legend? Please?" he begs as May for Christine, to some laughter.

"Of course--climb aboard behind me, and hold on tight." he replies as Prince Brian.

He continues as himself "Princess Christine did as she was told, and before long, they were in the Sea Realm."

"Welcome back, Brian. Let us have the wedding." he announces as Manaphy.

"Wait, good prince! Before we can wed, I need a certain silver chalice. It has been present at family weddings for five generations." he pleads as Princess Christine.

"All right--Brian, I charge you to have the silver chalice here by dawn tomorrow." he instructs as Manaphy.

As himself, he goes on "Prince Brian returned to the land with a sigh. How was he supposed to know where the silver chalice was?"

"Peace--I know where the chalice is." he assures the crowd as Epona. "The king of Kalos has it as part of a banquet celebrating Christine's marriage to you. Go in and sit at the table. Do not say anything--the people will assume you are one of the guests. When the chalice comes around to you, take it under your arm, and return to me."

As himself, he continues "All happened as Epona said, and before long, he was back in the Sea Realm."

"Is there anything else you need before we can hold the wedding?" he asks as Manaphy.

"Yes. I will not marry until I get the silver ring that my grandmother and my mother wore when they wed." he replies as Christine.

Brock then interjects as himself "Manaphy charged Prince Brian again, and he returned to the land with a sigh."

"This will be difficult, at best. A mountain of ice and a mountain of fire stand between us and that ring." he cautions as Epona.

He explains as himself "Being a divine Ponyta, the fire and ice did not harm Epona. Before long, they were back in the undersea realm."

"Are we ready to have a wedding yet?" he asks, to some laughter at the note of frustration in Brock's "Manaphy" voice.

"Not yet. I will not go to your father's castle or mine, but a castle of my own." he replies as Christime, to more laughter as the audience pictures Manaphy's reaction.

Brock interjects as himself "So Prince Brian was charged to build a castle before dawn. Epona rallied as many workers as she could find, and the castle was ready before the sun rose."

He concludes "This satisfied Princess Christine. With Manaphy and the sea Pokemon as their witness, a grand wedding was held. The festivities lasted six months in all, with every night better than the one before."

"Aw"s and applause fill the Fireside as Brock takes a bow...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 396: The Little Gold Flute

(real tale: The Golden Reed Pipe)

The auditorium roars with applause as Ash, Misty, and Serena join Brock in running to meet the cheering crowd. "Thank you! For the next few weeks--crossing into Season 16..."

More cheers go up at this. "...we're gonna be telling some old favorites, as voted on by you, the fans." Brock explains. "So we're kicking things off with one of our favorites to perform--and what some would say is our signature tale."

The lights go down for a few seconds, buying Ash and the girls time to hurry to their places. When they come up again, only Brock is onstage in his usual place. "A long time ago, in a place far away from here, there lived a mother and her daughter. Since the daughter loved the color red very much, she was named Akaiko, which means 'red child'. One day, as they worked in the fields..." Brock mimics digging in dirt. "A great Charizard flew down from the sky and snatched Akaiko in his claws. Akaiko's last words to her mother as she was carried away were..."

"Mother, my mother, so dearest to me, someday my brother will come rescue me." Serena calls from offstage.

"I have lost my only child..." Misty sighs as the mother. "Who could this brother be?"

Brock continues "Well, some time passed, and the mother had a second child, a son. The child was born looking up at the sky in wonder, so he was named Aozora, or 'blue sky'. The mother wished for Aozora to rescue his sister, but couldn't bear to give her son such a dangerous quest. So, for many years, she locked herself in her room and wept late into the night. But one day, a Murkrow happened to land by a window and said to her..." He switches to a gravely voice reminiscent of a Murkrow. "Your sister's suffering way out there! Weeping in that Charizard's lair! Ruby red stains upon her back, digging up rocks with hands so bare!" He returns to himself. "Aozora happened to overhear this, and asked his mother..."

"Is it true I have a sister?" Ash fills in Aozora's line as he walks onstage.

"You speak true..." Misty replies as the mother. "Because she loved the color red so much, she was called Akaiko, the red child. That evil Charizard who has slain so many took her from me ten years ago."

Brock continues "Aozora took up a large stick..." Ash picks up a long wooden dowel lying by stage right. "and said..."

"I'm going to slay that Charizard, and save my sister!" Ash triumphantly declares in character as Aozora. "Then he will never harm our land again!" He slams the dowel on the stage with a loud thud to punctuate his point, to some applause.

"Aozora left early the next morning, and walked for many miles." Brock continues as Ash walks around the stage for a moment."As he wound around a mountain road, he saw a large rock blocking the way--and if he didn't remove it, it would mean a potentially deadly fall." At this, Ash stops walking and examines an imaginary rock by where Brock is standing. "He thrust his stick under the rock and pushed with all his might..." Ash pretends to push against something heavy. "but his stick broke with a snap!" He claps to illustrate this as the lights blink off for a few seconds. When they come up again, Ash has discarded the dowel. "Then, Aozora picked up the rock, and threw it into a ravine with all his strength." Brock narrates as Ash picks up the imagined rock and tosses it away. "When Aozora looked in the place where the rock had been, he saw a tiny gold flute."

Ash picks up a whistle he left onstage earlier, which is lying by his feet. "So after examining it for a moment, he picked it up and blew a single clear note..." At this, Ash blows a single high D note. "He tried a few more notes..." Ash starts going up the D major scale. "before trying to play a tune. No sooner had he begun playing, did all the Pokemon of the mountain come to listen and dance to the little flute."

The audience claps along as Ash plays the tune "The Silver Sword". "But as soon as Aozora stopped playing..." Brock interjects as Ash finishes his song. "the Pokemon stopped dancing." Some applause goes up, so Brock waits for that to quiet before continuing "Aozora took the little flute with him, and continued on his way. Before long, he came to the Charizard's cave high on the mountain. While the Charizard was sleeping, the sheer number of human and Pokemon bones nearby were a testament to how many others had tried to save Akaiko and failed. Aozora also saw a familiar girl in red hammering away at the rock, with tears streaming down her face." A spotlight appears on Serena pantomiming hammering at something, feigning tears all the while. "Although the girl wanted to cry out very much, if she ever did so, the Charizard would burn her with his flaming tail and scold her, saying..." He switches to a deeper version of himself. "Ungrateful, loathsome Mistress Red! "Since with me you will not wed, day by day, rock by rock, carve for me a handsome cave, or else I'll send you to your grave!"

As himself, he continues "Aozora recognized the girl as his sister, Akaiko, and so he charged into the cave and shouted..."

"Wicked monster, Evil fiend! For torturing my sister so!" Ash announces as he charges back onstage. "Till your wretched life shall end..." he warns, turning his cap back and retriving the whistle from his pocket. "On this flute I shall blow and blow!" With that, he starts another reel.

Brock continues over the music "Aozora then began to play the little flute, and the Charizard danced in spite of himself. Akaiko, meanwhile, abandoned her chiesel and hurried outside to watch." Serena pantomimes setting down a chisel, and runs over to a point near where Ash is performing. "Aozora continued to play, and the Charizard continued to dance--the faster Aozora played, the faster the Charizard danced." The audience laughs as Ash speeds up his reel for a moment. "Akaiko came close to Aozora, wishing to speak to her brother, but she was very aware that if Aozora stopped playing, the Charizard would eat them both." Ash finishes his set at this point, just as Serena waves to get his attention. "Finally, the Charizard pleaded..." He switches to his Charizard voice again. "Human, I see that you are stronger! Play no more, torture me no longer! I will send the girl home if you just leave me alone!"

As himself, he continues "Yet Aozora did not stop playing..." prompting Ash to start another set of tunes. "As he played, he led the Charizard to a great lake. The Charizard fell into the water with huge splash, making the water level rise several feet. He again pleaded with Aozora..." As the Charizard, he wheezes "Human, I said that you were stronger! Let me stay inside this pond, and torture folk no longer!" as Ash finishes his second tune. He quickly interjects "Aozora replied..."

"Evil fiend, this is my bargain..." Ash intones as Aozora. "Stay at the bottom of the lake, and never do harm again."

With that, the Charizard sank to the bottom of the lake..." Brock continues. "Aozora took Akaiko by the hand..." Some "Aw's go up as Ash takes Serena's hand. " and set out for home. They had not gotten very far when they heard splashing from the lake." Ash and Dawn whirl around to look behind them and gasp in feigned fear, as if the Charizard is actually there. "The Charizard emerged from the lake, determined to kill the both of them. Akaiko cautioned..."

"You go deep when digging a well, and you pull up roots when plowing a field, but while that Charizard lives, to kind ways he will not yield." Serena fills in the dialogue.

Aozora raced back to the lake's shore, playing the little flute all the while..." Brock continues as himself, prompting Ash to play a tune many in the crowd recognize as the Pokemon Master Victory Song. "He played for seven days and nights, until the Charizard's body came floating back to him." Ash concludes this tune to some applause.

Brock concludes as Ash and Serena reunite with Misty "Sister and brother returned home, Aozora carrying the Charizard's corpse in his arms. When the mother saw her two children returning, she smiled with great joy, and ran to embrace them. They used the Charizard's scales and bones to build a house, and the Charizard's teeth as plowshares...and using these plowshares, they never went hungry again. Yet Aozora kept the little flute with him, just in case he needed its song again." Ash adds a little flourish on his instrument as the lights go down to end the story.

"YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!" the crowd roars as Ash, Misty, Serena, and Brock take a bow together...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 397: The Legend of Kaitou

(real tale: The Adventures of a Fisherman's Son)

"Just me this time..." Brock tells the crowd as he arrives onstage.

He then begins his tale. "Long ago there was a man and woman who lived in a little house under the palm trees by a river bank. They had so many children they did not know what to do. The little house was altogether too crowded. The man had to work early and late to find food enough to feed so many. One day, the seventh son--we'll call him Shichiro--said to his father..."

In character as a young boy, he pleads "Father, I found a little Growlithe yesterday when I was playing on the bank of the river. Please let me keep him and train him."

As himself, he continues "The father reluctantly consented. He did not know how to find food for the children, and an extra Growlithe to feed seemed an added burden. He went to the river bank to fish that day with a heavy heart. He cast his net in vain. He did not catch a single fish. He even cast his net from the other side with no better luck--he did not catch even one little Goldeen. Suddenly he heard a voice which seemed to come from the river bed itself, it was so deep.

In one of his go-to deep voices, Brock intones "If you will give me the first new thing you find in your house when you go home I will give you great luck."

As himself, Brock explains "The man remembered the request which Shichiro had made that morning. He figured that the new thing he would find in his house when he got home would be a Growlithe. That way, he could get rid of the Growlithe which he did not want to keep anyway. So he consented to the request which came from the strange voice in the depths of the river. He was told that if he broke this vow the curse of the Gyarados would be upon him and all his descendants."

He continues walking around the stage as he continues "The fisherman cast his net where the Gyarados commanded, and immediately it was so full of fish that the man could hardly draw it out of the water. Three times he drew out his net, so full that it was in danger of breaking. In the end, he had enough to feed his family and plenty left over to sell. As the fisherman approached his house with his enormous catch of fish one of the children came running to meet him, telling him that a new child had been born."

He freezes for a moment, as if he is the fisherman. "The poor fisherman broke down and cried--he dared not break his vow to the Gyarados."

Some sniffles fill the air as Brock continues "The fisherman's wife was heartbroken when she heard about what had happened. However, she could think of no way to escape from keeping the contract which he had made. She kissed the tiny babe good-bye and gave it her blessing, naming him Kaitou. Then the fisherman took it down to the river bank and set it into the river at the exact spot the Gyarados had spoke to him from. The Gyarados took Kaitou into his palace of gold and silver and crystal with ornaments of diamonds and pearls, treating him as his own son."

Interested whispers go up as Brock explains "The years went by, and Kaitou grew into a handsome lad, tall and straight, with eyes which were dark and deep like the river itself, and hair as dark as the shades in the depths of the river. All his life he had been surrounded with every luxury, but he had never seen a single person. He had never seen even the Gyarados. All he knew of him was his deep voice which gave orders in the palace. One day the Gyarados said...." In his deep voice again, he intones "I have to go away on a long journey. I will leave with you all the keys to all the doors in the palace, but do not mess with anything. If you do, it will be your life in exchange."

As himself, Brock continues "Many days passed and Kaitou did not hear the voice of the Gyarados. He missed its sound in the palace. It was very still and very lonely. When fifteen days had passed he took one of the keys which the Gyarados had left and opened a door. The door led into a room in the palace where he had never been. Inside the room was a huge Entei. The Entei looked healthy and well nourished, but there was nothing for it to eat except hay. True to his instructions, Kaitou did not mess with anything and shut the door."

"Another fifteen days passed by, and again Kaitou took one of the keys." Brock continues, walking around the stage as he speaks. "He opened another door in the palace which he had never entered. Inside this room he found three Ponytas, one Shiny, and the other two were normal. There was nothing in the room for the Ponytas to eat except meat, but in spite of this they looked well nourished. Kaitou did not touch anything and when he went out he shut the door.

Brock pauses for a beat, then continues "At the end of another fifteen days, Kaitou tried another key in another door. This room opened into a room full of armor. There were daggers, spears, swords, bows, and all sorts of armor which he had never seen and did not know anything about. He was very much interested in what he saw, but he did not mess with anything."

Once he is back in his place at center stage, Brock goes on "The next day he opened the room again where the Ponytas were kept. This time one of the Ponytas -the Shiny one- spoke to him and said..." In a mimic of Misty, he interjects "We like hay to eat very much better than this meat which was left to us by mistake. The Entei must have our hay. Please give this meat to the Entei and bring us back our hay. If you will do this as I ask I'll serve you for all time."

As himself, Brock continues "The boy took the meat to the Entei. The Entei was very much pleased to exchange the hay for it. The lad then took the hay to the Ponytas. He froze when he remembered how he had been told not to mess with anything--and this counted as messing with something. He burst into tears, fearful he would die for what he had done. The Ponytas listened in amazement, but the Shiny Ponyta--who was named Takara--offered to get him out."

"Takara told Kaitou to take some extra clothes, a sword," Brock pauses to set a prop sword at his side. "and a bow," He slings a prop bow and a quiver filled with 30 prop arrows on his back. "and climb on her back." As Misty again, he intones "I have lived here in the depths of the river so long that my speed is greater than that of the river itself. If there was any doubt of it before, now that I have had some hay once more I am sure I can run faster than any river in the world."

He interjects as himself "When the Gyarados came back home and found that Kaitou had messed with something, he swam as fast as he could in pursuit. However, Takara safely carried Kaitou away from that place."

Sighs of relief fill the air. "Takara and Kaitou traveled a long way, until they came to a kingdom which was ruled over by a king who had three beautiful daughters." Brock explains. "Kaitou wasted no time in applying for a position in the service of this king. The king wasn't sure what Kaitou could do, and so put him in charge of delivering bouquets of flowers from the royal garden every morning to the three princesses."

Excited whispers go up at this--if there are princesses, a quest is not far away! "Kaitou did well carrying bouquets of flowers from the garden to the princesses every day, and it wasn't long before the youngest princess--we'll call her Hibiki--fell in love with him." Brock continues, quieting the chatter. Her two sisters laughed at her, but she retorted..."

In his best mimic of May, he declares "I don't care what you say, he is far handsomer than any of the princes who have ever sang beneath our balcony."

As himself, he continues "That night, two princes from neighboring kingdoms came to sing in the palace garden beneath the balcony of the three princesses. The two oldest daughters of the king were proud and haughty, but Princess Hibiki had love in her heart and love in her eyes--this was why she was the one whom all the princes admired most."

Giggles go up at this. "Kaitou listened to their songs, and he wished he looked like these two princes and knew songs like theirs." Brock explains as he takes a pitch pipe from his pocket--the one he often uses to tune his guitar. "But rather than compare himself to something he was not, he decided he would sing a song before the balcony of the princesses himself. Besides, he had an advantage--he knew the song of water. So with that, Kaitou approached the balcony,and sang a song so beautiful, even the two rival princes stopped to listen to it, never mind that they didn't have a clue what the words meant."

With that, he blows an A note to make sure he is in tune, then proceeds to sing "Ah,Roshin" in the language of Mew. The auditorium listens, spellbound, as Brock's powerful and distinct tenor resonates through the room, moving many in the audience to tears over the beautiful, ancient melody.

Thunderous applause goes up before Brock interjects "The two older princesses did not know who was singing, but Princess Hibiki recognized him immediately."

"Some time later, a great tournament took place." Brock continues as he pockets the pitch pipe. "Now, Kaitou had never seen a tournament, but after he had watched it for a moment he decided to enter. He went to get Takara and the weapons he had brought with him from the palace of the Gyarados. With Takara's help and the magical weapons, he won every last event of the tournament--the duels, the archery contest, the Pokemon battles, and the magical duels, to name a few."

Stunned chatter fills the air at this. "Everyone at the tournament wondered who the strange knight could be. No one recognized him except Princess Hibiki. She knew who it was the moment she saw him, and gave him her favorite red ribbon to wear." He gestures to a red ribbon tied to his bow to illustrate his point.

"Some weeks later, all the knights who had taken part in the tournament set out to slay the wild Salamence which often came out of the jungle to attack the city." Brock explains, performing a few moves with the prop sword. "But it was Kaitou who killed the Salamence, as all the knights knew." he tells the crowd as he sheathes his blade. When they returned to the palace with the news that the Salamence had been slain, the king said..." As Flint again, he announces "Tomorrow night we will hold the greatest festival which this palace has ever witnessed. Let all the knights who are here assembled go forth to hunt for birds to grace our table."

"The next day, the knights went out to hunt, and it was Kaitou that caught the most. None of the other knights were at all successful." he continues as himself. "The two neighboring princes, meanwhile, were jealous that Kaitou got all the honor. They agreed that one would take credit for killing the Salamence, and the other would take credit for catching the most birds."

Angry whispers race through the crowd as Brock continues "That night at the royal banquet, they each told their quite contrived stories. The other knights knew that it was false, but when they looked around for the knight who had done the valiant deeds, they could not find him. Kaitou had on his servant's attire, so no one recognized him. When the king had heard the stories of the two princes. he was greatly pleased with what they had done, and told them they would each take a princess as a bride." he continues as he looks out on the enthralled audience. "But Princess Hibiki saw Kaitou standing among the servants and smiled into his eyes. That gave Kaitou the courage to tell the king the truth."

Everyone is on the edge of their seats to hear what will happen now that the king knew the truth. "All the assembled knights recognized Kaitou in spite of his appearance in his servant's clothes." Brock goes on. "They confirmed that Kaitou was the valiant one who killed the Salamence and caught the most birds, and the reward was rightfully his."

He concludes "Needless to say, Princess Hibiki was elated at this. Kaitou and Princess Hibiki were married the very next day, and they all lived happily ever after."

The crowd roars as Brock takes a bow...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 398: The Prince and the Dragonite

(real tale: The Prince and the Dragon)

"There was once a king in a far away land that had three sons." Brock begins as he arrives in his place at center stage. "One morning, the eldest prince--we'll call him Arden--set out to hunt. A Buneary suddenly sprang out of the bush, and Arden chased it over hill and over dale until finally, the Buneary raced into a mill that stood beside a river. "When Arden went in there, instead of a Buneary, he found a fierce Dragonite!"

Some screams and giggles go up from the children in the audience. "Arden turned to run, but a fiery tongue coiled around his waist and drew him into the Dragonite's mouth, never to be seen again!" More screams and giggles go up at this.

Once the playful screams and laughter quiet, Brock goes on. "When his brother did not return, the second prince--we'll him Neil--went to look for him, and the same thing happened--he saw a Buneary as soon as he entered the forest, chased it to the mill, and the mighty Dragonite swallowed him, too!"

Tense murmurs race through the crowd. "Meanwhile, the king waited and waited for any sign of his sons." Brock goes on. "When the youngest son--we'll call him Brendan--said he wished to go in search of his brothers, the king refused him at first. But Brendan did not take no for an answer. Finally, the king gave his permission and had the finest Rapidash in the palace stables saddled for him."

"Did he meet the Dragonite too?" A boy in the front shudders in fear.

"Like his brothers, Brendan chased the Buneary over hill and over dale and to the mill." Brock explains. "But when the Buneary dashed through the mill door, Brendan knew better than to follow it. Instead he turned and rode away, in search of other game to hunt."

The crowd heaves a collective sigh of relief. "That night, Brendan returned to the mill, and met a wise woman sitting out front." Brock continues. As a young boy, he interjects "Have you seen a Buneary?"

"That was no Buneary...that was the Dragonite that has eaten many people." he replies in character as a young lady. "I beg you, turn back before he eats you too!"

After acknowledging his applause for his interplay, he continues as himself "It dawned on Brendan what had happened to his brothers, and pleaded with the wise woman to come with him. But she shook her head and explained that the Dragonite had taken her prisoner, and she too was under his enchantment, meaning she could not escape."

"So what did Brendan do?" a girl asks, piqued.

"Brendan thought for a while, then told the wise woman..." Brock then switches to his "Brendan" voice again. "Ask the Dragonite where he goes when he leaves the mill, and ask him what makes him so strong. Tell me what you learn when I return."

He pauses for a beat as he looks out on the crowd. "The Dragonite returned not long after Brendan left, and the wise woman asked where he had been." he explains as himself before switching to his best deep voice. "Far away."

Nervous giggles fill the tent as Brock continues as himself "The wise woman began to flatter him, praising his strength and his cleverness, and when he was in a good mood, she said..." He switches to his "young lady" voice again. "If you tell me where you get your strength, I shall kiss it in gratitude."

In character as the Dragonite, he replies "My strength lies in the hearthstone,"

As himself, he interjects "But when the wise woman kissed the hearth, the Dragonite laughed and said..." As the Dragonite again, he intones "Foolish human, I was joking! My strength lies in the tree here."

As himself, he goes on " So the woman wrapped her arms around the tree and kissed it, and again the Dragonite laughed. Finally, she learned that the Dragonite's strength lay in a faraway kingdom, near its capital city, in a lake where another dragon, a Gyarados, slept. Inside that Gyarados was a wild Emboar, and inside that Emboar was a Buneary, and inside that Buneary was a Pidove, and inside that Pidove was a Spearow. Inside that Spearow lay his strength."

Murmurs race through the crowd at this, but Brock is quick to assure them "If you think you know where this is going, I can assure you, this is different." With that, he continues "The next morning, Brendan returned, and the wise woman told him the Dragonite's secrets. So Brendan disguised himself as a shepherd, and rode to a distant kingdom where the king was seeking a shepherd. He offered his services, and was quickly hired. The king told him..." Brock switches to his standard "king" voice. "Outside the city walls there is a lake, and by its banks are the richest meadows. As you lead the flocks, they will race there, but if they reach those meadows they will never return. Protect them from that place."

He continues as himself "Brendan promised to keep the Mareep safe. So he went to the marketplace and bought a Pidgeot, a whistle..." Excited chatter races through the crowd as Brock retrieves a whistle from his pocket. "and two Arcanines. Then, he took the Mareep out to pasture. When the Mareep saw the lake, they began to run toward it, just as the king had said."

Everyone is on the edge of their seats, eager to know what happens next. "Brendan set the Pidgeot on a tree branch, laid his whistle on the grass..." He lays his own whistle on the floor. "and bade the Arcanines to sit. Then he waded into the water and cried..."

He then calls into the crowd "Gyarados, if you are not a coward, come out and fight me!"

Nervous laughter meets his challenge. "The Gyarados immediately emerged from the water, and the battle raged until the sun rose high in the sky the next morning!" Brock announces as he observes his enthralled audience. "Then the Gyarados gasped and said..." In his "dragon" voice, he sputters "Let me dip my burning head into the lake and I will hurl you to the top of the sky."

He laughs at this. "Ah, if only the princess of this land were here, she would kiss my forehead, and I would throw you higher still." he retorts in character as Brendan.

As himself, he continues "With that, Brendan delivered the final blow, and the Gyarados fell into the lake, dazed."

Wild cheers go up at this as Brock picks up the whistle again. "Brendan took his Pidgeot upon his shoulder, and with his Arcanines in front and his flock following him, he set out for the city, playing his whistle all the while." With that, he plays "The Silver Sword" for effect.

Applause fills the air when the song ends. "As they passed through the streets, people stared." Brock explains as he fingers his whistle. "A flock of Mareep had never before returned from the lake. On top of that, the king's horsemen saw the whole thing, and they hurried to tell the king what had happened. The king sent for the princess--we'll call her Kendra--and told her she was to go with who he thought was a shepherd the next day."

"Then did he defeat the Gyarados?" a woman asks.

"Brendan and the Gyarados fought again the next day." Brock explains. "But this time when Brendan said 'if the princess of this land kissed my forehead,' Kendra did just that, and Brendan flung the Gyarados clear into the clouds!"

The familiar "PLING!" of a character defeated in Super Smash Bros. echoes through the auditorium. "Game set! This match's winner is...BRENDAN!!!!" he jokingly announces in character as the Super Smash Bros. announcer.

Laughter and applause go up at his humorous aside. "When the Gyarados finally fell to earth, he burst into a gazillion pieces, and out sprang an Emboar." Brock continues. "The Arcanines chased the Emboar, caught it, and tore it to bits. Out came a Buneary, and the Arcanines caught it too and tore it to bits. Then out came a Pidove that flew into the sky. Brendan set loose his Pidgeot, which swooped upon the Pidove and brought it to his master. When Brendan cut it open, he found the Spearow inside. "Where are my brothers?" he demands in character as Brendan.

"Behind your father's castle stands a mill. In the mill is an enchanted emerald. Take this emerald and invoke its magic, and the iron cellar door will open. There you will find your brothers safe and sound." he replies in his best mimic of a Spearow.

As himself, he continues "Brendan hurried home to his native land, and everything happened as the Spearow said-- in the mill he found the emerald, and sang..." He pauses to sing <i>Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...</i> for effect, making him appear to gain a greenish glow.

"Sure enough, the iron door flew open, and countless people streamed forth, including his brothers, who were miraculously unharmed." Brock concludes. "They were eager to hear the tale of their brother's power, wisdom, and courage, and in every kingdom there was celebration for at least a week!"

The auditorium rings with applause and cheers as Brock takes a bow for the enthusiastic crowd...
@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 399: Kanade and the River Demon

(real tale: Sam-chung and the Water Demon)

"You all know that Kanade was one of the most famous mikos and heroines to serve the Great Lord Arceus." Brock begins as he arrives onstage. Many in the crowd nod in agreement as he goes on "But the one thing that pained her the most was the pain, suffering, and death which humankind was apparently doomed to endure. It didn't matter who you were--the greatest sage with great virtue and millions of teachings, a righteous or an evil person, or even a mere child--everyone suffered from one thing or another."

He quickly assures the antsy crowd "But this was why Kanade and millions of other priests and mikos devoted themselves to Arceus--to at least ease the suffering of the world, if not end it outright."

Some applause goes up in agreement."Now, Kanade's devotion to Arceus was so great, he commanded two Legendaries to travel with her and help her battle against evil spirits." Brock explains. "Mew and Jirachi."

When he returns to his place at center stage, he goes on "So one day, Kanade took it upon herself to travel across what is now Kanto, driving out monsters and helping people with their troubles on the way. With Mew and Jirachi by her side, they endured many weeks of traveling over high mountains, deep valleys, and boiling hot deserts, to name a few places."

"And then?" a child in the front row asks.

"They arrived one evening on the shores of a great river, just as the sun was setting." Brock continues. "But the river was so large, all Kanade could see was water as far as the eye could see--and no way to cross it, unless you wanted to swim!"

Giggles go up at this. "The bigger question was where were they going to spend the night--there was no sign of any civilization anywhere." Brock intones. "Just as they were wondering what to do next, the faint sound of some music caught their attention." Brock listens from stage right, as if he can hear the music in his tale. "They followed the festive melody to a village nestled on the hillside, and a small temple standing on the edge of the river."

He returns to center stage again. "They made their way to the elder's house,which was larger than all the other houses in the village. The elder came out to meet them, and welcomed Kanade and her companions like old friends. When Kanade asked whether they could stay for the night, he assured them that there was plenty of room for them in the house, and that he gladly welcomed them to stay for as long as they needed. He also invited them to enjoy the grand meal he had prepared for the festival that night."

"Mm..."s fill the air as the audience pictures what sort of food Kanade, Mew, and Jirachi had to eat. "After they had finished their dinner, Kanade talked to the elder for a while. While she was very pleased with his courtesy and with the great hospitality he had shown them, she noticed that he looked very glum, and wondered if something was weighing on his heart." Brock explains.

in a strong young female voice, he asks as Kanade "May I ask why the people gather here tonight? I know of no festival falling on this date, so I thought I would ask why you were celebrating."

"We are not celebrating anything," he sighs as the elder. "It was really a funeral service for two of my grandchildren, who, though they are not yet dead, will be called to the heavens before too long."

"But how can such a ceremony be performed over people who are still alive?" he asks as Kanade. Some in the audience laugh at the quizzical look on Brock's face.

"You must know," he continues as the elder, "that this region is under the control of a cruel demon. Every year, he demands two children, a boy and a girl, to eat. Many attempts have been made to resist this horrific demand, but they have only resulted in increased suffering to those who have dared to oppose him. Because of this, the woeful cycle continues, and many a heart is broken at the loss of those dearest to them."

"But is there any way to know when this terrible sacrifice is going to be demanded?" he asks as Kanade.

"The demon appears in the chosen house a few days before, and demands to have the victims ready on a specified date." he explains as the elder. "Only the day before yesterday, this summons came to us to have our children ready by tomorrow morning at dawn. That is why we had a feast today, and performed the funeral rites for the dead, so that their spirits may not be held under the control of this merciless demon, but delivered to the Great Lord's care in heaven."

"But what is the demon like?" he asks as Kanade.

"No one knows for sure what he is like," he cautions as the elder. "He has no form that one can see. His presence is known by a strong gust of wind which fills the place with a peculiar smell, and with an influence so subtle that you feel yourself within the grip of a powerful force, and instinctively bow as though you were in the presence of a being who could destroy you in a moment if it wanted to."

"One more question..." he interjects as Kanade. "Where did this demon come from, and how that he has grown so strong enough to defy even heaven itself, with the Great Lord Arceus and all the Legendaries that watch over us all?"

"This demon was filled with evil intentions and fiendish instincts from the very beginning." he explains as the elder. "He took the first opportunity he could to escape to the earth, and took up residence in the grottoes and caverns that lie deep down beneath the waters of the river. Other spirits almost as evil as him have also reside there, and they combine their forces to bring calamity and disaster upon the people of this region."

Fearful whispers race through the crowd as the audience debates how such a demon could be defeated. "Now, Kanade cherished all living things, but she grew very angry when she thought of how many innocent children had been sacrificed to appease the depraved demon." Brock intones as himself as he slings a prop bow and some prop arrows on his back--Kanade's signature weapon. "Mew and Jirachi were just as mad, and they began to discuss how to save the elder's grandchildren, and at the same time slay the demon so no one would ever have to sacrifice a child again."

As Jirachi, he interjects "Let me play the boy, and Mew play the girl, and together we will fight the demon and kill him, and so deliver the people from his dreadful tyranny."

As Mew, he instructs "Bring the children here so that we may see them, and make our plans so perfect that the demon won't know what hit him."

As himself, he continues "The elder agreed, and brought in the boy and the girl--both of them about seven or eight years old. Jirachi first laid a hand on the boy, and sang..." As Jirachi, he sings Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...

Excited murmurs race through the crowd at the gibberish "spell". "Jirachi turned into an exact duplicate of the boy in a flash of light." Brock narrates as himself. "Then, Mew touched her tail to the girl, and sang..." As Mew, he sings Karuto, iichiida shou...

Brock waits for the applause to die down before continuing as himself. "Kanade instructed the elder to take the real children and hide them in the remotest and most inaccessible room in the house, lest someone see them or the demon discover their plot."

The lights begin to brighten, mimicking dawn. "Just as the eastern sky showed the first light of dawn, two platforms were brought up to the door to carry the two children away." Brock intones. "A few frightened neighbors peered through the gloom to catch a last glimpse of the children, but not one of them had the slightest clue that the boy and girl were really Legendary Pokemon who were about to wage a fierce battle with the demon in order to deliver them from the curse they lived under."

More excited chatter fills the air at the impending battle. "No sooner had the children been left at the temple, where a small torch served as the only light, and the doors had been closed with a thud, did the priests rush away, fearing for their lives." Brock goes on. "Some moments later, a hideous, gigantic form emerged from an inner room and crept towards the children. The demon was surprised, however, to find that the children did not exhibit any signs of alarm, as had all the other children that had been sacrificed, but seemed to be calmly awaiting his approach. There was no sign of fear about them, and they did not cry in terror; but looked on him with a courageous glance as he advanced."

He takes a few steps back as he continues "Imagine the demon's surprise when he saw the two children become their true forms--Jirachi the Wish Maker, and Mew, the Envoy of Heaven. Though the demon knew his judgement was close, he drew a black, jagged sword and charged at Jirachi and Mew!"

The audience watches in awe as a wooden "demon" emerges on the stage, with hidden targets in various places on its body. "Jirachi and Mew were more then ready for battle, and with their magic fully charged and with hearts made strong by the power of the Great Lord, they awaited the demon's attack." Brock narrates as he nocks one of the prop arrows and prepares to shoot at the "demon" approaching him.

The auditorium watches in silent wonder as one by one, Brock hits each one of the wooden demon's hidden targets as some exciting music plays and a beast-like cry of pain plays to confirm each successful shot.

Finally, the last arrow makes its flight towards the last target on the wooden demon, which is located where its heart would be, if it were real. When the crowd hears the last scream that signals a successful shot, they cheer as the wooden demon sinks below the stage, leaving Brock alone--with three arrows to spare!

"You can imagine the celebration when Mew and Jirachi returned to tell Kanade about their victory." he concludes. "Kanade was hailed as a hero, and Mew and Jirachi were showered with praise for what they had done as the village held its first real celebration in what had seemed like years. But when the party was over, Kanade, Mew and Jirachi thanked the villagers again, and continued on their journey--but what happened next is another story for another day!"

The crowd roars as Brock takes a bow....
Last story for the season, but stories (both old and new) will continue in a new thread next week!

@Chimchar98; @Tophat Dragoneye; @Soulmaster;

Week 400: The Lucky Warrior

(real tale: "Folktales from Japan", episode 19, story 3)

"Once there was a boy so poor, he had to travel from town to town in search of work." Brock begins. "We'll call him Kaoru. Kaoru would stay in one town helping out those that needed a hand, and when there was no work left to do, he would move on to another town. This often meant that he didn't have a chance for a decent meal."

Murmurs waft through the crowd. "One day, he stopped to rest by a river that overlooked a town." Brock continues. "As he rested from his long journey, he suddenly saw a warrior's sword and clothing floating in the water." A spotlight appears on a prop sword in its sheath and a regal red tunic and other swordsman garb at Brock's feet. "He didn't know who the clothes and the sword belonged to, but he figured that if people thought him a warrior, he might have a chance at a well paying job. So he put them on, and headed into town."

The lights go down for a moment, buying Brock some time to change into the costume. When they come up again, he is wearing the warrior garb, and the sword is at his side. "Needless to say, the townsfolk really did believe Kaoru was a wandering warrior, giving him a morale boost. As he strolled through town, he passed by a dojo for warriors, where he could hear the cries of the fights in progress and clangs of weapons."

"The master of the dojo saw Kaoru looking inside, and believing him to be a real warrior, invited him to spar with one of his students." Brock explains, rearing back in feigned fear over the imagined question. "Kaoru had no idea how to wield a sword, but at the same time, he figured he could learn, and possibly gain a steady job. He accepted the master's offer, and went inside."

The audience whispers about what will happen to Kaoru when his ruse is exposed. "Amazingly, the students were awed at the determined look in Kaoru's eyes..." Brock draws the sword for effect. "and many of them deferred the match to him, they were so afraid. The dojo master was impressed by Kaoru's supposed skill and gave him a job as a teacher of swordplay."

He sheathes his blade and continues. "Kaoru enjoyed his new job at first, and eventually, the dojo master's daughter--who we'll call Inari--fell in love with him."

The "Aw"s are silenced as Brock interjects. "However, the dojo master's top student--we'll call him Nori--had also grown fond of Inari, and was very jealous of Kaoru--he knew something wasn't right about Kaoru, but he had to figure out what."

Nervous giggles fill the air at this. "So the next day, Nori gave Kaoru a bow, and challenged him to hit a Pidgey in a tree..." He pauses to pick up a bow lying nearby. "...sitting 500 feet away, with only a single arrow." He shows the audience an arrow for effect. "Kaoru had no idea how to wield a bow, either..." he explains as he readies his single shot to hit a concealed target on the other end of the stage. "but he took his one shot anyway."

The whistle of the arrow being shot echoes through the auditorium, but the audience applauds when they see Brock was very close to hitting the target's bullseye. "By sheer luck, Kaoru's shot hit the Pidgey." Brock explains as he sets the bow aside. "The students were amazed, and begged Kaoru to teach them how to use a bow. Kaoru wasn't sure what to make of all the attention, and frequently tried to avoid his newfound fans."

Laughter fills the air at this. "Nori, meanwhile, was determined to expose Kaoru as a fraud. So the next day, while all the students were at a lake, Nori gave Kaoru a spear..." Brock pauses to pick up a prop spear. "and challenged him to hit one of the Duckletts in the water."

He then asks "Do you think Kaoru knew how to wield a spear at all?"

"No"s waft through the air in reply. "Kaoru decided he would try anyway." Brock replies. "But as he was aiming his one throw, he tripped on a rock..." Giggles fill the air as Brock feigns tripping over something. "and the spear went flying, skewering not one, but four Duckletts by sheer luck."

He concludes "Nori was stunned, but Inari was even more impressed. It wasn't long before they were married, and Kaoru spent his days learning how to wield swords, bows, spears and many other weapons in between going on many adventures--but that is another story for another day!"

The crowd roars as Brock takes a bow....
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