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EVERYONE: Pokemon Shine Diamond (on hiatus)

Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Episode 73a: Double Team Turnover! (part 1)

Previously, on "Pokemon Shine Diamond"...

In all the confusion, Officer Jenny found Ash and Dawn. "Come on, you two--let's get you and the orb somewhere safe."

"Not if I have anything to say about it!" Mars smirked as she intercepted the group.

"We're surrounded!" Dawn gasped as Jupiter blocked the way the group had come.

Suddenly Kage burst through a skylight and landed on the ground. [You wanna hurt my crew? You'll have to go through me first!]

"KAGEEEEEEEEE!!!" Brock screamed in horror as Mantella hit Kage dead-on with a Poison Jab.

[I tried, Coach...] Kage wheezed before fainting.

"You'll never be allowed to escape with the Lustrous Orb so long as I'm here!" Cynthia roared in defiance at the three admins.

She heaved another Poke Ball skyward. "Rukia, I need you!"

Ash watched as the Poke Ball Cynthia had heaved opened with a pop, revealing a Lucario. He felt an odd sense of peace as Rukia went to work punching Golbats out of the sky. If that's what Erin will become, I can't wait to see how powerful Erin will be!

He heaved a Poke Ball skyward as Tintri ran to join the battle. "Diddy, let's go!"

"Kori, Stormy, go help Ash!" Dawn heaved two Poke Balls skyward.

"Shenlong, help Rukia!" Cynthia told her Garchomp.

"Don't think sheer numbers will save you!" Mars shot back. "Leona, use Shadow Ball!"

"Mantella, use Dark Pulse!" Saturn commanded.

Utter chaos broke out in the hallway as the two sides clashed. Shenlong blocked Leona's Shadow Ball; and Rukia blocked the Dark Pulse. Brock sent out Hinata to support Diddy in battling Saturn's Bronzor Ara, and Ripple to support Kori in trying to weaken Mantella. [This one's for Kage!] Ripple vowed as she used Mud Slap in an attempt to blind Mantella.

Tarina watched the battle rage from the safety of Brock's bag. [Put me in--I want to help avenge Kage too.]

"Not yet." Brock replied. "If Tintri needs help, then you can support him. But until then, stay put."

He gasped when he heard Diddy cry in pain. "Scratch that thought, Pokemon down!"

"Diddy!" Ash gasped as he found Diddy writing in pain on the floor from an oozing wound.

[He's been poisoned...] Hinata noticed.

[But the Galactic guys are getting away!] Tarina pointed out the admins fleeing from a window.

"I know you wanted us to get the twin orbs back, but we can't fight with Kage down and Diddy poisoned." Brock explained as the group called back their teams.

"Let's regroup at the Pokemon Center." Cynthia suggested. "We can plan our next move there."


In the Pokemon Center, the group reunited in a lounge near the front desk. [Why do those Galactic guys want the orbs so bad?] Tarina wondered.

"It's because the twin orbs have a connection to Dialga and Palkia." Cynthia replied. "The Adamant Orb is said to boost Dialga's power, and the Lustrous Orb boosts Palkia's power."

"But what does that have to do with Team Galactic?" Ash was confused.

"According to what I have uncovered about Galactic's plot, the two orbs also summon Dialga and Palkia, in addition to boosting their power." Cynthia explained. "So if they fall into evil hands, and manage to summon them..."

"Game over, world..." Brock sighed.

Ash was just as dejected. "I'm sorry...I did everything I could to protect the orb. Diddy was hurt because of me..."

"It's okay..." Cynthia assured Ash. "You did more than enough. It's important not to regret the past but look to the future."

"Yeah..." A weak smile formed on Ash's face. "We won't get the orbs back by having a pity party like this!"

"We may still have time..." Cynthia showed the group a video of Cyrus following Professor Carolina to the ruins. "The Galactic head is following Grandma. We can intercept him and at least set Team Galactic back!"

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Episode 73b: Double Team Turnover (part 2)

Previously, on "Pokemon Shine Diamond"...

Ash was just as dejected. "I'm sorry...I did everything I could to protect the orb. Diddy was hurt because of me..."

"It's okay..." Cynthia assured Ash. "You did more than enough. It's important not to regret the past, but look to the future."

"Yeah..." A weak smile formed on Ash's face. "We won't get the orbs back by having a pity party like this!"

"We may still have time..." Cynthia showed the group a video of Cyrus following Professor Carolina to the ruins. "The Galactic head is following Grandma. We can intercept him and at least set Team Galactic back!"

As the group arrived at the ruins, Ash buried a radar tracker in Tintri's fur. "This will let us know if you've found the Galactic boss." he explained. "If the worst happens and you fall in battle, we'll know where you are for a rescue."

Cynthia showed the Pokemon a picture of Cyrus. "This is what the Galactic boss looks like. Can you guys work together to find him?"

[Leave it to us!] Tintri squeaked as the Pokemon hurried off in search of Cyrus. [Team Shocking Yellow, let's go!]

As the Pokemon raced off with cheers, Cynthia led Ash, Dawn, and Brock into a chamber deeper in the ruins. "Let me show you three something...I don't know how useful it will be, but it's worth a look."

The group emerged into a chamber depicting a series of paintings of three familiar pixie creatures. "Azelf and Mesprit!" Ash gasped when he recognized a blue being and a pink being.

"The painting I want you guys to look at is the middle one..." Cynthia gestured to a painting of three small lights around a larger light atop what looked like a cliff. "The light in the center represents either Dialga or Palkia--it hasn't been explicitly confirmed as to which one it is--appearing at the Spear Pillar. The three lights around it are thought to be Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf."

"Interesting..." Ash mused.

"One day, I realized that there may be another way of interpreting this scene." Cynthia went on. "Could this triangle of lights actually represent a different trio? Could they be Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina instead?"

"It's possible..." Brock mused. "We have met all three. But what I don't get is the large light at the center. Does it represent something else? Could it even be Arceus, the Keeper of All that Was, All that Is, and All that is to Be? Who manifests in thousands of tales across the world to guide, comfort, and aid a hero?"

"It is certainly possible..." Cynthia smiled. "You may be onto something, here...do you know of the ancient Plates they find all over Shinou?"

"What about them?" Dawn asked.

"One of them had the following engraved on it-- 'Two beings of time and space set free from the Original One'." Cynthia explained. "I think this quote also points to the presence of another Pokémon. A Pokémon even more powerful than Dialga or Palkia combined."

"But where does Giratina fit into this?" Dawn wondered.

"I'm not quite sure how Giratina fits into this theory, but... It's said that in the Distortion World, neither time nor space are stable." Cynthia replied. "I think that tells us something about Giratina, the only Pokémon there. He has to be as powerful as DIalga and Palkia, the rulers of time and space. In some way, though, Giratina has to have a power that opposes theirs."

"That makes sense..." Dawn smiled. "I wonder what sort of people painted this?"

"Well, to the ancient peoples, Dialga and Palkia really did rule over time and space. Seeing them must have shaken the people to their very core." Cynthia replied. "This painting most likely represents those feelings of awe, wonder, and everything else. It passed that memory to countless people, eventually becoming a myth...or at least, that's my theory, as a researcher of myths."

"And one I can agree with, as a storyteller and folklorist." Brock smiled. "I can only imagine what tales the ancients told about Dialga and Palkia..."

An urgent buzz snapped the group to attention. "Pokemon down!" Ash called. "Our teams need help!"


That night at the Pokémon Center, the group sighed as they reflected on the disastrous battle that afternoon. "What do we do now? Galactic got both orbs..." Dawn sighed.

Officer Jenny met the group in the lounge. "Even though our mission to protect the orbs failed, you three did an admirable job against Team Galactic. Thanks to you, you prevented even more damage from being done. The best thing to do now is to keep training and getting more powerful--there may yet be a way to stop Galactic."

"But how?" Ash wondered. "If Cyrus could wipe the floor with our teams, what good could we do against potential super-Pokemon?"

"The answer? Keep going, keep training, keep achieving your goals, and keep searching." Cynthia replied. "If you three believe in each other and your teams, there's nothing you can't do!"

"Yeah..." A smile formed on Ash's face. "Galactic may have won the battle today, but we're gonna win the war!"

Cynthia nodded. "I have to return to the League in the morning. Be on your guard, since we all have to be ready for when Team Galactic makes their next move."

"We promise..." Ash hugged Cynthia.

"Trainer's honor!" Dawn made a three fingered scout sign for emphasis.

"By the time this is all said and done, it would be worth an epic ballad." Brock smiled.

"I would be honored to hear you perform the legend of the painting in song." Cynthia smiled before departing.


"Our mission is actually making progress for once!" Mars smiled as she Jupiter, and Saturn admired the Adamant Orb, Lustrous Orb and Spear Key.

A door opening snapped the admins to attention. "Boss!" Jupiter gasped as Cyrus walked in the lab.

"What can we do for you, Boss?" Saturn sheepishly grinned.

"Please explain why you almost compromised the mission, Saturn..." Cyrus began, shooting Mars a warning look as she giggled. "The hat boy with the Pikachu is even more dangerous than the minstrel--he has seen Azelf, and both hat boy and minstrel boy know the holy Swanna Song! We can't allow them to sing it!"

"What about the girl?" Jupiter asked.

"She is worth watching too, for she has met Mesprit." Cyrus replied. "To my knowledge, she can't sing the Swanna Song, but her meeting Mesprit means that she could potentially learn to sing it."

He turned business-like again. "Jupiter, I want you to find the lake guardians, and bring them here."

"Right--I'll get the Guild of Hunters on the phone immediately." Jupiter replied before rushing out.

"Boss, I wanted to report that the Fuego Ironworks have completed their experiment on the shards of the Three Heavenly Jewels we managed to salvage back in Veilstone City." Mars reported. "This moves the Red Chain project into its final stage."

"Excellent." Cyrus smiled as he departed the lab.

After rounding the corner and arriving before the headquarters control panel in his room, Cyrus smiled when he spotted the group in camp on one of the hundreds of screens. "Soon, you three will be telling the tale of my new world! Soon, all of Shinou will bow to ME! No...the whole universe will be mine!"

All of Shinou seemed to resound with Cyrus' laughter as he savored his seemingly imminent triumph.

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Episode 74a: A Trainer and Child Reunion! (part 1)

"...she'll be shocked that I can control my team with the power of music!" Ash went on as the group made their way down a road a few days later. "Besides, if my team keeps on hearing a Pokeflute, there's no way Fantina can put them all to sleep!"

"I think reminding him about his match with Fantina restored his morale after what happened back in Celestic Town." Dawn smiled, both bemused and happy to see Ash in high spirits.

"For the moment, let's just remember what Cynthia said, and focus on our goals." Brock suggested. "As far as Ash's musical strategy goes, only time will tell if it will work against Fantina's sleep-inducing attack..."

As the group rounded the corner into a town, they noticed a large crowd gathered in the town square. "What's going on?" Ash wondered, trying to peek around the mob of people.

"if you three are here to observe, please get in line." Officer Jenny instructed as she arrived to observe the crowd.

"Is there an idol or a band here?" Brock asked.

"Actually..." Officer Jenny smiled. "Aaron is having a public practice session right now."

Ash thought for a moment. "Only Aaron I know of is the Wave Guider..."

"Same here..." Brock agreed.

Dawn excitedly dug out the month's issue of Poké Chic from her bag. "Aaron is actually one of the Elite Four." she explained as she showed the boys a page depicting a green haired young man with a Beautifly.

"Oh, yeah..." Ash remembered Lucian bringing up Aaron. "Guess we can see how he battles..."

Brock motioned for the group to follow him over to a bench overlooking the square, away from the crowd. "Be thankful Misty isn't here..." he mused as he watched a Drapion use Pin Missile, nailing the bullseye of a far away target five times in quick succession.

"Yeah...I'd be peeling her off of me about now." Ash agreed as he watched a Vespiquen use Slash, easily carving up ceramic plates into various shapes. "If we've met Lucian and his Psychic types, and Aaron with his bugs, then who are the other two Elite Four members?"

"There's Bertha, who is a Ground type user..." Officer Jenny went on. "...and Flint, who is a Fire type user. Out of the four, Aaron mixes strength with popularity the best."

Just then, the group watched as the Drapion used a series of quick Hyper Beams, destroying a star shaped array of targets. "Oh wow!" Officer Jenny gasped. "Aaron really does speak the language of Bug Pokémon! I never would've thought to combine Pin Missile and Hyper Beam!

"Easy, Officer..." Brock tried to calm Officer Jenny down. "Remember your primary duty is to keep order here..."

"But, Aaron has risen up and challenged Cynthia, and their battle to end all battles will take place very soon!" Officer Jenny gushed, giddy with excitement.

The lightbulb went off in Dawn's head, "Oh, so that's who Cynthia meant by a challenger when she left Celestic Town a few days ago..."

"It makes sense..." Ash agreed. "Even members of the Elite Four can challenge the Champion for their spot. The defeated Champion would have the option to take their spot in the Elite Four, or return to civilian life."

"It's decided! Aaron, my hero, will undoubtedly be the winner!" Officer Jenny vowed. The Vespiquen smashing more plates with a Gust punctuated her point.

Some applause signaled that the practice session was over. "Thank you all so much!" Aaron smiled as he and his Pokemon bowed for the crowd. "Thanks for coming--I hope to see you in the Champion's seat soon!"

As many in the crowd chose to leave, throngs of girls hurried up to Aaron asking for autographs. "All right, try and keep the line orderly!" Officer Jenny reminded the excited girls as the line continued to grow.

"I'm gonna get Aaron's autograph too!" Dawn cried as she hurried to find the end of the line.

"One day, I will clean up at the Pokémon League and challenge Cynthia, Lucian, and Aaron!" Ash was not far behind.

Aaron, meanwhile, calmly kept signing autographs for his fans. "Eee! I'll remember this moment for the rest of my life!" a girl cried as she hurried off.

"Last one!" Aaron called, prompting Dawn to step forward. "Hi there..."

"Hi...I'm Dawn Solberg, of Twinleaf Town." Dawn began. "Can you please sign my copy of this month's Poké Chic?"

"Sure..." Aaron accepted the magazine and began writing his name near his picture on the cover in elegant swoopy letters.

"I know that the Elite Four are powerful battlers...is it true Cynthia said she would not go easy on you?" Dawn asked.

"You know Cynthia?" Aaron asked as the boys joined Dawn.

"We do." Dawn replied.

"We'll be cheering for you both!" Ash agreed.

A smile formed on Aaron's face. "You three know as well as I that Cynthia is very powerful. But I have been training even harder." Aaron's Drapion, Vespiquen and Skorupi all chittered happily in agreement.

"Aaron...I have long dreamed about becoming the greatest Pokemon Master." Ash began. "It's been an interesting road to achieve that goal so far..."

"Go for it--with courage and confidence like that, I believe you can become a Pokemon Master--who all the Champions and Elite Fours of every region report to." Aaron replied.

He went on "If you like, I can take you three to my personal training center. It would be an honor to welcome some friends of Cynthia there."

"You hear that, gang?" Brock smiled. "We all could get some training from a master trainer...it's not every day a member of the Elite Four offers to train you."

Dawn smiled. "We would love to come see your training grounds!"

"It's got plenty of stuff for the humans to do, as well." Aaron smiled as the group started off down a path. "Your standard workout machines, martial arts gear, ribbons and other dance gear, two swimming pools, an archery range, a tennis court, a track, a basketball court..."

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Interlude: The Legend of Farfalla

"Here we are, everyone..." Aaron began as he made a grand gesture to a large building that overlooked a lake. "The Swallowtail Athletic Center."

"Wow..." the group gasped as they looked out on the lake and the majestic building reflecting the water. "It's beautiful!" Dawn raved.

"Thanks--I built the center after becoming a member of the Elite Four." Aaron replied. "It's not unheard of for a lot of bugs to come out here..."

"I can see why..." Ash mused as he watched Combee and Mothim fit among the flowers. Some Ledyba and Venonats chattered on a tree nearby. "This would be a nightmare for those who disliked bugs..." he mused as he watched a Surskit skate on a pond near the center's entrance.

"Well, typically even the most ardent of bug haters start to come around after their visit." Aaron grinned. as he joined Ash in admiring the gardens.

He heaved two Poke Balls skyward. "Kama, Maya, break time!"

Brock watched as the Drapion and the Vespiquen materialized in the garden. "Is it okay if we come inside and look around?" he asked.

"Sure." Aaron smiled as he led the group inside the center. "The Pokémon would have a field day making fun of me if I didn't train as hard as they do."


The group gawked in awe at the size of the main athletic complex. "Oh wow...what to do first?" Dawn gasped as she looked out on the various exercise equipment, sports implements, martial arts implements, and dance implements.

Ash spotted a pair of training knuckles in a sparring area. "I'm gonna brush up on some hand to hand combat!"

"Just be sure to do some stretching before you start." Aaron cautioned as Ash changed his casual gloves for the training knuckles. "The last thing we want to happen is injury from overdoing it."

"Got it!" Ash replied before kicking off his shoes and stretching his arms in preparation for training.

Dawn giggled as Ash started eagerly punching and kicking a punching bag. "Got a lot of energy today, Ash?"

"it's probably motivation for his rematch with Fantina." Brock replied, impressed at the various moves Ash was doing. "That, and it's always a good idea to know how to defend yourself in a bad situation."

He gathered up his bow and some training arrows. "Where's the archery range?"

"Over here..." Aaron led Brock over to the range, which overlooked the lake. "It's not often that people bring their own gear, but I have some rentals if visitors wish to learn to shoot.

"I've been training for almost ten years." Brock explained. "Was part of the archery team in school."

He fired a shot, then continued "Once I graduated, I've continued shooting for fun and as part of performance."

"Stage archery is impressive to watch." Aaron agreed as a Combee observed Brock's second shot. "I'm sure it takes weeks to get the shot right..."

Brock nodded. "I don't get to perform my 'bow tales' that often, but when I have the space to do it, and the time to rehearse the shots, it wows audiences everywhere."

With that, he fired another shot. The Combee monitors buzzed in excitement before hurrying to retrieve Brock's arrows...


Aaron applauded as Dawn finished a ribbon dance. "That was beautiful!"

"Thanks." Dawn smiled. "I took gymnastics for a while as a kid..."

She noticed a picture of a young Aaron together with a Wurmple on the wall. "Oh, who's this?"

Aaron's face turned somber. "That is Farfalla, my first bug Pokemon. "As a kid, I did not take losing and setbacks well, so I was often teased and called a crybaby."

"That's not nice!" Ash gasped before channeling his anger into a hard punch.

"Farfalla was always there to comfort me." Arron went on. "But one day, I lost horribly to a trainer. In my anger and sadness, I blamed my loss on Farfalla, and ran off into the forest. I felt so horrible for saying such nasty things to Farfalla, and decided to return and apologize."

Tears welled up in Aaron's eyes. "But when I got back there, my best friend had gone."

He composed himself, then went on. "This drove me to work with every Bug type I could find until I could master their language, because I never wanted to go through the pain of losing a friend again."

He longingly looked up at the picture. Farfalla...if you're out there, I just want to say I'm sorry. You did your best that day. I hope you'll forgive me for calling you weak and stupid...

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Episode 74b: A Trainer and Child Reunion (part 2)

"Do you know where Farfalla is now?" Dawn asked as she gathered up some ribbons and put them away.

Aaron was about to answer when he heard a click and a whir coming from outside. "What on earth?"

Ash hurried outside, just as he saw Tintri, Kori, and Aaron's Pokemon disappear inside a large suction machine. "Team Rocket?" he asked, scratching his head in confusion.

"Nope!" Jupiter called back. "You want your Pokemon, you'll have to catch our balloon first!"

"Come back here!" Aaron made a running jump towards the balloon. He hoped he would have the distance to climb onto it.

"Noctis, use Haze!" Jupiter called, sending Aaron tumbling to the ground.

"I've gotcha!" Brock dove to catch Aaron. "Are you okay?"

"I think so...was that a baseball leap?" Aaron asked as dusted himself off.

Brock nodded. "Still remember winning the regional championship for Pewter in high school with that dive.

"Save the sports memories for later, we have to catch the admins!" Ash called. He motioned for the others to follow him into the brush.


"I can't believe this run of good luck we're having!" Mars smiled. "First we get both the Adamant and the Lustrous Orbs, and now we get a bunch of hat-boy and pals' Pokemon!"

She gasped as she heard the whistle of an arrow. "Uh oh...

"Brace yourself--we're going down!" Jupiter screamed as the balloon exploded with a POW!!!

Aaron smiled as the punctured balloon floated to the ground in a mass of silvery fabric. "That was an impeccable shot--those rogues didn't consider what happens when a balloon meets a sharp object

Dawn listened as a Ledian chittered to her. "Okay, cool!"

She told the others "The Ledian says that the balloon crashed nearby."

"Let's go!" Aaron followed the Ledian into the brush.


At the crash site, Mars grumbled as she assessed the puncture. "Why didn't they tell me minstrel boy was also good with a bow?"

"I'm impressed he managed to hit us from how high up we were." Jupiter agreed. "I thought getting up to a high altitude would make him miss, but no--he still got us."

"Try going higher next time--I can still hit you!" Brock taunted.

Mars was about to retort when Jupiter shushed her. "You can taunt minstrel boy later--come help me fix this!"

Ash smiled as he was reunited with Tintri. "How'd you guys get out of there?"

[Oh, admins were so busy fighting that I just kicked down the emergency hatch.] Tintri replied.

Aaron recognized a tree. "This maple tree...this was were I met Farfalla for the first time."

He gasped as a familiar Beautifly flitted through the trees. "Farfalla? Is that you?"

[Aaron?] the Beautifly gasped. [You still remember me, even after you called me weak and stupid?]

"I've never forgotten you!" Aaron assured the Beautifly I just want to say I'm sorry for what I said all those years ago...you're hardly weak and stupid. No...you are beautiful and powerful!"

"Aw..." Dawn smiled as Aaron and Farfalla snuggled together. "So, what to do with the admins?"

"Leave'em be--getting shot down is humiliation enough!" Ash smiled as the group started back towards the athletic center, leaving Mars and Jupiter to bicker.


That evening, the group celebrated Farfalla's return with a pizza party. "A toast!" Ash called, lifting a Fizzo can high. "To Aaron and Farfalla's safe reunion!"

"And to you guys--for bringing Farfalla back to me." Aaron smiled.

Farfalla elegantly whirled in the air as four soda cans clanked together. "I'm glad that Farfalla came home." Dawn began. "The fact that she wanted to return says something about her loyalty to you."

"Yeah-- Farfalla makes your team even more amazing." Brock agreed as he admired Aaron's lineup.

"Let me just say thanks for everything!" Ash raved. "We all learned so much, and had so much fun--even if the admins tried to ruin it!"

Everyone laughed at this, including Aaron. "Well, you three are always welcome back any time! I look forward to hearing how your upcoming match with Fantina goes."

Inspired, Dawn whispered something to Brock. "Okay...I don't see any harm in sharing a few Beautifly stories in honor of Farfalla.

After thinking for a moment, Brock started the first tale to come to mind. "In a certain village lived an artisan who made his keep making paper flowers to sell as decorations. He had a daughter named Hikari, who was as equally skilled as her father. One day, as Hikari was walking in a field looking for new ideas for flower designs, she found a Beautifly trapped in an Ariados web, and set it free moments before it could become the Ariados' dinner."

Farfalla heaved a relieved sigh as Brock went on "Back at home, she told her mother about the trapped Beautifly, and how she had freed it. Her mother only smiled and said that a good deed does not go unrewarded..."

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Episode 75a: Aiding the Enemy! (part 1)

A group of trainers crowded around a TV to watch the match between Cynthia and Aaron. "Great, the match is just getting underway--we didn't miss too much." Ash smiled as he found a couch near the TV to watch.

"I've got the popcorn and other treats." Brock reported as he arrived with chips, popcorn, and some sodas.

"Where'd you get the drinks, man?" a trainer asked Brock. Onscreen, Aaron told his Drapion Kama to use Pin Missile.

"There;s a cooler and a few snack bins nearby the lounge entrance." Brock explained. "It's all you care to enjoy, free of charge."

Some trainers decided to take advantage of a commercial break to get snacks and drinks. "I'm hoping we'll see Farfalla in this match..." Dawn mused as various commercials blipped by on the screen.

"I hope so too." Ash smiled as he went to get some treats for himself. "It's very sweet Farfalla remembered her master after all this time."

He looked back at Dawn. "You want anything?"

[I'll make you popcorn!] Tarina offered.

Dawn smiled at the popcorn bag Tarina was holding. "Okay, Tarina...you can make us some popcorn."

"Come on, then..." Brock led Tarina to the microwave. "I'll show you how to make popcorn."

After looking at the bag's cooking directions, he explained "As a general rule of thumb, popcorn is ready when popping slows down to 2 to 3 seconds between pops, so you need to be listening closely."

[Got it!] Tarina smiled.

"Okay, then punch the 4 and be listening for the popping to slow down." Brock instructed.

Tarina happily complied, sneaking a peek at the TV to see if the commercial break had ended as the popcorn popped.


[Did I miss anything?] Tarina asked as she and Brock returned with their popcorn, other treats, and drinks.

"Not so far--things are really heating up!" Dawn replied as the battle raged on the TV.

For a while, the large audience of Pokemon and trainers watched as Cynthia and Aaron battled in the area. Eventually, the match came down to Cynthia's Lucario Rukia and Aaron's Beautifly Farfalla. Each side has only one Pokemon left! the announcer cried. Will the Champion prevail, or will this Beautifly soar as the new Champion?

[Go, Farfalla!] Tintri cheered, aware the Beautifly on the screen was heaving with exhaustion.

Farfalla is charging up for Solar Beam... the announcer reported. Suddenly, a familiar shining blue orb overcame the bright sunlight! But Rukia counters with Aura Sphere!

The audience of trainers gasped and cheered when they saw Farfalla lying swirly eyed on the Pearl side of the arena. And Cynthia successfully defends her title of Pokémon Champion! the announcer cried as Cynthia and Rukia posed triumphantly to the roar of the crowd in the arena.

"Well done, Farfalla...you did your best." Aaron smiled as he collected his Beautifly.

"Wow...Cynthia hung on to her title despite Aaron's enthusiasm and getting Farfalla back." Dawn mused as some trainers applauded the battle on the TV.

"So, how's Blaze working out for you, Wonder Boy?" a voice asked. "Has your Chimchar gone berserk any more?"

Ash whirled around to see Paul approaching him. "I don't plan on relying on it, and I've never needed to use it." he explained.

He watched Paul depart the lounge. "Come on, everyone--let's get to the yard, so we can prepare for the Hearthome Gym."


In the yard, Diddy, Estrella, and Erin each sent some attacks at Tintri, Tails, and Gaia. "Remember, everyone, change up what attacks you use so the defending team can practice different tactics." Ash instructed.

"Once each part of your team has had a turn to be the attacking team, I can pick three of mine to be the attacking team." Dawn offered.

"Thanks, but I've got this for now." Ash replied as another volley of attacks went flying.

Brock noticed Paul watching from a bench, reading a book titled "Songs of the Gods". "If you don't mind my asking, why are you curious about Ash's training with Diddy?" he asked.

"I'm irked that Ash won't use Blaze, minstrel." Paul replied. "He's afraid to use it because of what happened last time."

"Ash is not one to fight with raw power." Brock explained. "He prefers to battle tactically, playing off what the opponent is doing and responding accordingly."

Then, something occurred to Brock. "While we were in Veilstone, we met your little brother Reggie. As we visited with him, I noticed how many Badges and Symbols he obtained, but he was missing the Brave Symbol."

"Well, Reggie was doing very well at each of the facilities in Kanto's Battle Frontier." Paul explained. "However, a bad run in the Battle Pyramid made him decide to give up being a trainer altogether."

He marked his place in his book. "I don't know why it doesn't bother him...if I were in his shoes, I would be irked by that one run, and train even more to challenge the Pyramid again."

He turned business-like again. "One day, I will be the greatest master of them all--better than Reggie, better than Wonder Boy, and better than you, minstrel!"

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
Reaction score
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Episode 75b: Aiding the Enemy! (part 2)

"Okay, everyone--let's take a break." Ash told his team.

He noticed Paul approaching with Brock. "Paul...what are you doing here?"

"I should ask the same thing of you, Wonder Boy." Paul replied. "You copy my same training methods, and yet you don't ever use my strategies in battle! Are you afraid of your Pokemon's power?"

"You call sending five against one fair?" Ash shot back. "I've seen you do that to Goku, and I'm amazed that Chimchar can survive an onslaught like that!"

"Um, if it helps, Ash is training for the Hearthome Gym..." Dawn began.

Paul just smirked as he showed Ash a badge that resembled a ghostly aura. "Piece of cake...those spooky ghosts didn't even put up a fight!"

Ash growled as he remembered how Fantina's Pokémon used Hypnosis to stop his Pokémon from doing anything. "If you want any hope of winning, Wonder Boy, try busting those ghosts with raw power--that's more reliable than any magical mumbo jumbo would ever be."

"Rrrgh...if you're so confident your raw power will win over love, care, and confidence, let's duel!" Ash challenged. "Right here, right now! One on one!"

[I'll be your champion!] Diddy volunteered. [If he thinks I'm weak because you take good care of us, he's got another thing coming!]


On the battlefield, Ash read up on his opponent as Paul summoned his Honchkrow Mystic:

"Honchkrow, the big boss Pokemon. At a single cry from this nocturnal Pokémon, more than a hundred of its Murkrow cronies will assemble."

Ash swallowed hard as he pocketed his Pokedex. He may think he's all big and tough, but I have an advantage he doesn't--speed!

As soon as Brock's whistle echoed across the yard, Mystic streaked skyward in preparation to use  Sky Attack. "Diddy, try to use Heat Wave!"

[No dice, Ash--the Honchkrow is way up there!] Diddy reported as the waves of flames fizzled out.

Ash gasped as Mystic streaked towards Diddy in a fiery aura! "Watch out!"

Paul grimaced as Diddy spun away from Mystic's attack. "Mystic, try Night Slash!"

Diddy jumped away from one of the ominous dark blades, but he did not expect to be hit by a second one! "Ash! Cut the cavalier dodging attitude and attack! Brock scolded as Diddy got up from the attack. "Constant dodging will only get you so far!"

Ash nodded before noticing Mystic streaking down to use Aerial Ace. "Diddy, intercept Mystic with a Bite!"

He watched in horror as Mystic knocked Diddy down before he could attack. But a white glow caused his look of panic to turn to joy as Diddy emerged as a larger monkey Pokemon.

Excited, Ash read up on what Diddy had become:

"Monferno, the playful Pokemon. It uses ceilings and walls to launch aerial attacks. Its fiery tail is but one weapon."

"Mystic, use Aerial Ace!" Paul's voice snapped Ash to reality.

"Diddy, watch out!" Ash called, but watched in horror as the Honckrow slammed into Diddy...


Later, the group watched from the waiting lounge as Nurse Joy treated Diddy's wounds. "Why did Diddy's speed go down when evolution normally makes a Pokémon stronger?" Dawn broke the uneasy silence.

"Well, it is not unheard of for the Pokemon to be tired after an evolution, which can slow a normally speedy Pokemon like Monferno down for a little while." Brock explained. "Maybe this was what happened here."

A bell signaling Diddy was cured got the group's attention. "Diddy's healed...I hope he's okay." Ash mused as the group met Diddy in a recovery area.

Ash knelt down before Diddy. "I know, it hurts to lose. But look at it this way--you have increased defense, and you are one step closer to being able to Mega Evolve."

[But what good is all this power if I don't have the speed to back it up?] Diddy sighed.

Ash was about to say something before Dawn laid a hand on his shoulder. "Let him be for now. When he's ready to talk about his speed loss, he'll tell you."


That night, Tintri noticed Diddy walking down the hallway leading to the yard. [Hey, guys--why is Diddy going to the yard so late?]

[Let's go see!] Tails suggested.

[Kori and I will stay behind in case the humans wake up, or if there's trouble.] Estrella offered as the others woke up.

In the yard, the group noticed Diddy running forward, only to stumble and crash into a rock. [I see...Diddy wants to try and build up his lost speed.] Gaia noted as Diddy crashed again, only to get up with a sigh.

[You're still worried about your lost speed, right?] Tintri asked.

Diddy nodded. [Before, I relished speeding to battle and hitting hard before Mr. Hard-hitter knew what happened. Will I ever recapture that speed?]

[If I may, everyone?] a gentle female voice asked.

Tintri whirled around to see Paul's Torterra Demeter approaching the group. [What do you want?] he asked, sparking nervously.

Back in the group's room, Estrella saw what was happening outside. [Hey, Ash...]

"murrgh...what is it, Estrella?" Ash asked as he woke up.

"What's wrong, Kori?" Dawn sleepily asked as Kori misted her lightly.

"Is everything okay, Tarina?" Brock asked as he stirred from a static jolt.

[Something's going on in the yard.] Tarina explained. [I'm worried about Diddy.]

"Give us a minute to get dressed, okay?" Brock replied with a yawn as he climbed from bed. "Then we'll go check it out."

Ash turned on the light to find most of the Pokemon missing. "Where is everybody?"

[They all followed Diddy to the yard.] Tarina explained. [Then Paul's Torterra Demeter came--I'm scared she'll give Diddy even more of a beatdown!]


[Everyone's here...good.] Demeter began as the group watched from a bush.

She looked down at Erin. [Erin, is it? Would you be willing to help with a little demonstration?]

[Sure!] Erin replied. [What d'ye want me te do?]

[Hit me with the strongest attack you can.] Demeter instructed. [Don't hold anything back!]

The group watched as Erin smacked Demeter with a Force Palm, then followed up with a volley of Aura Spheres. "Is Demeter even capable of dodging?" Dawn gasped--Demeter hardly looked phased by Erin's attack.

"No--Demeter is deliberately staying put." Brock replied.

[But, you just stood there and took all of that!] Diddy protested. [You didn't even try to dodge!]

[That's exactly the point.] Demeter assured Diddy. [I know your master and my master do not get along, but we Pokemon can still help each other. As exhilarating as it is to dodge this way and that before attacking, sometimes the best offense is a good defense.]

[I see...] Diddy smiled. [You do have a point. there...I was so hung up on what I had lost, I didn't realize I can focus on my other skills while my speed recovers!]

Ash was just as shocked. I see...in her own quiet way, Demeter showed Diddy that defense could easily compensate for speed while he recovers from evolution!

He stepped out from the bush. "Thank you, Demeter--you perked Diddy right up!"

[Not a problem at all.] Demeter purred before addressing Diddy. [Remember this lesson--it will serve you well if you practice it.]

Ash watched as Demeter walked away. "I promise I will help you improve on your unique battle style--no matter what happens, I'm here for you."

[Me too!] Diddy smiled. [I look forward to the day I can show Paul--and Demeter--the power of Mega Evolution!]

Ash nodded. "Next time, Paul...we're gonna win!"

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
Reaction score
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Episode 76: Danielle's Debut

"It feels good to be back!" Ash cried as he hurried down the path leading to the Hearthome Gym. "Maybe now I can finally face Fantina and test out my musical strategy!"

"Hey, wait for us!" Dawn called as she and Brock hurried to catch up.

As Ash stepped up to the Gym's front door, he did not see the navy haired girl about to exit! "Whoa!" he gasped as he lost his footing and tumbled down the stairs.

"Yipe!" the girl gasped as she tripped, catching herself on a banister before she too joined Ash and Tintri on the ground.

After dusting herself off and checking for injury, she hurried to Ash's side. "Are you okay? That was a bit of a spill you took..."

"I'm okay..." Ash replied as the girl helped him up. "Nothing hurts or feels broken..."

"Let me check you over just in case." the girl offered.

After a few tense moments, the girl retrieved a first aid kit. "The bruises on the arms will go away on their own, but let me get some meds on that elbow."

Ash winced as the girl gently rubbed some ointment on the gash adorning his left elbow. "There we go..." the girl smiled as she stuck a bandage on the gash. "Good as new."

"Thanks..." Ash smiled.

"Don't mention it." the girl smiled.

As the girl departed, Tintri noticed a Badge case that the girl had dropped. [Funny...our friend left behind her Badge case...]

Piqued, Ash opened the case and examined the three Badges inside. "I don't recognize the first two, but the third one is clearly the Badge here..."

As the others rejoined Ash in the square, Fantina stepped out from the Gym. "Bon matin, Ash!"

"That means 'good morning'." Brock translated. "Particularly the version of 'good morning' you use when you see someone for the first time that morning."

He looked back at Fantina. Bonjour, Fantina--comment allez-vous?

Je vais bien, merci.
Fantina replied back.

She noticed the Badge case in Ash's hands. "Oh, that is the case my last challenger carried! Luckily, she lives here in town, so you have a chance to get it back to her!"

"Once I do that, may I challenge you next?" Ash asked.

"Pas encore--my team must rest from my previous match." Fantina replied. "But they will be ready to go by tomorrow! I look forward to seeing your strategy!"

"Okay..." Ash replied. I'll see you then."

"If you're curious, 'pas encore' means 'not yet'." Brock translated as the group turned to leave.

"I see..." Ash mused. "I've waited this long for a match so I can wait a little longer--right now, let's get this Badge case back to its owner!"


The group arrived at the Pokémon Center some time later There she is.... Ash smiled as he spotted the girl reviewing some footage on a video camera. Now I can return her Badge case...

He approached the girl's table. "Um...you left this behind back at the Gym..."

"Oh, you found my badge case! Thank you!" the girl smiled as Ash handed the case to her. "I would've never forgiven myself if I lost it!"

She looked Ash over for a moment. "Oh, you're the Ash Ketchum that played Robin Hood at the theater some months ago! You did very well with the role, I might add. You've got a knack for heroic characters!"

"Aw, it was nothin'." Ash smiled, flattered the girl knew who he was. "I was just trying to play up his role as both a hero and a trickster."

He turned business-like again. "So, since you know me, can I get to know you a bit?"

"The name's Danielle Shaw--trainer, performer, tinker, and aspiring filmmaker." the girl replied.

"Nice to meet you--I'm Dawn, an aspiring coordinator." Dawn replied.

Danielle smiled. "Loved your take on Maid Marian. But the best part? You did well portraying both Maid Marian's strength and grace."

"Thanks." Dawn smiled before making a grand gesture to Brock. "And this is Brock, our resident Loremaster and navigator."

"I was in the play too..." Brock interjected.

"Better put actor on that resume--you fit Alan-a-dale to a tee!" Danielle smiled. "Even the costume was amazing!"

"Thanks." Brock smiled. "Since you reviewed how the others did, how did I do with my role?"

"Everything a minstrel should be." Danielle explained. "I liked your strong and powerful voice, as well as your ability to hit the high notes when it counted."

"Well, it took a lot of practice to get to that point, and it's still something I'm honing today." Brock replied.

"If you don't mind my asking, how did you know about our performance in 'Robin Hood'?" Dawn asked.

"Easy--I am a performer in Hearthome's Fantasia Company, specializing in heroic roles." Danielle explained.

"A theatrical company, huh? What's the difference between a traditional theater and a theatrical company?" Ash asked as he tried to get a glimpse of Danielle's camera.

"A theatrical company's show combines a traditional drama--music, dance, and acting--with stage combat, stage archery, water and aerial acts, martial arts, and even live Pokemon." Danielle explained. "So you don't just watch a Fantasia show--you experience it!"

"Sounds amazing!" Dawn smiled. "We'll have to come see your latest show, whenever that is."

Danielle, meanwhile, was intrigued by Ash's own Badge case. "So? What badges do you have?"

"So far..." Ash began as he opened his own Badge case and invited Danielle to look. "I have Oreburgh's Coal Badge, Eterna's Forest Badge, Veilstone's Cobble Badge, and Pastoria's Fen Badge--and hoping to add the Relic Badge to that list!"

Then something occurred to him. "Has Fantina told you about a guy named Paul?"

Danielle bristled at Paul's name. "Yeah, Fantina told me about the Paul you speak of--had a dour look on his face, and treated his Pokemon like tools!"

She went on "I don't know how you train your team, but whatever your strategy is, you are way better than Paul could ever be!"

"That makes me feel a little better..." Ash mused. "He always calls me 'Wonder Boy' and makes fun of how I love and trust everyone on my team."

"From what I heard about him, all Paul cares about is winning and raw power." Danielle grumbled. "Not only does that rub me the wrong way, it's gonna cost him dearly in the end."

She smiled as she noticed Tintri. "But you're different from him, Ash--judging from how your Pikachu trusts you enough to sit on your shoulder, you care about your Pokemon, and treat them well."

"Do you have any of your team with you?" Brock asked.

"Just my partner Rio right now." Danielle replied. "We can head for the yard and do an introduction there."


"Come on out, Rio!" Danielle heaved a Poke Ball skyward, revealing a Piplup wearing a sapphire circlet in the yard.

"Aw, you have a Piplup too!" Dawn gasped.

Inspired, she heaved all four of her Poke Balls skyward. "Come on out, everyone!"

"You guys, too!" Ash heaved all six Poke Balls skyward.

"And you guys!" Brock heaved all six of his own Poke Balls skyward.

Danielle and Rio looked over each of the group's teams. "Pretty eclectic cast you have here between the three of you..."

[Hi, I'm Kori!] Kori waved a fin at Rio.

[I'm Lola!] Lola waved hello.

[I'm Stormy!] Stormy smiled, to Rio's bemusement.

My name is Satomi. Satomi smiled as she twirled and bowed before Rio. Is that a real crown or a prop?

[It's part of a costume--I originally wore this when I played the companion to my mistress' magic knight in a past show.] Rio explained.

"But he grew to love wearing it so much, he almost never takes it off." Danielle smiled.

"Sounds like Tarina, my Pichu." Brock admitted as Tarina bowed before Rio.

"Here's my team..." Ash gestured to his Pokemon. "Tintri was my first...Gaia I adopted back in Oreburgh....Diddy wanted to come with me after I helped him save the Pokemon he cared for...Tails I caught in Sapphire Cove...Estrella was my first catch here..."

"Eh-streh-yah!" Brock corrected Ash, making Danielle giggle.

Ash was unfazed. "...and Erin was a gift from the Veilstone Gym Leader--as thanks for giving her a great battle."

"Nice...you've done very well caring for them." Danielle smiled. "I believe they have the potential to grow even stronger."

"I'll do my best." Ash smiled. "If we ever do meet on the battlefield, it'll be a clash for the ages!"

"I look forward to that match, too--if and when it comes." Danielle agreed as she and Ash linked pinkies. "Promise me that you'll reach the Shinou League, so we can hopefully battle together."

Ash nodded. "We'll give the people of Shinou a show they'll never forget, regardless of who wins and who loses!"


"So, are you gonna come watch my match against Fantina in the morning?" Ash asked.

"Sure! Danielle replied before showing Ash her video camera. "Is it okay if I film the match? This way you can evaluate yourself, and I can get an idea for how you battle. If you don't want me to film, I understand."

"Knowing the camera's rolling is extra motivation!" Ash smiled.

He looked out at the setting sun. "Fantina...have I got a show for you!"

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
Reaction score
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Episode 77a: Shield with a Twist (part 1)

"Representing the Diamond side, Ash Ketchum of Kanto and Tintri!" a referee announced. "And representing the Pearl side, the alluring, soulful dancer; Fantina!"

The doors on the Pearl side opened, revealing Fantina twirling in a sparkling light. "Finally, you have arrived! Since I came here to Shinou, I have always tried to learn new things. So are you ready to see the show I have put together for you?"

"You're not gonna beat me this time!" Ash vowed.

He turned his cap back. "I'll have my fifth Badge very soon!"

Fantina smiled. "Ah, but remember that I will not give up the Relic Badge so easily!"

In the stands, Danielle watched as the referee counted Ash and Fantina down. "Here we go! Ash vs. Fantina, take 1..."


"Welcome to Majolica Town..." Jupiter mused as she and Mars arrived in a town overlooking a lake. "Looks like a quaint little place--I could use a break from our scouting mission."

A sign on a lamppost snapped her to attention. "Hey, Mars--there's a Pokémon Contest going on today!"

"Really?" Mars waited no time changing into the red diamond costume of her alter ego Marta. "Finally I have a chance to make some progress! I'm gonna be one of the best Grand Coordinators the world has ever seen!"

With that, she dashed to the Contest Hall at the east end of the town square, giggling all the while. "Hey, wait for me!" Jupiter called as she dashed across the elegant cobblestone square to find Mars...


Ash smiled as he retrieved his Pokeflute. "Try to get my good side, if you can!" he called to Danielle, who was filming from one of the higher rows in the stands.

"I've already got the good side of your looks, now give Fantina a show to remember!" Danielle smiled back.

"The match will be three-on-three." the referee explained. "The first side to knock out the other side's team, wins."

Fantina nodded. "Noir, allez!"

Dawn gasped as a Gengar materialized above the battlefield, gently bobbing up and down in midair. She set her fiddle aside long enough to read up on the large grinning Pokemon:

"Gengar, the shadow Pokemon. To steal the life of its target, it slips into the prey's shadow and silently waits for an opportunity.

A MORE... icon got her attention. "Gengar is capable of Mega Evolution if the trainer has an awakened Heart Song."

Spurred on by the plinking harmonics of Brock's guitar giving him a semblance of a beat, Ash first played an A note, spurring Tails to run into the arena, aware of the beat all the while.

Once sure Tails was ready, a referee's whistle pierced through the gentle wave of guitar harmonics and tapping feet filling the room. Spurred by the whistle, Ash started the first tune to come to mind--'The Swellow's Tail'.

Tails nodded--the tune's main melody meant Aqua Jet. Dawn joined in on fiddle to musically cheer for Ash as Tails slammed into Noir.

Fantina seemed almost giddy as she observed Ash and his "band" in the stands, playing the tune. "Quel créatif! I never thought to command Pokemon through the power of music! But will you be performing a victory march, or the dirge of defeat?"

Danielle gasped as she filmed Noir warping away from another Aqua Jet. "If it's any consolation, I had to deal with many of the same tactics Fantina is using."

"I'm more worried about the Ability Levitate--which most Ghost-type Pokémon seem to have." Brock mused as he continued his harmonic beat.

"Relax--so long as Ash doesn't have a Ground type, or attempts to use a Ground move, he'll be fine." Danielle assured Brock.

"No matter what attack song you play, Noir can dodge it!" Fantina boasted. "So does your musical have a few numbers about speed?"

Ash just played the first few notes of the B section of "The Swellow's Tail"--the signal for Sonic Boom. However, the sound waves missed Noir and fizzled out against the wall.

Fantina was unfazed. "Hmph. Nothing to see on this stage, folks--move along."

She twirled a little in time to the song Ash and the others performed. "And now, for the big show! I give you Noir, the Great Darkness!"

At this, Noir circled Tails in the blink of an eye before shooting upwards. "Noir, use Shadow Punch!"

Tails tried to dodge, but was slammed against the Diamond safety barrier by a shadowy fist. "Okay, Noir--silence our merry band with Hypnosis!" Fantina called.

Ash lifted a hand to signal the group he was changing tunes. Inspired, Dawn started a rousing rendition of "The Thunderbolt Reel". Ash joined in his signature tune moments later. The song was the signal for Tails to spin on his back and use Water Gun. This created a whirlpool of water whips around Noir, making his Hypnosis fizzle out.

"Wow! Never seen a move like that before!" Danielle raved as she filmed the whipping tornado of water.

"Noir, hold still! You're going to take damage from the water whips!" Fantina instructed her Gengar as "The Thunderbolt Reel" ended. She winced as Noir was lashed again and again in a watery tornado.

"Just what did Tails do?" Dawn asked as she retuned a flat D string.

"I don't know, but I've never seen Ash do anything like it before in all my trips with him!" Brock raved as he retuned a slightly flat A string.

"Whatever you just did, Ash--keep that strategy up!" Danielle called.

"That was an amazing technique!" Fantina was just as impressed as she recalled her fainted Gengar. "What shall we call it? The Counter Shield?"

"That sounds good to me!" Ash smiled.

"Noir is unable to battle! This match's winner is Diamond!" the referee announced, spurring Ash to cheer.

"I can't believe how easily Ash won the first round!" Danielle gasped as she filmed Ash recalling Tails. "When I battled Fantina for the first time, I was unable to beat even one of Fantina's Pokémon!"

"Well, Ash shouldn't be resting on his laurels yet..." Brock cautioned. "Fantina's second verse is the same as the first!"

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Episode 77b: Shield with a Twist! (part 2)

Back at the Contest Hall, the crowd applauded the previous coordinator's appeal. "Everyone is doing great so far!" Marian told the crowd as a leaderboard appeared on the scoreboard. "But it is still only the first round of appeals, so it is still anyone's game!"

She consulted the list of coordinators. "Next is number M-32209--Marta Bryant and Leona!"

Applause filled the air as the disguised Mars and Leona made their way to the stage. "Come on!" Jupiter cheered as Mars blew a few kisses to the excited crowd. "You can do it!"

"Okay, Leona...Charm this crowd!" Marta commanded.

Leona nodded, then fired a volley of hearts in the air. The audience gained heart eyes as Leona struck cute pose after cute pose, a ring of hearts circling around her like a necklace. As two hearts appeared under Marta's picture, the coordinators that had used a Cute move shuddered at the smirking Purugly...


"Do your worst, Fantina!" Ash vowed as he performed a few sword moves with his Pokeflute. "I will defeat your spooky charms with the power of song!"

"Ah, but I have a few tricks of my own, my dear musicien!" Fantina smiled.

She heaved a Poke Ball skyward. "Sorcière, let's go!"

A ghostly Pokemon that resembled a witch materialized on the Pearl side of the arena. "A funny thing about the Misdreavus family...it can't learn Hypnosis!" Fantina went on.

"WHAT????" Dawn gasped.

"Wouldn't Fantina be putting herself at a disadvantage?" Danielle asked as she zoomed in to get a good shot of Sorcière.

"Actually, it is common for Gym Leaders to tell the opponent and the audience their techniques." Brock explained. "We're not spoiling our strategy when we do this--our goal is to test the challenger. Once they know what we're doing in the arena, we watch to see how they respond. This give and take is the backbone of a good match."

"That makes perfect sense." Danielle replied. "You don't want to confound your opponent with tactics they have no chance against. By showing them the method to your madness, they adapt their strategy accordingly."

"That's right." Brock smiled as he checked his guitar's tuning.

In the arena, Ash thought back to Fantina's appeal competition with Zoey some days before. I have already seen this Pokemon's attacks before! So I should know how to defend it!

He readied his Pokeflute to play again. So since Sorcière knows Magical Leaf...I'll play Diddy into battle next!

With that, he started the tune "Fire on the Mountain". The song spurred Diddy to create a Flame Wheel, which Sorcière warped away from.

Not one to be deterred, Diddy turned around and leaped towards Sorcière, a wheel of white fire surrounding him as Ash and the "band" played on. "This is so cool!" Danielle raved as the video camera caught every moment of the glowing white flames and Fantina's shocked face on film.

Fantina composed herself, then called "Sorcière, use Psywave!"

Ash stumbled over a wrong note at the attack. He watched in shock as a volley of rainbow waves caused the white Flame Wheel to fizzle out, with Diddy plummeting to the ground seconds later.

Okay, we'll try a motivational tune next... he thought, starting a second tune.

The song prompted Diddy to spin and use Flamethrower, creating a white hot shield of gold fire. Sorcière tried deflecting the fire with Psywave, but still ended up knocked to the ground from the flames. "Don't give up, Sorcière! Try Magical Leaf!" Fantina called over the music.

Sorcière conjured a volley of glowing leaves, but they became bursts of red within the flaming shield. After a few tense moments, the red leaves overpowered the fire, making the shield fizzle out. "Wow...I thought I had learned everything about the Counter Shield when you used it before...incroyable!"

"I'm not done yet!" Ash vowed before starting "Fire on the Mountain" again, spurring Diddy to form another Flame Wheel.

"Sorcière, use Dark Pulse!" Fantina commanded.

She balked as the waves of dark energy were countered by another gold flaming shield! When the song ended and the flames cleared some moments later, the Mismagius lay swirly eyed at Fantina's feet. "Sorcière is unable to battle--Diamond wins!" the referee announced.

[Yes!] Diddy smiled. [I can feel my speed coming back to me now!]

He looked back at Ash. [Although some burning passionate tunes always help, as well!]

The mood in the stands was just as ecstatic. "Way to go, Ash!" Danielle called as she filmed Ash and Diddy sharing a big hug. "Only one Pokemon remains between you and glory now! I hope you've saved your best tunes for last, because Act 3 is the hardest opponent!"

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
Reaction score
@Charles Legend; @Mia Blaze @Kirby4ever @Robert Ketchum

Episode 77c: Shield with a Twist! (part 3)

"Leona, finish with Shadow Ball!" Mars commanded.

The crowd roared at the shadowy fireworks Mars' Purugly made, maxing out the meter! "And with that show of power, we have a winner!" Marian announced as fourteen rainbow hearts appeared under Mars' picture. "Number M-32209--Marta Bryant and Leona!"

More cheers filled the room as Mars and Leon approached the judge's table. "Congratulations, Marta..." Jordan smiled as she gave Mars an orange and white ribbon...


"Esprit, allez! Fantina called as her Drifblim arrived in the arena. "You've met Esprit, but now he is much stronger and much more beautiful than ever before!"

"If that's your trademark Pokemon, then I'll show you mine!" Ash shot back before starting "The Thunderbolt Reel"--his signature tune.

With his master playing him into battle, Tintri fired a Thunderbolt into the air, creating a sparkling whorl around him. But Ash stumbled over a wrong note when he saw Esprit blow the electricity away with Psychic waves. "WHAATT???"

"Ah, but all good things must come to an end, my dear musicien!" Fantina smirked. "Behold, the Twin Counter Shield!"

[Oh no...] Tintri gasped as Esprit conjured up a Will-O-Wisp, then used Psychic to to create his own Counter Shield of ghostly blue flames. Tintri tried knocking it away with Thunderbolt, but the ghostly shield turned Tintri's own attack back on him! [Ash, I'm sorry...]

Ash growled as he gripped his Pokeflute. "I will commend you for building on my strategy..." he told Fantina. "But I'm not out yet! I'll just fight fire with fire!"

He next started "Fire on the Mountain" again, spurring Diddy to return to the arena. [My kind of music!] Diddy smiled as he rolled towards Esprit, creating a huge Flame Wheel. The white gold shield of fire broke through the ghostly shield, sending Esprit flying towards the Pearl safety barrier.

Fantina smirked. So that's his little game, is it?

She called over the music "Esprit, use Ominous Wind!"

The tune faded away as Ash watched the purple wind blades diffuse the flames, sending Diddy flying back against the Diamond safety barrier. [I'm sorry...] Diddy gasped before he fainted.

"Both sides now have one Pokemon remaining!" the referee announced.

"Wow...who know Fantina would come roaring back like that?" Danielle gasped.

"Quick--what was the other set Ash planned to use for Tails?" Dawn asked as she retuned.

"'The Silver Sword' and 'The Hunt of the Ninetales'." Brock replied as he retuned a flat D string. "Let's play Ash some backup to let him know we still believe in him!"

Inspired, Ash led his companions into "The Silver Sword"; spurring Tails to return to the arena. [Bring it on, ghostie!] he taunted over his master's Pokeflute, and the fiddle and guitar in the stands.

Esprit started conjuring another Will-o-Wisp, aware of Tails charging at him with Aqua Jet. The wave of water broke through the ghostly flames, leaving Esprit vulnerable!

SAY... Ash thought as he transitioned into "The Hunt of the Ninetales". The tune spurred Tails to roll away from Ominous Wind, sneak up behind Esprit, grab him, and smacked it to the floor.

Esprit attempted to use Hypnosis, but Tails fired an Ice Beam, freezing Esprit solid as the group played the tune's final note!

"Well played, Diamond." the referee smiled as he applauded the performance. "Your musical strategy has paid off--Pearl is unable to battle."

"YES!" Danielle cried.

Fantina sighed as she came to collect Esprit. "Esprit...you have done well."

She looked over at Ash. "You are so fantastically strong. I know now why I have lost. The song in your heart never wavered, even when you were up against the wall."

"Thanks." Ash smiled before recalling Tails.


That evening, the group and Danielle met Fantina in the Gym's plaza. "Ash...you truly know how to put on a show--both on the stage, and in the arena." she began.

She offered Ash a familiar badge. "For your efforts here, and in remembrance of our musical battle, I hereby award you the Relic Badge."

"Thank you--I hope to be back again someday, with new songs and a new show for you!" Ash replied as he accepted the badge.

He looked over at Danielle as the group departed. "So, where are you going next?"

"I'm going to Iron Island..." Danielle replied. "I've trained there before, so I was able to win a Badge from the Canalave Gym. You can really see the resemblance between Byron and Roark!"

Dawn spread out a map on Shinou on the ground. "Canalave City is on the very western edge of Shinou, and Iron Island is north of there."

Oh yeah, Roark said that the Canalave leader was his dad... Ash remembered. "Since I wanna take on Byron next, why don't we all go there together?"

"Sure!" Danielle smiled.

She gave Ash the small thumb drive containing the video of his match with Fantina. "No matter what happens, you will always be my friendly rival in Pokemon and in performing!"

"You can film all my battles, if you like!" Ash agreed as the group walked into the setting sun...

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Interlude: Chambers on the Way to Canalave

As an elegant airship soared through the skies leading to Canalave City, the group and Danielle got together in the common room. "Now THIS is way better than trying to walk to Canalave!" Danielle smiled.

"I'll say..." Ash agreed as he smiled at Tarina watching the clouds passing by the window.

[Just how long would it take to get to Canalave City on foot?] Tarina wondered.

"A little more than two weeks, sweetie." Brock replied as he reached for his guidebook. "This is assuming weather conditions are good and you don't run into any major delays."

Tarina shuddered at the thought of the travel time rain would add on to their trip. [Maybe it's a good thing we're flying there.]

"It's still a long way there..." Danielle reminded Tarina. "So I hope you guys packed something to do for the trip."

"That, I did." Ash smiled, triumphantly holding up his Chambers and Charizards set for the others to see.

Danielle's eyes lit up. "Oh, sweet--I've always wanted to try out a tabletop RPG!"

"Well, come join us over here, and we'll get started." Ash motioned for Danielle to join the others at a table near the right side of the room.

"Brock is a very good dungeon master." Dawn agreed. "No question is too stupid--he'll answer it for you all the same. "Have a question about a class build? He'll answer it. "Confused about what just happened in the adventure? He'll tell you. Want to know why he gave a character the voice he did? He'll even answer that."

"Nice, an immersive dungeon master." Danielle smiled as Ash passed her a character sheet. "Let's see here...what are you guys playing?"

"I'm using my go-to battlemage wizard." Ash replied. "They are basically Final Fantasy red mages, often wielding magical swords called mageblades, or magical bows called magebows."

"The mageblade battlemage shares a lot of skills with the various magic knight builds." Brock explained as he unpacked some adventure books. "If you have a question about which class to pick, or what role they play in the party, just ask."

"I'm playing a lightgiver cleric." Dawn explained. "They are mainly healers and supporters, but they have some offensive skills too."

"Okay..." Danielle looked over the various classes detailed in the Player's Guide.

"Which classes are standing out for you right now?" Brock asked. "I can help narrow down which class and build would work for you."

"Ash has the archery and offensive magic covered...Dawn's got the defense and healing covered..." Danielle mused. "So I'm thinking of a quick physical class with maybe a little magic."

"All right...an arcane rogue would work." Brock suggested. "As would a swordsong minstrel and a earthblade ranger. A runeblade would also work if you want a more agile magic knight.

"What do those do?" Danielle was curious.

"The swordsong minstrel is your more offense based minstrel." Brock explained. "The spellsong build--what I prefer to play when I get a chance to play a character--is a bit more balanced. The earthblade ranger is a sword based ranger that only uses a bow when melee weapons are not feasible or possible. An arcane rogue is exactly what it says on the box--a rogue with magical ability. While not as powerful as a pure magic class, they have some spells unique to them. A runeblade draws out the power of magical rapiers to attack, so a lot of the skills and runeblade NPCs have Kalosian names as a nod to their fencing background."

Danielle thought for a moment. "I'll go with the swordsong minstrel--I like the idea of fighting with music."


Brock cued some introductory music from his PokeNav. "The town of Kingsburg lies at the base of a series of rolling hills." he begins. "No one knows for sure how long the town has existed; although most agree it has stood in some form for more than three hundred years."

He acknowledged Tarina with a nod as he continued reading the adventure's introduction. "Kingsburg appears like any other town in the land, with one notable exception—its graveyard."

Kori and Rio shuddered at the thought of zombies and skeletons as Brock continued. "Built on and in the nearby hills, the graveyard has existed for centuries. Some of the townsfolk believe the graveyard predates the community, and nearly all the people living in Kingsburg take a particular pride in that fact..."


"...No one in the town knows who he was or why the statue was erected here, but the townsfolk live in awe of the monument." Brock concluded the introduction some time later. "While the common folk have no fear of their maintained graveyard, few venture up to visit the forgotten king."

"Spooky..." Danielle mused as the intro music ended. "So, what do we, the heroes, know?"

"You know that two days ago, a family of mourners ventured into the graveyard, and never returned." Brock explained. "A pair of guards investigated, but they vanished as well. The townsfolk are in a panic. They've always heard rumors of disturbances in graveyards and tombs, but never has such misfortune struck in their town. They look to heroes--you guys--for aid."

He looks over at Danielle and Rio. "As a minstrel, Irina has often heard the legend of the forgotten king. She knows that somewhere near Kingsburg lies an ancient overlord resting with his servants and all their treasure."

"I wonder if the disturbance in the graveyard has anything to do with the legend?" Danielle muses in character.

"Let's go find out!" Ash suggests in character. Dawn nods in agreement.

Tarina smiled as Brock cued some ambience of a fantasy inn, complete with a singing minstrel. [Danielle's got this role playing thing down!] she smiled as she watched Ash, Dawn, Brock, and Danielle role play an urgent conversation in the tavern.

[Well, she is a performer by trade, so it makes sense she knows how to play a character.] Tintri mused.

[Maybe if the singin' and storytellin' doesn't work out, Coach would make an excellent actor...] Kage agreed. [Stage or screen!]

[Who needs TV when we have our own little show right here?] Erin smiled as she nimbly leaped on the windowsill to watch the unfolding game...

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Episode 78a: Sleepless in Pre-Battle! (part 1)

"Lightless space gives way to your illumination, revealing a restricted, steeply sloping tunnel that is maybe 5 feet wide and 7 feet tall. Posts of green wood hold up the walls." Brock read the introduction to the group's second adventure.

The intercom snapped the group from their game. Now arriving in Canalave City.

"Oh, well...we can start this adventure again next time." Danielle mused as she helped Ash put away the game.

Please make sure your personal belongings are accounted for, and take small children and Pokemon by the hand. the announcement went on. Thank you for flying with us!


"Welcome to Canalave City...the town that rises from the water." Brock mused as the group departed the airport.

"I can definitely see why." Ash smiled as he spotted ships approaching a harbor far off in the distance.

"In addition to the Gym, Canalave is home to one of the biggest libraries in Shinou." Danielle pointed out a majestic building that evoked an ancient temple in the distance. "Very handy for research, or just reading for fun. If I've never performed a play before, I like to come to the library and read it to get a feel for my role."

"What's the mythology and folklore section like?" Brock was intrigued.

"Huge." Danielle smiled. "Anything you ever wanted to know about the folklore and mythology of Shinou and elsewhere is in there."

"Nice--we may have to stop by and look around." Ash smiled.

[There's gotta be gazillions of picture books in there!] Tarina gasped, starry eyed over the library.

"I'm sure there's a good sized kids' section in there." Brock assured Tarina as the group rounded a corner near the Gym.

Ash suddenly heard a scream from inside the Gym. "What was that?"

He noticed a young man he assumed to be the referee hurrying outside. "What's going on, sir?" he asked.

"Everyone's been having nightmares, and no one knows why." the young man explained. "No matter what we do, most people never wake up. If someone does wake up, they're afraid to go to sleep again."

Then, he remembered something. "If you're looking for Byron, he is away training on Iron Island."

Dawn laid a hand on Ash's shoulder. "It's okay--there's bound to be more to do around here while we wait for Byron to get back. Besides, they say the shopping around here is very good, since it's so close to a harbor."

A smile formed on Ash's face. "Okay...I can at least take a look and see if GameWorld or Digiland have any deals or promos today..."


"This is really weird...." Danielle mused as she, Dawn, and Ash wandered the deserted hallways of a mall. "It's not like the Canalave Plaza to be deserted like this...usually this place is bustling with millions of people! That, and there's always something going on on the central stage!"

"That explains why I've been playing to the empty hallways for the past fifteen minutes..." Brock sighed as he rejoined the group in the food court.

"Maybe we could ask Officer Jenny what's going on?" Dawn suggested.

"Yeah...she would know what to do!" Ash smiled. "Let's go!"


"I'm sure you've noticed that all the people in town are having nightmares." Officer Jenny explained as she met the group in a lounge. "We're not 100% sure on the cause of the nightmares, but many of them are consistent with appearances of the Pokémon Darkrai."

She pulls out a familiar neon green feather that resembled a crescent moon from a drawer. "I paid good money for this Lunar Wing, but it doesn't seem to be working..."

"Is it okay if we can look at it under some kind of magnification?" Brock asked as he pulled out the magnifying glass attachment from a deep green survival knife.

"Sure..." Officer Jenny set down the feather on a table.

"Dawn, is it okay if I borrow your Lunar Wing for comparison?" Brock asked.

"Sure." Dawn quickly unclipped her Lunar Wing from her bag and set it on the table.

After turning to a chapter on how to identify Lunar Wings, Brock carefully looked over both Lunar Wings for a moment. "Based on what I can see here, the one Officer Jenny got is just a painted Pidgey feather."

He went on "Dawn's Lunar Wing is legit--it has the glowing aura and diagonal feather weave a real Lunar Wing should have. The fake Lunar Wing has the criss-cross pattern consistent with Pidgey feathers, and had some white splotches that you can only see under magnification, which was a clue someone had likely painted it."

"Detective Brock solves the case!" Ash smiled as Brock closed up his survival knife.

"The case isn't solved yet, everyone--the real question is who could've created this fake, and why." Brock replied. "The case of the city-wide nightmares is only just beginning!"

"If you need another lead, Detective, the library is always open for research." Officer Jenny smiled. "There may be a clue in the legend of Darkrai and Cresselia."

"This couldn't be the same Darkrai we met in Alamos Town...could it?" Ash wondered

"Let's pay a visit to the library and find out." Dawn suggested as she re-clipped on her Lunar Wing.

"I'll continue doing my due diligence as well." Officer Jenny offered. "If I find any more leads, I'll let you guys know!"

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Interlude: Once Upon a Clue

"Wow..." Ash gasped as the group arrived in the Canalave Library later that afternoon.

"Where do we even begin to look for information about Darkrai and Cresselia?" Dawn wondered as she looked up at the library's majestic foyer in awe.

"Folklore and mythology is on the second floor." Danielle explained as she led the way to a staircase past the front desk and a branching hallway leading to the children's department.

"Let me drop off Tarina in the kids' area, then we'll go upstairs." Brock assured the others as he led Tarina into the children's department.

Once sure Tarina was comfortable on a beanbag chair, Brock told her "If you need anything, ask one of the librarians. If you get in trouble, see someone in danger, or someone acting suspicious, tell one of the security officers, okay?"

[Got it!] Tarina smiled.

"If you need me, I'm in the folklore and mythology section on the second floor." Brock went on. "I'll come get you when we're done with our research."

[Okay!] With that, Tarina hurried off towards the fairy tale section as Brock reunited with the group in the main foyer.

After arriving on the second floor, Danielle led the group down a hallway, where several shelves were labeled "398.2--Mythology and Folklore". "Okay, everyone--let's go find some books." she began. "While you'll have the most luck looking at Shinou lore, I wouldn't rule out other regions."

"Yeah--one region's lore may have a counterpart in another region." Ash agreed. "Or somehow turn up in another region's lore based on ancient exploration."

"Case in point--Kitsune, the holy Delphox, and very well traveled from her home region of Kalos." Brock smiled.


"All right, let's see what everyone found..." Danielle smiled as the group studied their own pile of books some time later.

"According to 'Mythology of Shinou', Cresselia has the power to dispel nightmares, and holding one of its feathers--a Lunar Wing--is said to bring happy dreams." Dawn noted.

"If we end up having nightmares tonight and Dawn sleeps well, she is the designated caffeinated drink buyer." Ash smiled. "I'm not old enough for coffee yet, so a Verde Power will do the job."

"That stuff is an Arceus-send for long rehearsal days." Danielle grinned before turning her attention back to one of her books. "'Legendary Pokemon of Shinou' says that Cresselia is the only Pokemon that can learn Lunar Dance."

"I wonder how appealing that move would be..." Dawn smiled. "Not that I would ever use a Legendary in a contest--I'm just curious."

Ash consulted his Pokedex. "Lunar Dance is an amazing Beautiful move that only Cresselia can use. It has a whopping eight point base appeal."

"Imagine how that would look in a Contest..." Brock agreed.

Ash turned his attention back to one of his books. "It says here that Darkrai is known to 'inhabit' dreams and causes the target to have unending nightmares, which can be stopped if exposed to a Lunar Wing from Cresselia. However, the "unleashing of nightmares" is actually a defense mechanism, instead of an intentionally malicious act, unlike what all the folktales say. So it could very well be the same Darkrai we met in Alamos Town."

"As our resident storyteller, what did you find?" Dawn asked.

"I found the legend of Darkrai and Cresselia Officer Jenny was telling us about earlier..." Brock replied as he skimmed over one particular story in the book 'Folktales of Shinou'. "Basically, this version of Darkrai is the evil one we see in almost every folktale. According to the story, he gives the people nightmares because he wants to rule the world. A girl embarks on the quest to find a Lunar Wing when her brothers try and fail Cresselia's test of courage--spend the night in a haunted cave. She makes it through the night unscathed, and Cresselia gives her a Lunar Wing. She then uses the light of the Lunar Wing to scare Darkrai away, saving the people."

"There is a grain of truth to the story..." Danielle interjected. "Does that version say anything about Full Moon Island and its features?"

Brock thumbed a few pages through the book. "According to the story, the girl and her brothers find Cresselia on a small island largely covered in forest. A short path cuts through the forest, and leads to a shaded clearing with a pond shaped like a crescent moon. Cresselia, of course, awaits in this pond to test worthy comers."

"That's Fullmoon Island, all right." Danielle smiled.

She looked at the clock. "Lucky for us, the library closes at 10, so do you want to do any more research, or check any books out?"

"Do we need a library card to check anything out?" Ash asked as he cleaned up his workspace.

"Nope--anyone from anywhere can check books out here." Danielle replied. "You can also send'em back no matter where you are in the world, thanks to library dropoff machines at any Pokemon Center."

"That is convenient." Brock smiled. "I'll check out a few folktale books for reading and learning some more tales. That, and seeing if Tarina wants to take any books, too."

He motioned to Dawn. "If you do wanna make a coffee run in the morning, a mocha from any Char's or Pokebucks is fine."

"I do recall a Char's nearby the Pokemon Center, so I'll keep that in mind." Dawn replied. "Some of the best cheeseburgers ever!"

To Be Continued...
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Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Episode 78b: Sleepless in Pre-Battle! (part 2)

"Good morning, guys!" Dawn smiled as she arrived with a Char's bag. "I brought breakfast!"

"Thank Arceus for the coffee..." Brock yawned.

"What's the matter?" Dawn asked as Danielle passed Ash a can of Verde Power.

"We couldn't sleep at all last night!" Ash complained. "I dreamed I was knocked out in the preliminaries of the Shinou League!"

"I dreamt I was in the worst production ever!" Danielle went on. "It was so bad, the curtain had to be rung down--and that's a theatrical company's worst nightmare!"

"I dreamt I was trying to tell stories in the worst venue ever--I remember the crowd even threw Tamato Berries at me." Brock sighed as Dawn passed him a frozen mocha and a breakfast burrito.

"Did you have a nightmare too?" Ash asked as he bit into the waffle sandwich he had requested.

"Nope!" Dawn smiled. "I dreamed I won the Grand Festival, then traveled to other regions and won their Grand Festivals too!"

"Wait a minute..." Ash remembered. "If we all had nightmares, but Dawn only had good dreams..."

"That means that Darkrai is really here, and we have to awaken Cresselia." Brock explained. "Dawn was protected thanks to her Lunar Wing."

"Okay...there is a ferry that goes to Fullmoon Island hourly." Danielle explained. "I'll be moving on on my own trip, so don't freak out if you find me gone later, okay?"

"Got it." Ash replied as he hugged Danielle. "Safe travels, and put your all into your next role!"

The group did not notice Mars and Jupiter following them as they departed the Pokemon Center and made their way to the dock. "What an opportunity!" Mars smiled. "Not only can we take Hat boy's Pikachu for ourselves; we can also give the boss a Legendary as a gift!"

"Imagine how floored Cyrus would be if we gave him Cresselia!" Jupiter agreed. "We could not only create the new world, but control its dreams, too!"


"According to the story, the girl and her brothers found Cresselia in the middle of a lake after passing through the forest." Brock reminded Ash and Dawn as they walked through a forest.

"But this is the third forest we've been through, and I don't see a lake yet!" Dawn complained.

Ash suddenly noticed a familiar glowing green feather on the ground. "A Lunar Wing...we must be close!"

Kori sniffed the air. [Do you guys smell something?]

She sighed as a Psyduck waddled by. [Never mind, it was just a Psyduck...]

"Maybe we can enlist Satomi's psychic powers to help us find the lake...] Brock suggested.

"Great idea!" Dawn heaved a Poke Ball skyward. "Satomi, I need you!"

Yes? Satomi replied as she materialized on the path.

Dawn showed Satomi a picture of Cresselia from a book. "We're here to find this Pokemon so everyone in Canalave can sleep tonight. Can you try and sense where Cresselia is?"

Okay! Satomi replied, excited at seeing a Legendary.

After focusing for a minute, she reported <i>You're not far--the lake you're looking for is just up ahead!</i>

"Lead the way, Satomi." Dawn smiled. She motioned for the group to follow her and the excited Kirlia dancing down the path...


When the group emerged before a lake some moments later, they shielded their eyes from a bright blue light as a beautiful Pokemon with a swan-like body appeared over the water. "She's beautiful!" Ash gasped.

Excited, he read up on the beautiful Pokemon:

"Cresselia, the lunar Pokemon. On nights around the quarter moon, the aurora from its tail extends and undulates beautifully.

Hail, travelers...what brings you all this way? Cresselia asked.

"We come--!" Ash started before he suddenly watched a net come down on top of Cresselia! "Oh no!"

"Unhand Cresselia!" Brock demanded as he spotted Mars and Jupiter hurrying towards a cliff.

"I think not, Sir Minstrel!" Mars shot back before firing a long rope that entangled the group. Satomi, however, managed to roll away from the rope.

"Satomi, try to knock down the admins with Psychic!" Dawn called as she struggled to free herself.

[HAAAAAAAH!!!!] Satomi fired a blue blast of psychic energy, but was knocked back from the recoil. Not one to be deterred, she fired a second blast, only to be knocked back again.

Gatrandis favel, secret, edena... came an ethereal female voice.
Emusto ronzen fine el balaziis...
Katoradis favel siicletu edena...
at this line, Dawn watched in amazement as Satomi glowed white, growing into a humanoid Pokemon whose body resembled a flowing gown.
Emusto koron zen fine, si...

[Take THIS!!!] Satomi growled before firing a huge blast of light, blinding the admins and sending them flying. Their camp and the group's bindings were engulfed in rainbow light.

"Cresselia!" Ash hurried up to where the admins had dropped Cresselia and carefully lifted the net off of her. "Are you okay?"

I am well, young hero. Cresselia replied. I was the one that sang my Swanna Song to power up your friend's Pokemon...

"Thank you!" Dawn smiled before she read up on what Satomi had become:

"Gardevoir, the embrace Pokemon. It unleashes psychokinetic energy at full power when protecting a trainer it has bonded closely with."

"That explains why she rescued us..." Dawn mused as she pocketed the Pokedex.

And why I would rescue you, Ash, and Brock many times over from any threat. Satomi assured Dawn. I am yours, and you are mine, and no power in heaven or on earth can tear us apart!

Cresselia shook the dirt from her. Now, where were we before those rogues captured me?

"We came all this way because Darkrai is causing trouble." Ash explained. "Can you banish him so the citizens of Canalave City can sleep tonight?"

With pleasure. Cresselia replied as she eyed a familiar shadow Pokemon giggling as it looked out on Canalave City in the distance. Ye who brings nightmares--begone! she commanded, cutting the shadow Pokemon with a blade of psychic energy.

"That was Psycho Cut..." Brock explained.

It is done...Darkrai will not trouble you or the people of the city any more. Cresselia smiled.

"Thanks..." Ash hugged Cresselia. "Now Canalave City can sleep well tonight!"

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Episode 79a: Get Your Rotom Running! (part 1)

Ash drummed a finger on the desk as he watched the phone screen flash "DIALING..." After all that's happened, Prof. Oak deserves an update on my Shinou trip...

The screen displayed Prof. Oak in the lab seconds later. "Hello?"

"Hi, Professor, it's me." Ash began. "We're here in Canalave City, where I hope to win my sixth badge!"

"You're making incredible progress through Shinou, that's for sure." Prof. Oak replied in between bites of an elegant yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

He noticed Diddy and Satomi with the group. "And who might these two be?"

"This is Diddy, my Monferno." Ash explained. "He wanted to come with me like Saria did."

"This is Satomi, professor." Dawn made a grand gesture to the Gardevoir beside her.

A pleasure to meet you, Professor. Satomi smiled as she gave the image of Prof. Oak a little bow.

About then, Ash noticed the cake. "Um, what's the occasion for cake? Your birthday's already passed..."

"This is no ordinary cake, Ash..." Prof. Oak explained. "This is some Old Gateau, a specialty of the Canalave area. In fact, you should be very close to the old mansion that makes it."

Brock thumbed through his guidebook to the chapter on the Canalave area. "Here we go...The Chateau Platina, located north of Canalave, has long been famous for its Old Gateau, a chocolate cake type whose recipe dates all the way back to 1889. Though the family that lived there moved out long ago, the chateau's grounds remain as both living history, and culinary art. Tours depart daily, and include a walkthrough of the bakery that makes the Gateau."

"Cool!" Dawn smiled.

"The Gateau is still made today using the same 130 year old recipe." Brock went on. "In addition to the Gateau, there are concerts in the gardens daily..."

Ash smiled. "Sounds pretty cool! We've got some time to kill waiting for Byron to return, so let's go check it out!"

"Let me know what you think of the Gateau." Prof. Oak smiled before the call ended.


Later, the group emerged from a forest to find the old mansion. "You sure your guidebook's right, Brock?" Ash wondered as he looked up at the majestic mansion.

"Sure, I'm sure...the copyright is this year." Brock replied.

"Actually, a recent storm took out the electricity." a groundskeeper explained as he met the group. "This means the Chateau is closed until the power is back on."

He deviously smiled. "Although if you really want to go inside, they say there are ghosts haunting the Chateau!"

"Ghosts or no ghosts, I'm going in!" Ash sighed.

"Yeah, those are just stories to scare kids at summer camp, anyway..." Dawn agreed.

"Well, I have a vacuum, just in case." Brock smiled.

Ash sighed. "I think that only works in the 'Luigi's Mansion' games, Brock..."

Suddenly, a wind gust spurred the main door of the Chateau to creak open. "Hello?" Dawn called into the foyer as the group came inside.

[Anybody home?] Tarina called.

Just then, Tintri spotted a bluish spark flying down a hall. [What's that?]

"Want to go look?" Ash offered, digging out a flashlight so the group could see in the darkness.

Follow that spark! Satomi agreed as she followed Tintri and the others down the hall.

Dawn shuddered as she heard Brock humming the theme music to "Luigi's Mansion" to calm his nerves. "Not helping, Brock...we may need that vacuum after all..."

After discovering a stairwell at the end of the hallway, the group found themselves in the house's basement. "Huh...this must be the emergency generator or something..." Ash mused.

"The next question is--how to turn it on?" Dawn wondered.

Tintri, meanwhile, felt something sinister close by. [I don't like the looks of that microwave...] he shuddered as he looked over at an unplugged microwave oven on the floor, its door hanging open.

"Maybe we can salvage some of its parts to turn the generator on." Ash suggested as he, Dawn, Brock, and Kori inspected the generator for a power switch.

[Lemme see if this thing is in good condition first.] Tintri mused as he peered inside the microwave.

He did not expect the microwave to transform into an orange and blue ghost Pokemon! [YIPE!!!].

Panicked, Tintri fired a Thunderbolt, which arced around the room, and struck the generator, causing it to come alive with a hum.

"What was that?" Dawn asked as the lights and appliances in the house came back to life.

Tintri looked over at the unscathed microwave [I could've sworn I saw this thing come alive...]

Ash studied the microwave. "Looks like any old microwave to me...you sure you haven't watched too much TV, bud?"

[Yeah, possessed appliances only exist on TV.] Tintri assured himself, forgetting about his bizarre encounter entirely. [Now that the power's on, we can explore it a bit!]

To Be Continued...
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Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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@Charles Legend; @Mia Blaze @Kirby4ever @Robert Ketchum

Interlude: Inside the Chateau

"The Chateau Platin is an icon of Shinou, and well over 3 million visitors from around the world visit each year." Brock read from the guidebook as the group retraced their steps back to the chateau's front gates. "In addition to being a major historic landmark, the house and its gardens have appeared in music videos, movies, and TV series around the world."

"What kinds of TV shows?" Ash was curious.

Brock located the page listing the Chateau's hundreds of media appearances. "It made an appearance on 'As the Poke Ball Turns' as the fictional Charmillion House; bunches of Galarian costume dramas; and many many series on Pokeflix, Shuru, and Orinoco Prime."

"Wait a minute...didn't this place stand in for Parfum Palace in the drama 'The Path of Dreams'?" Dawn asked.

"As a matter of fact, yes!" Ash smiled. "According to the extras on the Season 3 DVD box, they really wanted to film at the real place in Kalos; but the budget didn't allow it. So they filmed it here, and edited it to look like Parfum Palace."

"Cool!" Dawn smiled.

"It's not surprising it has stood in for Parfum Palace when a film crew can't film in Kalos." Brock replied. "The chateau was also built in the same style as the palace, since the original owner traveled through Kalos extensively, and fell in love with the architecture."

He flipped back a page. "In addition to its famous gardens and bakery, it is world famous for its concerts in the huge gazebo, featuring its resident wind band, as well as acts ranging from classical to rock n' roll, and every genre in between."

"I'm sure the band must be amazing to see!" Ash smiled.

"Speaking of which..." Brock smiled, showing Ash a picture of a huge room that evoked a medieval grand hall. "That is where the resident band practices."

"Is the public allowed to watch them practice?" Dawn was excited now.

"Every once in a while, practice sessions are opened to the public, but you're better off hearing them in the gazebo." Brock replied, noting the majestic marble gazebo looming over the hedges off to the left.

He addressed his companions. "So, where should we begin our expedition? Tour the house, the gardens, or the bakery?"

"If you're looking to see the Platina band, they play three times daily in the garden." a tour guide explained. "Once at 9 AM, once at noon, and once at 6 PM."

"Thanks." Dawn smiled before consulting her Poketch's clock. "It's a little after 10:30, so any objections to touring the house first?"

"We could tour the left side of the house, go into the gardens, catch the band's concert, then see the right side of the house and the bakery." Brock suggested. "That way we all get to see everything."

"Works for me!" Ash smiled, oblivious to what looked like a lawnmower peeking through the hedges with a giggle...


"...Mr. Beaumont's son Tristan was an avid music lover, and so the first iteration of the Platina Band was formed for Tristan's sixteenth birthday, as a massive gift from father to son." Brock read from the guidebook as the group strolled through the vast gardens. "According to legend, the band continues to perform today due to a request in Tristan's will that 'a band always be present at the house for my children and the public to enjoy.'."

"That's sweet." Dawn smiled as the group approached the vast courtyard overlooking the gazebo.

"The current iteration of the band stands at 150 strong, all of them masters of their instruments." Brock went on. "The gazebo where they perform overlooks Tristan's bedroom, where he would often watch and listen to them play. A candle is kept burning in the window overlooking the gazebo in Tristan's memory. Band members say that Tristan's spirit watches over them, and spurs them to play their best."

[Aw...] Tintri smiled. [I guess not all ghosts are mean...]

[Yeah--I wouldn't mind seeing Tristan if he haunts this place.] Tails agreed.

"So, what kinds of music do they play?" Dawn asked as people started arriving in the courtyard.

"They play arrangements of classical melodies transcribed for band, songs that the Beaumonts would've heard in concerts, sacred tunes, songs from musicals, movie and TV themes, and most recently, video game themes." Brock explained. "So a little of everything."

A click and a whir got Ash's attention as he settled in a chair overlooking the gazebo. "Thanks..." he replied as he basked in the cool air, unaware that the fan cooling him was actually a Pokemon.

"I could use some cool air myself after all this walking." Dawn agreed. As if in response to her request, the fan flew over to her seat with a giggle...

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Episode 79b: Get Your Rotom Running! (part 2)

"This must be the bakery..." Ash mused as the group arrived in a large open kitchen some time later.

"Not just that, but there's training grounds outside..." Brock pointed out a sign leading outside that read "Training Grounds--This Way".

He noticed throngs of people arriving in the bakery. "Looks like there's a Gateau making class going on..."

"You do that, we're gonna go train for our next matches!" With that, Ash and Dawn hurried off as Brock located a vacant workstation that overlooked the hallway.

After a few moments, four of the bakers arrived "Good afternoon, and welcome to the Platin Bakery!" the chief baker began. "This is where we make our famous Old Gateau from the same recipe Ms. Beaumont would've used 130 years ago."

"For those of you with allergies, don't worry--the recipe is easily adaptable for gluten, milk, and egg allergies." another baker assured those working in the kitchen and the onlookers watching outside.

Thank Arceus none of the clan has food allergies... Brock thought as a third baker went to assist those with allergies.

"Take a look at the kitchen for a moment..." Another baker made a grand gesture to the kitchen. "What do you notice is missing?"

"There's no mixer anywhere." Brock confidently replied.

"Exactly!" the baker smiled. "The first mixers were still twenty years away when the Beaumont family lived here, so Ms. Beaumont simply used a whisk when making the Gateau--the same way we do it over a hundred years later."

"Now then..." the chief baker began. "You might notice an unusual ingredient at your workstation...anyone want to guess what it is?"

"Espresso powder!" a girl guessed.

The chief baker smiled. "The espresso works to elevate the flavors in much the same way as vanilla extract, and many millions of fans agree--it adds more of a flavor than vanilla extract. That, and Mr. Beaumont appreciated the coffee flavor."

Memo to self--do some more research on the Beaumont family back at the library. Brock reminded himself as he followed along with the chief baker's instructions. They sound like they were interesting people worth telling a few true tales about.


"Okay! Try to hit Tintri with a Flamethrower!" Ash instructed Diddy.

[Catch me if you can!] Tintri giggled as he nimbly darted away from the fireballs that rained around the training grounds.

After a few moments of watching Tintri dodge fireballs, Ash gasped as a fireball missed Tintri and the safety barrier and streaked towards what he thought was a broken lawn mower. "Oh no!"

Tintri braced himself for an explosion, but heaved a relieved sigh as he and Ash went to check the lawn mower. [That was a close one...]

"The good news is, Diddy missed that old mower by inches--but let's check it just to be sure." Ash suggested as he examined what he thought was a lawn mower.

He did not expect the mower to come alive! "WAAAAAAAAAUGH!!!!" Ash's panicked scream echoed across the sprawling grounds.

"EEEEYAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!" Dawn's scream came in reply from the other side of the grounds.

Ash met Dawn at the middle of the grounds moments later. "You have a freaky encounter too?" Ash asked, a note of fear in his voice.

"Yeah--I was having Lola practice Dizzy Punch, and I saw what I figured was a fan running on the porch leading outside." Dawn explained. "Lola was getting cold, so I turned it off. We practice for a few more minutes, then I give Lola a break while I go to work with Kori. Minutes after I told Kori to try a Bubblebeam, the fan turned back on by itself and blew the bubbles everywhere!"

"That is weird..." Ash mused before a whir got his attention. "But not half as weird as that smiling lawn mower!"

"Quick! Back inside!" Dawn led Ash and the Pokemon inside the house and up the stairs to a laundry room.

"I think we lost the lawnmower..." Ash wheezed as the group collected themselves. "Should we find Brock and tell him and the others in the bakery what's going on?"

Dawn swallowed hard as she watched one of the washing machines transform into a Rotom like being. "I have a bad feeling about this...."

"RUN!!!!" Ash called, seconds before the Rotom fired a Hydro Pump at them.

Dawn was relieved to hear two elevator dings as an elevator opened up in the hallway. "In here! it's going down!"

[We lost a Rotom...we lost a Rotom...] Tintri nervously sang along with the elevator music. [He's not gonna find us....cause we're safe in here...]


Dawn checked the hall when the group arrived on the first floor. "Okay...the coast is clear!"

She checked the map of the grounds "The food storage and fridge area of the bakery is on this floor, so we should find Brock here."

She gasped when she saw Fan Rotom. "Here we go again..."

The group ran as fast as they could into the refrigeration area, getting Brock's attention. "Wow...you guys look like you've run a mile!"

"You'd be tired too if you had a possessed lawnmower and a fan coming after you!" Ash wheezed.

"That only happens in the movies, Ash." Brock assured Ash as he removed his finished Gateau from the refrigerator.

Tarina, however, noticed the refrigerator had become Frost Rotom! Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo...

"Huh?" Brock whirled around long enough to see Tarina's Disarming Voice send Rotom flying out of the fridge, dazed. "That little thing was what was chasing you two?" he asked Ash and Dawn.

"Rotom, the plasma Pokemon. Its electric-like body can enter some kinds of machines and take control in order to make mischief." Ash's Pokedex explained.

"That explains why it was chasing us..." Dawn mused. "It just wanted to play!"

"Well, what do you have to say for yourself?" Brock sternly asked the Rotom as it came to.

[I didn't mean to hurt you, honest!] the Rotom pleaded. [I jus' wanted to play with ya!]

The stern look on Brock's face softened. "Well, if you wanted to be helpful, you could try possessing a Pokedex..."

[Oh, that sounds fun!] the Rotom giggled. [I'll keep that in mind!]

Ash pictured what a Pokedex Rotom would look like, and giggled. "That would be rather interesting...but you'd have to be nice to any trainer that owned you, okay?"

[Oh, I would!] the Rotom smiled. [I'd be their bestest pal ever!]

"Well, I'll hold you to that promise." Brock smiled at the thought of a Pokedex Rotom before remembering his Gateau. "Anyone want to try my attempt at the Old Gateau?"

"Let's head to the dining room, and we'll try it there." Dawn suggested, smiling all the while as the Rotom possessed a cabinet music box in the hall, making it play the song "Funiculi, Funicula" to welcome the group to the dining room...

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Episode 80: A Whole New World of Fantasy

"Any news on when Byron will be back?" Ash asked as he joined Dawn in a TV lounge, where Dawn was watching the local news report.

"Nope..." Dawn replied. "I did find out that Barry has won his third Ribbon; and Nando has won his fifth Miracle Jewel." A split scene of Barry and Nando accepting their respective prizes appeared on the screen to emphasize her point.

Coordinators and minstrels, take note! The next Pokémon Contest and Fantasy Stage will take place in Chocovine Town. the announcer reported before the TV cut to commercial.

Dawn made a note of the location in her PokeNav. "I'm gonna enter that contest...Stormy hasn't had a turn in a Contest in some time."

"Well, if you need me, we'll be training in the yard for our match." Ash replied before getting up and starting for the entrance to the yard.

"I'll come with you!" Dawn was not far behind Ash. "Eventually I'll need to get Satomi ready for her debut as a Gardevoir."

She looked down at the opal ring on her left hand. "That, and I wonder what Satomi looks like now that I can induce her Mega form..."


"Satomi, come on out!" Dawn heaved a Poke Ball skyward, revealing the beautiful humanoid Pokemon in the yard. Ash was nearby, observing Diddy heaving fireballs at steel targets. Brock was in another corner, observing the training going on while Tarina and Tintri romped in a patch of grass.

What is it? Satomi asked as she formed in the yard. Do you want to use me in the Contest instead?

"No...Dawn replied. "May I...have the honor of inducing you? Just so I can finally see you as Mega Gardevoir?"

Of course. Satomi replied. She struck a reverent pose in preparation for the transformation. When you are ready.

Dawn nodded, and held her left hand skyward. Leishu shun ji, lei si...

The others watched in awe as Satomi was engulfed in a rainbow light. She emerged with her gown now longer and wider, resembling a bridal gown. Her hair was shorter and more tightly curled.

Tarina noticed that there were now two horns in the center of Satomi's chest, extending to either side. [How come the spikes in Satomi's chest look different?] she asked.

"Here..." Ash showed Tarina a picture of Mega Gardevoir in his Pokedex.

"The horns on Mega Gardevoir's chest are said to be a physical manifestation of the Pokémon's heart." the Pokedex explained. "It is able to use tremendous psychic power now that it is open."

"That means that the love between Dawn and Satomi is so strong, it manifests as Mega Evolution." Brock explained to Tarina. "Ash will eventually be able to do the same thing with Diddy and Erin."

Dawn was just as amazed at the Mega Gardevoir before her. "Satomi...you look beautiful!"

This power... Satomi smiled. It's amazing! I feel like I could defeat a thousand of Team Galactic's forces--Cyrus and Team Galactic can do their worst!

Everyone laughed at Satomi's warrior-like pose. "Since she evolved, Satomi can use Fairy-type moves." Ash explained, showing Dawn that the moves Dazzling Gleam and Moonblast were now on Satomi's known move list.

This gave Dawn an idea. "Satomi, use Dazzling Gleam!"

Satomi happily obliged by creating sparkling rainbow fireworks around the yard, spurring applause and perfect 10 cards from Dawn's other Pokemon. "If that doesn't max out the meter in the Appeal competition, I don't know what will!" Brock raved as he applauded.

"Let's not forget the choice of two Spectacular Talents." Ash agreed. "Dawn would still be showered in hearts!"

[Can I take part in a Contest? Please?] Tarina begged.

Brock just smiled at Tarina's excitement. "If we comes across one that doesn't conflict with a Fantasy Stage, I'll consider it."

"Speaking of competitions..." Dawn mused. "What is it you actually do in the Fantasy Stage? I know you have to perform a suitable tale for the audience..."

"Actually, there are two performances." Brock replied. "In the Creative Performance, each minstrel is given a tale type and list of components only they know about, and isn't shown to anyone else. You then have to build a story or a song out of this list that makes sense--the more things from the list you use, the better."

He went on. "So for example, I may have to try to make an epic myth about a courageous minstrel; and my unique list of components might be a great war, a quest, an infamous judge, a dangerous villain, a tournament and a mighty feat."

"That sounds easy..." Dawn mused.

"It's not as easy as you think..." Brock warned. "The Free Performance is simply the minstrels telling any tale from their repertoires that they wish. The minstrel with the best score at the end of both events, wins."

Tarina, meanwhile, asked Satomi [So, what is it that you do in a Contest?]

First, the coordinators and their Pokemon are introduced to the audience--this is the opening parade of coordinators. Satomi began. The first event is the Visual competition. Each coordinator goes to a backstage room, where they each get a big box full of accessories. They are allowed up to five of these to dress up their Pokemon according to a theme. The best looking Pokemon that fits the theme, wins.

[Cool!] Tarina was impressed.

Next is the Dance competition, where you dance to a song you and your master agree on. Satomi went on. But the dancing platform is intelligent--it can reward you for doing well, or penalize you for doing badly. If you mess up too much, the music will stop, and your dance is over.

Tarina shuddered at this. Finally is the Appeal competition. Satomi explained. This is the one you really have to train for. Each coordinator will show off their Pokemon's moves to the judges and the crowd over a series of five rounds. You can take advantage of an opponent's move to build a combo, but your opponents can also do likewise. The coordinator with the highest overall score, wins.

Just then, Ash noticed Nurse Joy approaching the group. "Yes?"

"I just wanted to let you know that if you want to challenge Byron, he is back at the Gym now." Nurse Joy replied.

"All right!" Ash cried. "Badge number six, here we come!"

To Be Continued...
Brock's Pikachu
Nov 8, 2005
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Episode 81: Ancient Family Matters

"Let's do this!" Ash smiled as the group made their way to Canalave Gym some days later. "Now I can have my long awaited match with Byron!"

He balked when he saw the referee by the door. "I'm sorry, but Byron is not taking challenges right now..."

"Why not?" Ash asked, his heart racing as he imagined all kinds of nightmare scenarios.

The referee noticed Ash's panicked look. "Actually, Byron is spending some quality time with his son."

The group followed the referee inside the Gym's main hall, where Roark and a man with deep red hair in well loved adventurer's clothes were talking. "Roark?" Dawn asked.

"Oh, hi!" Roark smiled. "Fancy seeing you guys here! I was just telling Dad about you..."

He motioned to the man. "Everyone, this is my dad, Byron."

Byron smiled when he saw Ash had offered his Badge case for him to see. "Ah! That's Oreburgh's Gym Badge!"

His smile turned thoughtful. "I see...you've defeated my son. But I'm not surprised. He still has a lot to learn."

"Speaking of learning things, I want to know more about the fossils you found on your travels in Unova." Roark asked, steering the discussion back to its previous topic.

"One of them appeared to come from a turtle-like Pokemon, and the other from a prehistoric bird Pokemon of some kind." Byron replied. "Once the research on them is complete, I'll put them in my collection."

"See, Dad's been all over the world, and has amassed a lot of fossils." Roark explained. "We haven't actually counted them all, but if I had to take a stab in the dark as to how many he has so far, he has about 500 from across the world."

"Wow!" Dawn was impressed.

"Can you give us a tour of your collection?" Ash asked.

"Come on, then." Byron got up from his chair. "The storage vault is around the corner and down the right hall, past the main arena."


Access approved--welcome to the vault. the security unit reported as Byron led Roark and the group into a massive vault filled with Pokemon fossils, bones, teeth, and other parts.

"I can only imagine the stories behind some of these..." Brock mused as he admired an Old Amber with a tiny Aerodactyl skull inside on one shelf.

"You're actually looking at the smallest fossil I have." Byron grinned before making a grand gesture to a massive claw shaped fossil that had its own shelf. "This is the pride of my collection--an Anorith fossil three times the size of a normal Anorith."

"So, would you say Crystal is more powerful than Escudo now that she's evolved?" Roark asked as the group continued to explore the vault.

"Power isn't everything--Despite its rough, intimidating appearance, Bastiodon is actually a docile, caring Pokémon that eats grass and Berries. Its steel-hard, shield-like face is capable of repelling any attack." Byron reminded Roark.

"They say that a charging Rampardos can knock down virtually anything with one hit." Roark explained. "You think Escudo could take a hit from Crystal at full tilt?"

"Escudo could take any of Crystal's attacks, and more." Byron confidently replied. "When multiple Bastiodon line up, their faces form a wall that nothing can break through. This was how they protected their babies."

Ash looked back and forth as Roark's and Byron's conversation continued to get heated. "Mind if I borrow your whistle for a second?" he asked Brock, aware of Roark and Byron debating EV's and IV's of their respective Pokemon a few feet away.

"Sure..." Brock draped his referee's whistle into Ash's hands. "Maybe we can find a better way to settle their debate than a shouting match."

"Okay..." Ash next blew the whistle as hard as he could, snapping Roark and Byron from their debate. "Rather than fighting over facts and figures all day, wouldn't it be much better--and quicker--to have both Pokemon battle to see whose Fossil Pokémon is better?"

"A wonderful idea!" Byron smiled as Ash returned the whistle. "Let's meet in the main arena and settle this once and for all!"

"You're on!" Roark smiled, giddy over battling his father.


In the arena, Ash and Dawn watched Roark and Crystal battle against a massive reptilian Pokemon with a shiny steel face, legs, back, and tail. "Crystal, try Zen Headbutt again!" Roark called.

"Escudo, use Iron Defense!" Byron commanded.

Ash located Brock at the midpoint sideline of the arena, just as Crystal tried unsuccessfully to ram into the massive reptile Pokemon, which had turned a shiny silver under the effects of Iron Defense. "That looked like it hurt..."

"Actually, I think Byron actually has the upper hand." Brock replied as Byron instructed his Bastiodon to use Flamethrower, which the Rampardos nimbly jumped away from.

Roark grimaced as the flames impacted the Diamond safety barrier. "Crystal, try Head Smash!"

"Escudo, counter with Iron Head!" Byron shot back.

The group held their breaths as the Rampardos and the Bastiodon pushed back and forth in an attempt to shove the other away. After a few tense moments, both of them collapsed to the arena floor, prompting Brock to blow his whistle. "No contest! This match is a tie!"

"Maybe both our Pokemon are strong in their own unique ways..." Roark mused as he collected Crystal.

"Speaking of which..." Byron showed Roark a fossilized leaf. "I'll never forget the day you found this fossilized Sunkern leaf...your gift and ability to pitch in when it mattered most helped the collection grow to what it is today."

He smiled. "You and Crystal are growing stronger every day...I look forward to the day you can take over here. But if you want to continue running your own Gym, that's okay--I will always be proud of you, no matter what happens."

"Aw..." Dawn smiled as Roark and Byron shared a loving hug as father and son. "Maybe I need to call Mom and say hi..."

"Come to think of it, I haven't talked to the clan in some time--they probably miss me by now..." Brock agreed.

"As soon as we return to a place with a phone, I'm calling Mom and Dad right away." Ash smiled. "I'm sure they'd love the update."

"Ash..." Byron began "I know you have journeyed so far, and waited for me so we could battle. But can you wait one day more? Escudo needs time to rest."

"Sure--that gives me a little more time to train." Ash replied.

Byron nodded. "Very well--we will meet in the arena the day after tomorrow."

To Be Continued...