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EVERYONE: Pokemon: The Jeweled Towers of Armor (some Isle of Armor spoilers ahoy!)

Brock's Pikachu
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Episode 13: The Phoenix of a Far Away Land


"So? Did Goukai finally manage to get a good sound?" Misty asked as the group traveled down a path some days later.

"Yeah--I did teach him not to overblow, and blowing gently was the key to a good sound on...any sort of flute, really." Ash replied, beaming with pride as he watched Goukai attempt to perform the children's song "I Hear a Little Fletchling Sing".

[I just wish I could find some more sources for songs--although the books of songs sensei Ash has given me have been very helpful.] Goukai replied as he put his instrument away. [Perhaps if we could see a play in a Gekijou theater, I could be inspired to learn one of the solos...]

"Well, where is a Gekijou theater?" Ash wondered. "All we've seen on the island so far are plains, caves, and the odd dojo or lake..."

[If we continue following this road, we'll come to the town of Kitamata.] Goukai explained. [There, we'll find the Joyous Child Theater...so named because their plays are meant to be enjoyed by all.]

A poster advertising the Joyous Child's latest show got Goukai's attention. [Hm...Moltres and the Princess Va...Varu...Varuen...]

"Valencia." Brock gently corrected Goukai. "You were on the right track, though."

[I don't think I have ever heard that story before...] Goukai mused. [Although...the Joyous Child and other Gekijou theaters do sometimes base a play off of a foreign story.]

Brock studied the poster for a moment. "The play doesn't sound like the version of 'Moltres and the Princess Valencia' I'm familiar with..."

He explained to Goukai "In most versions of this tale type, the hero finds a feather of Moltres on the roadside. In some versions, he attempts capturing Moltres, and ends up with the feather."

He went on "Despite Epona's warnings, our hero takes it to the king, who commands him to find Moltres herself. How exactly our hero goes about this differs from version to version, but with help from Epona and maybe Kitsune, he succeeds. Then the king asks our hero to find the titular princess, even though he does not truly love her--what her name is differs from version to version. She also may or may not have a connection to the Legendaries, as well."

[And then?] Goukai was interested.

"Again, how our hero finds the princess differs from version to version." Brock reminded the excited Kubfu. "Once the princess arrives, she sets a number of impossible tasks, and the hero comes through for her on the king's behalf every time. Towards the end, she asks the king to undergo a test of purity or some other trial by ordeal. When the hero is used as the lab Rattata for the trial, he passes with flying colors--usually thanks to a spell of protection Epona taught him. When the king attempts the trial, he usually pays with his life, or otherwise disappears. The hero is crowned king, he takes the princess as his bride and all live happily ever after."

"Lately, there's been a trend of giving both Moltres and the Princess Valencia more active roles...and the Gekijou theater's version of the story follows this style." Misty added. " In the version we're probably going to see, Moltres' feather is a good thing rather than a bad thing--the hero believes it may heal his king, who is very sick with a terrible disease. Moltres reveals that it is the evil miasma of the evil Koschei that is sickening the king, and the only way to dispel the miasma across the land is to defeat Koschei. But Koschei has put up a magical barrier around his castle, and only ten magical jewels can dispel it."

[How exciting!!!] Goukai cried.

"Moltres tells the archer to find the Princess Valencia, and the adventure begins." Misty continued. "From there, the tale departs from the original story, usually becoming a Zelda-esque quest."

Goukai was confused. [Who is this Zelda? Is she a sage of some kind?]

Ash racked his brain to figure a way to explain "The Legend of Zelda" at a level Goukai could understand. "Do you remember seeing any game consoles in Master Karashi's room back at Kikuzu?"

[Oh, so that's what all those strange boxes connected to the big TV in his room were!] Goukai smiled. [Even though I was never allowed in there to use them...]

"Well, 'The Legend of Zelda' is one of the best loved game series in the world." Ash explained. "The titular Zelda is the princess that rules the far away land of Hyrule--where most of the games take place.

"In most of the games, the hero, Link, has to collect so many magical things to save the world." Misty continued. "So when other media--or even folktales--attempt this, people always compare it to a Zelda game."

[I see...] Goukai smiled.

"Mind you, collect so many shiny things to save the world is not a bad thing in a story..." Brock assured Goukai. "It's what you do with that trope that makes it one of the best things ever, or doomed to be forgotten."

"But we digress..." Ash smiled as he noticed the rooftops of a town in the distance. "That has to be Kitamata..."

[I know the way to the theater...come on!] Goukai motioned for the group to follow him into town...

---------

[...around this corner past the town square....and we're here!] Goukai made a grand gesture to a majestic building with colorful banners hanging from the sloped roof.

"Wow!" Misty gasped in amazement at the beautiful theater.

Brock noticed the theater was beginning to attract a line. "If we're going to see the show, we'd better hurry and get in line for tickets."

Goukai nodded. [It would be a waste if we arrived and the show was sold out...]

"It looks like we've arrived in time for the first show of the day..." Misty mused as she studied the theater's marquee, which read "NOW SHOWING: 'MOLTRES AND THE PRINCESS VALENCIA 12:30 3:00 6:00"

"Have you been to a theater before?" Ash asked Goukai as the group got in line to buy tickets.

Goukai nodded. [Master Mitsu would often take me and the students to see plays as rewards for ranking up or passing some other difficult trial. So I know very well how to behave in a theater.]

He smiled at the group. [I'm so excited! My first time seeing a tale from the mainland!]

To Be Continued...
 
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Am I correct to assume that you will be doing the Crown Tundra when that comes out?
 
Brock's Pikachu
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Episode 14: Moltres and Kubfu


The Joyous Child Theater rang with applause as the narrator came out onstage, her beautiful vina cradled in her arms. "Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Joyous Child Theater." she began. "If this is your first time seeing a Gekijou performance, understand that is an ancient style of theater that is very different from a traditional play..."

Brock just smiled as he listened to the traditions spiel. A slightly different version from what I typically say, but still mostly the same spiel I remember!

Misty noticed the smile on Brock's face. "Sound familiar?" she whispered.

"Yeah...a little different from how I say it, though." Brock replied before turning his attention back to the stage.

"The story we want to tell you today is a tale told around the world, adapted specifically for the Gekijou stage." the narrator explained. "In our version, it is Princess Valencia that is the hero of the story, and it is she who goes on a grand quest to rescue her prince from the evil wizard Koschei. It will take many friends, ten magical jewels, and the song of Moltres to defeat Koschei, rescue Prince Alex, and bring peace to the land once more. But through it all, Princess Valencia's courage and loyalty never falters, creating a new take on a beloved fairy tale."

She readied her vina to play. "So please enjoy 'Moltres and the Princess Valencia'."

With that, she started to play a mysterious melody that evoked a far away land. "Once upon a time, there lived a kind and just king who had an only daughter..."

"This is certainly very different..." Misty mused as the narrator continued to speak.

"Like we were told earlier, this is an all new story just for the stage." Brock replied, aware of the ominous theme the orchestra played.

"One night, days before Princess Valencia and Prince Alex were to wed, the evil wizard Koschei looked down on the festivities with jealousy in his eyes." the narrator went on. "Enraged, he kidnapped Prince Alex in the night, and locked him deep within his castle dungeon."

She went on "The only way to dispel the magical barrier surrounding Koschei's castle and unlock the ten locks was to find the ten Jewels of Awakening, and combine their power with the song of the legendary phoenix Moltres."

Tintri sparked with excitement and Goukai smiled as the narrator went on "Many a brave hero tried to rescue Prince Alex, but all of them failed to return or returned empty handed."

She intoned "Finally, Princess Valencia got a bold idea--what if she were the one to attempt the quest that so many had failed?" She let that hang as her spotlight blinked off.

The lights came up on a beautiful palace set that evoked a Kantonian castle of old. A brown haired girl in an ornate blue, silver, and gold costume glanced out a window with a sigh. In this short moment, before dawn breaks
I wish for your happiness, no matter where you are...
she sang.

Although many have set out to find you,
Not one of them has returned,
And I feel the call to embark on the hero's road...


She went on The lands of old, fields covered in golden wheat
The melody of flutes, singing out like birds in the sky...
A bansi played a heroic phrase at this, to Goukai's excitement.

They start falling as large flakes of snow, from a night sky filled with diamonds,
To the bottom of the ocean where they slumber, turning into pearls...
Indeed, the breaths of the faraway stars
They are all hymns
Silently dedicated to the heroes of the past...

But why should I, be excluded from their number?
Is bravery, only the domain of men?
I too, would gladly face any challenge
If it means seeing my beloved again!

So now, I've made my bold decision...
The sun will rise, peace and light will endure...
With the Legendaries in heaven guiding me,
I grasp my courage, and embark on a grand adventure!


Applause filled the theater at the song's end. "This is definitely not the story you've told before!" Ash raved as he applauded.

"And it is all the better for being told like this." Brock replied. "By telling the story in a new way, it challenges the audience to rethink what they know about the story and the characters."

The vina snapped the group to attention. "And so, Princess Valencia departed her father's castle late that night, while everyone slept." the narrator went on. "She traveled a long way, until she came to a flowery grove deep in a forest."

Imultaos, ame no hao bakezo... the girl's voice rang through the darkness.

Even Goukai was awed at the jewel studded cave set and the Kitsune puppet that welcomed the actress playing Princess Valencia. [Wow...she's beautiful!] he whispered. [I wonder how many performers are in there...]

"Usually, Kitsune is portrayed as a live actor, but depending on how the puppet is designed, there could be a single performer inside the costume, or up to three performers." Brock whispered back. "This one appears to be the kind that is both a puppet and a costume..."

[How does that work?] Goukai wondered.

"We'll explain after the show, okay?" Misty whispered before turning her attention back to the stage...

---------

[That was amazing!] Goukai raved as the group departed the theater some hours later. [The fight scenes and Kitsune were the best parts!]

"Well, now I can explain how the Kitsune puppet they used is both a costume and a puppet." Brock explained as he turned up the volume on his PokeNav again. "The Kitsune puppet we saw is an example of a full bodied puppet. You can argue that these are not so much true puppets as costumes to which a puppet head has been attached."

"If you need another example, they are very similar to the character costumes in an amusement park." Misty agreed. "But while amusement park characters are almost always silent..."

"They're working on some that actually talk to you!" Ash smiled.

"...full bodied puppets have the capability to speak, thanks to the performer inside." Misty went on.

[So, how would the performer see where they're going without crashing all over the set?] Goukai wondered...

"There's a special camera hidden inside the head, allowing the puppeteer to see where they're going." Brock explained.

Ash smiled as Brock and Goukai continued their discussion about the puppetry in the play. Forget learning new songs--I wonder if you can use puppets as martial arts implements!

To Be Continued...
 
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Episode 15: The Kubfu's Arrows


"I wonder..." Brock mused as the group continued down the road. "Are all the different archery arts interchangeable? Can you use the same bow to fire off hundreds of unique arrow skills?"

[Well...yes, and no; if what Master Karashi has told me is true...] Goukai mused. [While some skilled archers can use hundreds of different arrow arts with the same bow; there are some that work best with a specific bow. It's also a good idea to learn a new archery art with a bow designed for that art--so we probably will be accumulating a lot of weapons on our adventure.]

"That's okay--whatever we can't use or don't want to use, we'll pass on to someone that can." Misty assured the Kubfu at her side.

Brock nodded before checking his homemade guidebook of the island. "We should be approaching the Okuda Dojo soon..."

[That dojo specializes in the Glorious Moon Arrow.] Goukai explained. [Its pure white glow strikes fear in the hearts of yokai, and Master Mitsu once said it was strong enough to even beat the primal dragon, Eternatus."

"Arceus willing I don't ever have to test that claim..." Brock shuddered as he remembered Ash defiantly singing the Swanna Song to Chairman Rose and Eternatus in Wyndon Stadium.

[Sensei Brock? Since you are a master archer, will you show me how to use a bow?] Goukai asked. [I want to at least master the basics before we get to our next dojo.]

"Sure." Brock smiled as the group stopped to rest in a grove of trees that overlooked a hill that led down into the plains. "Let me see if one of us has a bow that is Kubfu sized, and I'll teach you the basics.

---------

[Thank you, Tarina-san, for letting me have this bow.] Goukai smiled, giving the red-cloaked Pichu a little bow in respect.

[Anytime--I hope you'll get as much use out of that bow as I did when Brock first taught me.] Tarina replied.

"Okay, Goukai...I'm sure you understand that above all, a bow is a weapon first." Brock cautioned. "So be very careful to follow any rules a practice range may have, always wear safety gear, and always remember to use good form when you shoot."

[Understood.] Goukai replied as he carefully put on some Kubfu sized bracers.

Once Goukai was ready, Brock began his lesson. "Now then...let's begin by showing you what good shooting form is, and walking you through what a good shot looks like."

"We'll go get a target ready for you guys to shoot at!" With that, Misty and Ash hurried off down the hill with some practice targets in tow--a larger one for Brock to demonstrate a good shot, and a smaller one for Goukai to shoot at.

Brock, meanwhile, began his lesson, aware of Misty and Ash working to set up the targets in the distance. "First and foremost, any shooting not for battle or competition should be done in a wide, open space; or on a training range."

[Yes, sensei!] Goukai smiled.

"Now--to form the proper stance while standing, you want to stand shoulder-width apart completely sideways to the target, with your toes at a 90 angle to your target." Brock explained, mimicking the pose as he spoke.

He observed Goukai trying to mimic his pose, but his tiny feet were too close together. "Almost..."

Goukai quickly readjusted his feet so that his toes were at a 90 degree angle. "Better." Brock smiled. "There shouldn't be any bending at the knees or waist, and no leaning either."

He reminded Goukai "Your head is the only thing that turns toward the target, and your arms are the only body part that moves, okay?"

[Got it!] Goukai smiled.

"We'll worry about shooting from a kneeling position once we get standing down, okay?" Brock assured his Kubfu student before showing Goukai one of his own Venerable Jade Arrows. "On most arrows, there are three fletchings--two fletchings of the same color and one of them a slightly different shade of the same color. When nocking your arrow, the different color fletching should face away from the bow and towards you. Once your arrow is in position, place the nock of the arrow--that's the split ending at the back of the arrow--on the string of your bow, pushing it in until you hear a subtle click."

Goukai did his best to follow along with what Brock was doing. [Okay!]

"Now, form your stance again." Brock instructed.

He waited for Goukai to get in position, then went on "To shoot properly, start by straightening your hand with the bow ahead of you, but keep it flexible with a slight bend in the elbow. Whatever you do, don’t lock up your shoulder."

[Got it!] Goukai smiled.

"You want to hold the bow like you would the handle of a teacup, with three fingers--typically the index, middle and ring--but keep the thumb lowered." Brock explained as he prepared his own shot with the Venerable Jade Bow. "There are several different grips, but you pick the one that's best for you."

He heard two calls of "Clear!". "Don't even begin to prepare to shoot until you have been cleared to shoot." he cautioned Goukai as Ash and Misty returned. "'Clear' means there's no one in the way, and nothing that can block your shot."

"We put Goukai's target a little closer than yours..." Misty explained. "Once Goukai's comfortable with shooting from up close, we'll move the little target back."

Brock nodded, then addressed Goukai as he approached the area facing the bigger target. "Moving on...to draw, draw with three fingers around the string below where the arrow is placed." he explained. "Try to keep the elbow of your drawing hand in line with the arm that’s holding the bow."

He smiled as Goukai hurried to the area facing the small target, and assumed the correct pose. "Very good...now anchor your drawing hand on your face, ideally somewhere in the region of your mouth and cheek just below your eyes or nose so that you can see down the shaft of your arrow."

Goukai watched as Brock drew his bow. "When you're ready to shoot, simply relax your drawing hand and follow through with the shot."

With that, he fired, his shot landing on the bullseye of the big target. "One last thing--don’t put down your bow or change your position until your arrow is in its target." he explained.

[Here I go...] With that, Goukai drew his tiny bow, then fired at the small target.

Brock smiled as he spotted Goukai's shot in the outer black ring of the small target. "Nicely done for the first try! If this were a real shooting contest, you'd get three points."

[How'd I do?] Goukai wondered. [Did I at least do the shot right?]

"You did well following along with my instructions." Brock replied as Ash ran to retrieve both arrows. "It may sound like a lot to remember, but we'll keep practicing so it becomes second nature."

"Keep at it, and you'll impress every archer sensei we meet." Misty agreed as the boys returned...

To Be Continued...
 
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Episode 16: The Moonlit Arrow

"There it is...the Okuda Dojo." Ash smiled as the group admired the dojo nestled in a wooded area. "Home of the Glorious Moon Arrow."

"Goukai's been doing well with his archery lessons." Brock agreed. "So he may be ready to learn a real archery art."

"What about you?" Misty asked as the group approached the large hill leading to the dojo's front gate. "Would you want to learn another archery art yourself?"

"One of the cornerstones of the Raikou style is being versatile in your attack." Brock explained. "So you need to meet your foe in a way that gives you the advantage. Coming at you with raw power? Be ready to defend. Moving fast? Find a way to intercept them. Melee fighting too dangerous?"

He smiled as the group reached the top of the hill. "Then come at them with a ranged attack--be this a ranged weapon or magic."

A white haired woman in an elegant moon print kimono met the group at the dojo's front gate. "Greetings, travelers. I am Kimani Haine, Twenty-second Keeper of the Glorious Moon Arrow."

She noticed Goukai peeking from behind Brock's left leg. "Seeing as you guide a Kubfu on its journey to evolve, I would be honored to lend my art to your cause."

[I would be honored to learn, Haine-sensei.] Goukai replied with a bow.

Kimani noticed the quiver of pale green arrows on Brock's back. "Would you like to learn as well, master archer? she asked--the bright arrows made a nice contrast to the black robe he wore.

"An archer can never learn how to use too many arrows." Brock smiled as one of Kimani's students arrived to take Goukai inside...

---------

"Okay then, Brock...the Glorious Moon Arrow's primary purpose is the element of surprise, and purifying evil." Kimani explained as one of her students brought over a bright white bow, and a quiver full of thirty silvery-white arrows. "Yokai especially fear this arrow."

"Point noted...should we run into any yokai on our adventure." Brock mused, admiring one of the glowing white arrows as two other students set up a target for him to practice on. "I'd imagine these would do a number on one of the 999 Black Dragons, as well."

Kimani nodded. "Yes--they will turn tail and run as soon as you have them in your sights!"

She turned business-like again. "The basic move of this style is an arced shot named Shooting Star Crossing the Sky. While it is generally bad form to shoot an arrow directly into the sky, this is one of the few exceptions to that rule. We have to fire the arrow into the sky to create an arc."

"Clear!" a student called by one of the angled targets.

Brock shuddered a little at how far back the targets were. "Are you sure you can hit the target from that far out?" he asked.

"I'm sure--watch." With that, Kimani nocked her own brilliant white bow and fired.

Brock watched the glowing white arrow elegantly arc through the afternoon sky, then land in the outer ring of the bullseye. "Wow! That's amazing!"

"By allowing the arrow to arc like this, your target won't even know you have fired until too late." Kimani explained as the students hurried to retrieve her shot.

She invited Brock to the firing line. "Now it's your turn to attempt the shot."

Brock nodded. "Here goes nothing..." he replied as he nocked one of his own brilliant white arrows.

Ash and Misty watched as Brock fired his shot, making it elegantly arc across the sky. "Cool!" he smiled as Kimani went to check to see where the arrow had landed.

"The outer blue ring...not bad!" Kimani smiled. "Just relax, and imagine an arc from your bow to the target.

"I'll admit I was a little nervous..." Brock admitted as he prepared another shot.

He took a deep breath to calm the Beautiflies in his stomach, readied his shot, and fired again. This time, the arrow sailed into the outer ring of the bullseye!"

"There you go!" Kimani smiled as the students went to retrieve Brock's two shots. "Focus, and remember the arc, and your arrow will strike true."

---------

"Next, we'll go over a stealth attack shot." Kimani explained as the students took down the targets and set up some training dummies. "This is called Opening the Window to See the Moon."

"What does it do?" Ash wondered as the group followed Kimani into the brush.

"The move has this name because you fire the shot from a concealed location--your 'window'." Kimana replied. "As you aim your shot, you are opening the proverbial window to see the moon--your target."

"That makes sense!" Misty smiled as Brock found a space to shoot from in the underbrush.

"This is no different from rescuing you guys on the outskirts of Pewter City all those years ago." Brock assured his companions as he prepared to shoot at the training dummies from the bush.

He looked over at Kimani. "Is there a specific place I should be aiming for?" he asked.

"Aim for the training dummy's chest." Kimani replied.

"Training dummy's chest--okay." Brock mused as he readied his shot.

He fired a few moments later, his arrow creating a white burst as it streaked from the bushes to land in the chest of a training dummy.

"What was that?" Ash gasped as students arrived to retrieve Brock's shot.

"Since you are hidden as you make this shot, it is more powerful like this." Kimani explained. "You can attempt this move in the open, but it will not be as powerful."

Even Brock couldn't resist smiling. "This will definitely come in handy against the 999 Black Dragons!" He let that hang as he readied another shot...

To Be Continued...
 
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Episode 17: The Dragon and the Arrow


"Up next is the Hata Dojo, which teaches the Whirling Storm Bow..." Brock mused. "That sounds like a bow made just for you, Ash."

Ash just grinned. "It would give me another ranged option if the wheel wasn't an option--and a more precision based ranged attack than the wheel. Besides, I still remember those archery lessons from way back in Shinou--those came in handy on my trip to Kalos."

"Speaking of which..." Brock unfurled a letter on Fennekin themed paper. "You got a letter from Serena..."

"Oh?" Ash asked as he accepted the paper from Brock.

He read over the letter for a moment before reading the contents to his companions. "Dear Ash, how are things in Galar? Your Swanna Song of defiance to Chairman Rose made the news all the way back in Kanto. All I can say is what goes around, comes around--often a little too quickly..."

---------

"...I'm thinking of all of you, and look forward to your next letter soon. Love, Serena." With that, Ash folded up the letter and stashed it in his bag. "I'll start on a reply as soon as we make camp tonight--Serena would probably love hearing about the island..."

He looked down at Goukai. "What can you tell me about the Hata Dojo? Besides the fact that it teaches the Whirling Storm Bow..."

[They are often called 'the dragon hunters of the island'.] Goukai replied as the group made their way into a forest. [So named because of all the dragons that call this forest home...]

"Dragons?" Misty mused. Do you mean Dragon type Pokemon? Or do you mean 'Chambers and Charizards' dragons?"

[What's that?] Goukai was intrigued.

"At least once a week, Brock, Misty, and I--and anyone else that wants to join in--host a grand storytelling game." Ash explained. "The point of the game is not to win, but tell stories of epic adventures and brave heroes. And as the storyline progresses, you often get to do battle with dragons and other powerful creatures."

[That sounds fun!] Goukai smiled as the group emerged into a clearing to find the dojo.

The dojo mistress hurried out to meet the group. "How fortunate that three travelers guiding a Kubfu have come! Maybe you three can help solve a vexing problem I have..."

"What is it you would have us do?" Ash asked as he shepherded Goukai to his side.

"Meet me in the dojo's main hall." the dojo mistress replied. I will tell you everything there."

---------

"All right..." the dojo mistress explained as she and a deep brown haired girl met the group in the dojo's main hall. "This is Mitsuna, one of my top students."

"Hello there." the brown haired girl smiled.

"Mitsuna has handily proven herself ready for the trial that all prospective masters of the Whirling Storm Bow has to face--slaying a green dragon." the dojo mistress explained. "She says it has been a lifelong dream of hers to become a master of my art. But even though she has risen to the challenge and completed many difficult tasks, I still worry that she is getting in over her head. So I now give you three a request--will you guide Mitsuna on the trial like you are your Kubfu?"

"Before we give a hard yes or no, the real question is if Mitsuna wants us there to help her." Ash explained.

He addressed Mitsuna, who was nervously toying with the long neat braid her hair was tied into. "Mitsuna...do you want us to come with you on your dragon-slaying quest? If you do, we won't step in to help unless you specifically ask us to help."

"Yes--it would give me and sensei peace of mind knowing someone is there to help if the hunt goes horribly wrong." Mitsuna replied. "Do you require payment for your services?"

Misty just smiled. "We don't require money--all we ask is that we get to know our opponent, and our Kubfu and one of us gets to learn the Whirling Storm Bow."

Mitsuna nodded, then addressed the dojo mistress "May I train my escort's Kubfu, sensei?

The dojomistress nodded. "Of course--training a Kubfu will be good practice for teaching students of your own."

As Mitsuna escorted Goukai to a practice range, the dojo mistress addressed the group. "Now then...which of you wishes to learn the Whirling Storm Bow?"

"I will." Ash volunteered. "Though I do not claim to be an expert archer, I have some skill at the bow."

"All right, come with me." the dojo mistress smiled, leading Ash to an outdoor training range...

---------

"Now then, Ash..." the dojo mistress began. "At its heart, the Whirling Storm Bow is an offensive power, shocking its target with a burst of wind and thunder. It can also damage nearby targets in the area."

She went on "The first move of the Whirling Storm Bow is the Mountain Piercing Bolt." Even though you were taught as a Pokemon Trainer that electricity won't do a thing to the ground and rocks, this arrow is strong enough to even shatter a mountain."

Ash watched in awe as the dojo mistress readied a shot, then fired, making a windy electric explosion on the sturdy target. "Wow! Cool!" he smiled as he applauded.

He hurried to the firing line and accepted some bracers from a student. "Like all archery arts, the key to the Mountain Piercing Bolt is to relax." the dojo mistress explained as Ash put on the bracers. "If you focus on the target and trust in your bow, you will shatter the highest mountains."

"Right!" Ash smiled as he accepted a glittering gold bow with thunderbolt trim and a quiver of matching gold arrows from a student.

After finding a suitable arrow, Ash took a few breaths to calm his nerves as he nocked his shot. Focus, Ash...remember everything Brock taught you... he reminded himself as he readied his shot.

The dojo mistress watched as Ash fired his shot, making a windy electric explosion on the inner red ring of the target. "Nicely done! Can you try breaking one of our rock targets?" she asked, gesturing to a large rock with a target painted on it.

Ash nodded. "If I can hit a standard archery target, I can probably break one!" he smiled as he accepted his arrow from a student...

To Be Continued...
 
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