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EVERYONE: Pokemon: The Stage of Dreams

LightningTopaz

Brock's Pikachu
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(rated E10+ for fantasy stage violence and frightening images)

At long last, my series of Pokemon theatrical fantasy begins!

While this is set in my remixed anime timeline, you do not have to have read any of those before reading this--this is completely separate.

If you want to know more about this world and key terms, there is a worldbuilding thread here.


Episode 0: A Rival's Encouragement

After an epic adventure across Galar, the Isle of Armor, and the Crown Tundra, Ash and the gang took some time off to rest from their travels. But the memory of Wyndon's famous Melody Lane district stuck with Ash--since he and his companions were all skilled actors, musicians, fighters, and dancers, why not apply their skills to the wild and spirited martial arts epics of Waku, and the Tawame form of theater?

With some help from the others, Ash started up a troupe, and christened it the Kagayou Theater, after the shimmering and sparkling productions he and the others hoped to put on. Ash's subsequent call for actors ended up successful many times over, ending up with enough to create seven different subtroupes. The seven troupes were named after the Wakunese names for colors and the rainbow--Niji, Akai, Toukou, Kii, Midori, Aoi, and Murasaki.

While the group had no trouble finding actors, an impresaria in the Tawame actress turned director and publicist Rona Toyonaga, and a crew, there were some that had their doubts that the troupe would be successful.

The fledgling troupe quickly silenced the naysayers, becoming overnight household names across Waku. Critics raved about their spirited and exciting plays, and if a play ever flopped at all, it was often reworked into something better.

Before long, it was time for the seven troupes of the Kagayou to think about the next logical step on the road to fame--a tour across Waku, and beyond...

---------

Awed chatter filled the parking lot of the Kagayou Theater as the many actors and crew gawked at the colorful wagons waiting for them outside. A deep brown haired woman beamed with pride at the line of 25 wagons in the lot, each one decorated in traditional Wakunese patterns. "Everyone...I've heard your pleas for traveling beyond our theater here in Pallet...so this is how you will be traveling, very much like how Tawame and Gekijou troupes have traveled for thousands of years."

"What about the other troupes?" Ash wondered. A caravan hundreds of wagons strong would be a nightmare to transport on boats or planes...

"They have their own set of wagons that they will travel in." the woman explained. "They can easily be dismantled for storage on a boat or plane, as well. This means that while one troupe stays behind at the theater, the other six can be criss-crossing the world, bringing the Tawame theater experience to everyone."

"Wow...Rona, you think of everything!" Dawn smiled before hurrying to embrace the woman.

"Yes, thank you!" May agreed.

Brock admired a wagon with green arrow designs as more thank yous rang through the air. "I presume this arrow print wagon is mine?"

"Yes, Brock, that one is yours." Rona replied. "A fitting pattern for the Niji Troupe's best archer. Arrows also mean good luck, as they keep going forward, once shot.

She turned business-like again. "Let's not forget you guys still have the performance of 'The Beautifly and the Sacred Phoenix' here at the theater in a few days. Once that run concludes, we'll hitch up the Ponytas and hit the road on a grand tour of Waku!"

More cheers filled the air. "A tour of Waku?" Misty smiled. "Count me in!"

"Until then, we can finish preparations for 'The Beautifly and the Sacred Phoenix', and decide what other plays we want to do on our tour." Brock assured his co-star as the members of the Niji Troupe returned inside the theater.

"'The Beautifly and the Sacred Phoenix' has to be on our tour list for sure!" Serena smiled before hurrying backstage to get ready for rehearsal...

---------

"So, you're off on a grand tour of Waku..." Gary mused as he and Ash took a walk on one of Pallet's many walking trails a few nights later. "Has it sunk in that millions of people love this grand style of theater--and there are sizeable communities for it elsewhere?"

"I knew that there are sizeable communities across Europa and in Alola, and a growing community in Unova, but what's surprised me is how it's still loved here in Waku..." Ash explained. "Many thought we were just a flash in the pan, doomed to failure..."

"...and yet here you are--a sold out theater almost every night, every single cast and crew member loves what they do because of the supportive community you've built, and how you don't tolerate mistreatment in any form." Gary smiled. "Most of your critics were forced to eat their words, and those that believed in you guys and defended you from the naysayers are still cheering you on. Now, you're on the brink of your first real tour--if all of that doesn't tell me there's still an audience for the Tawame theater, I don't know what does."

He smiled. "Ash...I'm proud of you, the gang, and all the troupe members. You've created a real treasure that those of us in Pallet are proud of."

"Aw, thanks..." Ash blushed, a little embarrassed that his former rival was now singing his praises.

He offered two tickets to Gary. "If you and Prof. Oak aren't busy on Friday, I want to invite you both to 'The Beautifly and the Sacred Phoenix''s opening night."

"Really?" Gary smiled. "I've wanted to come see one of your shows, but research can be a demanding job...so I'll tell Gramps to clear the calendar for Friday night so we can come see your new show!"

He and Ash embraced. "I'll see you in the audience...my friend."

"And I'll give my all to the lead role, knowing you and Prof. Oak are watching." Ash replied.
 
Last edited:

LightningTopaz

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Episode 1: Sacred Phoenix Makes His Debut (part 1)

A few nights later, the Kagayou hummed with excited chatter as people arrived for the premiere of 'The Beautifly and the Sacred Phoenix'. But backstage, the atmosphere was even more electric--actors and performers rushing into costumes, ancient instruments being brought into tune from the orchestra pit, dancers and martial artists getting in a few final stretches before the show started. But among all of the chaos, Ash--now wearing a red and gold costume with ornate flame and wing designs--looked out from the wings into the rapidly filling theater. "Ready to go?" Misty asked as she emerged from a dressing room in a deep blue warrior's costume with silver and light blue swirls on it.

"As I'm ever going to be." Ash replied. "I'm hoping Gary's here to watch tonight's show...once I know he is here, I'll finish getting ready."

"But what if some big project came up, and Gary can't come?" Misty asked. "Then what would you do?"

"I would still give my all for this role." Ash replied. "We've worked hard on this play, so I want to start our tour with a bang--if Gary is there, that would make tonight's performance even sweeter."

He smiled as he spotted a familiar brown haired woman, a familiar black haired man, Gary, and Prof. Oak, making their way to some empty seats in the middle rows. There they are...not only are Gary and Prof. Oak watching, but Mom and Dad are too. Now I have to be extra sure I play my role well tonight!

Serena--now in an ornate gold costume with glittering Delphox ears--arrived holding a beautiful and well loved side blown flute with ruby studs, wing designs, and a red tassel near the embouchure hole. "Delivery for the hero! Here's your flute..."

She next delivered a prop one handed sword to Ash. "...and here's your sword."

"Thanks, Serena..." Ash smiled as he slipped the flute into a hidden protective sleeve in his costume, then set the sword by his right leg. "Let's do this!"

"You're not needed until Scene 2, and after Scene 1, I'm not needed again until Act 2." Serena explained.

Brock arrived with May and Dawn not far behind. "This is it, everyone...the last few months all come down to tonight."

"Bad dress rehearsal, good opening night, right?" Ash smiled as he laid a hand on top of Misty's hand. Serena then laid a hand on top of Ash, Brock laid a hand on top of Serena, May laid a hand on top of Brock, and Dawn laid a hand on top of May. For a brief moment, the pile of hands resembled what a sports team would create before a game.

Finally, the group of six best friends unleashed their good luck cheer. "Shimmering! Sparkling! Light! Go, Ka-ga-YOU!!!!!"

---------

Applause filled the darkened theater as the orchestra finished the play's overture some moments later. "Once upon a time, in a land far away from here, there was a shining kingdom ruled by a kind and just Emperor and Empress..." a girl in a green and silver narrator's robe began, periodically playing a few soft chords on an ancient bow shaped harp. "The Emperor and Empress cared deeply for all their subjects, but the one thing they loved most was their daughter, Princess Golden Beautifly..."

Let's see...after the narrator is done, Scene 1 is the prophecy scene with Serena, and then Scene 2 is the scene where Sacred Phoenix and Princess Golden Beautifly meet, fulfilling the Imperial Delphox's auspicious prophecy... Ash reminded himself as the narrator finished setting the scene, and the curtains opened on a magnificent throne room set, where the actor playing the Emperor and an actor playing the court mystic discussed what sort of suitor Princess Golden Beautifly would take as a husband.

Just then, the dialogue and song onstage ran into a blur as a sick feeling welled up in his stomach. Oh Arceus, not now! I have to show Sacred Phoenix as brave and confident, not a blathering mess!

"Hey..." A familiar stage whisper and a hand rubbing his shoulder seemed to calm Ash's stage fright. "Breathe for me, okay? Big breaths."

Ash obediently took a few deep breaths to dispel the Beautiflies in his stomach as Brock continued rubbing his shoulder. "The audience is your friend, not your foe, okay? Just pretend Delia, Taran, Gary, and Prof. Oak are the only ones watching." Brock assured Ash. "You've done hundreds of other plays before, and you did just fine."

He noticed Ash's nervous breathing had calmed down. "Now, are we calm?" he asked.

"I think so..." Ash replied as he composed himself. "I guess everyone being here hit me like a ton of bricks..."

"It's okay to be nervous before a big performance like this." Brock assured Ash. "Calm down, remind yourself you've done well with preparation, you know all your lines, solos, fights, and acts, then let the nerves go."

He gestured to Serena nearly dancing on the stage as she told the Emperor and the chief mystic, in song, a prophecy--Princess Golden Beautifly was due to marry a phoenix-born, and ensure a long age of peace and plenty when she took the throne for herself. "Can you try and convey that same confidence Serena has out there in your first scene?"

Ash nodded. "Yeah...thanks."

Brock nodded. "I'm not on until Act 2, so after you're done with Scenes 2 and 3, you have the rest of Act 1 to relax."

A smile formed on Ash's face as the lights went down to end Scene 1. "Okay...it's time for my scene." With that, he quickly hurried into position as the stage ninjas transformed the palace set into an exquisite garden in the darkness...

---------

"A few days later, Princess Golden Beautifly was taking a walk in the royal garden." the narrator went on. "Suddenly, her solitude was interrupted by a voice--a strong, heroic voice."

And there is my cue. Ash grinned before taking a deep breath and unleashing a heroic cry:

Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!
Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!
Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!


The orchestra joined in with a triumphant melody as Ash appeared in a spotlight atop a platform hidden in a prop tree, allowing him to dance as he sang his first song of the play:

I won't give up these strong emotions!
These endless, strong emotions!

This immortal melody won't lose to anyone!
Arise, make those immortal dreams into your wings
And fly together with me to the future!

Hear this phoenix song!

Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!
Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!

Your courage will never betray you,
The road you travel will become a star...
Illuminating the path that continues before you
All the way into the shining, sparkling future!

For what I will protect, I can swear
I can be proud; I'm not afraid of anything
The flame of my soul
Will never disappear!

Arise, make those immortal dreams into your wings
And fly together with me to the future!
Hear this phoenix song!

Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!
Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!
Aiyaiya aiyaiya aiyaiya-haha!


Applause rang through the theater at the song's conclusion, but no one was prouder than Brock as he quietly applauded backstage. Way to go! That's the brave and heroic Ash I know!
 

LightningTopaz

Brock's Pikachu
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Episode 2: Sacred Phoenix Makes His Debut (part 2)

Backstage, Ash watched from the wings as May, as Princess Golden Beautifly, angrily refused Black Ghost's ultimatum to marry him or die in a song of fury. "This is definitely a different side of May..." Brock admitted. "Although she tends to play sweet and softspoken characters, she is a little bit like you--and not afraid to show off her heroic side when it counts."

Ash nodded in agreement. "She's doing great not letting her real life emotions take over while singing the song--unlike how I broke down in tears while rehearsing my big number in Act 2..."

---------

...Now if my voice should reach you, and my song should touch your heart,
I hope it heals all of your grief and pain... Ash sang from a piece of sheet music as Rona played accompaniment on a well loved red-brown piano in a private rehearsal room.

Then if you hear Him calling you to go and do the same,
Go forth, and heal the world through your song!

He suddenly felt tears welling up in his eyes, but did his best to fight them back and power through the two final choruses. When you're in despair, and the rain falls,
I will... This was as far as he got before breaking down in tears.

"What's the matter, Ash?" Rona asked as she stopped playing, concerned about the tears streaming down her lead actor's face.

Ash composed himself. "Sorry...this song is so beautiful, I couldn't help but shed a few real tears."

Rona just smiled. "That's the kind of tears the Tawame theater is known for--not tears of drama and despair, but tears over something so beautiful, so amazing, so inspiring, that even the actors can't help but cry a little."

She offered Ash a Kleenex box. "Do you think you can continue, or should we work on a different song?"

"I think I can continue." Ash replied as he wiped the tears from his eyes, then retrieved his sheet music. "Where should we start?"

"Let's try the song's final choruses again." Rona began as she played an expectant F chord. "Remember, this is the big power moment of the song, so make it good."

With that, she played the few measures leading up to the final choruses to give Ash an introduction. When you're in despair, and the rain falls,
I will sing, and summon forth the sun! Ash sang, this time with more confidence.
I will sing of dreams, and what could be
I'll be right here by your side,
Singing a song of hope, ah...

When the sun rises, and lights the world,
That is when all our dreams come true!
I'll be by your side, protecting you
I will sing a song for you,
A song to touch your heart!

Rona smiled as she played the song's ending. "Very good! Can you maintain that kind of power when you have the orchestra backing you?"

"I think so...although...can you have one of the stage ninjas have a box of Kleenex ready opening night...just in case?" Ash asked.

"I'll see what I can do." Rona replied. "Now, are we ready to try the whole thing with the piano before we go back to the stage and block the song?"

"Yeah...let's take it from the top." Ash smiled, flipping his sheet music back to the start of the song...


---------

...thankfully, the second time around I was able to make it through the song without crying." Ash concluded his story some time later. "And so far, I haven't broken down with the orchestra and you guys on the stage."

Brock heard a dramatic sting on the stage, signalling that May's character was about to "transform" into a Beautifly and flee the palace. "Well, remember that your big number is pivotal to Act 2--Sacred Phoenix is also processing Princess Golden Beautifly's predicament, plus he is assuring her that he stands ready to help her on the quest to find and free her parents."

Ash nodded. "Okay...see you in a few minutes." With that, he turned and watched as May defiantly sang, with smoke and light hiding the trapdoor taking her below the stage:

Gatrandis favel, secret, edena...
Emusto ronzen fine el balaziis...
Katoradis favel siicletu edena...
Emusto koron zen fine, si...


When the rumbling, smoke and light faded some moments later, the orchestra played a triumphant flourish as a beautiful gold Beautifly puppet appeared where May was standing seconds before! The audience's cheers were just as enthusiastic as the puppet's three performers made it "fly" elegantly offstage, leaving the actor playing Black Ghost and the extras playing soldiers to gawk in amazement...

---------

"Princess Golden Beautifly flew as fast as she could away from the palace." the narrator explained as the Beautifly puppet "flew" across the darkened stage. "She eventually came to a plain in the east of the realm, where her beloved waited for her."

The lights came up on Ash on the set of a plain, with a few trees and "rain" in the background. The puppet's arrival made him balk in amazement as it "disappeared" in a plume of gold smoke and light, revealing May in her glittering gold costume again. "Your Grace...are you all right?" he asked as he led May to a rock.

"I am well, but I can't say likewise to my father and mother..." May sighed. "Black Ghost has taken them prisoner, and proclaimed himself Emperor! But I will never bow before, or marry, someone like him!"

"Do you know where Black Ghost's men have taken the true Emperor and Empress?" Ash asked.

"All I know is that they are hidden somewhere in the realm, in places well guarded with monsters and traps." May replied. "But that means I have no idea where to begin looking for them!"

She sighed. "What do we do now? We can't go back to the palace...and I will not let Black Ghost destroy this beautiful realm, and oppress the people!"

With that, she covered her face with her hands in feigned frustration as the orchestra played the introduction to Ash's song. Let us take the time to grieve, let the tears begin to fall,
Down upon the earth like rain, until it becomes the sea...
Ash sang as he walked across the stage, stopping at the rock May was sitting on.

He then looked at May. One day we will look back, and reflect upon this day.
We'll remember that we loved, then we'll let that love run free!

Let our love shine on, through the mist of many years,
Deep inside my heart, is the hope that's roamed everywhere!


He then looked out at the audience When you're in despair, and the rain falls,
I will sing, and summon forth the sun!
As if on cue, the "rain" dissipated, and the set's "sky" became a colorful sunrise!

I will sing of dreams, and what could be
I'll be right here by your side,
Singing a song of hope...

Ash next set down next to May, spurring her to look at him in feigned sadness. On those nights without a moon, and you're waiting all alone,
You can come and stay with me, I won't even ask you why.

Beautifly, awake! It's the miracle of life!
The circle of life, it goes on...and it will endure!

When the sun rises, and lights the world,
That is when all our dreams come true!
I'll be by your side, protecting you
I will sing a song for you,
A song to touch your heart!


A smile formed on May's face as Ash started the song's bridge. Now if my voice should reach you, and my song should touch your heart,
I hope it heals all of your grief and pain.
Then if you hear Him calling you to go and do the same,
Go forth, and heal the world through your song!


Ash looked out on the audience again, and unleashed the final two choruses. When you're in despair, and the rain falls,
I will sing, and summon forth the sun!
I will sing of dreams, and what could be
I'll be right here by your side,
Singing a song of hope, ah...

When the sun rises, and lights the world,
That is when all our dreams come true!
I'll be by your side, protecting you
I will sing a song for you,
A song to touch your heart!


As the song ended, the audience roared with applause as the lights went down. But for Ash, a sense of relief filled his heart as a stage ninja discretely brought him a Kleenex box. I did it, Rona--I saved my tears for the end! he thought as he wiped a few tears from his eyes, then composed himself for the play's next scene...
 

LightningTopaz

Brock's Pikachu
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Episode 3: The Caravan of Dreams Departs


A few days later, the group crowded around a table in an actor's lounge to see the reviews for "The Beautifly and the Sacred Phoenix"'s opening performance. "Okay..." Brock began as he set aside the theater section of the local newspaper and some notes on radio and TV reviews, and opened several sites and social media pages that had reviews for the play. "The newspaper says 'The Beautifly and the Sacred Phoenix' a worthy addition to the Kagayou's stable of adventures. Only quibble was May singing a little too softly during Act 1..."

"Work on projecting my voice like Ash...got it!" May smiled. "I'll admit I was a little nervous..."

"The newspaper critic chalked it up to nerves, too--you definitely turned up the volume for the big transformation scene at the end of Act 1!" Brock smiled as he set aside the newspaper.

"Clarifying...work on singing at a good volume consistently." May mused. "What else did the critics say?"

"TV and radio reviews are very favorable too..." Brock went on. "Pokebook, Chitter, and Memogram have very enthusiastic feedback, even after weeding out the spam. If they had anything to complain about at all, it was May's volume and Ash missing a few notes during 'Phoenix Lands on the Mountain Peak'."

"To be fair, those really fast runs and lingering nerves did it." Ash explained. "I'll definitely remember to give fast passages a little extra practice to account for nerves."

"That's the spirit!" Misty smiled as she watched Brock shut the PC down. "Now that our last performance here for a while is done, we're hitting the road on our grand tour today!"

Ash smiled as he organized his bags and a gig bag holding a Pokeflute and several whistles. "Got my packing done last night, and my bansi's safe with the other instruments in the orchestra's wagon."

"Well, go get your stuff so we can start loading up the wagons." Misty replied as the group hurried off to retrieve their bags and supplies for the long journey. "Once we're all loaded up, Rona will give us final instructions before we set out."

"Unlike Tawame troupes of old, we're not camping out in the open every night." Brock explained as he brought over his bags and a well loved guitar case. "While we will have to do that at some points on the route, Rona's found lodging that can accommodate the caravan in most every place we plan to stop."

May smiled when she saw the guitar case. "Have acoustic guitar on a trip, will travel."

"That, and my vina's packed away in the orchestra's wagon." Brock explained. "So if we need a break from all the trad Wakunese tunes, we can play trad Galarian, Kalosian, and Unovan tunes at night."

Serena arrived with a well loved instrument case of her own among her bags. "I'm bringing my own fiddle and my mandolin."

"I can at least play percussion around the campfire, if Rona deems dancing too dangerous in the open..." May smiled as she brought over her bags, with Dawn not far behind.

"Okay...are we SURE we have everything we're gonna bring on the trip?" Brock asked. "If you need to go back for something or double check that everything's in order, do it now."

Something occurred to Misty. "Come to think of it, I DID forget a few important things!" With that, she hurried down the hall to the actor's residential complex.

She returned a few moments later with her own fiddle case and a large canvas shopping bag depicting a blue soap bar. "There...now I'm ready to go. I'm sure everyone in the Akai troupe will take care of the theater while the rest of us are on the road."

"Rona gave the Akai's impresaria a wireless GPS monitor-so if she does have to send mail to us, she knows exactly where any of the touring troupes are." Brock explained. "Let's go load the wagons."

---------

Rona smiled as the group arrived with their gear. "Good morning, all--once you've loaded your wagon, I'll explain how each stop on our tour is going to work, okay?"

"Right!" the group chorused before hurrying towards the line of colorful wagons in the theater's parking lot.

"I assume this one is mine..." Ash smiled before climbing in a gold wagon with chrysanthemum designs interwoven with red phoenixes.

He noticed Misty carrying the shopping bag. "What's that for?"

"Soap bars!" Misty smiled. "In many places, even in Waku, it is acceptable to give a bar of soap along with or in place of money. So if you wanna see the show, just donate what you can, or give a bar of soap. What's not kept for souvenirs or our personal use will go in here."

"That's a clever idea..." Rona smiled as she looked in on Ash organizing his gear in his wagon. "You do have Wi Fi in your wagon--each wagon has its own personal network, so you have online access even in the middle of nowhere."

Ash smiled as he unpacked his gear, turning the wagon into what more or less resembled a bedroom, complete with a sturdy countertop with drawers. This made plenty of room to eat or set something down. A laptop and a charging station for a red 3DS and his PokeNav sat on the table, and a sleeping bag was rolled up in the right corner. A plug station for the laptop and any portable appliances was tucked away in a corner, so it wouldn't be jostled. His instruments were in a shady corner by the sleeping bag, and his personal items and everyday clothes were in the back, so they wouldn't fly out of the wagon or damaged by the elements.

Once sure he was happy with his setup, Ash took his PokeNav, climbed from the wagon, and hurried to meet the others out in the center of the empty parking lot...

---------

"Now, here's how every stop on our tour will work..." Rona explained. "We will rehearse shows while we travel, and stay for a week at each stop, performing two performances of a show at each stop. On days we don't perform, you guys are free to relax and see the sights. If you have family in the area, you can visit them, as well."

"If you're from an area, you can show the troupe around, right?" Misty asked.

"Of course." Rona smiled.

A buzz from his PokeNav got Ash's attention, snapping him from Rona speaking. Hi, Ash--good luck on your grand tour! Delia's text read, complete with a Pikachu emoji and a Moltres emoji.

Thanks. Ash typed back, looking up to be sure he didn't miss anything important. You can call or text anytime--our wagons have wi-fi.

Another buzz got his attention. hey it's gary, best of luck on the tour, superstar!

Thanks.
Ash typed back, aware of the Pokemon wranglers hitching Ponytas to the wagons. All our shows will be broadcast on our official site and on MyTube, if you wanna watch.

what show are you doin first?
Gary asked, complete with a curious Umbreon emoji.

"Our first show for the tour will be 'Princess Kaguya of the Heavenly Bamboo'." Rona explained. "Once we get on the road, we'll hold auditions..."

A version of Princess Kaguya. Ash typed. Sounds like a more adventurous version of the story.

can't wait.
Gary typed back. Safe travels, and hope to see you in the audience!

I'll do my best.
Ash typed back. The briefing appeared to be over, so he returned to the wagon.

He watched as one of the crew members closed up the wagon. "We'll be departing shortly." he smiled.

Ash nodded. "Just had to say my goodbyes to family and friends first."

After a few tense moments, he felt the wagon begin to move as the team of Ponytas gracefully made their way out of the theater's parking lot and into the wagon lane on the road, to cheers from a throng of onlookers. Our grand tour of Waku, here we go! he smiled as he invited his faithful Pikachu Tintri on his lap and settled in to read a comic...
 

LightningTopaz

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Episode 4: The Tale of the Rained Out Bamboo

For a while, the caravan's journey was uneventful. In between rehearsals for the troupe's re-imagining of "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter" as an adventure tale, Ash had spent the time reading what comics and novels he packed, responding to messages, and enjoying the view of the plains and hills rolling by, as well as the Pokemon wranglers walking alongside the wagons.

A beep from a small wireless radio lying on the table got his attention. "Emerald Raikou calling Ruby Phoenix, come in..." Brock's voice crackled over the tiny radio's speaker.

Ash scrambled to the table and snatched up the radio. "This is Ruby Phoenix..."

"Great Rainbow says we should be arriving at our first stop soon." Brock explained. "Once we get there, we'll set things up, and take the stage at 6 tonight in the Great Spring's bamboo garden. If it rains, the contingency plan is to perform in the nearby city's theater. We can also get supplies, explore and rest in between shows."

Ash smiled. "Roger--see you in a few minutes. Ruby Phoenix out."

He smiled as he put the radio back. Those wireless radios Rona got us are an Arceus-send! We can talk to each other even though we may be in very different wagons or locations!

Just then, he spotted a large river flowing into a large bamboo grove in the distance, with a town in the distance. That's gotta be the Great Spring...

He nudged his Pikachu awake as the wagons came to a stop near a fork in the road. "Hey...we're here."

[mmm...are you gonna perform yet?] Tintri yawned.

Ash was about to answer when a boom got his attention. "Oh no..."

He felt the wagons start to move again as the Ponytas made their way into the small town. Despite the pouring rain, many of the townsfolk cheered as the caravan passed through the town square and headed for a majestic building with a sloped roof at the north end of town. Looks no different than our theater... Ash thought as the wagon's arrived in the caravan unloading area. The Pokemon wranglers recalled the Ponytas to their Poke Balls to rest, then opened up the wagons to allow the actors and other crew to stretch and assist in unloading.

Misty arrived some moments later. "I was looking forward to performing in the bamboo grove tonight, but I'm no Castform--I don't control the weather."

"Good thing Rona had the foresight to have a plan B in case our outdoor venue got rained out." Ash assured Misty. "Fingers crossed that we'll get to perform our second show in the bamboo grove like we planned..."

"We will--the rain will move out by tomorrow night, so we can perform in the bamboo grove later this week." Rona replied as she studied a radar on WeatherNav. "For tonight, we'll have to perform in the theater--KNTO says that the rain will last through tonight, making it too dangerous to perform outside."

She addressed the crowd of concerned actors. "Actors, go on inside the theater and get ready for tonight--we're not letting a little rain ruin our first tour stop!"

"Yeah--the show must go on!" Ash agreed before leading the charge into the stage door...

---------

Later that evening, the audience in the theater watched as Dawn--now wearing a purple, blue, white, and gold kimono-like outfit that looked like shimmering crystal--addressed Ash, Misty, Brock, Serena, and May on the set of a courtyard in a Waku that never was. "Of all those that have answered my call, you four will accompany me and my envoy Ran on my quest to save the realm of mortals from calamity."

"A calamity?" Brock gasped. "What sort of calamity?"

"No doubt you have heard the news that the rogue called Jade Devil is even now making his way to the imperial palace." Dawn explained. "By the authority of Arceus, I have come to put a stop to his ambitions before he can plunge the mortal realm into an age of woe!"

"What can we do to stop Jade Devil?" Misty asked. "Many have tried to bring him to justice, but so far, all have failed."

"In order to stop Jade Devil, we will need five divine jewels that will dispel his evil aura, and protect us from his demonic arts." Dawn explained. "First, we will travel far to the west to find the Ruby of Enlightened Flame. Next, we travel to Golden Tree Mountain in the Eastern Sea, where we will search for the Emerald of the Grateful Earth. From there, we must seek out the sword wielding Noble Pikachu Tachigami, and convince him to give us the Topaz of the Brilliant Storm. Then, we will slay the notorious dragon Souzen, and claim the Shining Pearl. And finally, we will journey to the peak of Celestial Crown Mountain, and claim the Brilliant Diamond."

Ash nodded as he got up to address Dawn. "No matter how far we may have to go, milady, we stand ready to assist you and protect you on this great quest!"

Cheers filled the theater as he rendered a respectful salute to both May and Dawn with a prop sword. "This will likely be a long journey, milady..." Misty cautioned. "So if you will allow us some time to prepare, we will set out at morning's first light!"

"Very well--we will set out as soon as we have enough supplies for our journey." Dawn replied.

I still wish we left in the bit about Son Goku guiding us to the west... Ash thought as he made his exit. But to be fair, a comical character like Son Goku would be very out of place in an adventurous play like this.

He listened as Brock, now alone on the stage, set the next scene. "The five knights eagerly made their preparations for the perilous quest. Just as Chiyuki had promised, the lady of the moon, her Beautifly envoy, and her four bodyguards departed at dawn the next day..."
 

LightningTopaz

Brock's Pikachu
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Episode 5: A Flight in the Garden, Grounded


"Well...seems our performance of 'Princess Kaguya' in the bamboo garden went over well, even if we had to move the first performance inside due to rain." Brock smiled as he read over the theater section of the Arts and Life section of the newspaper. It had been a few days since the performance in question, and the caravan had made camp in a field for the night.

"I'm just thankful the lunar platform at the end worked, and I was able to rise into the sky like you typically see Princess Kaguya." Dawn remembered as she admired a picture of herself waving goodbye in character to the cast down below. "Part of me worried I was gonna crash onto the stage, but everything worked, and I was able to fly. Doing it in the bamboo garden on a starry night was a nice touch."

She looked over at Ash, who was stargazing in the grass with Tintri at his side. "Hoping to find Princess Kaguya up there?"

"Nope...it's a little early for Tanabata yet, so I don't see Hikoboshi and Orihime either." Ash admitted as he got up from the grass.

"I can assure you we will get to do 'The Tauros-herd and the Weaving Maid' a few times this summer season." Brock assured Ash as he joined Ash and Dawn by the main campfire. "You and Dawn would make a perfect Hikoboshi and Orihime."

"We'd match, at least." Ash agreed, spurring giggles to ripple through the camp.

"As for what we're doing next...Misty interjected as she arrived by the campfire. "'Song of the Roving Taillow, with May in the lead."

She explained "The play's about Luminous Taillow--May's role. She is a young heroine on a journey to better her martial arts and seek her fortune. While in a town, she crosses paths with the notorious Jade Seviper, but she is rescued by Rainbow Phoenix--your role, Ash. He has a long history with Jade Seviper.

"Sounds fun!" Ash smiled. "I like playing characters that have a bone to pick with the villain..."

"Fearing that Jade Seviper could find her again, Luminous Tallow asks Rainbow Phoenix to train her, and Rainbow Phoenix agrees." Misty went on. "After befriending Rainbow Phoenix's companions--played by the rest of us. Luminous Taillow receives appropriate training from all of them, and becomes very powerful. After a long world spanning chase with a quest, the group confronts Jade Seviper, defeat her, and are hailed as heroes."

After acknowledging her applause, Misty explained "The best part? If all the permissions fall in our favor, we'll get to do this show in a real Wakunese garden."

Some concerned murmurs filled the camp. "Are you sure that's okay?" May asked. "Some historic gardens are not that enamored with theater troupes ruining the plants and wildlife..."

"I haven't seen the garden before, but on the off chance they do say no, there's a theater in the nearby town." Misty explained. "I do know that the caretakers of the Eternal Song Garden don't mind people playing music in the garden--they have a pavilion explicitly for that purpose."

"Maybe if we can't do a play in the garden, we can have a session in the garden?" Ash suggested. "Galarian tunes, Unovan mountain tunes and seaside tunes, and Kalosian tunes?"

"I'm game." Brock smiled as he hung a cooking pot over the campfire to begin cooking campfire nachos. "Made sure to pack one of my guitars just for such an occasion--not my main acoustic electric one, but my main traveling guitar."

He smiled at his excited friends. "And yes, we will have a campfire sing along after dinner."

Cheers filled the camp as Brock went to work making dinner for the night...

---------

"No matter if the sky, the earth, or even the sea stands in my way, I will pierce through them all with my rainbow and fly!" Ash announced to no one in particular the next morning. "I am--!"

"We're up early today, aren't we, Ash?" a familiar female voice giggled.

Ash whirled around to see Rona approaching him in the field near the caravan's camp. "Oh, good morning, Rona! I was just getting in some practice before we rehearse in town later today."

"I'm hopeful we can reach town before sunset, so we do have time to rehearse in the theater." Rona assured Ash. "If we need to camp again tonight, I've found another field we can camp in that is near town."

A thought occurred to Ash. "What happens if we can't perform in the Eternal Song Garden?"

"If that happens, we'll perform in the theater, just like last time when 'Princess Kaguya' got rained out on our arrival night." Rona assured Ash. "No matter what setbacks await us on the road, I will do everything I can to make sure the show DOES go on!"

"Okay..." Ash smiled before trying his entrance call again. "No matter if the sky, the earth, or even the sea stands in my way, I will pierce through them all with my rainbow and fly! I am the hero of seven colors, Rainbow Phoenix!"

Rona applauded Ash's triumphant pose. "Not bad! I would only suggest slowing down your speech a little. I get that you may be excited or nervous when you say this line, but the audience won't understand you if you say it at 100 miles an hour. So calm down, and give your entrance speech the punch it needs. You are one of the play's main heroes--act like it!"

Ash nodded, then heroically proclaimed to the rising sun "No matter if the sky, the earth, or even the sea stands in my way, I will pierce through them all with my rainbow and fly! I am the hero of seven colors, Rainbow Phoenix!"

"YES!!!" That's what I'm looking for!" Rona smiled. "Can you keep what I've told you in mind when we have rehearsal later?"

Ash nodded. "I'll do my best."

---------

Later, concerned murmurs filled the Theater of Eternal Song as Rona met the Niji Troupe later that afternoon. "Everyone...as much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, the caretakers of the Eternal Song Garden do not wish us to perform in the garden itself."

"Aw"s filled the air. "I understand that a lot of you were looking forward to performing in the garden." Rona went on. "But the Eternal Song Garden is a historic landmark--and the caretakers fear we could damage some of the priceless landscaping and buildings with our show. So we will rehearse and perform in here.

"Can we at least do some kind of performance in the garden?" Misty asked.

"The caretakers say any sort of music, dance, or readings can be done in the garden." Rona explained. "But you should do that on your own time."

Serena looked unusually calm as the crew made their way backstage to set things up for rehearsal. "You, me, the others--session in the garden after rehearsal?"

Ash nodded. "I'll bring the Pokeflute and a few whistles."

"Well, it'll give us SOMETHING to look forward to after rehearsal..." Brock admitted. "I'll pack the guitar, we'll pick a pavilion to play in, and just play--no rules, no sheet music."

"I can get behind that." Misty agreed. "I'll get the fiddle from the wagon after we finish rehearsal, but let's get through rehearsal first!"
 
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