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EVERYONE: The Shimmering Companion (vignettes, sidestories, and extras to the main theater-verse)

LightningTopaz

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Episode 21: Ruby Phoenix Unwillingly Makes a Video


"Do I have to?" Ash asked, unnerved by the camera equipment Misty was holding.

"It'll be fun!" Misty assured Ash. "Besides, it would be fun to show our online fans on MyTube what it's like to be the yuushi of a Tawame troupe! That, and it'd drum up some free publicity for 'The Legendary Magic Sword'! The more people watch the video, the more likely they are to come see the play!"

"It's just for today, Ash...and Rona did give Misty permission to do this." Brock assured Ash. "Will you humor Misty and allow her to put a camera on you for a MyTube video?"

Ash sighed. "Okay...I'll wear the 'Yuushi-cam' for today."

---------

After a few minutes, Misty stepped back to admire her work. "Come to think of it, the headband cam that will do most of the heavy lifting for the video would blend in with costumes and your training garb."

"It's weird seeing what I see as video..." Ash admitted as he saw Misty and Brock smiling back at him through a pair of digital video glasses. The only obvious clue a camera was on him was a tiny black lens in the center of a red headband.

"Okay...here's how everything works..." Misty explained. "The CameraBand is rigged up to some iPieces, so you also see what the camera sees. The red gloves you have on are your controls for the camera--you can start and stop the camera at any point, as well as take a screenshot, adjust the volume of your voice on camera, rewind, fast forward, switch to selfie mode if you want to talk to the audience directly, and more. Once we're done filming, I'll edit all the video together to make one continuous video with effects, and put it on MyTube."

"I see..." Ash mused as he admired the various buttons on the red gloves he wore. "I can pick up and use stuff, and change clothes without messing up the video?"

Misty nodded. "The buttons are somewhere where you can find them, but won't mess up the video. They are also very clearly labeled, so you know which button does what. If you need to change into or out of gear or a costume, just turn off the camera and change. So if you're ready to start filming, just press PLAY to start the camera rolling!"

Ash nodded, flipped the camera view to selfie mode, then pressed PLAY. "Good morning, MyTube! This is Ash of the Kagayou's Niji Troupe." he began. "Since many of you wonder what it is like to be a yuushi actor in a Tawame troupe, I've been rigged up to the 'Yuushi-cam' for today--so you can see what rehearsing and preparing for a Tawame play is like from my perspective..."

---------

"Oh wow!" Dawn gasped as Ash emerged from the dressing room in his training garb and the camera. "Is that a camera?"

"Yeah--Misty rigged a camera to me for today, so our MyTube fans can see what I see." Ash explained. "They're about to see our fight training!"

"Are you sure that's okay?" Dawn wasn't so sure. "I'd hate to damage a camera with our prop swords--but on the other hand, a real first person sword fight would be interesting to see."

As Ash made his way down the hall to the dojo, he switched to selfie mode to tell an imagined audience about what they were about to see. "First on the agenda today is fight training--this explains the training garb. Today I'm going over a pivotal scene in Act 1--a duel with Dawn's character, White Deerling. So if you ever wanted to see how intense the fights in a Tawame play can get, here's your answer."

With that, he switched the camera off long enough to go inside the dojo, accepting one of the prop blades from a trainer on the way inside. "Oh, filming today's rehearsal?" a trainer asked.

"At least, what the fights look like from my POV." Ash replied. "Misty's idea for a MyTube video, with Rona's okay."

"I see..." the trainer mused. "You don't have to worry about the swords damaging your camera gear--they are just props, and not sharp enough to cause injury or damage."

She smiled. "Just let me know when you're rolling before we do each attempt, okay?"

"I plan to try and capture as much as I can, mistakes and all." Ash replied. "But I will tell you when the camera's rolling before we run through the duel."

---------

In the music room, Ash turned down the volume on the camera, then added a split-screen of an oscilloscope app on a nearby PC to his iPiece. "It's well known that the bansi--the ancient sideblown Wakunese flute--is famous for its very distinct loud and piercing sound." he explained. "But just how loud is it, really?"

He readied his own bansi to play. "So let's look at the sound of a bansi through an oscilloscope."

With that, he first played a mid range D note to establish a baseline for the wave images, then started playing various riffs and excerpts from solos he had played hundreds of times, with each riff being saved as a separate image on the screen.

Ash smiled with pride over the rainbow colored soundwave images his music had generated. "On this particular sound wave analyzer, softer sounds lean towards red, and louder sounds lean towards purple, with your average volume around the yellow range." he explained. "As you can see from the excerpts and riffs I have generated, a lot of them are in the blue range, almost purple, with the highest notes being a bright purple..."
 

LightningTopaz

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Episode 22: Kanade, the Dragon, and the Phoenix


The orchestra played a tense interlude as Dawn, in the role of Kanade, met Brock, in the role of the village elder, on a set of a nice ancient Wakunese house. "May I ask why the people gather here tonight? I know of no festival falling on this date, so I thought I would ask why you were celebrating." Dawn began.

Brock sighed as the orchestra's song turned somber. "We are not celebrating anything." he explained. "It was really a funeral service for two of my grandchildren, who, though they are not yet dead, will be called to the heavens before too long."

"But how can such a ceremony be performed over people who are still alive?" Dawn asked. Some of the children in the audience stifle laughter at the quizzical look on Dawn's face.

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

"But is there any way to know when this terrible sacrifice is going to be demanded?" Dawn asked.

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

"But what is the demon like?" Dawn asked.

"No one knows for sure what he is like," Brock cautioned as the elder as the orchestra's song turned tense. "He has no form that one can see. His presence is known by a strong gust of wind which fills the place with a peculiar smell, and with an influence so subtle that you feel yourself within the grip of a powerful force, and instinctively bow as though you were in the presence of a being who could destroy you in a moment if it wanted to." A bansi proceeded to blast a note that sounds more or less like a girl's scream, startling many in the crowd.

"One more question..." Dawn interjected as she got up from her place on the stage floor. "Where did this demon come from, and how that he has grown so strong enough to defy even heaven itself, with the Great Lord Arceus and all the Legendaries that watch over us all?"

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

Fearful whispers race through the crowd as the children debate how such a demon could be defeated. "Now, Kanade cherished all living things, but she grew very angry when she thought of how many innocent children had been sacrificed to appease the depraved demon." May went on, quieting the chatter as the lights went down. "Taka and Mizuchi were just as mad, and they began to discuss how to save the elder's grandchildren, and at the same time slay the demon so no one would ever have to sacrifice a child again."

As the lights came up on the set of a common ancient Wakunese house, Ash--in a majestic red, orange, and gold costume--appeared in a burst of "fire. Misty--in a majestic blue, silver, and white costume--arrived a few moments later. "So? How did the meeting with the elder go?" Misty asked as Dawn arrived in the scene.

"It turns out the festival was no festival at all--and many in this village cry because they have lost a son or daughter to a demon." Dawn explained. "It doesn't help that the elder's children are next in line to meet this horrible fate."

"This has gone far enough!" Ash vowed. "No more hearts should have to break to appease a demon! Especially not an elder's children!"

Misty nodded in agreement. "We can't flat out refuse to send a sacrifice...no doubt there is some horrible fate to those that refuse this demon?

An idea occurred to her. "Say...what if we traveled to the demon's lair under the ruse that we will be the sacrifices?"

"That's a great idea!" Dawn smiled. "You both have transformation abilities, so Demon-san would be none the wiser!"

Misty nodded in agreement. "Let us return to the elder, and inform him of our plan."

Ash grinned. "Let me play the boy, and Mizuchi play the girl, and together we will battle the demon, and deliver the people from his dreadful tyranny."

Cheers filled the air at the orchestra's triumphant stinger. "Okay...I will tell the elder of our plan, and ask for what he knows of the demon's tactics so you two can prepare for the battle." Dawn smiled before exiting. The orchestra played a hopeful interlude as the lights went down...
 

LightningTopaz

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Episode 23: Smelling the Heavenly Fragrance For the First Time

"Okay! The Heavenly Fragrance Bow is ready for action!" Rona smiled, sending the group dashing into the dojo's archery range. The custom bow had been specially made for Brock for the play of the same name, and Brock was excited to finally shoot the glittering red, green, and gold bow with eight glittering prop jewels near the grip.

"Is it okay if I take a few shots before our acting rehearsal?" Brock asked as he admired the ornate bow in Rona's hands. "I wanna see how the bow feels before I actually get to shoot it in Act 3."

"Here you are." Rona replied, giving Brock a quiver full of glittering green and gold arrows.

He sniffed the air before nocking his first shot. "I can tell the weaponsmiths used real azusa wood to make this--I'd know that earthy Cheri-like smell anywhere!"

"They did use azusa wood for this weapon, even though it's technically not a hamayumi." Ash replied. "The weaponsmiths felt the bow should actually have a smell, and it serves a sacred role in the play, so they built it and blessed it like a hamayumi."

"You should've seen the blessing ceremony!" Serena raved at a memory. "Maybe those blessings will extend to our show!"

"I hope they will." Brock smiled as he nocked his first test shot.

Everyone held their breaths as the arrow elegantly flew into the target's bullseye. "Great shot!" Rona applauded as she watched Brock ready another arrow.

"I think he likes the sweet smell of the azusa." Dawn whispered as Brock's second shot landed on the left edge of the bullseye, to some quiet applause.

"He probably won't tell everyone publicly, but I think he's savoring every smell of the azusa he can with each shot." Misty agreed. "After all, the smell of azusa is supposed to relax you and help you focus--a must for the miko that traditionally used hamayumi."

"Brock is definitely focused, all right!" Ash smiled as Brock readied a third arrow to shoot. "Focused on making every shot hit the bullseye." He let that hang as Brock fired again...

---------

Later that afternoon, the Niji Troupe gathered to rehearse the pivotal point of Act 1--Brock's character learning of the dragon on the move and vowing to find the jewels inside the Heaven;y Fragrance Bow. "Okay, everyone...let's try Green Raikou's promise scene." Rona began, quieting the excited chatter onstage.

"Where in that scene are we starting, again?" Misty asked as she thumbed to Scene 3 in Act 1. "From the start of the scene, or Green Raikou vowing to find the jewels in the bow?"

"The promise scene, and the lines leading to it." Rona replied. "So, let's start from Silver Taillow's line about how the Heavenly Fragrance Bow is powerless without its jewels."

May found her line towards the end of the scene. "The Heavenly Fragrance Bow is powerless without its jewels! How do you plan to take on a dragon while the bow is missing its jewels?"

"I don't plan on battling Kuraijou with the bow in its current state." Brock assured May. "I plan to find the jewels that Kuraijou scattered first, then battle her!"

"Even though the bow is not at full power, are you SURE you want to battle Kuraijou?" Ash asked. "They say she is very powerful--strong enough to kill a god!"

"SOMEONE has to battle her!" Dawn interjected. "If nothing is done about her, the Emperor, the Empress, and the noble sects of the land would meet a horrible fate!"

"You're right..." Ash sighed. "If anyone could find the Heavenly Fragrance Bow and defeat Kuraijou, Raikou-san would be it!"

"I will go to any lengths to restore the Heavenly Fragrance Bow's divine power, and defeat Kuraijou, or die trying." Brock vowed. "That's a promise."

"All right, and scene!" Rona smiled, pleased at how the last part of the scene looked. "May, nicely done on balancing your character's fears and emotions, and not letting it become hysteria."

"Thanks--it's still hard to stay calm in this scene, but I think I'm getting the hang of it." May smiled.

"I did okay with my lines?" Ash asked. "I was trying to not be melodramatic either..."

"It was much better than the last few attempts..." Rona assured Ash. "You remembered my lesson on balancing your character's emotions, and letting Dawn shine in this scene."

She next addressed Dawn. "Remember that seeing Ash's character afraid is very unusual, as typically he is the first to charge to battle in times like this. You don't want to scream when you say 'someone', but you do want to emphasize someone has to slay the dragon, so try to sell the urgency in your lines. So his fear and your urgency should sell to the audience that Kuraijou is very powerful."

"Speaking of which--how are we going to handle Kuraijou when we reach her lair in Act 3?" Serena wondered. "Puppet? Animatronic? Projection?"

"A combo of video projection and an animatronic with targets." Rona replied. "It will be amazing to see the animatronic fly over the audience during the final fight!"

"I know--I can't wait to hit the heart target when it comes at me." Brock agreed. "Any ETA on when the animatronic and its targets will be ready?"

"In another two weeks, the practice animatronic will be ready for you to shoot at, and we can start putting together the final fight." Rona replied. "For now, let's continue working on lines and practicing songs, solos, and fights."
 

LightningTopaz

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Episode 24: Six Spirits Live on TV


"It's been called 'the quintessential Tawame play', and a classic of the massive Tawame canon." a male TV announcer explained. "Now, the Kagayou is reviving 'The Princess of the Gold Palace' to kick off its popular summer series of plays."

"Joining us here in the studio are the six stars that make the play famous in Kanto..." a female announcer went on before addressing Serena, Misty, and May. "Serena, Misty, May, thank you and thanks to your co-stars backstage for taking the time to come visit us today."

"The pleasure's all ours." Misty replied.

"Tell us--why do you believe this ancient play has endured for so long?" the announcer asked.

"While the play is a love story at its heart, it also has some timeless messages--such as believing in yourself, standing up for what's right, and the lengths you are willing to go for those you love." Misty explained. "Plus, who doesn't love a story where love conquers all?" Laughter rippled through the TV studio in agreement.

Backstage, Ash, Dawn and Brock finished getting into costume. "Ready?" Ash asked, listening all the while for the signal that Misty, Serena, and May had finished the interview.

"Let's do this!" Dawn smiled as she emerged in a sparkling gold outfit with orange undertones and an elaborate headdress to match. "No matter how many times we do this play, I never get tired of these two scenes!"

Brock smiled. "There's lots of memorable moments in this play, but I think we picked one of the most iconic parts to perform live in the studio."

He peeked out to find Serena finishing her answer to the female announcer's last question. "They're winding up the interview--let's get into position!"

----------


The lights came up on a beautiful garden set in the TV studio some moments later. Dawn arrived on the stage a few moments later, savoring the exquisite detail in the set. No matter how many times we do this play, I love how the set crew went all out for this!

A bansi flourish from offstage almost made her jump. "A flute? Who could be playing here in the garden?" she wondered as the single flourish became a romantic melody. "It can't be one of the royal musicians, since the Sakura Festival doesn't start for a few days..."

She called offstage "Is it a friend or a foe who serenades me? Do you come in peace?"

Ash emerged from a bush on the set, a dull red cloak covering his phoenix-like costume. "A friend, milady. I am a traveler from a far away land."

"A traveler? Are you here for the festival?" Dawn asked. "If you are, you are early--the first night of the festival is this Golden Night..."

Ash and Dawn pantomimed a polite but friendly conversation as the TV cameras panned to Brock in his nook. "The princess and the mysterious traveler talked for a long time--the more she talked, the more Princess Kinari wanted to learn about this divine musician..."

"Will you be back for the festival?" Dawn asked.

Ash nodded. "I plan to stay for the festival...if you will meet me here in the garden before the festivities begin, we will talk more."

"I promise." Dawn replied, to some "aw"s in the studio audience as she embraced Ash...

---------

"The first night of the Sakura Festival arrived, and just as he promised, the mysterious prince returned to meet Princess Kinari." Brock narrated as he played a mysterious melody. "Though the princess had many questions about this flame colored traveler, deep within her heart, she was falling in love."

The lights came up on Dawn meeting Ash at center stage. "You came! Will you tell me who you are?"

"Not yet, milady..." Ash replied. "If I were to tell you who I am now, it would cause an uproar in the palace, and cast a pall on the festivities. But I promise you--when you get a free moment in your royal duties, return here to this place. I will tell you who I am then, and why I have to hide my identity. But I assure you my intentions in seeing you are pure and honorable."

Dawn hung her head in feigned sadness and shame. "Is it because of my father you have to keep your identity a secret?"

Ash nodded. "If your father were to find out who I am, he would likely kill us both in a fit of rage. But know this--I love you more than any king, prince, emperor or hero that has come asking for your hand before."

"And I love you in kind." Dawn smiled. "Father can kill me if he wants, but I will never stop loving you!"

"Then will you promise to meet me here when you have a moment?" Ash asked. "I will tell you everything then."

Dawn nodded. "I promise...may Arceus judge my father if he tries to keep me away from you!"
 

LightningTopaz

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Episode 25: Six Elements Come into Balance


The acrobatics training room filled with excited chatter and laughter as the group arrived for acrobatic training. "Even though you do balancing all the time, Serena, this is the first time I can remember that we all had to do balancing training..." Ash mused as he got down onto a mat to stretch.

"Since the play's called 'Raikou Climbs the Mountain', I'm probably going to need to balance at the top of said mountain at the high point somewhere in Act 2." Brock smiled in agreement. "But since this is my first time doing balancing training, what can we expect?"

"There's several different exercises I do as part of balancing training, and a feat that can double as training." Serena explained. "But as this is you guys' first time balancing, there's no tightrope walking just yet--although a tightrope walk is one of your first goals if you're new to balancing."

"Bad memories of Mario Party..." Ash swallowed hard at having to walk across a tightrope while dealing with wind and cannonballs raining around him.

Serena stifled a giggle. "Oh no, there's no wind, and no cannonballs--all you'd have to do is walk a short way across to Tintri at the other end. The more confident you get, the longer the walk gets. For today, what you'll probably do is some balancing on one foot exercises, balance on a box, and balance on a ball."

"Balancing on a box sounds easy enough..." Ash smiled as he met the group in the center of the room. "How hard can that be?"

---------

"For our first exercise today, let's try a simple weight shift." the trainer explained. "This isn't a very difficult exercise, and perfect for balancing beginners."

She went on "Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your weight equally distributed on both legs."

Once sure everyone was in position, she explained "Next, shift your weight to your right side, then lift your left foot off the floor just a little."

This isn't that hard--I don't even feel like I'm gonna fall! Ash smiled as he focused on holding the position for five seconds.

"All right, now repeat this process with the other leg." the trainer explained.

"This is easy!" Misty smiled, pleased as she held the position on her right foot. "Wonder when we'll get to do the box?"

"The box is up next..." the trainer replied. "The box provides some extra stability if you are attempting to balance on one leg for the first time. Once you get comfortable with the box, we can try balancing on one leg without it."

---------

The trainer smiled as Ash made a powerful jump onto a wooden box. "Eager to get started, Mr. Phoenix?"

"Yeah!" Ash agreed as he watched the others step onto identical boxes for the forward bend exercise.

"The forward bend is the building block for all those balancing feats I do." Serena explained. "So while it might feel shaky at first, so long as you follow directions, you'll be fine."

"I wouldn't be opposed to trying the balance beam at some point..." Brock agreed as he stepped onto a box of his own.

"We do in fact have some balance beams in here, and I still remember all the moves I learned with them in gymnastics classes." Dawn smiled. "I can always give you some ideas for more balancing exercises on the beam, plus some cool moves that would look good onstage."

"Okay, everyone..." the trainer began. "Here's how to do a proper forward bend..."

She began "Stand with all your weight in your left foot, abs engaged and chest lifted. Next, reach your torso forward as you lift your right leg behind you. Reach your arms overhead for balance as your torso and leg come parallel to the floor."

"Whoa..." Brock gasped before managing to steady himself. "Now I know why you say it feels a little shaky at first." he grinned at Serena.

"Okay, hold it!" the trainer called. "Five seconds."

Easy as pie. Dawn smiled as she held the pose for five seconds, even though May was shaking nervously.

"Now, lower your right leg and your arms toward the floor as you return to standing position, resting the right foot lightly on the ground." the trainer instructed.

She smiled as everyone steadied themselves again. "Okay! Are we ready to try this with the other leg?"

"As I'm ever going to be..." May nervously stammered before starting the movement again with the other leg, being careful to mimic the trainer leading them.

How Serena and Dawn do this every day, I don't know... Ash thought as he performed the movement again. I feel like I'm gonna fall at any moment!

Serena just gave Ash an encouraging smile. Just like any other skill, this is gonna take time and practice. But I believe you can do it!
 

LightningTopaz

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Episode 26: Six Spirits Reach for the Stars


"Here we are, everyone!" Misty smiled before making a grand gesture to Cerulean City's main drag. "Welcome to Cerulean City--the city with flowing water and blooming flowers."

"It's beautiful!" Dawn smiled as the group stepped onto a sidewalk. "This is a perfect vacation after all those shows we've been doing lately..."

"Where should we go first?" May asked. "Besides the Gym, what do visitors need to see?"

"Besides, Lilly, Violet and Daisy are doing maintenance on the Gym pools, so we shouldn't disturb them." Misty agreed. "Aside from the Gym, if you wanna see a Western play, a concert, or some other show, the Wave Theater is that way..." She pointed towards the west district. "If you miss the Tawame stage and wanna see my local troupe, the Suiren Theater is that way..." She pointed towards the east district of the city. "If you wanna get your history fix, Hanada Keep is close to where we are by bus. While most of the castle is original, some of it's been reconstructed."

"Isn't that the castle best known for its brave warriors, and how they stood up to all kinds of attacks?" Ash wondered.

"That's the one!" Misty smiled. "You can go inside and look around, as it's a Living History Monument. You can also see the historic Great Valley Temple, which is sacred to Manaphy and Phione."

"I'll have to check that out--maybe leave an offering for them for good luck with our shows?" Dawn smiled at a memory of Chocovine Town.

"Also of interest in the east district are the many fireworks factories, Stars Park, if you like baseball, and Dumpling Row." Misty went on as she led the group to a bus stop. "So, where to first?"

"Are the Stars having a game today?" Ash asked, excited at visiting a different team's park.

Misty glanced at the Cerulean Stars' schedule on SportsNav. "Yes! They're up against the Crimson City Ninetales today..."

She offered the group a bundle of tickets. "Anyone wanna go to the game? Daisy had some extras, just enough to allow all of us to go."

"Would I ever!" Ash happily grabbed one of the tickets.

"Tell Daisy we said thank you for the tickets." Serena replied as she too took a ticket.

Once everyone had a ticket, Misty explained "Now, Stars Park is just ten minutes away from here by bus. These tickets should put us in the first deck, overlooking home plate and first base. We have an hour before the game, so feel free to get food at Concessions Row, or souvenirs at the Star Shop."

"I know Max would like a Cerulean Stars hat..." May smiled. "That's one of the few Kanto team hats he doesn't have yet..."

"If he needs a Diamonds hat for the collection, I can mail him one." Brock offered as a sleek blue and silver bus pulled up to the stop.

"He has a standard Diamonds hat already, but thank you for offering." May replied. "He IS missing the silver and black away variant and the gold and black alternate."

"Okay...I'll see if the team shop at home has any of the away hats or the Gold Diamond variant." Brock assured May. "They don't typically have the away variant or the Gold Diamond for sale, but every once in a while, they'll be in stock."

"Interesting...do the Stars have any variations in their team uniforms?" Ash wondered as he watched buildings go by.

"Yes--in addition to your standard electric blue, white, and silver, there is the away variant, which has silver as the dominant color, a teal variation of the home uniform, and a royal blue uniform for special occasions." Misty explained. "But for every day home games like this, they'll be in the standard home colors."

She smiled as the bus pulled up to the stadium's bus dropoff. "And we're here! Welcome to Stars Park!"

"Wow..." Ash gasped, amazed by the stadium's size. "Trinity Park could fit in here twice!"

"Don't forget your tickets!" Misty reminded the group as they stepped off the bus and hurried to the stadium's front gates...

---------

Cheers filled the stadium as "Red, Blue. and Yellow Bold" finished some time later. "Play ball!" the chief umpire announced, signalling the game was underway.

Ash smiled as he watched the Ninetales' catcher come to the plate. "This is one of the best ways to spend a week off..." he mused as he watched the Stars' left fielder easily catch the ball, rendering an out.

He nudged Misty. "Got a glove if a ball comes this way?"

Misty beamed as she showed Ash a well loved electric blue Stars baseball glove. "I always do--you never know when a stray ball from either team will come your way!"

The crack of a bat and the cheers and calls of the excited crowd snapped Brock to attention. "Heads up, foul ball headed this way!"

Try as Misty might, the ball ended up flying over the group and into the second deck. "I tried, but that went way over us..." she assured Ash. "But it's just the top of the first, so there's plenty of time to get at least one foul ball." She let that hang as the Ninetales' shortstop came to the plate...
 
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