Episode 19: Guardian of the Magic
[BGM: The Waterfall's Secrets]
"Wow..." Dawn gasped at the expanse of the waterfall cave. in addition to moss growing on the walls, ceilings, and the floor; there were also many glowing crystals embedded in the rock formations, adding an ethereal beauty to the rivers and streams that flowed throughout the cave.
"Va pori eon pori." Kaimana explained, gesturing to a glowing blue crystal.
"Kaimana-san says that the crystals here serve as light in the cave and that they harbor pure chi--what we call magical energy." Janine explained. "We harvest a few each year to give to mages that visit and keep the ecosystem in here balanced."
"I see--if the crystals grow too much, their light would kill many creatures here and blind anyone that were to enter." Dawn mused.
"Yes--it would even blind the great Furuda." Janine replied. "His abode is not far from here." With that, she sprinted off around a corner.
"Hey, wait!" Ash called as he lead the others around the bend and through a twisting path riddled with stalagmites, trying to keep up with Janine all the while, but despite all his efforts to keep up, he arrived in an alcove seconds later, heaving with fatigue. Janine was nearby, looking out over a large lake. "How do you manage to run so fast?"
"Daily training, Ash-san." Janine replied. "Ever since I was small, we were told to run every day. Those that could not run a given distance every day were urged by their masters to train harder until they could--and then the given distance would increase."
"No wonder you rival a Deerling in speed." Brock gasped, impressed.
"Much less me." Kissa agreed.
"I mean, minstrels learn how to run and feats of agility, but not many can run that fast." Brock added.
"They don't make you run until you can barely stand?" Ash was concerned now.
"Oh, no, no, no--while my senseis, or teachers, pushed me and the other genin hard, they understood our limits." Janine assured Ash before setting a fish in the water. "Great Furuda, I come before you with terrible news..."
At first, the room was quiet, but suddenly, the fish disappeared beneath the surface of the water and the ground began to rumble as a snake-like blue dragon with what appeared to be a mane of teal fur on its head burst through the water, splattering everyone. "Janine of the Kimura clan...what brings you here to me?" the dragon asked in a booming, yet gentle voice.
"Miyakawa came under attack by an oshidotane, and although my friends, the other ninjas, and I all tried to drive it away, the Hikari no Shizen was taken." Janine explained as tears welled up in her eyes.
"Do not cry so, Janine--the thief that stole the Hikari did not and will not leave this cave." Furuda assured Janine. "It is still here--I can still sense it."
"Can you grant us permission to venture deeper into the caves to find it?" Ash asked.
"Now why would you, an outsider, want the Hikari?" Furuda demanded, the forcefulness of his voice knocking Ash backwards.
Ash was about to muster a reply to the blue dragon when Janine spoke up. "The mage is a friend of mine, as is the cleric and Karakashu-san."
"So they are friends?" Furuda replied. "Perhaps the disappearance of the Hikari is tied to another, but still vexing problem--I keep hearing an odd singing in the cave, yet I know not the voice..."
"What does it sing?" Dawn asked.
"Listen..." Furuda closed his eyes for a moment and began glowing with a blue aura, making a lower pitched female voice sing Simple as can be... in everyone's heads for a moment.
"Is that..." Dawn gasped as Furuda's aura faded away.
"It cannot be Meroetta's voice--this voice is too low to be her." Furuda mused. "But if it's not her, then what is it?"
"Meroetta?" Ash was confused.
"The Guardian of Song, and the Pokemon that created Song Magic." Brock explained. "Any minstrel that knows Song Magic and those taught by them to use it can all trace their usage of the talent back to her--that's what Arina and Marista both told me."
"Meroetta does not choose who can wield spellsongs and who cannot by chance alone--she examines how brightly the song in your heart glows with the many colors of emotion, and blesses the hearts that shine the brightest with spellsong." Furuda explained as a nearby wall began rumbling open.
"So THAT's how it works..." Ash mused.
"Granted, I know minstrels can sing magic, and those taught by them can as well, but what about those that just love to sing? Can they learn to wield it?" Dawn asked.
Furuda sighed. "That you would have to ask Lady Meroetta--she will prove key to your finding the Hikari and restoring it to its proper place."
"Wait!" Ash asked as Furuda prepared to dive. "How will we know where Meroetta is?"
"Listen for a voice on the wind--you will know her voice when you hear it." Furuda replied. "My prayers and blessings go with you as you search for the Hikari." With that, he dove beneath the lake with another splash.
Ash raced to the stairwell that led deeper into the cave. "Come on! Let's go look for the Hikari and Meroetta!" He was about to lead the way down the stairs when suddenly, he heard a vaguely female sounding high pitched voice sing what sounded like "Oh" in the distance. "What was that?"
"Meroetta?" Dawn wondered.
"Maybe--Meroetta only communicates through song, so if you want to 'speak' to her, you'll need to sing yourself or have an instrument handy." Brock cautioned.
Ash's eyes lit up. "Pikachu, my saefleita, quickly!"
"I appriciate the enthusiasm, but why so excited about a mythical Pokemon?" Janine asked.
"My thinking is, if that voice WAS Meroetta, she will answer back when I play my own instrument." Ash explained as he accepted his saefleita from Pikachu and hung it around his neck. He then played a two part melody for Earth, with a lower pitched response for the Fire melody. After repeating the two part melody a second time for the Wind melody, his response to complete the cycle with Water was slightly higher pitched.
[BGM: Summon Cycle-Meroetta]
"Fascinating..." Janine mused.
"Mages use what's known as a saefleita to summon a companion." Dawn explained over the song. "But to summon a Legendary, you have to play a four part song that matches up to the four primal elements of earth, fire, wind, and water, in that order."
Another "oh..." echoed from below. "I'd say Meroetta has heard you, Ash." Kissa mused as she lead the group down the stairs. "The hard part is finding her once we reach the bottom..."
To Be Continued...