Tale 203: A Mage in Disguise (Ash)
"Somewhere in a far away land--I don't know where--there lived a king who owned two remarkably fine fields of wheat, but every night two of the wheat bundles were burnt down in one of the fields." Ash begins. "Understandably, the king was very mad at this, and sent out soldiers to catch whoever had set fire to the wheat; but it was to no avail--they could not see who did it."
"So who did it?" Brock is intrigued.
"Then he offered nine gold pieces to anyone who caught the perp, and at the same time ordered that whoever did not keep proper watch over the fields would be killed." Ash intones, making the Pokemon shudder. "Although there were a great many people that volunteered, none of them seemed to be able to protect the fields."
"He'll kill off his whole kingdom at this rate..." Misty is unamused at the king's barbaric order
"The king had already killed ninety-nine people to death, when a little swineherd came to him who had two Growlithes; one was named Hunter, and the other Goldie." Ash goes on. "The boy--we'll call him Alex--told the king that he would watch over the wheat."
"Pika?" Pikachu asks, fearing for Alex.
"When it grew dark, Alex climbed up on top of a hill, where he could see the whole field." Ash goes on. "Around eleven o'clock he thought he saw someone sneaking up to a wheat stalk and setting it on fire. 'Just you wait,' he thought, and called out to his Growlithes..."
In character as Alex, he calls "Oi! Hunter, Goldie, go get him!"
Laughter fills the tent at Ash's realistic call. "But Hunter and Goldie had not waited to be told what to do, and in five minutes the man was caught." Ash continues as himself.
"Good puppies..." Brock grins, petting an imaginary Growlithe by his side.
"The next morning he was brought before the king, who was so pleased with Alex that he gave him a thousand gold pieces at once." Ash explains. "The prisoner appeared to be all covered with hair, almost like a Pokemon. In fact, he was so strange and frightening to look at that the king locked him up in a strong room and sent out letters of invitation to all the other kings and queens asking them to come and see this wonder."
"Oh boy..." Misty sighs--charging admission for a freak show in a tale never ended well for the captors.
"That was all well and good; but the king had a son that was ten years old--we'll call him Shane--who went to look at the hairy man too, and the man begged so hard to be set free that Prince Shane felt sorry for him." Ash continues. "So he stole the key to the strong room from his mother and opened the door. Then he put the key back, but the hairy man escaped and went out into the world."
"And then?" Melody asks
"Then the kings and queens began to arrive, all of them anxious to see the hairy man; but he was gone! The king nearly burst with rage and with the shame he felt." Ash intones. "He gave his wife the third degree, and told her that if she could not find and bring back the hairy man he would put her in a hut made of reeds and burn her there."
"Such a tyrant..." Misty is still angry at the king's order.
"The queen swore to Arceus that she had had nothing to do with the matter; if her son had happened to take the key it had not been with her knowledge." Ash explains. "So they summoned Prince Shane and grilled him for a good thirty minutes, until he finally confessed that he had let the hairy man out. The king ordered his servants to take the prince into the forest, kill him there, and bring back his heart as proof."
"This is starting to sound like 'Snow White'...." Misty muses.
Ash just smiles--his tale actually is not a 'Snow White' variant at all. "There was great sadness all over the kingdom when word of the king's command got out, for Prince Shane was well loved and well liked among the people. But there was nothing to be done, and they took Prince Shane out into the forest."
Melody swallows hard at this, but Ash assures his jittery audience "But the guards felt sorry for him, and so killed a Tepig and carried its heart to the king, who seemed satisfied, and considered the matter closed."
"Now to see when--or if--His Highness figures out what he really has..." Brock grins.
"Prince Shane wandered about in the forest and lived as best as he could for five years." Ash assures Brock. "One day he came upon a poor little cottage where an old man lived. They got to talking, and Prince Shane told his story and sad fate. Then they recognized each other, for the old fellow was actually a mage, and the same hairy man whom Prince Shane had set free. He explained that all the hair was a disguise to help him blend in in the forests and fields."
"Oh..." Misty nods when she puts two and two together.
"Prince Shane stayed with the mage for two years; then he wished to go further into the world." Ash goes on. "The old mage pleaded for him to stay, but Prince Shane's mind was made up, so the old mage gave him a ruby--when 'Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...' was sung to it, it would glow and produce a Shiny Ponyta, and a beautiful crystal bow to use as a mounted weapon."
"Whoa..." Even Brock is amazed at the gifts.
"Next, the mage gave Prince Shane a sapphire, when 'Furiya, shuru shamato' was sung to it, it would conjure an array of knights mounted aboard not just Ponytas, but Salamences, Braviaries, and pegasi too." Ash continues before adding "and a beautiful sword to command them all."
"Wow!" Misty pictures herself as a Braviary riding knight.
Then Prince Shane received an emerald--when 'Seios, higarima laisido...' was sung to it, it would summon as many heroes that he wanted, and a staff made of crystal to cast spells with if his other weapons failed." Ash goes on. "The mage made Prince Shane swear to Arceus to take the greatest care of these presents, and then they parted."
"Pika pi?" Pikachu sparks happily in anticipation of a quest.
"Prince Shane wandered on and on till he came to a large city in another land." Ash explains. "He found work in the king's palace, and as no one cared about where he came from, he lived as a servant, and grew to be loved and respected."
After a pause to collect his bearings, Ash goes on "One day, news was brought to the king that he had to go to war, for an enemy king was due to invade at any moment. He was horribly frightened, for he had a very small army, but he had to go defend his lands all the same."
"Oh my!" Melody gasps.
"When they had all left, Prince Shane said to the housekeeper..." Ash then switches to a younger version of himself. "Give me leave to go to the next town--I owe a small debt there, and I want to go and pay it"
As himself,he continues "and as there was nothing much to do in the palace, the housekeeper gave him leave."
[And then?] a Meowth begs.
"When he got beyond the city, he took out his ruby and sang..." Ash pauses to sing as Prince Shane Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul..., "and when the Shiny Ponyta appeared in a flash of red light, he swung himself into the saddle. Then he took the sapphire..." Ash then sings Furiya, shuru shamato.... "and the emerald...." He next sings Seios, higarima laisido... "and with all those heroes by his side, he joined the king's army."
Pikachu sparks excitedly in anticipation of a battle. "The king saw them approach with fear in his heart, for he did not know if it was a friend or foe; but Prince Shane rode up, and bowed low before him.
He then bows on one knee before Brock. "I bring Your Majesty reinforcements."
"The king was delighted, and all dread of his enemy disappeared like that." Ash snaps to illustrate his point, prompting Brock to strike a heroic pose, much to Misty's bemusement. "The king's two daughters--Princess Crisanta and Princess Ariana--were there too. They both liked Prince Shane, and begged him to get into their carriage so they could talk with them."
"There's your princesses..." Brock grins at Happini, who is laughing happily at the mention of a princess in Ash's tale.
"But he respectfully declined, and remained mounted, as he did not know when the battle would begin; and while they were all talking, Princess Ariana took off her favorite sapphire ring, and her sister tore her hanky in two, and they gave these gifts to Prince Shane." Ash continues. "Suddenly the enemy armies came into view. The king asked whether his army or Prince Shane's troops would lead the way; but Prince Shane charged first and with his knights, he fought so bravely that only two of the enemy troops were left alive, and these two were only spared to act as messengers."
"Talk about a resounding victory!" Melody is impressed.
"The king was overjoyed and so were the princesses at this brilliant victory." Ash affirms Melody's observation with a nod. "As they drove home they begged Prince Shane to join them, but he would not come, and galloped off with his troops. When he got near the city, he called back the troops into the jewels, and then strolled into town. On his return to the palace he was scolded by the housekeeper for staying out so late."
Everyone laughs at this. "Well, you'd think my tale would be over here; but it happened that Princess Ariana had fallen in love with Prince Shane, as he had with her." Ash cautions as Misty starts to applaud, thinking the story is over. "He gave her the emerald as a token of his love."
"Uh oh..." Brock notes.
"One day, as the princesses were talking with their father, Princess Ariana asked him whether it might not have been their servant who had helped him so much. The king was angry at the idea; but, just to make her happy, he ordered the servant's room to be searched." Ash continues. "And there, to everyone's surprise, they found Princess Ariana's ring and the half of the hanky. When these were brought to the king he summoned Prince Shane and asked if it had been he who had come to their rescue."
"Yes, your Majesty, it was me." he answers as Prince Shane.
"But where did you get your army?" Brock asks as the king.
"If you wish to see it, I can show it to you outside the city walls." Ash offers.
"And so he did; but first he asked for the emerald from Princess Ariana, and when all the heroes were summoned, there were so many that there was barely room for them."
[Oh my!] Mai gasps as she pictures the crowd of heroes.
"The king gave him Princess Ariana and the kingdom as a reward for his aid, and when he heard that Prince Shane was himself a king's son his joy knew no bounds." Ash continues. "After calling back all the heroes, they went back into the town."
He concludes "Not long after there was a grand wedding; and perhaps they are still celebrating, but I don't know for sure."
"That was wonderful!" Misty grins as she applauds....