Tale 137: The Juniper Rod (part 2) (Brock)
"So, what happened to Hideki when he got to Guren Island?" Misty asks Brock, eager to know what happened next in his epic adventure.
"Glad you asked!" Brock smiles as he checks his guitar's tuning, then starts a mystical melody. "When he got there, he soon found the pool in the middle of the island. It was surrounded with sea-drift covered with sakura. Hideki noticed at the far end of the lake in the shade of a clump of flowers was a sea-green boat floating on the still water that looked like a sleeping Swanna with its head under its wing."
"How pretty!" Melody sighs dreamily as she pictures herself in such a boat.
"As Hideki had never seen anything like this before, he crept up to it out of curiosity." Brock explains as he plays a "sneaking" melody. "Then he stepped into the boat to examine it more closely. He had Hardly put his foot in it when he discovered it had turned into a living, breathing Swanna!"
Everyone laughs as they picture Hideki's reaction. "Hideki uttered a cry of dismay at the amazing transformation, but the Swanna only floated more quickly toward the middle of the lake." Brock continues. "Then the Swanna put its beak in the water and dove in, carrying Hideki with it into the depths."
After playing a long harp-like riff to simulate the Swanna swimming, Brock intones "In a moment they had reached the witch's castle, which was made of many tiny glittering seashells. A crystal stairway led up to the door, and it was built in such a way that at each step you took the stair sang like a forest bird. All around the palace were immense gardens and lawns of seaweed set with diamonds and other jewels instead of flowers, and surrounding the gardens was a forest of kelp.
Amazed murmurs fill the air as the group imagines the castle. "Hedeki stood in the doorway of the castle, and there in the first room he saw the witch lying on a golden bed. She was dressed in sea-green silk as fine and soft as a wave. Coral ornaments were in her black hair which fell down to her feet; and her face was as delicately tinted as the inside of a shell." Brock continues.
"Beautiful witches are even worse than old hags..." Ash muses.
"Hideki was awed at the sight of so beautiful a lady." Brock intones over a tense melody. "But the fairy rose up smiling and went toward him, her steps like the sweep of the waves on the rolling sea."
In character as a lady, he begins "Welcome--there is always a place here for strangers like you. Who are you? Where do you come from? And what do you want?"
"My name is Hideki," he answers in character as a young boy. "I come from Nisambi, and I am looking for enough money to buy a house and fields of my own"
"Very well," he replies as the witch, "your search shall be rewarded,--you shall have your heart's desire."
Ash swallows hard over the guitar's tense riff. "I have a bad feeling about this..."
"The witch then ushered him into a second room, the walls of which were hung with threaded pearls." Brock continues as himself. "She gave him eight different kinds of wine in eight different goblets, each one made of chased gold. Hideki began by drinking the eight wines and, as he found them delicious, he drank eight servings of each, and always he imagined the witch was more and still more beautiful. Had the world ever seen so enchanting a being?"
"Sixty four glasses of wine will do that to you..." Misty giggles.
"As Hideki drank, the witch told him that the pool of Guren Island was connected by an underground passage with the sea, and that all the wealth of wrecked ships was drawn there by a magic current." Brock goes on. He then gasps as Hideki "On my honor! I am not surprised that landlubbers speak so badly of you. People as rich as you are always making others envious. As far as I am concerned half your fortune would do for me."
"You shall have it, Hideki," he replies as the witch
"But how can you manage that?" he gasps as Hideki.
"I have lost my husband who was an elf," he answers as the witch; "and so if I am to your taste I will be your wife."
The audience applauds at the interplay before Brock continues as himself "Hideki was quite breathless at what he heard. Was it possible that he was to marry the beautiful fairy whose palace was rich enough to contain eight barrels of marvelous wine, and more? He had promised to marry Sora, but memories of Sora were fast becoming clouded by fumes from the witch's brews."
Tense murmurs fill the air. "Hideki told the fairy very politely that he could not refuse her offer, and that he was overcome with joy at the prospect of becoming her husband." Brock intones over an ominous chord. The witch then said she would prepare the feast for the betrothal at once. She set a table and spread it with the nicest dishes Hideki had ever seen, as well as many he had never tasted before. Then she went out into the garden to a fish pond and, taking a net in her hand, leaned out over the water.
As the witch, he calls "Come here, tamer of Pokemon! Come here, come here, miller, tailor, pastor!"
He interjects as himself "Each time she spoke, Hideki saw a Magikarp leap into her net."
"Then that means..." Misty's eyes widen as she puts two and two together.
Brock seemingly confirms Misty's prediction a few moments later. "When the net was full, she went back into the palace to the room next to the one where the table was set, and taking a golden frying pan she threw all the Magikarps into it. Yet for some reason Hideki swore that amidst the sputter of the frying, he could hear whispers."
"Who is whispering in your golden frying pan, fairy?" he asks as Hideki.
"It is just the sparks that the wood is throwing out," he replies as the witch.
He interjects as himself "But then he heard the little voices begin to mutter."
"Who is muttering?" he asks as Hideki.
"It is the fat that is melting," he replies as the witch.
He interjects as himself again "Soon the voices began to shout."
"Who is shouting so, fairy?" he asks, a note of fear in his 'Hideki' voice.
"It is only the Nincadas on the hearthstone," he answers as the witch.
As himself, he continues "Now all that was happening began to clear Hideki's head. He was shaking in fear, and yet he also felt a pang or three of remorse. How could he forget Sora for a lady with all the wiles and charms of Darkrai, and likely with evil powers to boot?"
[So what did he do?] Even Mai is shaking in fear over Hideki's fate.
"While Hideki was mulling his predicament, the witch brought in the fried Magikarp and begged him to sit down to dinner." Brock explains to the Persian. "As she left to bring him even more wine for him to taste, Hideki sat down and drew the sword Sora gave him, touching the blade to every dish. Amazingly, all the Magikarp transformed into a dizzying array of men and women. They begged Hideki to save them if he wanted to be saved himself."
Misty grins. I knew all those Magikarps were really people the witch turned into Magikarps!
"As they climbed from the dishes, many of the captives told Hideki that they too came to Guren Island to seek their fortune at one time or another." Brock continues over another tense riff. "They agreed to marry or serve the witch, and the next day turned them into Magikarp just as she had turned those who came before them into Magikarps who were all swimming in the big fish pond. If Hideki didn't do something, they warned, he would soon be in the same state, perhaps fried and eaten by the newcomers!"
Gasps go up at Brock's horrifying prediction. "At this, Hideki leapt up as though he was already in the golden frying pan." Brock goes on over a "running" melody. "He rushed toward the door, hoping to escape before the witch came back. But she had heard everything--she turned Hideki into a Froagie, and threw him into the fish pond with her other enchanted captives."
Everyone is on the edge of their seats, eager to find out if Hideki will escape or if he will be rescued. "As Hideki fell towards the fish pond, the silver bell rang..." Brock plays a harmonic A note to represent a bell. "which Sora heard all the way back in Nisambi. She knew from the bell's ringing that Hideki was in grave danger, so she hurried to her room, grabbed the junper rod, and raced out to the path leading out of town. She then held the rod to the sky and sang..." Brock pauses to sing in character as young lady Jao wiisha nes chiel com yutuul...
He grins at the small crowd. "As for what Sora conjured? You'll have to find out on my next turn!"
"Tell the quickest story you know!" Melody pleads with Misty and Ash. "I want to know what happens next, and the faster you two finish, the sooner Brock can tell the next part!"