There once was an old Ponyta who belonged to a miller. For many years, he had served his master faithfully by carrying the corn-sacks to the mill and giving rides to the village children, never once burning them. But he was very old, and soon it became clear that he could no longer carry such heavy loads without staggering or collapsing So it was that one day the miller said to him, "I cannot keep a Ponyta who struggles with such heavy loads. I have a living to make, and I cannot keep you if you cannot earn your keep. So I am afraid you will have to leave this mill and make your own way in the world."

The Ponyta felt saddened, but he knew that his master spoke the truth. In any case, leaving the mill was a far kinder fate than being worked to death. So the next moning, he left the mill and set out along the dusty road.

A nearby sign told him that he was headed toward the famous city of Goldenrod, where all of the finest musicians in the world lived. That gave him an idea. He may have been old, but his voice was as strong as ever, so he thought that he would go to Goldenrod and become a singer.

He was passing a cottage when he heard the sound of whimpering, as though someone were in great pain. Looking into the yard, he saw a Growlithe cowering as his master took a stick to him.

"Old good-for-nothing!" snarled the man. "You are no good to me in your advanced age! Once you were useful for hunting, but now you are not even fit to catch a cold! I should shoot you now, and never have to put up with you again!" And he raised the stick again. But before he could bring it down on the Growlithe's back, the Ponyta let out a neigh of outrage and galloped straight at him. In fright, he dropped the stick and ran into the cottage, but not before the Ponyta breathed an Ember which burnt his hand so badly that he could not use it for a week.

The Ponyta turned to the Growlithe. "Are you hurt, friend Growlithe?"

"Not very much, thanks to your intervention." said the Growlithe. "My back is slightly bruised, but it is nothing that will not heal in time. Had it not been for you, I would most likely have been beaten to death, or at the very least badly paralyzed."

"There is no need for gratitude, my friend." said the Ponyta in all modesty. "But I would like to know just why he was abusing you in that most outrageous manner."

The Growlithe's eyes grew sad. "My master is angry that I have aged, as he is a hunter, and in my younger days, I ran at his side as fast as the wind itself, but now my bite is not what it used to be, and neither is my speed. And so, because of something that cannot be helped, he beats me. A shame, after all my loyal years of service."

"A shame indeed." agreed the Ponyta. "But cheer up. Come and join me, for I am on my way to Goldenrod to become a musician, and would be glad of your company. I shall play the harp, and you shall be a fine flutist."

The Growlithe accepted, realising that this was a much better plan than remaining at the cottage, and followed the Ponyta along the road.

Several miles down the road, the two Pokemon came upon a small inn, wherein there was a great fight occuring, if the angry shouts and screams that issued from within were any indication.

"We must intervene, friend Ponyta!" cried the Growlithe. "From the sound of it all, it appears that the good innkeeper is beset by brigands!" He made as if to bound into the inn, but the Ponyta stepped in front of him.

"Hold, friend Growlithe. I do not think that we should act so hastily. After all, it may just be a simple, although noisy, disagreement. And if that is truly the case, I do not think that the innkeeper would be impressed if we were to just barge into his establishment."

At that moment, a Glameow darted from the inn, a fish clamped tight in her mouth. Behind it there came the stout figure of the innkeeper's wife, ladle raised as though it were a dagger.

"THIEF!" she screamed at the fleeing Pokemon. "Filthy little stray! Everytime I turn my back, there you are, stealing the food from my table! Well, no more! Once I catch you, I shall deal with you severely!"

The Glameow, eyes wide with fear, glanced around wildly, seeking sanctuary. Noticing the Ponyta and Growlithe, she ran up to them, her eyes pleading for protection from the enraged woman. The Ponyta and Growlithe looked at each other, considering what to do, for while they felt some sympathy for her, the fact remained was that she was a thief, and they did not wish to assist a criminal.

Their dilemma was resolved by the innkeeper's wife, who had noticed the new arrivals. "Ho!" she proclaimed. "What have we here? Are the two of you going to assist this miserable thief? Out of the way, so that I may take her and have her made into a muff for winter!"

She made as if to seize the Glameow, but as she did the Growlithe let out a mighty Roar, sounding so savage that she let out a frightened shriek and fled back to the safety of the inn.

"I believe that we should make ourselves scarce, my friend." said the Ponyta. He and the Growlithe turned to leave, when a soft voice whispered, "Thank you." Turning, they saw that the Glameow had devoured the fish and was now staring at them, gratitude shining in her eyes.

"You are welcome." said the Growlithe with a smile. Then his face became stony. "Although I must say, if she had not threatened you so harshly I would have left you to your fate. Neither my friend nor I have paitence for thieves."

"Do not judge me so quickly, good Growlithe." responded the Glameow. "Not until you have heard my story, at the very least."

The Growlithe was about to answer that he would do no such thing, when the Ponyta answered "We shall hear it." Noticing the look he received from the Growlithe, he replied, "Perhaps she has a genuine reason for resorting to theft, my friend. It is only fair to hear her side of the story." To the Glameow he said, "Pray tell us."

So the Glameow told her story. "Once, in my days of youth, I was a much-loved and pampered house pet. My mistress would often groom me and enter me in Pokemon Contests-so many that I lost track of them all. But then, as happens to us all, my days of youth and beauty faded. My claws, once so sharp, became as blunt as stones; my teeth were no longer as sharp and my eyes not what they once were. My mistress, beliving that I was no longer of use to her, decided to have me drowned, but I fled and have been a stray ever since, having to steal from the inns to survive."

The listeners were touched by this sad tale. "Friend Ponyta, we must do something." said the Growlithe. "We cannot let this poor innocent spend another day on the streets."

"I agree." said the Ponyta. "Fear not, for I know just the thing." Turning to the Glameow, he said "Good Glameow, if you join us on our journey to Goldenrod, you shall be a musician along with the two of us, for you understand the music of the night."

The Glameow agreed, seeing the Ponyta's offer as the best way to be sure of a good meal, and the three of them set off.

A little further down the road, they came upon an old farm. To their surprise, even though it was the middle of the day, they heard the sound of crowing. They looked up, and there, sitting on the roof of the barn, they saw a Doduo standing on a gate, both heads crowing with all their might.

"Your voice is harsh enough to awaken the dead." said the Glameow. "Why do you make such a hullabaloo?"

"Why should we not?" the Doduo replied sadly, both heads speaking together and in the plural, for that is how Doduo speak. "For years, we have woken the farmer and his wife at dawn, but now that we are old, we find that we often sleep more than we used to, and we are rarely awake before dawn, so the farmer often rises late. This morning, he had visitors arriving at 8 o'clock, but we did not awake until 9, so the guests had to wait outside for an entire hour. And let us tell you, they were not impressed! The farmer has now bought a younger Doduo, and we fear it is not long until we are turned out into the cruel world, so we may as well crow while we have the chance."

"Ah, good Doduo," said the Ponyta, "you had better come away with us at once. We are going to Goldenrod, and as you have such fine voices, if we make music together it shall be the most beautiful music in the world. You shall be able to sing both baritone and tenor, as well as duets."

The Doduo agreed to this plan, and all four went on together. The more they talked to each other the closer they walked to each other until they thought that they must be the closest friends in the world.

However, it was clear that they could not reach Goldenrod in one night, so when night had fallen, they decided to stop and rest, but there was neither cabin nor farm house in sight.

"Ah well," sighed the Ponyta "the worse luck now the better another time, so they say. And it is such a beautiful night, we shall be quite comfortable in the forest." And with these words, he settled on a bed of dried grass, the Growlithe curled up next to him, while the Glameow and Doduo chose to sleep in the branches. But one of the Doduo's heads stayed awake while the other slept, as is true of all Doduo, so he alone spotted a shimmering light in the distance. He awoke his twin at once, and both crowed so loudly that they woke the others, who were not very pleased at being roused.

"What jest is this?" snapped the Glameow. "You have awakened me from a dream of fame and fortune in Goldenrod!"

"Our apologies, friend Glameow." said the Doduo. "But this is no jest. Look! There is a flickering light, which means that there must be a house nearby."

The others saw that they were speaking the truth, so they forgave them for the rude awakening.

"Perhaps we could spend the night there," suggested the Ponyta. "For it is sure to be warmer there than it is in this forest."

"That is a good idea." agreed the Growlithe. "And perhaps we shall find food there, for I have not eaten for hours."

So they all shook themselves, and went on until they came to a little cottage made all of stone. From within there came the sounds of singing, laughing and cursing.

"Careful, my friends." whispered the Ponyta "for we have no idea of who or what lurks in this little cottage. We must approach with great caution."

So they crept near and peered in at the window. And there they saw six robbers inside sitting at a table, eating fine foods and drinking ale, all the while cackling over many sacks of gold, all of which they had stolen from the king. Several Murkrow, clearly the partners of this despicable band, hopped around, eyeing the shiny coins before being shooed away by the rough men. At the head of the table, dressed in the finest clothes stolen money could buy, sat the robber captain. His partner, a fine Honchkrow, sat pearched on his shoulder.

"That is just the thing for us." said the Glameow. "But how do we drive the robbers away?"

They thought about it for a while, before finally forming a plan. The Growlithe climbed onto the Ponyta's back, the Glameow climbed onto the Growlithe's back and the Doduo climbed onto the Glameow's back. When this was done, they began to sing as one. The Ponyta neighed, the Growlithe barked, the Glameow meowed and the Doduo crowed. Then they jumped through the window, smashing the glass.

The robbers were terrified, thinking that a ghost had come into the room. Quickly they blew out the candles, jumped from their seats and ran out of the house and into the night, never stopping until they reached the safety of the woods. Their Murkrow followed, squawking in panic. They were in such a hurry, they did not even stop to gather up the gold.

After making sure that they were truly alone, the four Pokemon lit the candles, and ate and drank till hunger and thirst were gone. When this was done, they all sought a place to sleep. The Ponyta chose to sleep near the door, the Growlithe lay on the floor, the Glameow settled among the ashes of the fire and the Doduo flew up to the rafters and chose to rest there.

Meanwhile, the robbers were very glad to find themselves safe in the thick wood, but they soon began to get upset.

"This damp grass is very different from our warm room." one complained.

"I had to leave a fine piece of mutton." said another.

"Not to mention that we abandoned all of the king's gold." said another.

"My Honchkrow and I shall venture back," said the captain, "and see if we can recover anything. For it is more than likely that we were scared out of the cottage by fellow robbers." And away the unsavoury pair went.

Upon entering the cottage, the captain found that all was calm and quiet. This, however, did not convince him, so seeing what looked like glowing coals in the fireplace, he took a candle and tried to lit it. But the glow he had seen was the eyes of the Glameow, and jumping up at his face, she angrily unleashed a volley of vicious Fury Swipes, hissing furiously. The Honchkrow, showing the loyalty of all Pokemon owned by trainers, let out a furious squawk and swooped down at the feline Pokemon, unleashing a flurry of Peck Attacks, which were dodged by the Glameow, while in turn dodging its opponent's claws.

Taking advantage of this distraction, the captain backed away, but he stumbled backwards and fell over the Growlithe. As he got to his feet, the angry Growlithe sprang at him and bit him on the leg. His shout attracted the Honchkrow's attention, allowing the Glameow to Slash its foe across the wings. With a squawk, the bird pokemon flew unsteadily into the air, only for the Growlithe to unleash an Ember attack which struck it in the chest. Letting out a final squawk, it collapsed to the ground in a faint, its energy depleted.

Terrified, the captain snatched up his fallen Pokemon and ran to the door, but the Ponyta heard him coming and gave him a good hard kick. The Doduo, who had been awoken by all the noise, flew into his face, flapping and Pecking fiercely. Frightened beyond all belief, the captain ran out of the door as fast as his legs would carry him.

"Well, captain," cried his robber band, when he returned, "is there any chance of reclaiming our property?"

"No chance whatsoever." he replied. "Ah, if you only knew what I have gone through for you! When I tried to light a candle, who should there be by the fire but a horrible witch seated in the house who flew at me and scratched my face-you can still see the marks on my face. My noble Honchkrow apptempted to buy me time to escape, but I stumbled over a man on the floor, and he stabbed me in the leg in retaliation. Well, I was near the door, but when I was passing through, I received such a beating from a monster with a club, and as I was trying to flee, a demon who was perched in the rafters flew at me and attacked me with its claws. If you do not believe me, then go and see for yourself."

But it seemed that they did believe him, for not one of them went back.

The next morning, the Pokemon were getting ready to continue their journey to Goldenrod when they remembered the stolen gold, which they had left on the table all night.

"What shall we do with it?" asked the Growlithe. "We cannot keep it, as it is not ours, and we cannot leave it here for somebody else to steal."

"We have a wonderful idea!" cried the Doduo. "We-that is to say, we and all of you our friends-should take it with us, so that the original owner may find it."

That was a very good idea indeed, so they loaded the gold onto the backs of the Ponyta, who bore it as best as he could, and the Growlithe. Once the sacks were secured tightly, the four set off into the woods.

Well, they had not gone far down the forest path when who should they meet but His Majesty the King, out for a ride with his courtiers. One can only imagine his surprise when he saw the Pokemon with his stolen gold.

"Well bless me if you have not returned my stolen gold, oh noble Pokemon." he said. "Thank you all. But pray show me where you found it, so that you may be richly rewarded."

So the Pokemon showed the king the robber's cottage, and he quickly guessed that thieves had hidden in the cottage and the Pokemon had somehow scared them away. At once he gave orders to fetch the finest cart available to bear the heroes back to the palace, where they would live for the rest of their days.

The orders were soon carried out, and although the Pokemon were a little apprehensive about living at the palace, they soon found it pleasant enough, as they were all made welcome and given a fine home. The Ponyta was put in the fields, where he never again had to carry heavy loads; the Growlithe chose to live with one of the ladies of the court, who loved all Pokemon and thus never expected him to hunt; the Glameow took up residence in the kitchen, where the servants fed her upon the leftover scraps so that she never had to steal again and the Doduo were given an enclosure of their own, which faced East so that they would always awake at dawn.

And this is the end of the story.