Ep 17 – Up in the Sky! It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s-

INTRO: Mirai is currently talking on the bus when someone approaches her.

FOX EARS:

I couldn’t help but overhear some interesting things you’re recording.

MIRAI:

Oh no… you speak English. Listen I’m sorry if I sounded judgemental, I was just surprised by your outfit.

FOX EARS:

My outfit? What’s wrong with my outfit?

MIRAI:

Oh… well, you know. It looks like you’re dressed to be in a historical movie or something.

FOX EARS:   

You can see my traditional clothing? Can you see my ears?

MIRAI:   

Um, yes? 

FOX EARS:

Interesting… Anyways, did you say something… about a park?

MIRAI:   

Oh haha yeah. Just listening to, well, I guess an audio story right now.

FOX EARS:   

What’s it about?

MIRAI:   

Umm…

FOX EARS:

Is that too forward? Sorry, We’ve still got twenty minutes and we’re the only ones left on this bus. 

MIRAI:

Oh! It’s not a problem. It’s just a fantasy story about a park with mythological creatures in it. 

FOX EARS:   

Where did you get this audio story?

MIRAI:

My brother sent it to me. 

FOX EARS:   

Would you mind if I listen to some of it?

MIRAI:

Oh, well, you know, I’m pretty far in at the moment, it probably wouldn’t really make sense if you listened to it right now.

FOX EARS:

Oh, I’m sure it’s fine.

SOUND: (The stranger magically steals her audio device.)

MIRAI:   

Hey! Wait, how did you take that! It was in my pocket.

FOX EARS:

Oh don’t worry, I just want to take a peak. 

SCENE STARTS: (“Proserpina Bops” plays as Alina enters the cafe, greeting Drew, Jun, and Dog.) 

ALINA:

First meeting with lion dogs this week and I’m so excited to get this ball rolling. It’s been so long since we’ve felt safe in the park, and we can actually explore like we wanted to.

SOUND: (Drew calls out for Alina in the distance. They are already at the cafe with Dog and Jun.)

ALINA:

Hey! How are you guys always the first ones to arrive?

JUN:

You’re always 15 minutes late even though the coffee is right here.

ALINA:

Haha, very funny. Let me grab a drink and we can go.

DREW:

I don’t know how you guys still want caffeine when we have an actual mythical park to explore safely. My adrenaline is already kicking. 

ALINA:

I don’t want it, I need it!

NEXT SCENE: (They go to the park. One of them blows a whistle and the lion dogs are happy to see them.)

JUN:   

Oh hello, sweet things!

DREW:

Oh, careful Jun, don’t want to make Dog jealous here.

DOG:

Not to worry, I’m already the princess in the family.

JUN:

Oh, so true. My mom spends more money on Dog’s outfits than she ever did with my entire childhood wardrobe…

ALINA:

(laughs) Well, now that everyone’s here, shall we finally explore the park?

DOG:   

Shouldn’t we take a peek and see if Sam is here?

ALINA:

Let’s… not. We’ve been doing okay lately. I don’t want to jinx it by bumping into Terry…

DREW:

I hear that. Oh hey, here. I got everyone a pair.

ALINA:

Binoculars? Are you looking for something?

DREW:

Yeah, it’s a nice day today. I was thinking about bird watching, ya know, throwback. 

JUN:

Ah sweet, let’s go catch a uhh phoenix or something! Here boys, come on. And go fetch!

SOUND: (The lion dogs chase after the ball, everyone follows.)

ALINA:

Wait up, what do you mean “catch a phoenix?” With what net?

DOG:

Actually might be nice, bird watching here could mean seeing a miracle.

ALINA:

What do you mean by a miracle?

DOG:

You know what a phoenix is, yes?

JUN:

That’s the bird that doesn’t die?

DREW:

That’s almost correct. The reason why they’re immortal is because they combust, like, literally into flames, and then they regenerate in their own ashes.

ALINA:   

Oh, what a way to cheat death.

DOG:

Yes, however, the one Drew mentioned is the Greek phoenix. There are many other cultures who have their own version: ones that heal, breathe fire, grant wishes, etc.

ALINA:

One bird can do all that?

DOG:

There are so many we can talk about, some countries even have two different kinds! A lot of them are depicted as gigantic birds. And they’re typically super bright and colorful.

ALINA:

Well, which one would be ideal to meet?

DOG:

Well, the safest choice would be Simurgh. She’s from roughly modern-day Iran, and she is, as I believe you’d say, a total mom.

DREW:   

How do you know they’re a she?

DOG:

The only classified Simurghs have been female. There’s not much information about the males, but they do have babies, so… I don’t know, something’s happening. But in general, quite a few of the phoenix types are females. There’s the Fenghuang in China and the Anqa in Arabian mythology. I guess there’s just something about them that emits femininity. 

ALINA:

And she’s a total mom?

DOG:

Yeah, one of the most famous stories about the Simurgh is when she took in a child who had albinism. The child’s name was Zal, and he was abandoned because back then, well, different meant the devil. So Zal gets adopted by Simurgh, and as he grows, she teaches him everything she knows until the day comes when he wants to go back into human society. 

Even though she’s saddened by this news, she agrees that he should go and gifts him three of her feathers. If he ever needed her, all he had to do is burn one of them, and she would come. And so, years later when Zal becomes an awesome warrior and marries a princess and is generally living the dream life, his wife goes into labor and it’s bad. It’s been hours, there’s tons of bleeding, mother and child are both in danger, kind of bad.

ALINA:

So he burns a feather.

DOG:

Yes, he calls up his mom bird, and this is the amazing part, she teaches him how to give a C-section to his own wife.

ALINA:

Oh wow. I thought where the story was going, she was going to magically heal everybody. Not teach med school 101.

DREW:

Yeah, pretty sure that’s more impressive than any of the actual battles he’s done.

JUN:

So she definitely falls into the category of wise mother figure and not terrifying giant bird monster. 

DOG:

Right. Well, I don’t think any of the phoenix types are terrifying bird monsters… But it’s also impossible to generalize them. Some of them are phoenixes because they share a fire element, like Russia’s Firebird. Others are phoenixes because of their long life spans like the Anqa, and some are phoenixes because of how important the bird is to the culture. Heck, just look at the United States and its love for the Bald Eagle. Birds have always been special to humans.

ALINA:

Okay, you’re really hyping this up for me. I guess it would be super exciting to catch a glimpse of a Simurgh. It’d be so nice if they gave us feathers for help as well… How much further do we need to go to see one of these birds?

MUSIC: (“Resorting to Violence” plays.) 

DOG:

It’s a bit further up I’m afraid since they are really big birds. But it’s not like we’d miss them if they do come out into the sky. I think we’re getting to a good midway point between the woods and the mountains which is generally the two hot spots for birds.

JUN:

Oh, wait. I think I see something in the distance! Here, take a look.

SOUND: (A bird’s wings can be heard flapping in the distance.)

DREW:

Well, it’s definitely a giant bird, not colorful at all though, so I wouldn’t say it’s a phoenix…

ALINA:   

What do you think it is?

DOG:   

Give me a second to think, there’s so many possibilities…

JUN:

Uh, okay but it’s definitely getting closer. I don’t need binoculars to tell you that.

DREW:

Looks like a bird of prey type— Okay, okay, it’s getting real close!

SOUND: (A bird’s wings flapping gets louder as it approaches.)

ALINA:   

I think it spotted us!

DOG:

Let’s not panic, now could be a good time to test out and see if the lion dogs will listen to us.

ALINA:   

Are you sure we should be trying that out now?

DOG:   

No time like the present.

DREW:

Okay boys, listen up! (gets distracted by a thought) Hey uh, side note, I think we should give them names. Like it’s kinda weird that we’re just calling them by their gender all the time… (ALINA: Drew, focus!)  and I don’t really appreciate that– 

SOUND: (The Lion Dogs start to get anxious as they realize they’re going to play soon.)

DREW:   

All right, all right. Hey who has the balls?

JUN:

Oh, I do, I do.

ALINA:   

Throw it now Jun!

JUN:   

Go… Fetch!

SOUND: (The balls are thrown just in time for the lion dogs to intercept the Roc. The dogs bark viciously, causing the roc to run away.) 

ALINA:   

Is it safe now?

DOG:   

I think… I think it’s gone. Oh, good job lion dogs!

ALINA:

Yes, uh pat pat g-good dogs.

DREW:   

(laughs) That is– that is not how you show affection to dogs.

JUN:   

All right, come here you rock-solid cuties! I’ll show you some real love.

DOG:

Jun, that’s it! A Roc!

ALINA:   

What do you mean a rock?

DOG:

A Roc! Just R-O-C. It’s one of the most well-known birds from the Middle East! Heck, it might even be a real bird species. It’s most commonly known from its inclusion in the collection of stories, One Thousand and One Nights, you know, the famous fables that included Aladdin and Sinbad. 

DREW:

It looked like it could have carried all of us in one claw!

DOG:

Us and probably 5 other people on one talon. Marco Polo claimed to have seen one on his travels, and it’s not something you’d want to deal with. He apparently saw one carrying an elephant as it was traveling towards Madagascar. The one we saw didn’t even look fully grown…

ALINA:   

That’s crazy…

JUN:

Well, at least we made it! I mean with these puppies, we could probably even do the weekend trip! 

DOG:

One step at a time, Jun. I think it’d still be best to wait for Sam to return to the park.

DREW:

Yeah, I’d like Cerberus anywhere I go if we’re going to be staying here longer than twelve hours. 

ALINA:

Still, we are getting there! We’re getting comfortable with the park, maybe we can finally confront Terry again. I feel like things are finally looking up— Ugh, boys, no! Down! That doesn’t mean you can jump on me! You’re heavy! Off!

DREW:

I’m gonna start brainstorming names tonight… George. Michael. Bob….

OUTRO: (We return to Mirai. “Proserpina Bop” plays as the sound of the bus comes back in.) 

MIRAI:

Okay, I think that’s enough!

FOX EARS:

Hmm yes, I think I have all I need to know about this story.

MIRAI:

Whatever. That was very rude of you, please go back to your seat, thank you very much.

FOX EARS:

Fine, no need to pout, little mouse.

MIRAI:

At least I’m not the one looking like an idiot with a leaf stuck in my hair. Look here!

SOUND: (Mirai yanks out the leaf just as Fox Ears tries to say “wait.” The ninja smokescreen effect pops and Kikyo turns into a literal fox.)

MIRAI:

(Coughs a bunch) What just happened? Ah! A fox??

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