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At Mistralton City, Black steps onto the runway, and marvels at the sight of a cargo plane. He exclaims that it is the first time he sees an airplane this up close, and notices with surprise that there are crop fields and greenhouses within the airport. Clay explains that this allows quick delivery of the harvested vegetables to other parts of the region, and says all the plantation in the area are the agricultural products of Mistralton. He adds that the airport also caters for personal cargo services, and also holds aerial shows for special events. However, he points out that it is not the time to talk about such things now, and says they must hurry to the gathering place.

Black nearly forgets that he has come to join the Gymleaders in a battle to safeguard the Dark Stone, and quickly follows Clay as they head towards the white tower where they are supposed to meet the others. The two make their way across long grasses with planks built over them, and soon arrive at the Celestial Tower, a place which is said to calm the spirits of Pokemon. Clay remarks that trainers who wish a peaceful rest for their departed Pokemon gather here, and notes that Black seems to be uneasy. He wonders what is wrong, and the boy wants to know if it is actually a cemetery. Clay laughs at the boy's apparent fear of ghosts, and playfully kicks him through the entrance.

Black lands in a quiet room full of coffin, and suddenly feels an arm upon his shoulder while hearing his name called in an eerie manner. He immediately freaks out that he is attacked by Pokemon zombies, but soon discovers that it is actually Burgh toying with him. He then sees that apart from the bug expert, others have also gathered, including Elesa, the Mistralton Gymleader Skyla, and the Icirrus Gymleader Brycen.

Black introduces himself to the two Gymleaders whom he hasn't met in person, and Clay states that counting him, the five Gymleaders here will join Lenora at Nacrene to fight against the enemy. Burgh is glad that Black has joined them, and cannot wait to bring down Team Plasma and stop their evil deeds. Clay is surprised at the artist's unusual enthusiasm in such things, and the Castelia Gymleader explains that he is taking the matter personally because the organization has caused trouble in his own territory by kidnapping other people's Pokemon. The fact that they built their hideout right across his Gym made him so ashamed and frustrated that he could not carry on with his artwork.

Elesa remarks that Burgh isn't the only one who is crossed. In order to stop Team Plasma from entering her city, she had to raise the drawbridge again, and it is clear that the organization's actions have started to affect the entire Unova region, which is why they need to do something quick. Clay shows his understanding, and says they should brief everyone on their plan again.

However, in that instant, Skyla gets distracted, and Black wonders what is wrong. The red-haired girl is shocked that Black isn't aware of it, and hurriedly excuses herself from Clay, who has no idea what is going on either. Skyla sends out her Unfezant to go airborne, and asks the big bird to take Black along in its claws, much to his shock. Clay demands to know what she is doing, but Skyla has already flown out of the building.

Unfezant gains altitude, and Black wishes to know where Skyla is heading. At that moment, he spots a Pidove tumbling from its flight ahead, and Skyla manages to catch it into her arms just in time. She has Unfezant bring them to the rooftop of the tower where a bell is situated on a platform, and disembarks to check on the little pigeon, who is injured as she thought. Black is astonished that Skyla spotted the Pidove from the first floor, and Skyla explains that a pilot needs to have good eyesight. Moreover, in a place where souls rest, one becomes more sensitive to life. With that, she uses a Max Revive to heal Pidove's wounds, and sends it back into the air.

The Mistralton Gymleader then beckons Black over, and wants him to ring the bell for her. Black finds the request odd, and does as he is told. As he pulls on the thick rope, the bell swings back and forth, and starts to chime. Skyla closes her eyes to listen to the sound, and comments that celestial sound of the bell is for soothing the spirit of Pokemon, but also reflects the character of the person ringing it. She is sorry to say that the sound isn't entirely pure, and without warning, pushes Black off the tower. The boy cries out in horror as he starts to plummet, and demands to know what Skyla is doing.

The red-haired girl apologizes that when she heard that an ordinary trainer would be joining them on their mission, she thought that it would be someone trustworthy since he gained Clay's recognition. However, she has been disappointed. If Black had taken note of the Pidove before her, or if the bell sound he rung hadn't sounded impure, she wouldn't have done this. Black lands on something soft, and he realizes that Skyla's Swanna has caught it on its back. The swan then starts to fly off, and Skyla states that before they go on their mission, he will have to beat her in a match.

Clay and the others arrive at the rooftop in that instant, and the Driftveil Gymleader fumes at what Skyla has done. He demands to know what she is thinking, and Skyla grins that since Black has earned the recognition of Clay, Burgh and Elesa, she would like to battle him and test out his strength herself. She promises that she will not take long, and flies off on Unfezant before Clay could protest. Burgh giggles that Skyla is still the all-or-none type of girl, and Elesa says it cannot be helped since Skyla has an innocent nature. Clay sweatdrops at their lighthearted comments, and cannot believe that they are alright with it.

Flying on Swanna's back, Black fails to understand how he ended up in his current situation, and wonders where he is heading. Suddenly, Swanna dives downwards to fly into a building, and drops him into a chimney-like structure. The thing turns out to be a cannon, and after angling to 45 degrees, blasts Black out like a cannon ball. Black screams in fright as he is propelled into the air, and lands in another cannon. A radical dawns on him, and he quickly flips out his notebook to confirm his suspicion that he is currently inside the Mistralton Gym, where challengers must use the cannons to reach Gymleader in the innermost part.

Black realizes that he is having a Gym challenge, and is soon propelled towards where Skyla is. The red-haired girl remarks that he guessed it right, and wants him to show her his real strength. She announces that it will be a 3 vs 3 switch-in battle, and sends out Swoobat, Unfezant and Swanna. Black calls out Nite as he drops into another cannon, and Skyla decides to use Swoobat first.

Immediately, the psychic bat dives towards Nite, and knocks it off its feet. Before the Pignite could fight back, it flies away and after completing a loop around the room, comes back to strike the same way. Black can see that Skyla is using a hit-and-run strategy, and tells Nite to use its fire attacks. Nite unleashes a breath of flames from its snout, and directs it after Swoobat. To Skyla's shock, the flames chase around Swoobat as if they have a life on their own, and eventually land on its back, dealing significant damage. She compliments Black for training his Pignite well, and Black thanks her with a sign of victory.

The boy then sees that the cannon he is currently stuck in does not fire, and wants to know when he will be able to get out of it. Skyla replies that he will be released when the match is over, and asks where his home town is. Black states that it is Nuvema, and Skyla starts assessing the direction she should aim to send him back home directly if he loses. Black thinks the Mistralton Gymleader really has a sense of humor, but apparently, the girl is serious about what she said. She tells Black that it is not good to do things half heartedly, and says he will have to start from square one if he gets defeated, which causes Black to become unnerved.

Swoobat hovers above Nite, and delivers a Air Cutter to deal super effective damage. Black tells Nite that they will have to fight back, but Skyla doubts that he can, because the great weapon of flying types are their speed, and she has maxed out the speed of her Swoobat, making it essentially impossible for his Pignite to do anything. Black grunts that tricks may not work, but his Nite has no trouble dealing with agility. With that, Nite starts to envelop itself with flames and jumps high up into the air, even surpassing Swoobat's altitude. It then throws itself downwards, and slams the psychic bat onto the ground.

Skyla is shocked that the Pignite can retaliate this way even after taking such much damage from Air Cutter, and Black states that it has used Heat Crash, a weight-dependent attack which power raises if the user is much heavier than its opponent. He declares his hatred to do things half heartedly, and says if he still loses after giving his best, he wouldn't mind being sent back to Nuvema.

Meanwhile, at Nacrene Museum, Lenora tells Hawes that it has been one month since they obtained the Dark Stone from Clay. For the past month, they have tripled up the number of security guards for fear of the enemy's possible actions, but she thinks it is time that they down level their security. Hawes agrees, and says the heighted security has impacted the number of visitors and clearly affected the enjoyment of their guests. Lenora gathers the extra guards to thank them for their hard work, and cuts down their number to the normal amount.

Hidden in an air-vent, a Roggenrola-shaped camera records the entire conversation, and on a pond outside the Museum, a Tympole-shaped camera confirms that the extra security guards have been sent off. The cameras transmit their signals back to the central computer that controls them, and the three masked men of Team Plasma grin that it is time to get their hands on the Dark Stone…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us



494: VS Swoobat


Volume 47