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As Cheren turns around, he is terrified to see that a Munna has chomped on the head of Black, and starts to make a munching sound. Meanwhile, the wild Rufflet continues to attack Bianca, who is squealing for help. Cheren feels helpless seeing both of his companions in trouble, and breaks out into a brawl.

Suddenly, the Munna releases Black, and the boy states that he feels calm. In fact, so calm that he is feeling weird. Indeed, his vision has suddenly turned into white hexagons, and his mind starts to register things which he didn't actually see. Everything soon consolidates into black dots, forming a funny shape, and as Black rubs his eyes with his hands, the images disappear again.

Cheren rushes up to Black to hug him, and feels glad that he is alright. He checks that Black's head, face and hair are all still there, and wonders what it was that the Munna was munching on. Black apologizes to Cheren that he has been too occupied by thoughts of the League in his mind but assures him that he is back to normal now. However, he is curious about the funny shape he saw in his head just now, and draws it on the floor with a twig to show Cheren. Cheren sees that it appears to be some kind of footprint, and wonders where Black saw it. Black reiterates that it was in his head, and his answer worries Cheren, who thinks that something is still wrong with his childhood companion.

Black starts fumbling through the tall grass nearby, and soon spots the footprints he is looking for among a pile of crushed Berries. Cheren sees that they are indeed the ones Black claimed to have seen in his head, and wonders how it is possible. Black then notices the Rufflet that is attacking Bianca, and believes that it must be the footprints of the Pokemon. He observes that there is one footprint that is particularly deep in the soil while the others are shallow, and also points to another footprint that was obviously made by Bianca's shoe, which is right on a Berry that is squashed.

Gathering all the clues, Black believes that it must have been Rufflet's feeding time, and the Pokemon crushes Berries with its talons to make them easier to eat. The deeper footprint shows the spot where Rufflet stomped the Berry, and Bianca's footprint right next to it suggests that the girl has accidentally squashed a crushed Berry it was about to eat. Black can see why the Rufflet is angry if that is the case, but Cheren cries that they still need to do something to help Bianca.

Black picks up some of the other crushed Berries on the ground, and approaches Rufflet. He apologizes for interrupting its feeding time, and asks for its forgiveness. The wild bird shoots a glance at Black, and finally let goes of Bianca. As Rufflet turns its attention to its food, Black and Cheren quickly grab Bianca, and scurry away before the Rufflet attacks again.

Later that night, Bianca's father cries out in horror when he sees that his beloved daughter has been injured. He feels dizzy and Black quickly grabs him, but the man swats the boy's hands away and tells him not to touch him. Bianca proudly shows off her injuries to her father, but it simply makes him more upset. The man immediately takes out the first-aid kit to sterilize all her wounds, and keeps yelling at Black and Cheren at the top of his voice. Facing his fury, the boys could only drop their heads and remain silent.

A few hours later, at Cheren's home, Black is having a sleepover. Cheren reads from a book on Rufflet, and sees that the Pokemon indeed likes to crush Berries with its talons before eating them. He feels amused by Black's detective mind, and at that moment, Black notices from the page that Rufflet evolves into a giant eagle called Braviary. He exclaims at its coolness, and decides that he would name the Rufflet Brav, stating that one must take into account a Pokemon's evolved form before making nickname.

Cheren is confused as to why Black is nicknaming a wild Pokemon, but Black reveals that he has already made up his mind to capture the Pokemon, after seeing how it attacked Bianca. He marvels at its power and speed, and says those are qualities that match his style. Cheren agrees that Rufflet is cool, but wants to know how Black plans to fight it. He reminds him that they do not possess any Pokemon, but to his shock, Black grins that he will enlist the help of one.

The next day, Black and Cheren return to Route 1, and Black has brought along with him a pile of Pokeballs he purchased with his savings. Cheren voices his encouragement, and Black starts searching in the tall grass. Soon, Rufflet appears, stirring up a gust as it takes flight, and Black is glad that it has come. The boy quickly reaches for a Pokeball, and tosses it at Rufflet. Unfortunately, his aim is way off, and Rufflet shoots a mocking look at him before diving down to attack, which Black defends by holding up his arms.

Black picks up another Pokeball to attempt another throw, but again he misses, and Rufflet charges at him with full force this time, sending him crashing against the ground. Black, who has blood dripping from his nostrils, struggles to get back up, and grins that he will not give up that easily. He tells Rufflet that he has decided to name it Brav, and thinks it will not take long before it evolves into a Braviary.

He states that when he saw it the day before, he noticed the many scratches on its body, which shows that it has been fighting opponents here and there to power up itself. Black remarks that he shares a similar trait, and believes that there are already no more worthy opponents for Rufflet in the tall grass of Route 1.

That said, Black suggests Rufflet join him, because his dream is to conquer and challenge the Pokemon League, and Rufflet will surely have more than enough chances to polish and level up itself. The wild bird pauses for a moment after hearing Black's words, and suddenly resumes attacking. Black holds up his arm to defend its strike, but the Pokemon's sharp talons slash into his forearm and blood starts to ooze out from the wound.

Cheren cries out in horror, and Black can see that he must defeat Rufflet in a Pokemon battle first. However, once he does so, he swears to make Rufflet its companion. Seeing the look of contempt on wild bird's face, Black knows that it must think that he can never win because he doesn't own a Pokemon. Yet, it is wrong.

Black gestures at the tall grass, and the Munna that chomped on his head yesterday suddenly appears. It charges towards Rufflet, but the bird delivers a strike with its right wing, and sends the pink blob crashing against the ground. Black gasps that Rufflet's speed surpasses what he expects, and knows that it was merely demonstrating a fraction of it when it attacked Bianca the day before. He grins that this only makes him want it more, and orders a Psychic from Munna.

A powerful shock wave hits Rufflet, and the wild bird struggles to withstand the attack, but eventually ends up getting knocked back. Black grabs the chance to toss out a Pokeball, and successfully traps Rufflet inside with a click.

Black and Cheren immediately rejoice, and Cheren wants to know how Black managed to control a wild Pokemon. Black explains that it is simple, and reveals that he has met up with Munna right before he came. The Pokemon agreed to help him as soon as he offered to let it eat his dreams, and Cheren realizes with a start that it is what the Pokemon was doing when it chomped on Black's head.

Indeed, he recalls reading from the book that Munna is a dreameater Pokemon, and while it usually approaches people who are asleep and dreaming, when Black became overwhelmed by his dreams to conquer the Pokemon League, he entered a hypnotized state which was actually not that different. Black pats Munna on its cheeks, and adds with a grin that when it ate his dreams, it relaxed his mind and even allowed him to detect things which he usually couldn't notice.

The boy then pops out Rufflet from its Pokeball, and gives it a big hug. He is glad that they can now work together to conquer the League, and in that instant, Munna snuggles up to him from behind. He realizes that it would like to join him as well, and giggles that it must see him as a constant supply of food as he is always dreaming. Holding the little hands of the pink blob, he decides to nickname it Musha, since it will someday evolve into a Musharna, and the name makes Cheren giggle, because it reminds him of the munching sound the Pokemon makes when it chomps on Black's head…

Black wears a grin on his face as he finishes reminiscing the day he met his first two Pokemon, Musha, who was drawn to him because of his dreams; and Brav, who shared his desires to become stronger and joined him to chase his dreams. He believes that dreams are the reason he lives, and deems them extremely important for both humans and Pokemon.

Black surrounds himself with the current four Pokemon on his team: Bo, his recently evolved Emboar; Tula the Galvantula; Costa the Tirtouga; and of course Musha, and thinks of how Team Plasma seizes and tramples the dreams of others. He declares that he will not allow that, and is determined to bring them down. With that, he suddenly dashes off, and Iris has to yell out for him to wait for her and Doctor Logan.

Meanwhile, at Opelucid City, Drayden's secretary Secretta makes her way over to Drayden's mayor desk and shows him the urgent press conference announcement she has drafted for him. Drayden voices out his gratitude as he glances at the document, and Secretta wonders if they should specify the content to make it more conspicuous. Drayden thinks it is good enough, and believes that it will serve its purpose anyway since Team Plasma's spies are everywhere.

Back on Black's side, the group has finally reached the eastern gates of Icirrus. Black takes another step forward, and accidentally cracks the layer of thin ice that has formed on the shallow waters. Iris remarks that winter has apparently come, and Doctor Logan states that the city will look completely different in its silver-white coat. Indeed, as the three continue on their way, they see that snow has started to fall, and soon everything will be covered in white. Black asks about the quest that follows, and Doctor Logan says their next stop is the home of Brycen. They make their way across several wooden bridges that connect the various parts of the city, and soon arrive at the entrance of a cave that has ice pillars with Pokeball designs on the side. Logan leads them in, and both Black and Iris gasp in astonishment when they see the many posters and glass displays in the room.

Black comments that Brycen's home looks more like a gallery, and notices that the majority of things are movie-related. Doctor Logan explains that they are all merchandise Brycen kept when he was still an action movie star, and says there are not only movie recordings and scripts, but also posters, pamphlets, magazines, still photos, clothing as well as gadgets.

Black recognizes an action movie on a poster, one which he watched when he was little, and exclaims that Brycen actually took part in it. Logan says when Brycen was young, he used his skills as a martial arts master to charm the entertainment world, and earned the status as a top celebrity. Unfortunately, at one time during a movie shooting, Brycen became injured and in its wake, switched his goals to become a Gymleader instead.

Iris is curious as to why Doctor Logan knows so much about Brycen's past, and the man reveals that he was actually the Doctor in charge when Brycen was sent to the hospital for his injury. Since then, he has been Brycen's personal therapist, and even provided care to his Pokemon. Black is amazed that the two share such a long history, but wonders what made Brycen take up the path of a Gymleader. Logan explains that it was due to the advice of a certain Champion during Brycen's hospital stay, but before he could reveal who the person was, Brycen appears at the doorway, and says Logan should stop chatting and do what he was told to.

The Doctor apologizes, and hurriedly ushers Black out through the door at the other end of the room. He gives the boy a push as they pass through the door, and before Black realizes what is going on, he starts skidding on an ice path and is sent spiraling to a different direction when he hits a curved wall. Doctor Logan announces that he has reached the Icirrus Gym, and says Black's next quest is to access the Gym's innermost part.

Brycen steps onto a snow-covered ledge to address Black, and congratulates him for completing the three quests on the Tubeline Bridge: the first, which aimed to awaken Emboar's intuition as a fighting type; the second, which targeted at raising the overall ability of his whole team; and the third, which was a simulation battle against a group of enemies. He states that Black's fourth quest will be to find his way out of this ice maze, which will then lead him to his fifth and last quest, a Pokemon battle against himself, the Icirrus Gymleader.

Black quickly digests the information, and grins that he has been anticipating this battle for some time now. Without further hesitation, he throws himself out onto the ice path once more, and fixes his gaze on Brycen, who is fondling a globular object that is softly shimmering within his left sleeve…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us



503: VS Munna


Volume 48