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At the main hall of Team Plasma's underground castle, N holds his hands out, and takes another step forward. Towering over him, the black lightning dragon, Zekrom, watches N's every move, and suddenly lets out a roar when he gets a little too close. Bolts of blue electricity shoot out from its body to zap the young man, charring his clothes as well as his skin.

On the balcony lookout above, the other Team Plasma authorities watch on with worried faces. Anthea and Concordia gasp at their King's suffering, but Ghetsis tells everyone not to interfere or interrupt, because this is an essential process for their King to behind friends with Zekrom. Only when their lord befriends the legendary dragon will he become a hero.

Giallo of the Seven Sages remarks that an ordinary trainer will simply tell a Pokemon to become its servant, and yet, their lord is doing it the humble way, which shows that he truly wishes to liberate Pokemon. The other Sages agree, and Gorm even starts to tear up thinking how noble their King is.

N recovers from his injuries, and approaches Zekrom again. He wonders if Zekrom would like to see a world where all trainers will liberate their Pokemon and allow humans and Pokemon to become truly equal; a world where Pokemon will no longer be forced to lead certain lives, no longer suffer, no longer grieve. He believes that Zekrom will not have to seal itself into a stone if it can live in such an ideal world.

The young man tells the black dragon that he would like to see such a world and build such a future, and to fulfill this desire, he must become someone invincible, someone who surpasses the Champion. He spreads his arms open, and invites Zekrom to be his friend. Behind him, the Pokemon he has brought along all gesture towards Zekrom with happy faces, which include an Archen, a Darmanitan, a Zorua, a Gurdurr, a Tympole, as well as Gigi. They try to show how harmonious their situation is to the legendary dragon, and persuade it to become their companion.

Zekrom takes a serious look at N, who makes another step forward, and the young man states that they could change the world together, just like how the hero in the past led the world. Feeling intrigued, the deep black Pokemon roars again, and gives off a storm of electric bolts to zap N, clearly in a much different manner this time.

Back at the Icirrus Gym, Black skates across the slippery ice paths, and lands on another patch of clear ground shaped like an arrow. The boy sees that the next curved wall will bring him to where Brycen is, and feels glad that he has cleared the maze. Watching from a snow-covered ledge nearby, Iris stands next to Doctor Logan and cheers for Black. She comments that he seems impatient to start the battle, but Black says while is also true, he actually has something which he would like to hear from Brycen.

Leaving Iris with a confused look, Black steps onto the platform where the Icirrus Gymleader is waiting, and chooses the three team members he plans to use: Bo, Musha and Costa. Brycen welcomes his challenger, and Iris commences the fight, announcing that it is a 3 VS 3 switch-in battle.

Black sends Bo out as his pioneer, and Brycen responds by calling Cryogonal forward. The snowflake-shaped Pokemon wastes no time in using its signature strategy, and dissipates into thin air by turning itself into water vapor. Fortunately, Bo is already familiar with this trick, and stays alert to its surroundings. As soon as it catches a glimpse of the ice chain out of the corner of its eye, it swings its powerful arms towards that direction and smashes it into pieces.

Iris is bewildered that the EmBo managed to dodge the attack even with Cryogonal invisible, and Doctor Logan believes that it can already read the ice chains' pattern of movement accurately. Bo continues to focus with its senses, and suddenly picks up a faint stir to his right. Grabbing the chance, it throws a punch in that space and hits Cryogonal directly in its face, turning it visible again and it faints to the ground.

Iris finds it amazing that Bo also guessed Cryogonal's position correctly, and Doctor Logan says it is the result of habituation, which some refer to as battle sense. Thanks to the combination of four quests, EmBo has now awakened its intuition as a fighting warrior. Logan points out that Brycen only has Beartic and Vanillish left, Black's three Pokemon all remain unharmed, which puts the boy at an advantage. However, Iris notices the contemplating look on Black's face, and wonders what it is that he wishes to hear from Bryce.

The Icirrus Gymleader tosses out a Great Ball to send Vanillish onto the field, and the ice-cream-cone like Pokemon instantly pumps cold air out from the swirl on its head to create snow clouds in the room. A shower of tiny ice particles starts to fall on Bo, and Black gasps that it is the move Hail. Vanillish gradually blends itself into its surroundings, concealing itself, and Black flips out his Pokedex to read that the icy snow Pokemon is adept in hiding itself by generating small ice particles as camouflage.

Black rationalizes that this is not very different from Cryogonal's tricks, and orders a Head Smash. Bo charges forward based on its intuition, and successfully makes contact with Vanillish, knocking it backwards. Doctor Logan can see that the EmBo has really mastered its ability in sensing its surroundings, detecting even the invisible, and feels grateful that it has grown ideally.

The word 'ideally' gets Black's attention, and the boy states that it was the term that Drayden mentioned on the Tubeline Bridge. The man said he looked forward to Black becoming the 'Truth' to counter 'Ideals', and that statement really baffled him. Brycen wonders if this is what Black hopes to hear from him, and Black admits that it is something that has bothered him since he stepped off the Tubeline Bridge. He wants to know what Drayden expects of him, and what it exactly means to counter 'Ideals' with 'Truth'.

Before Brycen could say another word, Iris notices that Vanillish has regained its stance, and cries out to alert Black about it. Doctor Logan tells Iris that outsiders are not allowed to interfere with a proper Gym challenge, but the girl really wants to know how the icy snow Pokemon managed to survive Bo's attack. Logan explains that the move Hail serves three purposes here. First, it chips away the health of the opponent. Second, it allows Vanillish to conceal itself. Third, it serves to restore health. The Doctor points out that Vanillish has the Ice Body ability, and in Hail, its health points will get replenished.

Brycen remarks that he usually doesn't state the obvious, but it seems that Black's EmBo wasted its efforts in using Head Smash. Not only does it fail to cause lasting damage to Vanillish, but EmBo itself suffered from the recoil, and the consequence of coming into contact with Vanillish. Black jumps in surprise at Brycen's words, and in that instant notices that Bo has been frozen. The giant Bo collapses to the ground, fainting, and Iris moans that Black has just lost his one Pokemon with the fire and fighting combo, which are both super-effective against ice types.

Black picks his next Pokemon, Musha, and sends to forward to face Vanillish. Brycen responds to Black's concern, and says doesn't seem appropriate that Black is asking him the meaning of something which Drayden said. Black admits the flawed logic, but believes that what Drayden said implies that something has been planned on him on a personal level, something which he has no idea about. He finds it unacceptable that others would make personal decisions for him without him knowing it, and demands to know the truth.

With that rage, Black orders a Psychic, and Musha hits Vanillish right in the face with the radiating pulse. Black points towards the sleeve of Brycen, and says there is something inside that is drawing his attention and keeping himself distracted from the battle. The Icirrus Gymleader widens his eyes in surprise at the remark, and Black goes on to say that whatever is inside gives off a similar aura to the Dark Stone which he saw at the Nacrene Museum's underground chamber.

Doctor Logan wonders if it is time to tell Black, but Brycen remains unsure. The Doctor remarks that it is something Black will need to know sooner or later, and says there really isn't any reason to hide anymore now that Black has sensed it himself.

Brycen pauses for a moment of thought, and decides that Logan is right. He turns to Black, and reveals that what Drayden said about 'Ideals' and 'Truth' actually refer to the legendary dragons of Unova. Currently, the Dark Stone that has fallen into the hands of the enemy is the sealed form of the black dragon Zekrom, which is the 'Ideals' of Unova. Its counterpart, the 'Truth' of Unova, is the white dragon Reshiram, who has also sealed itself into the Light Stone.

The Icirrus Gymleader takes out the ancient artifact hidden in his sleeve to show Black, and the boy bolts with shock when everything suddenly makes sense and falls into place. He realizes that all the special training he has gone through was to prepare him for restoring Reshiram from the stone, and when Brycen said he has to equip himself with a force that could counter Team Plasma, it was this legendary dragon that Bryce was referring to.

Brycen remarks that it is roughly the idea, and at that moment, Musha gets knocked out. However, Black seems glad that he finally understands what is going on, and calls forward Costa to continue the battle. The Tirtouga fires a powerful jet of water on Vanillish, and manages to faint it. Iris is astonished by the one-hit-knock-out, and Doctor Logan explains that it is Scald, which is an attack that utilizes boiling water.

Brycen sends out his last Pokemon, Beartic, and Costa immediately unleashes a Stone Edge. Shards of rock spin towards Beartic's hands, and Brycen could see that Black is targeting the polar bear's claws, which are its main weapons. Black grins that it is exactly his plan, and states that what Brycen just told him has empowered both him and his Pokemon. Although he doesn't want to sound corny, he feels a newfound motivation coming from the bottom of his heart, giving him determination to win this battle. In that instant, Beartic blows out cold air towards his claws, and markedly extends them by coating them in ice.

At the mean time, at Opelucid City, the press has gathered outside the Gym, which exterior is designed to have a black dragon head on the left, and a white one on the right. The reporters wonder why Drayden the mayor has suddenly called for an urgent meeting with the media, and start to get impatient that the man still hasn't appeared.

Suddenly, Druddigon appears on the balcony stage above them, and startles everyone with a roar. Drayden then steps out to join his Pokemon, and thanks the press for arriving at such a short notice. He states that he has a major announcement about the Pokemon League to make, which is related to its commencement date.

All the reporters listen intently, and the Opelucid mayor and Gymleader reveals that in light of several recent incidents, after discussion with the Pokemon Association, they have decided to advance the League's commencement date from three months later to one week later…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us



504: VS Vanillish


Volume 49