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'The fireworks that boomed signaled the beginning of the banquet. Although the many who gathered appeared to be nothing but specs of sand when viewed from above, each and every one of them carried the energy and potential to burn gloriously. The entire arena was essentially a cauldron of passion, a sentiment which suited this important day in the Unova region…'

At the Pokemon League, fireworks decorate the skies as the many trainers across the land arrive at the scene one by one and gather with their Pokemon at the entrance. High up in the air, Shauntal stays airborne on the left hand of her Golurk, who has adopted its rocket form, and writes down the few introductory lines she just came up with for her latest fiction into her little notebook. She wants to know what Grimsley thinks, who is sitting on Golurk's other hand with his Bisharp, and the man comments that it is not bad at all.

Shauntal grins that she is very happy with it, and says having a good start is important to everything. Grimsley doesn't fully agree with her statement however, and believes that one cannot pass judgment before reading the last line of each story. He suggests Shauntal try to finish her fiction before asking for opinions, and the girl pouts at the remark. Grimsley reminds her of what happened to that person, and Shauntal knows immediately that he is talking about Alder, who has lost against the King of Team Plasma in a field battle. Since his defeat, the man has vanished, and it is the first time that the Pokemon League commences without the presence of the Champion.

Golurk slowly lands in a pedestal which has four flights of stairs leading to the individual Elite 4 chambers, and lets Shauntal and Grimsley hop back onto the ground. Before the two could carry on with their conversation, a young lady with caramel-coloured long wavy hair walks down from one of the stairs with her Gothitelle, and comments that what Alder did was something she anticipated to happen sooner or later, since he has always left the League to the care of the Elite 4 and acted as a free soul anyway.

Shauntal turns around, and sees that it is Caitlin, her fellow Elite 4 companion. Caitlin remarks that she is certainly not surprised of Alder's behavior. However, she has observed that the Champion's defeat has shaken the beliefs of many in Unova, and generated some restlessness across the entire region. Grimsley points out that the number of audience this year has drastically dropped compared with previous years, and Shauntal believes that it has something to do with Team Plasma actively preaching their claims and beliefs through leaflets and public speaking recently, using Alder's defeat to illustrate their point. In the past week, there is actually a marked increase in number of people who have released their Pokemon, and she believes that Team Plasma's preaching has caused a majority to feel a sense of guilt for watching the Pokemon League.

Grimsley states that there sure are many things going on around, with the League being pushed forward, the Champion being absent, and Team Plasma gaining dominance in the region, but regardless of all that, the role of the Elite 4 remains unchanged, and that will be to battle challengers like in every previous League, and show them their overwhelming skills.

At that moment, Marshal enters the scene, and challenges what Grimsley said about their roles. Walking down from his chamber with his Conkeldurr, the martial arts expert grunts that while he has always held the same attitude, things are different this time around because of Team Plasma. He believes that with the four of them gathered here, it will be a good time to declare their own stance against the organization. He states that he is definitely opposing Team Plasma, and shall strive to seek them out and stop their evil scheme. Caitlin expresses her disinterest in such kind of fights however, and believes that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and free to do what they like, including Team Plasma. Grimsley grins that his style is to keep out of conflicts, and he certainly has no plans to step into this mess when he is not personally affected so far.

Marshal wants to know what Shauntal thinks, but the young lady simply squeals that the battle between Team Plasma and the Elite 4 will be a fabulous plot for her next fiction. Marshal collapses at her words, and sighs that the four of them have different takes on the matter after all. He relents that perhaps when strong people come together, they always run the risk of having their equally strong personalities clash against one another. He thinks about his own master, Alder, how he decided to leave the League to the Elite 4 since he has been defeated, and sulks that he has been too optimistic about the Elite 4 working together to handle the enemy.

Marshal turns to leave the scene, but Caitlin stops him, and states that although she said Team Plasma has the freedom to do whatever they want, there is one thing they did which she found unacceptable, which is to keep somebody else as hostages. Marshal gasps in realization that Caitlin is talking about the kidnapped Gymleaders, and wonders what she plans to do about it. The young lady responds by radiating out a pulse of energy that is in sync with Gothitelle's forces, which causes her hair to rise, and Marshal exclaims that it is the power of psychic.

Meanwhile, at Cedric Juniper's Science Lab, a wooden cottage adjacent to the Pokemon League, the television is currently broadcasting the League Tournament's inauguration ceremony. Standing on stage with a microphone, Drayden welcomes the 31 participants, and announces that the match list will be constructed by draw the next morning. He encourages everyone to give their best, and the camera turns its focus back to the TV Announcer, who explains that the Opelucid mayor is currently briefing the contestants before they go through the Badge Check Gates.

Aurea Juniper turns down the volume with the remote control, and states that Drayden surely appears to be enthusiastic. Prof. Fennel agrees with her, and places her hands on the shoulders of her sister Amanita, who is accompanied by their Watchog. Aurea steals a glance at the room next doors, and sighs that the sentiment here is clearly different. Inside the room, Black remains unconscious on the bed, and Cedric Juniper, White, as well as Black's team of Pokemon keep him company with worried looks on their faces.

Aurea, Fennel and Amanita enter the room to ask how Black is doing, and White states that his condition has basically stayed the same. Cedric thinks it is understandable, since the boy has just been deserted and left behind by a Pokemon he grew up with since childhood. White recalls that something similar happened with Musha on Route 3 before when they were near the Dreamyard, but the situation is obviously different this time around…

Black: Musha… Musha…! Musha! Musha!!

Standing amidst a forest which center is a growing tree that spirals outwards, Black looks around and frantically calls out for Musha. He finally spots the pink Pokemon floating in the distance, and desperately questions if it is true that it is only interested in eating the dreams inside his head. He wants to know if it has stayed beside him all these years simply because he is a good source of food, and now that the food no longer appeals to it, it sees no value in him anymore and has thus decided to leave. He tries to chase after Musha, and finds it hard to accept that nothing else exists between them, as if they never really connected, and never shared a real bond. Unfortunately, Munna remains oblivious to Black's words, and drifts farther and farther away as the boy cries out in anguish…

Black's surroundings become hazy, and he soon hears the voice of Aurea Juniper, Prof. Fennel and White speaking, making him realize that he was having a dream. Unaware of Black's return of consciousness, Aurea continues to talk about how three starter Pokemon were indeed planned to be given out here at her father's Science Lab initially just like hers, but the place was ambushed by Team Plasma, and they were forced to forego the plan.

White recalls that the incident was said to have happened about one year ago, and suddenly realizes something. She remembers that she met Gigi about the same time on a similar rainy day, and wonders if it could have been the Tepig that ran off. To her surprise, Cedric Juniper confirms her suspicion without hesitation, and the man explains that he actually recognized the fire starter as soon as he saw it under N's command earlier. In fact, he finds it amusing that White, who owned the Tepig for some time, somehow ended up being a Pokedex Holder, just like he initially planned. However, on a deeper thought, he thinks it is the work of fate.

Aurea Juniper recalls N's accusation of her neglecting the starters at her lab, and wonders if it is really true that his Zorua disguised itself as a young boy to spy on her. The thought sends a chill down her spine, and Fennel begs Aurea not to scare her. However, Black suddenly sits up to state that what N said was true, and Aurea instantly jumps upon hearing his voice. White is glad that Black has finally come around, but Black simply wears a solemn look on his face, and remarks that he and his Pokemon have encountered the young boy disguised by Zorua in Castelia and on the Driftveil Drawbridge, where its mischief gave them much trouble. Now that he thinks about it, the malfunctioning of the rollercoaster cart at the Nimbasa Gym was most probably Zorua's work as well.

Then, without another word, Black climbs off the bed, and starts to put his jacket and shoes back on. After picking up his cap and bagpack, he starts heading towards the door, and White wants to know where he is going. Black replies that he is returning to Nuvema Town, and his answer causes White to gasp in shock. She exclaims that he has come a long way, and tells him not to be affected by N's words, since the young man has tried to do the same to her before. She urges him to believe in the dream he has held on to so far, but Black lets out sigh, and says he has indeed just had a dream.

In the dream, he found himself in a forest where a mysterious tree keeps growing in a spiral manner, and he was trying to call out to Musha, but to no avail. He reveals that he has previously dreamt about being attacked by Tornadus, Thundurus and Landorus, and before that, he had a dream about the Light Stone being snatched away by Brycen. Truth to told, before he set out on this journey, he never dreamt about anything but conquering the League. He started out as a simple guy who could only dream about winning the League, but somehow, he was dragged into many things that are beyond his comprehension, like Team Plasma, the mysterious stones, and the legendary Pokemon. To be frank, he could not handle it anymore. What N said was probably the 'truth', since the pure dream which Musha found tasty indeed no longer exists in his head. Coupled with the fact that he has only collected 7 Badges, his only choice is to go home.

Just as Black is about to leave the place, his attention to drawn to the TV broadcast about the Pokemon League, making him pause in his tracks. He realizes that the inauguration ceremony is currently taking place, and watches as the participants go through the Badge Check Gates, which are basically eight obstacle fields corresponding to each of the Unova Gyms. Black feels a tug at his heart since he was supposed to be one of them making through that path, and at that moment, Brav, Bo, Tula and Costa all gather behind him to watch the broadcast. Black turns around, and to his shock, sees the sad looks on their faces, Bo and Tula even bursting into tears.

Black feels another tug at his heart, and in that instant realizes a fact that he has neglected since Musha left, that he vowed to conquer the League not only with Musha, but also with Brav, Bo, Tula and Costa. Scenes from his journey flash across his mind, and he vividly remembers all the moments his Pokemon worked hard and gave their best for him. Looking into the eyes of his four Pokemon, Black makes up his mind, and makes the startling announcement that they should go to the League.

A while later, at the entrance of the Pokemon League, Drayden is discussing with his secretary about the next day's arrangements. Suddenly, Black arrives on Brav, and the Opelucid Gymleader frowns upon seeing the boy, wanting to know why he has come. Black requests to clarify one thing about Badge collection, and says since childhood, he has known the rules to enter the League by heart so well that he could even recite them backwards. In the rules, it is stated that a trainer may enter the League by collecting the 8 Unova Badges, and from his interpretation, one can still earn this eligibility as long as the Tournament hasn't started. Drayden knows what Black is implying and says the Tournament has already started, but Black argues that only the inauguration ceremony has taken place, but not the actual Tournament itself, which means strictly speaking, he could still work to earn his eligibility.

Drayden says Black is just nitpicking now, but Black states that although he is clearly pulling at strings, but he is requesting a battle to earn the Legend Badge from Drayden here and now. The boy's determination causes Drayden's secretary to let out a gasp, and the Opelucid Gymleader finds himself intrigued.

Back at Cedric Juniper's Science Lab, White, Cedric and Aurea gasp in surprise that the whereabouts of the captured Gymleaders can be discovered. Marshal corrects that they are not really finding out the exact location of the Gymleaders, but if they are somewhere in the Unova region, Gothitelle's psychic powers could show them their current condition. Cedric rationalizes that Gothitelle is acting like an antenna to pick up the mental waves given off by the Gymleaders in this case, and Caitlin nods that she could also communicate with them.

As soon as she says that, the psychic Elite 4's eyes turn hazy, and her hair begins to rise up. The silhouettes of Lenora, Burgh, Elesa, Clay and Skyla gradually materialize behind her, and start speaking through the young lady's voice, calling out for help…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us



511: VS Gothitelle


Volume 50