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At the Unova Pokemon League, the heated tournament battles between the finalists ensue. Following Black's victory over Luke Kermit, the next to take the stage are Cheren and the PokeManiac, Petash.

Keeping a calm look, Cheren orders a FeatherDance from his Unfezant, and Petash warns his Deino to stay cautious and not to be hit by the swirling feathers. Unfortunately, the excessive amount of feathers proves to be too much for the little dragon to dodge, and a few inadvertently land on its body, lowering its attack. The Announcer voices out his concern for Deino, and watches as it charges towards to deliver a Bite on Unfezant's left leg. However, due to its weakened attack, the move barely does any damage, and Unfezant goes airborne after shaking its opponent off. Cheren then commands a Sky Attack, and to everyone's surprise, the giant pheasant doesn't appear to require any charging, and immediately dives down to strike at Deino with its beak, fainting it with the powerful blow.

Black cheers for Cheren from inside his capsule, and the Announcer declares the boy the winner, granting him entrance into the semi-finals. Petash picks up his fainted Deino, and feels completely fascinated by the power Cheren demonstrated. He walks over to praise Cheren's skills, and grins that he is not sure if Cheren is aware of it, but Deino is actually a Pokemon who could not see, which is why it was quite a tough battle for it. So far, he has been lucky and made his advance by simply tackling and biting at his foes, but clearly such a reckless strategy would not work against Cheren. The way Cheren used Power Herb to omit the need for charging in Sky Attack truly amazed him, and he is inspired to work even harder from now on.

Yet, before Petash could finish his line, Cheren turns away without a word, and causes the little boy to sweatdrop in embarrassment. Black witnesses the whole thing from his capsule, and is surprised that Cheren, being an extremely polite person, would act so cold and oblivious towards the friendly gestures of others. He watches as Cheren retreats into his own capsule, and wonders what has happened to his childhood companion.

In an adjacent capsule, the purple-robed man pleased with Cheren's behavior, and grins that a cold heart is indeed dependable. In fact, he is convinced that coldness is the key to being alive, and starts to giggle maniacally as he trembles from the coldness he feels. His actions are spied on by Looker through his Excellent Scope, and the international police officer finds the robed man even weirder than he thought. Not only is he showing signs of feeling cold despite having worn such fluffy clothes, but he also appears to be enjoying the cold. He flips out his book with the contestant list, and turns to the page of the robed man. He reads that his name is Gray, which means a mixture of black and white, and finds the name just as weird as his actions.

At that moment, the Announcer commences the third match, and calls upon the Hoodman, a mysterious contestant, and Marlon, a man who is a bigger splash than the sea. The athletic swimmer greets his opponent, and picks a Pokeball from the fishing net he is holding to send out his Jellicent. The Hoodman shoots out a Pokeball from within his cloak to release a Beheeyem, and the two Pokemon quickly engage in a close-up combat.

Marlon states that the sea is his home, and although he was born on land, he has spent more time with his Pokemon at sea. Riding the waves, he has fought countless marine Pokemon, and the strength and skills he built up has enabled him to come this far in the League. Marlon commands a Scald, and Jellicent instantly unleashes a jet of boiling water on Beheeyem, inflicting it with the Burn status. Marlon is interested to know what the Hoodman thinks, but the Hoodman seems barely fazed, and says although Burn can slowly chip away a Pokemon's health, it doesn't concern his Beheeyem because it can regenerate its own cells. Beheeyem uses Recover, and further powers up itself with Calm Mind before firing an Energy Ball, which hits Jellicent directly and knocks it backwards.

The room roars with excitement at the turn of events, and Marlon feels exhilarated by his opponent's skills. He laughs that the Hoodman's tactics are making him ashamed, and he is truly thrilled and glad to be fighting someone so strong. He finds it exciting that a psychic type knows a grass type attack, and giggles that he should really give his best. He reveals that his Jellicent also knows Recover, and the ghost jellyfish quickly restores its own health with the move to prepare its revenge. It leaps off the ground to launch itself onto Beheeyem, and Marlon states that it is time to compare their physical strength. He adds that his Jellicent's ability is Cursed Body, and points out that Beheeyem is now disabled from using Energy Ball.

Yet, the Hoodman once again stays calm, and Marlon notices that Beheeyem's shadow is slowly elongating on the ground. Before he realizes what is going on, and dark globe of energy emerges from the shadow to strike at Jellicent, and the Announcer exclaims that Beheeyem has unleashed a Shadow Ball attack. The super effective move knocks out Jellicent instantly, rendering it unable to battle further, and the Hoodman is declared the winner of the match.

Marlon is shocked and amazed at the same time by what has happened, and grins that the Hoodman has really raised his Pokemon well. He is glad that their match ended in such a great mood, and thanks the Hoodman for the great battle. The Hoodman states that Marlon is too humble, and as he turns to leave, mutters to himself how he has gained a lot from the match himself. The fact is, by participating in this tournament, he has had the chance to observe powerful trainers closely, which serves as a great reference and is closely tied to the subject that he is researching on.

With Marlon defeated, the Announcer calls for the last semi-semi-final match, and Iris carefully makes her choice of Pokemon inside her capsule, since the tournament has the unique rule that regardless of how many Pokemon a contestant uses, he or she loses if any single one Pokemon is knocked out. Iris is confident that she will not allow herself to be knocked out in one hit, and jumps out of her capsule to the stage as the Announcer introduces her as the girl who knows the hearts of dragons, a contestant who is highly regarded by the judges. Black gestures to show his encouragement to Iris, and the girl waves back before facing her opponent, the purple-robed man Gray whom she nicknames the fluffy man.

Up in the audience stand, Looker and his Croagunk watch intently, and Iris proceeds to send out her Fraxure while Gray calls forward a Cryogonal. Iris sees that she is up against an ice type which her Fraxure is weak against, but is hardly concerned because her knowledge in dragon types will surely make her the winner of this match and earn her entrance into the semifinals to fight Black.

Fraxure charges forward to deliver a punch on Cryogonal, but the snowflake Pokemon weaves its ice chain and quickly immobilizes Fraxure on the ground. The Announcer voices out his concern that Iris seems stumped rather early in her battle, and wonders what she plans to do next. The girl watches Fraxure struggle against the ice chain around its body, and recalls having given it special training after witnessing a similar situation during Black's training on the Tubeline Bridge. However, she is slightly worried as to whether Fraxure can pull it off, and Gray giggles that no matter how harsh a dragon attacks, it cannot do much if it is rendered immobile.

The Announcer sees that frost is starting form on Fraxure's body where the ice chain is fastened around it, which causes the dragon to tremble from the cold. He wonders if the outcome of the battle is already set, but Iris voices out her encouragement to Fraxure, and hollers that they must not lose. She tells Fraxure to recall the reason why they have to win, and her fiery passion causes distress to Gray. Literally sweating, the purple-robed man mocks that having powerful emotions is not going to help her. However, Iris snickers that emotion is not the only thing she has, and at that moment, Fraxure skillfully uses its tusk to break one of the ice marbles forming the chain, and thus tearing the whole chain apart. The Announcer is astonished to see that the dragon has endured the cold and secretly split the chain, and Iris grins that Fraxure's diligence in sharpening in tusks has paid off.

The two-tusked dragon then grabs the broken chain which is still attached to Cryogonal to hurl the snowflake Pokemon onto the ground, which stirs up a shower of rocks and dust. Iris makes use of the situation to have Fraxure immobilize Cryogonal with Rock Tomb, and Gray attempts to retaliate with Ice Beam. However, Iris mocks that he is too slow, and gets Fraxure to finish off its opponent with a super effective Rock Smash, fainting it and earning her victory in the match.

Black cheers for Iris in his capsule, and the Announcer officially declares Iris the fourth semifinalist. Iris tells Gray that she isn't bluffing when she claimed to know about dragons, and says since she knows their weakness well, she has come up with appropriate strategies to counter them. With that, she bids Gray goodbye, and the robed man fumes with rage as he leaves the stage. Inside another capsule, the Hoodman watches Gray walk off in defeat, and muses that losing may not be a big deal after all.

High up near the audience stands' exit, Brycen leans against the door as he watches the match on stage. He recalls what the Gymleaders said about having completely no memory of how they were kidnapped, and finds this saying unusually odd. It is almost as if suggesting that their memories have been tampered and erased, and although it is an extreme thought, there is indeed a Pokemon that is capable of doing just that, the cerebral Pokemon Beheeyem. Among the contestants, one who conceals his true identity happens to own one, and he wonders if it is just a coincidence and that he has been thinking too much.

However, White, having checked on Beheeyem's data on her Pokedex, thinks that there is value in this investigation, and the Icirrus Gymleader wants to know if she is really willing to help. In response, White gives him an assuring nod, and stands next to her full team of Pokemon, Amanda, Jessica, Nancy, Dorothy, Unibo and Barbara…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us



514: VS Deino


Volume 50