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At the Unova Pokemon League, Black's Boar and Cheren's Gigalith continue to battle it out on stage while the Announcer tries his best to stop them, as their formal match will not begin until 30 minutes later. Yet, the boys remain oblivious to the man's urges, and Drayden snatches the Announcer's microphone to speak. He remarks that if the two parties have no objection, they could cancel the time-out and commence their match right away. Black and Cheren both favor the option, and Drayden thus announces that the final round of the League Tournament shall officially begin.

As Bo continues to deliver powerful smacks on Gigalith, Black wears a look of angry determination, and vows to show Cheren what strength means. However, Cheren retorts that he should be the one to teach Black, and states that strength is determined by a trainer's ability to know his Pokemon's attack, defense, speed and every single ability, as well as those of the opponent's. With this knowledge, he will be able to make appropriate judgment and give the right commands, which in turns translates to his strength.

Black argues with fury that he is mistaken, but at that moment, Bo cringes in pain and nearly tumbles down. This causes Black to jump in shock, and the Announcer exclaims that although Gigalith has been hit repeatedly by Emboar's super effective fighting moves, Emboar seems to be the one suffering from more damage. Black bolts with a start that Gigalith has been using Bulldoze, and Drayden, who has also realized what is going on, comments that this final match is indeed intense and interesting with all these remarkable tactics. The Announcer doesn't understand what the Opelucid mayor is talking about, and Drayden explains that while Emboar was delivering a series of Hammer Arm and Brick Break on Gigalith, the rock Pokemon has been timing the hits and making small stomps of Bulldoze to inflict damage. Although Iris used the same attack on Black's Carracosta, Cheren pulled it off more proficiently as Black didn't even see it happening.

Black feels a sense of fear washing through him, and wonders if this powerful opponent in front of him is really the Cheren he thought he knew well. Cheren hopes that Black sees his point now, and reiterates that the nature of strength is nothing but ability and technique.

Up in the back row of the audience stand, the purple-robed man Gray watches Cheren's behavior closely, and is extremely pleased with the coldness he exudes, especially his lack of kindness towards his childhood friend. He trembles from his beloved coldness like he always does, and grins that there is nothing greater than a cold heart. Just then, the Hoodman shows up next to Gray, and wants to know if he is suggesting that a cold heart is the key to drawing out a Pokemon's strength.

A few rows down below, White stands among the other spectators to watch the final match between Black and Cheren. Suddenly, Unibo senses something, and becomes restless as it alerts its trainer to it. The girl looks up to where Unibo is gesturing, and gasps in shock when she spots the Hoodman and Gray speaking to one another at the back. She wonders if it means the two are connected in some way, and quickly makes her way over to sneak up on them.

In response to the Hoodman's previous question, Gray doesn't understand why there is still dispute to his belief when Cheren's battling performance is the best proof of its validity. The Hoodman states that he isn't disputing his claim, but simply suggests that there are obviously multiple factors in the issue. Since he has the privilege to sneak into this tournament, he has been able to observe various powerful trainers closely and learn their different beliefs in drawing out a Pokemon's strength. There are those like Marlon who draws strength from being in harmony with nature; there are those like Iris whose strength comes from her thorough knowledge of an ultimate Pokemon type; and of course, as Gray has used Cheren to demonstrate, coldness is also a keyword involved.

Eavesdropping from behind a wall, White puts on a frown when she hears that Cheren is being used, but before she could figure out what it means, an ice chain is strapped around her neck, and she realizes that she has been busted by Gray's Cryogonal. The snowflake Pokemon drags her out from her hiding place, and Gray grins that prying is not a good virtue. White demands to know who they really are, but her words are cut short as Cryogonal begins to choke her. Gray giggles that he will keep her silent until the match is over, and warns her Solosis not to try anything stupid. White is now more than convinced that the two men are villains, and wonders how she should let Black know about Cheren.

Back on stage, Cheren orders a Power Gem, and Gigalith unleashes a powerful beam from its mouth to strike at Bo, knocking it backwards. The room roars with excitement, and the Announcer wonders if the attack has been a determining blow. Yet, Bo has yet to pass out, and Black grunts in frustration that Cheren is really strong. However, he refuses to give in, and checks on his Pokedex to read that Gigalith absorbs and magnifies solar energy by its body's orange crystals to attack.

Cheren is surprised to see that Black is still using such a gimmicky device, and Black is shocked to hear Cheren call it that. He barks that Cheren also owns a Pokedex himself, but to his astonishment, Cheren states that he doesn't need one anymore. In fact, he believes that such a device should not exist because it is the reason people trap so many Pokemon in Pokeballs. Black becomes horrified upon hearing Cheren's words, and his head is immediately flooded by N's previous sayings, which are essentially identical in nature.

Up in the audience stand, Gray once again feels exhilarated by Cheren's speech, and takes off his mask to reveal himself as Zinzolin, one of Team Plasma's Seven Sages. He voices out his gratefulness that he has successfully planted Team Plasma's ideals deep into the boy's mind, and his words make White and Looker, who has been in hiding, realize with a start that he is a member of the evil organization. The international police immediately orders Croagunk to make an arrest, and the toxic toad leaps out from its hiding place to fasten the Super Hard Tight Tape, Gadget 10 of the International Police Arms, around Zinzolin to immobilize him. The Sage demands to know who his ambusher is, and orders an Ice Beam from Cryogonal.

The attack ends up causing a blast at the back of the audience stand, which draws the entire stadium's attention. Black looks towards where the attack broke out, and spots White, who has freed herself from Cryogonal's ice chain. The girl yells at the top of her voice, and tells him that it is the works of Team Plasma. She informs him that something has indeed happened to Cheren, but before she could finish her line, the Hoodman orders a Teleport from his Beheeyem and disappears with her.

Horror and anxiety break out in the room at the sudden unexpected turn of events, and Drayden asks Secretta to quickly report the situation to him. Secretta, who has made it to the scene where the incident occurred, informs Drayden that no spectator seems to have gotten hurt, and that contestant Gray, the culprit whose Cryogonal fired off the attack, has apparently been put on restraints by someone already. Drayden makes his best attempt to pacify the audience, and assures them that the person responsible for the upheaval has already been apprehended. He tells everyone not to worry as the situation is under control, and wants them to stay in their seats.

Black hurries over to Drayden to tell him that White has been taken away by the Hoodman, and says the mysterious guy is also a member of Team Plasma. Drayden wants Black to stay calm, and promises to suspend the match until they can ascertain the safety of White. Black expresses his gratitude to the Opelucid Gymleader, but Cheren interrupts to voice out his objection, and insists that the battle must go on. Without warning, he sends out his Unfezant to climb aboard, and orders it to grab Black along before ramming through the glass ceiling above, causing everyone in the stadium to exclaim in bewilderment.

Cheren and Black end up on the rooftop of the League building, and Cheren believes that they will not be interfered again. He calls upon his Gigalith again, and demands Black to send out his Emboar to continue the fight. Black, having heard part of White's warning, rationalizes that his childhood friend is merely under the manipulation of Team Plasma, and vows to snap him out of his confusion. However, Cheren denies the fact, and states that he is acting on his own will. He recalls the day he collaborated with Black at Driftveil City's Cold storage, and remembers that while Black left in high spirits to challenge the Gym after they defeated Team Plasma, he himself felt something tugging at his heart.

Prior to the incident, he has already heard all about Team Plasma from Bianca and Prof. Aurea Juniper, and came across their public preaches more than once before arriving in Driftveil. He has witnessed how people released their Pokemon right in front of his eyes, and after the Cold Storage encounter with Team Plasma, he wondered what the organization was really about and who the 'King' they often mentioned was. Burning with questions, he returned to the Cold Storage afterwards, hoping to understand something, and there, he found Zinzolin, one of Team Plasma's Seven Sages, waiting for him.

It turns out that the Sage has anticipated his return, because in contrast to Black, who made up his mind right away that Team Plasma is bad, he could see that Cheren is a much more delicate person. He knew that Cheren would be willing to try and understand the true meaning behind Team Plasma's actions, and hopefully learn the 'Truth' with an unbiased view. For that reason, Zinzolin stayed behind to meet him, so as to let him know what Team Plasma was really about.

Black snaps at Cheren for being a fool, and says he should not have let Team Plasma poison him with their twisted thoughts. However, Cheren retorts that Black is only speaking from his own view, and says since young, Black has always been someone who knows what he likes and wants, and would work straight ahead to achieve his goal. However, Cheren himself did not share such a virtue. To put it in a better way, although from time to time, he did have desires to do crazy things just to feel alive, he did not dare to act on his thoughts because his goals were uncertain. Yet, it all became clear when Zinzolin took him to witness N's awakening of Zekrom. Watching N, Cheren realized what overwhelming strength really means, and for the first time in his life, he knew that attaining that level of strength is what he wants.

Cheren raises a finger to point at Black, and states that from his new gained perspective, Black is actually weak. He remarks that the departure of his Munna is the best proof of the fact. Black makes no effort in arguing with Cheren, but simply keeps a solemn look as he sees that Cheren is indeed acting on his own will and not under the manipulation of Team Plasma. He recalls that from a very young age, Cheren has always been the one to scold him and correct his faults, just like when he pointed out his selfishness when they were challenging the Striaton Gym. For that, he owes Cheren his thanks, because he would not have come this far without Cheren's advice. However, Black feels that he cannot agree with Cheren's reasoning this time, and challenges his childhood friend to beat him to show that his version of 'strength' and 'truth' are valid.

Cheren gets ticked off by Black's comment, and orders Gigalith to unleash another Power Gem. However, to his shock, Gigalith fails to attack, and Cheren realizes with a start that it could not absorb solar energy because the sunlight has been cut off by an odd pink cloud in the sky. On a closer look, the cloud actually looks more like smoke, and it is apparently blocking out the sun.

Down in the stadium below, Aurea, Fennel and Amanita spot the same pink smoke from their spectator room's window through the glass ceiling, and both Amanita and Fennel exclaim that it is the Dream Mist which they are researching on.

Back on the rooftop, Cheren quickly retrieves Gigalith to send out Unfezant, and Black also makes a switch for Brav. The two boys order a Sky Attack at the same time, and the two birds soon clash against one another, causing a loud bang as the pink mist slowly envelops the area.

A while later, the Announcer climbs onto the rooftop through the broken ceiling with the help of Drayden's Druddigon, and discovers that Cheren's Unfezant has fainted while Black's Braviary is still standing. He then notices with astonishment that both finalists have fallen asleep, and the mysterious pink mist is gently swirling around the two.

Meanwhile, Black and Cheren are both dreaming. In a vast meadow where a spiraled tree grows in the center, they see themselves as kids 9 years ago. Black asks Cheren if he remembers the scene, and Cheren says he does, feeling mysterious that they are having the same dream. As they move in closer, they see young Black writing his dream in his proposal notebook. He shows it to young Cheren, and grins that his dream is to conquer the Pokemon League. Cheren decides to write his own dream down as well, and both boys break out in laughter when Cheren shows Black what he wrote…

Black slowly opens his eyes, and props himself up to his elbows while Cheren stays asleep next to him. Black believes that the two of them had the same dream just now, and wonders if Cheren has already forgotten what he wrote back then. Yet, regardless of that, no matter what Cheren becomes, and whether or not he will change back to his old self, he will forever be his friend, which is one 'Truth' that will never change. Black flips out the challenge proposal notebook that he has been carrying around with him, and turns to the page where the both wrote down their dreams. Next to his own scribbling, Cheren wrote that his dream was to support and cheer for Black in fulfilling his dream.

At that moment, a Musharna plops itself on Black's head, and the boy welcomes back his now evolved companion, Musha. He then turns his anger towards Team Plasma, and says he finds it unacceptable that they have used his close friend and also kidnapped White. As Black's fury escalates, the Light Stone in his bagpack glows intensely, and in a flash of light, turns into the legendary Reshiram, its appearance causing Zinzolin to gasp in disbelief…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us



518: VS Unfezant


Volume 50