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Out in the open seas of Route 40, the sun is starting to set, and Crys and Silver sail slowly on a ferry boat which is fashioned into the shape of a Lapras. On each side, Silver's Feraligatr and Gyarados surf to safeguard the steadiness of the boat, and Crys takes the time to contact Earl via her new Pokegear. She informs him that the children are all doing fine and having a good time at the Safari Zone, and the man thanks her for letting him know. Crys then contacts Prof. Oak, and reports that she is currently travelling with Silver on the water Route 40. Next, she calls up her Mom, and thanks her for her help in preparation the Safari fieldtrip.

Silver states that Crys seems exceptionally busy with the phone calls, and Crys grins that performing the re-con-dis is the basics to everything. Silver gets confused by the name, and the girl explains that it comes from report, contact, and discuss. By letting people whom you trust know what is happening to you, one can stay connected to the others and cultivate good mental support. She in fact has an extra new model of the boys-version Pokegear, and gets her Cubone, Bonpeon, to give it to him.

However, Silver rejects the offer, and says it will not be of use to him. His chase after Team Rocket is neither a mission nor a job, and it is therefore not necessary for Crys to get involved. Crys has expected such a response from Silver, and says he can think whatever he likes, but she has made up her mind to come along.

Just then, Silver feels an ache coming from his left arm, and winces in pain. Crys notices his change of expression, and believes that it must be the toxic effect of Koffing's smoke which can also cause generalized muscle pain. Turning to her Parasect, Parapeon, she acknowledges Silver's unwillingness to receive help, but still insists on doing something to make him feel better. Parapeon inflates the mushroom on its back, and subsequently blows out a puff of spores towards Silver, which instantly eases the pain.

Crys explains that Parapeon is capable of mixing different spores inside its body to create a medicine, which serves as both a painkiller and antitoxin. The red-haired boy sheepishly apologizes for his impoliteness to Crys, but the girl tells him not to mention it, as they are companions and fellow Dex Holders.

As night falls, the cities on the shore begin to light up. From a distance, Crys can see the beacon coming from Olivine's Glitter Lighthouse, and says they should arrive at Ecruteak by morning. Thanks to the introduction by Eusine, the Ecruteak Gymleader Morty has agreed to help Silver find the items he seeks with his distant vision ability. Silver's face twitches with a sweatdrop as he recalls the eccentric behavior of the Suicune Hunter, and Crys laughs that although the man often has a poor insight to his odd mannerism, he is a good person that can be depended on. In fact, Eusine is currently taking Crys's place in tour-guiding the Pokemon School children, whom she is positive will drive him crazy with their mischief.

Crys says she always believes that one shouldn't bail out midway through a job that he or she has taken up on, and it is a virtue that she always reminds herself to follow. However, this time, she has chosen to put on hold her work in leading the Safari fieldtrip and come with Silver, simply because what Silver told her will potentially put the children at stake. As long as an evil organization like Team Rocket exists, the children will not be able to play and learn in a safe environment, and there is no telling when danger may befall them. With that in mind, she cannot sit back and do nothing, and must try whatever she can to put an end to Team Rocket's evil schemes. In fact, not only Team Rocket, but any person who threatens everybody else's future, who disrupts peace in the world, is someone she intends to fight and bring down.

Crys reaches into her bag to pull out what appears to be a broken fragment of something, and states that if they are able to protect and safeguard the world's future, the abandoned kids who have gone astray and hold no hope in their hearts will perhaps be able to find purpose and happiness and their lives. As she speaks, the image of Emerald appears in her mind, and a gentle smile shows on her face.

Silver responds to Cry's sentiment with a silent smile, but his silence causes Crys to misinterpret that he is staring at her new outfit. She immediately blushes and gets into a frenzy, trying to explain that it is her mother who got her to wear these clothes. She says she is perfectly aware that such cute attires do not match her, but her mother is someone people would call somewhat eccentric, actually tremendously eccentric, to the point where she wouldn't care even if her Marill smells like a rug. To put it in a nice way, she is open-minded, but to put it in a bad way, she is very crude, but either way, she doesn't really care about it.

Silver tries to calm her down and says he didn't mean that way at all, but Crys simply keeps blabbering on, and stresses that she could not let Gold see her in the outfit or he would laugh at her for a lifetime. As Crys makes her little drama on board while both Silver and her Xatu, Tupion, sweatdrop at the scene, the ferry boat continues its sail towards Ecruteak. Behind it, a silhouette lurks under the water surface, and silently follows the two young trainers.

The next morning, at the old-fashioned city of Ecruteak, Gold is having the time of his life at the Kimono Dance Theatre. With hearts popping out from his eyes, he watches with infatuation as the five Kimono sisters turn and swing in unison, each with a fan in hand and accompanied by a different Eevee evolution. Gold cheers at their elegant moves, and cries that the Kimono girls are the most marvelous dancers in the world.

The sisters giggle at Gold's compliment, and state that they are performing a traditional dance which is passed down for generations in Ecruteak. They are happy that Gold enjoyed it, and the boy swoons at their words, addressing each of them by their name: Miki who has a Flareon; Naoko who owns an Espeon; Kuni who commands a Vaporeon; Sayo who uses a Jolteon, and last but not least, who is also his favourite, Zuki who possesses an Umbreon.

Suddenly, the Goldenrod Radio Director's face looms up in front of Gold, and the boy immediately bolts back in shock. He hollers that he doesn't want to have the ugly moustache of a man get into his view while he enjoys the Kimono dance, and wants to know what the Director is doing. The man barks that he should be the one asking the question, but before he could continue, Gold can already anticipate that he is berating him for getting too occupied with entertainment, and neglecting both his assigned mission and Pokemon for such a long time.

The Director stutters in his response as it is indeed what he is planning to say, and Gold tells him to take a good look of what his Pokemon are really doing before he makes accusations. With that, he slides open the door leading to the backyard, and the Director sees that Gold's team members are having an intensive training among themselves. In particular, his Aipom, Aitaro, appears to be the center of attention, and Suntaro and Politaro are ganging up on the purple monkey. Gold explains that the dramatic battle with Dragonite at the Pokeathlon has inspired Aitaro to have a new motivation to fight, and it is currently practicing a new attack called Double Hit.

The boy then squints his eyes at the Director, and wonders why he is still not returning to Goldenrod after having dropped him off for quite some time now. He snickers that the man must be trying to get an exclusive coverage of what will potentially take place, and is therefore pressing him to do something. The Director jumps in surprise at the remark, and is shocked that Gold knows exactly what he is thinking. The boy adds that in fact, he knew the Director was spying on his training with Red at Mt. Silver after the Mask of Ice incidence, and the revelation causes the man to laugh in embarrassment, as he has made believe all these years that his stealth managed to keep him unnoticed at that time.

Just then, Aitaro delivers a successful Double Hit as its tail seemingly splits into two and strikes at Suntaro and Politaro simultaneously. Gold grins that it has finally mastered the technique, and in that instant, the purple monkey glows and shakes, and a flash of light, evolved into an Ambipom.

The Director exclaims that Aitaro has morphed into a new body form, and Gold digs out his version VI Pokedex to check on the data of Ambipom, noting that it has really gained two tails with the evolution. The Kimono girls come out from the Dance Theatre to see what the hassle is about, and all marvel at the Aitaro's new appearance. Sayo states that it looks much tougher as an Ambipom, and Gold laughs that the trait resembles him.

Standing at a distance from all the laughter and cheering, Togetaro puts on a frown, and turns to kick up a piece of stone. Sayo notices the little Pokemon's subtle change in emotions, and Gold sighs that it is apparently a little upset. For years, it has been frustrated that it is still unable to evolve, and although Gold can confidently bestow his trust in Togetaro's powers, the Pokemon has never really opened up its heart to him for some reason. He wishes that he knows what criteria are required for it to evolve, and as soon as he says that, another voice replies that what Gold asks is something that is still under research, something which is still clouded in much uncertainty.

Gold spins around to find the source of the voice, and sees a man wearing a purple scarf over a sweater, matched with a same-coloured head-band. Next to him, a Misdreavus and Gastly float. Gold gasps at the appearance of the man, but then raises the anticlimactic question of who he is, which causes the man and the Kimono Girls to collapse. Sayo and Kuni explain that he is the Ecruteak Gymleader Morty, and Gold suddenly remembers having seen him before at the Pokemon League, where he was standing next to a beautiful lady with orange hair. He wants to know where the orange-haired lady is now, and Morty believes that he is referring to the Olivine Gymleader Jasmine. He explains that she is currently in the region of Sinnoh, and is determined not to return until she has mastered something called Pokemon Contests.

Gold sulks at the reply, and starts to lose interest in Morty. Kuni wants to know what has brought Morty to the Dance Theatre, and the man replies that he is simply patrolling the city. Recently, there have been numerous strangers who forced their way into the Gym to request help from his distant vision ability, which made him wonder if anything bad has happened in Ecruteak. Kuni states that nothing particularly looks out of place to her, and at that moment, Gold chimes in and requests to know what exactly distant vision is.

Kuni explains that it is a unique ability of Morty's which allows him to see the location of whatever item or person one seeks, and Kuni adds that the Gymleader actually makes a living out of this skill occasionally. Gold's eyes widen with surprise when he hears that Morty is capable of finding any item and person, and runs up to the man to yank at his scarf, asking for assistance in locating a guy named Lance.

The Director barks that Gold needs to show some respect to a Gymleader, but the boy ignores him, and simply says Morty can have any amount of price from Prof. Oak for this. He digs into his pocket to search for Lance's torn piece of cape, and his fumbling causes the Pokedex to stick out, which catches Morty's eyes. Recognizing the device, the Ecruteak Gymleader grins that Gold is the person he was asked to meet after all, and tells him to follow him to the Gym. Gold gets baffled at what Morty said, but decides that it doesn't matter as he is getting what he wants, and quickly tails after the man.

Later, at the Gymleader's chamber inside the Ecruteak Gym, Morty picks up the torn piece of cape Gold handed him, and wants to know if it is the owner the boy wishes to locate. Gold replies with a nod, and crosses his legs to take a seat on the floor as Morty kneels with one knee down at the center of the platform. At that moment, the telephone rings, and Morty picks up to find Chuck calling. The Cianwood Gymleader states that he has already arrived in front of the Ecruteak Gym with Falkner, the Violet Gymleader, and Bugsy, the Azalea Gymleader, and Morty thanks them for their help.

Hanging up the call, Morty gets back into position, and Gold wants to know if something is wrong. Morty explains that his Gymleader colleagues have come to keep watch at the entrance of his Gym, and this will perhaps prevent strange people from barging in again. The Ecruteak Gymleader then muses that fate can be interesting sometimes, as he faintly recalls having located someone in a similar manner years ago. Gold clearly has little interest in the subject but asks who it was that Morty located at that time, and bolts in shock when the man reveals that it was him whom he located.

Morty explains that back then, a man named Lt. Surge made the request, and he eventually found Gold and his friend unconscious on one of the Whirl Islands. Gold seems a bit disheartened that it was a beautiful woman who was searching for him, and Morty remembers seeing a Pokedex among the items Lt. Surge brought to him for reference. Afterwards, Morty also witnessed Gold's actions against Team Rocket at the Pokemon League, and Gold grins that Morty seems to know him better than he thought.

Having established acquaintance, the Ecruteak Gymleader remarks that they should perhaps begin. He gets Misdreavus and Gastly to start spinning around him, and places two fingers on his forehead as he closes his eyes to concentrate.

Back on Crys and Silver's side, the two have gotten off board and are currently on Route 38, where Ecruteak City is barely a mile away. Carrying on with their journey, Crys wants to know what is about the items called Plates which Team Rocket is after, and Silver digs out the three pieces he keeps in his pocket to show her.

He states that the guy named Morty is said to be able to help him find the other pieces which are scattered something out there, and Crys recalls Silver telling her that the Team Rocket General Petrel mentioned about the existence of a total of 16 Plates. Silver replies with a nod, and says each Plate apparently has a fixed named, for instance the Draco Plate, Flame Plate, Fist Plate, Earth Plate and Toxic Plate. He muses over the number 16, and wonders if it holds any significance.

Suddenly, the ground rumbles below them, and an Arbok comes charging out with a Dig attack. Crys gets knocked onto the ground while Silver is sent flying up into the air, and the giant cobra gleams its fangs, ready to chomp on the red-haired boy as he plummets into its mouth. Fortunately, Silver manages to send out Honchkrow and keep himself airborne just in time. But Arbok follows up with a Glare to paralyze Honchkrow, and causes it to fall towards a tree along with Silver. Before the boy could react, Arbok fires a barrage of tiny barbs to pin him against the tree trunk, and Crys recognizes it as the Poison Sting attack.

Reaching for her Pokeballs, Crys sends out Bonpeon, her Arcanine Arcapeon, and Hitmonchan Chanpeon to fight, but an energy blast strikes at the three from another direction to send them tumbling backwards, and the girl turns around to see a silhouette materializing out from the woods, which reveals itself to be a chubby red-haired woman holding a fan, standing next to a Gloom and a Murkrow.

The woman introduces herself as Ariana, one of the TR Four Generals, and says it truly hurts Team Rocket's pride to have children like them get in their way and thwart their plans repeatedly. Pointing her fan at Crys, she states that she will not allow the same to happen this time, and gets her Arbok, Gloom and Murkrow ready to fight.

Crys assesses their current situation, and sees that Ariana is standing right between herself and the tree which Silver is pinned against. With a whispering tone, she tells to her team to try their best in drawing the battle as far from the tree as possible, and proceeds to order a Flamethrower from Arcapeon and a Mach Punch from Chanpeon. Barely fazed by the attacks, Gloom and Murkrow retaliate with Acid and Shadow Ball, and force Crys's Pokemon to duct in evasion.

The girl warns her team to watch out for Arbok's Glare and Poison Sting, and continues to lead the combat further away from where Silver is. Silver sees what Crys is attempting to do, and knows that she is distracting the enemy to give him a chance to sling away and head to Ecruteak first. Indeed, Crys plans to handle Ariana on her own, and hopes that Silver could reach Morty as soon as possible to find out the locations of the Plates before Team Rocket does.

Crys orders a Bonemerang, and Bonpeon hurls out its Thick Bone to strike at the face of Arbok. However, the giant cobra promptly recovers, and snaps down on the little Cubone with its sharp fangs. At the same time, Murkrow delivers a Drill Peck to knock back Chanpeon, while Gloom delivers another Acid to scorch the body of Arcapeon.

Silver watches the battle from the tree with anguish, and steals a glance at the red-haired woman, who claims to be one of the TR Four Generals just like Petrel. Clearly, she possesses incredible power and skills, and one can easily tell by how her Arbok withstood ground-type attacks, and how her Gloom endured fire-type moves. Freeing himself from the barbs, he thinks it will be irresponsible for him to leave Crys alone to deal with such a strong enemy, and decides that he should be the one to fight while Crys heads to Ecruteak with the Plates.

At the moment, a radical suddenly occurs to him. Taking a look at Crys's Arcanine, Hitmonchan and Cubone, the names 'Flame', 'Fist' and 'Earth' overlap with their faces in his mind. He then turns to Arbok, and instantly thinks of the Toxic Plate. Finally, he has figured out the answer. 'Flame' corresponds to 'Fire', just like 'Fist' to 'Fighting', 'Earth' to 'Ground', and 'Toxic' to 'Poison'. The names of the Plates actually reflect Pokemon types…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us



448: VS Parasect


Volume 41