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At the Battle Castle, the red-haired boy hops down from the golden fence with his Claydol to join everyone else on the floor, and brags with an arrogant tone that if anyone knows anything about Stark Mountain, or its resident creature Heatran, it would be him.

Looker puts on a frown at the boy's unexpected intrusion, and gets confused over these new names he has never heard before. Mistakenly referring to them as Heat Mountain and Starkran, he demands to know who the red-haired boy is, and asks him to explain himself. The boy cheekily introduces himself as Buck, and shoots a sly grin at Looker, whom he addresses as uncle. He finds it unbelievable that the man already doesn't recognize him, and sticks his head out towards the international police officer, telling him to take a good look at his face.

Looker gets a little uneasy at the boy's pushiness, and suddenly bolts in realization that he is the same red-haired kid he met at the Battleground the day before, the one who saw through his disguise under the Invisible Cloak.

Platinum voices out her surprise that Looker and Buck have met before, but Buck's attention was drawn to the Vs. Recorder she is holding instead, and ignores her query. He excitedly snatches the device from her hands to see how many Frontier Brains she has conquered, and feels a little let down that she only has one Commemorative Print. He wants to know what Platinum's name is, but the girl, obviously irritated by his rude attitude, grabs her Vs. Recorder back, and hollers that it is not necessary to reveal her name to people of the lower-class.

However, before she could finish her sentence, she realizes that she is going back to the same conceited self she was long ago, and reconsiders her manners. Taking a deep breath, she coughs a little, and introduces herself as Platinum Berlitz, her behavior causing Buck to raise an eyebrow.

Darach wants to know what brought Buck to the Battle Castle, and the boy explains that he has come to chase after Looker. The day before, he caught the man spying on him and his companions at the Battleground which he runs, but before he could confront his fishy behavior, the man managed to slip away on a cloak that made him invisible. Buck remarks that he is glad to have located him in just one day, and Claydol acknowledges its trainer's words by grabbing Looker by the waistline of his trench coat.

The truth is, Buck unexpectedly overheard the talk about Stark Mountain between them upon his arrival, and it is something that caught his interest. Darach asks if Buck knows of the weird gang of people lurking around Stark Mountain recently, and the boy replies with a nod, adding that he has in fact been investigating on them. It seems that the organization has a considerable amount of members, and as of late, they have been going in and out of the area on multiple occasions, which led him to believe that they are after something in the mountain's interior region.

Looker is baffled as to what Buck meant by the mountain's interior, and Caitlin says to put it simple, it is essentially a cave inside the mountain. Stark Mountain is a volcano situated on the northern side of the Battle Zone, and its interior is made up of a maze of tunnels and caves which are known to erupt rather frequently. Caitlin reveals that at the mountain's deepest part resides a creature known as the Lord of Stark Mountain, and Buck fervently interrupts to say that he is certain this Pokemon called Heatran is what the weird organization is seeking. He explains that Heatran is a tremendously powerful being known as the lava dome Pokemon, and it is able to unleash a move called Magma Storm, which traps its foes within a maelstrom of flames until they are burnt to ashes.

Looker puts on a contemplative look as he acknowledges Buck'swords, and thanks him for the invaluable information. He then pats the boy on the head like an adult would to a kid, and tells him to escort them to Stark Mountain. However, Buck refuses with a mocking tone, which causes the international police officer to fume with rage.

Buck states that he has no problem in sharing his knowledge and information with Looker, but he has no intention of letting the man boss him and order him what to do. Without warning, he snatches the photo of Team Galactic from Looker, and winks that he would find his way to take care of this weird gang. Buck's action made Looker's anger reach new heights, and the man hollers that the boy needs to show some respect to an international police officer. He throws himself forward in an attempt to get Buck, but the boy adeptly goes airbourne on Claydol, and scorns that it is exactly this kind of stuck-up attitude of cops that he has issues with. He bids goodbye to everyone, and orders a Teleport from Claydol.

In a flash of light, the red-haired boy vanishes in front of everyone, and reappears outside the walls of the Battle Castle. He takes his landing, and muses to himself that Heatran is a Pokemon he has been after for a long time. He would definitely beat this weird gang of people to obtaining the Lord of Stark Mountain. Putting away the photo of Team Galactic, Buck motions to Claydol and begins heading north.

Later that evening, back at Platinum's newly purchased Villa, Platinum and Looker are having a discussion over the events of the day at the living room. Next to them, Empoleon and Lopunny sit comfortably on the sofa, while Rapidash rests itself on the cleanly polished marble floor.

Looker remarks that even though they have managed to conquer the Battle Castle and reached the Frontier Brain, he feels his excitement drowned out by negative emotions. Platinum understands that he is probably still upset about Buck, and tries to voice her encouragement as the man lets out a grunt, calling the boy an imp. Platinum points out that Buck seems to know Darach well, and Looker recalls what the red-haired boy said about his elder brother being an Elite Four member at the Battleground. He rationalizes that it would only seem natural for a brother of the Elite Four to be acquainted with the Frontier Brains, the Gymleaders, and all sorts of powerful trainers in those ranks.

Looker then says they should perhaps discuss something more important, that their enemy, the organization with weird fashion sense, seems to be stirring up something. Platinum's face turns serious, and she wonders what Team Galactic could be up to at Stark Mountain. She catches the momentary troubled look on Looker's face, and wonders what he is thinking about. The man states that while they appear to have some leads on Team Galactic, they have close to nothing on the Distortion World so far. He wants to know if Platinum plans to keep on challenging the facilities the obtain information from the Frontier Brains, and the girl replies with a nod.

The international police officer crosses his arms as he reconsiders this current approach of theirs, and starts to query if they should simply focus on one tactic or span out their attention to other leads. He takes a look at the map of Stark Mountain which he managed to obtain, and weighs the pros and cons of heading directly towards the volcano to investigate. After a moment of thought, he concludes that it might not be the best idea, as given his bad history with Buck, it would be an extremely dangerous move for two antagonistic people to be in the same area while being ambushed by Team Galactic simultaneously.

Looker decides that it is time to call it a night, and requests to borrow the front yard of the Villa for rest. Platinum is surprised by his words, and offers him the guest room, but the police officer firmly turns it down, and says it would not be necessary. He hopes that the girl gets enough rest for the next day, and pulls out gadget number 7 of the International Police Arms, the Hyper Compact One-touch Tent. Looker remarks that he will get to rest after writing up a report to their headquarters, and Platinum, feeling some newfound respect for the man's pride as a hardy police officer, decides to let him have his way. After tending to Empoleon's injuries sustained during the Castle challenge, she feeds Lopunny a Poffin as an evening snack, and brushes Rapidash's hair before finally retreats to bed herself.

The next morning, by the time Looker awakes, he is bewildered to discover that the sun has already risen high up in the skies. Climbing out from his collapsed tent and putting away his report which is now drained in his saliva, he quickly pulls on his trench coat and rushes back into the house to call for Platinum. He wonders if the girl is still asleep, but soon realizes that she has already left the Villa. He hurriedly goes airbourne on his gadget 5, Galactica Jet, to head to the Frontier, and while circling around in mid-air, uses his gadget one, the Excellent Scope, to search for Platinum among the heavy crowd of trainers at the central square.

He soon spots the girl riding on her Rapidash, but in that instant, his Galactica Jet explodes like it did before, and throws him into the bushes below. Recovering from his crash, Looker holds the back of his head in pain, and peeks out to see that Platinum seems to be following a mini-van advertising the Battle Arcade, driven by a man in bright-coloured suits and a wavy hair-do, who is twirling his fingers and singing a terrible song about roulette spinning.

Looker walks up to greet Platinum, but his voices startles the girl, and she quickly turns around, apologizing for being distracted by the man's singing and thus didn't notice him.

Looker: (sweatdrops) You call this... singing? Man: (twirls fingers) Keep spinning~ Keeping spinning~ Platinum: Yes Looker: (sweatdrops) You seem to like the roulette? Man: (twirls fingers) Keep spinning~ Keeping spinning~ Platinum: Yes Looker: (sweatdrops) Hmm... Man: (twirls fingers) Keep spinning~ Keeping spinning~ Platinum: (twirls fingers)

Looker looks up at the colourful building on the southeastern border of the Frontier, the Battle Arcade, and wonders if they should make it their second facility of challenge. However, before Platinum could think about it, the singing man, who is actually the Manager Platinum met long ago at the Veilstone Game Corner, ushers the two in, and welcomes them as their challenger.

Once inside, Platinum and Looker are surprised to see the lack of a long queue like the one at the Battle Castle yesterday. Looker remarks that this particular facility seems to be the only one needing advertising at the square, and gets the impression that the Battle Arcade isn't very popular among trainers. His sentence is suddenly interrupted midway by Mecha-Starly, however, who pops up out of nowhere, and cries that what he said was absolutely not true. Looker puts on an annoyed look once again after hearing its mechanical tone, and the robotic bird states that the Battle Arcade doesn't get as many challengers not because of its popularity. Rather, it is due to its difficulty. In order to reach the star of the Arcade, whom is a very skilled opponent, one must go through an extremely intense and tough path of challenge, one that only gets harder as they progress, and one that only a few manage to survive.

Meanwhile, on Route 227, Buck is climbing his way up a wall of ragged and steep boulders. He pants that the area sure has a harsh landscape, but knows that he will reach Stark Mountain once he gets past this part. He encourages Claydol to keep moving, and reaches out for the next boulder above.

Behind him, taking shelter behind several large rocks on the side path, two Team Galactic Grunts spy on Buck without a sound. After making sure that they are not spotted, they make their way back into a cave inside Stark Mountain where the Team Galactic Commander Charon is waiting, and report to him about their intruder. The purple-haired old man doesn't seem surprised to hear that the boy who has been sniffing in their business has finally come to the area, and orders his Grunts to keep trailing after him.

Elsewhere in this maze of tunnels within the volcanic mountain, the ceiling cracks and lets out a spurt of flames followed by a gush of hot air. On the other side of the crevice, crawling along the ragged walls in an upside-down manner, the Pokemon Heatran opens up its gigantic mouth and lets out a low shriek...

(Original Japanese Jokes)
There are no jokes or Manzai in this chapter.

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us



421: VS Claydol


Volume 38