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Outside the Battle Palace, Ruby, Sapphire and Popo gasp in shock as Palace Maven Spenser without warning approaches them and uses his staff to lift up Sapphire's chin. The old man stares into Sapphire's eyes and says he knows it well, and Ruby angrily demands that he stays away from Sapphire. The boy begins to command a Weather Ball from Popo, but Spenser calmly thrusts his staff at Ruby's forehead and knocks him onto the floor.

Despite having learnt Sapphire's name from Ruby's words, Spenser still addresses her the formal way, and says if he isn't mistaken, she has once come into contact with the Blue Orb, one of the mythical jewels which have the power to control and calm the ancient titans.

Sapphire's eyes widen with surprise at the statement, and finds it hard to believe that Spenser is able to learn all that by looking into her eyes alone. Struggling to sit up on the floor, Ruby secretly pulls out the Memory Fire Lighter which Courtney gave him, and quickly ignites its flame to begin recording.

Inside the Battle Dome, the final tournament match between Emerald and Tucker ensues. Charizard continues to attack with its deadly Overheat, while Metagross uses all its might to protect itself from the flames.

Brandon exclaims that Tucker is totally domineering in the battle, and everyone else looks on eagerly. Just then, Scott beckons Anabel over for a word, and the Salon Maiden proceeds to excuse herself from the group, explaining that she is going to have a private meeting with the owner for a while. The four remaining Frontier Brains watch as Anabel hop onto Scott's flying saucer to hover away, and Greta suddenly remembers what Noland said about having found a way to locate Jirachi earlier than their enemy. She states that it is a bad time to ask since they are there to support Tucker, but she is really dying to know what it is.

Lucy expresses her desire to learn about it as well, and Noland reaches into his pocket to take out three Pokeballs. He states that they were the keys to his discovery, and Greta gasps in pleasant surprise when three Smeargles pop out from them. She bends down to hug one as Noland pets the other two, and explains that they are wild Pokemon captured at the Artisans Cave.

It turns out that Noland himself has paid a visit to the cave yesterday after their battle with the armoured man there. While the showdown took place, most of the Pokemon fighting were the rental ones stolen from the Battle Factory, and the wild Smeargles were basically just spectators who did not really take part after Guile Hideout appeared.

Smeargles know a unique move known as Sketch, which allows them to copy a move they have witnessed and turn it into their own. Noland rationalized that among the few dozens of Smeargles, at least some would have managed to sketch the moves of Jirachi, and thus started looking among the group. Eventually he was able to screen out three, who all succeeded in copying the same move Jirachi knows.

Greta fervently inquires what move it is, and Noland puts on a grin as he commands a Wish from the Smeargles. The three painter Pokemon immediately clasp their hands together while closing their eyes, and a shower of glittering stars instantly fill the place. Noland remarks that wish is an exceptionally beautiful move, and says while he hasn't witnessed Jirachi use it, he is certain that it will generate a similar glittery light that they are all seeing right now.

Thus, Noland has set up various cameras across the entire Battle Frontier, and the central system will alert him once such a light is detected. The Factory Head remarks that they shall head for the light source as soon as the signal comes in, and hopefully they will get to Jirachi before Guile Hideout does.

Lucy and Greta nod in excitement, and suddenly hear a crash from the stage. They quickly turn around, and see that Emerald's Metagross has finally succumbed to Charizard's powerful Overheat. The announcer declares Tucker the winner as both of Emerald's Pokemon have fallen, and the Dome Ace waves proudly at the roaring crowd while Emerald gasps in disbelief that he has lost.

Tucker grins that it has been an excellent match, but points out that Protect is a move which success rate decreases with continuous use, and thus shouldn't be a battling tactics to count on. He offers a handshake to Emerald and says he is always welcome to rechallenge within the 7-day period, but Emerald turns around with a depressed look, and silently walks off the stage. Tucker knows that Emerald must take his own time to deal with the fury and upset of his first loss, and lets out a little sigh.

The flamboyantly dressed man then decides to go find his other companions and waves towards the Frontier Brains' private stand. But then he spots the familiar silhouette of Guile Hideout dashing across the windows near the top of the audience stand, and quickly sends out Salamence.

On the Brains' private stand, Greta, Lucy, Brandon and Noland jump with shock when Tucker suddenly swoops past them on the dragon Pokemon, and wonder what has happened since it doesn't seem like his usual performance gimmick. Suddenly, Noland's Pokegear beeps, and an electronic voice comes on to alert him that the glittery light has been detected. To everyone's astonishment, the location is right on the rooftop of the Battle Dome.

Back outside the Battle Palace, Sapphire demands to know why her having had contact with the Blue Orb has anything to do with Spenser, and whether or not it is related to what is about to happen at the Battle Frontier. However, the Palace Maven simply closes his eyes in silence for a moment, then grins that he has been too carried away.

The old man turns around with a gentle laugh, and places his hand on his baldhead as if feeling foolish for appearing so inappropriate despite having so much experience in life. He remarks that perhaps everyone who finally gets to meet a compatriot after such a long time will act this overzealously, and starts to walk away.

Sapphire steals a look at Ruby, who winks back at her, and flicks off the flame on the Memory Fire Lighter. The boy then pretends to agree with what Spenser said, and gleefully runs up to Sapphire and says they should get going. Once he is sure that Spenser couldn't hear them, he compliments Sapphire for leading Spenser well in their conversation, and Sapphire grins that she knew the Palace Maven is keeping something from them.

Ruby states that the entire dialogue has already been recorded by the Memory Fire Lighter, and says there is definitely something weird about the old man. Hopefully the memory flames will lend them hints and help them solve the mystery.

A moment later, as Spenser is about to head back into the Battle Palace, he suddenly senses someone else behind him, and turns around to find Emerald standing at the base of the stairs with a determined look. The Palace Maven grins that after the red and blue ones have departed, the green one has arrived, and says he seems to be having quite a lot of visitors that day.

Emerald states that he is there for the Palace challenge, and Spenser is surprised since he expects him the following day. Emerald grunts that it was his initial plan, but he has unfortunately had some mishaps, and the new schedule will be to conquer the Palace within that afternoon, followed by the Tower challenge on the next day, and reserving the last day for retaking the Battle Dome.

Despite his loss at the Dome, Emerald still manages to keep his arrogant attitude, and remarks that this is only way he could set his record straight. Spenser puts on an amused grin as he beckons Emerald to follow, and says it will suit him better if there are no press people or audience present. Walking through the two heavy stone doors, the Palace Maven tells Emerald to get ready to meet his opponents, and the doors gradually slam shut with a load bang.

Meanwhile, at the rooftop of the Battle Dome, glittery stars and a colourful light fill the entire area. Brandon, Lucy, Tucker, Greta and Noland hurry towards the source of the light, but find themselves face to face with not only Jirachi but also the armoured man.

The armoured man unleashes a swirl of vacuum blast with his sword together with a Psybeam from his Surskit towards Jirachi, and the wish Pokemon winces in pain. Guile Hideout then tosses out a Pokeball without warning, which rapidly sucks Jirachi in. To the five Frontier Brains' horror, the Pokeball only shakes briefly, and the sound of a click is heard, signifying a successful catch.

Picking up his prize, the armoured man grins wide and evilly as he announces his triumphant capture of Jirachi, who now looks out from its Pokeball with a helpless expression on its face...

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

324: VS Charizard II

Volume 28