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A new day has arrived in Sinnoh. At the prestigious Berlitz's Mansion in Sandgem Town, the butler Sebastian, an old man in his late fifties and perhaps early sixties, taps gently on the door. He enters the lavishly decorated bedroom of Lady Berlitz, whom he addresses as the Lady, and says his morning greetings in his usual polite way. He puts down the ivory coloured box he carries in his arms, and remarks that he has brought what the Lady requested, clothing garments which are casual but are nevertheless of top quality.
Sitting behind the silk curtains that drape over her canopy bed is a young girl in pajamas with long flowing navy blue hair. She greets Sebastian as gramps, and thanks him for the delivery. As Sebastian proceeds to excuse himself, Lady Berlitz slowly climbs off the bed, and looks out through the giant windows of her room, which are squared by fine wooden planks and lined delicately with golden metallic frames.
Underneath the clear blue skies, the air breathes fresh and inviting. The lush green trees sway lazily to a gentle breeze, and sunlight softly glimmers upon the distant meadows. The girl feels thankful for the nice weather outside, and hopes that it is a good omen, for it is going to be a very special day in her life.
Walking over to the chest of drawers towards the other end of her room, she opens the jewellery box sitting on top, and slips a pearl ring around her right middle finger, matching a diamond one to her left. To her family, these accessories are the sacred ornaments of this special day, with the pearl signifying the ultimate smoothness, and the diamond symbolizing the ultimate toughness.
Meanwhile, at the busy city of Jubilife, the famous Sinnoh television station, Jubilife TV, is holding a comedian contest show called the New Generation Funny Grand Prix. The whole city buzzes with energy, with most of its residents having gathered in high spirits at the station's outdoors event ground, located right in front of its headquarters building.
As the judges settle into their seats, the crowd begins to applaud with excitement, welcoming the first entry group on stage, two boys named Pearl and Diamond, hailing from Twinleaf Town. Pearl, a blonde hair kid wearing a green scarf, is apparently the more energetic one. A confident grin spreads across his face as he waves proudly at the audience, and his Chatot, nicknamed Chatlord, flaps its wings merrily, sharing the same lively vibe of its trainer. On the other hand, Diamond, also known as Dia, is a dopey looking boy who wears a red cap and scarf. Standing next to his partner, he simply chimes in and waves his arm in slow motion together with his Munchlax, nicknamed Beh.
The announcer states that the duo shall perform a short conte titled 'The Red Gyarados', and the audience once again applauds while the boys get themselves ready. A few moments later, Pearl and his Chatlord reappear on stage, and start wandering around in an artificial scene set up to resemble Lake Verity. Pearl wonders out loud if he will be able to find the rumoured red Gyarados, and Chatlord keeps repeating the last syllable its trainer says.
The grass next to them soon begins to stir, and Pearl remarks that something seems weird in that patch. Thinking to himself, Pearl is glad that their script is going smooth so far, and knows that once Chatlord seeks Dia and Beh out from the bushes, the real show will begin.
Pearl and Dia practice a traditional type of stand up comedy known as Manzai, where one plays the straight man and the other plays the funny man. The act involves trading funny jokes at a rapid pace, and often entails puns, verbal gags, and mutual misunderstandings. The role of the funny man is to play dopey and constantly misinterpret and forget things, while the straight man's job is to correct the funny man's errors by butting-in, which usually involves hitting and smacking. Given their personalities, Dia obviously plays the funny man and Pearl takes the part of the straight man.
In their current script, after Dia and Beh emerge from the bushes in their Magikarp outfit, Pearl will immediately butt-in by smacking Dia hard on the head, and curse that he is looking for a red Gyarados but not a green, in other words young and inexperienced version of Gyarados.
After running over the dialogue in his head once more, Pearl gets ready and tells Chatlord to check the bushes with a Fury Attack. The artificial grass immediately falls away, but to Pearl's shock, Beh is sitting alone in front of a huge plate of riceballs and is busy stuffing them into its mouth. Just then, Dia comes running up in his Magikarp outfit, and is happy that he has finally found Beh. The boy too, starts picking up the riceballs to munch on, and Pearl remains speechless and motionless at the unexpected turn of events.
Pearl soon explodes in a fury, and demands to know what Dia is doing. Dia giggles that he is not a Magikarp but a Munchikarp, and the bad joke immediately causes Pearl to convulse in horror and humiliation. A few people crack a laugh, while the majority of the audience sweatdrop at Dia's supposed joke. Feeling like a complete fool, Pearl quickly excuses themselves in embarrassment, and yanks Dia off the stage.
A few moments later, next to the fountain right outside the Jubilife TV headquarters, Pearl remains furious, and demands to know what Dia was thinking. Dia doesn't get why Pearl is so upset, and keeps stuffing riceballs into his mouth. Pearl hollers that Dia did not follow their agreed script at all, and finds it hard to believe that Dia is still eating.
Dia believes that Pearl must be upset about not getting a prize, and shares a grin with Beh, who is busy munching on the riceballs as well. He explains that when they were putting on their Magikarp outfits in the backstage, they saw a plate of riceballs prepared for the staff which was left unattended. Fearing that the food would turn bad, Beh immediately scooped the whole plate up and ran off. Dia says he has actually attempted to stop Beh, but the backstage's dim lighting kept him bumping into walls instead, and thus he didn't get to find Beh until they were both on stage.
Dia puts on a grin, and is happy they still managed to make some people laugh during their show. Pearl agrees with a sarcastic tone that Dia's impromptu was truly magnificent, but then quickly barks with fury that it was obviously just a forced laugh from the selected few people.
Pearl turns around to hold his head in anguish, and says Dia should have eaten enough to quench his hunger before their performance. However, Dia sweatdrops and reminds him that it was him who said they must practice and had no time to eat since the moment they woke up that morning. Tears begin to well up in Pearl's eyes as he thinks of how hard they've trained for the competition, and the Grand Prix that they have aspired to win from the professional judges with their specially designed verse.
Meanwhile, laugher continues to boom from the audience with each new performance on stage. Pearl sulks that any hope to win is truly frail for them now, and tells Dia to listen to the crowd's explosive reaction which they should have generated themselves. Yet, to his dismay, he hears no response from Dia, and turns around to find the boy dozing off while still holding riceballs in his hands. Like its trainer, Beh is snoring peacefully on its back, its tummy acting as the perfect pillow for Dia.
Pearl sweatdrops with Chatlord, and walks over to shake Dia awake. He places his hands on Dia's shoulders and addresses him as Diamond, something he always does when he turns serious, and reminds him of their childhood vow in the nursery school. At that time, two famous Manzai performers from Johto, known as the Blue Sky Clefairy & Jigglypuff Masters, have come to give performances in Sinnoh. Pearl and Dia nearly laughed themselves to death during the show, and have vowed to become just like them. From then on, the two have formed a team and practiced day and night, making up new verses and polishing their acts.
Pearl states that he is still keeping this vow that they've made, and Dia, after a moment of thought, grins and says he too, plans to hold on to it. Pearl beams with joy from Dia's reply, and says they should just forget the bad experience of the day, and aim for their next chance to shine.
Pearl: In that case, we shall practice for the next Manzai tournament! Starting from this moment!!
As midday approaches, Lady Berlitz has put on her brand new outfit, and is ready to set out from the mansion. Sebastian compliments on how fitting the new attire is, and soon begins to sob. Lady Berlitz wonders what is wrong, and Sebastian explains that he is just feeling sad that he will not be able to see her for a while.
Lady Berlitz calmly tells him not to cry, but Sebastian says he is crying for a good reason, for danger shall surround the Lady the moment she steps out from the mansion. Lady Berlitz remains unfazed however, and wonders if it is really necessary to have two people accompany her. Sebastian immediately hollers that it is absolutely necessary, as he will not allow any harm to be done to the Lady's noble body.
As they make their way towards the front door, the old butler explains that the two people are professional bodyguards who have received special training. He wants the Lady to pass down any orders she wishes, since their job is to protect her at all cost, all the way towards the far-off Mt. Coronet. The bodyguards have been ordered to meet up with the Lady right in front of the Jubilife Condominiums, and for the sake of identification, one will be wearing a red scarf while the other a green one.
Lady Berlitz ensures Sebastian that she has remembered it well, and tightens the pink scarf around her neck. She then picks up her bag along with a suitcase, and bids goodbye to the old butler. Sebastian sniffs and sobs as he waves his hankerchief at the doorway, and urges the Lady to be careful on her journey.
The mansion soon gets out of sight for Lady Berlitz, and she breathes out a sigh of relief. While she understands that Sebastian's intentions are good, she thinks he is worrying way too much. She believes that her new partner will feel the same way, and kneels down to open up the brown suitcase, which holds three sets of items, a Pokeball, a fancy watch and what appears to be a high-tech electronic device, all identical in style but in different colours.
Lady Berlitz picks up the Pokeball in the middle set, and calls out the name Piplup as she releases the Pokemon inside. A little blue penguin instantly pops out and wiggles its little hands, glad to be leaving home just like its trainer.
Back at Jubilife City, Pearl and Dia are still busy practicing their Manzai verses.
Pearl: Speaking of Pokemooon!!
Pearl: Speaking of Pokemon attacks, there are many of them~
Pearl turns around and clutches his fists in confidence, feeling glad that their practice seems to be picking up on a good tempo. He says they should go through the same verse one more time to get used to it, but Dia begs for a break since they still have a whole month to practice, and most of all, his face is hurting from the smacks. Yet Pearl hollers in refusal, and says they must train more intensely to make up for their failure of the day.
Just then, a middle-aged man with glasses who is wearing a purple sweater approaches the two, and is grateful that he has finally found them. Pearl recognizes the man as Denis, the producer of Jubilife TV, and wonders what they could do for him. Denis explains that the contest results have just been released, and the two of them have been rewarded the Judges' Special Merit Prize.
Pearl and Dia gasp in disbelief at the news, and Denis grins that the highly unusual joke of theirs has apparently left an odd kind of impression on the judges, something which he admits, doesn't understand very well. But he states that the presentation ceremony will begin soon, and urges the two boys to hurry over after handing them an envelope which contains a travelling coupon that goes together with the merit prize.
Pearl quickly thanks Denis, and yanks Dia by the arm to speed through the crowd. Unfortunately, just as he turns his head around to scowl at Dia for moving too slow, he crashes into two men walking in front of him, taking Dia along in the process. The older guy of the two, a sixty-ish gentleman in suits with white hair and beard, gets furious as his books and papers are sent flying, and angrily yells at the boys for dashing around in such a crowded place.
Pearl hurriedly bows in apology while pressing Dia's head down at the same time, and scurries away after picking up the envelope which he has dropped, all the while thinking how fierce the old man is.
The younger guy whom Pearl and Dia crashed into, a middle-aged man in glasses who wears a white lab coat, addresses the old man as Prof. Rowan, and wonders if he is all right. Rowan gathers up his documents with an annoyed look, and is clearly not too happy about how kids behave these days.
The fact is, his has just returned to Sinnoh after handling some research work abroad, and feels slightly annoyed at how noisy the place has become. The white coat guy, who is actually one of Rowan's research assistants, grins that it isn't always like that, and explains that the excitement of the day is simply because of the Funny Grand Prix show hosted by Jubilife TV, causing everyone in the city to come out and gather on the streets.
Prof. Rowan states that perhaps such a big crowd will provide the needed cover for one to set out on a journey without being noticed too much, and the white coat guy, knowing the professor is talking about his daughter, simply puts on a gentle smile. Rowan is surprised that as a father, his assistant seems unusually calm when his very own child is leaving on a perilous journey, and the white coat guy calmly states that it is a tradition for every generation in their family.
It turns out that this white coat guy is no other than Lady Berlitz's father, Sir Berlitz. The Berlitz's family is a renowned clan in the region of Sinnoh, with a history dating more than 200 years back. Not only are they famous for their wealth, but they are also known for producing great scholars in every generation. As part of their family tradition, the descendent of each generation will journey towards the summit of Mt. Coronet to gather a special material on their own, and create an accessory that bears their family crest. For Lady Berlitz, this very day marks the beginning of her long voyage.
Prof. Rowan remarks that the two latest Berlitz generations, being Sir Berlitz and Lady Berlitz to be exact, have helped him tremendously in his research work on Pokemon, and he is actually experiencing a lot emotionally to see the young girl set out on her own. The old man wonders if it is slightly too early for such a big feat, and still has a hard time believing that Lady Berlitz herself decided to start her journey at such a young age.
Sir Berlitz grins that he was taken by surprise as well, but his daughter simply announced it one fine day, and held firm to her decision. Their butler Sebastian has been extremely worried about the prospect, and even pressed him to hire two bodyguards for the girl.
Rowan remarks that he has heard all about it from Lady Berlitz, and says if he is allowed to speak selfishly, he is actually excited about the young girl's journey, because she has offered to collect information for him with the Pokedex as she travels. The fact is, he was so carried away in his conversation with the girl last time that he has unintentionally bestowed two quests upon her before he realized it.
The reason is he truly yearns to know what kind of Pokemon inhabit the Sinnoh region now, and how their habitats are distributed. For that, he has prepared the Pokedex, and in particular, there are also three species of Pokemon which growth progress he would like to closely monitor. Coupled with a special watch developed by the Poketch Company which boasts a variety of useful programs, he has made three sets of items, each comprising of a Pokedex, a Poketch, and a Pokeball containing one of the special Pokemon under study. Several days earlier, he has delivered the package to the Berlitz's Mansion, with one set intended for Lady Berlitz herself, and the other two for the bodyguards who would accompany her on the journey.
Sir Berlitz laughs that Prof. Rowan is still prompt and quick like his old self, and says the two bodyguards should be showing up anytime now. As soon as he says that, a stealthy presence greets him from behind, and he turns around to find two men dressed in black suits and sunglasses, one with a red scarf and the other with a green one.
The man with a red scarf tells Sir Berlitz and Prof. Rowan to keeping walking so as not to draw attention, and Sir Berlitz proceeds to take out an envelope which contains the information on when and where to meet up with the Lady, the route of the journey, as well as other details on their mission. The two men assure him that they will take good care of the Lady, and after receiving the envelope, slink off in a blink of an eye, causing Sir Berlitz and Prof. Rowan to jump in surprise.
Rowan says they shouldn't worry too much since Lady Berlitz seems to be in good hands, and Sir Berlitz, after letting out a small sigh, agrees and decides to head back to the Science Lab with the professor.
Meanwhile, Pearl and Dia have gone back on stage at the Jubilife TV headquarters to receive the Judges' Special Merit Prize they have been awarded with. The two boys raise their arms in victorious poses as the crowd cheers and applauds. Although they have yet to make it to any real rankings, it is nevertheless their first milestone towards championship.
Getting off stage, Pearl can't wait to find out what the prize coupon is about, and Dia hurriedly tears the envelope open. To their surprise, the only thing inside is what appears to be some kind of itinerary, listing the Mr. Coronet summit as the journey's destination, with the meeting place at the Jubilife Condominiums, and the meeting time at 5pm on 28 September, which is essentially that very day. The paper also states that the mission will be of bodyguard nature, and the reward is a sky-high 10 million dollars.
Pearl gasps at how far they will need to travel, and Dia is bewildered that the reward is even greater than the first prize of the Funny Grand Prix contest, which is a mere 1 million dollars. Pearl believes that it must be recognition of their talent, and the two rejoice as they jump around and hug each other.
Standing not far from them, the Jubilife TV producer Denis fails to understand why the boys are so happy, since the prize coupon he handed them is simply a voucher for two free bicycle rides at the Sandgem Park. He sweatdrops at their enthusiasm, and finds them really unusual.
Later that day, at exactly 5pm, Lady Berlitz arrives at the Jubilife Condominiums with her Piplup. She sees that her supposed bodyguards have yet to arrive, and opens up the suitcase again, which now only holds two sets of items since she has already taken her share of the Pokedex, Poketch, and picked Piplup as her partner. Deciding to let Prof. Rowan's two other Pokemon have some fresh air, she calls them out from their Pokeballs, and a green snapping turtle named Turtwig together with an orange fire monkey named Chimchar instantly pop out.
Lady Berlitz hands them the two other Pokedexes, and tells them to pick their own partner when the two men arrive. Just then, two silhouettes start to approach from afar, and Lady Berlitz soon sees the red and green scarf dress code, leading her to believe that they are the bodyguards her father and Sebastian have hired.
However, as fate would have it, the two are in fact Pearl and Dia, who have come because of the odd itinerary they found in their prize envelope, accidentally exchanged earlier with the mission slip Sir Berlitz intended for the bodyguards. Dia still finds it peculiar that the supposed travelling has become a mission, and doesn't understand why the reward would be as much as 10 million. Pearl scoffs that Dia is really stupid, and reminds him of the reality shows that TV stations often set artists on. He is sure that a camera crew is now secretly following them, and shall capture their daily activities on screen.
Dia bolts with surprise at the idea, and starts looking around for a camera, but Pearl tells him not to spoil the fun and just act normal. He adds that once they arrive at the designated location, the Jubilife Condominiums in this case, something would usually jump out to surprise them.
As soon as he says that, Chimchar and Turtwig suddenly appear out of nowhere, and throw themselves against the two boys while holding the Pokedexes. Pearl and Dia unintentionally make contact with the screens of the devices during the process, and unknowingly register themselves as the official users.
Pearl pretends to struggle in pain as Chimchar yanks happily at his face, and quietly urges Dia to have some kind of reaction instead of just lying flat on the ground while Turtwig sits on his face. Dia attempts to get up, but soon catches sight of Lady Berlitz standing ahead, and is completely astounded by the beauty and elegance she exudes. For a moment, it almost seems as if he is seeing a fabled faerie that is out of this world.
As a result, Dia remains frozen in motion, which Pearl notices, and quickly tells him not to sit there like a rock. However, a series of Furry Attack all of a sudden come striking down from above, and narrowly misses them. The two boys turn around to find a huge flock of Starlys glaring at them, and holler that the starling Pokemon are in attack mode.
In that instant, Lady Berlitz yells at them with an annoyed tone, and couldn't understand why they are still not fending off the Starlys like they should. Though unable to comprehend what the girl means, Pearl and Dia have no time to hesitate, and quickly order Chatlord and Beh forward to attack, along with Chimchar and Turtwig.
It eventually takes them a good thirty minutes before the whole flock is defeated, and right away, the two boys drop themselves onto the ground to catch their breath with the four Pokemon, never having experienced anything so intense in their life.
Lady Berlitz stares in disbelief that the two boys require half an hour to take care of a few Starlys, and finds it odd as well that her bodyguards seem to be about the same age as hers. But on a deeper thought, she rationalizes that it must be Prof. Rowan and her father's intention to have someone in the same generation as hers, so as to provide adequate camouflage for her on the journey.
She slowly walks over to the boys, and wishes to know names she could address them with, be it their real ones or just codenames. Dia sheepishly says she could call him Dia or Diamond, while Pearl puts on a grin as he states his name clear and loud. Lady Berlitz then simply nods with a nonchalant expression, and turns around without a word, much to Pearl and Dia's shock.
Pearl gets irritated, and quickly reaches out a hand to stop the girl, whom he believes to be their tour guide on the journey. He hollers that the proper manner after inquiring someone's name is to state one's own, but Lady Berlitz swiftly swats his hand off, and says she has been told by Sebastian that it is not necessary to reveal her name to people of the lower-class.
The term 'lower-class' immediately causes Pearl to fume with rage, and he shouts out the word in disbelief while Chatlord repeats the phrase over and over again, showing an angry expression on its face like its trainer. All the while, Dia continues to wear his flabbergasted look, and gawks awkwardly at Lady Berlitz.
Calling out her Ponyta from a Pokeball, Lady Berlitz ignores Pearl's reaction and climbs on to the fire pony. She announces that it is time to set off for Mt. Coronet, and Piplup, Chimchar and Turtwig trot merrily in front to lead the way, while Pearl and Dia have little choice but to tag behind with Chatlord and Beh, each boy having a different thought on his mind.
Meanwhile, at the Sandgem Park, Lady Berlitz's real bodyguards are swinging up and down on the seesaw after having had their free bicycle ride. They notice that it is getting really late, and wonder why their client still has yet to arrive...
(Original Japanese Jokes)
338: VS Starly