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At the city of Eterna, Chimlord, Prinplup and Roo gasp in astonishment, and wear looks of bewilderment on their faces as they check out their own new appearances. The blonde woman who has been watching Dia, Pearl and Lady Berlitz train walks up to the young ones, and states that the three Pokemon's long-term companionship has caused them to develop similar growth rates, resulting in the simultaneous evolution.

The trio looks up hesitantly at their stranger who is standing at a distance, and sees that she is accompanied by a Garchomp and Spiritomb. Dia whispers that she seems to have anticipated their Pokemon's evolution, and Pearl wonders who she is. Dia grins that the most effective way to learn about someone's character is to see their response to a Manzai verse, and Pearl sweatdrops at his suggestion that one who laughs is certainly a good person.

Pearl: Speaking of Pokemon~
Dia: Speaking of Pokemooon!!
Pearl: There are gym challenges.
Dia: Gym challenges~
Pearl: There are many different kinds of Gymleaders.
Dia: Different kinds of Gymleeeaders~ (puts on mask of Roark) We fought Roark at Oreburgh~
Pearl: And tomorrow!
Dia: (puts on mask of Gardenia) We'll be battling Gardenia, who will surely be waiting in a garden-near~

The blonde woman gawks with a blank face at the two boys, and suddenly breaks into a hysterical laugh, causing her Garchomp and Spiritomb to sweatdrop. Dia and Pearl clearly did not expect such a big reaction, and are stunned speechless as they stare at one another. Dia wishes to know if the woman found their verse interesting, and the woman nods that it is some of the best Manzai she has seen. She wipes off the tears in her eyes which welled up because of her intense laughing, and introduces herself as Cynthia. Guessing that the trio must be training for the Eterna Gym challenge, she offers to give them a little coaching.

Lady Berlitz instantly beams at her words, and tells the boys that the woman certainly does not look like a bad person. Dia is impressed that she knows of Manzai, and Pearl agrees that they seem to have come across an unexpected fortune. Thanking Cynthia, the young trainers accept her offer, and promptly resume their training.

Cynthia takes off her coat for Garchomp to carry, and focuses her teachings on Prinplup after learning that Lady Berlitz will be the challenger. She begins explaining the importance of agile footwork in evading the foe's attacks, and the Lady listens attentively with Pearl, while Dia and his Pokemon sit aside to munch on their riceballs.

However, Dia soon chokes on a bite, and has rice backflowing into his nostrils. After struggling with a failed attempt to sneeze it out, he explodes with a barking cough, which badly startles Prinplup. It so happens that Prinplup is about to unleash an attack in that instant, and the blue penguin ends up firing off a blast of water with an uncontrolled force.

Pearl hollers that the attack is about to hit the spiky building next to them, and Cynthia quickly orders her Spiritomb forward. To the trio's amazement, a globe of energy encases Prinplup's attack and halts it in midair, and Cynthia explains that it is Spiritomb's Psychic, a move generated from the mind which is capable of freezing other attacks without affecting their original power and nature.

She states that Psychic can seal almost any kind of attacks, and tells Dia to try his Grotle's Razor Leaf. Dia thus commands Roo to unleash the grass type attack, and Spiritomb once again generates an energy globe to trap the sharp-edged leaves. Dia exclaims with admiration that he has never seen such a cool thing before, and Cynthia grins that they should probably continue their training.

A while later, Cynthia winds up their session, and compliments on Lady Berlitz's quick learning, predicting that it will be a very interesting gym challenge. The Lady bows her head with Prinplup, and sincerely thanks the young woman for her teachings. Cynthia says her final advice is that one must have adequate planning before a battle, and contemplate on different strategies to deal with the various situations that may come up. For instance, one must plan on what to do when the opponent makes a certain move, and how the outcome of the decision is best managed subsequently.

However, she points out that there are always situations beyond expectations in a real combat, and thus it is essential to learn how to turn the opponent's advantage to one's own benefit. Lady Berlitz nods and thanks her again, and the trio bids their goodbyes while Cynthia wishes them good luck. Watching the young trainers walk off, Cynthia thinks to herself that the three being Pokedex Holders must have made her reminisce about the past, which is most likely the reason why she took the initiative to befriend them.

She then steals a glance at a broken bicycle that lies in the bushes behind her, and pulls out a photo of a man, who is the owner of the Bike Shop in the city. Apparently, the man has been ambushed and kidnapped, and she has come all the way to Eterna to investigate upon the matter, where her latest discoveries have led her to the building right in front of her. Looking up at the spikey building, she believes that if she heard it right, the calls for help came from the top floor.

Later, at the Eterna Gym, Dia, Pearl and Lady Berlitz enters the building and finds themselves face to face with a huge maze which is formed by densely packed trees. The dragon-like statue at the entrance welcomes the young ones, whom it addresses as the children of the future, and almost right away recognizes their faces. Dia and Pearl gasp that it is the same voice as the one at the Oreburgh Gym, and the statue guesses that Lady Berlitz is once again the challenger. It then explains the rules, and says up to two Pokemon can be used, with a choice between switch-in, elimination, and double battles.

Lady Berlitz picks double battles, and the statue says challengers must solve the tree maze to find their way to Gardenia, who waits at the other end of the room. Just then, the Lady sees a silhouette dashing behind the trees, and wonders if it is Gardenia, but the statue states that it is only one of the four hidden trainers whom challengers must find and defeat in a definite order before they can fight Gardenia herself.

Pearl and Dia put on a grin as they trot over to where the silhouette was seen, and beckon Lady Berlitz over, saying that it must be the right path to go since the first hidden trainer is there. Their remark draws a grumble from the statue, and it demands to what the boys are doing. Dia grins that they are there for support and starts munching on his churros, and Pearl proudly claims to be the coach of the Lady. The statue hollers that it has stressed many times on the importance of fairness in gym challenges, and will not tolerate any form of assistance. With that, it throws the two boys out of the gym like it did at Oreburgh, and reiterates that eating is strictly prohibited in the room.

Dia and Pearl crash on their bottoms once again, and Dia wonders they should do now. Pearl grunts that he will not sit there and wait, and is determined to find some way to watch the battle. After looking around for a bit, they soon find a tree next to the gym which is tall enough to let them peek through the windows. Pearl is glad that they won't have to pile up as they did before, and starts scaling up the tree adeptly while Dia struggles to catch up.

Sitting on a branch that grows nearest to the building, the two boys make themselves comfortable, and look through the windows to see that Lady Berlitz has already solved the maze and beaten the four hidden trainers. Dia exclaims that Lady Berlitz will be fighting Gardenia next, and Pearl pricks up his ears to listen when the Lady speaks her full name upon the gymleader's request, but to no avail since the glass windows have muffled up most of the sound.

The dragon-like statue commences the battle, and Lady Berlitz sends out Ponyta and Prinplup while Gardenia calls forward Cherubi and Roserade. Dia remarks that Gardenia is indeed using grass types, and Pearl says Ponyta's flames and Prinplup's ice attacks should give them an upperhand. However, they soon see that the Eterna Gymleader has hopped significantly backwards on the battlefield, and left a considerable distance between Lady Berlitz and herself.

Gardenia states that even a fool can tell the clear disadvantage her Roserade and Cherubi have against the challenger's fire and ice attacks, and it is always wise to earn space for easier evasion. Dia finds it illogical since Gardenia's own attacks will have decreased accuracy as well, but the young woman seems hardly concerned, and Lady Berlitz wonders what the gymleader has kept up her sleeves.

As if to answer her challenger's query, Gardenia motions Roserade to begin its attack, and the bouquet Pokemon quickly sends a thick vine with thorns out of its left hand to jab into the ground. A soft rumbling echoes in the room, and before Lady Berlitz realizes what is going on, the vine shoots out right beneath Ponyta and whacks it like a whip. Ponyta instantly topples over in agony as the thorn disappears into the ground again, and Gardenia grins that the fire pony is already unable to continue fighting, leaving the Lady with one Pokemon against her two.

Pearl gasps that Roserade's vines are lined with poison thorns which not only deal a lot of damage, but may poison the foe. With the entire underground to serve as her medium of attack, it is no wonder that distance is not a problem for Gardenia. Not only that, but it will be nearly impossible to tell where the vines will emerge, making evasions extremely difficult to succeed.

Lady Berlitz orders Prinplup to charge forward, but Gardenia has Roserade repeat its trick, and Prinplup anxiously looks around to stay watchful as the rumbling sound draws nearer. Unfortunately, the vine spurts out from right behind it, and lands a wicked whack on its back. Dia exclaims that it is the same pattern all over again, and Pearl points out that while Prinplup fortunately didn't get poisoned from this strike, it is only a matter of time before it does.

Having gained an overwhelming upperhand, Gardenia decides to make it even harder for her challenger, and orders Roserade to unleash vines with both of its hands this time. Lady Berlitz watches helpless as Prinplup shrieks in pain and receives another round of whipping, completely unable to evade the thorned whips which could shoot out from anywhere on the battlefield.

Peeking in through the windows, Pearl grunts that it is really impossible to predict the exit points of the vines, and says it is almost like an invisible foe. Aside from the fact that the thorned vines are dealing considerable damage on Prinplup with each successful hit, the long distance between the two sides is making the blue penguin's counterattacks weak and futile.

Gardenia grins that her challenger seems to be running out of means to retaliate, and tells Roserade to further increase its pace of attacking. Right away, the rumbling sound underground gets more intense, and the bouquet Pokemon's thorned whips eject with an even stronger force to whack on Prinplup's body, causing Dia, Pearl and Lady Berlitz to all cry out in panic.

Dia and Pearl decides that they must do something to help, and resorts to the same method they used at the Oreburgh Gym.

Pearl: Speaking of Pokemooon!
Dia: Speaking of Pokemooon~
Pearl: There are different attaaacks.
Dia: Different attacks~
Pearl: Attacks can be classified into either physical or special.
Dia: Really!? Can you specify some for me?
Pearl: Of course, such as...
Statue: HEY!!! You two are trying to give hints to the challenger by Manzai again, aren't you!?
Pearl, Dia: Darn, we're busted~!!

Crouching down to catch their breaths, Lady Berlitz and Prinplup think hard to come up with a solution to their situation. Gardenia grins that any tactic will prove useless, and says with her Roserade's vines, there is no way she will lose.

Meanwhile, on the top floor of the building with spikes on its sides which is known as the Galactic Eterna Building, the tied up Bike Shop Owner sits against the wall right beneath the window, and once again calls out for help. He struggles against the ropes that are restraining him, and can't understand why he is still held captive after he has confessed all he knows.

In front of him, a whole room of men and women who wear astronaut-like suits with a yellow G on their chest keep mumbling a strange dialect among themselves, and the two who are keeping watch on the Bike Shop Owner reply with a string of indecipherable words that make the man wonder if they understand what he says after all. He notices that these people all have turquoise coloured hair that is styled into a helmet shape, and everyone's blank expressions look as if they've been brainwashed and are under manipulation.

Suddenly, two of them point towards the window with a confused look, and the Bike Shop Owner turns his head around to see that two energy globes with different content are slowly floating towards them. One of the strange individuals gets curious and opens up the window, but soon regrets his decision.

Down on the grassland below, Cynthia lets out a holler, and Spiritomb releases its Psychic on the globe that contains Prinplup's attack. The blast of water instantly jets through the open window on the building's top floor, and knocks all the strange people flying across the room. They hurry towards the window and look out to see who the culprit is, and see a fierce-looking Cynthia who stands proud next to her intimidating Garchomp and Spiritomb. Sharing a frightened look with each other, the strange individuals immediately scurry away and soon disappear through the elevator door, leaving the Bike Shop Owner yelling after them.

Cynthia hears the man's cry for help from below, and is amused that her presence alone has managed to scare the whole team away. She motions towards Spiritomb, and the forbidden Pokemon quickly floats the remaining energy globe through the window. With a snap, the Psychic seal bursts apart, and the trapped Razor Leaf of Roo swoops down to cut away the ropes restraining the Bike Shop Owner, causing the man the shout out in terror during the process. Down below, Cynthia believes that the Bike Shop Owner should have regained freedom, and decides to call it a day for now. Without another word, she turns around, and leaves the scene with Garchomp and Spiritomb.

A few moments later, the Bike Shop Owner exits from the building, and wonders who it was that helped him. He spots a leaf floating by, and recognizes it as part of the trapped Razor Leaf attack that freed him earlier. He rationalizes that it must have fallen out of the window when the strange energy globe that encased it broke apart, but a rice grain on the leaf soon catches his attention.

Back at the Eterna Gym, Gardenia grins that it is time to escalate their battle, and calls Cherubi forward. The cherry Pokemon unleashes a Grass Knot, and the long grass beneath Prinplup immediately clusters into a loop to trip it over, causing it to crash head-first on the ground. Gardenia states that the blue Penguin must be wondering why the attack seems to hurt more than when it was still a Piplup, and says the damage dealt by Grass Knot increases with heavier foes.

Prinplup shakes off the dizziness from its crash, and struggles to get back on its feet, but Roserade's thorned whips start shooting out from the ground again, and it hurriedly ducks out of the way. However, Cherubi trips it over with another Grass Knot, and it ends up receiving damage from both its fall and the whack of the vines.

Dia gets increasingly worried at Lady Berlitz's situation, and Pearl grunts that the addition of Grass Knot simply makes it even harder to evade the vines. Prinplup shrieks out in pain as it gets struck again, and subsequently falls on its face when it gets tripped by yet another Grass Knot. It pants to catch it breath as it lays on the ground which is now full of holes and grass loops, and Gardenia wonders if it wishes that it has not evolved after all.

Prinplup gets irritated at the remark and attempts another Bubble, but the attack disintegrates into thin air midway through the distance, and hardly anything remains when it reaches Roserade and Cherubi. Gardenia states that the blue penguin is running out of health points, and is obviously unable to pull off any form of retaliation. She grins that she has essentially won the combat with her invincible strategy, and says Lady Berlitz will be better off giving up now than having Prinplup further injured.

The Eterna Gymleader's mentioning of the term 'strategy' causes Lady Berlitz to remember Cynthia's advice to her, and the girl recalls what the young woman said about the importance of knowing how to turn the opponent's advantage to one's own benefit in a battle. Looking around to reassess their current situation, Lady Berlitz thinks hard to come up with a strategy, and soon realizes that there is a way to counterattack.

Gardenia decides that it is time to finish things off, and Roserade prepares to dig in its thorned whips again. However, a rumbling sound suddenly comes from underground, and Gardenia finds herself clueless as to what it could be as it draws nearer to her side. Without warning, a white cloud of air blasts out from the openings that Roserade created with its vines, and washes over both Roserade and Cherubi.

Dia and Pearl gasp in astonishment when they see the two grass Pokemon get frozen in ice, and slowly topple over motionless on the ground. They exclaim that Roserade and Cherubi are both knocked out, and start to rejoice at Lady Berlitz's victory.

Gardenia remains stunned at what just happened, and gradually comes to realize that the move that just came out from the openings is a Blizzard. Lady Berlitz nods that it is indeed the powerful ice attack which is capable of freezing the opponent with its extremely cold air, and says it would not have worked if she used it normally, since the coldness would have dispersed completely after moving across the long distance between them.

Whoever is providing the voice for the dragon-like statue is apparently amused by what it saw through the camera in the statue's eyes, and comments that Gardenia has actually built her own demise with all the tunnels she created. At that moment, Gardenia finally bolts with understanding that the multiple openings Roserade made with its thorned vines have formed a collection of underground tunnels, and these direct connections have eventually provided a pathway for Prinplup's Blizzard attack, allowing it to remain cold as it travelled the distance, and hit with full accuracy when it blasted out from her side.

Lady Berlitz grins that the multiple Grass Knot on the battlefield also helped, and says they provided coverage when Prinplup unleashed its attack into the openings. Gardenia is still trying to accept the fact that her challenger has turned her signature strategy back onto her, and continues to wear an astounded expression. But she states that her defeat cannot be denied, and presents Lady Berlitz with the Forest Badge as an acknowledgment of her skills. The Lady pins her second badge to her scarf next to the Coal Badge, and Prinplup clutches its hands with a satisfied look behind her.

Later, Lady Berlitz exits the gym to rejoin Dia and Pearl, and voices her gratitude as the two boys congratulate her on the victory. Suddenly, a man who wears a cycling helmet jumps out in front of them, and is glad that he has found them. The trio wonders who he is, and the man states that he knows it was them who rescued him at the Galactic Eterna Building. Without waiting for a response from the young trainers, he says they are being too humble to not take credit for it, but grins that their denial won't convince him because he has proof in his hands.

With that, the man takes out the leaf which he found earlier, and picks up the rice grain that is stuck on its edge. He states that it is of a special crop line which is only grown and harvested in the town of Twinleaf, and isn't sold anywhere in Eterna. It signifies that his rescuers are travellers hailing from another area, and after asking around, he learnt that the three of them are the only foreigners in the city. He feels grateful to have caught them before they leave, and is determined to repay them with wonderful gifts. All this time, the trio remains clueless as to what the man is saying, and starts to wonder if they have encountered some kind of lunatic.

The next morning, at Hotel Great Eterna, the front desk captain greets Dia, Pearl and Lady Berlitz cordially, and informs them that a package has arrived for them. A bellboy politely bows to the three, and proceeds to pull over a cart that has three large boxes on it. On the surface of each box is the image of a foldable bicycle next to the name Rad Rickshaw's Cycle Shop, signed personally by the Bike Shop Owner himself.

Between the mysterious bronze statue, the strange building with spikes, the eccentric gymleader, and now this bizarre Bike Shop Owner, the trio feels that Eterna is indeed a peculiar city...

(Original Japanese Jokes)

  1. In the Manzai verse that plays on gym challenges, Dia and Pearl say they have already fought Roark at Oreburgh, and later, they will 'Natane-san to tatakaukoto ni nattane', which means 'get into the battle with Gardenia'. The pun is on the word 'Natane', which is Gardenia's Japanese name and also carries the meaning of 'to get into'.
  2. Dia and Pearl attempt to use a Manzai verse on Pokemon attacks to give hints to Lady Berlitz, but the gym statue stops them before they succeed, and thus the duo fail to get to their main point.

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

347: VS Roserade II

Volume 31