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A new morning has arrived at the city of Hearthome. Lady Berlitz's two real bodyguards, Phool and Ignor, hide themselves behind two buildings, one on each side of a street, and keep a close watch on the front door of Hotel Great Hearthome. A few moments later, Dia, Pearl and Lady Berlitz emerge from the entrance, and Phool immediately alerts Ignor via their hand-free microphone, which has an earpiece attached to it.

Phool wants to know if Ignor can see clearly from his position, and Ignor assures him that he has already caught sight of their client, the only daughter of the prestigious Berlitz family. He adds that the two boys whose existence they have learnt of during their tracing are also with her, and says they truly appear to be just ordinary kids.

However, Phool tells Ignor not to take things at surface value, and reminds him that the boys tricked the Lady away from them. He believes that there must be some huge organization scheming the whole thing from behind, and the kids simply serve as camouflage to fool people, which is why they must be careful. The two men see that the group is about to step into the street they are hiding on, and decide to ambush them from both sides at the same time.

Unfortunately, the moment they leap out from behind the buildings, a purple-haired woman without warning lands from mid-air in front of Dia, Pearl and Lady Berlitz, causing the two bodyguards to bolt with shock and scurry back to their hiding place, astonished and troubled by their unexpected intruder.

The young woman introduces herself as the charming soulful dancer, Fantina, and apologizes to the trio for holding them up just when they are about to resume their journey. She explains that she really wishes to speak to them after witnessing Lady Berlitz's performance at the Normal Rank Super Contest, and commends her as a fantastic coordinator with superb qualities. The Lady beams at the compliment and thanks Fantina politely, while Pearl shrugs with a grin and Dia takes another bite of his ice cream cone, feeling grateful that the Lady is being recognized by a Master Rank coordinator.

Fantina remarks that there are many different contest categories, and urges Lady Berlitz to try all of them out in the future. Lady Berlitz assures her that she will, and thanks her once again before continuing on her way with Dia and Pearl. However, Fantina senses something peculiar at that moment, and tells the young trainers to wait. Putting on a frown, the purple-haired woman sweeps her gaze across the few buildings around them, and says she feels as if someone is watching them. She suddenly remembers the two rich women who tried to thwart Lady Berlitz during the contest, and believes that they must have come for trouble again.

Without further hesitation, she ushers the trio forward, and says she shall accompany them to the exit of the city. Phool hollers that their targets are getting away, and tells Ignor to give chase. The two bodyguards quickly dash along both sides of the street as Fantina and the group run in the middle, and Fantina grunts that the troublemakers are truly annoying. Dia, Pearl and Lady Berlitz are baffled as to what is happening, but have no choice except to keep moving on.

Phool and Ignor decide to scissor in on the group from opposite directions, but just as they leap up from the ground, Fantina calls out her Drifblim, and hoists everyone up into the air, causing the bodyguards to collide with each other head-on. Phool and Ignor grab their heads in pain after the crash, and cry out in unison that their targets have escaped via the aerial route.

Up in mid-air, Dia, Pearl and Lady Berlitz gasp in terror at their current position, and struggle to grasp onto the fluffy puff on top of Drifblim's head which they are sitting on. Down below, Fantina sits in a swing formed by Drifblim's long arms, and giggles that it must be their first time to fly on a Pokemon. Lady Berlitz admits that it is, and Pearl exclaims at the marvelous view beneath them while Dia continues to tremble and clutch tight onto his seat. Just then, Fantina spots a tower in the distance, and hopes that the young ones could spare some time to visit somewhere interesting, the famous Lost Tower to the east of Hearthome.

A while later, on the top floor of the Lost Tower, Dia and Pearl are giving Fantina a Manzai performance.

Pearl: Speaking of Pokemon!!
Dia: Speaking of Pokemooon~
Pearl: The Super Contest we had at Hearthome was truly something!
Dia: Was truly soomething~
Pearl: (frowns) But is it really the only city that holds contests? What if I want to challenge the higher ranked categories?
Dia: You will just have to visit Hearthome again. But judging from your skills, I'd suggest you to quit your heart and just go home! (shrugs)
Pearl: (smacks Dia on the head) Don't be so discouraging!!

Pearl: There is also a place called the Amity Square in the city, although we didn't have time to go there.
Dia: The Amity Square?
Pearl: Yup! (pats Chimlord on the head) There, you can freely wander around with your Pokemon... (turns to Dia) Wait, why are you crying all of a sudden?
Dia: (sobs and hugs Chimlord) Poor thing, you will have to wander around aimlessly in that place...
Pearl: (hollers) Don't you twist my words now!!

Fantina laughs hysterically at the 'quit your heart and just go home' joke, and crouches down to slap her hand hard on the ground, causing Drifblim to sweatdrop. Dia and Pearl are glad that their verse is well received, but Pearl takes another look around, and wonders if it is really appropriate that they laugh at such a place, seeing how it seems to be some kind of cemetery.

He worries that their weird pursuers may chase them all the way there, but Fantina assures him that everything will be all right, and explains that the Lost Tower is where she normally trains, essentially her second home. She pats a wild Misdreavus on the head, and says they are currently on the very top floor, which should be more than safe.

Meanwhile, at the entrance of the Lost Tower, Phool and Ignor look up at the tall building, and are certain that their targets have entered it from the top floor. They step into the dimly lit room of the ground floor, and Ignor remarks that the place is where the souls of deceased Pokemon rest, which is probably the reason why it seems to be giving off an eerie ambience.

Suddenly, the two bodyguards sense the presence of someone else in the room, and quickly stand back to back against each other while demanding their lurkers to show themselves. A group of astronaut-attired people with helmet-shaped hairstyles emerge from their hiding place, and wear blank expressions on their faces as they close in on the two men.

At the headquarters of the astronaut-like people's organization, the shadowed man who plotted a ransom on the daughter of the number one wealthy family in Sinnoh grins that he has finally found the girl's bodyguards, and compliments on the good work of his grunts. He wonders how much money he can demand from the girl's family, and looks over to the adjacent room through a glass window, which houses a globular machine in construction. After a moment of thought, he decides that 1.5 billion will probably suffice for them to complete the device, and tells his grunts to report on their situation.

Apparently, only the two bodyguards are present right now, and the shadowed man believes that they must have hid the girl somewhere. He smirks that he can easily force the information out of their mouths once he holds them captive, and clicks on a button on his controller. However, the grunts at the Lost Tower don't seem to get his hint and remain motionless, and the shadowed man yells at them for being so stone-headed all the time.

Finally understanding his commander's intention, a male grunt places two Pokeballs on the floor, and sends out a circular machine that floats in mid-air. With a snap, an Abra and Croagunk pop out from the Pokeballs, and the machine opens up into an intercom device that has speakers on the sides and a camera in front. Phool remarks that the speakers are clearly for giving commands to the Pokemon while the camera is for monitoring the battlefield, and Ignor states that their opponent seems to be fighting remotely.

Phool instantly thinks of the two boys, and grunts that they must have anticipated their arrival, and are choreographing everything from the top floor of the Lost Tower. He curses at the devilish minds of the kids, and says they must teach them a lesson. With that, he sends out a sand cloaked Burmy from a Pokeball, while Ignor calls out his Buizel.

The shadowed man commands a Poison Jab from Croagunk, and the toxic frog immediately digs its fingers on both hands into Burmy, hurling it against the wall and destroying its sand cloak. Burmy bounces back onto the floor, which is overgrown with short bushes and weeds, and trembles in agony as its naked body is exposed in open air. The shadowed man laughs that the bug Pokemon looks so pathetic without a coat, but Phool grins that he should just wait and see. A swirl of twigs and fallen leaves begin to gather around Burmy, and in a matter of seconds, the Pokemon remakes a new coat and adapts to the plant cloak form.

The shadowed man grits his teeth in frustration, and grunts that he should have remembered the creature's special ability to create new cloaks by gathering materials nearby. Phool winks at the intercom machine, and says they are on a mission to protect their client, and should not be underestimated as professional bodyguards. He commands a Hidden Power from Burmy, and the attack deals a direct hit on Croagunk, sending it tumbling backwards.

Ignor motions to Buizel and tells it to ambush Croagunk with Dig while Burmy keeps it occupied, and the water weasel quickly burrows underground. However, Croagunk suddenly begins to shudder, and turns around just in time to catch Buizel charging out from the ground. Ignor gasps in disbelief that Croagunk has predicted Buizel's attack, and Phool urges his companion to watch out, since Croagunk apparently has the ability Anticipation...

(Original Japanese Jokes)

  1. In the first part of the Manzai verse, Pearl wants to know what he should do if he wishes to challenge higher ranks of contests, and Dia tells him to just revisit Hearthome. However, he adds that 'Anata no jitsuryoku jya, chousen ha yosuga iisa', which means 'For your kind of skills, you better give up'. The pun is on 'Yosuga', which is the Japanese name of Hearthome, and also appears in the phrase 'Yosuga ii' (better give up).
  2. In the second part of the Manzai verse, Pearl talks about the Amity Square, and says 'Pokemon to issho ni hiroba wo sanpo shitari ne', which means 'You can stroll around the plaza together with your Pokemon'. However, Dia misinterprets it, and feels sorry for Chimlord, since 'Hiroba nano ni sanpo shika arukasete moraenainante', which means 'You are only allowed to walk three steps in the plaza'. The pun is on the word 'Sanpo', which could mean both stroll around, and three steps, depending on the Chinese characters used.

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

352: VS Croagunk & Abra I

Volume 31