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'Dash~ Across the land~ Fly~ Across the skies~'
Following the series of dramatic events at Veilstone City, Pearl, Dia and Lady Berlitz have resumed their journey, and are currently heading south. Dia merrily sings along to the theme song of 'Proteinman Omega' as Pearl takes lead in front and the Lady sits on Ponyta, and the group soon passes by the entrance of Lake Valor, which is currently blocked by giant wooden planks with the words 'Entry Forbidden' painted over them.
Suddenly, raindrops begin to fall, and before long turn into a heavy downpour. Lady Berlitz hurriedly pulls out her umbrella while the boys shield themselves with their bagpacks, and Pearl states that they must find shelter quickly. He looks around and spots a building nearby, and immediately ushers everyone over there.
Once under cover, Chatlord slumps its wet body on the floor, and Ponyta frantically shakes the water off itself. Dia wonders if the building is a hotel, and asks Pearl if it is where they will stay the night, but the Lady cuts in to reply that she has already made her choice of accommodation, and says there is only one hotel near Route 214 which she would consider picking. Pearl and Dia put on confused looks upon hearing the statement, and Lady Berlitz explains that it is the Hotel Grand Lake, the most luxurious hotel in the region of Sinnoh.
Taking out a cloth to dry the Pokeball of her recently evolved Empoleon, the Lady remarks that she has been looking forward to staying at Hotel Grand Lake, and hopes Pearl and Dia understand that. With a smile, she addresses the boys by their first names, something she has only started doing recently. Pearl and Dia each return the gesture with a grin, still addressing the girl as Ms. Lady and the Lady respectively, and say they can fully comprehend.
Pearl reads from a notice on the wall that the building is actually a dining place known as the Seven Stars Restaurant, and suggests having lunch since it is almost noon. Dia beams at the mentioning of lunch, and Lady Berlitz agrees that it will be a good idea. Pearl says he will go check if there are any tables available, and tells his companions to stay where they are as he heads off with Chatlord. The boy and the little Chatot stroll down the long corridor, leaving dirty footprints behind, and make their way towards the restaurant's entrance.
On a balcony above, a chubby man who wears suspenders watches as the two disappear from sight, and grins that he is having a lucky day. Letting out a roar of excitement, he hurls away his umbrella and jumps off the balcony down to the corridor. Pulling out a giant white cloth, he spreads it across the floor to mop up the dirty foot marks, and exclaims that he has finally collected the footprints of Chatot.
The man's maniacal rejoice has apparently reached the ears of Chatlord, and the parrot Pokemon quickly spins around. Pearl wonders if something is wrong and follows its gaze, but sees nothing particularly strange. He laughs that Chatlord is being too sensitive, and proceeds to enter the restaurant's front door. Crouching behind the staircase next to the entrance, the chubby man breathes out a sigh of relief, and says he has been too carried away.
Pearl says his greetings out loud as he enters the Seven Stars Restaurant, and wishes to know if there is a table for three. However, to his astonishment, the entire room of dining customers instantly halts their meals upon his entry, and fixes hostile stares on him while their Pokemon get into combative stances. Pearl begins to panic and wonders what is going on, when a Gentleman and Socialite suddenly team up and call forward their Hippopotas and Bibarel to attack.
Pearl yells for everyone to stop, and demands to know why he is getting such unfriendly reception when he simply came to dine. The Socialite realizes right away that they have probably startled a new comer, and the Gentlemen apologizes that he has no idea it is Pearl's first time to the place. The Socialite explains that the Seven Stars Restaurant offers much more than just food, and serves as an arena for casual trainer battles, an attraction that has kept its customers coming back.
Pearl gaps his mouth wide open in disbelief as he turns to the restaurant's Waiter, and the moustached man admits that customers are indeed welcome to engage in Pokemon battles during their open hours from 9am to 11pm. He adds that some people have become regulars, and the Gentleman grins that it is now an addictive hobby to a lot of them, as they can also earn cash from their opponents through winning battles.
Hearing the word cash, Pearl thinks to himself that although Lady Berlitz has paid for everything in their journey so far and money isn't really a problem to them, it would be nice if he and Dia can have their own source of expenditure, which makes things much more convenient. With that thought in mind, Pearl decides to take part in the double battle, and runs over to the window to yell for Dia, who is still outside. Pearl shouts that they have stumbled on a good chance to practice their fighting, and Dia, after calling out in response, moves with his ultra slow running, and takes a whole minute before joining Pearl inside the restaurant.
Standing opposite to the Gentleman and Socialite, Pearl sends out Chimlord while Dia calls forward Roo, both having evolved into their final forms recently. A Rich Boy sitting on the far-end table comments that things are starting to look interesting, and the Lady trainer who sits across him agrees that it will certainly be a fun battle to watch.
The Gentleman starts off by ordering a Sand Tomb from his Hippopotas, while the Socialite calls for a Water Gun from Bibarel. Pearl immediately understands that his opponents are trying to blind their sight with the swirling sands and target the water stream on Chimlord, who is a fire type. However, he is less than worried, since Chimlord, as an Infernape, possesses the agility to ease its way through the obstacles and dive straight towards its foes. With little trouble, Chimlord positions itself right in front of Bibarel, and faints it with a powerful Fury Swipes.
Pearl then motions to Dia and says it is his time to shine, and Dia commands Roo to head for Hippopotas. Moving ever so slowly, the Torterra nonchalantly edges towards the rather confused hippop Pokemon, until it gets close enough to deliver a Wood Hammer. Slamming the tree on its back on Hippopotas, Roo completely overwhelms its opponent with its heavy weight, and knocks it out with one single hit.
Dia and Pearl are then declared the winner, and they shake hands with the Gentleman and Socialite while the other customers cheer for them. The boys high-five one another as they rejoice over their success, and Lady Berlitz, who has come into the restaurant following Dia, puts on a content grin as she applauds for her very professional bodyguards.
The Waiter compliments the boys for being powerful trainers, and Pearl blushes with a sheepish grin. He says that their true specialty lies in comedic acts really, and wonders if they are allowed to give a Manzai performance there. The Gentleman warmly welcomes the idea, and Dia cheers that they have found themselves a whole room of audience.
Pearl: Speaking of Pokemon!!
While Dia and Pearl give their Manzai act, Lady Berlitz looks around and finds herself surrounded by some muddy ground which was formed from the sand and water unleashed during the battle earlier. She tries to tiptoe her way towards the boys, but then the chubby man who was after Chatlord's footprints earlier suddenly shows up in front of her and yells for her to stop.
Dia and Pearl bolt around to see what is going on, but the chubby man hollers that they must freeze. Clasping his hands together and with tears running down his face, the man begs the two boys not to move at all until he has copied the precious footprints on the ground, and says they are of utmost importance to him.
Pearl puts on a baffled look, and wonders what he means, but Dia states that the man is crying and they should grant him what he wishes. Wasting no time, the chubby man pulls out a suitcase containing a multitude of equipments, and begins copying the footprints on the ground by affixing them with square-shaped frames, before solidifying them into mud blocks by mixing the mud with water. He exclaims that he now has possession of not only Infernape but also Torterra's footprints, and finds himself full of energy now.
Lady Berlitz watches the man's actions with curiosity, while Pearl sweatdrops, and asks the Waiter who the man is. He notices that the rest of the customers appear as if this is something that happens all the time, and the waiter admits that it is indeed a common scene at their restaurant. He explains that the chubby man's name is Dr. Footstep, and he is known as the professor of footprints.
Later, at Dr. Footstep's house, the trio lets out amused exclamations as the chubby professor leads them into his room, which displays his entire collection of Pokemon footprints. Apart from mud blocks with imprints like the ones he just made, the walls are also lined with white cardboards, each with a separate footprint on it.
Lady Berlitz is fascinated by what she sees, and wants to know if he is really on a quest to collect Pokemon footprints. Dr. Footstep grins that he not only collects, but also reads and studies footprints, as they are truly amazing things from which one can learn a lot about Pokemon. For instance, a Pokemon's gait can reveal its health, the depth of the footprint resulting from the different weight distribution while a Pokemon moves during a battle can show its fighting style, and the distance between a Pokemon and its trainer's footprints can indicate how close they are.
Dr. Footstep remarks that he has copied the footprints of Pearl and Chatlord earlier, and he can see that they are definitely very close to each other, since a Pokemon's footprints reflect its emotions. The Lady wonders if Dr. Footstep has already collected the footprints of all Pokemon, but the chubby man sighs that he is actually far from it, which is why he still constantly frequents battlegrounds in hopes of finding uncollected species.
Putting up his latest collections onto the wall, Dr. Footstep states that there are still quite a number of Pokemon living in the area whose footprints he has yet to obtain, though he is glad to get Hippopotas's ones today. However, his highest wish is to collect those of Hippowdon, which he has absolutely no luck so far.
Suddenly, a low groan is heard from outside the house, and Pearl wonders what it could be. Dr. Footstep bolts upon hearing the sound, and without hesitation, dashes out his front door. Almost like a fateful encounter, standing right before him is no other than a Hippowdon, who seems to have trouble moving its feet across the ground. Dr. Footstep roars with excitement that Hippowdon's footprints are finally in his possession, and Dia, Pearl and the Lady, who have chased after him, find it odd that a wild Pokemon will just leave its footprints around like that, and wonder what the man has done.
Dr. Footstep explains that he has surrounded his house with a special sticky fluid, and any Pokemon that passes by will have their footprints imprinted on the ground. Unfortunately, he has clearly overlooked the fact that this sticky fluid also makes it very difficult for a Pokemon to walk, and Pearl notices that the Hippowdon's groan is of an agitated one.
Before Pearl could voice his warnings, the Hippowdon turns around and glares at Dr. Footstep, and with another angry groan, unleashes a powerful gust of sand out from its body. Dia reads from his Pokedex that Hippowdon is capable of creating towering twisters by blasting internally stored sand from ports on its body, and Pearl hollers that it is apparently what the Pokemon is doing now.
Crying out at the top of their voices, Dia, Pearl, Lady Berlitz and Dr. Footstep are soon caught by the giant sand twister, and are spun round and round as they get hurled up into the skies...
(Original Japanese Jokes)
361: VS Bibarel & Hippopotas