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On Iron Island, while Beh and Roo are struggling to hold down the wild Steelix, Riley tells Dia that they only have a maximum of three days to train. Although it sounds rush, Dia knows that in order to safeguard Mesprit, he must force himself to become stronger, which is what this special training is for. Before the horrible Team Galactic arrives at Lake Verity, he must equip himself with the power to fight against them.

With that, Dia orders a Crunch from Roo, and the Torterra digs its fangs into one of the spikes near Steelix's tail, causing the metal serpent to shudder in agony. Roo slams Steelix against the wall to deal further damage, but Steelix is barely fazed, and thrashes its body around to hurl Roo off itself.

Riley sees that Dia has deliberately not resorted to Torterra's Earthquake despite it being a super effective move against steel types, because Shieldon and Munchlax will also get hurt from the attack. The boy's hesitancy is clearly shown in his delayed commands to the Torterra.

Just then, Roo gets thrown off its feet once again, and is about to tumble onto Dia, Beh and Pooh. Dia hurriedly hops out of the way, but trips on a rock and falls flat on his face. Roo crashes against Beh and Pooh, and the three Pokemon lie defeated on the ground. The Steelix shoots one final glare at them, and delivers a final smack to each of their heads before digging itself into the ground.

Dia hurriedly checks on his Pokemon, and Riley states that Steelix has left. He believes that Torterra's Crunch has managed to do its maximal damage after all, and the metal serpent is fleeing because it could foresee a long and tedious struggle with Dia's team. Dia is astonished that a wild Pokemon is able to make such judgments, and Riley grins that this one Steelix is special.

The truth is, it is the boss of this cavern, and Riley doesn't know if Dia should be considered lucky or not to have encountered it as his very first opponent. Being smart, powerful and unusually quick, Riley admits that not even he himself can adeptly deal with this Pokemon, which causes Dia to gasp in surprise. Riley suggests they move on as there is still a long road ahead, and Dia decides to continue with his special training on Iron Island.

With Riley's company, he explores this old ore mine, and finds his way towards its deepest part of the cavern while battling wild Pokemon along the way. He then makes his way back to complete the cycle, and promptly moves onto the second cycle, all on his own this time. Every time Dia makes it back to the entrance, Riley would heal his worn out Pokemon, and very soon, his first two days of training have come and gone. On the third day, Dia finally manages to complete the additional five cycles set down by Riley, and collapses onto the ground in exhaustion as he returns to the entrance.

As the sun begins to set, Dia is keeping himself busy inside the cavern with his three Pokemon. Having put on his apron and toque, the boy sits among a roomful of ingredients and is making riceballs as Pooh watches on. Beh brings over a tray of Berries to Roo, who uses its Razor Leaf to dice them up before the Munchlax pours them into their pot of hot boiling soup. Dia scoops out some soup on a dish to let Pooh try the taste, and grins that it should be done very soon.

Dia hopes Riley doesn't mind the wait, and says the meal would be ready shortly. Riley, who is sitting on a rock nearby, tells the boy to take his time, and muses to himself that despite the harsh and tiring training, Dia remains meticulous and lively when it comes to preparing food, something which he finds to be truly interesting.

A little notebook lying next to him suddenly slides off the rock, and Riley catches it just in time. He reads from the cover that it is the battle diary of Dia, and sees the drawing of a blonde hair boy who is hollering that Dia must make an entry every single day. Riley flips through the pages, and discovers that Dia has detailed his teachings as well as his own strategies for each day, making small drawings here and there to remind himself of the actual positioning in battles.

Just then, Dia rejoices that their meal is finally ready, and the group gathers to have their dinner. Munching on his riceballs, Dia remarks that the wild Pokemon within the ore mine move really quick, and Riley hopes that Dia understands why Course A best suits his needs. Dia nods, but puts on a slightly disheartened look, moaning that despite his efforts in the past few days, he still isn't able to strike his foes first. Riley steals a glance at Dia's three Pokemon, and thinks to himself that it is indeed asking for too much to try to call for speed from these team members, but is still hopeful that Dia will figure out a way.

Attracted by the aroma of the food, wild Pokemon in the cavern like Geodudes, Gravelers, Onixes, Golbats, Wingulls and Pelippers begin to gather around the group, and Riley sees the hungry looks on their faces. Dia beams that he will be glad to share his cooking with them, and starts to split his share to the Pokemon while Riley watches on with a slightly amused look.

That night, as the full moon gently illuminates the land from the evening sky, Dia gets out from his sleeping bag, and slowly climbs out of the tent that he and Riley shares. Although the boy has tried his best to stay quiet, he has still managed to wake Riley, and the young man spies on the boy's actions from the tent, just like he has done in the past few nights.

Marking a Pokeball-shaped symbol on the wall with a piece of rock, Dia motions to Roo, and the Torterra instantly fires off a Razor leaf. Dia inspects the position of the few leaves that have jabbed the wall, and discusses with Roo on how to improve its accuracy.

Back in the tent, Riley decides to call Byron via his Pokegear, and soon makes contact with the Canalave Gymleader, who is relaxing over a cup of tea inside his gym. Byron wants to know how Dia is doing, and Riley replies that the boy is really a great kid who works hard and is willing to learn. Although he doesn't have the quickest reactions, he is the type that always manages to come up with working solutions after careful thinking.

Riley remarks that in order to let Dia get to Lake Verity in the coming Saturday, he must leave latest by the day after the next, which is why he shall give him his graduation test tomorrow. Byron agrees with the plan, and thanks Riley for training Dia. Behind Riley, Lucario seems to pick up something eerie in the air currents, but just as quickly loses track of it again.

The next morning, back at the entrance of the cavern, Riley tells Dia that it is his last day of training. On this final day, an additional mission will be added to his routine, and Dia wonders what it is. Riley remarks that while he is still taking Course A, he will find a Pokemon Egg at the deepest part of the cavern. Dia cries out in surprise, and Riley adds that he will have to hurry because there is a chance that it will be ambushed by the wild Pokemon. His task today will require greater focus and observation than ever, and once he completes it, he will graduate from his training on Iron Island.

Dia voices his understanding, and quickly steps into the cavern. Fearing for the safety of the Egg, he tries to run as fast as he could, but suddenly collides with something hard in front of him. From the entrance, Riley hears the bang and wonders what is wrong, and Dia shouts that something is blocking his path. On a closer look, Dia realizes with a start that it is Steelix, and from the bite marks on the spike near its tail, recognizes it as the same one he fought on the first day.

Being the iron mountain's boss Pokemon which even Riley finds it hard to handle, Dia is appalled as to who could have fainted the steel serpent...

(Original Japanese Jokes)
There are no jokes or Manzai in this chapter.

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

380: VS Lucario II

Volume 34