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Inside the Fuego Ironworks, Pearl bolts with horror when he sees that he is heading straight for a molten furnace. Knowing that its temperature is high enough to melt iron, Pearl has no doubt that it will be the end of him if he doesn't get help quick. Banging against the transfer belt, he attempts to stop it, but unfortunately to no avail.

Pearl then senses the approach of something from behind, and turns around in shock to see Luxray dashing towards him. The boy hollers for it to stand back, but before he could complete his sentence, he reaches the end of the transfer belt and is thrown off his feet. In the split second that Pearl is about to fall into the furnace, Luxray lunges forward and catches him by his shirt. However, in doing so, its back gets scorched by the searing flames, and causes it to wince in pain. Using its tail to propel off the furnace's door, the electric lion takes a somersault while grabbing tight onto Pearl, and finally manages to get them both on safe grounds.

Pearl gasps at the burn on Luxray's back, is heavily touched by what it did for him. He expresses another heartfelt thanks, and quickly takes out a Burn Heal to tend to its wound. Pearl wonders where exactly Mr. Fuego is, and soon spots the man behind a small glass window on the opposite side of the building, separated by a maze of transfer belts in between.

Pearl remarks that Luxray has already done much more than it should in helping him, but hopes that it wouldn't mind lending him its strength once more, and take him to where Mr. Fuego's is with its see-through ability. The truth is, with all the walls, metal bins and other obstacles around, he is unable to see where the transfer belt activators are. Carelessly stepping on one could lead to fatal results, like he just did, but among the complex design of the switch activators, he is certain that there is one path that could lead him to Mr. Fuego. With Luxray's x-ray vision, it can find these correct activators and move without going astray.

Naturally, Luxray agrees to help, and carries Pearl on his back again as it cautiously makes its every step with the aid of its see-through vision. Pearl could feel the heat intensifying as they move deeper into the room, and thinks even with the increased number of furnaces, it still seems a little too hot. However, he remains unfazed, and keeps his hopes on rescuing Mr. Fuego as soon as possible and getting out of the place.

Suddenly, a shriek echoes throughout the building, and Pearl immediately cringes as it felt like the death lord's howl coming from hell. Pearl soon realizes that the heat they are feeling comes not only from the furnaces but from the Pokemon left behind by Team Galactic. The alarming thing is that the Magbys don't seem to be the only source of such heat, and before long, a silhouette materializes around the corner behind them, and Pearl gasps that it is the dark Pokemon, Houndoom.

Luxray gets alert and prepares to spin around and fight, but Pearl tells it to keep moving forward instead. He states that it must not get distracted from following the transfer belt activators or they might end up in another perilous situation. He wants Luxray to keep its ears open and follows his instructions to evade the enemy's attacks, while he himself focuses on reading Houndoom's facial expression.

As soon as Houndoom opens its mouth, Pearl knows that it will aim to the right, and tells Luxray to dodge leftwards. Indeed, Houndoom unleashes a Flamethrower towards the right, and Luxray has succeeded and moving out of the way with Pearl's directions. The dark Pokemon's next blast edges left, and after Luxray dodges, lands on a metal bin, creating a big hole through it. Pearl exclaims at its power, and believes that Houndoom must have used Nasty Plot to raise the intensity of its fire attacks.

Luxray then moves right to evade another Flamethrower, but when it hops left next, it acts a little too late and its right back leg gets caught by the attack. Houndoom smirks at the strike, and Pearl could read from its expression that it is mocking Luxray for not able to retaliate at all. The boy starts to wonder if they should have stopped to fight instead, but in that split second that he gets distracted, Houndoom fires another blast and hits Luxray squarely on the torso.

Pearl apologizes for his mistake as the electric lion winces in a crouching position, but it quickly gets back on its feet and Pearl can see that it has decided to keep moving forward despite being in a disadvantaged situation. Pearl is astonished by the unshakable willpower Luxray displays, and knows that it is due to its trust in him, which is why he couldn't let it down.

With a determined look, Pearl keeps an even stronger focus on Houndoom, and manages to help Luxray evade the dark Pokemon's next barrage of Flamethrowers. Soon, Luxray comes to a halt, and turns around to face Houndoom, causing the fire hound the bolt with shock. Pearl wonders if Houndoom knows why Luxray has finally turned around, and says it is because they have cleared the maze of switch activators and made it to their destination. To reward Luxray's trust in him all this time, he is giving it the chance to strike back, as they longer have to worry about taking the wrong steps.

With that, Luxray delivers a powerful swing with its right paw, and unleashes a Shock Wave on Houndoom. The fire hound gets knocked unconscious instantly, and lands on a switch, activating a transfer belt that hurls it around in the room, and eventually throwing it out of the window. Pearl then walks up to the main switch of the transfer belts to deactivate the system, and rejoices with Luxray that they have succeeded as Mr. Fuego runs up to them with his Shellos.

A while later, back at the entrance of the Fuego Ironworks, Pearl cannot express how thankful he is for all that Luxray has done. The electric lion hesitates for a moment, and turns around to deliver a message to its pack by sending off sparks from its claws. It then sits in front of Pearl with a grin, and the boy gasps in surprise when he realizes from its expression that it is planning to leave its group and stop being a wild Pokemon. Pearl wants to know if it is really alright that he makes it a team member, and Luxray nods with a gentle smile.

Pearl immediately beams at that, and decides to nickname Luxray Raylord. Chimlord gives the electric lion a pat of companionship on the back, and Chatlord merrily chatters the word 'Raylord'. Pearl then walks up to Mr. Fuego, and apologizes for his abruptness, but hopes that the old gentleman will show him the data files of the Galactic Bomb's components...

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

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

385: VS Houndoom

Volume 35