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After making her way across towns and cities, Blue finally arrives at the Ilex Forest, the very last destination of everything, as well as the place where the masked man will complete his scheme. Calling out her Snubbull, the girl dashes across the dense trees, and heads quickly to the sacred shrine in the forest’s centre.

Suddenly, she finds herself lost, and a young man’s voice comes on to taunt that the forest paths are almost as complex as a maze. Blue quickly looks around her, and orders Snubbull to use scary face on a nearby tree. Am Umbreon instantly leaps down from it with a frustrated look, and the voice compliments Blue for her accurate senses. A young woman’s voice then says Blue must be fed up with hearing voices only, and two figures suddenly materialize out from the bushes.

Blue realizes that they are Will and Karen, two of the other masked children whom she spent a nightmarish childhood with under the masked man. Karen grins that while she has never seen Blue’s real face before, she can recognize her by her scent, and says they have been expecting her arrival. Taken by surprise, Blue orders Snubbull to charge forward with bite, but Karen’s Umbreon delivers a faint attack and rams its paw into its foe’s face. Blue quickly has Snubbull lower the dark Pokémon’s attack by charm, then commands a take down to knock it back.

Will applauds at Blue’s strategy, but giggles that unfortunately they couldn’t let Blue through. Karen puts on a grin, and says Mask of Ice has placed the two of them there at the forest as his final guardians, to make sure that no one gets close to the shrine when he attempts time crossing that evening. Blue hesitates a little upon hearing that, and Will laughs that Blue apparently knows about it, which proves that it was by intention that she snatched away the pair of precious feathers when she escaped from them that many years ago.

Will then calls forward his Xatu to attack, and Blue’s face quickly turns a shade of white upon seeing a bird Pokémon. She lets out a scream of horror as she struggles to evade Xatu’s psychic blasts, and Will laughs that the masked man was really mad when he found out that the two feathers were stolen. However, this many years later, he finally captures Lugia and Ho-Oh once again, and regains access to the Rainbow and Silver Wings, which are essential for entering the voids of time.

Karen and Will reveal that Blue is actually the only person Mask of Ice told them not to let near to the forest shrine, for no one else possesses the feathers and has the potential to interfere with the him in the voids of time except her. Will then tells Xatu to halt its assaults, and Karen tries to talk Blue into handing over the two feathers to them. She brings up the fact that they were all once companions trained under the same teacher, and says there really isn’t a need to hurt each other. However, Blue manages to force on a grin through her panting, and remarks that she has already hidden the feathers at a very secure place.

Meanwhile, at the Daycare Centre near Goldenrod, Granny, Grampy, fisherman Wilton and Yellow are listening intently to the news reports on the radio about the raid of the Indigo Plateau by TR members wearing half masks. Granny gets extremely worried about Jasmine, and starts banging the radio onto the table. Grampy tries to calm her down, and Wilton wonders how the TR members would look like with only half a mask on their faces. Just then, Yellow notices someone standing at the door who are wearing such masks as well, and remarks that they would probably look something similar. Wilton, Granny and Grampy turn around to take a glimpse, and nod in agreement. But then, they realize that the gang of people at their doorway are really TR members, and bolt up with a start. Yellow hurriedly tells Wilton to protect Granny and Grampy, and calls Pika and Chuchu forward. But then, she sees that the two are busy protecting their egg in front of the bunch of balloons, and knows that they won’t be able to battle as they need to safeguard their unborn child.

Thinking hard for a strategy, the Yellow gives her Dodrio, Dodosk, to Wilton and tells him to run away on it with Granny and Grampy, while she herself sends out her Raticate, Ratty, Butterfree, Freesk, and Omastar, Omask, to deal with the enemy. Several TR members get into the house and try to grab Pika and Chuchu, but the two Pikachus fasten themselves on the balloons, and begin floating away with their egg. Seeing that everyone else is off to safety, Yellow prepares to battle, but one of the TR members creeps up on her from behind with a knife, and slices up the black and purple feathers on her straw hat. Yellow quickly backs herself against the door, but hands extend out from the house to grab at her hat, and she hurriedly ducks down and runs, wondering why they are after her hat. As the young trainer dashes away from the Daycare Centre, the wind blows off the broken fragments of the purple and black feathers on her hat, and reveals a pair of rainbow and silver feathers inside.

Back at the Ilex Forest, Karen lets out an evil laugh upon hearing that Blue has hidden the feathers at a safe place. She reveals that they have already expected that, and says the person who holds the items now are also under attack by TR members. Blue gasps in shock, and Karen grins that unlike Blue, they have continued training under the masked man for all these years, and would naturally possess better skills and knowledge in everything. She then wears an evil look, and says it’s time for Blue to meet her greatest fear again.

Blue looks up into the sky, and gaps her mouth wide in disbelief as the rainbow bird, Ho-Oh, which kidnapped her nine years ago, appears. She hurriedly tries to back away, but Will and Karen hold her in place. Karen giggles that the giant bird Pokémon which gave Blue her phobia towards birds stands once again before her, and hopes she will have a nice time reliving her nightmarish past.

As the terrifying memories flash across her mind, Blue breaks into tears of horror, and lets out an ear-piercing scream...

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

173: The Last Battle VII!

Volume 14