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Nine years ago, the legendary rainbow bird, Ho-Oh, kidnapped Blue away from her home town, Pallet, and took her all the way to the top of the Tin Tower in Ecruteak. Once she got dropped off in front of a group of masked children and a terrifying man also wearing a mask and a long black robe, the man forced a mask onto her face which she couldn’t find a way to remove. A red haired boy younger than her ran up to seek comfort from her, and the two children trembled in fear as the masked man announced that they would be training under him from that day on...

As memories of her nighmarish past flash across her mind without control, Blue falls onto her knees in extreme distress, but Karen continues to tug onto her arm. Will laughs that his Xatu has used its psychic power to force the bitter memories out of her mind, and can’t believe Blue’s phobia of birds is so serious that she fears all Pokémon that possess beaks or wings. Will wonders why her good little friend, Silver, doesn’t suffer from the same thing, and Blue lets out a sigh of relief, saying that she has already sent the boy away to a safe place and prevented him from being subjected to such agony.

However, Will laughs manically upon hearing her words, and says he really feels bad for having to throw Blue into so much despair. The young man who’s dressed like a clown snaps his fingers, and his Xatu uses its psychic to separate the bushes, and reveals Silver being pinned against a tree with his Sneasel. Blue’s face turns a paler shade of white when she sees the boy, and wiggles free from Karen to rush over to him. Xatu then lifts its psychic constraints, and Silver crashes into the grass in front of him.

Picking the boy up into her arms, Blue wears a worried look, and wonders how he ended up there. Her words tremble as she says that he should have been in the safe place she sent him off to, and Silver weakly grins that he has grown so much stronger now. He explains that right before he was teleported away, his Sneasel used thief on her Abra, and managed to snatch away a flower mail containing a map of the Ilex Forest and the sacred shrine. He figured that it is the place Blue intended to go, and thus headed there as well.

Blue’s eyes slowly swell up with tears, and she apologizes for leaving Silver alone to deal with things. She weeps that she has no idea he worked under Lance while she was away, and tells him to forgive her disappearance all this time. Blue clutches Silver tight to her as she continues to sob, and Silver mutters that it is his wish to fight alongside and protect Blue this time. The boy then slips into unconsciousness, and Blue shakes him desperately to wake him. Memories of their childhood begin to flood her mind, and she recalls that she was actually the one who named Silver after his silver coloured eyes. She remembers making a pair of black gloves for Silver while she made herself some white ones, all those harsh times that they clung onto one another under Mask of Ice’s cruel treatment, and mostly, the night they escaped from the masked man and the first time they saw each other’s real faces.

Straightening herself up, Blue turns around to face Will and Karen, and puts on a look of anger. Karen mocks that the reunion is indeed touching, and Will wonders if Blue is going to say something like she won’t forgive them. He then laughs that they still seem to have the upperhand however, and tells Ho-Oh to swoop down at Blue from a closer distance this time. Watching her worst nightmare charging down at her from the sky, Blue keeps an uneasy but determined stare at its face while memories flicker rapidly in her head. Then, much to Karen and Will’s surprise, Blue manages to stand her ground when Ho-Oh flies past her, and the girl lets out a sigh of relief.

Blue grins that she should in fact thank Karen and Will for helping her cross the final line, and Karen demands to know what she is talking about. Blue remarks that she has not shown herself ever since their battle against the Elite 4 on Cerise Island ended, and reveals that she has actually went off on her own to deal with her phobia of birds. After much effort, she has finally conquered her bitter memories and fear, and says she did it because she knew she would be encountering a similar situation as what she’s facing now some day.

She then holds up three Pokéballs, and states that she shall show them what she used to conquer her phobia with. Karen and Will hurriedly order Ho-Oh to attempt another scare, but Blue sends out Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres to battle the phoenix. Climbing onto Moltres, Blue command the three legendary birds to soar up, and Ho-Oh quickly gives chase. Karen grunts that they cannot let Blue near the shrine, and ushers Will to get Lugia immediately. The legendary psychic flyer appears to carry the two up into the air, and Karen jumps onto Ho-Oh, telling Will to command Lugia while she directs Ho-Oh.

But then Will discovers that Silver has awakened and is clinging onto the tail of Lugia. The boy struggles to climb onto the back of giant flyer, and states that he shall be the opponent for Will. As the five legendary birds commence their gigantic aero combat, the sacred shrine of the Ilex Forest begins to glow...

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

174: The Last Battle VIII!

Volume 14