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Starting to feel his senses coming back to him, Bugsy slowly opens his eyes, and feels himself moving fast on something. He is greeted by the voice of a teenage boy who is currently right in front of him, and the boy, who addresses him by the nickname 'bug net guy', is glad that the Azalea Gymleader has come around.

Bugsy recognizes with a start that it is Gold from New Bark Town, and realizes that the boy has saved him. He wonders what has happened exactly, and Gold points up towards a four-legged creature with a golden ring around its abdomen, which is hovering high up in the sky ahead of them. Gold explains that the being is a mirage Pokemon named Arceus, and it was responsible for blasting the Ecruteak Gym into rubbles. In fact, Arceus launched its attack right at the moment he was in the middle of obtaining the information he sought from Morty.

Bugsy is curious as to what Gold wanted to learn from Morty, and Gold explains that he wishes to know the whereabouts of a man by the name of Lance. Unfortunately, the Ecruteak Gymleader only handed him a drawing he sketched out of what he saw with his distant vision ability, and did not get the chance to interpret it before Arceus interrupted their session. Gold shows Bugsy the rough sketch, which depicts a number of symbol-like creatures surrounding several statues, and the Azalea Gymleader bolts with recognition that it is no other than the Ruins of Alph.

Gold is shocked that the drawing means something to Bugsy, and Bugsy explains that it is the place where he has spent years of research on, and he will not be mistaken about this ancient village where the Unowns flitter. Gold requests to know where the Ruins of Alph is in relation to their current location, and Bugsy spots the road sign of Route 36 in front of them. He takes another glance at Arceus who is advancing south from above, and states that the ruins are exactly in the direction where the mirage Pokemon is heading. Voicing out his encouragement to Explotaro, Gold tells the Typhlosion to speed up, and continues their chase after Arceus.

A few moments later, Gold and Bugsy have arrived at the Ruins of Alph. Standing amid the stone-made huts which are lined next to a small river, Gold looks around and wonders where Lance could be. Bugsy reads Morty's drawing again, and tries to figure out which chamber it is depicting. Just then, Dragonite's Pokeball stirs in Gold's pocket, and Gold realizes that it is gesturing towards one of the stone huts. Clearly, the dragon Pokemon has detected the presence of its trainer, and Gold quickly dashes into the stone hut which it points.

Yet, as soon as he steps into the chamber, something ambushes him, and Togetaro pops out from its Pokeball to push him out of the way. Gold sees that his attacker is a Tyranitar, and spots a red-haired man sitting against the wall, his body battered and his cape torn. The man orders Tyranitar to stop attacking, and Gold soon recognizes him as the guy he saw from the hologram at Prof Oak's Science Lab. He steps forward to greet Lance, and jokingly accuses him of being a no-show at their agreed meeting place at the Pokeathlon, which took him quite a hassle to reach. Lance rationalizes that Gold must be the trainer sent by Prof. Oak, and says his apologies for standing the boy up, but explains that he was unfortunately ambushed on his way to the Pokeathlon Dome, and some skillful disguise tricks from his attacker got the best of him.

Gold grins that it was exactly what Bruno postulated, and says he has brought along his injured Dragonite which they have calmed and healed. He reaches into pocket to dig out the dragon Pokemon's Pokeball, but accidentally drops the bundle of medals which he earned at the Pokeathlon. Lance is surprised to see all five medals in Gold's possession, and the boy brags with an arrogant tone that conquering the Pokeathlon wasn't such a dire task.

Lance pauses for a moment of thought, and states that Pokedex Holders recognized by Prof. Oak are truly remarkable trainers. However, even with such skills, it is still impossible for Gold to succeed, for it takes far more than that to open up the heart of Arceus, who has already lost all hope on mankind. With that, the man turns his head to one side with a sigh, and Gold gets infuriated by the discouraging remark. He tries to protest, but Lance points towards Togetaro, and says this Togepi which Gold failed to fully bond with is the best proof of his claim. The comment causes Togetaro to widen its eyes in shock, and Gold, who is unable to find a rebuttal to the accusation, simply grunts in frustration as he tries to think of an appropriate response.

At that moment, Bugsy rushes into the chamber, and warns that Arceus is about to land outside. Gold is annoyed that a new problem presents itself before he could solve the existing one, and tells Bugsy to look after Lance while he heads out to face the deity-like Pokemon with Togetaro. Right before Togetaro leaves the room, Lance stops it in its tracks, and gives it a Shiny Stone to hold. He relents that it probably may not find the chance to use it, but wants it to have the item anyway.

Outside, golden rings of energy radiate in circles around Arceus as it hovers high above the ruins. It soon descends to the ground with a loud thump, and towers over Gold as the boy looks up to it with Explotaro and Togetaro. He keeps his gaze on the mythical creature, and calls out Aitaro, Politaro, Sutaro and Suntaro from their Pokeballs. The giant white Pokemon's eyes twinkle with an eerie light, and an energy field suddenly starts to rise from the ground to form a globe around itself and Gold.

In no time, Gold and his Pokemon are completely enveloped in the energy field with Arceus, and after banging and kicking around, he discovers that the field's boundaries would not budge, and it seems to be an alternate dimension of some kind. Left with no choice, Gold spins his feet around on the worn-out stone tiles, and takes a wary step forward. He pulls out the version VI Pokedex from his bagpack to his aid, and feels frustrated at the current situation, wondering how things have come to this.

Before him, Arceus stands proud and stares down at him with malicious eyes. Its body exudes an overwhelming royalty, and threatens to distort even the air and space around it. Gold hesitates for a moment, and orders Explotaro to unleash a Blast Burn. The flames on the volcano Pokemon's back instantly erupt into a blinding blaze, and envelop the God-like quadruped's upper torso entirely. Gold pulls down the goggles from his cap to shield his eyes from the blinding fire, and formally introduces himself to Arceus as Gold from New Bark Town. He remarks that he has originally come to help the deity, and really doesn't understand why he has ended up fighting it instead.

Shaking itself clear of Typhlosion's flames, Arceus raises its head to let out a booming roar, and delivers a Hyper Voice attack which causes Gold's entire team to all tumble back and hold their ears in agony. Gold puts on a disgruntled look, and urges his Pokemon to hold on, at least until Silver comes to join them. Suddenly, Arceus rears its head backwards, and starts to glow with an intense light.

Meanwhile, the Radio Director arrives at what is supposed to be the Ecruteak Gym with his Dusknoir. His mouth gaps open wide as he stares at the rubbles in front of him. Recalling that it has only been a few hours since Gold left for this place, he cannot believe that the entire Gym is already gone, and exclaims that the boy is truly a troublemaker. He hollers that one is definitely putting his life at stake for trying to do coverage on the boy, but decides to keep following him anyway. Shouting for Dusknoir to hurry up, the man hops back onto his car to head off, and declares that he shall do a 2-hour special just for Gold.

Back at the Ruins of Alph, Arceus generates multiple energy globes around itself, and fires them towards the sky. The globes then plummet down like a meteor shower, and Gold lets out a cry as he and Pokemon try their best to dodge and evade the powerful attack. They soon hit themselves against the energy field's boundary however, and Gold grunts that there really isn't much room to run in this confined space. Turning to Arceus, he angrily demands to know what it is trying to do, and says it is certainly not cool to imprison someone like that.

Arceus respond with a swing of its head, and fires another powerful blast onto the ground, causing an explosion which throws the boy and his team off their feet. Gold rolls to a halt as he crashes against Explotaro, and catches a hint of sorrow in Arceus's gaze. In fact, it is a sentiment that he has already picked up when he first locked eyes with the deity-like Pokemon at Ecruteak City.

Gold somersaults away from Explotaro, and states that the sad look in Arceus's eyes makes him feel the need to help. However, it is clear that Arceus has no plans to volunteer its story, and Gold must use his own ways to find out the reason behind its sadness. As if to prove his point, Arceus thrusts its foreleg forward to strike at Gold, which the boy narrowly escapes. The deity-like creature then unleashes a burst of flame from the golden ring around its abdomen, and Gold grunts in frustration as he dashes back and forth to evade the attack. Taking out his Pokedex, Gold hopes to find out something about the alpha Pokemon, and reads that it is said to emerge from an egg before it shaped the world out of nothingness.

Back at the ruins chamber where Lance is, Bugsy looks out from the entrance of the stone hut, and sees that Arceus has created a special territory to surround itself and Gold. Lance ponders for a moment, and wants to know if Bugsy has visited the data museum at the basement of the Pokeathlon Dome. The Azalea Gymleader replies that he hasn't, and Lance explains that the museum actually houses the documentations on the Pokeathlon's origins.

Long ago, on an island in a distant region, a deadly epidemic has hit the residents and their Pokemon. At that time, a trainer and his team of Pokemon have set out to find a mirage Pokemon, whom they believe could teach them the way of remedy to cure the disease. Yet, in order to reach where this mirage Pokemon was, they must go through 10 different obstacles, which could not be overcome by man or Pokemon alone.

Fortunately, the trainer and his Pokemon worked together in close collaboration, and managed to conquer the first obstacle with their equally determined souls. They were subsequently able to beat the obstacles one by one, and eventually inherited the healing ways from the mirage Pokemon. This trainer and his Pokemon were later revered as heroes by his people. In order to let their descendants remember the heroic act, the island residents invented sports that resembled the 10 obstacles the trainer and his Pokemon went through, which as time went on, evolved into the 10 Pokeathlon events of the present day.

Lance states that he initially thought if he managed to find a trainer who together with his Pokemon matches the qualities of this ancient hero, they could perhaps dissolve the deep grudge and disappointment that Arceus holds towards humans. That is the reason why he has chosen the Pokeathlon Dome as the venue to meet one of Prof. Oak's Pokedex Holders. However, it seems that even though he has found a trainer who apparently possesses the skills of this hero, the trust between this trainer and his Pokemon is still lacking.

Bugsy feels intrigued by the mirage Pokemon spoken of in the story Lance just told him, and says compared with the ferocious Arceus, he is actually more interested in a creature like that who leads one to the path of healing. Lance ponders for a moment upon at that point, and relents that perhaps he has no choice but to visit a certain place.

Shaking off his injuries, the man straightens himself up, and Bugsy wants to know where he is going. The Azalea Gymleader is surprised that he does not plan to lend his assistance in solving the current crisis, but Lance states that lending his assistance is exactly what he is going to do. With that, he sends out Dragonite, whose health has been fully restored, and takes off into the skies on the dragon Pokemon…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

453: VS Arceus II

Volume 42