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Out in the southwestern seas of Unova, Pop Roxie's Castelia-bound ferry steadily sails across the calm waters as the students of Class E enjoy their time on the upper deck. On the lower deck, Hugh wears a somewhat troubled look, and his little sister wonders if she has made him angry. Hugh relents that he is not so much angry as astonished that she managed to smuggle herself onto the ship, and to be frank, he is rather impressed that she had the stamina to pull off such a feat. His sister explains that she has become worried after he suddenly stopped his daily calls, something which he has previously maintained since he went to the Trainer's School. The fact that she didn't really get a chance to talk to him during the Choral Competition made her further unsettled, which prompted her to sneak onto the ship.

Hugh finds himself washed over by a sense of guilt, and mutters an apology to his sister. He knows that he has been acting out ever since he found the microchip inside the locket, and was constantly on the hunt for the possible Team Plasma member in their class. For the past 5 years, he has yearned to be on his own and find a way to reclaim Purrloin from Team Plasma, but this is something he couldn't tell his sister because it would surely worry her. Wearing a sheepish grin, he passes off his lack of contact as a result of overwhelming school work, and hopes that he sounds convincing. He wants his sister to stay hidden for now, and promises to find a way out once they arrive in Castelia. His sister beams at the notion that she may join him on his journey, and Hugh tells her to just leave things to him.

A while later, the ferry docks at the harbor of Castelia, and the Class E students gasp at the marvellous view of the city. Countless skyscrapers line the shore, and although everyone has read about the concrete jungle, many are seeing them with their own eyes for the very first time. On the upper deck, Leo wakes with a start, and frets that he has ended up sleeping the entire journey. He rushes down the stairs with his Deino, just as Hugh's little sister peeks out from the storage room she is hiding in. At that moment, she comes face to face with Leo's running Deino, and terrible memories instantly flood her mind. She draws back abruptly to the side railing and leans back a little too far that she topples over and begins plummeting to the waters below. Leo manages to catch her by the wrist in the nick of time, and recognizes with a start that she is Hugh's little sister. Realizing that he holding the hand of a girl, he blushes bright red, and stammers that he mustn't let go or she would drop into the sea. Naturally, his words come out as nothing but jumbled sounds due to anxiety, but with Deino's help, he eventually manages to pull the girl back onto the deck.

As Leo pants to catch his breath, he apologizes to Hugh's sister for startling her, but the girl says she should be the one apologizing, since Deino did nothing wrong and she just overreacted because some bad people's Deino bullied her in the past. Leo makes sure that Deino stays behind him so as not to scare the girl, and states his belief that there are no bad Pokemon in the world. He thinks a Pokemon only does bad things because of a bad trainer, and reckons that the Deino who bullied Hugh's sister before would be a good Deino if it gets a good trainer. Hugh's sister responds with a gentle smile to Leo's remark, and asks if she could pet his Deino. Leo happily allows her to, and even teaches her to pet it the way it likes.

Around the corner, Hugh walks in on the scene, and while his sister greets him cheerfully, Leo bolts to his feet, alarmed that Hugh might be upset. However, to his shock, Hugh suddenly drops to all fours and begs him to keep his sister's presence a secret. Realizing what Hugh is talking about, Leo assures him that he will help and keep his mouth shut. And so, the two boys work together to shield Hugh's sister, and stealthily get off the ship as everyone else joins Cheren to give thanks to Roxie's father for the ride.

Pop Roxie laughs that he feels honored to carry the friends of the two people he is in debt to, and tells Roxie that he will return in a week to pick them up. Roxie waves goodbye to her father as he sails off, and Cheren is curious to know exactly what Lack-two and Whi-two did for them. Roxie explains that her father has always dreamt of being a movie star since his younger days, and this desire of his was rekindled after he took part in a film at the Pokestar Studios earlier that year. He started to neglect his work and spent all of his time at the studio, even proclaiming to give up his title as a captain and focus on being a movie star. Fortunately, when the film 'Foongus Girl and Dewott Boy' came out last month, it was critically acclaimed and became a big hit. After her father watched it, he realized that he would never achieve that level of proficiency and eventually gave up on his dream. In other words, Lack-two and Whi-two safeguarded the peace of her family, and she would forever be grateful to them.

Whi-two wonders what Roxie meant when she said their film was critically acclaimed, and Lack-two is surprised that Whi-two doesn't know. He reveals that it is now being shown at the Pokestar Studios and there are even electronic copies of it circulating. Whi-two vaguely recalls having signed an agreement of such, and at that time only hoped that it would help her reach out to her lord N. However, she realizes that her close interactions with Lack-two would also be seen by N, and suddenly goes into berserk mode. Yuki, Mayu and Yuuko envy Whi-two's achievements and think she should be proud of herself, but Whi-two is honestly more troubled than thrilled.

Cheren decides to give everyone 2 hours of free time, and wants them to return to Prime Pier by 5pm. Some students venture off to visit the Name Rater, some go straight for food, and a few pester Cheren to take them to the Castelia Gym. Yuki, Yuuko and Mayu want to know what Lack-two plans to do, and when the boy replies that he shall enjoy the sea breeze a bit, the three squeal that he is really a cool guy. They decide to go get everyone some Castelia Cones, but Roxie's alarmed voice soon draws the group's attention. Lack-two rushes over to find Roxie tending to a middle-aged man wearing glasses, with what appears to be sludge on his face. Roxie explains that he is one of the executive committee members of the Unova Choral Competition, who was supposed to meet them at the pier but didn't turn up. The man reveals that he has been ambushed by two people wearing masks, who not only snatched his Karrablast but also went underground with a claim to 'liberate' it. The term 'liberate' instantly startles Whi-two, Lack-two and Hugh, stirring up drastically different thoughts and emotions in all of their heads.

With a stern tone, Hugh asks Leo to look after his sister, and Leo instantly jumps at the notion. Hugh's sister wonders what is going on and Hugh assures her that she will be safe with Leo since he was in the top 8 in the Pokemon League after all. Roxie identifies the sludge on the man's face as a poison type attack coming from Muk, and quickly thinks of the one place where people using Grimers and Muks would stay, which is the Castelia Sewers accessible via the Thumb Pier. Roxie's rationalization quickly puts Lack-two on alert mode, and without another word, the Virbank Gymleader decides to go retrieve Karrablast with her Whirlipede. At that moment, Whi-two voices out her desire to join, and her words startle Yuki, Mayu and Yuuko. The truth is, Whi-two knows it is the work of Team Plasma, and hopes that whatever Grunt is responsible would perhaps know of N's whereabouts. Lack-two states that he shall go together since they have no idea how many opponents there are, and Hugh naturally volunteers to come along as well. Roxie finds it assuring to have so many allies, and Lack-two tells Yuuko, Mayu and Yuki to keep an eye on the man until the ambulance arrives. And so, the group heads off to the Thumb Pier, each with a different thought in mind: Hugh feeling vengeful but at the same time pleased that he can finally confront Team Plasma; Whi-two hopeful that she would learn something about her lord N; and Lack-two slightly annoyed that there are so many unexpected obstacles on his mission.

Soon, the group arrives at the door leading to the underground Sewers, and Roxie is astonished to find the lock melted away, which means the regular Grimer and Muk users she was talking about were not responsible for the attack since they work there and have keys for access. Lack-two agrees that they are dealing with someone else, and as the group enters the Sewers, Roxie warns everyone to stay alert. She explains that the place is dry this season and with the waters low, there are many obscure places for the enemy to hide. Descending down the stairs, Lack-two is curious to know why Whi-two decided to help, and Whi-two is immediately at a loss of words. Fortunately, Hugh tells Lack-two to shut up and stop flirting with girls at such a time, and Whi-two is spared to give an answer.

After turning a few corners, Roxie suddenly spots a group of people in the far end of the room. She demands to know who they are, but a barrage of sludge instantly comes blasting at them, forcing the group to duck behind walls. Lack-two steals a glance from his position, and sees that they are dealing with a group of Team Plasma Grunts using Muks. He notices that they are all wearing new black uniform, just like the ones who commanded Tornadus, and soon identifies Bronius and Ryoku among the gang. Before Lack-two could act, he hears Hugh muttering under his breath that he has been waiting for this moment to avenge what happened 5 years ago, and that it is time to unleash his rage. With that, the boy calls forward his Vibrava and commands a Dragon Breath. However, the attack barely deals any damage and the Muks start pouring themselves onto the group.

After some dodging and evading, Hugh finds himself separated from the others and takes temporary shelter inside one of the corridors. He wonders if they are alright, but decides that he should just focus on raging against Team Plasma. Suddenly, something points at his back and a voice comes on to tell him to freeze. Hugh is frustrated that he has been ambushed from behind but to his surprise, the voice tells him not to fret and even acknowledges him as Hugh of the Trainer's School. It then identifies itself as the police, and Hugh turns around in bewilderment to find a Croagunk with cop hat talking, asking him how much he knows about their current situation.

Meanwhile, at the former site of the Cold Storage, Colress has finally found Zinzolin after much searching, and wants to know why he didn't respond to his call. Sitting on the edge of one of the cargoes, he wonders if the Sage is on the run out of fear, and Zinzolin acknowledges that Colress, who previously disguised himself as the Hoodman, is now the new leader of Team Plasma. Colress thinks it would be unnecessary for formalities, and wishes to know only about one thing. Using Beheeyem's Wonder Room, he levitates Zinzolin up to be on eye level with him, and picks off the man's visors with a grin. He points out that the Sage has been taking unjustified steps since 5 years ago according to what his comrade told him, and is really curious to know how far he has achieved in regards to the third dragon, Kyurem…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us



535: VS Beheeyem


Volume 53