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Dawn has broken at the Battle Frontier. As the sun gradually rises above the horizon, Emerald continues his challenge at the Battle Pyramid, which is also known as the maze of darkness. Though having started his challenge since the middle of the night before, he shows no sign of exhaustion, and is already on the seventh floor of his third cycle, just one pyramid layer short from completion.

On the top floor of the Pyramid, Todd and the other reporters sit in the audience stand, and watch Emerald's progress through a screen in the middle of the open stadium. Todd sees that Emerald is still using Phanphy as his lead, and hopes that he will locate the exit soon. Suddenly, Todd sees a silhouette materializing out from the darkness in front of the boy, and reveals itself to be a wild Houndoom. The creature spits out a powerful Flamethrower, but Emerald adeptly jumps out of the way, and orders an Earthquake from Phanphy, which faints the wild Pokémon in one hit.

Emerald then notices light pouring in from what is apparently the exit ahead of him, and quickly heads over. Walking out into the morning sun with his Phanphy, Alakazam and Shedinja, he rejoices that the third cycle has been completed, and proceeds to start on his fourth.

At the Battle Pyramid where clearance of seven floors constitutes one cycle, challengers must find the staircases on each floor to ascend. However, once a cycle is completed, they will only have to take the long flight of stairs on the exterior of the facility as a short cut back to the entrance for the next set.

Inside the Pyramid, each floor is a dark maze spawned by wild Pokémon and virtual trainers. While it is difficult enough to locate an exit under such circumstances, the challenge is further raised with the dungeon's layout altering feature, which means the map of the same floor is different for each cycle.

As Emerald continues to find his way out along the intercepting corridors, a Misdreavus suddenly lurks up from behind, and starts circling around him. Emerald quickly orders a Shadow Ball from Shedinja, and the attack manages to faint the wild Pokémon with one shot. The boy wipes a sweat off his forehead, and Todd can totally feel the terror of being constantly ambushed in the dark, which is possibly why bravery is so important at the Pyramid.

Brandon's face then appears on the screen, and states that pyramids are the ancient tombs of great kings in history which hold treasures craved by many. To safeguard the treasures against tomb raiders, various traps and devices are built inside the pyramids to ward them off, which also holds true for the Battle Pyramid. Throughout the challenge, all the wild Pokémon and virtual trainers only serve one purpose, and that is to test how much bravery the challenger possesses.

However, every time a challenger demonstrates his bravery, he will be rewarded. Back in the Pyramid, the circle of light around Emerald and his Pokémon slightly increases in diameter, and the boy grins that fainting the Misdreavus has granted them a slightly clearer path. It turns out that while initially a challenger must start in complete darkness, for every wild Pokémon or virtual trainer beaten, a small amount of light will be given to illuminate the area immediately surrounding the challenger. The more opponents the challenger defeats, the clearer his way in the maze will be.

Todd muses that while Pyramid King Brandon is a rash person with both his words and actions, he is actually giving Emerald a fair treatment in the challenge, which shows that he does live up to the name of a Frontier Brain. The man has even revealed his team lineup right at the beginning, allowing Emerald to make appropriate preparations for their battle. However, the three Pokémon Brandon has are Hoenn's legendary golems, Regirock, Registeel and Regice, which myth dates back to the ancient times. Todd wonders how the powerful creatures ended up there, and has doubts on whether Emerald will be able to defeat them when he completes his tenth cycle of challenge.

Just then, a wild Gengar lurks up on Emerald again, and delivers a Shadow Punch. The boy and his three Pokémon quickly run away to evade, but soon find themselves against a wall in a dead end. Left with no choice, Emerald orders a Teleport from Alakazam, and in a blink of eye, the Gengar is left alone in the dark corridor.

In the adjacent corridor separated by a wall, Emerald pants to catch his breath, and Todd wonders why he is running away from battles which could grant him more light area. Emerald takes out his PokeNavi to check on the status of his Shedinja, and the device displays that the PP of its Shadow Ball is down to zero, which doesn't make sense since it has only used the attack several times. Emerald knows that the Misdreavus he fainted earlier must have used Grudge on Shedinja, therefore reducing its Shadow Ball PP completely.

In the first cycle of the Pyramid challenge, wild and virtual trainer Pokémon have a tendency to use attacks which paralyze. In the second cycle, it is attacks that poison, and in the third cycle, attacks that burn. However, in the fourth cycle, opponents will begin to use moves that disable the attacks of the challenger's Pokémon, making the challenge much harder.

Fortunately, things aren't as pessimistic as they sound. Emerald waves his hand to beckon Phanphy, and the blue elephant comes trotting back with several items coiled inside its trunk. Emerald retrieves an Ether in addition to a Leppa Berry and a Potion, and compliments on Phanphy for finding the right items at the right time.

Todd remembers what Brandon said about challengers being allowed to pick up any scattered items for use, making the Pyramid challenge different from the Factory and the Pike which both only permit held-items. Emerald grins that there is no limit as to how much a challenger may pick up, and puts all the unused items found by Phanphy into the Battle Bag which was given to him at the entrance. Strapping on the bag onto his back, he encourages Phanphy to pick up as much as it can find, and to fill the bag up before they reach Brandon.

Emerald soon sees another berry lying ahead in the corridor, and whistles a happy tune as he runs up to it. Watching the boy from the screen, Todd recalls that Phanphy's ability is Pickup, which heightens its senses towards items even inside a maze. Emerald's Alakazam, with its Teleport, allows easy escape from opponents, and his Shedinja, only having one HP, is an easy Pokémon to manage since it doesn't require much restoration or healing. Todd sees that Emerald has once again chosen the right Pokémon to bring along, and is impressed by the boy's talent in dealing with any situation in any facility with thoughtful preparations in his team lineup.

The reporter is certain that Emerald will clear the Battle Pyramid without trouble just like the Factory and the Pike, but then a voice suddenly comes from behind to remark that it may not matter anymore. Todd quickly turns around to find Palace Maven Spenser suspended in the air on his Crobat, and the old man states that they might have to cancel the boy's challenge at the facilities.

Todd wants to know what made Spenser said that, and the Palace Maven reveals that a serious matter has come up at the Battle Frontier. Although he knows that Todd is busy cheering for his friend, he hopes that the reporter will come along with him for a moment.

Later, at the Battle Tower, Noland lies unconscious on a bed with a bandage around his head. Greta, Tucker, Lucy, Anabel and their Pokémon stand at the bedside to watch over him, and Tucker squeezes his fist in anger, vowing to teach a lesson to whoever attacked the Factory Head.

Just then, the door opens and Spenser enters together with Todd. The reporter gasps in shock when he sees Noland's status, and wonders what has happened. Tucker grunts that they have not figured it out yet, but someone has apparently attacked Noland while he was in the Factory's maintenance room. Greta adds that all the rental Pokémon of the Factory have been stolen as well, and Todd wants to know when it all occurred.

Lucy states that it was likely the day before, but they only found out that morning, which means Brandon, who is taking on Emerald's challenge at the Pyramid, is not aware of it yet. Spenser says it is best that they keep it a secret from the Pyramid King so as not to disturb his work, and Todd queries that who could the assailant might be, and for what reason he or she attacked.

However, instead of getting a reply, he finds all pairs of eyes falling onto him. He knows well that the implication isn't him, and wonders if it is Emerald that they suspect. Tucker sneers that there doesn't seem to be anyone else, and Todd quickly defends the boy, hollering that it is impossible since Emerald was having his Battle Pike challenge yesterday. Greta points out that they are all aware of that, but he is the only one with Pokémon at the Frontier apart from them, which is good enough evidence for them to suspect him.

Todd argues that it makes no sense, and Tucker is furious that the reporter is paying no respect to the Brains. The two soon get into a fight, and Anabel has to raise her voice to demand silence and draw everyone's attention. The Salon Maiden states that the Frontier's owner Scott has given his directions on the matter, and urges all of them to follow regardless of how they feel.

First of all, Emerald's demonstration battle at the facilities will continue, the reason being that a sudden suspension will raise queries among the press, and they will inevitably have to give an explanation. However, revelation of the truth will cause fear and chaos, in which case the assailant may take the chance to hurt more people, something which they cannot afford to see. Second, all of the Frontier Brains will work to seek out the assailant and ensure that the person is brought to justice before the official opening of the Frontier to outside challengers.

Tucker grunts that he will stick to Scott's decision, but warns Todd that he has not dropped his suspicion of Emerald and will teach the little dwarf a good lesson when he comes to the Battle Dome. He then hurls the reporter out of the room, who lands hard with his face on the ground. Todd gets up to find his nose bleeding, and wonders how the battle going at the Battle Pyramid. Suddenly, he feels someone blowing air into his ear, and jumps back in shock. He sees that it is Lucy teasing him, and the Pike Queen giggles that they have just received word that the boy is currently on the seventh floor of his last cycle.

Back at the Battle Pyramid, Emerald has just located his last exit. He makes his way up the stairs to the top, and finds Brandon waiting for him in the middle of the stadium with Regirock, Registeel and Regice. The Pyramid King congratulates Emerald for clearing a total of seventy floors, but just as he is about to say his standard line to mock at the little amount of items the challenger has collected, he sees the full bag Emerald holds, and stutters with his words.

Emerald grins that it is all thanks to the Pickup ability, and says he must ensure that he has enough restoration items in a fight against the legendary golems. Brandon laughs that he didn't expect the boy to fear him, and Emerald remarks that while he indeed finds Brandon to be scary, he is confident that he will win.

Brandon then commences the battle in which Emerald will fight to prove his bravery, and calls forward Regirock. The man commands a Superpower, and the rock golem thrusts its powerful arm forward to strike. Emerald reaches for a Pokeball to send out his first Pokémon, and Brandon is curious to know if the boy has kept his original Alakazam, Phanphy and Shedinja lineup for the final cycle.

But he soon sees that Emerald has sent out a Sceptile instead, which manages to hold back Regirock's fist with its claws. Brandon gets a feeling that he has seen the grass Pokémon before, and Emerald proceeds to order a Leech Seed. Several vines break out from the yellow seeds on Sceptile's back, and quickly entangle the arm of Regirock.

Emerald grins that the move shall drain away Regirock's strength bit by bit while replenishing the health of Sceptile, but Brandon says he isn't too fond of such little tricks, and prefers attacks that could knock out his opponents in one hit instead.

With that, he calls upon the ancient powers of Regirock, and orders an Explosion. The braille pattern on the rock golem glows with an intense red light, and the Pokémon shatters into pieces in a deafening bang…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us




312: VS Regirock


Volume 27