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At the open stadium on the top floor of the Battle Pyramid, Regirock's powerful Explosion shakes up the entire facility, and the reporters in the audience stand let out a gasp as the attack knocks out both Sceptile and Regirock itself. Emerald rushes over to check on his fainted Pokémon, and Brandon puts on a grin as he retrieves his rock golem.

Emerald grunts that Explosion is an attack which hurts the foe at the expense of fainting the user, and calls it an undignified move, but Brandon reminds him that they are having a battle, where victory alone and nothing else counts. He states that different people use different strategies, but it doesn't matter as long as the goal is reached. He warns that he will do the same with his Registeel and Regice, and wonders if Emerald has the bravery to go on in face of such reality.

Without another word, Brandon signals to Registeel, who swoops in to deliver a swipe with its giant claw while its braille pattern glows in an intense pink light. Emerald hurriedly jumps out of the way, and takes out two Pokeballs, both having star symbols below the switch. A Hitmonchan who has star seals on its gloves, and a Cubone whose skull also bears a star-shaped crack pop out, and Brandon is amused to see Emerald's choice of Pokémon for his final team in challenging the Battle Pyramid.

Emerald then tosses his Sceptile aside instead of retrieving it, and Brandon sweatdrops at the boy's eagerness to resume their battle. Emerald calls forward Hitmonchan first, and hollers that it is time to fight back. With its size and agility, Hitmonchan adeptly evades Registeel's powerful swings and swipes, and delivers a series of Fire Punches to the golem's tough body. Emerald states that they are at a tie since both of them have two Pokémon left, and is determined to gain an upper hand in this round.

As Registeel becomes weakened considerably, Hitmonchan charges up itself and pulls off a Sky Uppercut, thrusting the steel golem up into the air and punching a hole into its chest. The super effective move manages to faint Registeel, and Emerald quickly rejoices. But then he notices a painful look starting to show on Hitmonchan's face, and bolts with horror when the humanoid Pokémon falls to its knees. Hitmonchan's skin slowly turns a shade of purple, and Emerald realizes that Registeel has secretly poisoned it with Toxic while it was rapidly delivering the Fire Punches at a close proximity earlier.

Emerald hurriedly fumbles through his Battle Bag to search for antidotes or Pecha Berries, but soon discovers that he doesn't have any despite his big collection of pick-up items. Hitmonchan tumbles over as its poisoned status drains away its last bit of strength, and Brandon grins that it seems they are still tied, both down to one Pokémon now.

However, the Pyramid King has doubts that Emerald's Cubone is capable of standing up against Regice, and swiftly sends the ice golem into the battlefield. Regice towers over Emerald's small Cubone, and stomps down with its pointed right foot. Cubone blocks the attack with its Thickbone just in time, but is apparently struggling with all its might to support Regice's weight which threatens to crush it.

Suddenly, a bright light appears in the sky right above the Battle Pyramid, and draws the attention of both Brandon and Emerald. Inside the light is a yellowish star-shaped Pokémon whose body is wrapped with fine silk. The faerie-like creature gradually awakes from its slumber, and opens one of its eyes as the light emanating from it intensifies.

Meanwhile, at the Battle Tower, Todd rushes out from the building with a desperate look on his face. Scrambling to his feet, he knows that he must hurry if what Lucy said is true, because the battle between Emerald and Brandon must have started by now. He feels upset that he will still miss the first parts of the fight no matter how quick he runs, and wishes there is a shorter route to reach the Battle Pyramid.

Suddenly, he bumps into someone in front of him, and quickly apologizes for his rashness. He finds himself face to face with a female reporter who is wearing a cap over her bright red hair, combed in a somewhat familiar style, and wonders if she is heading to the Pyramid as well. But then, he sees the silhouette of Latias grinning and waving to him right behind the reporter, and realizes that it is the mythical Pokémon in disguise again.

He states that they must hurry, as the battle has already begun, but Latias telepathically tells him not to worry, and says there are means to see the happenings at the Pyramid without needing to be there. In a flash of light, their surroundings whirl into a mist of colours, and the next thing Todd knows is that he is floating right above the Battle Pyramid, looking down from the skies.

The reporter cries in horror at his unexpected shift of location, but Latias calms him down, and assures him that they are not really flying but still standing in front of the Battle Tower. She explains that what they're seeing are the visions of Latios, who is currently circling above the Battle Pyramid, and that she and Latios share an exclusive ability which allows them to make others see the images of what they have seen or imagined by telepathy.

Looking down, Todd realizes that he is seeing the real battle between Emerald and Brandon, and the boy's Cubone is on the verge of being crushed by the Pyramid King's Regice. Todd also notices Emerald's fainted Sceptile lying on the side of the battlefield, and is surprised that the boy is using this Pokémon which he stole from the Battle Factory. Remembering that Sceptile is actually at level 51, he rationalizes that Emerald must have picked the open level challenge this time.

Just then, he recalls what Greta said about all rental Pokémon being stolen at the Battle Factory following the attack on Noland, and a wave of horror washes over him. Although Emerald has only stolen Sceptile from the Battle Factory, once the Frontier Brains discover that he is using a stolen Factory Pokémon, they will assume that he has stolen all other rentals, and naturally deem him as the one who attacked Noland, which in fact is already a strong belief among them.

Todd frantically hollers that Emerald will be in great trouble if the Frontier Brains know that his Sceptile was stolen from the Battle Factory, but Latias hushes him, and puts on an astonished look as she points to a light not far away from them, shimmering right above the Battle Pyramid. However, just as she notices it, the light begins to dim rapidly, and the star-shaped faerie inside gradually vanishes. Latias wonders why it has disappeared all of a sudden, and is sure that what she has seen was the legendary wishing star.

Back at the Battle Pyramid, Brandon watches the ball of light go out, and wonders what it could have been. He then hears an angry holler from Emerald, who addresses him as the green uncle again, and the boy yells that one should not be distracted during a match. Putting on a grin, Emerald states that they will know who the winner is within a minute, and tells Brandon to accept the reality that he is going to lose.

He remark ticks off Brandon, and the man retaliates that Emerald is the one who is oblivious to the reality. He orders his Regice to stomp down, and the ice golem instantly crushes the Thickbone of Cubone, drilling its pointed right foot hard onto the little Pokémon and fainting it in one hit. Brandon laughs that Emerald's Sceptile, Hitmonchan and Cubone have all been knocked out, but just as he's about to declare Emerald's defeat, the yellow light goes out from the braille pattern on Regice, and the legendary golem suddenly collapses to the ground with a loud bang.

The Pyramid King gasps in horror, and wonders what has happened. He right away notices cracks on Regice's left foot, and to his surprise, sees Emerald's Sceptile standing behind it with its outstretched leafy tail. He realizes that the grass Pokémon has fainted Regice with an Iron Tail, but doesn't understand how it managed to stand up again after Regirock took it down earlier.

Emerald grins that there is no special trick, and with his magic hand extensor, holds up a small yellow pallet shaped like a dice. Brandon sees that it is just an ordinary Revive, and Emerald giggles that there is no reason not to use it when he has it.

The boy states that in face of three legendary Pokémon as opponents, he must prepare for potential sacrifices as well as means of revival, and reveals that he has collected a total of 99 Revives inside the Battle Pyramid. In fact, he is grateful for the light which appeared in the sky earlier, because it distracted Brandon from the match, and allowed him to revive Sceptile secretly.

Brandon finally understands why Emerald didn't retrieve Sceptile after it was fainted, and wants to know if Emerald has planned to use Sceptile's sacrifice as part of his strategy in the first place. The boy grins that he has, and reveals that he was in fact even luring Regirock to unleash the Explosion, giving him the chance to trick Brandon into thinking that Sceptile is out of the way.

Brandon lets out a deep-hearted laugh after hearing Emerald's explanation, and praises him for his supreme bravery. He reaches into his pocket to take out a badge with the letter B on it, and says it is the Brave Symbol which is rewarded to challengers who has proved themselves worthy in front of him. As a gesture to acknowledge Emerald's bravery, he presents the badge to the boy, who again doesn't seem too bothered about it, but inserts it into his Frontier Pass anyway.

While Emerald counts that he has already conquered three out of seven facilities, Brandon studies Sceptile closely, and feels that he has seen the Pokémon somewhere before. Emerald is about to reveal where it came from, but Todd suddenly comes charging towards them with a fervent look on his face, and congratulates Emerald for his victory. Without allowing the boy to finish his sentence, he apologizes to Brandon that they must excuse themselves immediately, and promptly pulls Emerald away before the boy could react.

Running down the stairs that lead to the Pyramid's exit, Emerald wants to know what is going on, and Todd hollers that he must not and could not afford to answer Brandon's query. However, a voice tells them to stop, and the two realize that the other Frontier Brains are waiting for them at the base of the stairs. The Salon Maiden Anabel, standing next to her Raikou, says she has the same question as Brandon, and demands to know where Emerald got Sceptile from.

Todd steals a worried glance at Emerald, and hopes that the boy is smart enough to lie about it. But to his horror, Emerald simply puts on a wide grin, and states it as a matter as fact that it was from the Battle Factory. The Dome Ace Tucker remarks that they need no further proof, and runs up to grab Emerald by the back of his clothes, claiming that he will be brought to justice for stealing rental Pokémon.

But then another voice tells him to stop, and everyone looks up to see Brandon running down the stairs to join them. The Pyramid King states that he has no idea what it is all about, but the one thing he can be sure is that Sceptile is not a rental Pokémon. Tucker demands to know what Brandon is saying, and Brandon states that it he has fought the Pokémon personally, and it was the impression it gave him.

He explains that the Sceptile worked together with Emerald to pull off a battle strategy which involves sacrifice, and frankly speaking, it is a plan which requires a high degree of trust and cooperation between the trainer and the Pokémon. It shows that the Sceptile has at least developed a considerable amount of loyalty to Emerald, and it would contradict with the nature of rental Pokémon if it really is one.

Tucker seems out of words to counter Brandon's argument, and Todd is secretly grateful that the Pyramid King is standing on Emerald's side. Anabel, after a bit of contemplation, decides to reveal to Emerald that someone is scheming something evil at the Battle Frontier. In order to prove his innocence, she hopes that Emerald would tell them all he knows.

The boy promptly agrees, but wonders where he should start. Thinking things over for a moment, he proceeds to take out his Pokedex, and shows the Frontier Brains the data of the phantom Pokémon Jirachi, which as he claims, is also the being that appeared in the skies above the Battle Pyramid earlier…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us




313: VS Regice


Volume 27