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At the Battle Arena, the final match between Emerald and Greta ensues. Sudowoodo delivers a powerful Rock Slide, but Shedinja manages to withstand the super effective hit with its Endure. Greta states that she would pay little heed to the results of this fight, and simply make it a combat to fully demonstrate one's guts. Without another word, she orders a Solarbeam from Shedinja, and the attack crashes square-chest into Sudowoodo, knocking it across the stage.

Emerald gasps as the fake tree Pokemon crashes on the ground, and relents that he has lost. Todd, however, isn't ready to lose hope as yet, and yells at the boy for giving up so soon. He urges Emerald to take a closer look at Sudowoodo, and points out that the Pokemon is still struggling to get up. He hollers that Sudowoodo is refusing to give in for the sake of Emerald, and it would be absurd for Emerald himself to have surrendered already.

The reporter reminds him that the judgment is only made after 3 turns, and there is still a chance to win. He wants Emerald to remember how Sceptile, Dusclops and Sudowoodo, have all chosen to follow him on their own will, chosen to protect him with their own bodies, and now putting all their trust in him in the battle.

Todd's words seem to have made Emerald realize something in his mind, and with a flushed look on his face, the boy begins cheering for Sudowoodo. Emerald's cheering quickly rejuvenates Sudowoodo's will to fight, and after a few moments of struggling, the rock Pokemon finally manages to get back on its feet again.

Soon, the 3 rounds are over, the virtual Blackbelt ends the match. Greta, seeing that Sudowoodo is still standing after all this time, is eager to know the results. The Blackbelt announces that in the mind and skill categories, both Emerald and Greta receive triangles. But in terms of body, Emerald gets a circle while Greta gets a cross, making Emerald the winner of the match at a score of 4 to 2, also granting him the ultimate victory of the Arena challenge.

Emerald finds it a little hard to believe that he has actually won, and Greta excitedly runs over to reward him the Guts Symbol, a golden badge with the letter G on it which proves one's conquest of the Battle Arena. The Arena Tycoon then praises Emerald for fully demonstrating his guts in the battle, which gave Sudowoodo tremendous support in the form of cheering. She admits that she was wrong in deeming Emerald as someone with no guts in the Artisans Cave, and says she now certainly sees it in him.

But while Greta remains all hyped up about the heated battle, Emerald is beginning to doze off, and groggily greets her goodnight. Greta wants to know where the boy spends his nights, and is not pleased to know that he has been camping with his Pokemon under the stars all this time. She makes him promise that he will start using the Battle Frontier's accommodation facilities, but the boy has already fallen asleep on top of Sceptile, Dusclops and Sudowoodo, who have also drifted off to slumber land together with their trainer.

Greta frowns at Emerald's eccentric behaviour, and picks the boy up into her arms while he begins drooling in his sleep. All the while, Scott and the other Frontier Brains watch with smiling faces from the balcony.

Just then, a familiar voice comes on to express his astonishment that they are already getting along with the little imp during his short absence, and everyone turns around in pleasant surprise to see Noland. The Brains hurry over to him, and Brandon is glad that Noland has finally regained consciousness. Noland jokes that he is finally able to break free from the rehabilitation room, and says he's been anxious to rejoin the team.

The Factory Head then asks Anabel if they really had a showdown with the enemy who ambushed him, and the Salon Maiden solemnly nods, feeling sorry that they didn't manage to seek revenge for him. Lucy and the other Brains also sigh that they have completely failed in that battle, but Noland tells them not to worry, and says he might just have some hints to help them in the next fight.

Anabel wonders what he is talking about, and it turns out that Noland didn't get knocked out immediately after Guile attacked him inside the Factory's maintenance room. While the armoured man was in the process of stealing the rental Pokemon from his master computer, Noland has managed to reach Guile's sword with his fingers, and scratched off bits of the heavy weapon's metal powder into his nails, which he has done an analysis on immediately after he woke from his coma.

The Factory Head holds up a small vile which contains the metal powder, and explains that it seems to be made of a kind of special barrier item, possessing the characteristics of the moves Reflect and Light Screen, which aim at defending against physical and special attacks respectively.

Anabel remarks that she was right in her guess in that case, and Lucy wonders what she means. The Salon Maiden explains that she was only speculating, but back in the Artisans Cave, while it seemed that it was Guile's armour which protected against and threw back the combined attacks of Brandon, Spenser, Tucker and Lucy, she has wondered if it was the sword which did the work instead.

Now that Noland has confirmed the sword to be made of a special barrier item, it all starts to make sense. Whenever Guile swings his sword, he creates a veil of vacuum around himself, which renders all kinds of attacks useless. That is why even under the furious lightning bolts of Raikou's Thunder, Guile's Surskit was still able to freely unleash its own attacks.

Noland is glad that they have solved the mystery, and grins that his ambush serves a purpose after all. The Factory Head then turns to Scott, and requests to take a look at the confidential report regarding Jirachi from Prof. Oak. He states that while he is no position to dwell deeper into the phantom Pokemon's investigations than the top authority of the Pokemon world already has, he feels that it would be worth a try to figure out where Jirachi will show up next at the Battle Frontier.

Brandon agrees that they will certainly gain an advantage if they manage to do so, and Lucy smirks that they will be able to fully prepare themselves and take the armoured man by surprise in their next encounter. Scott is glad that his Frontier Brains have such foresight, and puts on a grin as he hands Noland the confidential report of Jirachi.

Tucker cheers that they are finally seeing hope on their side, and brings the discussion back to Emerald's demonstration challenge to the press. He remarks that since Anabel's Tower challenge is set to be the final battle, the next facility will either be his Battle Dome or Spenser's Battle Palace.

He pats Spenser's on the shoulder, and wonders if they should have a special training beforehand to get ready. But to his surprise, the old man brushes off his hand with a cold look, and apologizes that he must excuse himself for a while.

Supporting his weight on his crutch, Spenser begins walking away, and requests the others not to disturb him since he needs to take a rest at the Palace. Scott and the other five Frontier Brains watch with confused looks on their faces as the Palace Maven slowly move away, and couldn't help but wonder if something is wrong.

A while later, under the evening skies, Spenser has returned to his Battle Palace, and begins walking down the long flight of stairs leading to his underground chamber. As he reaches the bottom, he retrieves his Crobat into its Pokeball, and looks into the giant mirror ahead of him which is dimly lit by the fire torches on the walls. Squinting his eyes, he fingers the tattoo on his right shoulder which resembles a kind of ancient symbol, and mutters to himself the name of their current enemy, the armoured man, Guile Hideout.

Meanwhile, at the accommodation inn of the Battle Frontier, Greta tells Todd to move quicker, and the reporter has a hard time catching up with the Arena Tycoon with a slumbering Emerald on his back. Greta, who alone is carrying the sleeping Sceptile, Sudowoodo and Dusclops, grins that Todd is clearly physically unfit since he seems to be under more stress than she is, even though he is only carrying one boy.

Soon, they make it to room 201, and Todd lets out a sigh of relief as he places Emerald on the bed. Greta remarks that the boy never woke once during all their fuss on the way, and Todd laughs that he must be exhausted from not being able to stop since morning, with the battle against Guile followed closely by the Arena challenge.

Greta then helps Emerald retrieve Sceptile, Sudowoodo and Dusclops into their Pokeballs, and Todd wonders what she plans to do with them. Greta points to the HP restoration machine located next to the window curtains, and explains that each room in the hotel is equipped with one. She activates the healing process after placing in the Pokeballs, and says they should be fully restored to health in no time.

She then takes another look at Emerald, and comments that he will hardly be comfortable sleeping with his magic hand extensors, platform shoes and other gimmicks. She decides to help him at least remove his accessories, but gets surprised when she pulls up the legs of his pants and finds the upper edge of his platform shoes going much higher than she expected. What's more frustrating is that the shoes seem to be connected to some cylinders further up. Greta soon gets impatient, and grunts that they should just take off his clothes as well and help him change into some pajamas.

Todd is about to protest that Emerald may not like it, but Greta has already started undressing the boy, and before long, Todd and Greta stand gasping at the shocking sight in front of their eyes. Stripped down to his boxer shorts, Emerald lies nearly naked on the bed, and his body turns out to be only half his normal height. Underneath his real shoes are cylinders containing the various special Pokeballs, which are in turn connected to the high platform shoes. His real hands are gloved, and each holds a retractable tube connected to his magic hand extensors. The tube on the left side contains his E-shooter while the right one holds the cheering gimmicks all of which bear his mascot face.

Greta cannot believe that Emerald actually carries so many heavy devices around all the time, and that his real height is so much less than he appears. Todd is stunned speechless for a moment as well, but soon rationalizes to himself that they are invading Emerald's privacy to certain extent. He tells Greta that he shall take care of things from there onwards, and ushers her out of the room before she could object.

Once he closes the door, Todd quickly helps Emerald back into his clothes, and recalls how badly the boy reacted when Tucker mocked him of his height the other night after the Factory challenge. The reporter finally understands why the dwarf comments would upset Emerald so much, and feels a bit sorry for him. He then decides to retreat to his own room, but right at that moment, Sceptile, Sudowoodo and Dusclops have completed their healing, and pop out from their Pokeballs in the HP restoration machine.

Todd is amused that Pokemon heal quicker than humans, and soon notices the three wearing worried looks as they gather around the slumbering Emerald to watch over him. Suddenly, Sudowoodo gets an idea, and claps its hands joyfully. It takes out several pink coloured berries, and starts crushing them into a glass before propping up Emerald into its arms to help him drink it. Todd exclaims that it is 100% fresh Magost juice, and rationalizes that Sudowoodo must be a female since it acts just like a mother caring for her family.

That comment apparently makes Sceptile jealous, and the grass Pokemon quickly gathers a bunch of various berries. It then tosses them into the air before delivering a series of Leaf Blade, and slices them beautifully into a fruit plate.

Sudowoodo sees that as a challenge, and locks eyes with Sceptile, who is returning the angry look with its own glare. Todd begins to smell trouble, and the two Pokemon soon engage in a competition of berry cooking. Chopping the berries with a fury of Leaf Blade, Sceptile makes a hot dish of berry grill, while Sudowoodo stirs up a tasty cup of berry ice cream float. Sceptile then retaliates with a plate of steaming fried rice made from berries, and Sudowoodo counters with a colourful berry parfait.

Todd watches as the two Pokemon battle it out with their creative recipes and cooking skills, and starts to drool from the aroma of the food. But it is only then he notices that Dusclops, who is standing on the side, getting more and more frustrated by the minute since it's incapable of cooking. When the ghost Pokemon can finally take it no more, it snaps and creates a black void in front of itself.

Todd cries in horror that it is Dusclops's signature black hole, and Sceptile and Sudowoodo gap their mouths open with terrified looks as the void sucks in the entire set of gourmet they have made. Unfortunately, the powerful vacuum soon starts to draw in Emerald as well, and the three Pokemon begin to panick. Sceptile and Sudowoodo hurriedly catch their trainer's feet to pull him back, while Dusclops struggles to disperse the blackhole. Just as Emerald wakes to find himself in the perilous position, Dusclops manages to close the void, and everyone lets out a sigh of relief, all except Emerald, who is a bit annoyed at what just happened.

Todd inquires if Emerald is all right, and the boy sighs that he actually doesn't know how to handle situations as such, since he never owned Pokemon. Todd shrugs that jealously and conflicts will start to arise among team members when loyalty starts to build up, but admits that he can't offer any good advice either since he's never been a trainer himself.

Emerald reveals that he is still a little unsettled about winning the challenge today, during which he cheered for his Pokemon, because he has always believed that the only determinants in a battle are the fundamental abilities of the Pokemon and the battling skills of the trainer, and not cheering or any kind of mental support. However, he did win by counting on that today, and he is feeling lost about Pokemon battling for the first time in his life.

Later, in the maintenance room at the Battle Factory, Brandon brings Noland a cup of coffee, and wonders how the progress is. Noland, still with a bandage around his head, thanks Brandon, and says he is still reading off data from the electronic report containing Prof. Oak's detailed analysis on Jirachi. In fact, the more he reads, the more intrigued he is.

The last time Jirachi woke up was 1000 years ago, and it seems that this phantom Pokemon could truly grant any wish to the person who possesses it. Noland wonders if Jirachi really fulfilled someone's wishes 1000 years ago, and Brandon grins that they have no reason to doubt it.

As the Pyramid King tosses his three Pokeballs containing Regirock, Regice and Registeel around in circles, Noland asks what kind of wish Brandon thinks the person made, and Brandon believes that it would most commonly be wealth, power, and beauty. On a further thought, he is also sure that one would wish for longetivity and immortality, something that would allow them to live forever.

The Factory Head takes a sip of his coffee, and motions Brandon to take a look at the computer screen which is currently displaying an ancient article. He explains that part of the text is written in a very old language that he couldn't decipher, but after reading the other understandable parts and connecting them together, the article seems to be a record of the fortunate person whom Jirachi granted wishes to.

Brandon is astonished that such information exists, and wonders what the person did to make Jirachi listen to his or her wish. Brandon's comment seems to trigger a thought in Noland's head, and the Factory Head wants to know if Brandon is asking how Jirachi deemed a person worth of granting wishes to. Clearly Brandon wasn't really thinking this when he made the remark, but he decides to play along and listens to what Noland has to say.

Noland explains that there are several terms and phrases that appear more than once in the article, which includes 'awakening', 'eye opening', 'see the eye' and 'lock eyes', all of which is related to the eye. There is one more, however, which starts with 'the third'. Brandon quickly suggests that it might be 'the third eye', and just as he says that, things begin to make sense for Noland.

Bolting up from his seat, Noland states that Jirachi must have a third eye somewhere, and that after Jirachi has had its 'awakening', one must try to 'see' its 'third eye opening', 'lock eyes' with it, which will establish a connection to the phantom Pokemon's heart. Only through this way will a person be able to earn the privilege to have his or her wishes fulfilled by Jirachi, and the opening of Jirachi's third eye is a sign of such a privilege.

Somewhere underneath the evening stars outside, Jirachi hovers around with adeptness, and grins merrily as the third eye on its stomach opens up to its fullest...

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us



318: VS Shedinja II


Volume 28