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At the city center of Vermillion, the giant TR battle airship rests vertically against the cement ground as it narrowly escapes the fate of crashing into a skyscraper with the help of a mysterious force.

From the aircraft's side door opening which Red came out from earlier, Poli, Lax, Aero, Pika, Chuchu and Charizard emerge with big grins on their faces as they rush over to join the five trainers. Red and Green quickly trade Saur and Charizard back to each other, while Chuchu hops merrily towards Yellow who is still sleeping peacefully in Blue's arms.

Deoxys, who is still in its defense form, soon appears through the door opening as well, and Green, Blue and Silver immediately tense up. But then the creature extends one of its tentacles to clasp hands with Red, and everyone breathes out a sigh of relief and content.

Mewtwo looks up into the sky just in time to see Mew waving to it with a smile before taking off. The psychic mutant realizes that it was indeed Mew who guided the battle airship to land safely earlier, and wonders if the mirage being came to this battleground because it sensed its presence.

For the longest time, Mewtwo has been troubled by its own existence, and constantly questioned itself who it is, and where its roots lie. However, as it comes to think about it now, it actually has roots to call its own as well, for it was born from the eyelashes of Mew.

As Mew slowly disappears from sight, Mewtwo turns to Deoxys and telepathically remarks that it feels grateful to have battled with another Pokémon who shares similar thoughts as itself. The space Pokémon pauses for a moment, then returns the gesture with a knowing nod.

The trainers start retrieving their Pokémon back into the Pokéballs, and Green grins that Red is no doubt the everlasting survivor. Red lets out a giggle, and says it was all thanks to their combined efforts in supporting him from the ground. Thanking Green and Blue, Red pauses when he looks over to the red haired boy whose name he couldn't exactly recall. Silver begins to shy away, thinking that he isn't considered part of the gang, but Green quickly pulls him close by the shoulder, and remarks that Silver's efforts are surely not to be ignored either, for the boy has fought with all his might as well.

Green then states that he will in fact need Silver's help very soon, and Silver is curious as to what he could do. Green pulls out the book 'The Mysteries Of The Earth' again, and explains that somewhere in it, Giovanni has stated that there is a possibility for Rhydon to evolve into an even higher form. However, he is unable to comprehend any further beyond that, and only knows that the key to it is trading if he isn't mistaken.

Silver starts flipping through the book, and grins that he will certainly do his best to help, for being the Trader, Pokémon trading is his expertise. With that, Green thanks the boy in advance and gives him a friendly pat on the shoulder. Behind them, Blue puts on a smile, and is glad to see that these two guys who were previously at odds have now found common ground.

Red squats down next to Blue, and laughs that Yellow is still in deep slumber despite all the drama. Blue shares the giggle, then states that she actually has a proposition to bring up. She reaches into her bag to pull out a Pokedex, and Red sees that it is his old one before the upgrade.

Blue explains that the device is empty now after all the data has been transferred to the new one, and says it is in fact the only one out of the three old ones that remained intact after their intense battle against the Deoxys-Divides at the Trainer Tower. Prof. Oak has suggested giving it to Yellow, and since it is Red's old Pokedex, they think it will be more appropriate for him to pass it on to Yellow.

Red grins in agreement, and takes over the version I device to place it gently into the hands of Yellow, thanking her for all the hard work she's done. Everyone else then flip out their own Pokedex, with Silver the version II, and Red, Green and Blue the version IV, and Blue muses that it almost seems like a reunion for the Pokedex holders.

Green adds that his grandfather has also told him about the three version III Pokedexes he made specifically for Hoenn, and two of them have already been given out to trainers. Blue believes that they must be the two young and brave ones responsible for stopping the Kyogre and Groudon crisis, and says counting in the two other Johto trainers whom they haven't met for a while, she really looks forward to the day when all 9 dex holders would gather together.

Behind them, Deoxys begins to morph into its attack form, and Red wonders where it is going. Deoxys channels its thoughts into words on Red's Pokedex, and explains that there is another Deoxys named Individual 1 who has been exploited then abandoned by Team Rocket. It wishes to reunite with this old companion who arrived on Earth alongside with it, and plans to go in search of it.

Furthermore, somewhere in a distant region, several meteorites from space are said to have landed. Making use of the power of these meteorites, it may finally be able to free itself from the restraints and pain brought to it by its form change ability.

With that, Deoxys channels a final 'thank you' to Red, and lifts itself into the air. Red expresses his gratitude to the space Pokémon as well, and wishes it good luck as everyone watches it soar into the skies. Just then, ominous footsteps begin to resound behind them, and they quickly turn around to see a familiar face.

Not far away, Prof. Oak, Brinca and Lorelei are hurrying to the city center where the TR battle airship landed, and upon seeing the vertically standing aircraft, Brinca comments that it seems like the young ones managed to stay in one piece afterall. However, Lorelei's compact mirror suddenly detects a signal, and the young woman gasps that Storc of the Beast Warrior Trio is nearby as well, causing Oak and Brinca to jump in shock.

Lorelei assures them there is nothing to worry about, and says Storc's current proximity allows her to handle things. She quickly sends out her Jynx, and the humanshape Pokémon instantly begins creating an ice figure of Storc, ready to payback for what Storc did to them on Seven Island.

Meanwhile, Red takes Yellow from Blue's arms, and together with Green, Blue and Silver, gets into combative stances as a heavily battered Storc shows up with a weak but evil smirk on her face. The tall woman compliments the Pokedex holders, and says it is honestly beyond her imagination that they would come this far. She remarks that in particular, she is amazed by the ponytail girl's ability to synchronize her Pokémon' powers and her own emotions, a rare gift that she has never seen before.

Red realizes that she is talking about Yellow, and Green states that Yellow's strong connection to the mind of Pokémon allows her to overlap the rise and fall of her emotions onto the strength of her Pokémon, something which he is certain that people like Team Rocket who quantify a Pokémon's powers by numbers will never understand. Storc giggles that Green seems to know the girl's battle strategies well, and Green admits it as a matter of fact, adding that it was he who taught her how to fight.

Storc puts on a bitter smile, and says it isn't surprising to her at all, for the strength of the Pokedex holders clearly lies in the link between them, the unspoken and innate teamwork among them which is born from the realization and pride of being fellow trainers bestowed upon the special title. She is thus truly impressed by them, and has no choice but to admit that they are powerful.

Allowing people as powerful as them run to free is the most dangerous thing of all, and she would have loved to eliminate them right now if she could. Sadly, she has already reached her limit and is in no condition to aspire so high at this stage, and she is running out of time to make a clean escape before the tricky device installed by the ice queen traps her forever.

At that moment, Red finally notices the ice cuff which has materialized around Storc's left ankle sometime during their conversation, and is swiftly expanding to freeze the woman's entire left leg. Nearby, Lorelei continues to draw crosses with her lipstick on the ice figure of Storc, and wherever a cross is drawn, an ice cuff appears on the corresponding area on Storc's body.

Storc puts on an evil smirk again as she looks up into the sky, and says it would be pathetic to leave with bare hands however. Red follows her gaze to see Deoxys still within sight, and bolts with realization that she is referring to the space Pokémon.

Flipping out a Pokéball, Storc states that any sane person wouldn't let go of a Pokémon as powerful and skilled as Deoxys Individual 2, and a blinding beam of light immediately fires out from the Pokéball towards the sky.

Red hollers that Deoxys's freedom has been gained through the hard way, and they wouldn't allow anyone to take it away again. With Yellow still in his arms, the boy charges forward together with Green, Blue, Silver, while Mewtwo throws itself against the beam of light while trying to unleash its own powers to counter it, resulting in a big energy crash at the scene.

But then something unexpected happens. As the shower of light that came from the energy crash slowly fades out, Red, Green, Blue and Silver gasp in horror as they find themselves starting to get immobile. Starting from the feet and legs, their bodies are rapidly swallowed up by a stony texture, and before long, not a sound or movement comes from the five Pokedex holders.

Stunned by the sight in front of her eyes, Storc slowly regains composure and starts to giggle. The attack which she intended to ambush Deoxys with has apparently resulted in an unexpected effect, and while Deoxys did manage to escape at the end, the outcome seems to be equally gratifying. Bidding farewell to the Pokedex holders, the tall woman uses the last of her might to break free from the ice restraints around her, and swiftly makes her departure.

As soon as Storc has left, Oak, Brinca and Lorelei arrive at the scene, and are completely astounded by what they see. Putting on a horrified look, Lorelei has a hard time believing what is happening. Oak struggles to stay calm, and tells Brinca to hide the truth from Blue's parents, while he himself hurries to contact Bill.

At the PokemonCenter on Five Island, Bill brings the good news to everyone according Oak's call via the Pokegear that Red has managed to connect with Deoxys at the end, and freed it from the evil restraints of Team Rocket back into the wild. The giant TR battle airship which has gone astray has also landed safely, causing zero casualty to the people of Vermillion. Celio and the island residents immediately cheer and rejoice, but Bill's face suddenly darkens as he listens to the rest of Oak's words.

Seeing the abrupt change of mood in his friend, Celio wants to know what is wrong as Bill hangs up the call. With his face blank and his hands trembling, Bill mutters that while peace seems to have returned, the five Pokedex holders who have fought with all their might to stop the crisis have been showered by a mysterious light, and have all turned into stone.

Back at Vermillion, Green, Blue, Silver, and Red, with Yellow in his arms, remain motionless in their petrified bodies as they stand like statues in the wind…

--Fin. The Fifth Chapter--

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us




302: The Holders' Link


Volume 26