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As mist continues to shroud over the Lake of Rage, the mysterious Mask of Ice does his usual giggling, and remarks that they have met up again. Remembering his bitter defeat in the Ilex Forest, Gold demands to know what the masked man is doing there, but his query is rudely brushed off. Gold then gets hyped up about a rematch to settle their unfinished combat the last time, and Silver tells him to keep his guard as it is difficult to detect the enemy's movements in the mist, but Gold grins that he isn't the least bit worried, and commands a dynamic punch from Politro. Politro quickly charges towards Mask of Ice and manages to make a direct hit, but as the mist clears a little, Gold gasps in shock to see that the green frog's fist is frozen solid.

Mask of Ice reappears in another direction, and smirks that Gold doesn't seem to have improved much from last time. This instantly ticks Gold off, and he grits his teeth angrily as he attempts to tackle the masked man. But then Silver's Kingdra gets in the way and stops him with a tornado. Gold quickly yells at Silver for interfering his battle, but Silver calls him an idiot and says Gold could have killed himself. Gold turns around and hollers in shock when he sees the ground before him jagged with sharp ice stalactites, and realizes that battling in a mist turns out to be much tackier than he imagined.

Gold's Pokégear suddenly beeps, and the boy picks up to find Prof. Elm calling, who immediately sighs in relief that he is finally able to establish a connection. The young professor remarks with an urgent tone that he has finished analyzing the metal particles Gold sent him last time, and discovered that they have the same composition as the special gym badges that gymleaders carry. He explains that he wasn't able to identify the specific gym badge it came from, but the Pokémon Association has been alerted about the matter, and they highly suspect that the mysterious masked man is one of the gymleaders. He adds that gymleaders are all skilled and powerful trainers, and that Gold should avoid encountering him again. Gold thanks Elm for the information, but states that it's too late for any avoidance now as he is standing right in front of the masked man.

Mask of Ice giggles that it is unwise to mess with him, and orders a blizzard from his Delibird. A strong hurricane of ice and snow sweeps towards Gold and Silver, and the two boys quickly draw their hands up in defence. Gold gasps in surprise to see the surrounding trees all frozen at once, and knows that the enemy must be an expert in manipulating cold air. Mask of Ice laughs that it is hard to decide who to finish off first when there are two of them, and says it reminds him of two kids who ran away from him many years ago. Gold notices that the comment seems to be directed at Silver. He gets taken aback by surprise when the masked man addresses Silver by name, and wonders what history the two share.

Silver, on the other hand, isn't too pleased about the masked man's remark, and quickly orders Sneasel to attack. The dark weasel smashes the ground where the Mask of Ice is standing, but the man ducks away just in time. Delibird prepares to launch an assault, and Sneasel counteracts with an icy wind, but to Silver's surprise, Delibird's attack swoops past him and hits Gold and Politro instead. Momentarily stunned, Silver lets down his guards and Delibird grabs the chance to steer its attack back on the boy, knocking him down to the ground hard.

Mask of Ice towers over the fallen Silver, and remarks that it's been five whole years since they last saw of each other. Guessing that Silver must be the troublesome long haired boy with a Crocronaw that his underlings reported, he giggles that Silver seems to be planning on a revenge. Baffled by all he's hearing, Gold wonders what is the relationship between Silver and the masked man. Mask of Ice does another giggle, and explains that nine years ago, he kidnapped a group of skilled and talented young children across the land, and Silver happened to be one of them. Gold barks that it is not right to force children away from their families, but Mask of Ice grins that in order to make big accomplishments, a sufficient work force will be needed. Team Rocket back in Kanto was a strong and successful gang, but it was eventually disintegrated, and a lack of sufficient work force was the cause of its demise.

The masked man grins that children are good to train as they listen to everything you teach them, and just like the Magikarps, though weak at first, they can one day evolve into the powerful Gyaradoses and take on big tasks. Gold grunts that he has never met someone so twisted before, but the Mask of Ice simply laughs his words off. Silver secretly reaches for a Pokéball, but the masked man has expected that, and Delibird quickly points an ice fork towards Gold's throat, warning Silver not to try anything silly as Gold's life depends on him.

Mask of Ice giggles that Silver seems to have gotten weaker as a trainer, and says he would have certainly become a much stronger one if he followed his trainings and didn't escape from him five years ago. Gold isn't too pleased that Silver is being humiliated, and remarks that the masked man must be blind if he deems Silver weak. Mask of Ice is fairly surprised by the boy's bravery to stand up to him, and Gold goes on to say that Silver is one of the strongest trainers he has ever encountered, and that he isn't getting weaker, but is only learning not to lose the conscience and care that every good trainer should have. Silver remains silent all this time, but seems slighly moved by the other boy's words. Gold then snickers that if training under the Mask of Ice means ending up like the inept TR members, Silver sure made the right choice to leave.

Mask of Ice gets aggravated by Gold's arrogant tone, and tells Delibird to finish him off, but Gold has secretly reached for Typhlo's Pokéball during his speech, and the Quilava quickly pops out to unleash its flames on the ice Pokémon. The masked man gets stunned for a moment, Silver grabs the chance to call out Sneasel for a slash. The attack strikes Mask of Ice hard, and the man curses in anguish while clutching his chest.

Gold grins to Silver that if Mask of Ice is the powerful enemy behind TR he mentioned earlier, they will face him together. Silver knows that it's pointless to try talking Gold out of it anymore, and says he expects a glorious victory. Turning to the masked man, Gold hollers that no person will tolerate someone who treats Pokémon and children as tools, and begins to charges forward with Silver…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us




113: VS. Delibird (Part 1)!


Volume 09