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Standing on a cliff near Mt. Mortar, Cry's mom watches over her daughter's training, and silently voices her encouragement. She knows that Crys has been greatly disheartened by her defeat against the powerful Pokémon she talked about, and as a result lost her heart and skills in being a good Pokémon capturer. But she also knows that the girl will find her way around, like she always has. Five years ago, she was the one who sent Crys off to Mt. Mortar for training, and made her the capture specialist she is today. She is certain that revisiting the place will remind the girl of how she awakened the strength in her legs and feet when she broke her arms, and help her stand up once again…

Having passed out after being chased off the small cliff by a wild Arcanine, young little Crys slowly regains her consciousness, and discovers that her broken arms no longer hurt. She struggles to sit up on the barren ground, and is surprised to see that thick bones have been secured around her upper limbs, and pain relieving spores have also been applied to her wounds. Knowing that people seldom venture up to the mountains, she wonders who could have come to her rescue, and Smoochon alerts her of a wild Parasect and Cubone standing nearby. Crys immediately realizes that her broken arms have been tended by the two, and hurriedly walks over to say her sincere thanks, which makes Cubone and Parasect blush with embarrassment.

A Hitmonchan and Natu then emerge from behind the rocks to join them, and Crys greets them warmly after learning that they are a group with Cubone and Parasect. She proceeds to introduce herself, and finds it odd when she notices bad wounds on the four wild Pokémon' bodies. She wonders who they have been fighting against, and suddenly remembers the Arcanine that chased after her earlier. Just then, Natu picks up something with its telepathic ability, and they all turn around to find the fire Pokémon glaring its teeth at them.

Hitmonchan and Cubone quickly get into a combative stance, and Arcanine starts to growl with a deep tone, but then a painful expression momentarily shows on its face, and Crys briefly catches a glimpse of blood stains on the right side of its cheek. Now that she's aware of it, it seems that the Arcanine has been walking in an odd way all this time, and its movements have always leaned towards the left. She rationalizes that something must be impairing its right vision, and hollers for everyone to stop. She carefully tiptoes over to brush off the fur covering the right side of Arcanine's face, and sees that there indeed is a deep cut under the eye. She hurriedly informs the others that Arcanine was only rampaging out of the pain it's suffering from, and begs them for their help.

The four wild Pokémon give each other a doubtful look, but decide to take the risk. Parasect slowly walks over to Arcanine, and starts applying pain relieving spores on its wound. To Crys's surprise, the cut heals almost immediately, and Arcanine soon feels the pain subsiding. The fire Pokémon then gives Crys a friendly lick on the face, and the girl puts on a wide grin, knowing that she has prevented a major fight from happening.

And so, Crys and Smoochon quickly became friends with Cubone, Parasect, Natu, Hitmonchan and Arcanine. For the next month, they lived together like a family and helped each other out. Parasect continued to heal Crys and Arcanine's wounds by its spores, and Cubone changed the bones securing Cry's broken arms regularly. Hitmonchan, Arcanine and Smoochon assisted Crys in her training, while Natu guarded them against intruders with its telepathic ability. Eventually the wild Pokémon decided to join Crys's team and became her most trusted companions…

Crys puts on a content smile as she recalls the day she and her Pokémon met. She takes a look at the training menu her mother wrote for her before, and wonders if she will ever regain her lost skills again after her bitter defeat in the battle against Suicune. It has already been a few days since she came to Mt. Mortar and resumed her old training, but even with her non-stop practice, the accuracy and striking power of her kicks remain off and incoherent. With wooden planks marked with circles strapped on the side of their bodies, Arcanon and Megapon have been running around and acting as moving targets for Crys to hit, but it seems that no matter how hard the girl tries, the Pokéballs she sent off never managed to hit the circle centers.

Crys picks up another Pokéball with her feet, and kicks it out to Arcanon. But once again, it barely hits the rim on the wooden plank, and bounces off to the ground. Suddenly, Arcanon detects something in the air and quickly turns around. It growls with anger as it crouches down with a furious look on its face, and Crys sees a Larvitar slowly materializing out of the mountain mist. Without warning, the Larvitar strikes with the horn on its head, and instantly shatters the target wooden plank on the right side of Arcanon's body. The fire Pokémon struggles to fight, but Larvitar obviously knows of its impaired right vision, and keeps attacking from its weak side.

Crys gasps in surprise to see that a small Pokémon like Larvitar could give Arcanon such a hard time, and knows that they must have fought against each other before. She notices the fury Arcanon has towards the rock skin Pokémon, and rationalizes that it must be the one who injured Arcanon's right eye five years ago. She quickly runs over to her bagpack to seek help from her other team members, but to her shock, the switches on their Pokéballs have been damaged, and there is no way to release them. Seeing the grin of Larvitar's face, she realizes it must have carefully planned its ambush, and ensured that Arcanon will receive no assistance during the combat.

While Crys is thinking hard to come up with a plan, Megapon all of a sudden charges forward to attack, and tackles Larvitar out of the way. Crys is stunned momentarily by Megapon's bravery, and sees that it is trying to cover for Arcanon's weak side. Larvitar stabs its horn into the leaf on Megapon's head, but the little Chicorita stands its ground and continues to battle alongside its friend. And then the radical strikes Crys. All this time, her concerns have only been about Suicune and the battle that she lost against it. She blames herself for not realizing Suicune's intentions of being at the Tin Tower, and all these pondering and self accusations have unknowningly distanced her from her own Pokémon. It might be true that she will never be able to synchronize her thoughts with those of Suicune's, but the Pokémon that she can connect with, her most cherished ones that have stood by her from the start, are still standing right beside her.

With the new realization in mind, Crys yells her encouragement for Megapon out loud, and the leaf Pokémon begins to glow. Its star-shaped pendent gets knocked lose from the strong force radiating out, and in a flash of light, it evolves into a Bayleef. It then delivers a razor leaf to blast Larvitar towards the rocks, and Crys hollers with determination as she kicks off a Pokéball, striking the Larvitar square-faced and instantly capturing it. A grin of satisfaction spreads on the girl's face as Megapon and Arcanon cheer over her success, for she has finally reacquired the heart and skills as a capture specialist.

Watching from a nearby cliff, Crys's mom grins with pride after witnessing her daughter's moment of glory. Now that Crys has regained confidence in herself, she can forget her worries about her, and resume her personal journey once again. Turning around to leave, she tells Wobbuffet that they need to work hard as well, and gets all hyperactive as usual. Back on Mt. Mortar, Crys re-ties the star-shaped pendent around Megapon's neck, and compliments it for its good work. She remarks that both of them have grown stronger from the experience, and grins that they still have much to learn from their journey. She then decides to continue on her quest, and sets out towards the south-western seas of Johto.

Little does Crys know that Suicune has been secretly watching over her training as well. As the girl slowly departs from Mt. Mortar, the mythical beast takes another look at the star-shaped earring she lost that it picked up earlier, and once again dashes off to search for what it must seek…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us




135: VS. Larvitar!


Volume 11