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Having cracked Mask of Ice’s mask with his billiard cue, Gold gasps in disbelief when he sees that the real identity of the man is no other than the gymleader of Mahogany, Pryce. The old man puts on an evil grin, but Gold points his cue towards his face, and warns him not to move.

Gold takes a good look at what’s underneath the masked man’s usual black robe, and sees that most of his body is actually made of ice. At the very top, Pryce’s wheelchair takes up the space of the head and neck region, and all the powerful ice attacks in fact come from the Swinub that sits on Pryce’s lap. Gold finally understands why the masked man is still able to survive after all kinds of damage done to his body, and realizes that he wouldn’t actually get hurt unless the attacks strike him near the head where Pryce’s real self is.

Gold grunts that he has no idea why Pryce wants to control time, but he definitely won’t let the old man have his way, and tells Pryce to give it up. Just then, a bunch of balloons floats towards them from a distance, and Pryce looks over to see a female Pikachu flying on it while another male Pikachu surfs on a surfboard in the waters below with an egg in hand. Without a word, Pryce sends his ice generated left arm down into the ground, and shoots towards the two from underground. The hand extends out from the rocks to grab them before Gold can react, and slowly begins to tighten its grip. Gold grunts in frustration as the two Pikachus wince in pain, and Pryce threatens to kill them if Gold doesn’t throw off his cue. The boy shoots a look of disgust at the old man, and debates with himself on what he should do.

Back at the Indigo Plateau stadium, Bugsy is tending to Kurt and his granddaughter Mazie while the Chairman of the Pokémon Association is still having a hard time believing that the masked man is actually Pryce. Morty scans the area with his distant vision, and suddenly notices something buried under the rubbles. He seeks Whitney’s help in lifting off the crumbled cement, and reaches his hand in to pull out Pryce’s crutch. Upon a closer inspection, Morty sees something mechanical inside, and breaks off its wooden cover to reveal a specially designed Pokégear installed in the stick. Equipped with an antenna to receive signals as well as a small eyepiece, Morty peeks through the tiny glass window and realizes that the device is focused at the Tin Tower right now.

The Ecruteak gymleader tells the others to have a look, and remarks that it is what Pryce used to confuse them about his identity. Bugsy wonders what he means, and Morty says while the recording of the masked man fighting Ho-Oh came on the stadium’s over screen earlier, all the gymleaders, including Pryce, were standing together in the room. This gave everyone the impression that the masked man is someone else, but the whole thing was in fact an illusion created by Pryce.

While his real self is at the Indigo Plateau, Pryce replicated himself by having an ice humaoid wear the masked man’s outfit, and sent the humanoid off to fight Ho-Oh at the Tin Tower. Morty rationalizes that a camera must be installed in the mask of the humanoid, which transmits what it sees via the special Pokégear back to Pryce. This way, Pryce was still able to ambush Ho-Oh while his real body is somewhere else.

Bugsy wonders how Pryce gave commands to his Pokémon during battle from afar, and Whitney suddenly gets the idea. She borrows the crutch from Morty and starts imitating the way Pryce taps it on the ground. She remarks that while she initially thought the tapping was simply a habit of Pryce, she now believes that the old man is actually sending off orders in the form of something similar to the Morse Code, and the mask of the humanoid must contain a special machine that translates the code into actual words.

On the ground near the Tin Tower, the ice humanoid which Pryce sent off to capture Ho-Oh lay motionless on the ground. Under its mask, two small cameras continue to transmit the image of the tower to Pryce’s special Pokégear, while the machine that turns codes into words make an indecipherable sound as a result of Whitney’s tapping of the crutch at the Indigo Plateau stadium.

Meanwhile, Pika and Chuchu are still struggling to free themselves from the grip of Pryce’s ice generated hand. Knowing that he doesn’t really have a choice, Gold throws his cue to the ground in frustration, and Pryce instantly lets go of the two Pikachus. The frozen hand charges back to grab Gold instead, and lifts the boy up into the air. Pryce smirks that while he normally makes sure that no one sees his real face, it no longer matters to him because very soon, he will be living in a different time frame.

He then lets go of Gold and starts attacking him with all four ice limbs, but Gold pays no attention to his own pain, and leaps over to protect Pika, Chuchu and their egg instead. Pryce calls him a fool, and says it is perhaps time for him to test the effect of his completed time-travelling Pokéball. He holds up the gold and silver coloured ball with the letters G and S carved on its surface, and the sky suddenly turns a different shade a colour. A swirling cauldron starts to appear around a bright opening, and Pryce rejoices that he has succeeded. As his ice body breaks off and melts away from his wheelchair, the Mahogany gymleader enters the voids of time while Gold lays battered on the ground below next to Pika and Chuchu.

Struggling to get up, Gold soon spots three figures coming closer, and realizes that it is Wilton, Granny and Grampy. Grampy notices that Gold has protected Pika and Chuchu’s egg from harm, and Wilton explains that they have been attacked by TR members as well. Gold once again gets upset that innocent people are being drawn into the battle, and Granny tells him that she has a letter for him from Prof. Oak. Thinking that it might teach him how to win the battle, Gold quickly snatches the letter, but Granny tells him not to hold false hopes as she has actually received it quite a while ago before things started.

Pulling out a pile of papers from the envelope, Gold reads a list of different trainer specialties and realizes it is a description of every single boy and girl who has received the Pokédex from Prof. Oak. In his own words, Oak states that he has noticed unique connections each trainer shares with his or her Pokémon, and says it has given him new insight into human’s relations with Pokémon. The first in list is Red. Having claimed the champion title in the Pokémon League Tournament, the boy’s specialty is Pokémon battling, the Battler. Next comes Green, who is an expert in training up Pokémon. His specialty is Pokémon raising, making him the Raiser. The third is Yellow, the Healer, capable of healing Pokémon, followed by Crys, the Capturer, who specializes in Pokémon capturing.

Gold realizes that some of these trainers are the seniors whom he has heard from Crys, and continues to read on. The fifth and sixth trainers are Blue, and the boy who idolizes her as a sister figure, Silver. After Blue confessed to Oak about her past and all her secrets, the professor has come to realize that the person who stole Totodile and one of his new Pokédexes must be Silver. Having received specific training on Pokémon evolution and trading in their childhood, Blue and Silver together are the Evolver and Trader. Gold then sees that the letter seems to end here, and is taken by surprise that Oak hasn’t mentioned anything about him. He frantically flips through the papers again, and wonders out loud why isn’t he given a special title like all the other Pokédex holders.

It suddenly dawns on Gold that perhaps Oak sees nothing worthy in him at all. Perhaps the reason Oak sent him the letter is to imply that he shouldn’t be involving himself in the battle and should simply leave it to the other trainers. Not knowing what to say to comfort Gold, Granny, Grampy and Wilton turn their heads away, and Gold bursts into tears as he hollers that there must be something that he is worthy of as a Pokédex holder. Just then, his hand touches the surface of Pika and Chuchu’s egg, and it suddenly glows and increases in size. Black ridges start to appear near the bottom of the egg, and everyone wonders what is going on.

Wilton then notices that there is still one more piece of paper in the envelope, and hurriedly pulls it out. He reads that the seventh and last specialty which Gold alone possesses is Pokémon hatching, and a Pichu without warning bursts out from the egg. Granny exclaims that she has never seen such a Pokémon before, and Wilton asks what Gold has done. Gold explains that he was simply holding the egg and protecting it from Pryce’s attacks, and is still slightly stunned that his title is the Hatcher. Sending off electric sparks from its pink cheeks, the Pichu hops onto Gold’s head, and starts to lift him off the ground in a globe of energy. It points towards the opening of the voids of time Pryce created earlier, and Gold realizes that it wishes to chase after the old man. As Wilton, Granny, Grampy, Pika, Chuchu and all of Gold’s Pokémon watch in amazement, the boy disappears into the opening in the sky with Pichu following a giant electric spark.

Back at the Indigo Plateau stadium, Eusine is panting hard to catch his breath, and tells Crys the battle against the masked man’s Gastly inside Suicune’s crystal wall seal wore him out more than he thought. Next to them, Blaine and Lt. Surge are also suffering from the injuries they received earlier from Mask of Ice, and know that they are no longer capable of continuing the fight. Standing between Entei and Raikou, Suicune is having a hard time keeping its stance as well, as the effects of curse start to take a toll on its body. Crawling up onto her forearms, Misty says she understands Suicune’s desire to head towards where the last battle is taking place, but apologizes that she can no longer fight alongside with it, and tells it pick a new companion.

Eusine hurriedly straightens himself up upon hearing that, and looks hopefully at Suicune. But the legendary beasts extends one of its ribbon-like tails to circle around Cry’s wrist, and Eusine instantly gets disheartened. Crys is feeling both surprised and flattered that she was chosen, and to her surprise, Suicune places in her hand the star-shaped earring which she lost near the Tin Tower. Misty grins in a weak voice that Suicune has been carrying the earring with it for quite a while now, and says it has most probably had an eye on her since their last encounter.

The Cerulean gymleader then loses the strength in her forearms and falls over, and Crys quickly kneels down to support her. Misty says she is already satisfied, and remarks that her Pokémon will always become stronger in other people’s hands. The Omanyte which she gave to Yellow, the Gyarados which she traded to Red, both got themselves involved in important battles under the guidance of their new trainers. Misty grins weakly that it is perhaps what her role is meant to be, which she is very proud of, and says she knew right from the start that she won’t be the one standing til the very end.

She then wishes Crys good luck, and Crys promises to try her very best. Blaine says there’s no reason for Entei and Raikou to stay behind, and asks Lt. Surge if it is alright for Crys to take them along. The Vermillion gymleader forces a grin through his pain, and tells the girl to go ahead. Putting on the star-shaped earring, Crys looks up at the twilight sky, and voices to Gold that she is coming after him as well. She tells Suicune, Entei and Raikou that the masked man has headed off towards the direction of Azalea, and puts on a determined look as she takes off with the three legendary beasts.

After Crys departs, Eusine sits alone among the rubbles and is still upset that Suicune didn’t choose him. He hears his name being called, and looks down to find his old friend, Morty, and several other gymleaders. He quickly floats down on his Jumpluff to greet them, and Morty says he feels bad for what happened between him and Suicune. But Eusine puts on a wide grin, and says he is still hopeful as Suicune would definitely remember him for saving its life, and he is sure that the beast will come to visit and repay him soon.

Eusine then remarks that Morty seems unusually calm about Ho-Oh being captured by someone else as well, and Morty sighs that it is what he ought to do. He explains that while he did feel upset when he saw the recordings of the masked man and Ho-Oh on the stadium’s overhead screen, he knew that as a gymleader, his role is to protect other people from harm and it was exactly what he did by jumping onto the magnet train.

Morty says they should go and check if anyone else is buried under the rubbles, and starts to scan the stadium with his distant vision. Almost immediately, he sees something charging towards them, and turns around to find the masked man’s broken lower body coming to life and leaping up for an attack again. The ice body delivers a kick to knock back Morty and Bugsy, and Whitney lets out a scream when it heads for her. Fortunately, Mary comes to their rescue just in time, and Smeargle sends out a blast of fire to melt the body.

Whitney exclaims with joy when she sees that Mary is safe, and wonders how and where Smeargle learnt such a powerful attack. Mary explains that it used sketch on Entei earlier, which is a skill that copies the attacks Smeargle sees, and Bugsy comments that old man Pryce really possesses terrifying skills. Staring intently at the puddle of water formed by melted ice, Morty notices that it no longer regenerates itself like it did, and wonders what caused the difference this time. He then realizes that when Smeargle sketched Entei’s fire attacks, it not only copied the way the attack was delivered but also the properties of the flames.

Gathering everyone together, Bugsy says the most urgent thing they should do right now is to find and rescue anyone still buried under the rubbles, and the other gymleaders, together with Mary and Eusine, quickly head off to inspect every corner of the crumbled stadium...

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us




178: The Last Battle XII!


Volume 14