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At the Spring Path which leads to the Sendoff Spring, Volkner and Flint return to the place where the Sunyshore Gymleader once saw a mysterious portal in the sky, but the opening is no longer there. Flint states that according to their research, a place known as the Turnback Cave lies ahead. He makes a scary face and grins to Volkner that in that cave which is said to connect to the other world, extremely scary monsters lay waiting deep in its interior. Volkner is barely fazed however, and calls Flint to quit it as he punches him on the inner thigh, causing the Elite 4 to cry out in protest.

Volkner remarks that this 'other world' is technically the Distortion World which the Battleground gang people are desperately trying to find, and Flint acknowledges with a nod. The afro-haired man says although he has no idea how strong their opponent will be, he is fully ready for it, and to make things clear again, he isn't doing it to seek revenge for Buck. Volkner mutters that he didn't say anything, but Flint barks that he could see it from the look in Volkner's eyes and if he keeps giving him that look, he will burn him into a charcoal.

The two men soon arrive at the Sendoff Spring, and skate off the cliff which leads to the cave opening down below. Flint sees that the Battleground gang has yet to arrive, and starts venturing into the Turnback Cave with Volkner. In a crevice next to the cave opening, a drop of sweat trickles down Marley's face as she is forced to keep silent, and the girl clings tight onto the little Pokemon which she has just befriended.

Inside the cave, Volkner notices that there is a constant flow of fog, and Flint says the place certainly feels like it is connected to another world. Volkner shoots a look at Flint without a word, and Flint once again gets furious about the implication behind, hollering that it does not mean he is scared and he shall burn Volkner into a charcoal if he looks at him like that again.

Volkner remarks that for the past month, the two of them have tagged up and battled hundreds of trainers at the Battle Zone. He is sure that Flint is in top fighting condition, and he is probably just having cold feet now. Flint pouts that Volkner seems to know him well, and in that instant, both men sense an abrupt change in their surroundings. Knowing that their opponent has finally appeared, Volkner and Flint send out Electivire and Magmortar and get ready to fight.

Out on the open seas, Lucario and Riolu hold out their palms to secure the signal pathway for the speaker-camera while Riley guides the way on his motor boat. Palmer wants to know how things are going, and the aura-user assures him that the signal is still strong and they are on track with the device's return route. Mira wonders if Riley has any idea where their destination could be, and Cheryl points out that according to the map, if they continue on this straight route from the Battle Zone, they will be returning to the Sinnoh main island, to a place known as the Spring Path.

Platinum suddenly turns to Palmer and wonders if she could ask him something. She states that the question has actually been on her mind since they set out, but she is really curious as to what Pokemon this swan-like creature they are riding on is. Palmer reveals that it is named Cresselia, and it is a legendary Pokemon which he encountered on the lone Fullmoon Island to the north of Canalave City.

Several weeks ago, Palmer paid a visit to Canalave and was approached by Sailor Eldritch. The desperate man told him that his son has not risen from his sleep for days, and not only that, it seemed like the little boy was having really bad nightmares and his condition was rapidly going downhill. As both Byron and Riley were not around at that time, Palmer was the only on Eldritch could count on, and after doing much research at the Canalave Library, he figured out that in order to set someone free from nightmares, they must find the Lunar Wing from the Fullmoon Island.

Wasting no time, Sailor Eldritch got Palmer on board his ship, and sailed towards the Fullmoon Island, which was to the far north of Canalave. Upon setting foot on the island, Palmer was shocked by the tragic scene in front of his eyes. Everywhere laid Pokemon who were in deep sleep, and they all seemed to be inflicted with nighmares, most already on the verge of fainting. Palmer tried his best to save the Pokemon with all the medicine and Berries that he carried, but there was little he could do for the many Pokemon who were suffering.

At that time, a swan-like Pokemon who carried glittering rings on its back appeared in the sky. It circled above them in the air, and the dust from its tail sketched out the shape of a crescent moon. Palmer recognized it as the move Lunar Dance, only known by the legendary Pokemon Cresselia and has the ability to completely restore the health and status of any comrades. As Cresselia danced, it dropped a Lunar Wing which Palmer picked up, and with the power of the item, Palmer managed to save all the Pokemon on the island.

Palmer tells Platinum that Cresselia has been on his team since then, and they have successfully awakened Sailor Eldritch's son, returning him to full health. Platinum feels glad to hear that, but gets the feeling that the nightmares inflicted on the island Pokemon seemed to share a same origin with that which affected Eldritch's son. On a deeper thought, she recalls a certain nightmare that she had herself while at Canalave, and wonders if there was any connection.

Just then, Mira alerts everyone that they are about to land, and the gang soon sets foot on the main island of Sinnoh. Riley continues to follow the speaker-camera with his aura, but the device suddenly comes to a halt and a small light above its camera lens starts to blink. Mira wonders if the thing has gone haywire, but Palmer picks up the speaker-camera, and sees that the blinking light signifies completion of the return process, which means the owner of the device is in their current location: the fourth and hidden lake of Sinnoh, the Sendoff Spring.

Riley wants everyone to stay alert as they may get ambushed from any direction, and starts to aura-scan his surroundings with Riolu. Riolu soon picks up the presence of someone near the opening of the cave that is at the bottom of a cliff, and Riley demands his foe to show itself. To everyone's surprise, the hidden silhouette that slowly comes into view turns out to be Marley, who is holding a green hedgehog-like Pokemon. Cheryl and Mira are startled by the revelation, but soon see that Marley is actually held captive by a man with turquoise-coloured hair wearing a cloak that covers his lower face, who slowly steps out from their hiding place, still with Marley under his grip.

Palmer remarks that they have found the speaker-camera's owner after all, and Platinum gasps that she knows him. Riley also recognizes the man as the Team Galactic grunt whom Storc implanted her thoughts into, and the cloaked grunt is astonished that they have managed to repair the speaker-camera and located him by it. Without warning, he pushes Marley towards the group, whom Cheryl and Mira quickly catch, and everyone else immediately gets into combative stances. However, the grunt requests them to wait and hear him out, and explains that he has no intention to fight at all. He explains that he simply mistook Marley as one of his pursuers, and Riley wonders what he is talking about.

Putting on a little frown, the cloaked grunt reveals the surprising fact that he has actually turned his back on Team Galactic and is currently on the run, something which Palmer and Platinum didn't expect to hear. The truth is, after being brainwashed and mind-controlled by the organization to think and move as a unit, he was targeted by Storc who implanted her thoughts into him. Then, as he was freed from her wills, he was forced to return to the organization's uniformed thoughts again. All of this has already made him unable to know his own self, and it is with this intense fear that he has finally chosen to flee. He ended up at Route 224 which was one of the most remote places on the Sinnoh main island. However, he encountered Marley there, and mistook her as a pursuer sent by Team Galactic. Feeling unnerved, he decided to come to this place where almost no one would come near, this Turnback Cave which is said to be connected to another world.

Platinum bolts with a start at the mentioning of portal-like description of the place, and instantly thinks an entrance to the Distortion World. She walks up to the cloaked grunt and demands to know if the Distortion World is what's accessible via this cave, and he grunt, after a bit of hesitation, admits with a nod.

Riley holds out his palm to read the aura surrounding the cloaked grunt, and Palmer wants to know what he thinks. The aura-user states that he does not feel any malicious waves that used to emanate from the guy before, and says he might just be telling the truth as he could sense the strong fear of a runaway from him. Marley echoes that ever since the grunt has helped her captive, he has been on his nerves, which made her feel that he was indeed afraid of something.

Making up her mind, Platinum asks for the grunt's guidance into the cave. She states that she still could not forgive or trust the grunt for what he has done, but at this point, she could only bet on his words. Without a reason to say no, the cloaked grunt beckons the group to follow, and starts leading them into the Turnback Cave.

Just then, Platinum's Poketch beeps, and she answers to find Pearl calling, much to Palmer's surprise. Pearl asks where Platinum is, and after learning that she is at the Sendoff Spring, decides to come join her. Platinum is glad to hear that, but then asks if Dia is with him, causing the boy to remain speechless for a moment while the Pokemon Association Chairman puts on a sad look, having overheard the conversation.

Meanwhile, somewhere on a platform, Dia slowly regains consciousness. He sits up to look around with a baffled look, and finds himself in a strange world where everything seems to be upside-down, lop-sided, or to put it simple, out of place…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us



435: Alternate Dimension Battle V


Volume 40