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While Ruby and Sapphire are preparing to depart from the Mirage Island, Wally continues his tough training with Norman on the 50th floor of the Sky Pillar.

Having a 2 on 2 battle with Norman's Slaking and Spinda, Wally clutches tight onto Flygon, and orders Kecleon forward. The colour swap Pokémon lashes out its tongue to deliver an astonish, and the move manages to shock Slaking into flinching. Flygon then follows up with a sandtomb, and a blinding swirl of sand quickly fills the area, forcing Norman to shield is eyes with his arm.

Wally remarks that Norman's strongest Pokémon is Slaking, and its weakness lies in its ability truant, which only enables it to attack every other turn. However, Norman seems less than worried, and states that he is fully aware of that. The Petalburg gymleader commands a skillswap from his Spinda, and his two Pokémon immediately strike their palms to the ground at the same time. To Wally's surprise, Slaking then delivers a powerful blizzard to knock down Flygon and Kecleon, and the boy wonders how it is possible.

Norman puts on a proud grin, and explains that Spinda's skillswap is an attack which enables it to exchange abilities with another Pokémon. By using it against Slaking, Spinda has swapped truant to itself, while given its original own tempo ability to Slaking, therefore enabling the gorilla Pokémon to attack continuously.

Wally, however, isn't ready to give up yet. He says his Flygon and Kecleon are still able to fight, but Norman states that it is too late. To Wally's surprise, his two Pokémon have both been inflicted with the confused status, and he is once again left clueless. Norman alerts him to Spinda, and reveals that the panda Pokémon has been using teeter dance since the beginning of the battle, which is a move that confuses opponents.

Overwhelmed by Norman's battling skills, Wally admits defeat and sulks over his failure. But Norman says he has actually done very well, and that he himself is in fact surprised by certain tactics the boy has used during their battle. Norman believes that the Pokédex must have helped his progress a lot, and the remark causes Wally to hesitate.

Taking a look at the high-tech device in his hand, Wally wonders if it is alright that he is using it since he does not legally own it but only picked it up in an anonymous bag in the stormy seas. The same goes to Treecko, who has now evolved into a Grovyle. On a deeper thought, he realizes that it is not all, because even Ruru, whom Ruby placed in his care, has evolved into a Kirlia during the training.

Norman smiles, and assures Wally not to worry. He reveals that the Pokédex and Treecko originally belonged to Prof. Birch, a close friend of his, and Ruru was also a Pokémon he gave to Ruby when he was young. He tells Wally not to think too much, and focus on his training, but Wally still has a burning question in mind, and wants to know what Norman has planned for him.

Norman wonders why Wally asks that, and the boy says he simply couldn't understand why Norman would train him unconditionally, and even gave him free usage of the items and Pokémon of his old friend and son, especially the Pokédex. Outside, the two ancient titans Groudon and Kyogre are rampaging across Hoenn and people are fleeing. He knows there must a reason why Norman brought him to the Sky Pillar, and worked so hard to train him when the world outside is falling apart.

Norman puts on a content grin after hearing Wally's words, and compliments the boy for his sensitivity. He decides to reveal the true goal behind their current training, but then the whole Sky Pillar suddenly shakes vigorously, and Norman quickly grabs Wally to keep themselves balanced.

Norman's Pokégear begins to beep, and he answers to find Scott calling. Scott says old man Ghem told him he was needed urgently, and wonders how things are at the Sky Pillar. Norman grunts that Scott knows it well, and the chubby little man grins that the deadly battle between Groudon and Kyogre are destroying the natural balance of the entire Hoenn, and the Sky Pillar is logically not exempted.

Norman states that he knows of a trainer with good potential whom he wishes to introduce to Scott, but Scott tells him to cut out the unnecessary talk for now, and says he is currently on the Pokémon Association's airship, Ba.Goon, prying for information.

Norman wants to know what he has learnt, and Scott unveils that aside from Norman himself, Tate and Liza, the other six gymleaders have set out in teams of three to stop the advance of Groudon and Kyogre following the orders of the Pokémon Association. However, their plans were thwarted by the admins and subleaders of both Team Magma and Team Aqua, and the two titans were eventually allowed to reach Sootopolis.

At Sootopolis, the team leaders of Aqua and Magma lost control of the orbs which could command the two ancient Pokémon, and the two orbs, after leaving their bodies, selected two new trainers as their 'commanders'. Scott wonders if Norman could guess who the two trainers are, and reveals them to be no other than the daughter of Prof. Birch, Sapphire, and Norman's own son, Ruby.

Norman listens with shock at the news, and a wave of fear quickly washes over him. Scott then points out that Ruby and Sapphire's opponents will be the powerful Groudon and Kyogre, and tells Norman that it is perhaps time to awaken the third ancient titan. Afterwards, Scott hangs up the call, and jumps off from Ba.Goon on a parachute.

At the Sky Pillar, Wally wishes to know if what the man just said is true, and Norman explains that Scott is a mysterious guy who constantly looks out for skillful trainers and travels across the land. As a result, he knows of many insider information, and they always turn out to be authentic.

Wally's legs begin to tremble as he realizes that Ruby is really at stake, and wonders what Scott meant when he mentioned the third ancient titan. Putting on a serious look, Norman hollers that it is the answer to the question he asked him, and says it is the true goal behind their current training.

He motions Wally to stand over a ring pattern in the middle of the room, while he himself reaches for the handle on the wall. He tells the boy not to move, and begins pulling the handle which is attached to a heavy chain. Suddenly, a hole surrounded by ancient markings opens up above Wally, and light begins to pour down from it. Wally and Kecleon instantly feel themselves being lifted off the ground towards the opening, and Norman explains that it is the entrance to the rooftop of the Sky Pillar.

Just then, Wally notices the painful look on Kecleon's face, and Norman tells him to retrieve it quickly. He explains that the light not only disables Pokémon attacks but also denies their entry, and Pokémon could not go in unless they are inside their Pokéballs with their trainers.

As he ascends, Wally reaches out his hand to touch the light, and soon gets drawn into the opening completely. He finds himself inside a corridor where the air seems thinner, and quickly activates his ventilation mask before contacting Norman via his Pokégear, notifying him of his safe arrival through the hole.

Norman tells Wally to follow the corridor, and says the third ancient Pokémon lies ahead, which the two of them will work together to awaken. Wally wonders if he should go alone from that point, and Norman assures him that he will be fine as he has proved himself to be a strong and skillful trainer in their tough training. He explains that the current battle between Groudon and Kyogre are threatening to destroy the entire Hoenn, and before the damage extends to every corner of the land, they must put a stop to it, and the only way to stop it is to release the third ancient titan from its slumber.

Norman reveals that for the past 5 years, he has been searching for the whereabouts of this third ancient titan who disappeared into the skies. In doing so, he has sacrificed the time he spends with his family. And then one day, he finally discovered that the creature has built its home atop the Sky Pillar. Now, he hope that Wally will lend him his strength, and help him awaken it for the sake of Hoenn.

Listening to Norman's story, Wally is determined to give his best, and keeps moving forward in the corridor. Suddenly, he comes to a dead end, and informs Norman that he cannot go further. Norman tells Wally to wait for a moment, and begins pulling on the second handle on the wall which is also attached to a long chain. The stone wall in front of Wally instantly slides open, and Norman explains that each chain handle on the wall unlocks one door in the corridor.

After going through several more doors, Wally discovers that the corridor is getting narrower, so narrow that he must crawl. Norman states that while the first gate denies the access of Pokémon, the consecutive barriers deny the entry of adults, which is why he himself nor his Pokémon could reach the pillar's rooftop on their own. In order to reach the top, a strong adult must act as the signaller to control the heavy chain locks from below, while an agile child must act as the intruder to crawl through the corridors. Without good collobration between the two, the mission will have no chance to succeed.

Soon, Wally climbs out through the final door of the corridor, and finds himself in a room where strong winds blow. A single small opening of the ceiling in the middle of the room shows the stormy skies outside. Right below the opening, Wally sees the silhouette of a giant serpent-like creature surrounded by a thick cloud of white smoke.

The boy quickly informs Norman that he has found the third ancient titan, and Norman says it is known as Rayquaza, the sky Pokémon. Suddenly, Rayquaza charges up a bolt of electricity between its horns, and sends it crashing towards Wally. Wally hurriedly evades, and asks Norman if it is alright to send out his Pokémon.

Norman says he can do so now as Pokémon are only denied in the corridors, and Wally wants to know how he should set free the creature. Norman wonders if Wally sees the cloud of white smoke surrounding Rayquaza, and says it is actually made of ozone, a component in air which the Pokémon likes. While it is surrounded by the ozone cloud, it is in a semi-unconscious state, and the only thing Wally needs to do is to create holes in the cloud, which should be easy for any one of Wally's Pokémon.

Norman warns that the ozone is a harzardous gas however, and reminds Wally to keep his ventilation mask on all the time. While Wally prepares to make his move, he thinks of the fact that this mission to awake Rayquaza requires an adult signaller and a child intruder. He realizes that Norman must have originally planned to do it with his own son, Ruby, and knows under the current circumstances, he must not fail Norman, and do his best to substitute Ruby's place. In fact, he never thought that someone like him, who possessed no Pokémon and could only dream about owning one, would end up taking part in the fight to safeguard Hoenn's peace.

Calling out Ruru, Wally starts off by ordering it to imprison Rayquaza's electric attacks. He then releases Grovyle, and commands a bulletseed. Grovyle builds a circle of seeds in front of itself, and with a forward thrust, sends them spinning forward towards Rayquaza. The impact blasts through a ring of holes in the ozone cloud, and the green dragon instantly comes to full consciousness. Rayquaza thrashes its tail about, and with a loud roar, charges up into the skies, shattering the ceiling into pieces and shaking up the entire Sky Pillar.

Wally holds tight onto Flygon as he watches Rayquaza fly away, grateful that he has succeeded. As he slowly passes out from exhaustion, he hopes that Norman would be pleased with him. But Norman is no longer on the Sky Pillar. Riding on Rayquaza, the Petalburg gymleader is taking the third ancient titan towards the final battle ground of Groudon and Kyogre, hoping to stop the destruction caused by their fury before the entire Hoenn is turned into dust...

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us




258: VS. Rayquaza I!


Volume 21