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At the Battle Tower, Emerald sits with a sombre look on the ground next to the stage as Lucy's Seviper restrains his movements by coiling itself tightly around him. Fuming with rage, Scott is hugely upset that the first official media coverage of the Battle Frontier is spoilt by a brat, and yells at the boy for trespassing into the staff only corridors, which in fact, were specially designed to facilitate the Frontier Brains' stage entry during the opening ceremony.

The platform doors on the stage slide open once again, and Brandon emerges with a tied up Tucker whom he found in the corridors beneath. The Dome Ace gets himself freed, and instantly lashes out at Emerald. Glaring at the boy with the eyes of a murderer, the man grits his teeth in anger and hollers that someone shall pay for his humiliation. Greta wonders how they should punish spoilt kids who can't mind their own business, and the other Frontier Brains all shoot looks of contempt at Emerald.

Meanwhile, Todd has crept in through a door near the back rows up in the audience stand, and is quietly crawling down the stairs to spy on the happenings. Being delayed by his encounter with Emerald and the wild Sudowoodo, he has arrived late for the opening ceremony, and by the time he got there, the press has already been discharged. He learnt from the other reporters that the event was turned into a mess when a kid showed up on the stage unexpectedly, and the Frontier owner Scott had no choice but to cancel the press conference to deal with the sudden intruder with the seven Brains.

Annoyed that he has failed to get coverage on the ceremony, Todd has snuck in to find out who the trouble causer was, and is freaked out when he realizes that it is no other than Emerald, the peculiar boy who has just saved him from the wild Sudowoodo.

Down at the stage, Emerald gets impatient and reiterates his determination to conquer the Battle Frontier. His yells that he is a legal challenger with the possession of the Frontier Pass, and his magic hand extensor without warning shoots out between Seviper's coiled up body to hold up the electronic device, startling Scott who is standing right in front of him.

Brandon smacks Emerald on the head and grunts that having the pass doesn't give him the right to interrupt, and this immediately ticks the boy off. Shooting his other magic hand extensor out, Emerald thrusts them towards the Pyramid King, but Greta quickly has her Umbreon kick him in the face with a quickattack, causing the boy to see stars all over his head.

Scott hollers again that Emerald shall be held responsible for disgracing the Battle Frontier in front of the press, but Spenser points out that the media seems to think otherwise, and motions everyone to look at the stage screen which is showing the 6pm news.

Calling the opening of the Battle Frontier the top story of the day, the two reporters compliment on the marvellous demonstration battle of Lucy and Spenser, but spend most of the air time showing Emerald's interruption of the opening ceremony and his claim to conquer the Frontier. The male reporter remarks that this part of the performance was really unexpected, and praises the owner for using such a tactic to introduce and promote the theme park. The female reporter agrees that it will be interesting to see how the boy challenges the 7 facilities, and says the press shall follow closely on his progress.

Scott and the Brains get deeply troubled after hearing the news, particularly Tucker who is extremely mad that Emerald has stolen the spotlight from them. With a serious look on her face, Anabel tells Scott that the Battle Frontier normally disqualifies any trainer with bad behaviour and confiscates their passes immediately, but they seem to have a difficult situation in their hands now since the press has been given the wrong impression. Brandon points out that everyone is apparently looking forward to the boy's challenge at the facilities, and Spenser agrees that it will no doubt give a bad reputation to the Frontier if they choose to ban him.

Being the only person who seems indifferent to all of this so far, Lucy says it would do no harm to let the boy have his wish. She states that the reporters will simply regard the challenges as part of the opening ceremony's performance, and they will actually benefit from the extra coverage in the media. She further points out that since it will be a week later before they officially accept challenges from the general trainers, they have seven days to spare for the boy to prove his strength.

Hopping off the edge of the stage, she walks over to Emerald and wants to know if he is really confident enough to live up to his arrogant words. Her Seviper licks the boy on his face before releasing its grip, and Lucy towers over him with the other Frontier Brains, wearing a snide look on her face. She remarks that he will have to beat all seven of them within a week, and warns him that it won't be an easy embarrassment to stomach should he get defeated in front of a whole room of audience.

After agreeing among themselves, Anabel wants to know if Scott is alright with it, and the man is apparently more than happy to give extra promotion to the Battle Frontier. Without another word, he speeds off on his flying saucer to inform the press, and the Brains all sweatdrop at their owner's sporadic behaviour.

Tucker then grabs the back of Emerald's collar, and smirks that he shall be his first opponent, but Noland snatches the boy away, and says to gain qualification to challenge the other Frontier Brains, one will first have to prove that he possesses adequate knowledge. Introducing himself as the Battle Factory Head, Noland tells Emerald to arrive at the front door of his facility early next morning, and without warning throws him off a window to send him crashing ten storeys down into the trees and bushes below.

Horrified by what he just saw, Todd silently crawls back up the stairs and rushes out through the back door to check on Emerald. He soon finds the boy trembling on the ground with his back turned to him, and wonders if he is alright. To his surprise, Emerald is just throwing another tantrum after his platform shoes came off again when he fell from the tower, and Todd gets annoyed that the boy doesn't seem to understand the severity of the mess he has got himself into.

The reporter hollers that the Frontier Brains are a gang of extremely powerful trainers not to be taken light-heartedly, and wants to know how Emerald prepares to deal with the challenge. However, Emerald seems the least bit concerned, and starts to fall asleep. Todd demands him to stop fooling around, but Emerald remarks that he will have to fight the Brains eventually in his plan to conquer the whole Frontier anyway, and without warning shoots out another of his little trumpet dolls with his magic hand extensor to tell Todd not to worry. A note then pops out with coloured papers from trumpet written with the word 'goodnight' over it, and Todd notices that Emerald has dozed off on the grass.

The next morning, at the Battle Factory, reporters are seating themselves in the audience stand, and are all anxious to witness how a real battle works in the facilities. The Factory Head Noland appears on a fenced platform supported by a metal arm, and welcomes everyone before calling Emerald onto the stage, who has once again put on his platform shoes to make himself look tall. Noland wants to know what mode of challenge Emerald prefers, and the boy without hesitation picks single battles at level 50.

A giant machine next to the stage begins to rumble, and six Pokéballs are soon conveyed onto the transfer belt. Emerald is told to choose 3 out of the 6 rental Pokémon, and Todd, who is standing close to Noland's platform, exclaims in surprise that the challengers don't get to use their own team. Noland explains that rental Pokémon are a unique feature of the Battle Factory, and thus he himself doesn't have a fixed party of his own either, but picks his partners like the challengers do right before a battle.

A screen facing the audience shows a Jigglypuff, Rhyhorn, Dodrio, Ludicolo, Skarmory and Hypno, while Emerald connects the cord of his PokeNavi into a socket on the transfer belt, and is shown the status and attacks of the 6 Pokémon. After taking into consideration the type combinations as well as each Pokémon's strength and weakness, the boy ends up picking the Skarmory, Rhyhorn and Ludicolo, and Noland wastes no time in commencing the match.

Right away, the digital silhouette of a school kid appears on Noland's side of the stage, and sends out an Illumise to face Emerald's Skarmory. Todd is astounded that Noland won't the one to fight Emerald, and the Factory Head smirks that the boy will first have to prove himself worthy by defeating the computer generated virtual trainers, who are fully capable of controlling Pokémon like real people. Every seven consecutive battles constitute one cycle, and Noland will only be waiting as the seventh trainer on the sixth cycle. However, if Emerald gets defeated at any point before that, he shall lose the challenge.

On the stage, the virtual school kid commands a flatter from Illumise, and Skarmory instantly gets confused. Emerald is frustrated that his initial plan to count on the metal bird's powerful flying moves has been messed up, and decides to have a change in tactics and switches out Rhyhorn instead. Raising his arm, he orders a rockslide, and Rhyhorn quickly faints the bug Pokémon with the super effective move.

A while later, Emerald has managed to knock out his opponent's Nidoqueen and Dusclops as well, and the virtual school kid gradually vanishes. Todd thinks about what Noland has said earlier, and only then realizes that Emerald will have to beat 41 trainers before fighting the Factory Brain. The rental Pokémon get transported back into the stage-side machine for HP recovery, and Noland compliments on the boy's good decision in switching out Skarmory earlier as it is certainly risky to rely on a confused Pokémon even when there is a type advantage.

Noland adds that the Battle Factory calls for knowledge because challengers will need to know each specie well, and be able to pick and command Pokémon other than their own, which is the most challenging aspect in the facility. Just then, Emerald and his previous opponent's teams are sent out again after being fully recharged, and Noland offers Emerald the choice to exchange one of his party members. He states that trading is also another important skill to master in the Battle Factory, and says it is the only way to accumulate and build a stronger team for the later battles which will be getting increasingly difficult.

After a moment of thought, Emerald decides to ditch Skarmory for Illumise, and Todd once again gasps at the tremendous amount of skills involved in conquering the Battle Factory, as challengers will not only need to cater for their chosen Pokémon but also those of their opponents in order to make the best trade after the fight. With the element of constantly changing one's team, he finally understands how the facility came to have such a name.

Grinning with confidence, Emerald gets ready for his next battle as a virtual swimmer girl materializes on Noland's side of the stage…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

305: VS Illumise

Volume 26