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As a sweat trickles down his forehead, Cheren focuses his gaze on his Pidove, and watches as it trembles and glows. In a flash of light, it evolves into a Tranquill, and the boy happily throws his arms around the bird to give it a hug, rejoicing at its evolution. Just then, he hears a familiar voice behind him who seems to be equally excited, and turns around to see that it is no other than his childhood companion, Black.

Both boys are exhilarated to see each other again, and Cheren is pleasantly surprised that Black has also come to Driftveil City. Black grins that it surely feels great to meet up with a childhood friend on a journey, especially when he can see how strong the friend has become during the moment of encounter. Cheren knows that Black is complimenting on his Tranquill's evolution, and blushes with embarrassment. He then sees the four Pokemon Black is carrying, Musha which he knows, a Pignite which probably evolved from the Tepig from Prof. Juniper, a Galvantula and a Tirtouga, and comments that Black seems to have built a solid team as well.

Grinning at Tranquill, Cheren believes that they are not doing so badly themselves, and Black wonders if it means Cheren is also aiming for the Pokemon League. Cheren replies with a sigh that it isn't really what he intended, but it seems that he has ended up expanding and raising his team after all.

The boy then crosses his arms with a frown, and says it is all thanks to the need to chase after Black since he broke their promise and set out on his own. Black immediately cringes upon being reminded of his previous faults, and begs Cheren not to bring it up again. He soon discovers, of course, that Cheren is simply joking, and the two boys share a knowing grin with each other.

Cheren states that he has actually had a hunch that they would meet up, and says there is a place he wants to take Black to. Black is curious as to where it is, and follows Cheren to a house which is to the east of the central market. There, Cheren shows Black a training menu which is posted on the board, and Black instantly gets fervent about giving it a try. He signs up at the counter, and is soon led by a Cool Trainer to a room which has a glass mirror that connects to the reception area. Inside the room, Black discovers that it is a closed system, and he is left on his own while the Cool Trainer gives his guidance from outside by speaking through the loudspeakers overhead. Black sends out Nite as he is instructed, and begins his training.

A while later, Black pants to catch his breath, and is glad that he has mastered it. Just then, he hears a fuss from the direction of the reception, and looks through the glass to see that Cheren is currently battling someone with his Tranquill. Black bolts with a start as he watches the mirror crack from the vigorous collisions, and rushes out to help his friend.

However, when he gets to the reception, Cheren is nowhere to be found, and he sees that someone has blasted a hole through the side wall. He frantically calls for his childhood companion, and in that instant, his Xtransceiver beeps. He answers to find Cheren calling, and quickly asks what has happened. Cheren explains that someone has just attempted to snatch his Pokemon, and when he tried to fight back, they escaped by breaking a hole through the wall. He states that he is currently chasing after them, and at that moment, spots that they have gone into a building.

Black tells Cheren that he is also coming over, and wants to know where he is exactly. Cheren replies that the building the robbers fled into is the Cold Storage, and says it is a warehouse that keeps all the frozen food that is shipped and transported at the busy port f Driftveil. Cheren then hangs up the call, and gets ready to enter the building with Tranquill. He remarks that although the temperature inside will be tough for flying types, he has no other choice and hopes that Tranquill with work together with him.

With that, he pulls open the heavy metal door, and steps into the freezing room. The boy trembles from the cold air that chills him down his spine, and grumbles that it is even colder than he thought. Suddenly, he steps on something slippery, and starts gliding forward. Tranquill hurriedly chases after its trainer as he is tumbles to the other side of the room, and right before he crashes, two Workers wearing thick clothes catch him to halt his fall.

Cheren breathes out a sigh of relief, and thanks the two Workers. He states that he didn't expect it to be so cold that even the floor is turned into ice, but the Workers reveal that the floor did not turn to ice because of the cold air, but because they deliberately froze it. Cheren widens his eyes in shock at the statement, and the Workers declare that they have to liberate all Pokemon.

With that, one of the Workers snatches Snivy's Pokeball from Cheren's belt, and pushes the boy towards the boxes. Cheren yelps in pain as he crashes into paper cardboards, which causes packs of Berries to scatter on the floor. The other Worker then grabs Tranquill from behind, and Cheren sits helpless on the slippery ground as he watches both of his Pokemon taken away. He realizes with a start that they are the people who ambushed him earlier, and the two Workers pull off their thick jackets to reveal their true identity, confirming his suspicion.

Meanwhile, Black is rushing towards the Cold Storage with Nite, and calls Cheren once again to ask if he is alright. He is astonished to hear that Cheren's Pokemon have been robbed, and wants to know how the foes look like. Cheren remarks that they both wear medieval-knight-like uniforms, and keeps talking about the liberation of Pokemon. He shows their faces to Black via the Xtransceiver, and as Black guessed, they are no other than Team Plasma Grunts.

Black finally makes it to the Cold Storage, and finds himself trembling from the cold air as soon as he steps into the building. A silhouette appears in front of him, and slowly reveals itself to be an ice-cream cone like creature. Black reads from his Pokedex that it is Vanillite, and the fresh snow Pokemon starts blowing out streams of cold air to surround him and Nite. Black soon discovers that Vanillite is creating a mirror room to trap him, and says Nite has no trouble dealing with ice.

However, just as the Pignite is about to unleash its flames from its snout, Black suddenly realizes that he may hurt Cheren if he attacks blindly, and quickly stops Nite. He thinks hard to come up with a way to crack the ice mirrors without causing massive damage, and at that moment, steps on some of the Berries that are knocked out from the boxes Cheren crashed into earlier.

Black instantly gets in idea, and picks up a bag of Berries to scatter them all across the floor. He tells Nite to keep its flames low down, and the Pignite does a handstand to spew out fire balls from its nostrils, hitting the ground and causing them to radiate outwards. The Berries within the area quickly catch fire, and start burning down the ice mirrors that are around them. In no time, the entire mirror room is turned into vapor, and Vanillite hurriedly flees. Nite targets a blast of flames on its opponent's back, and manages to faint it after melting the snow covering on its forehead.

The two Plasma Grunts, a short man with moustache who wears glasses and a tall chubby woman, show themselves, and compliment Black's strategy in using the Berries as combustion fuel to melt down the ice mirrors. Black sees that they have Cheren and his Pokemon in captive, and demands them to release his friend. The moustached man states that they have no use of the boy now since they have already succeeded in liberating his Pokemon, and pushes Cheren off. Black quickly catches him, and checks to see if he is alright.

Cheren says he has to get his Snivy and Tranquill back, and Black promises to have Nite take care of it. However, the Plasma Grunts call out two Beartics, who start blowing out blasts of cold air. The attacks quickly crystallize into a canopy of sharp icicles in midair, which subsequently cracks and comes crashing down towards Nite. Nite narrowly jumps out of the way, and the moustached man grins that it is Beartic's favourite Icicle Crash attack, where it freezes the vapors with its breath at will to drop them as deadly weapons. He points out that his Pignite cannot keep dodging much longer, and Black grunts in frustration, seeing how the canopy of icicles is also preventing Nite from getting close to its opponents.

Suddenly, Cheren gets an idea, and says with Nite's agility, there is actually a way to close in on their enemy. He whispers his strategy to Black, and Black quickly orders Nite to jump onto the cargo boxes that surround the area. The Beartics continue to target their icicles on Nite, who starts to run along the cargo tops. It soon gets onto the pile which is right behind the Plasma Grunts, and succeeds in luring the Beartics to extend their icicle canopy to that direction. Naturally, the canopy cracks and crumbles, and the two Plasma Grunts cry out n horror as the icicles crash onto them, forcing them to let go of Tranquill.

Cheren sees it as his chance, and orders Tranquill to target Snivy's Pokeball which is still held by the moustached man. The grey pigeon delivers a peck onto the switch of the Pokeball, and causes Snivy to pop out. Cheren runs forward to catch the little grass snake, and rejoices with his Pokemon that they have succeeded.

The moustached man grunts that Pokemon who do not see the value of liberation are better off eliminated, and says the grass Pokemon he just took back is weak against ice. He orders the Beartics to resume their attacks, and Cheren gets Snivy to use Grass Pledge. The chubby woman mocks that grass moves do minimal damage to ice types, but to her shock the attack Snivy unleashes suddenly turns into flames, even creating a vast sea of fire to engulf the Beartics.

The moustached man exclaims in disbelief, and wonders how it is possible. Black grins that they should do their homework on the place they plan to attack next time, and reveals that the training house they ambushed earlier is the Move Tutor's House, where Nite and Snivy were learning the special moves Fire Pledge and Grass Pledge. He explains that when used in conjunction with Nite's Fire Pledge, Snivy's Glass Pledge becomes a fire type attack as well, and multiplies the damage inflicted as a combined move.

The two Beartics soon faint from the sea of flames, and the two Plasma Grunts decide to send out other battling forces. They rush towards the pile of Pokeballs which they have snatched, but before they could call out another Pokemon, a voice comes on to tell them to stop. They look up to see that it is Master Zinzolin, who is standing on one of the cargo boxes, and the Sage states that it will be wrong to cause further harm to the collected Pokemon, since they are all considered friends of their King.

Black cries that he must be one of the Seven Sages, and Zinzolin formally introduces himself to the boy with a grin. He thanks Black for letting him witness the fascinating combined move, and believes that it is time for him to leave. With that, he slips back into the shadows and Black hurriedly climbs onto the cargo box, attempting to stop him. However, he bumps into an ice mirror, and realizes that the Sage has been talking to him with his reflection.

Cheren wonders if the man is also part of Team Plasma, and Black replies with a nod, explaining that while this is Cheren's first encounter with the organization, he has actually fought them numerous times already. Cheren feels sorry that he has no idea Black has been facing such terrible people on his own all this time, but Black says he was actually not alone. He grins that many people have helped him so far, and today, it was Cheren. Not only did he take him to the Move Tutor's House to learn the special attack, but he also gave him the idea of how to retrieve Snivy.

Black states that it wasn't just their Pokemon who pulled off a successful combination, but the two of them also gained victory through their great combo. With that, the two childhood friends clasp arms with each other, and share a grin as Nite and Snivy do the same. Black then excuses himself to head to the Gym, and waves goodbye to Cheren. Cheren watches Black depart, and recalls what Zinzolin said about the Seven Sages and the King that they devote themselves to. Wondering what exactly Team Plasma is about, he beckons to Snivy, and decides to pay another visit to the Cold Storage…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

491: VS Vanillite

Volume 47