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As the hour nears noon, the sun shines down brightly on the land from the big blue sky. Having completed his training on the Tubeline Bridge, Black continues on his way towards Icirrus City in the company of Iris and Doctor Logan. He looks up to see that the weather is really nice, and feels relaxed by the high-floating clouds as well as the soft breeze that stirs up the fallen leaves.

He wonders if White is doing well, and believes that she must be since Brav is currently with her. He turns to Musha, and wants to know if it feels lonely. After all, Musha, Brav and himself have been together since they were little, and thinking back, he cannot believe that it has already been nine years since they met. He muses to himself, and recalls the happenings at Nuvema Town at that time, when he and his childhood companions, Cheren and Bianca, were only 5 years old…

At Bianca's home, Black gets his first taste of how it feels like to command Pokemon in a battle, and instantly becomes hooked on to the sport. He declares that he will become the strongest Pokemon battler, which astonishes both Cheren and Bianca. Cheren wants to know what Black is suggesting, and Black says he means just as he stated.

Just then, Bianca hears her father calling for her, and quickly takes a dive with Black and Cheren to hide behind the fences. Her father walks into the backyard, and is shocked to see his Unfezant and Stoutland. He is bewildered that the kids have been playing with his Pokemon, and upon closer inspection, notices scratch marks on their bodies which indicate that they have just had a Pokemon battle.

Knowing how difficult it is even for adults to control Pokemon, his mind boggles at what could have happened to his daughter. He immediately goes frantic, thinking that Bianca must have been injured and sent to the hospital, and lets out a cry as he rushes back into the house.

Behind the fence, Black, Cheren and Bianca make sure that Bianca's father is gone, and climb out from their hiding place. Black is upset that the man took the Pokemon away, and wishes that they could have another Pokemon battle. Cheren states that they should stop doing things that frighten Bianca's father, and Bianca reveals that her father has actually told her to stop playing with them, especially Black, whom her father deemed to be hyperactive and too wild. However, she refused to listen, and wouldn't accept if she couldn't play with the boys again. Cheren remarks that he feels the same way, and Black echoes their thought, which is why he believes that he should confront Bianca's father directly.

A moment later, Bianca's father jumps back in astonishment when he hears that Black desires to be the strongest Pokemon battler and requests to borrow his Pokemon for practice. He angrily slaps at the boys' open palms, and says he will not allow it. Black wants to know why, and the man screams that it is extremely dangerous for kids like them to use the Pokemon of others. He grunts that Bianca will only get hurt someday if she keeps staying with reckless boys like them, and forbids them from playing with his daughter anymore.

Hearing that, Bianca breaks into a brawl, and the man quickly tries to comfort her. He butters up that she will find other things to play in the house, and tries to take her away from the boys. Black ponders for a moment, and bows in apology to Bianca's father. He remarks that he will not attempt to use the Pokemon of adults in that case, but wishes to borrow the man's books on Pokemon to study.

Seeing no harm in that, Bianca's father agrees, and from then on, Black keeps himself busy in Bianca's father's reading room every time he visits their place. The man is glad to see the boy show his quiet side, and even stops his daughter from disturbing him when Bianca keeps nagging at Black to go out and play. Of course, his true concern lies in the safety of his daughter, and he cannot be happier that the hyperactive kid is now permanently glued to the reading table.

One day, Black visits Bianca's place, and quickly drowns himself in a book titled 'Pokemon Battling for Beginners'. Bianca throws a tantrum on the floor, and Cheren can see that Black is really determined to achieve his dream in becoming the strongest battler. He takes a peek at the content of the book, but in that instant, Black slams the book shut, and announces that he has finished the last book of Bianca's father. He calls out to the man, asking him where the library is, and soon enough, the three kids are walking down the aisles of the local library, picking up books that Black wants to read.

Cheren watches Black go through book after book, and is amused that what started as an imitation of the adults' behavior ended up affecting Black so profoundly. From that day onwards, Black spends most of his time at the library, which makes Bianca more upset, but sets her father even more at ease. At the library, Black learns from books that in order to become the strongest battler, one must conquer the Pokemon League. He compiles all his discoveries into what he calls a 'Challenge Proposal', and rushes over to Bianca's house to show it to his childhood companions.

He tells them about the Pokemon League, and explains that it is an annual tournament where trainers across the region gather to test out their strength. Cheren wonders if the winner of the tournament earns the title of the strongest battler, but Black says it is not so simple. After the League, one may challenge a group of people known as the Elite 4 and the Champion, and only by defeating them can one truly rise to the top status.

Black points out that in order to take part in the tournament, one must first collect the eight Badges, which are given out by Gymleaders in Pokemon Gyms scattered across different towns and cities in the Unova region. However, to achieve this, one would have to travel far, and Black knows that he would technically be going on a journey for it.

Cheren queries if Black's parents would allow him to do so, and Black relents that it would be a challenge, especially when he still has to attend kindergarten school. Yet, without a journey, he would not be able to beat the Gyms. Without beating the Gyms, he would not be able to take part in the Pokemon League, which is why it would be essential for him to find a good reason to go on a journey.

Just then, a special broadcast comes on television, and Bianca states that it is the man from next doors. Cheren sees that it is indeed Prof. Cedric Juniper, and tells Black that the man is a very talented and famous professor. The reporter wants to know if he is currently working on something called the Pokedex, and the man admits with a grin, stating that it is a high-tech machine meant to collect and record data about Pokemon encountered in the wild. The reporter wonders if Cedric plans to go on a journey after the Pokedex is done to collect the data himself, but the man shakes his hand, and says he would like to recruit young boys and girls to do it for him.

Hearing Cedric's words, Black believes that is it exactly what he needs, and announces that he would become one of the young trainers to receive a Pokedex and go on a journey for the professor. He tells Cheren to take him to the professor right away, and starts dragging the boy out despite his protest. Outside, a wild Munna feels intrigued by Black, and keeps its gaze on him, even following the three kids as they leave the house and head towards the Science Lab nearby.

Dragged along by Black, Cheren begs him to control himself, and says as kindergarten schoolers, they are way too young for such a mission. Besides, an adult will most likely be informed of their visit to the professor, who is usually Bianca's father. He states that Black's plan will have no chance of getting fulfilled if Bianca's father learns of it, and wants Black to think wisely before he acts.

Black sees what Cheren means, but gets worried that the professor may select other people for the quest if they don't grab the chance. Cheren tells him to relax, and reminds him that the Pokedex is still under development. It will be some time before they can be given out.

Black relaxes a bit after hearing Cheren's words, but says he really cannot wait to receive a Pokedex and visit a Gym to challenge the Gymleader. He visualizes himself going on a journey, facing the Champion and the Elite 4, and eventually claiming victory over all of them. The thoughts soon overwhelm him, and his face becomes blank as his eyes roll upwards. Cheren gets worried upon seeing his companion's expression, and tells Bianca that Black has become consumed by the thoughts of conquering the League in his head. He asks Bianca to do something, and the girl tells him to leave it to her.

Bianca steps in front of Black, and says he must be troubled that he doesn't own a Pokemon of his own, since that would make him appear as an ordinary kindergarten schooler. She believes that he would very much want to capture something on his own before visiting the professor, and promises to look around for a Pokemon that suits him.

Cheren goes frantic upon hearing Bianca's words, and cries that she is doing it the wrong way and would make things worse. However, the girl has already wandered off into the tall grass of Route 1. She wonders what Pokemon would fit Black, and just then, steps on something juicy. In the next instant, a wild Rufflet appears, and starts pecking at her angrily. Bianca screams in horror, and voices her apology, but the Rufflet continues to chase after her, and even plucks at her hair with its powerful beak.

Hearing the girl's cry for help, Cheren exclaims that Bianca is being attacked by a wild Pokemon, and shakes Black vigorously, trying to snap him out of his trance. However, Black remains stoned, and Cheren runs towards Bianca, trying to help her himself. As soon as he leaves Black, something lands on the boy's head with a thump, and Cheren turns around, terrified to see a Munna chomping on his childhood companion…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

502: VS Rufflet

Volume 48