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Outside the Veilstone Gym, a Ninja Boy, a Tube Boy and a Poke Kid have gathered on the grassland, and are discussing about the gymleader, Maylene. The Ninja Boy holds up a photo of the young girl, nicknamed the talented fighting lass, and marvels at her coolness. The Poke Kid wonders if he plans to challenge her, but the Ninja Boy sulks that it won't be an easy task, as apart from her power, Maylene also boasts an unmatched speed, and an unbelievably high accuracy in attacks. The Tuber Boy recalls that there are certain items which could raise a Pokemon's accuracy, and the Ninja Boy instantly beams at the suggestion, determined to obtain one before making his challenge.

Inside the Gym, Maylene pays little heed to the noisy discussion outside, and focuses on her training with Meditite and Riolu. Ever since she became a gymleader, she has had countless challengers every day. Although she still has no idea why she agreed to take up the position, nor does she know the purpose behind pushing herself so hard to get stronger, the one belief she holds true all the time is that she fights each and every one of her battles seriously and wholeheartedly.

Meanwhile, at the western gates of Veilstone City, Dia, Pearl, Lady Berlitz and their Pokemon drag their worn out bodies through the door as they breathe out a sigh of relief. Lady Berlitz slumps against Ponyta and says it has been truly tiring, and Pearl wearily nods in agreement. Earlier on Route 210, the trio unexpectedly came across a huge pack of Psyducks who were blocking the way, totally overwhelming the three when they tried to pass through. Being drastically out-numbered, the young ones had absolutely no means of clearing a path, and were forced to change directions to Veilstone via Route 215.

Pearl takes out the Town Map to see that they are in fact travelling farther away from Mt. Coronet thanks to the Psyducks, and begins to throw a tantrum. Lady Berlitz states that it is of no use to complain now, and says they shall rethink their travel route later. She looks over her shoulder to see a flock of Murkrows flying towards the setting sun, and suggests finding a place to rest the night for now.

She points towards the city center of Veilstone where a building with dazzling neon lights erects, and says despite the poor taste in decoration, it should be a hotel with acceptable standards to stay at. Pearl voices his approval, and suggests the Lady go check-in first, as he and Dia plan to shift their dampened moods by practicing Manzai for a while. Lady Berlitz agrees, and waves goodbye to the boys as she heads off with Ponyta and Prinplup.

As the Lady gets closer to the neon building, she is surprised to see the very extravagant lightings being used, especially the giant Clefairy mascot outlined by multi-coloured light bulbs above the front door, and begins to wonder if it is some kind of rare hotel after all. She isn't very happy that there are no doormen or bellboys to serve her, but decides to go in for a look anyway.

Stepping through the auto-detect sliding door, she gets instantly hit by a wave of roars and screams, and finds herself in a dazzling room full of people, all busy hammering away in front of rows and rows of slot machines. The Manager of the place, a middle-aged man in bright-coloured suits with a wavy hairdo, cheers for his customers via the microphone, and hollers that the more identical patterns one gets, the more coins one earns, and the higher the chance one gets consecutive bonus rounds.

Confused about her surroundings, Lady Berlitz walks up to the flamboyant man in hopes of asking for directions, but the Manager immediately sees that it is her first time at the place, and proceeds to explain how the slot machines work like he does to all new customers. He pulls out a cardboard which shows the corresponding rewards of different pattern combinations, with the Triple 7 giving out the highest price of 100 coins. He states that as one plays, a Clefairy will occasionally show up on the screen, and the machine will change from the Normal Mode to Clefairy Mode. In this mode, it is much easier to obtain the Triple 7, which shall in turn activate the Clefairy Bonus Mode. Eager for another hands-on experience, Lady Berlitz promptly plops herself in front of one slot machine, and begins spinning the reels under the Manager's guidance.

Back at the western gates, as the sun slowly disappears behind the mountains, Dia and Pearl are still busy practicing their Manzai.

Pearl: Speaking of Pokemon!!
Dia: Speaking of Pokemooon~
Pearl: On a journey, there will be many obstacles along the way! And a whole pack of Psyducks just stood in our way!
Dia: Just stood in our waaay~ It looks to me that their heads were hurting.
Pearl: What? Really?
Dia: Yes, of course. Pokemon can feel aches in many parts of their bodies, for instance, headache, backache, stomachache, nerve-ache, Torchic, Girafarig...
Pearl: (smacks both of Dia's cheeks) The last two were Pokemon!!

Pearl: When the pain in their heads gets too intense, Psyducks start to exhibit odd psychic powers.
Dia: What!? Psychic powers!? Riiight then! (takes out a Pokeball and closes eyes to focus on it) Abracadabra abracadabra... float now Pokeball~
Pearl: (frowns impatiently) Mr. Dia, may I ask what are you doing?
Dia: (sarcastic grin) Your smacks always give me pain on my cheeks, so I should be able to exhibit psychic powers too~
Pearl: (hollers) That is called butting-in!! You make it sound like I'm a bully!

Feeling grateful that their pace has gotten better again, Pearl grins that they should go join Lady Berlitz, and the two boys start walking into the city. However, when they arrive at the glamorous building which the Lady thought was the hotel, they realize that it is actually the Veilstone Game Corner.

Yet, their real surprise comes when they step through the sliding door, and see Lady Berlitz hammering away in front of a slot machine, while Prinplup merrily collects all the coins she has won into a bucket. The Lady holds up her thumb to make the reeling hand-sign, and roars that she is getting another Clefairy Bonus, during which she will get definite replays as long as she follows Clefairy's directions to stop the reels in order. She declares that the more identical patterns she gets, the more coins she earns, and furiously taps on the machine buttons.

Dia gaps his mouth wide open at the Lady's berserk behaviour, while Pearl calls out to her with a frustrated tone. Lady Berlitz turns around and beams with a grin when she sees that the two boys have come to join her, and states that while she was initially baffled by this hotel's subpar service, she discovered that their entertainment is truly fun and fascinating. Just then, the screen shows that she has accomplished yet another chained bonus, and she fervently diverts her attention back to the slot machine, rejoicing that she has gotten all three identical patterns again.

Before Pearl could make any further comments, Lady Berlitz pulls out a strategy guidebook of slots, and grins that it is true after all that chained bonuses are easier to make when a different coloured Clefairy appears. Pearl bolts with shock and disbelief that the girl has gone as far as reading strategies guides, and decides to put a stop to this whole craze.

Grabbing the Lady by her wrist, he yells for her to stop, and says there has apparently been some kind of misunderstanding, as they are actually in a game arcade but not a hotel right now. He hollers that indulging too much in slot machines makes one loses his mind, and that it is not a place for girls to hang out for such a long time. With that, he drags Lady Berlitz out of the Game Corner, and Dia quickly tags behind with Prinplup.

Later, at Lady Berlitz's suite at Hotel Great Veilstone, the girl sits with a slightly disheartened look on the couch next to Prinplup, while Pearl and Dia sit across her, the former crossed-arm and wearing a frown, and the latter marveling over the prize that they have exchanged with coins at the Game Corner. Dia cheers that the Lady is really skilled to have won 1000 coins, which allowed them to redeem virtually anything they want from the exchange booth.

Pearl grunts that it is nothing to be excited about, since it's just the Game Corner's scheme to trick people into playing more slots, and most people lose their fortune while only a few get lucky. Dia grins that Pearl should stop being grumpy, and tells him to check out the item they have claimed. He holds out a small scope with a glass window on one side and a handle on the other end, and Pearl wonders what it is. Dia explains that it is a hold item of Pokemon known as the Zoom Lens, and it is said to raise the accuracy of attacks when held.

Dia tries to cheer the Lady up by telling her to try out the item, and Pearl offers to let her test it on Chimlord, as the fire monkey has problems with aiming attacks at a distance. Lady Berlitz nods with a grin, and follows the boys to the balcony as Chimlord grabs hold of the Zoom Lens. Pearl looks around for suitable objects to target, and soon decides on a thin tree from afar. Lady Berlitz quickly orders an Ember, and Chimlord focuses its gaze on the tree, magnified several times in its eyes now due to the effect of the lens. With that, it hurls out a ball of fire, and sends it shooting directly to the tree.

Incidentally, Maylene is taking her night jog with Meditite and Riolu in the area, and happens to be approaching the same tree from the opposite direction. Dia cries out in horror when he spots her from the balcony, and yells that someone is walking towards their target. In the next split second, Chimlord's Ember strikes the thin tree, and blasts open a hole through its bark. Maylene ducks down just in time to evade the deadly attack, while the trio watches with terrified looks from afar.

The three breathe out a sigh of relief when they see that the pink-haired girl appears to be alright, but soon realize that they are in trouble when she starts dashing towards them with a serious look on her face. Hopping up onto a tree and then to the balcony with her agile body, Maylene confronts the trio with a worried tone and wants to know if everything is alright. Apparently, she is under the impression that some accident has happened, and worries that the trio are hurt.

Pearl sheepishly confesses that they are responsible for firing off the attack, and Maylene is slightly shocked that they managed to strike the far-off tree with such accuracy from the balcony. Lady Berlitz admits that she is taken by surprise as well, and Dia shows Maylene the Zoom Lens, explaining that they were testing the item's claimed effects.

As Maylene takes a good look at the little scope, she suddenly remembers the conversation outside her gym she overheard earlier, about an item that has the ability to boost a Pokemon's accuracy. Maylene states that the trio must be the three trainers who were discussing about challenging her gym that morning, and compliments them for being serious people who follow through with their plans. Oblivious to the confused looks on Dia, Pearl and Lady Berlitz's faces, Maylene says she shall treat serious people with the same seriousness.

With that, she hops onto the rail of the balcony with Meditite and Riolu to make a fist of honour, and declares that she shall accept their challenge in order to honour the effort they have paid, and patiently await at the Veilstone Gym. The trio only realizes in this instant that they are talking to the Veilstone Gymleader, and are left utterly speechless at the sudden twist of events.

Meanwhile, at the Veilstone Game Corner, the Ninja Boy gets frustrated as he loses yet another round at the slot machine, while the Tube Boy and Poke Kid watch from behind, waiting for their friend to collect enough coins to redeem the accuracy-boosting lens...

(Original Japanese Jokes)

  1. In the first half of the Manzai dialogue that talks about Psyduck's headache, Dia says Pokemon can feel pain in many part of the bodies, such as 'Zutsuu, youtsuu, fukutsuu, shinkeitsuu, Myuutsuu, Porigontsuu...', which means 'Headache, backache, stomachache, nerve-ache, Mewtwo, Porygon 2...'. The latter two are Pokemon names, both ending in the word 'tsuu' (two) which has the sound pronunciation as pain in Japanese.
  2. In the second half of the verse, the original meaning has been kept.

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

356: VS Meditite & Riolu I

Volume 32