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At Pastoria City, rain continues to fall. In the guest room of the Pastoria Gym, Pearl writhes and moans in agony as he gets haunted by a nightmare about his defeat at Lake Valor. He lets out a cry as he bolts awake, and pants hard to catch his breath. It takes a few minutes for him to register that he is in an unfamiliar place, and he looks around to see an HP-restoration machine next to the window, holding the Pokeballs of Chatlord, Chimlord and Raylord.

The three Pokemon are overjoyed to see that their trainer has finally come around, and Pearl is equally excited to see that his team is doing alright. However, just as he is about to jump off bed towards them, a stinging pain jabs at his injured lower back, and he is once again reminded of his defeat at Lake Valor, where he lost Azelf, the Pokemon of willpower, to Team Galactic. A shade of gloom washes over his face again, and he slowly climbs off bed. He apologizes to his Pokemon for getting them hurt during the battle with his bad command, but the three simply shrug with a grin, as if telling him that it was not his fault.

Pearl gathers up the Pokeballs, and begins to wonder where he is. He looks out through the window to spot a familiar train which he took with Dia and the Lady at the Marshland, and realizes with a start that he is at Pastoria City. He glances around the impeccably dusted room, which is lined by an assortment of body-building machines, and decides to head for the door. Once outside, he is quickly greeted by the humming tune of a man, and soon finds himself at a nostalgic battle arena. At the center of the arena, the Pastoria Gymleader nonchalantly scrubs the floors while singing along to the radio.

Pearl gasps in shock at the sight of Crasher Wake, and the man, being alerted to the boy's presence, grins that he has finally regained consciousness. Pearl quickly bows his head in gratitude as he come to realize that the man must have rescued him, and Wake laughs that part of the gymleader's job is to help others. He adds that Rad Rickshaw is also doing fine, and is fixing the Bicycles at the garage.

It is only then that Pearl notices the heavy downpour outside, and Wake beckons the boy to follow. Standing under the shelter of the gym's entrance, Pearl sees that Wake's Floatzel and Quagsire are keeping their arms raised to the sky, and recognizes from their position that they are summoning a Rain Dance. He quickly thinks of the dried up Lake Valor, and realizes that Wake is trying to refill it for the sake of all the Magikarps living inside. Crasher Wake laughs that his motto is to use the power he has equipped himself for the sake of humans and Pokemon, and Pearl finds himself at a loss of words at the man's big heart.

Crasher Wake remarks that both Floatzel and Quagsire are his trusted team members, with Floatzel especially skilled in the speed department. He grins that such a Pokemon would be ideal on Pearl's team to match his hasty nature, and Pearl's eyes immediately widen with pleasant surprise, thinking that the man is giving him the Pokemon. However, Wake giggles that it isn't what he is suggesting, and Pearl instantly falls back with a sweatdrop. Wake states that he shall help Pearl capture one on his own, and the two of them start heading out towards Route 213, which has a photo board with the painting of a Croagunk just around the corner.

A group of Floatzels and Buizels quickly take on combative stances upon seeing the presence of the two humans, and Wake proceeds to hand over several empty Pokeballs to Pearl, pointing out that the wild Pokemon are all looking lively. Pearl sends out his team of three to fight, and Chatlord, Chimlord and Raylord quickly engage in close-up combats with the Floatzels. However, neither seems to be gaining an upper hand over their foes, and Wake states that if his target is too big for him to handle, Pearl should perhaps resort to training a Buizel instead.

Pearl nods at the suggestion, and orders a Shock Wave from Raylord. The Luxray swipes its paws at a wild Buizel, and causes it to flinch at the powerful strike of electric current. Pearl cheers at the hit, and hurriedly tosses out a Pokeball. However, the ball bounces off the forehead of the Buizel, and the wild creature glares at Pearl with furious eyes. Pearl is a bit taken aback by the hostility exuding from the Buizel, and feels that it is holding far more than just ordinary combative attitude towards him, almost as if it is trying to seek revenge on him. Wake is glad that Pearl picked up the emotions as well, and points out that the Buizel is actually angry. In fact, all the Pokemon in the area are angry.

With that, the Buizel charges towards Pearl, and the boy narrowly evades the strike by jumping back. He is confused as to why the wild Pokemon are furious, and Wake explains that the reason is not hard to figure out. Route 213 is located right next to the Marshland and Lake Valor. When the bombed exploded on the lake, which was powerful enough to dry up all the waters instantly, the destructive energy has radiated out to the surrounding areas, which included this natural habitat of the Floatzels and Buizels. It may be hard for the wild Pokemon to comprehend the schemes of the evil organization, but what they know is humans have inflicted terror and threat of their living, and they are angry at humans for that.

Looking at the angry face of Buizel, Pearl once again recalls the fight he had at Lake Valor, and wishes that he had been able to stop the bombing, which would have avoided the trauma caused to these wild Pokemon, and thus their anger towards humankind. Wake notices Pearl's bitter look, and laughs that one shouldn't keep wearing a gloomy face. He yanks the boy by the hand towards the Croagunk photo board, and stuffs Pearl's face through the photo hole, grinning that looking through it will clear up a person's rainy skies and make him see a whole new world.

With that, Wake walks to the front of the board and holds up a hand mirror for Pearl to see his own reflection, which shows himself on the body of a Croagunk in an absurd position, with one hand over its hand, the other under its chin, and one of its legs sticking out to the side. Chatlord, Chimlord and Raylord all have their eyes popped out at the sight, and then almost immediately break into hysteric laughter. Pearl finds himself unable to stop chuckling at his own reflection as well, and Wake grins that a laugh always makes one feel better. He reminds Pearl that it doesn't matter even if one fails, but one should always remember to laugh even during hard times.

Wake's words seem to strike a chord in Pearl's mind, and the boy realizes that he has indeed forgotten the importance of laughter. Perhaps he has been away from Dia for too long, but it has almost escaped him that their journey began with an intention to make others laugh. And Manzai, the thing that the two of them take pride in, is also designed to create laughter, a sentiment that they try to inflict on everyone they come across.

Crasher Wake wants to know when Pearl plans to chase after his enemy in Veilstone, and Pearl replies that he should set off the next morning. The Pastoria Gymleader remarks that they only have one short night in that case, but wonders if Pearl is up for some training before he goes. Pearl immediately beams at the offer, and says it is his honour to learn from Wake, whom he now addresses as his teacher.

Meanwhile, at the Galactic Veilstone Building in Veilstone City, Cyrus gazes upon his huge monitor screen, and sees that the three air-shuttles are making their way back from the three lakes of Sinnoh. The man muses that in no time he will have his hands on the lake pixies that govern knowledge, emotion and willpower, and believes that they should proceed right away to prepare for the next stage.

The purple-haired old Commander wearing a lab coat who appears to be a scientist acknowledges the order, and begins to type away on his computer. Cyrus remarks that they have now completed the first stage of their plan, the lake Pokemon's 'Capture', and says it is time for stage two, the 'Chain', in which they shall extract the powers from the three legendaries to craft the Red Chain...

(Original Japanese Jokes)
There are no jokes or Manzai in this chapter.

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

401: VS Buizel I

Volume 36