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Deep in the foggy Ilex Forest, Gold wonders why the mysterious masked man insists that he stay away from the forest. He takes a look at his injured Pokémon, and knows that they don't stand a chance against those of the enemy. The masked man offers him a last chance to escape, but Gold decides that he cannot leave the other young man and the Farfetch'd behind. He pretends to turn to leave, then suddenly orders Aitro to charge forward and distract the masked man when he heads over to grab the young man. Aitro manages to stun the mask man momentarily and scrape off parts of its cape, but Delibird, Hounder, Ariados and Gastly quickly close in on Gold and stop him from going away.

The masked man lets out an evil giggle, and says Gold has lost his last chance to leave. He smirks that Gold will have to help him scare off other intruders like the young man did, and Gold realizes that the young man and Farfetch'd were possessed by Gastly earlier to ward off people from entering the forest. Gold grunts that the masked man has no right to claim the forest to himself, and hollers that possessing greater power doesn't give one the superiority to manipulate others. The masked man giggles again, and compliments on Gold's bravery to stand up against him. He remarks that Gold deserves a present, and Delibird stuffs a box wrapped in ribbons into his hands without warning.

Gold is stunned for a moment, and the box all of a sudden explodes and chokes him with its smoke. Gastly and Hounder then unleash a combined shadowball and irontail on Politro and Sunflo, and Gold quickly orders a smokescreen from Typhlo to shield them. The masked man grins that present is an interesting attack that generates random outcomes, and wonders if Gold enjoyed it. But then he notices that the boy has gone missing, and realizes he must have made use of the smoke to flee.

The masked man is far from worried, however. He raises his hand up, and by feeling the movement of the air current, manages to detect that Gold is hiding in the trees above him. He orders a spiderweb from his Ariados, and the whole area instantly gets sprawled over by giant webs. High up on a tree branch, Gold refers to his Pokédex for assistance, but he knows that the device won't help him much against such a powerful opponent, and thinks hard to come up with a strategy. Just then, the whole tree shakes, and he looks down in shock to see Delibird and Hounder using headbutt on the trees to knock him down.

The little wooden shrine Gold hid behind earlier suddenly starts to glow, and the masked man instantly stops his pursuit of Gold and makes his way towards the shrine instead. But then Gold dives down from the trees to attack, and the masked man quickly orders Ariados to bind the boy with its silk threads. To his surprise, the falling object was just a bunch a twigs wearing Gold's sweater, and the real Gold jumps out from the bushes behind him and commands a megadrain from Sunflo. Yet the boy has far underestimated the skills of the masked man, as Ariados is fully prepared, and fires a string of silk threads from its hind sting to form a coccoon around him.

The masked man hurries over to the shrine, but sees that the glow has disappeared, and knows that he will have to wait a while before he gets his next chance again. He prepares to leave, but Gold yells out to stop him. Gold grunts that they haven't finished their battle yet, but the masked man giggles and says the other boy with a Crocronaw who interfered with him earlier certainly has more fortitude than Gold does. Gold gets ticked off by this, but could do nothing in his immobolized position but to watch the mysterious masked man leave.

A while later, Aitro helps to untie Gold from the sticky silk threads, and Gold grunts with frustration at the masked man's comments. He remarks that they should take the young man and his Farfetch'd out of the forest as soon as possible, but notices that his Pokémon are upset about their defeat. He comforts them by saying that they will grow stronger with time, and that they will not only prevail in 4 vs 4 battles, but can each take down ten Pokémon alone as well. This cheers the four little Pokémon up immediately, and they all proceed to find the exit to the forest.

Later, at a nearby PokémonCenter, Gold is talking to Prof. Elm via the visual phone system about his encounter with the mysterious masked man in the Ilex Forest. Elm remarks that he is trying to analyze the metallic particles Gold sent over earlier, which Aitro caught on its tail during its contact with the masked man, and says they might be able to learn more about him from their findings. Gold is still bothered by what the masked man said about the boy with a Crocronaw, who obviously was Silver, having more fortitude than he does, and gets lost in thought. Elm snaps him out of his trance and tells him to be careful, and Gold says he will before hanging up.

Somewhere else, Silver receives a call from the person he's working under, and learns of Gold's encounter with the masked man as well as the masked man's failed attempt at the Ilex Forest shrine. The voice on the other side of the call tells Silver to have an open eye on the masked man's activities, and Silver says he will keep him informed of his newest findings…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

104: VS. Ariados!

Volume 09