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On the fast moving magnet train that has just departed from the Indigo Plateau, the gymleaders of Kanto and Johto are having a hard time handling the numerous TR members on board. They soon come to realize that they were intentionally sent away from the stadium, but know there isn’t much they could do at the moment with the overwhelming amount enemies in the cabin. Three men attempt to ambush Misty and Erika from behind, but Clair throws them off their balance with her whip, and has Dragonair slam them back against the windows with its tail. The Blackthorn gymleader then grunts that the TR members don’t seem to have a will on their own but appears to be mind-controlled, and says she has reasons to believe that the mastermind is one of themselves.

Misty and Erika start to object to her views, but Clair ignores them and hurls her whip out to grip hold of Blaine’s arm. She remarks that Blaine has been missing the whole time during the exhibition match, and demands to know what he was up to. Knowing that Clair is accusing Blaine as the mastermind, Erika tries to explain about Blaine’s health condition, but Clair interrupts her and points out that Blaine is also the very last person who has fought her brother. Blaine wonders what she is talking about, but soon realizes that she is referring to Lance once he sees her Dragonair. Clair barks that Blaine still owes her a match, and says they shall hold their postponed seventh round of the exhibition match right there on the train.

Misty quickly protests, but Blaine tells her to leave things to him, and go help the others instead. Respecting Blaine’s request, Misty, Erika, Brock, Janine and Chuck leave the two alone in the cabin, and move further along towards the end of the train. Upon seeing another group of TR members, Misty sends her Starmie spinning forward, and instantly knocks the men off their feet. Erika feels that something seems different about Misty, and wonders what gave her the determination. She then realizes that the Misty must be planning to reveal her feelings to someone after the battle ends, and decides to tie a flower brooch in front of her chest. Erika grins that one must look good during times of confession, and Misty immediately gets embarrassed. As another gang of TR members edge close, the two quickly resume their battle to fight them down.

Back in the cabin near the front of the train, Clair keeps her whip around Blaine’s arm, and barks that she has not heard from her brother ever since the Cerise incident, and demands an explanation from Blaine. Without warning, she orders a thunderwave from her Dragonair, but Blaine adeptly jumps out of the way. The Cinnabar gymleader says he’s surprised that Lance of the Elite 4 has a sister, and Clair grunts that they’re actually close cousins both born under the Blackthorn dragon clan. While traditionally all men in the family marry Blackthorn women, Lance’s father fell in love with someone in Viridian, and thus made Viridian Lance’s hometown instead. Despite that, Lance has always paid regular visits to Blackthorn, right up til one year ago.

Wearing an angry frown, Clair once again demands to know where Lance has gone to, and commands an outrage from Dragonair. To her shock, an energy field surrounds Blaine to repel the powerful dragon attack, and the silhouette of a beast-like creature materializes behind the man to send the force back at her. Clair and Dragonair get thrown across the cabin and crash onto the floor, and the Blackthorn gymleader looks up with a stunned expression at Blaine, who calmly walks over to her. Blaine remarks that he has no idea where Lance is, but one thing he can assure her is that the young man is undoubtedly still alive, since he not only possesses powerful skills but also a strong soul. The Cinnabar gymleader then leaves Clair behind, and rushes to the other cabins to join Misty.

Meanwhile, in the middle compartment of the train, Lt. Surge is surprised that the TR Elite Trio, Ken, Ryu and Harry, who serviced directly under them before, don’t seem to recognize him at all. With a cold and blank look, Ken calls out his Octillery, and has it knock Lt. Surge back with an octazooka. It is only then that Lt. Surge realizes the half masks on the three men’s faces are mind-controlling, and lashes his hand out to pull on them. However, they would not come off easily, and Lt. Surge hollers that Ken, Ryu and Harry are nothing but tusk-less beasts with their wills deprived of. He urges them to recall what their leader, Giovanni, has taught them on the day of establishing Team Rocket, and reminds them that ROCKET stands for Raid On the City, Knock out, Evil Tusks.

Lt. Surge’s words seem to be having an effect on the Elite Trio’s minds, and their half masks slowly begin to crack. With another encouragement from Lt. Surge to regain their team’s pride, the masks shatter all at once, and the three men slowly come back to their own senses. Ken, Ryu and Harry quickly apologize to Lt. Surge, and the Vermillion gymleader grins that he shall leave it to them to re-awake the other TR members from their mind controls. He remarks that he shall head back to the Indigo Plateau immediately to stop the masked man’s evil acts, and without warning pulls on the lock handle to discolate the two adjoining cabins with himself on one side, and the Elite Trio on the other side. Watching the front half of the train speeding off and the three men hollering with surprise, Lt. Surge bids them goodbye and proceeds to take out a greatball.

In the engine room at the very front of the magnet train, Green notices that the posterior half of the train has dislocated, and gasps in surprise when he sees that the anterior half he’s on has as a result accelerated to three times its original speed...

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

168: The Last Battle II!

Volume 14