| The Ariados up There/VS. Ariados
The Ariados up There or VS. Ariados (Japanese: VS アリアドス VS Ariados) is the 104th round of the Pokémon Adventures manga.
The round starts off with Gold realizing that the mysterious figure is the leader of the mutated Pokémon. Gold states that fighting him in his current state will not be an easy feat, but neither will be getting the injured out from the area. He apologizes to the figure for trespassing, but proclaims that his idle threats will not stop him. Gold sends Aibo hurtling at the figure, telling the Pokémon to show the figure what he is made of. As Aibo repeatedly pummels the figure, Gold uses this temporary window to attempt an escape with the injured worker. However, Gold finds himself surrounded by the four mutated Pokémon, as the figure chides him for not finishing their battle. The figure asks Gold whether he would like to become one of his guards, to which he realizes that the figure was responsible for the brainwashing of the worker and his Pokémon. Gold states that the figure's actions are despicable, and resolves to make him pay for severely injuring his comrades.
The figure and Gold stare at each other for several moments, as the figure commends Gold on his show of bravery. The figure then states that Gold deserves a present, as Delibird hands him a gift-wrapped box, which promptly explodes in his face. Gold instantly realizes that they have been tricked, as Gastly and Houndour attack Gold's Polibo and Sunbo. This sends Gold hurtling to the ground, who promptly calls to Exbo for assistance. The figure laughs, explaining that he fell for his "jack-in-the-box" surprise, preparing to ask him how it felt. However, Gold is nowhere to be found, and the figure postulates that he used his Cyndaquil's SmokeScreen attack to escape. As he looks down at the unconscious body of the worker, the figure realizes that Gold wants them to chase after him. However, the figure is undaunted and wonders whether they are seeking refuge in the trees. The figure uses his Ariados to illuminate the surrounding area, as Gold realizes that he is done for. Gold wonders why someone so powerful is lurking around in Ilex Forest, as a sudden noise alerts him to the situation taking place.
He realizes that the figure is using his Delibird to uproot the trees with Headbutt. Gold tries to think of something before they are found, as their tree begins to topple to the ground. Suddenly, a light illuminating from the Ilex Forest shrine catches the figure's attention. This prompts him to order his Pokémon to give up the search, proclaiming they have more important things to tend to. However, his Pokémon are caught off guard by a falling object resembling Gold. However, the figure is surprised when it turns out to just be Gold's jacket stuffed with leaves. The real Gold emerges from the bushes behind the figure, attempting to use Sunbo's Mega Drain on Ariados. However, Ariados intercepts this attack by firing spiderwebs from its back, proceeding to bind Gold. Due to Gold's intervention, the light from the shrine fades away, as the figure states that they have lost their chance. As the figure prepares to leave, a bound Gold tells the figure to take off his mask and fight him fairly. The figure merely laughs, stating that even then he would be outmatched, much to Gold's chagrin.
Later, Gold gets Aibo to pull apart the webs binding him. He thanks Aibo for freeing him, explaining that they need to get everyone out of the forest as soon as possible. Gold notices his Pokémon cowering, and realizes that they were frightened of the figure's mask. He reassures them, proclaiming that the figure will not get away with his plans. This statement makes Gold's Pokémon instantly cheer up, as they emerge from the forest undaunted. As Gold carries the unconscious worker, he hopes that this statement will come true. As Gold recuperates at the Pokémon Center, Professor Elm inquires on his condition. Gold explains that he is fine, but the worker he saved is still unconscious. Professor Elm reveals that a thorough analysis of the material the figure was wearing is a crucial clue to unraveling this mystery. He tells Gold to keep an eye on the issue too, as Gold states that the figure's attitude is somewhat reminiscent of Silver's attitude. Meanwhile, Silver is informed that Gold has come into contact with the Masked Man by Lance, who tells him to keep a close eye on Gold.
|| Spoilers end here.
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