It was a whole chapter without a gym battle after my previous chapter had TWO. Where is the consistency around here?!
The trek to Mahogany Town found me at yet another gym whose leader can’t be bothered to be around to do is job, so I listened to all the gossip about town an headed to the LAKE OF RAGE.
Inside the… angry body of water… was a rampaging Zangoose, a Pokemon I have always Always ALWAYS gotten confused with Vigoroth. Like, I’m not sure why both exist. I see Zangoose, and I’m like “Oh, he evolves into Slaking”, but… nope. He doesn’t.
Who showed up then but the man who haunts my Nuzmares, Lance the Dragon Master. He invites me to help him figure out what’s going on in Mahogany Town, which is VideoGame-Ese for “You actually have to do all the work while your ‘partner’ vanishes off-screen”. Oh well. We took down the Rocket Hideout, I guess. “We” took it down.
Now on with the challenge in Chapter 7: I Don’t Heart Radio! (Or: The Weird Disguise Subplot That Goes Nowhere)
Mahogany Town clear of peril, and Pryce the ice type gym leader no longer locking himself in his gym so as to ignore all the world’s ills, it was time for a gym battle.
You see, after the Rocket Hideout training, Marc-Andre, Kenya, and Godzilla were all equally self-sufficient and powerful. And with that being the case… it was time to introduce a fourth full-timer to the team.
Entei was swapped into the Day-Care in favor of ALEXANDER. It was a tough call between Alexander and Rex, but I thought Rex could use just a bit more seasoning.
The Mahogany Gym was just a quick flight from the Day-Care…
How cold do you figure a gym has to be set at for the floor to remain perpetually iced over? Like, a maximum of 30 degrees, right? And probably even colder just to make sure the ice is sturdy and not easily crushed into slush.
The gym was COLD. There were some trainers… at least, I think they were trying to be trainers. Mostly they were suffering from hypothermia. As I passed them, I could tell they were trying to say something, but their saliva had long since frozen their mouths shut.
Pryce was surprisingly game given the weather! Unlike his employees, he wasn’t on death’s door, at all. There were some emptied transfusion bags labeled “Snover Blood” on a shelf behind him, but that’s none of my business.
Pryce came at me with a Dewgong, a Seel, and a Piloswine, hardly a team capable of threatening mine. I even toyed with him, using each of his Pokemon as a switch-in to help Alexander start his road to excellence. It was another in a growing line of gym battles I was more than prepared for.
Upon leaving the gym, I received a distressing phone call from Professor Elm, asking if I have listened to the radio lately. I mean, no, obviously. I’m more of podcast and Spotify playlist guy. Kenya really likes true crime, and… oh something about Team Rocket? No, I already…
I JUST made them homeless! Come on!
So Team Rocket controlled the radio waves. I mean, what’s REALLY on the radio? Right-wing talk shows. Some current pop music that, if it’s any good, Spotify will recommend it to me or it will be in a movie. And some oldies stations. Is this a big loss? It’s like warning me that they’ve taken over the cart-and-buggy industry.
You know what, though? Alexander could always use the training that comes with whomping some Raticates. So I headed to Goldenrod City’s radio tower without delay.
I was all ready to barge in Pokemon a-blazing, when I was met with this:
This guy seriously wouldn’t let me up the stairs because I wasn’t a member of Team Rocket. Why… since when did THAT matter? I met a lot of jerks like this at their warehouse. I just battled them and moved on.
But no… that was not an option here. I had to trick him.
In the Goldenrod City Underground, there was a… I don’t know. Costume Contest? Specialty Outfitter? Actually, I think it was kind of like a wedding photo booth. They had weird looks you could try on for pictures.
And they had a Team Rocket costume!
So… I mean… all right. I guess we could try subterfuge. Give the pokeys a break and sneak my way to the top of this mission. That’s something new!
After putting on the garb, I went back to the Radio Tower. This guy was all about letting me in then. Until…
Lil Gio came, ripped the costume off of me, and… I had to battle the Guardian Of All Stairwells to advance.
Double-you, Tee, Eff, game? Why even run me in that circle?!
Whatever, I was in. I valiantly battled my way to the top of the tower, to the director’s office! If I saved him, that would be a start, right?
Petrel had been disguised as the director the whole time! He slithered his way into power so that he could get his thugs in, and…
This timeline doesn’t make any sense.
Way back when I first made it to Goldenrod, the director had already barricaded himself in his office and was incorporating unpopular new policies.
So back then, Petrel had already infiltrated the Radio Tower.
And yet… just recently in Mahogany Town, Petrel was there, in a suit, impersonating Giovanni.
But now he is the director of the Radio Tower? Again? Or… still?
HOW MANY PETRELS ARE THERE?
Well there was one fewer after our battle.
I don’t mean I killed… I just mean, he’s not in play anymore. But he’s still, like, ALIVE.
I totally promise.
A defeated Petrel told me where to find the REAL director, locked away under the… department store? That’s strange. How is that the go-to kidnapping facility run by Team Rocket?
Oh, and hey… guess who finally balled up for a rematch.
Yeah, probably. Look, I don’t know, kid. I’m busy, okay?
Our friend the Kimono Girl was running around down there, too.
Goldenrod was just the place to be, I guess.
I made my way through the bowels of the department store, battling not only Team Rocket goons but some run-of-the-mill burglars, as well. They were taking advantage of the chaos with gangsters having overrun their city to break into stores and steal goods. Hooligans!
They gave me a lot of money when I defeated them, though. Which probably puts me in possession of stolen goods. BUT I think there’s enough plausible deniability here. They could just be burgling as a hobby and have high-paying jobs in their day-to-day life.
I made my way to the REAL Director next, and he was thrilled to see me, though he really oversold the threat of a radio tower being taken over.
His great fear was that Team Rocket might send out mind control rays via the radio and be able to manipulate all of the Pokemon in the country, and I think I need to explain to this guy how radios work, which is weird given that it’s literally his job.
Also, you will note that I had to go get a disguise (I DIDN’T EVEN NEED) to get into the Radio Tower so I could fight a guy who gave me a key so I could go free the Director so that he could give me a different key to go fight more Teams Rocket.
Why did Team Rocket leave the Director with the second key to begin with? Why didn’t Petrel lie to me about where the Director was and then run away? WHY DID I EVEN NEED TO GET THAT TEAM ROCKET COSTUME?
Whatever. It was still better than the, like, 12 story building with teleportation squares you had to climb in the Kanto games.
Second key in hand, I made my way to the Radio Tower Observation Deck (because…that is something radio towers have?) and vanquished the last two Rocket Executives, Ariana Vente and Not-So-Sterling Archer.
Archer gave me a big pity party soliloquy after his defeat, but it basically boiled down to how he is taking his ball and going home. Giovanni was defeated three years ago. He was defeated here and now. So that was the “No-I-Promise-For-Realsies-This-Time” end of Team Rocket.
Good, because I am BUSY with this gym badge mission. Only one more to go!
I just realized something…
That is some familiar-ass hair.
Oh well. None of MY concern.
Also, for an executive in a highly organized criminal organization, she giggles a lot.
There was a short path to return to to the east of Mahogany Town that would eventually take the crew and I to Blackthorn City, home of the last gym of the Johto Gym Challenge.
On the way, we encountered a Pichu I could possibly have caught, but I wasn’t really bothered by it, so I just let Alexander knock it out and leave it to its family in the wild. While training in that area, though, we came across something familiar.
Devotees will remember that not only do I harbor ill will towards Alakazams, but Kenya has a personal vendetta against Kadabras since one had almost killed her shortly after we met. This battle wasn’t an option; all must suffer for their trespasses!
They say that if you seek revenge, you should be prepared to dig two graves. I am! One for all the Kadabras Kenya obliterates, and one for all the Alakazams I demolish.
Don’t you ever talk to me or my sheep ever again.
We ended Chapter 7 in the Ice Path, the final roadblock before Blackthorn City.
There we were joined by Harland the Blaziken! This game LOVES throwing Water and Fire starters at me, huh? I guess the grass types are busy.
It’s pretty amazing that I’ve done 7 gyms and conquered Team Rocket and haven’t lost ANYONE. I’ve never had a Nuzlocke be this successful!
To be continued in Chapter 8!
MY TEAM SO FAR: