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| True Friends
True Friends (Japanese: VSケンホロウ VS Kenhallow or 親友 Close Friend) is the 518th round of the Pokémon Adventures manga.
Bo and Cheren's Gigalith engage in a heated combat despite their Trainers being told by the MC that their match is due to start in half an hour. Both Black and Cheren remain oblivious. Drayden takes the MC's microphone and announces his offer to cancel the 30-minute timeout, and both Black and Cheren accept.
Black, still angry at Cheren's change in attitude, is determined to show Cheren what strength means. Cheren claims he already knows: his knowledge of the stats and abilities of both his and his opponents' Pokémon allows him to make the right judgments and give the right commands that'll lead him to victory. Black furiously retorts that Cheren is wrong, but suddenly sees Bo stumble. The MC sees that Gigalith has been able to withstand Bo's repeated blows, and as a result, Bo took more damage than Gigalith. Black realizes that Gigalith used Bulldoze. Drayden explains that Gigalith stamped each time Bo attempted to launch a blow, and was caught off guard in the process. Drayden recalls that Iris tried to use the same strategy but it was too obvious. While Black starts to question whether Cheren is the Cheren he knew for all these years, Cheren remains nonchalant, claiming that power is all about ability and technique.
Meanwhile, the contestant named Gray watches the battle from the back row of the audience stand. Impressed by Cheren's cold-heartedness, he starts to shiver again while grinning that nothing is greater than a cold heart. The contestant calling himself Hood Man appears next to him and asks Gray if he is suggesting that a cold heart draws out a Pokémon's strength. While White is alerted to Hood Man and Gray's conversation by her Solosis, Sally, Gray is adamant that he is right, using Cheren's battling ability as proof. Hood Man insist's he's not trying to challenge Gray, only suggesting that there are multiple factors in the issue. Since entering the tournament, Hood Man has observed the other Trainers closely, including Marlon, Iris, and of course, Cheren.
White eavesdrops at the conversation behind a wall and frowns upon hearing Cheren's name. Suddenly, something which reveals itself to be a Cryogonal straps around her neck and drags her towards Gray, who is disappointed that someone dared to spy on their conversation. White demands to know their names but is strangled by Cryogonal. Meanwhile, the battle continues back on stage. Gigalith's Power Gem strikes Bo directly. The audience roars with excitement but Bo remains firm. Black resorts to taking out his Pokédex to find a way to win the match. He finds out that Gigalith attacks by absorbing and releasing solar energy using its orange crystals.
Yet, when Cheren sees the device, he just claims that Black is relying on a device to win. Black is shocked at the remark, knowing full well that Cheren also has a Pokédex. Cheren does not recall having a Pokédex; he even claims he is against its existence because it traps Pokémon in Poké Balls. Black is horrified at the statement, having remembered that N used to say such things.
At the back of the audience stand, Gray, who is actually Zinzolin of the Seven Sages, takes off his disguise and claims that he has successfully planted Team Plasma's ideals into that boy. White and Looker immediately realise that Zinzolin is one of Team Plasma, and Looker springs into action by having his Croagunk fasten the Super Hard Tight Tape around Zinzolin, who retaliates by ordering an Ice Beam from Cryogonal. The beam blasts through one of the audience stands and catches everyone's attention. White manages to break free of Cryogonal's chokehold and immediately yells to Black, at the top of her voice, that Team Plasma were responsible and that they had also possessed Cheren. But before she could finish, she is teleported away by Hood Man and his Beheeyem.
Chaos and panic begin to break out among the audience. Drayden asks his assistant Kimi to report the situation, and Kimi quickly reports that no one was hurt; the culprit appears to be one of the contestants and has already been restrained. Drayden therefore tries his best to assure the audience that the situation is under control. Black reports to Drayden that Hood Man, who had teleported White away, is also a member of Team Plasma. Drayden promises Black that he will suspend the match until they are certain of White's safety. Cheren interrupts and voices his objection before climbing on his Unfezant and ordering it to take Black up to the rooftop. Unfezant grabs Black and smashes through the glass ceiling of the stadium, much to everyone else's shock.
After arriving on the rooftop and calling out his Gigalith, Cheren orders Black to call out Bo and resume their battle. Black, knowing from White that Cheren was brainwashed by Team Plasma, vows to snap Cheren out of it, but Cheren simply states that he is not brainwashed. He recalls the moments after he and Black defeated Team Plasma at the Cold Storage. While Black left in high spirits for a Gym challenge, Cheren became curious of Team Plasma having heard of them from Bianca and Professor Juniper, as well as several of their preaches which resulted in others releasing their Pokémon. So he returned to the Cold Storage and found Zinzolin waiting for him. Impressed by Cheren's curiosity, Zinzolin had offered to answer Cheren's questions by showing him Team Plasma's motive.
Black therefore claims that he was right; Cheren succumbed to Team Plasma's brainwashing and he shouldn't have. Cheren retorts that Black is only voicing his opinion that Team Plasma is bad. He knows that Black had a dream since young and he's always wanted to work towards it. But Cheren himself did not have a clear goal. It was only made clear to him once Zinzolin led him to see Zekrom being awakened by N. Cheren realized what power really means, and thus he realized what he really wanted in life. Pointing to Black, Cheren claims that Black does not have power, and his lack of power is especially evident by the departure of his Munna which he relied on for all this time.
Black sees no point in arguing further and accepts that Cheren is not brainwashed. He remembers how Cheren drilled discipline into him from a young age, most recently at the Striaton Gym, and owes his gratitude to Cheren as he wouldn't have made it this far otherwise. But, he does not agree with Cheren's principles of strength unless he proves it in front of him. Cheren promptly and furiously does so, ordering his Gigalith to use Power Gem again, but the attack fails to fire this time. Cheren looks up and realizes; an odd pink cloud in the sky stopped Gigalith from absorbing sunlight.
Aurea Juniper, Fennel and Amanita catch sight of the pink cloud from outside the window of their room, and the latter two exclaim that it is the Dream Mist they've been researching on. In the next moment, both Cheren and Black switch Pokémon. Cheren calls out his Unfezant for Gigalith while Black calls out Brav for Bo. Both command a Sky Attack, and the two birds collide with each other.
After a while, the MC climbs onto the rooftop with the help of Drayden's Druddigon. He sees that Unfezant has fainted while Brav is still standing. He also sees with surprise that both Trainers are asleep, and a mysterious pink mist is swirling around them. Meanwhile, Black is having a dream. He sees his five-year-old self with five-year-old Cheren underneath a tree. He asks Cheren if he remembers this, and Cheren replies that he does. In the scene, young Black is writing his dream in his proposal notebook. He shows it to young Cheren with a grin. Cheren then decides to write down his dream, and both boys burst into laughter once Cheren reveals what he wrote.
Black wakes up. He is sure that Cheren had the same dream, and wonders whether Cheren forgot what he wrote. Nevertheless, Black believes Cheren will forever be his friend no matter what happens to him. He takes out his proposal notebook and flips to the page where he wrote that he would win the Pokémon League. Underneath Black's writing, Cheren wrote that he would support Black all the way towards his dreams.
Just then, a Musharna lands on Black's head. Black welcomes Musha back to his team. Then, with fury burning inside him, he immediately addresses Team Plasma and blames them for exploiting his best friend and kidnapping his boss. Something glows, and Zinzolin gasps as he witnesses Reshiram emerge from the Light Stone.
|| Spoilers end here.
- In the VIZ Media mini-volumes of the Black & White chapter, this round was collected in Volume 18.
- In the magazine release of this round, when Musha reappears, it is shown with its eyes closed, producing Dream Mist. In the volume release, Musha is instead shown with its eyes open and not producing Dream Mist.
- In the VIZ mini-volume release, this chapter's title was Cold Hard Truth.