Taking stock on our progress…
We have six of the eight badges. The east end of the north road — from Cianwood to Ecruteak — is behind us. Two towns left… and two badges.
We find ourselves back at the Lake of Rage, north of Mahogany, where we were thwarted last time.
Then again, we didn’t have Surf last time.
There’s some kind of catastrophe going on with the gyarados population in the lake, and now that we can venture out into the water, maybe we can solve it.
We catch this guy out on the water.
I’m getting kind of tired of turning away magikarp catches, and Galuf has proven pretty OP, so I wouldn’t mind a backup gyarados.
And right after that, we find this guy:
He looks mad.
This is a job for Galuf. Which is a phrase I can sense I’ll be using a lot.
The rampaging gyarados is tough. Despite being more than matched with it level-wise, we actually have to pull Galuf out before the fight is over.
It hasn’t used any water attacks, though, so I feel fairly confident sending out Sabin.
Who has no problem finishing the job. When we get back to shore, this creepy goth kid is waiting for us.
This lake is full of gyarados but nothing else…
Actually, aside from that big, red gyarados, all I saw were magi–
So the magikarp are being forced to evolve. I heard some rumors, so I came to investigate. I’m Lance.
That’s great, and I really dig the Interview with the Vampire cosplay, but what do–
Could you help me with my investigation? A mysterious radio broadcast is coming from the town.
With that, he rushes off toward the south.
What an uncomfortable human.
This must be part of the quest chain to get into the town’s gym, so we head over and scope out the town. When we step into the shop, Lance is already nuking the place with his Dragonite.
What took you so long? The signal is coming from over here.
See? A staircase.
We should split up to check this place. I’ll go first.
I seriously consider, for just a minute, bailing as soon as Lance disappears down the stairs. Leave him to his own devices in there. But I’m genre-savvy enough to know we have to suffer through his dumb quest and dumber wardrobe choices.
In we go.
An alarm sounds immediately.
Team Rocket. What a surprise.
He’s got a low-level zubat and grimer. Nothing we can’t handle.
A second grunt rushes in after the first is defeated, but he’s got the same unimpressive team.
After the second flawless victory, though, the Rocket goon is nice enough to warn us that there are security cameras in all the statues; any time we pass by one, it’ll summon more of his friends.
But that’s not all we’re up against. Plenty of Rockets and random scientists are scattered around the facility and itching for a fight.
Most are woefully unprepared for the clock-cleaning we’ve got in store for them.
Although there is one concern…
The geodudes and koffings around here all seem to know Selfdestruct, and they’re not afraid to use it.
Even the wild Pokemon Rocket is using as “traps.”
That koffing would have been our catch for the area. Instead, it suicides and very nearly takes Vivi with it.
Change of plans: we take this place super serious.
It’s something of a long trip, but eventually we come across some stairs further into the hideout.
We’re hurting, though — Vivi and Edge in the yellow from various attacks. Most everyone else is down at least a good chunk of their HP.
At the same time, we’ve been at this long enough that I’d rather not turn back to stop at the PokeCenter. It’s ragecandy and potions, then. For the first time in our journey, we dip into our healing reserves and get everyone up to 75% or more.
And then the plunge.
Dracula Boy is right there waiting…
…with a full heal for everyone. Wonderful. Glad we wasted all those heals.
Cid, let’s give it our best for Pokemon!
Lance takes off down the corridor. I guess we’re “splitting up” again.
It’s a short jog to the next stairwell, where Lance is waiting again.
It takes two passwords to get into the boss’s quarters.
Why do we keep splitting up if you’re just going to wait for me to catch–
The passwords are known only to a few Rockets. That Rocket there very graciously told me so.
So we need those two passwords, and I doubt Lance is going to be any help getting them. Fortunately, Team Rocket is a very obliging organization. All you have to do is beat them in a Pokemon battle, and Rocket members will basically tell you anything you want to know.
And there’s two.
The Rocket boss awaits…
Look who we run into on the way.
Didn’t I tell you that I was going to destroy Team Rocket?
I… don’t remember that happening, no. But I also don’t really listen to you when you talk.
Who was the guy in the cape who used the dragon Pokemon? He told me that I lost because I don’t love and trust my Pokemon enough.
That’s just a nice way of telling you that you should give up on this Pokemon gig. It’s not working out for you, doll.
Hmph! I don’t have time for the likes of you!
But he did have time to come all the way down here to spout lame dialogue at us? Could you make this rival any more of a joke?
Ah well. Let’s get this over with.
Face to face with the Team Rocket’s leader at last.
Who are you? This is the office of our leader, Giovanni.
Apparently Giovanni’s been in hiding since Rocket was defeated three years ago. But he’ll be back.
I won’t let anyone disturb this place!
Sabin trashes the boss’s zubat, raticate, and koffing in a battle that’s not even worth depicting here — and the executive departs with his tail between his legs.
His abandoned murkrow is kind enough to give us a third password:
“Hail Giovanni,” which’ll open the door to the room powering all this radio equipment.
The last couple Rockets in the place try to stop us, but Lance shows up to even the odds.
And then we set about turning off the signal.
That means killing the Electrodes that are powering it.
Lance meets us back at the door once the job is done.
Let me thank you on behalf of all Pokemon.
That’s Whirlpool. Teach it to a Pokemon to get across wild water.
Thanks, I guess.
The journey to becoming the Pokemon Master is long and difficult. Knowing that, will you keep going?
Probably. It’s better than working a 9 to 5.
I see. You’re right. Well, I look forward to seeing you again!
Five minutes later, we’re all back in tip-top shape and ready for the Mahogany gym. And sure enough, the guy who’d been blocking the door for no reason is gone.
Ice-type. That’s another new one.
Fanboy says we should use our “burning ambition,” but we haven’t had fire-type attacks since we lost Faris. And a second trip around the world again turns up zero fire stones to use on Red XIII. Where are they?
Wherever they are, it seems pretty clear I’m not going to find them in Johto. So for now we’ve got to make do with what we have.
And what we have turns out to be pretty effective. Really, the slidey ice floors are the most challenging part of this gym.
It takes a few attempts, but we finally manage to slide in right under Pryce’s nose.
Pokemon have many experiences in their lives, just like we do. I, too, have seen and suffered much in my life. Since I am your elder, let me show you what I mean.
Wow, that was actually a pretty solid speech. I’ve never had a gym leader threaten to teach me about suffering before. Maybe this one’ll finally be a challenge.
Nope. That was underwhelming. Whatever happened to the “challenge” part of this Nuzlocke Challenge?
The Glacierbadge is ours. We even get an evolution out of the whole thing.
Is it normal to be afraid of your own Pokemon?
Outside the gym, our phone starts ringing.
It’s Professor Elm. Something weird is going on with Johto’s radio-waves.
Sounds like — despite our best efforts — Rocket is still broadcasting somehow.
My first thought is of that conversation we had ages ago with the security guard at Goldenrod’s radio tower: “The director is acting strange.” I told you we’d be back. Did I call it or what?