Going to try this again, hm? Things have... sort of quieted down. I mean, I still have a lot to do and all, but at least things should be a bit more manageable now.


Several trips to the Great Marsh finally net me a Tropius, so I fill all of his moveslots with HMs—including that accursed Defog—and then head over to Solaceon to give the tower another try. So I crawl up to the top floor again and finally make my way to the two old ladies. Defog clears the room, I speak to the first old lady, and I get... not Strength. D: Neither of the old bats has the HM, dammit; instead all I get are the Spell and Cleanse tags. I guess I could use the Spell Tag for Geist, but right now he has an Amulet Coin... rrrrgh, screw this useless rearranging of items and giving me a hard time about it. My time thus thoroughly wasted I trudge on back to Jubilife so that I can get to Canalave and hopefully Strength will just pop up along the way.

When I enter the gatehouse that connects Route 218 to Canalave a scientist stops me—presumably Dawn's father, but of course I have no way of knowing. He doesn't give me anything, he just talks to me about something and then leaves. Huh. Larry is waiting on the bridge that leads across the canal, as usual, and I kick his ass, as usual. At least his Infernape is finally learning that Leer is not the answer to everything (although that's probably because it doesn't know it anymore). After I heal up I head for Iron Island on Sailor Eldritch's boat and find Riley sitting right outside the entrance to the cave. And, thank god, he has Strength. I don't know why he just up and gives it to some stranger (unless I agreed to help him at that point, I don't know) but hell, at least I have it now. Riley goes inside the cave and I follow.

I don't think there's any difference between Iron Island in DP and here in Platinum, other than the fact that Riley's Lucario, like the Pokémon of the other tag-along trainers, is at a higher level than before (40, iirc). We make our way through the cave, stop the Galactic grunts that are "disturbing the Pokémon" or whatever and then I have to leave for a minute because I don't have any room in my party for Riley's Riolu egg. The only other thing I noticed is that, if you take the time to explore a little deeper into the cave, you can see the special room that will house Registeel if you come back with the Regigigas from the 11th Pokémon movie (Giratina and the Sky Warrior, isn't that what it's called now?). There's a Metal Coat inside but nothing else remarkable. But yeah, I return for the Riolu egg and then just dump it in the computer, since I don't really want a Lucario right now.

Now, everything that I'm typing up here actually happened over the course of quite a few weeks. I'm writing this December 31st-January 2nd, but back sometime earlier in the month I played for just a moment and, on a whim, decided to give the Wi-Fi Square a brief look. I didn't actually do much of anything other than play with the little touch screen toys (that sounds so wrong), but I did arrive there in time to get the special "random Mew room". If I'm understanding this correctly, when you enter the Wi-Fi Square from the basement of a Pokémon center it randomly chooses a room for you, and the room will feature decorations based on a different type of Pokémon—Fire, Water, Electric, you get the idea. For a few weeks ending on December 17th, however, there was a small chance that you could enter a room that was decorated with a Mew motif instead of Chimchar and Squirtle and Pikachu and whatnot. The difference is entirely cosmetic and doesn't change anything that's available to you any more than the other rooms do, and I haven't been back to see any of the normally available rooms yet, but the little Mew-tail streamers floating around were kind of cool. One of these days I'll get around to going back there, Mew room or not, and I'll actually attempt to play one of the minigames or something.

More recently, the official Darkrai Member Card download happened (and is still going on for a few weeks, if I'm not mistaken). I went ahead and downloaded the Member Card, but I'm not going after Darkrai just yet—I think I'll wait until my team's levels are just a bit higher, maybe when Sabre learns a Fighting-type move or two for a change.

Next stop is Byron's gym, which, again, is... totally not different at all, except for new Pokémon rosters and the fact that Byron has an annoying Magneton instead of an annoying Bronzor. Blah blah blah BADGE. I really wish I didn't have to keep saying "it's all the same, it's exactly the same", I know it's boring you guys, but really. There's pretty big chunks that they didn't change and it's hard to find an entertaining way to gloss over them, sorry. :/

Larry shows up outside the gym and tells me to meet him at the Canalave Library, so after I check in at the Pokémon Center I do that. When I reach the top floor, I am greeted by Larry, Dawn, Rowan and, interestingly enough, one of those large-screen televisions everyone seems to have in their house. I was not aware that libraries generally had televisions, and it sort of threw me off because I couldn't remember it being there before. Apparently not, because I definitely don't remember Larry getting up after the "earthquake", turning on the television and seeing a video report on the mushroom cloud rising above the trees around the lake. Hm. Sort of pointless but okay! When we leave a sailor (Eldritch?) runs up to us and tells us about something, and then I suppose I need to go off to... Lake Valor, right? Crap, it's been so long that I've forgotten. Valor, yeah, I'm pretty sure I need to go to Lake Valor.

Lake Valor is just as simple to deal with as it always was, with the Magikarp and the stairs (I don't know if I mentioned this already, but does it ever confuse anyone else that things like untraveled roads or lakebeds have convenient little mini staircases everywhere?) and the cavern with the Saturn and the yeah. I spend a few minutes being easily amused by riding my bike across the puddles of water and watching the reflection (I... I don't know... I'm sorry... at least Saturn waits patiently for me to stop spazzing), beat Saturn, play in the puddles some more and then leave.

By the way, I love how you can be aaaaaaaall the way on the left side of the map in Canalave and still feel an explosion that happens almost aaaaaall the way on the right side of the map in Lake Valor, and yet this explosion doesn't do crap to the Magikarp and whatever else in the lake, anything else in or around the lake... gotta love that pokemans logic, man, gotta love it.

I head over to Hearthome, teach Sabre Strength and then head to Mt. Coronet so that I can make my way towards Snowpoint, only to realize that I've made the same damn mistake I make every single time I play the game—I can never remember which point you're supposed to enter the mountain from to go where. At least while I'm there I do remember to grab the actual Member Card item from the Pokémart, which I'd forgotten to collect before. (hurry up and learn Close Combat damn you Sabre) I do eventually find my way to the correct entrance by Celestic, find another would-be Regi-cave inside with Nevermeltice in it, work my way up to Route 217 and then, to my surprise, run into Maylene as I draw closer to Snowpoint. She talks for a while and then moves on without asking me any questions or giving me anything, so I honestly don't know what all that was about.

When I approach the usual entrance to Lake Acuity I can see that it's been replaced with a big cliff face that you need Rock Climb to get up to. Larry is standing up there and shouts down to me; I guess he's trying to say that he has the situation under control (sure), or maybe he tells me about how I'll need Rock Climb before I can come help him. Of course, since I only just got Rock Climb on Route 217 (thank god they didn't move that, too) and don't have the seventh badge yet, there's nothing more I can do here; instead I move on and prepare to have a nice, leisurely gym battle with Candice and her mildly irritating puzzle. Because Jupiter and Uxie can totally wait for me.

A quick double-back to Route 217 so that I can check for missed items shows me that one of the houses out in the heavy blizzard is apparently sort of dark; the lady inside gives me something. I don't remember the house being like that before, although I could be wrong. I'm not sure exactly what she gave me; it appears to be something I already had at least one of at that point, so it probably isn't anything too important.

Maylene is at the counter of the Snowpoint Pokémon Center when I check back in there. She still does nothing more than talk, though. I wonder what's going on with her?

While Candice's gym still has the same puzzle it had in DP, I'm fairly certain that a few of the giant snowballs have been moved to slightly different locations. The only other change I can think of is that there appears to be a little snow flurry at the very beginning of each trainer battle; at least, I think it's a change. As I've said, it's been a while since I've done all these things in DP. :/

Candice herself is a little more difficult than before. Like several of the other leaders she seems to be a lot more fond of switching her Pokémon out to screw you up; her Froslass in particular can be quite annoying. Levi does finally manage to put the little demoness in her place, though (BADGE), and once I have the badge I teach Rock Climb to Ziska, check in on Maylene (she's still there and doesn't seem to say anything different), heal up and go after Larry, Uxie and Jupiter.

Said Jupiter bothers Larry and then leaves (what the hell is the point of adding Rock Climb if there's nothing up there but annoying Galactics and then later Uxie? Why make it any more difficult when you already have to trudge through all that snow?) At this point my memory completely and utterly fails me again and I try to head to the peak of Mt. Coronet via Hearthome (hey, at least I got the right entrance this time). Now, I probably need to stop telling you guys all of the stupid mistakes I make because normally they only serve to make me look like an idiot (rightfully so, I suppose, but still), but this time the stupid mistake actually showed me something interesting. I'm prevented from going too far into the mountain, presumably because I'm, you know, not supposed to at this time; I'm not sure what keeps you from going any further in DP but I know it's different here (based on something that will come in the next post, I got a little ahead of myself again). The way forward is blocked by a huge stone wall, very similar to the ones you find in that little cave in Celestic. It's decorated with pictures of Azelf, Uxie and Mesprit, all arranged in a triangle around some sort of red circle; I can only assume that the red thing is a stylized version of the Red Chain that can supposedly bind Dialga and Palkia. Very interesting, but, of course, there is no hole in the wall for me to keep going so I turn back around and go to Veilstone like I was supposed to.

There's a grunt standing outside of the Veilstone HQ that I don't remember from before; when I talk to him, he runs away. Maybe he's the one I chased after the Great Marsh was bombed, I don't know. Handsome—or Looker, whatever, I'll just stick with Handsome for the rest of this blog—comes up to me after that and asks me something, which I blindly answer yes to ("remind me again, Handsome, you want to meet in the handicapped stall of the gas station restroom when?"). If I speak to him again after this, he seems surprised. Maybe he wants to know why I'm still dawdling around outside. Maybe I want to know the same thing about you, genius. Anyway, the grunt ran away from the building instead of into it and I go after him, assuming he went to the warehouse where Dawn was confronted before. He isn't there, but Handsome comes in behind me and opens the card key door thing so that the ten year-old boy can sneak in and invade the enemy's home base. (And how the hell did he get the key, anyway? Seriously, if I hadn't already been told otherwise by spoilers and stuff that I've read, I would swear that this guy is another frigging Galactic Commander.) Handsome goes down the stairs that are now accessible, I grab the Dusk Stone on the floor and then follow him down.

Unlike the Eterna headquarters, the Veilstone building doesn't appear to have changed aside from slightly lower lighting in the basement passage. It isn't so dark as to hamper my vision and standing in the new little spotlights doesn't seem to do anything, so it's just a minor aesthetic thing, I guess. It isn't until I reach the second floor of the main building that I see something different—there's a book of some sort on one of the tables. I don't have any idea what it might be about. At first I thought it was an unnecessary replacement for the computer docs in Cyrus's office that talk about the Red Chain, but those are apparently still there so I don't know what this is. There's no mention of Wi-Fi or anything I can recognize in it (the way there was in the secret room with the Rotom appliances), but there are a few words—presumably names of some sort—highlighted in blue, so it's probably for a little more than just show.

Shortly after finding the book and right before the infamous Team Galactic Nap Room, I find a new room and see Handsome "hiding" (read: not very well, anyone who glanced casually to the right would see him) behind a wall and looking into the main part of the room. This room is one that you've probably seen in the trailer videos: a large number of grunts are all standing in it, looking up at a raised balcony sort of area. The balcony has a podium with a microphone and a large screen on the wall behind it; on the screen the Team Galactic emblem is flickering on a background of stars and other such smallish-looking celestial bodies. Handsome and I watch as Cyrus appears on the balcony via warp panel and gives the grunts a big speech, presumably telling them to get ready to move out to Mt. Coronet and promising to fulfill their wildest dreams when he remakes the world in his image or whatever. Cyrus leaves after finishing his speech and the grunts all exit stage left (which is good, because I thought that the way I'd come in might be the only way in and out and we'd get "caught" or something). Handsome follows them and, obviously, so do I.

As I said in the last paragraph, the next room of note that I come to is the Team Galactic Nap Room. Everyone remembers this room for the rather interesting sign that hangs above the two beds: "Team Galactic Nap Room—Ensure that the bed is unoccupied before getting into it!" The sign was probably intended to cast more light on the extreme incompetence of the Galactic grunts—who gets into a bed without making sure no one else is already in it? Of course, every teenager on the internet and beyond can think of a pretty good, non-stupid answer to that question, which is why everyone always gets a kick out of the place. Now, I'm fairly sure what I found in here isn't there in DP. Even if it is already there, though, the immature teenager in me wants me to bring this to everyone's attention anyway. My Pokémon are sort of beat up from a prior battle so I stand right next to the bed, press A and take a rest (saving the world can wait until the growing boy gets his damn eight hours, thanks). I'm not entirely sure why I did this, but afterwards I get into the bed on the right side, face downward and press A. I expect it to ask me to heal again, but instead it tells me I found an item. Okay... I don't know what it is at first, but apparently I put it in the battle items pocket. My first thought was that it was an X Attack, which got me to thinking about why that would be in a bed, why a human might perhaps be consuming it, what possible effects it might have (Saturn's personal Bulk Up in a bottle?)... When I actually went into my bag and checked, though, I saw that it was a Poké Doll. Again, this was probably intended to make Team Galactic look silly—what sort of grown man or woman crawls into bed with a fluffy pink doll? But of course, it is our duty as teenagers and young adults, especially now that I've brought it up, to read something else entirely into the presence of that sweet little Clefairy. (Personally, I think it's how they keep from feeling too lonely when they get into a bed that is unoccupied.) Long story short, I abduct some poor grunt's special best Clefairy friend—interpret that as you will—and move on.

The trip to Cyrus's office is uneventful. I do notice that Cyrus's floor has the same dim lighting as the basement, though, and now all of the walls are dark and sparkle with little stars. Dunno how the man can do any work in conditions like that, but hey. The battle is similarly uneventful, other than the fact that his Honchkrow is still hella annoying. Cyrus gives me the Master Ball after I beat him, he leaves, I check the computer on his desk to make sure it still has the Red Chain reports—apparently it does, so now I'm certain that that book several floors down is new—and then I get out of there so that I can rescue the three pixies. (There is a new warp panel behind Cyrus's desk, but it only goes to the balcony I saw him on earlier and there's nothing of interest there.)

When I reach the room where Azelf, Uxie and Mesprit are being held captive, I can see that Pluto (Charon in English—I actually like Charon better than Pluto, but I'm used to Pluto and so will continue to call him that for now) is standing beside Saturn and doing whatever it is they're doing. He doesn't battle or anything, which I suppose makes sense since he doesn't actually seem to be a trainer himself from what I've seen/heard, but I battle Saturn as usual and release the pixies. They fly away and Saturn vanishes; Pluto remains behind and appears to say exactly the same thing he said before. And I'm going to end this "triumphant return" right there for now.

Mah boyz (uh and Ziska, Forte and Geist):

Ziska (F) Geist (X) Sabre (M) Levi (M) Seth (M) Forte (F)
L43, Quirky, Overgrow L41, Modest, Levitate L41, Rash, Steadfast L41, Timid, Water Absorb L42, Lonely, Flash Fire L41, Sassy, Keen Eye
 -Razor Leaf  -Shock Wave  -Psycho Cut  -Surf  -Bite  -Chatter
 -Earthquake  -Ominous Wind  -Leaf Blade  -Aurora Beam  -Fire Fang  -Sing
 -Bite  -Confuse Ray  -Strength  -Bite  -Smog  -Roost
 -Rock Climb  -Double Team  -Swords Dance  -Quick Attack  -Odor Sleuth  -Fly

I really hope I can stay on top of this this time; if not, I will at least try my best to get the Torn World part up before the end of the month.