hoooooly crap, you guys, I actually kept my promise and posted this before the end of the month :D!

see you again in July!


With the pixies safe and sound and the Veilstone HQ building thoroughly raided and secured, I heal my Pokémon and head to Mt. Coronet again (through the right entrance this time, even). The usual long sequence of surfing and rock moving and climbing ensues, and it's nothing special, really... it was evening as I was moving along, though, and I did notice that apparently bodies of water can be tinged with the orange of sunset even when they're inside of a cave. Silly Game Freak.

I mentioned a painting-covered wall in my last post (the part where I tried to hit Mt. Coronet waaay ahead of schedule); if I recall correctly, I mentioned that though I'd never made quite that stupid a mistake in DP and henceforth had never seen that area pre-attempt-to-stop-Cyrus, I knew that it wasn't there before. That's because when I came to the wall again I discovered that it had been knocked down, revealing the entrance that leads to the next part of the cave. And I definitely know there weren't any gargantuan chunks of wall lying around on the floor in DP. I'll have to make the stupid mistake again intentionally in English Platinum so I get a chance to see what it says before it's ruined, hm. Handsome comes up behind me when I approach what's left of the wall, and he gives me the Black Flute item (assuming that I didn't already have it before and just hadn't noticed, as happens so often when I can't read the names of the items I'm gathering). Whether it's the Black Flute or some other item I already had, however, I have no idea why the man feels compelled to give it to me now, of all times... I leave Captain Irrelevant behind and continue on to the summit.

Larry and I team up to battle Mars and Jupiter at the Spear Pillar, managing to defeat them after a bit of a struggle and Larry's Munchlax being no help whatsoever (given that it really should've evolved into a Snorlax by now, I think the thing is actually intended to annoy the crap out of you). Larry heals my Pokémon before leaving, and as soon as he's gone Cyrus starts the ceremony to summon and control Dialga and Palkia. A large, animated Red Chain circles around Cyrus for a moment, and then two portals appear in front of him, eventually revealing the two legendary dragons in all their glory. At this point the bottom screen of the DS changes and shows a flashy animation of the silhouettes of the three pixies, one at a time, appearing and shimmering for a moment before flying up to the top screen and circling around a distant view of the summit of Mt. Coronet. The screen returns to me, Cyrus, Mars and Jupiter on top of the mountain, and Cyrus turns to me and says something that has the numbers 3, 1 and 2 in it–something about the three Pokémon of the lake, the two legendary dragons and one something else (the chain? Giratina? The Spear Pillar?), I guess. All of a sudden the pixies' flight becomes a lot more erratic and the sky darkens even further. The big black portal you all saw in the screenshots and trailers forms on the floor now, and Giratina, cloaked in shadow and with its wings folded in front of it, rises up out of the darkness. Cyrus continues talking, possibly about how there are apparently three legendary dragons when he was expecting only two or whatever, and then Giratina spreads its wings, reforms them into what looks like clawed arms and then swoops down at Cyrus. The screen goes black.

When the screen returns to normal after a few seconds, Cyrus, Giratina and the other two dragons are nowhere to be seen, although two blue and purple dots can be seen floating some distance away. The shadow portal Giratina came through is different, and I can now actually see some of the Torn World (or "Distortion World" in English, although personally I think "Distorted" sounds less awkward than "Distortion") through it. Cynthia walks up to me and starts talking, and when she stops Uxie and Azelf, as spheres of light, fly down into the portal. Mesprit's pink ball of light circles around us a few times, Mesprit reveals its true form for just a moment and then it, too, enters the portal–it seems to be telling us to follow. Cynthia resumes talking, looks around for a moment, asks me a question that I accidentally answer yes to and then we both jump into the portal.

Now, I was mildly annoyed when I answered yes to that question–obviously Cynthia was asking whether or not I was ready to enter the Torn World, and of course I'd have to go there eventually if I want to finish the game, but I wasn't sure whether or not I'd have a chance to save, or if something might've come up that required me to leave and go get something, or whether I was even allowed to leave before I was finished, stuff like that. And I really wanted to save the game first, dammit.

Cynthia and I reappear in the Torn World, in front of what looks like a return portal, and we talk for a moment. Cynthia is interrupted when Giratina's cry is heard and Giratina itself, in its Origin Forme (ugh stupid e), flies overhead. Cynthia moves forward and I, thankfully, can save. Talking to the portal behind me also offers a dialogue that seems to allow me to return to the normal world. I don't bother trying it because I don't have a reason to as far as I know, but it's comforting to know that the option is available if I do need it.

The Torn World's music is pretty cool–again, I'm really no good at describing this sort of thing, so all I can suggest is that you go find a video of someone in the Torn World and listen for yourself. It does sound a bit out of place in a Pokémon game, but then again the Torn World is pretty weird for a Pokémon game so it's not that odd, I guess.

The world itself is comprised of a bunch of brown, earthy platforms all floating around in a dark vortex and dotted with large rocks and bizarre things that look like giant beanstalks or something (you can't climb them, though... awww). Long, thin rocks float in the air around you. The platform I started on is fairly normal, not sideways or upside down like some of the ones you probably saw in the trailers. There are a few more platforms floating nearby, and I can jump across to the nearest ones. Other, larger platforms have small circles of dirt on them, and when I step on a dirt patch it causes the platform to move up, down or in another direction (assuming the platform isn't a red herring and is actually supposed to go somewhere–there are a few that don't do anything, just to throw you off).

As I press on after Cynthia I come to a narrow area of a platform with another platform turned sideways and floating perpendicular to it. Mesprit appears over another patch of dirt and flies upward, so I approach the dirt patch. As I do, the camera angle changes; if I continue forward onto the patch, I jump from that platform onto the perpendicular one next to it and am now standing "sideways". Walking "sideways" and dealing with the isometric camera view takes a little getting used to, but it's a pretty cool effect and you don't have to do it altogether too often anyway. If I look a little ways ahead I can see Cynthia standing on another sideways platform, waiting for me.

When I catch up to her, Cynthia asks me some question or other involving the number 1 (man, I almost wish the Japanese didn't use Arabic numerals, I don't like only being able to understand 1/96th of the things people say... aside from that weird English-speaking guy in Veilstone, I mean). After that conversation there's a lengthy moving platform puzzle that has me riding the things back and forth in all directions; it's a little confusing, but only because I don't really know where I'm supposed to be going other than the vague direction "um where Giratina is I guess". At last I reach another down elevator and can move on. The next place has some areas nearby that are just out of reach; some of them have small floating platforms in between them. When I approach those platforms, however, they vanish and are unavailable until I move away; when I move to some areas that appear unreachable, however, a new platform appears out of nowhere and allows me to jump across. Cyrus approaches me on the next major platform and talks for a while–I thought he was about to attack me, but he didn't, so it's apparently too soon for that–and mentions something about DNA. I really don't know what that has to do with anything unless Deoxys is about to come screaming down from the heavens and destroy us all, but that's what he said. That and "2" something (christ, I'm getting sick of these numbers). After Cyrus moves ahead I come to a few more visible/invisible platforms, and finally I reach another elevator that goes down for quite some distance.

A boulder that I can move with Strength is visible when the elevator finally comes to a stop, and Uxie appears over it and then moves in the direction of a hole in the platform. It seems to be telling me to move the boulder into that hole, so after it goes away I do so. When I look at the areas below I can see Uxie down there again, presumably waiting by the boulder I just moved. Another boulder sits some distance away, and Mesprit appears and tells me to push that boulder down a hole as well. There's no way for me to get to the boulders now, short of flinging myself down the hole after them and snapping my little ten year-old neck on the hard earth below, so I move around and try to find another way to keep going and, while I'm at it, the boulder and Azelf that I'm assuming must be around somewhere. Unfortunately, the only elevator that is accessible right now goes up, not down, so it looks like it'll be a while.

The next area I come to is covered with a lot of those huge rocks and strange plants. It looks like some sort of maze, made slightly more difficult when I realize that approaching what looks like a clear passage causes impassable rocks or plants to spring up out of the ground, and I have to draw near all of the rocks and plants that are already standing in order to find the ones that sink into the ground and let me by. Giratina flies overhead as I work through the maze. I'm not sure if it flies by when you reach set locations or just after a certain amount of time has passed, but yeah, it tries to buzz me a couple of times.

The next elevator takes me up again (argh) and I see Cyrus, but he walks away before I get too close. Shortly after Giratina buzzes me again I end up "upside down" for the first time, and I need to navigate through a surfable pool to a waterfall. The pool itself is pretty small, but moving around upside down is understandably a little difficult. The waterfall I reach after this is the one in all of the Torn World screenshots that is moving up while you surf down it; luckily, I don't seem to need the actual Waterfall HM or the eighth badge to go anywhere, as I can just surf up to it and go. The waterfall is pretty long, and halfway down (up?) the camera angle changes and becomes right-side up again. Azelf and the last boulder are waiting for me after I get out of the water, so I push that boulder down the nearest hole and move on.

At long last I come to another down elevator and reach the floor that I saw Uxie on earlier; Cynthia is standing nearby, but she doesn't seem to know what to do. Each of the pixies is floating next to one of a series of three square holes, and the boulders I moved earlier are also near the holes. The hole the pixie is floating by is the correct hole; the other two holes are bottomless and the boulder will fall into the abyss if you push it into one of those, forcing you to backtrack and find the boulder where it originally was. Actually, it should be pretty obvious that that's what you need to do when you get your first look at the puzzle, and in retrospect I really don't know why this possibility didn't occur to me until after I'd already lost Mesprit and Uxie's boulders, but yes, I screwed up again. I suppose I didn't realize that maybe, just maybe, there might be some sort of pattern I should've looked for until I pushed a boulder into the hole Azelf was by and it didn't vanish into the depths. Ugh. So I had to spend a good deal of time taking the elevator back up and going aaaall the way back around to where Mesprit and Uxie's boulders had been at first, and then going aaaall the way back through the vanishing platforms and the rock-plant maze and the waterfall and the argh, but it was simple enough after I'd figured it out. Once all of the boulders are in the correct holes the pixies fly away, and then when I speak to Cynthia an elevator platform appears for us to move onto. I can see Cyrus below, so I'm assuming I'm about to battle him and I save the game.

Cynthia is confronting Cyrus when I move down, and then he challenges me. He sparkles when he scrolls onto the screen (A shiny Cyrus appeared! Shiny or faaaabulous, anyway!), sort of like the little flurries in Snowpoint's gym. Why the angry old man in the abyss of darkness sparkles I do not know, but okay, sure. My team's levels are a little lower than his, but I wasn't expecting the battle to be as annoying as it is. I mean, his Honchkrow, while still a real pain, is no longer as annoying as it was in previous battles–no, that honor goes to his freaking uberhax Weavile. I think all every single hit it landed on my Pokémon during my first attempt was a freaking critical, dammit. D< It also froze with its Ice Punch at least once. After a few tries, a little luck with Cyrus's Gyarados and Honchkrow KOing themselves in confusion and Cyrus's Weavile ripping just about everything I have a new one (dammit I hate when my starter faints), Sabre finally manages to crit it back with Leaf Blade and I have just enough time to revive Levi before his last Pokémon, his Crobat, knocks Sabre out as well. The following Cross Poison/Aurora Beam war that ensues is lengthy and irritating, and it would've been nice if Aurora Beam had caused an attack drop earlier than it did, but at long last Levi, confused and battered, gets Crobat into the red and then beats it with Quick Attack on the next turn.

...did I mention that that Vaporeon is my god and that I worship him now?

Under normal circumstances I would've restarted again and tried to do it *without* Ziska having to faint, but I really don't feel like pushing my luck with Captain Haxvile again and I keep going instead. At any rate, Cyrus talks for a little while and then leaves, and Cynthia heals my team for me (thank god) before leading me some distance away toward what looks like the "end" of the Torn World (as far as we'll be able to go, anyway). This is a tiny little dead end that looks out into the swirling abyss. When I draw closer, the screen zooms in on the dead end and behaves sort of like I'd just gone through a door. I can still back away at any time during all of this, by the way. If I step closer, Giratina cries out again and flies by, this time underneath me instead of above. More floating stepping stones appear next, and then when I reach the second stepping stone Giratina zooms upward from below. On the third stepping stone the abyss begins to swirl counterclockwise instead of clockwise, and Origin Forme Giratina finally descends to meet me, as a full color overworld instead of a gargantuan shadowy thingie, no less. The game displays a message, which I guess is supposed to be Giratina "talking to me" (or, as is more likely, "looking at me as if it wants me to _____", since they don't talk); I remember reading something about Giratina wanting you to stop it and get it under control, so that's probably what it is, even though it really hasn't done anything that screams "out of control" to me. It kidnaps the evil guy who's messing with its cousins and then flies around its home for a while... sounds plenty abnormal to me. *shrug* It doesn't attack automatically, so I save one last time and then talk to it, initiating the battle.

Giratina floats down from the top of the screen instead of coming in from the left, which is pretty cool. Not as cool as the music, though. Giratina's music is probably the coolest battle music I've ever heard in a Pokémon game, if not the coolest music of any sort I've ever heard in a Pokémon game (although Handsome's silly spy theme is pretty close). Catching the thing is more annoying than catching Dialga or Palkia, but that's only to be expected given that Giratina has a lower catch rate than Dialga and Palkia do (its 3 to their 30). As such, there isn't much to say about the battle other than that they seem to have changed how two-turn moves work–when Giratina fades away on the first turn of Shadow Force, it won't let you throw a Pokéball at it until it comes back after the second turn. Which is logical, I suppose, but I'm sure I remember being able to throw Pokéballs at it in Diamond, and I know for a fact that I caught a Flying Rayquaza in Emerald at least once. It's really quite vexing because it means there is literally nothing I can do except attack, fail and wait for it to hit me. :/ I'm also a little nervous about using Dusk Balls on it–I'm not sure if the Torn World, dark as it is, counts as a "cave", and while it was nighttime when I was making my first attempts to catch it I wasn't sure that it'd have the same effect. I mean, I don't know why it wouldn't work, but... ugh. And I'm still not sure, because I end up giving up for the night and trying again the next afternoon. I do finally manage to capture it in a Dusk Ball, so I don't know what that means–it'd probably be too hard to tell on a one-shot Pokémon with the lowest known catch rate in the game, so I guess we'll never really know for sure. But anyway, my new Giratina, nicknamed Dante, is packed off to the PC and I've averted this alleged "crisis" (I still say I didn't see anything dangerous or out of the ordinary) at last.

Capturing Giratina causes a white portal to appear where it was before. Cyrus walks up, shouts and then keeps talking, and Cynthia may or may not be a part of the conversation (I can't tell). Cyrus then walks away, back into the depths of the Torn World. I remember reading something about him choosing to remain there, at least for a while. Sounds like it'd get pretty lonely, but I guess it's a good place to get a lot of serious thinking done... Cynthia finishes up the conversation and then I regain control.

Deoxys still hasn't come screaming down from heaven to destroy everything at this point, so I figure I'd better leave before it shows up. I save and then talk to the portal. It asks me a question and apparently gives me the option of deciding to remain behind as well. Now, understand that I don't actually have a choice, as if I said no I'd just be stuck between the portal and an immovable Cynthia; it's not as though there's anything worth staying for, anyway, as there are no (more) wild Pokémon, no items I can remember, no nothing. I say yes and then step through the portal, back out to the normal world.

When I come out of the other side of the portal I am not at the Spear Pillar, where I started, but in Sendoff Spring right outside of the entrance to Turnback Cave, Giratina's original location in DP. Interestingly, the music is relatively normal music instead of the older, creepier Sendoff Spring music; I'm not sure why that is. Cynthia emerges behind me and looks around, apparently confused by the fact that we're not at the Spear Pillar. After she gets over it she congratulates me, and then she just sits there and does nothing. I guess that means I'm done here, and that also means that I'm going to wrap this post up now.

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

Ziska (F) Geist (X) Sabre (M) Levi (M) Seth (M) Forte (F)
L46, Quirky, Overgrow L44, Modest, Levitate L43, Rash, Steadfast L41, Timid, Water Absorb L42, Lonely, Flash Fire L42, Sassy, Keen Eye
-Razor Leaf -Shock Wave -Psycho Cut -Surf -Bite -Chatter
-Earthquake -Ominous Wind -Leaf Blade -Aurora Beam -Fire Fang -Sing
-Crunch -Confuse Ray -Strength -Bite -Smog -Roost
-Rock Climb -Double Team -Swords Dance -Quick Attack -Odor Sleuth -Fly

It won't be easy, especially now that I'm officially back in school, but I'd like to beat the Elite 4 (and, with any luck, post the requisite failblog entry/entries) before my birthday at the end of the month. We'll see if I can manage it.