Mask of Ice is the main antagonist of the Gold, Silver and Crystal Arc in the Pokémon Adventures manga. His true identity is Pryce, the Gym Leader of Mahogany Town. He serves as the leader of Neo Team Rocket after Giovanni disbands it after the events of the Yellow Arc. He is responsible for the kidnapping of Silver and Green when they were children.
When he was young, Pryce was adventurous like his friends and had fun with them. However, after the death of his Lapras, Pryce became cold and very distant from his friends.
To others, Pryce will often act humble and kind to others. He often apologizes and thinks himself inferior and cowardly. But this was merely a guise to prevent people from suspecting him as being the cold and ruthless Mask of Ice. Evidence shows as the Pokémon Chairman refuses to believe Pryce to be the Masked Man.
The Masked Man was ruthless and unsympathetic. He believes that Pokémon are nothing but mere tools to help him accomplish his goals. This was shown when he tells Gold that Pokémon are weapons of war or when he used the Gyarados in the Lake of Rage as an army. The Masked Man is also manipulative, commenting that children are much easier to influence as followers.
However, during the final battle and a flashback of Silver, the Masked Man was given a more sympathetic and human side. This is shown when he showed great rage when Crystal showed surprised when Pryce committed so many misdeeds just to save his two Lapras. He said that he lied about saying Pokémon being weapons, but instead that Pokémon should be loved and nurtured for. In Silver's flashback, after Green and Silver escape, Pryce had just finished an ice sculpture of him and the children he kidnapped as a family. This shows that the Masked Man captured children partly for pure intentions.
Being a Gym Leader, Pryce is skilled at a certain type of Pokémon. However, he is also the most experienced Gym Leader in the series due to him being a Gym Leader ever since he was young.
His skills as a Gym Leader were well-respected as he was able to defeat Gold and Silver with ease. He was also able to hold out against three Gym Leaders and the Legendary Beasts and still gain the advantage.
But the most well-known factor of Pryce is his manipulation of Ice Sculptures. His Pokémon can freeze and melt the joints of the sculptures as if they were moving on their own. These sculptures can regenerate no matter how much heat is applied. They can only be melted by Entei (and presumably Ho-Oh's)'s flames. These ice sculptures give Pryce the nickname "Eternal Ice Walls".
Despite his old age, Pryce has technology that helps him during his criminal operations. One of his most known gadgets is his cane. Inside is a PokéGear and camera which allows Pryce to control his Ice Bodies via morse code while in the Gym or around people.
His wheelchair has a clock and a thermometer, which reduces the temperatures. Its wheels also prevent Pryce from sliding across the ice in his Gym.
In the Manga
Years before the series began, Mask of Ice's real identity, Pryce, the Gym Leader of Mahogany Town, was an expert on type Pokémon, giving him the nickname 'Pryce of the Eternal Ice Walls'.-
He used to be friends with Professor Oak, Agatha, Kurt and the Day Care Couple. However, one fateful night, Pryce's two favorite Lapras died in an avalanche just before their baby Lapras was born. Overwhelmed with guilt and distress, Pryce became cold and distant from his friends. His friends unsuccessfully tried to console and remove the guilt from his heart.
It was then Pryce found out of the existence of the Time Travelling Pokémon, Celebi. But in order to aid in the capture of Celebi, Pryce used an alter ego of the Mask of Ice and manage to succeed in capturing Ho-Oh. Using Ho-Oh, the Mask of Ice kidnapped Silver, Green, Carl, Sham, Will and Karen when they were children to utilize their potential although Will and Karen came to the Mask of Ice for the fun. In an attempt to capture Celebi in Illex Forest, the Mask of Ice was beaten to near death due to Celebi having the advantage in its Time Vortex.
The Mask of Ice barely escaped death but fell into a temporary coma. Taking advantage of his comatose state, Green and Silver managed to escape from the Mask of Ice's base in the Hoenn Region, but not without stealing the feathers of Ho-Oh and Lugia. This act triggers the wrath of the Mask of Ice who unsuccessfully tries to hunt his former subordinates down.
Between these events, the Legendary Beasts, Suicune, Raikou and Entei attacked the Mask of Ice and manage to free their master from the evil man's control. However, as a result, the three beasts were trapped in ice and inside the time vortex.
It was then that the Mask of Ice caught wind of a special Poké Ball Kurt planned to make that can control time with Lugia and Ho-Oh's feathers needed to make the capture net. But without Ho-Oh or Lugia around, the Mask of Ice was unable to retrieve the feathers.
Gold, Silver, and Crystal Arc
Nine years later, he appears in Illex Forest to try one more attempt at capturing Celebi. That's when he met his soon-to-be second arch enemy, Gold. The Masked Man offers Gold a position as his bodyguard. When Gold stubbornly turns down his offer, he attacks the Pokédex holder. Due to Gold's inexperience as a trainer, the Masked Man easily dominates Gold's Pokémon and ties him up in the former's Ariados' webs. During the battle, Celebi vanishes into the Time Vortex. Ridden of his opportunity, the Masked Man leaves after making fun of Gold's skills and not taking him along, ironically contradicting the Masked Man's previous offer to Gold.
But Gold managed to tear of a scrap of the Masked Man's ragged robe and sent the sample to Professor Elm. The Professor reveals that the robe is made out of the same material as a Gym Leader's badge. This brings one step forward to the identity of the Masked Man.
Later, he appears at the Lake of Rage when Gold and Silver went to investigate the rampage of Gyarados, revealing him to be behind the attack. Taking advantage of Gold's immature nature and Silver's bond with Green, he easily gains the upper hand despite his former subordinate succeeding in capturing the Red Gyarados. When the villain explains to Gold about Silver's past, this causes Silver to gain Gold's respect. The Masked Man then launches an attack on Gold and Silver, causing the two to sink at the bottom of the lake.
A few months later, Lt. Surge, former commander of the old Team Rocket, infiltrates a Rocket Hideout in Mahogany Town, trying to gather information on a new branch of Team Rocket who are not under Giovanni's command. He then encounters the Masked Man, who reveals himself to be the leader of Neo Team Rocket.
Much like Gold and Silver's battle against the villain, Lt. Surge was unable to compete with the more superior trainer, though he managed to escape out from the Hideout alive. Despite this, the Masked Man is confident that Lt. Surge would not report the Masked Man's actions to the authorities. Because he was a former Team Rocket Commander, Lt. Surge would surely be arrested instead.
In Mahogany Town, the Pokémon Association and Gym Leader Whitney arrive at Pryce's gym to capture the Legendary Pokémon Suicune, who has been challenging Johto's gym leaders, on footage. While at the Gym, Whitney takes an instant dislike for the old man while the Pokémon Association Pryce shows his ability to carve ice sculptures which he makes to sell to make a living.
Suddenly, Suicune attacks the Gym. Whitney manages to get along well with Pryce and both of them manage to defeat Suicune. However, it was revealed that the Suicune is actually an ice sculpture controlled by Pryce's La Glace to train for the arrival of the real Suicune. After the Pokémon Association leaves, Pryce comments that he lied to them that Suicune is coming for Pryce, because Suicune knew of Pryce's alter ego.
The Masked Man then plans to launch an attack on the Pokémon League along with his second-in commands, Carl and Sham.
Pryce was later invited by the Pokémon League to take part in a Gym Leader's Tournament where the Kanto and Johto Gym Leaders challenge each other in a Pokémon battle. Pryce is the captain of the Johto Gym Leaders and fights Kanto's captain, Erika.
Although Erika's Skiploom and Bellosom gain the upper hand during the first half of the battle, Pryce's Swinub knocks out Erika's Pokémon by hiding Swinub's Powder Snow inside Skiploom's Petals. Gold, who along with Silver escaped their deaths with help from Entei, and Crystal, began to suspect Pryce as the Masked Man due to both of their mastery of Ice-Type Pokémon. But they had doubts since Pryce was wheel-chaired bound and small, and nowhere near the size of the Masked Man.
Meanwhile, the Masked Man attacks Ho-Oh and attempts to capture it. Their battle was observed on camera by Gold and Crystal, much to their shock since all the Gym Leaders were present at the Pokémon League. Suddenly, Neo Team Rocket invades the Pokémon League, only to be held off by the Gym Leaders. But Pryce was nowhere to be seen.
After Gold and Crystal defeated Carl and Sham, they are confronted by the Masked Man, who reveals to them that he had succeeded in capturing both Ho-Oh and Lugia. During the fight, Gold and Crystal manage to turn the tables on the Masked Man. Frustrated, the villain begins to grow in size and his Mask changes to the shape of a demon's face.
During the chaos, the Masked Man grabs Kurt from the crowd and stole the manual needed to make the Poké Ball that can control time. He took feathers from Ho-Oh and Lugia and prepares to weave the capture net when he was interrupted by Lt. Surge, Blaine and Misty and the Legendary Beasts. Despite the Gym Leaders' best efforts, the Masked Man's Ho-Oh and Lugia dominates the Legendary beasts.
The Masked Man was held back by Misty as Suicune summons a Crystal wall which cleaves the Masked Man's body into half. As Lt. Surge prepares to unmask the dead villain, the upper portion of the Masked Man's body springs to life and escapes despite Blaine's Pokémon firing a hole in his stomach.
The Masked Man sends Lugia and Ho-Oh to assist Will and Karen to guard Illex Shrine from the Pokédex Holders while he weaves the capture net. However, he was interrupted by Gold. During the battle, the Masked Man reveals that he can freeze the vapors in the air to regenerate his ice body regardless of damage.
Despite this, Gold manages to get his arch enemy on the ropes by using Sunny Day to heat up the vapors in the air to prevent him from regenerating and defeating his Pokémon. Finally, Gold succeeds in breaking the Masked Man's mask off, revealing his identity, Pryce.
Pryce, however, manages to escape and weaves the capture net with Gold hot on his trail. As he arrives at Illex Forest, he finds out that Lugia and Ho-Oh are free from his control. Angered, Pryce knocks out Will by using his giant ice body to stomp on him.
When he arrives at the Illex Shrine, he was confronted by the rest of the Pokedex Holders who attack him. But Pryce's Swinub creates several ice soldiers who restrained them while Pryce reveals that Gold met the same fate as the Legendary Beasts years ago. Pryce uses the GS Ball to capture Celebi and escaped into the time vortex.
However, Gold was freed thanks to the feathers that Green stole from the Masked Man. While the Ice Soldiers were melted due to Entei's flames, the Johto Pokédex Holders use the feathers to immunize themselves and the Legendary Beasts from the Time Vortex's warping effects.
During the time travel, they found out the reason why Pryce wanted to capture Celebi all these years. Gold pushes his fellow Pokédex Holders out from the time vortex with the feathers while he pursues after Pryce. Gold manages to destroy the GS Ball, releasing Celebi from Pryce's grip.
Suddenly, La Glace opens out from its Poké Ball and travels through a time portal back to where before Pryce lost his two Lapras. Celebi then uses its powers to project a recording of the song that Pryce's old friends sang for him in an unsuccessful attempt to console him.
Touched by this and La Glace's reunion with its deceased parents, the cold ice surrounding Pryce's heart melts and turns to Gold who passes out due to the effects of the Time Vortex. Pryce comments that he is envious of Gold's youth and tells him to cherish the time he has left. Pryce lets go of his wheelchair and falls into the depths of the Time Vortex.
What happened to Pryce after this is unknown. It is presumed that he is still alive since he is immune to the effects of time in the outside world.
Even after Pryce is trapped in the Time Vortex, his actions have a great influence on the Pokédex Holders' lives.
During the FireRed and LeafGreen Arc, in a flashback of Silver's, it was revealed that Pryce knew that Silver was Giovanni's son, which is the reason why Pryce kidnapped Silver in the first place.
It is unknown who runs Mahogany Gym after Pryce's disappearance.
- Lapras (x3) － La Prus, La Pris, & La Glace
- Seel x 2
- Ho-Oh (Released)
- Lugia (Released)
- Celebi (Released)