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Our heroes are now walking through a thick and lush forest. They then come across a large cave entrance in which Max comments that they have arrived at Granite Cave. May wonders what they will find in there and Brock suggests that go inside and check it out to see if the elite trainer is there. Ash agrees and Max informs them that many Pokemon must live in this cave. May reminds him that in a cave this dark, he shouldn't get his hopes up. Ash then stops the conversation by telling them all to follow. They then enter the cave. Inside the cave, Team Rocket is digging a large hole. James stops digging to take a break and complains at how hot it is, but Jessie tells him to keep digging as the twerps and Pikachu should be by soon. As they bicker, Wobbuffet pops out. Jessie sighs and continues to dig, but doesn't forget to yell at Meowth when he makes a snobby comment. Ash and co continue through the cave calling out to see if anyone is inside. Ash notices a fork in the cave and becomes confused, but Brock notices a red arrow pointing to the left. Ash calls out down the path, and they decide to try what's down there. At the end of the path, a man and his Aron are digging. The man stops to take a break and asks Aron if it found anything yet. Aron shakes its head and the man offers it some Pokemon food. It happily accepts and rushes to eat it.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket sits behind some rocks overlooking their hole. Jessie smirks telling the others that the twerps are close, but James disagrees. They suddenly hear Ash call out and duck down. May rushes to the hole seeing the light above. Ash and co follow seconds later and they all tumble down it. Team Rocket rushes out and does a happy dance over their catch. Ash and co look up to see their capturers just as the ground gives way beneath all of them. The man and his Aron hear the commotion as Ash and co fall down a long set of paths and become separated. Max pops out of some dirt and calls for everyone. Pikachu and Meowth also pop out. Max realizes they have been separated and he tells Pikachu that they have to find the others. Meowth offers to help, but Max doesn't trust him.

Meowth does some smart talking and they decide to make a truce. Max and Pikachu begin to walk off, but Meowth says he should lead and he refuses to follow Pikachu. Max sighs and tells him that they can leave him there. Pikachu and Max then walk off, but Meowth yells for them to return and rushes after them. Meanwhile, May pos out of another path of dirt and complains on how dirty she is. Suddenly, Jessie falls down on top of her. They begin to argue when Jessie says she is going to try and get out. She stands up and tries to climb back up the hole, but it doesn't look to promising. In another part of the cave, Ash and James bicker back and forth while standing shoulder high in a pile of dirt. Brock soon interrupts them and says they should try to get out of here and they can fight later. They all begin to wriggle and squirm, but they can't break free. They take a breather then try again, but still no luck. Max, Pikachu, and Meowth all continue on down the trail. Max explains to Meowth how he and heard that a strong trainer from Devon Corp supposedly trains here. Pikachu suddenly smells something and Max wonders what it's doing. Meowth motions that he also smells fresh air and he and Pikachu rush off.

Max calls out and follows them. The man and his Aron follow the path hoping to find the source of the crash. Ash, Brock, and James also are on a path. James soon begins to pout, saying it's useless and they'll be stuck here for the rest of their lives. He dreads the thought and rushes ahead of them calling for Jessie and Meowth. Suddenly, a small ball falls from the ceiling. It opens up to reveal itself as an Aron. It steps into the light growling and Ash scans it with the dex. James walks up to it not very impressed. He begins to prod at it with his hand, which only angers it. The Aron calls out causing many Arons to fall from the ceiling. Ash and Brock freak out and James is insane with fear. The Aron group lunges and Ash and co rush off down the path screaming. The man makes it to the hole Team Rocket dug and looks down. He notices the nets Team Rocket had and informs Aron that someone must've fallen. He tells it that they have to help them and they both leap down.

Ash and co are still running for their lives. James notices 2 tunnels up ahead with another above them. He rushes towards them and begins to climb in the high one, but Ash and Brock push him down and climb up first. James turns around to see the pursuing Arons, and rushes up screaming. The Aron horde continues on down one of the other paths. Max, Pikachu, and Meowth make it to a lush waterfall with vines streaming down in the middle of the cave. They ponder at how it could grow here, and decide to climb the vines up. Meanwhile, Jessie and May are having no luck. Jessie is still trying to squirm up the hole, but May just sits there. She tells Jessie to hurry, but she begins to scream, saying May should help. May gets up telling her all she had to do was ask, and she begins to shove Jessie up the hole. Jessie emerges on another floor of the cave, but she becomes stuck in the hole. She freaks out and screams for May to push harder, but she just won't budge. Suddenly, a Loudred falls from the floor above and dances around Jessie's head. Jessie freaks out and the Pokemon smashes over her head and runs off. Jessie collapses and falls back down the hole. May asks what happened when they suddenly hear a voice from above.

The man and his Aron rush on hoping to find them. Meanwhile, Max, Pikachu, and Meowth are climbing the vines. Meowth stops to take a break and begins to start conversation with Max. Max becomes annoyed, saying that for a Pokemon that isn't supposed to talk, he sure does a lot. Meowth begins to explain about how he learned to talk, but Pikachu and Max press on. A pebble hits Meowth and he realizes they are leaving without him. He yells for them to hold up, and climbs as fast as he can. Ash and co press on when they suddenly come to the same red arrow as before. They all become excited and rush down the path, only to fall into the same hole as before and tumble back down. The man and his Aron come back to the hole and hear them fall. Max continues on when Pikachu smells something again, and they head towards it. Jessie and May are now exhausted as the walk down the path. May suddenly notices light at the end of the tunnel and they both speed towards it, only to find the light was coming from above the hole. They fall in screaming. Ash, Brock, and James run from the Aron horde again.

Jessie and May fall down on top of them and they all begin to run from the horde. Max and the Pokemon rush towards the screaming. They approach a dark part of the tunnel and the man and his Aron emerges. He asks them if they were the ones who fell down the hole, and Max explains that he is. He then adds in that his other friends did too and Meowth explains that he too has friends missing. The man introduces himself as Steven and explains that the wild Aron in this cave are not very friendly, so they should find the others quick. They rush down the tunnel and come to a hole. Max wonders how they will get across. Steven tells them to listen and they all look down to see Ash and co running below them. Max calls to them and they all look up. Steven tells them to meet him at the waterfall and the group continues to run.

Pikachu, Meowth, and Max then grab onto him and they leap across the hole. Ash and co make it to the waterfall and turn to see the Aron horde approaching. Steven appears above them and tells them to just stay put. The Aron horde gets very close and they all begin to brace themselves for the worst, but suddenly, the group is stopped dead in their tracks. Ash and co open their eyes to see them all leaving. Steven jumps down as Ash and co stare confusedly. Team Rocket now takes this chance to steal Pikachu. They say their motto and demand it. Ash warns Steven that Team Rocket is no good, and he should watch out. Jessie releases Seviper and James calls out Cacnea, which gives him a nice hug. Steven tells them to stop, confusing Team Rocket. He tells them that he can't allow them to steal Pokemon, and releases an Aggron! Ash scans it with the Pokedex and it hyper beams Team Rocket sky high. Steven then recalls it. Ash is in awe at the immense power of the Aggron.

Suddenly, Aron motions to Steven that he found something. Steven rushes up to find a fire stone! Ash and co are impressed and Steven explains that he's been digging for days looking for one. After a bit of discussion, Steven agrees to lead them out of the cave. Outside, Steven boards a small boat with Aron and tells Ahs and co that he must go. They thank him for his help as he gives Ash some encouraging advice. He then sets off as Ash and co wave goodbye. Now Ash is more determined then ever to train hard so he may one day match up to Steven and Aggron. They watch Steven go as the sun sets over the ocean.

Thanks To GoldenNoctowl For Writing this for us





298: A Hole Lotta Trouble!

298: Steven, Aron & Aggron!


Granite Cave



Yes


Ash
Brock
May
Max
Jessie
James
Steven Stone

Ash:
Pikachu
Jessie:
Wobbuffet Seviper
James:
Cacnea
Rocket:
Meowth
Steven Stone:
Aron Aggron
Special/Other Trainers:
Meowth
Wild:
Loudred Aron

We See Steven for the first time