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It's Contest Day in Rubello Town, and aw, Team Rocket just got rejected and kicked out due to their utterly fake ribbon, and its enormous size. Guess they will have to think of another plan.
In the Contest hall, as usual, Ash and the others are in the audience with Tsukiko and the PMDM (Pikachu gets to use pom-poms as well!), while Vivian is making her usual speech, introducing the judges and all. While the contestants are out in the waiting room, Tsukiko and May discuss their strategies, and wish each other best of luck. Drew, however, listening to them, doesn't feel at all threatened.
Back outside, Team Rocket head away from the Contest, discussing a new plan. Fortunately for them, Jessie is still carrying the enormous Ribbon, which catches the attention of a young lady with an Azurill. Apparently she seems to think its real, and wants it more than anything since it would be perfect for her Azurill, and with an even bigger surprise offers them a high price for it!
Time for the showing-off rounds. May's up now, and this time she's using her Beautifly. She starts off with having it use Morning Sun, which makes a cool pattern on the stage and gets the crowd cheering. She seems to be impressing the crowd very well, but we don't get to see how it ends or her score. Aw, at least she passed, that's all that matters. Next up is Tsukiko, so May wishes her luck back in the waiting room as she enters the stage in PMDM cheers.
Hoshika looks a little nervous while her mother takes a few seconds deciding who she's gonna use this round. Thinking fast, she decides to use Flareon for this one. Flareon starts off with a cool combination of Fire Spin followed by a Tackle, as it leaps right through the spiral loop of fire (circus ring style)! As the crowd cheers, Flareon tries another combination technique of Swift + Ember, and as they start off, it eventually turns into a beautiful line of flaming red stars! The crowd cheers, and Hoshika is relieved that her mother made a good choice. This is the first time she's seen her, and she's glad to see that she is talented, after all.
Tsukiko passed, so she and May patiently wait in the waiting room for the next round as they watch the other contestants. As they discuss how excited they are for the next round, Drew doesn't see them as a threat at all, and is prepared to beat them both with one hand tied behind his back. Tsukiko may be a rival to him, but she is also a PMDM member thus she can't put him down, so she just stays out of the fight while May and him argue it out. Eventually it comes time for Drew to do his solo presentation, so their argument shall be held off for a bit.
Out in the stage, the PMDM girls seem to be especially excited for Drew, as cameras flash and all. However, Ash and his friends and Hoshika are a bit more concerned about him. Anyway, this round Drew will be using Roselia, and it seems to be especially trained well since by the time its out of its Pokeball, its already Petal Dancing away. This is such an unusual and amazing feat, even Ash and the others are impressed to an extent. May is starting to feel really threatened now…
Back outside, while the contest is displaying on the outdoor screen, Team Rocket are hidden inside a sealed tent working on their new plan, con-Ribbons. Meowth is straightening the cloth, James is sewing, while Jessie is critiquing on the crooked seams. Either way, their plan seems to be going somewhere…
Now its time for the battle rounds, where the four highest members may enter. The screen changes as Vivian announces the four people competing in the finals, and sure enough they are May, Tsukiko, Drew, and a boy named Sonota. May and Drew congratulate each other, while Drew sits in the corner smirking to himself. When the applause settles down, Vivian announces the randomizer turned on the screen to determine the semifinal pairings, and to their surprise, while it's Drew VS Sonota… its also May VS Tsukiko! Bet you probably expected that, but they sure didn't especially with Hoshika sitting with May's friends, and Tsukiko and May supporting each other.
After some thinking, May decides that she is gonna use Bulbasaur, and Tsukiko, Lairon. While they sit in the waiting room polishing and brushing them up for the finals, they both discuss and agree to make this a great battle. During the intermission, Max, Brock, Ash, and Hoshika all pay them a little visit in the waiting room and wish them luck as well. Ash, being obsessed with battles, tries giving Tsukiko advice, but May pulls him away saying that he may know a lot about regular battling, but that doesn't make him any good in Contest battling. Ash tries arguing with May that Bulbasaur isn't a good idea since its never been in a battle, but while they argue more and more, Bulbasaur starts looking more and more nervous. Drew is also sitting alone on a nearby bench, grooming his Masquerain up freely, without a bit of nervousness in him.
Team Rocket are still in the tent, working on those enormous "Ribbons" James starts to wonder if this is really a good idea, but Jessie gives him an odd look and reminds him of that girl, intimidating him to get back to work…
Since they always like saving the best for last, first of the semifinals is Drew VS Sonota. Heh, now the PMDM will have a choice of who to root for rather than one person. As Vivian starts the timer, Drew sends out Masquerain, Sonota uses Girafarig. No doubt the PMDM seem to appreciate Drew and his Masquerain more. Sonota starts by having Girafarig use Iron Tail (wouldn't that blind the extra face?), which Masquerain counters with a Bubble, hitting Girafarig right on. 15% down for Sonota and Girafarig! Next, Masquerain uses a combo of Ice Beam, freezing all the Bubbles into icy balls, then uses Hidden Power, which takes energy from the frozen-in-midair ice balls, and unleashes them at Girafarig! Girafarig has fainted, so Drew has automatically won this round. Now May and Tsukiko have another thing to worry about. Whoever wins, they'll still have to face Drew.
Out on stage, Vivian starts the timer as they send out Lairon and Bulbasaur. Suddenly, the applause starts, and Bulbasaur looks overly nervous, and never expected this! In stage fright, it starts desperately clinging to May's leg. It seems like it was not prepared to be on stage, and it really resents having a battle right now. Brock then realizes that maybe Ash's advice was right, after all. After a little support cheers and cries from the PMDM, and a bit more begging from May, Bulbasaur slowly gets up, and agrees to face Lairon on stage. Lairon starts off with a Take Down, so May has Bulbasaur try to dodge it. However, its two nervous to move, and Lairon hits it straight on. Pathetic. 15% down for May! Fortunately, Bulbasaur taking that him had an impact on it, and now it wants to fight. Finally, May has it use Vine Whip to grab Lairon, which it tries to avoid with Protect and fails. 10% down off Tsukiko! In this position, May now tries using the old-fashioned Ash strategy of throwing Lairon, but a Shock Wave from Lairon up its vines and towards Bulbasaur stops it in place, although Bulbasaur seems to be absorbing it as much as it can. Electric attacks may not be so great against Grass types, but it still managed to keep it from moving and throwing Lairon. However, as the long shock is over, Bulbasaur seems to have taken in too much, and is now Paralyzed. While Tsukiko is planning her next move, Bulbasaur is desperately trying to move, but suddenly a Metal Claw from Lairon hits it and KO's it, giving Tsukiko an automatic win. Disappointed, May pats her Bulbasaur and almost tries protesting for unfairness, but she keeps her cool. Although the rest of the audience look disappointed.
May needs some quality time alone with Bulbasaur, having learned her lesson to listen to people's advice. Out on the parkbench, May comforts Bulbasaur and apologizes for not warning it beforehand as to what was coming. A bit later, Ash comes and reminds her of the Tsukiko-Drew final, as he points to Masquerain and Lairon fighting it off on the screen. As they head in, she apologizes for being thick-headed and not taking his advice, and he tells her that he was once like that too. In fact, as she already knows, he's been in similar situations with his own Bulbasaur.
Back on stage, 30 seconds left in the match, Drew seems to be winning, still with 70% left, while Tsukiko has only 30%. A Metal Claw from Lairon is countered by Masquerain's hidden power, reducing her to 15%. Lairon starts to power up for a Shock Wave, but the clock runs out before it has time to unleash. The Rubello Contest goes to Drew and his Masquerain!
As the PMDM cheers, Tsukiko pats her Lairon and thanks it for doing a good job. Then, to their astonishment, Drew also says he was impressed with Tsukiko's battle skills. She thanks him, and they all blush. With the green Rubello Ribbon, Drew and Masquerain walk out of there, ready to kick some more Contest butt.
Team Rocket's con-Ribbon stand is finally open! However, they seem to be really unsuccessful. As they call out for customers, they're ignored as well. Suddenly, they're greeted by the same Azurill trainer from earlier. She's the bearer of the bad news this time, that the ribbon is way to big for Azurill to wear. Its face, let alone body, is barely visible! With that, she asks for a refund. Team Rocket sigh, and give it back to her.
Back at the dinner table at the Center, they discuss with Tsukiko how they didn't expect Drew to beat her. However, she seems to be taking it pretty cool, since she already has one Ribbon which she won on her first Contest, also with Flareon and Lairon. Guess she should remember her opponents and maybe use more Pokemon. With that, May and Tsukiko agree to a friendly rivalry in case they meet again in future Contests, or at the Grand Festival!
Thanks To Spinazak For Writing this for us
354: Cruisin' For A Losin'
354: Pokémon Contest! Rubello Tournament!
May Participates in the contest and loses to Tsukiko's Lairon