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Now that Ash has won his fourth battle, he is quite hungry. He and Misty and Brock are going back to their home in the Pokémon League Village for lunch. Once they get there, they see Mrs. Ketchum and Professor Oak standing there. Mrs. Ketchum tells the group that she wants to make them lunch, but Ash tells her that there isn't a stove in the apartment. That's ok, for she takes them all to a local restaurant, where she enters the kitchen (much to the chagrin of the chefs). Misty is worried that the food will turn out rather unappetizing, but they were unfounded, as it's all very good. They eagerly eat their fill.
After finishing, they enter the elevator to go down the lobby and exit. The doors are about to close when a young boy about Ash's age runs up, asking them to hold it. He boards, and they descend. The boy notices Pikachu standing near Ash and asks them whose he is. Ash tells him that he's his, and the boy reaches out to pet Pikachu. Ash warns him to be careful, but Pikachu is quite comfortable with it. Apparently, the boy knows the right way to pet a Pikachu.
Suddenly, the lights in the elevator shut off and the elevator stops. Everyone is worried, and Professor Oak says that it must be a power outage. Brock presses the emergency call button and tries to send a message, but to no avail. It's looking grim, until everyone notices the boy working on the wires behind a panel. He asks to borrow Pikachu to use his Thundershock. Ash holds him up, and the boy touches to wires to his cheeks. Pikachu uses his Thundershock, and the elevator starts up again. As they de-board in the lobby, they thank the boy, who introduces himself as Richie.
They walk out the door and a van drives by, telling everyone to come the Pokémon Pavilion to get their Pokéballs officially inspected. They also say that failure to do so will result in their disqualification in the match. Unbeknownst to the trainers, however, Jessie and James are the ones inside the van making the message. They laugh to themselves, as they think they've finally come up with a fail-proof plan.
Ash and Richie separate, but when Ash gets to the pavilion, he is surprised to find Richie there as well. Jessie and James exit the van and pull out a large sack. They ask all the trainers to put their Pokéballs in the bag. They approach Ash and Richie, and they put their balls in as well. Jessie bends down and picks up Pikachu, but gets shocked. She shoves him into the bag, and James accidentally calls her by name. Ash instantly recognizes them, as does Richie by what he's heard. Jessie and James throw off their disguises and do their motto. They then get into the van and start to drive off. Ash dashes off in hot pursuit, but cannot catch up. He stops as he notices it drive by down the hill and Richie catches up to him. Ash starts to run down the hill, but Richie dives onto him before he dashes of the edge of a cliff. Ash pushes Richie off of him, angry that he stopped him. Richie tells him that he would've killed himself if he had continued off of the cliff. Ash reluctantly follows his lead of climbing down the cliff face.
As Team Rocket drive along, they congratulate each other. Jessie says that they must have around hundred Pokémon. They all start in on a rendition of "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" when Ash and Richie jump out of the woods into the path of the van. James swerves, and they go barreling down the hill. Once they get down, they drive along the middle of a creek. Ash and Richie follow along the ground, but cannot catch up. After a few hours, they decide to stop for the night. As they lie in their sleeping bags, they talk about what they want to be, both trying to outdo each other in what type of Pokémon master they're going to be (World's Greatest Master, Planet's Greatest Master, Galaxy's Greatest Master, Universe's Greatest Master). After this, Richie points out a few constellations in the shape of Pokémon. They look at the stars for a while, then fall asleep. Meanwhile, Team Rocket has also stopped, and are partying the night away. They continue to congratulate each other as they eat.
Early the next morning, Ash and Richie set off along the creek once again. After a few minutes of walking, they notice tire tracks coming out of the water and into the forest. They find Team Rocket's campsite and, as Jessie and James are still asleep, tiptoe over to the van. They open the door and see the sack with the Pokéballs inside. No sooner has Ash freed Pikachu than Jessie and James poke their heads through the door and laugh at them. They slam the door shut, climb into the cab, and start the engine. As they drive along, Ash roots through the bag, trying in vain to find his Pokéballs. Richie finds his with ease, as he puts little star stickers on them. Ash tries a few balls, but neither are his. Pikachu sniffs at one and points to it, alerting Ash with a loud "Pika!" Ash opens it up, and out pops Bulbasaur. He tries to Tackle and use Razor Leaf on the wall of the cab, but to no avail. Richie sends out his Charmander, Zippo, who Slashes the wall to pieces.
Jessie jumps out of her seat and tells James to take care of them. "But I'm driving!" James whines, and Jessie sighs, sending out Arbok. Pikachu tries to Thunderbolt the large snake, but James swerves the van, making Pikachu fall over.
Richie suddenly gets an idea, and sends out his Pikachu, Sparky. Both Sparky and Pikachu use Agility, and run circles around Arbok, confusing him. Then, both let loose a Thunderbolt attack, which blows the van apart (except for the wheels) and blasts Team Rocket into the air. Richie and Ash have saved the Pokémon, but now must save themselves. What's left of the van is driving straight towards a curve in the cliff, and they boys need to figure out what to do. Richie sends out Happy, his Butterfree, and Ash (having found all his Pokémon by now) sends out Pidgeotto. Just as the van flies off the edge of the cliff, Ash and Richie jump off, clinging to their Pokémon. They head towards a clearing, but are descending too fast, so Richie tells Ash to have Pidgeotto use Whirlwind and aim it towards the ground. Both Pidgeotto and Happy do this, and both boys land safely.
A few seconds later, a fleet of jeeps, each driven by an Officer Jenny, drive up, with Ash's friends in the lead. Everyone is happy to see that the Pokémon are safe, and gladly take theirs back. Later, Ash chooses whom he is going to fight in the fifth round. He dips a rod into a pond, and soon catches a Magikarp with "A-3" printed on its side. The receptionist types it in, and the person Ash will be battling with shows up on the screen. Ash is horrified to see that his next opponent is his newest friend, Richie. What will become of this
0080: A Friend In Deed!
0080: New Rival
Richie Joins The Group and helps return Stolen Pokémon from Team Rocket