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In a cave somewhere amid the woods of Route 101, Ruby is shocked to see the leafy creature reveal itself as a tarzan-like girl. Aggravated by the unfriendly gesture of the boy's Poochyena, the girl orders her Torchic to ember the face of the hyena Pokémon, and messes up its well-groomed fur.

Ruby screams in horror and quickly withdraws Nana, while a concerned Prof. Birch listens intently on the Pokégear. The professor remarks that Ruby's own Pokémon are far too weak for defense and tells him to look inside his bag for assitance instead. Ruby unzips the bag and finds two Pokéballs, one containing Treecko and the other Mudkip.

The boy hesitates upon seeing the apparent non-appealing appearance of both Pokémon, and finally decides to pick the water Pokémon after the professor reminds him to choose one that has an advantage over his opponent. As he releases Mudkip from its ball, Ruby frowns for a moment at the absurb look of the blue little creature, and wonders what category of Pokémon contests the thing could possibly prevail in.

Meanwhile, the girl's Torchic continues its fire assaults, but Ruby keeps lifting Mudkip out of the way. Birch madly yells at him to attack instead of dodge, but Ruby argues that Mudkip will get charred and dirtied if exposed to the flame. Mudkip starts to get impatient itself and leaps out of the boy's hands to launch a water gun, but is instantly knocked back by Torchic's flamethrower. The girl grabs Ruby by his collar and starts screaming at him for his rude attitude towards someone who just saved his life. Her booming voice is picked up by the Pokégear, and Prof. Birch immediately recognizes it as that of Sapphire's, his very own daughter.

Ruby gaps his mouth wide in shock as if being struck by lightning when he learns that the barbarian girl in front of him is the professor's daughter. Birch starts to explain that the girl is helping him conduct field works in the woods, but the call gets cut off all of a sudden. Ruby tries to explain his identity to Sapphire but the girl hushes him and warns that something is lurking up on them. The two turn around to find a giant Seviper glaring hungrily at them. Ruby gets surprised when he sees Sapphire pulling out a Pokédex to check on the wild Pokémon, and starts flooding her with questions about the device and her work. Sapphire scowls impatiently while trying to dodge the Seviper's attack, and explains that the Pokédex helps her gain information on wild Pokémon and the cave they're in is her secret base to observe them.

With Torchic on her shoulder, Sapphire throws herself around the sword-like tail of the giant serpent and tells Ruby to attack instead of inquiring incessantly. The boy once again refuses to fight, and after sending out Coco, Nana and Ruru, says his Pokémon are for contests but not battling. This further annoys Sapphire and she quickly dismisses his stupid dreams. She then orders Torchic to leap up and ember Seviper on its face, and faints it in one hit.

With their attacker taken care of, Sapphire coldly remarks that she dislikes Pokémon lacking the ability to fight, and that Pokémon should be allowed to keep their natural looks instead of getting groomed constantly by artificial enhancers. Ruby gets ticked off and calls her a dirty barbarian with no sense of personal hygiene. Sapphire retaliates by calling him a sissy who wears chemically-synthesized clothes, and the two start glaring at each other with hostility.

Despite their strong ego, Ruby and Sapphire both realize they have very different takes on life and the two eventually strike a deal to turn their bickering into an official rivalry. Sapphire would acquire all eight badges from the Hoenn gymleaders while Ruby would conquer all ranks of Pokémon contests and win the entire set of ribbons. They would then meet up in the exact same cave 80 days later and prove each other wrong with their success.

Sapphire lets out a weak grin after the pact is made, and all of a sudden collapses to the ground. Ruby gets shocked and immediately sees the deep claw marks on her back. He realizes that the girl must have gotten hurt when she rescued him from the Mightyenas earlier and fumbles for a first aid box in his bagpack. After tending to his rival's wounds, Ruby covers her with the leafy cape she wore and Torchic watches on with a worried look.

Just then, the Seviper begins to stir and get up again, but Ruby calmly holds up a Pokéball and remarks that there is a difference between having the ability to fight and actually demonstrating the ability. In a flash of light, the Seviper gets knocked out and crashes hard onto the ground once more. Mudkip is stunned by what just happened, and stares at the fallen Seviper in awe while the boy joyfully trots away and calls it along. It turns out that Ruby might not be as inept in Pokémon battling as he appears afterall...

Countdown to our heroes' rival showdown: 80 days!

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us




183: VS. Torchic!


Volume 15


Ruby gets a Mudkip
Ruby & Sapphire start an official rivalry to finish in 80 days!