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Sapphire immediately orders Chaka and Ronono forward the moment Sharpedo, Carvanha and Lombre make a surprise ambush from the fountain pool. The little Torchic jumps to headbutt the green shark while Aron slams into the piranha Pokémon, but Lombre cleverly evades the attacks and sommersaults over Sapphire. It delivers a vicious slash on Mr. Stone's chest to rip the jacket apart, then snags a tube-shaped metal container before running off. Its two companions see that the task has been accomplished, and disappear back into the drainage inlet of the fountain pool. Sapphire hurries to catch the fallen Mr. Stone, and starts giving chase after Lombre with the old man on her back. Gabby and Ty decide to follow and immediately head towards the forest where the ferocious water Pokémon disappeared into.

Starting to put the whole picture together, Gabby tells Ty that the entire incident has been schemed. Sapphire agrees without turning her head back, and states that the three attacking Pokémons are obviously dispatched by the culprits from the A-shaped symbols marked on their bodies. Gabby and Ty exclaim in surprise that the girl not only has a keen sense of smell, but also sharp eyesight that could spot features not immediately apparent to others. As the group ventures deeper and deeper into the maze-like jungle known as the Petalburg Woods, Gabby warns that little people have gone that far into the forest, and alerts everyone to be careful. Sapphire comes to a halt when she hears a low mumble. With her extra sensitive ears, she vaguely makes out a remark about them 'never being able to find a way out of the forest', and puts on a wide grin as she loudly declares that no one knows the wild better than she does.

She points towards a patch of trees behind her, and orders Chaka to use flamethrower. To Gabby and Ty's surprise, the bushes burn away to reveal an empty opening with the three culprits behind the whole fountain incident. The thinner guy from the trio, Sean, states that with the special ability secret power, Pokémons can create secret hideouts anywhere they want. He praises Sapphire for her impressive work in saving the trapped Castform, and Sapphire angrily yells at them for putting Pokémons' powers to evil use. The girl sees that her enemies have only retrieved Sharpedo and Carvanha into their Pokéballs, and starts to wonder where Lombre is. Just then, a lotad pad in the pond behind Gabby and Ty reveals itself to be Lombre, and lashes out its arms to pull the two into the water. Sapphire immediately has Chaka and Ronono attack, but Lombre pins Gabby and Ty with its feet and throws its arms out again to stop the two Pokémons. Shelly, the only female of the pirate trio, smirks that Torchic and Aron have suffered plenty of damage recoil from Sharpedo and Carvanha's tough skin characteristic, and that the two won't be able to stand a chance against the water and grass double-typed Pokémon.

The red-haired woman then pulls out a water stone, and evolves Lombre into Ludicolo to power up its strength. Sapphire watches helplessly as the giant Pokémon pushes Chaka and Ronono into the water, and starts drowning them alongside with Gabby and Ty. Matt, the bigger guy of the trio, contacts their leader, Archie, via the Pokégear, and reports their success in stealing the Devon-developed special engine starter for the submarine named Submarine Explorer 1 currently under construction in Slateport City. Archie compliments his team for their good work, and reminds them to take care of all individuals who have learnt of their plan.

Sapphire is still trying hard to think on a plan when Castform suddenly leaps out from Mr. Stone's pocket and changes to its solar form. Sunlight shining into the jungle starts to power up, and the yellow feathers on Chaka's head begins to glow. Sapphire realizes Castform has conjured a sunny day, and immediately orders a flamethrower from Chaka. The little Torchic releases a might blast of flame to faint Ludicolo, much to the surprise and displeasure of the pirate trio, who hurriedly retreives their Pokémon before disappearing into the pond.

A few moments later, an exhausted Sapphire places down an unconscious Mr. Stone, Gabby and Ty as the three begin to come awake. Gabby is shocked to learn that Sapphire carried them all the way to the forest exit in Rustboro City by herself, and says she owes her life to the girl. Sapphire embarrassedly explains that Castform's ability to synchronize its appearance with the weather helped power up Chaka's fire attacks, and that it should be praised for its good work as well. Mr. Stone starts to mumble something, and the girl slowly helps him up to a sitted position. She apologizes for not being able to retrieve the stolen Devon goods from the pirates, and Gabby offers to report to the police as soon as they get to the city.

Mr. Stone weakly pulls out a letter from his pocket and asks for a favour from Sapphire. The girl gladly accepts, and the old man tells her to deliver the letter to a guy named Steven, and inform him about the day's incident, on her way to battle the gym in Dewford Town. Hurting from the injury inflicted by the Lombre, the Devon Corporation president faints before he could continue. Sapphire takes a look at the letter, and promises the old man that she will have it safely delivered...

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us




189: VS. Ludicolo!


Volume 15


Sapphire meets Team Aqua
Sapphire gets to Rustboro