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Ash and co are now walking through the woods, headed towards Mauville City, which they plan to take a cut through and get to Petalburg City for the next badge. When they get there, they plan to visit Wattson again, and his assistant Watto, as they wonder how his Electrike that they helped him catch is doing. Hopefully it's making the Gym tougher, unlike how it was when Ash faced it. Suddenly, they reach the dead end of the woods, and find themselves at a huge deserted canyon field, which seems to stretch on for miles.

They have a sudden feeling they made a wrong turn somewhere and they're lost, so Brock checks the guidebook. All of the sudden, before they could do anything, May notices a fierce looking Skarmory flying towards them, along with a couple Magnemite who are holding a Torkoal hostage in midair, which a strong Electric force field, as it desperately tries to free itself withFlamethrower.

As it does that, Skarmory attacks Torkoal even more with a Swift. Ash, wondering why all these Pokemon are ganging up on poor Torkoal, tries to think of a way to solve the situation. However, before he can do anything, Torkoal faints, and they drop it. Ash quickly runs and tries to catch it, but the two Magnemites zap him before he gets even close. Luckily, Torkoal lands right in front of Ash, but the Magnemites are doing a pretty good job keeping them apart. Ash then has Pikachu Thunderbolt them, and to no avail. However, to his surprise, they do stop. Skarmory now looks very angry, and it yells something at them with a high voice. The two Magnemites also make a series of high-pitched noises, which sound very intimidating, like some kind of warning. Then, to everyone's surprise, they soar off.

As Ash gets up, he then hears Torkoal moaning, and remembers to help it. It seems to be struggling on its back, so Ash and co help it back on its feet, and Torkoal cries and thanks them with a Smog (kinda like Charizard and his Flamethrower). They shake it off, and then try to converse with Torkoal a bit. However, it pauses for a moment, looking like it's focusing on something… and then, it just runs off like mad!

Meanwhile, J&J are in search of the twerps, getting ready for another plan to catch Pikachu (:rolleyes:). Meowth then notices a silvery thing in the air in the distance, but Jessie decides to ignore it. But before they can do anything, it approaches, and it's that Skarmory, who uses its wing to rip the balloon to shreds and blast them off…

Ash and co keep walking, and May wonders what a Fire Type like Torkoal would be doing in such an area. Eventually they decide to forget the whole thing, and continue making their way to Mauville City. But then, out of nowhere, those two Magnemites come again, and start shooting electricity all over the place, making it hard for them to get through, like before! Ash tries the technique from before, having Pikachu use Thunderbolt. This time, however, they're too smart and just dodge it, and do the same at Pikachu. Ash and co hide behind the rocks to think of a plan, and Max jumps up and tells May to use her Torchic. She gives him an odd look, but the Brock explains that Torchic is a Fire Type, and Magnemite is a Steel Type, and those are weak to Fire. She decides to give it a shot, so she sends out Torchic and has it use Ember on them, which actually faints them, so they run off. They all cheer and thank Torchic, but Brock wonders for a second why Torchic managed to beat them, yet the two Magnemites as well as Skarmory, who is also a Steel Type are easily managing to beat up Torkoal, another Fire Type?

Suddenly, they hear a sound of chaos nearby coming from one of the gorges. As they take a closer look, they see several pillars of fire and electricity, and as they investigate nearer, they see Torkoal being attacked by THREE Magnemite from all around, desperately trying to free itself once again with multiple Flamethrowers, while Skarmory glows, gearing up for a Sky Attack, which knocks out Torkoal in seconds. A final three zaps from the Magnemites faint it. Ash then runs down to fight them off once again with Pikachu, and May is about to go down with Torchic—but suddenly, from her bag, out pops Skitty. May, frustrated, tries to tell Skitty that this isn't a good time to come out, but Max then gets a great idea and reminds her of that Assist attack it learned recently. Brock also suggests that, since being able to use Torchic's attacks with it, Skitty and Torchic can fight together! May decides to give it a shot, so Skitty gets its paw ready, and uses… String Shot, a la Beautifly. Oh well, not what she expected, but it is quite successful at trapping all three Magnemite, stopping their electricity, as they fall to the ground! They all congratulate Skitty, and May decides to finish them off with Torchic and Skitty, together. Torchic uses Ember, and the ropes on the Magnemite burn, as well as themselves, and they flee. However, there's still Skarmory. As Skarmory attacks with Swift, May quickly grabs Torchic and Skitty, and protects them from the attack. Ash then has Pikachu hit it with Thunderbolt, which seems to damage it a lot, as it starts to fall to the ground… but it regains control. May is about to have Skitty and Torchic attack it with Physical attacks—but then, our friend Torkoal from earlier comes, steps in front of them, and knocks Skarmory out with a Flamethrower! Skarmory then flies away, having lost. Everyone starts to congratulate Torkoal… but just then, it starts panting with deep smoky breaths, and then it collapses completely!

Immediately, they set up a blanket, and give Torkoal some rest, and nurse it back to health. In the meantime, Ash does some research in the 'Dex on Torkoal, and finds out that it's a Fire Type that likes to spend time in rocky landscapes, like mountains or caves. Brock then mentions that it's okay to wake Torkoal up now, and Ash does so and congratulates it once again on the battle. Again, Torkoal thanks him with the Smog. Max then gets the idea that it was a wild Torkoal, which somehow stumbled upon this place (after all it is a pretty deserted rocky valley, perfect for Torkoal), but for some reason, the Pokemon of this area rejected it. Now the question is why. So, they ponder for a little bit on why exactly the Magnemite wouldn't like Torkoal. Finally, Brock remembers that he saw somewhere on the map something about a “Steel Valley”. He has a suspicion that this must be it, since it's known to be a valley of Steel Types. So far, they met only Steel Types… Magnemite, Skarmory, and… wait, Torkoal isn't a Steel Type, it's pure Fire! Then, they come to the conclusion that this must be the reason the Pokemon of this area rejected Torkoal, not being a Steel Type. Ash, worried about what kind of torture this poor Torkoal went through here, gets very angry at this possibility. He offers Torkoal to show them! Torkoal gladly agrees, and does its Smoggy thanks. However, just then, it hears something, and once again runs off! Brock immediately realizes the reason with a simple deduction: It's been tortured by all the Magnemite and that Skarmory in this area, and whenever it hears them, it feels angry, and must defeat them for revenge…

Meanwhile, J&J are running away from a wild Magneton that keeps trying to zap them. Eventually, the attack connects, and they're sent blasting off, and land in another part. However, just as they get up, they find themselves face to face with a really fierce Pokemon—Steelix! It looks very angry, and ready to charge. With their speedy minds, J&J come up with the idea of trying to get Steelix on their side by showing care. Quickly, they grab their towels and start to rub it, and shine it, and give it a makeover make it shine like new metal. They start at the tail, and work harder and harder, faster and faster… and Steelix keeps looking better and glistening more with sparkles. Then, it starts to shine even brighter, and they realize they must be doing a good job… or are they. Then, Meowth notices that only the tail is glowing MUCH brighter than the rest of the body, and before they could figure out that this is an Iron Tail attack, it unleashes it, sending them blasting off once again!

Meanwhile, Ash and co are once again fighting the three Magnemites, with Torkoal's help. Torkoal uses a Flamethrower, Torchic uses Ember, and they flee! Ash has Pikachu chase after them, but suddenly it gets to the edge of a REALLY deep canyon, and manages to save itself just in time, as Brock pulls Ash. Just then, they see another thing in the sky, and at first they think it's another Steel Type they are about to encounter… but it's actually TR, who land RIGHT on the edge of the canyon, but then fall in. At first they think they're safe… but apparently they hit the ground too hard, that the part that May was standing on goes plummeting down! She and Torchic start to fall… but she manages to grab a small tree branch from the wall, and save Torchic, for now. While Ash tries to come up with a way to save them, suddenly a Magneton approaches her, and starts trying to zap her! While it keeps missing, Torchic tries an Ember, but Magneton dodges that as well. Eventually Magneton manages to hit May and Torchic, but Torkoal once again uses its Flamethrower to drive off Magneton.

Now to save May… after a bit of thinking up a plan, Ash gets an idea. Since Torkoal is pretty heavy, Ash ties a rope to it, and ties the other end to himself, and gets ready to go down! As he gets closer to May, that Magneton appears again! But before they worry, Ash yells up for Pikachu to distract it. Then, he slowly grabs May's hand, as Brock and Max grab and help pull them up. When they finally reach the top, Torkoal sends the Magneton off completely with Flamethrower. Ash thanks it, and it replies with a Flamethrower.

Meanwhile, as the fainted Magneton is sent flying off, it lands in another part of this valley, where that Steelix from earlier is hiding. As it lays motionless on the ground, Steelix looks a bit angry and unimpressed at the defeat… that it yells something, and then disappears, Digging underground…

Ash and co seem to have reached the end of the Steel Valley, since they got to a river. Brock mentions that he remembers on the map some water between the Steel Valley and Mauville City, so now all they have to do is cross! But just then, Torkoal hears another roar, and they hear it too, since it's really closeby… Torkoal takes the deep smoky breath it usually takes when it's about to run off, but before it goes anywhere, the ground in front of them breaks! Out of there pops a huge tornado of green mist, which reveals Steelix, who seems angry and wants to fight. Torkoal starts to use Flamethrower like mad, but Steelix easily drives it off by spinning one of its stones and using Sandstorm. They then realize that this will be a tougher Steel Type opponent than the rest of them… but to their luck, Skarmory and the magnets approach! Steelix appears to be their leader, who Torkoal wanted revenge on the most. Ash has Torkoal use Flamethrower again, and think about that this time, since maybe it'll be stronger. But it doesn't work, as Steelix counters with a Dragonbreath, and their attacks collide and cause a big explosion, knocking them both back a little.

Steelix the knocks Torkoal back a bit more with an Iron Tail, but it shoots another Flamethrower right at it, which seems to do a little damage, but the rest gets absorbed. Skarmory and co then prepare to attack, but Steelix stops them, and tells them it wants to do this alone. Max realizes that the Flamethrowers aren't doing much, but Ash thinks for a second and insists on using them, since they're Fire and meant to be good against Steelix. Steelix then uses a series of Iron Tails, and Torkoal tries another Flamethrower, but to no avail. Steelix just uses its mouth to absorb it again, and starts to Dig underground, and disappear… Now, while they worry about where it's gonna pop out, Max really suggests Ash to use a different technique, since the Flamethrowers aren't working. Ash thinks for a second, and remembers the battle with Flannery… and finally he remembers it using a really powerful attack, Overheat!

While Steelix is still underground, Ash tells Torkoal to prepare to use Overheat, as it starts to glow red. Minutes later, Steelix pops out in front of Torkoal, as Torkoal madly blasts it with Overheat! Steelix receives a lot of damage from this, but it doesn't seem to have fainted. Everyone waits in fear as it prepares for an Iron Tail… but before it can do it, it collapses on the ground hard, and faints. Skarmory and the magnets are now angry, and start to cry at their leader's loss. They prepare to attack again, but Steelix slowly gets up…

Ash and Torkoal wait patiently for Steelix to make a move, as it stares at them intensely. Then, Steelix opens its mouth, says a few words in Steelixese, and then—it and the rest of them slowly wander off. Ash realizes they must have been declaring their loss and surrendering, and congratulates Torkoal once more. Once again, Torkoal thanks them with an excited cry and Smog.

Later, walking through the woods, they reach Mauville City, and then they remember that Torkoal is still following them! Ash then gets a bright idea and asks Torkoal if he wants to join his team… and Torkoal once again cries in excitement and Tackles Ash. Ash laughs, hugs it, and welcomes it to the team, as they head to Mauville City!

Thanks To Spinazak For Writing this for us

334: All Torkoal, No Play

334: Breaking Through Steel Valley! Torkoal VS. Steelix!

Route 111



Pikachu Torkoal
Torchic Skitty
Magnemite Magneton Steelix Skarmory

Captures a Torkoal
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