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At long last, the crew has finally reached Lilycove City. They originally meant to make a pit stop there just because it was on the way to the next Gym in Mossdeep City, but while they have a nice view of the sea, might as well walk. May's just figuratively had her revenge on Ash for what happened in the start of Hoenn, as now HE is feeling too tired to walk on, as is Pikachu. Oh well, at least they found a bench. Everyone's getting hungry, and May happened to pick up a pamphlet on all the great restaurants in Lilycove City. However, as she's about to open it, something else catches her attention… that's right, a poster on a nearby wall says this town is holding a local Pokemon Contest tomorrow! With a new plan on their minds, time to start training with May.
As they walk and find a place to train, suddenly Pikachu's expression changes, it seems to be really excited, and it runs off. As they chase it, they get to a berry stand which seems to sell almost all the berries there are (except for the super rare ones, of course), and realize that this must be what caught Pikachu's attention. Might as well check it out, some stuff may be useful. Just then, they notice a young girl with a Grumpig very frustrated, trying to haggle with the man at the Nomel Berry stand. Oddly, a second before they get a chance to check it out, a man approaches them, who seems to be selling free samples. As he offers Pikachu some slices of Nomel, he seems to really like them. Ash, full of hunger, grabs one… Brock tries to warn him not to, but it's too late. Ash has already consumed the berry, and nearly fainted of sourness! The man then explains that Nomel Berries are better for Pokemon, and could taste extremely sour to a human. However, the man is a genius on Berries, so he offers Ash some Mago Berries. As he tastes one, the sweet taste really grabs him good, and manages to wash down the sourness.
Suddenly, Ash notices the young girl with a Grumpig walking by, carrying her heavy grocery bag… and she's out of control and about to trip any second! Before anyone can save her, she trips—and all of the Oran, Tamato, Sitrus and whatnot goes flying… but then, Grumpig to the rescue! Just before everything hits the ground, Grumpig manages to lift the bag and all the Berries with a Psychic, put the Berries back in the bag and softly lay it on the ground.
Everyone in the shop had witnessed this great rescue, and clap. As she thanks everyone, she wishes Grumpig best of luck in the upcoming Contest! And that is the story of how May got to recognize her Lilycove Contest rival. While May introduces herself, the girl introduces herself as Kanata, the Pokemon Coordinator. Ash does his usual data checkup, while Brock realizes that by the way Grumpig looks, its been tamed really well.
Team Rocket have also been watching the whole tripping scene from behind the bushes. They were really impressed with Grumpig's power, that now they're gonna try to take it on! Yeah, they sure do stand a chance.
Later on, Kanata and Ash's group hang out at a nearby park bench with Grumpig, who May seems to get along with quite well. Kanata shows them the Berries she bought, and how she plans to make PokeBlocks out of them for Grumpig before the Contest. Brock is certainly impressed to see such a pro-Coordinator, with PokeBlocks and all. Max is wondering how many Ribbons she's got, but then May almost scolds him to remind him that she's there too. Good thing that on the subject of Ribbons, Kanata is interested in how many May has. As she takes out her two Ribbons, she's greatly impressed, as she only has one. Taking it out, May really seems to like it. Suddenly, as Kanata mentions that she's eager to win the Lilycove Ribbon, an argument breaks out. Not that its really a big deal, as Ash loves rivalry, and Max likes to see his sister standing up for herself. Meanwhile, Brock is looking at the guidebook for a place to eat, and as soon as Kanata notices, she swipes it from his hand. Before he can take it back, she says most of the places in that book are old, and she has a perfect idea for restaurant, and possibly it could help them. May's ready to go, but Max makes some smartass comment about her just interested in seeing her secret strategy and following her, but she slaps him.
As they follow Kanata, they find themselves at… what seems to be a big PokeBlock shop, based on the poster. Kanata says that this is actually her house, and her mother runs a PokeBlock shop there as well. As they go in, they find themselves face to face with shelves stacked with PokeBlocks. Kanata calls her mother down, introduces her new friends, asking to treat them to dinner. At the table, she serves them some fresh PokeBlock soup. At first, Ash is nervous after what happened with the Nomel Berry, but Kanata reminds him that some are good for people to eat, and PokeBlocks won't do any harm, except maybe a few. But her mother knows what she's talking about when it comes to PokeBlocks anyway. After everyone else tastes it and seems to enjoy it, he tries it too, and likes it. After the meal, Kanata has offered to teach May and the others how to make PokeBlocks. Everyone seems to be all excited and ready to give it a shot, except Ash, who just remembered something. Ever since battling Winona back at Fortree Gym, he had been meaning to find an opportunity to train with his Swellow and teach it the technique Aerial Ace. While May is making PokeBlocks and training, now would be a perfect opportunity for him to do that. Time for Ash to hit the fields!
In the other room, May watches as a couple trainers drop their berries in the blender, push a button, and wait for a few seconds. Kanata's Mom explains how PokeBlocks are made by blending Berries, and the type of PokeBlock is based on the type of Berry(s) blended. While Brock, being the breeder and all decides to stick around for this, Max decides to go check on Ash.
Meanwhile, Ash has Swellow fly up in the air… and soon after, has it dive down towards the stick hanging from the tree that Ash set as a target for his Aerial Ace. As it dives, it loses control and lands on the ground headfirst with a thud. Just then, Max comes by, worried about Swellow, and how Ash seems to have no luck. Swellow looks tired, so Ash and Max decide to call it a day and head back, just when an old man appears, chuckling at them. Ash asks who he is, and as he introduces himself as Jinbii the Elder Move Tutor, and he saw Ash try and teach Swellow Aerial Ace. Just then, Ash and Max get down on their knees (Swellow gets on its talons), as Ash begs to help teach his Swellow Aerial Ace, as he has been interested ever since the Fortree Gym. Jinbii gladly accepts, but it will take a lot of work and practice.
Jinbii takes Ash and Max to his training field, where he's gonna demonstrate it with his Pidgeotto, who happens to be his best candidate for Aerial Ace. The field seems to have a few targets, as well as a low beam. Ash and Max watch as Jinbii sends Pidgeotto up into the air, commanding an Aerial Ace attack. As it picks up speed, it moves toward the ground, as Jinbii explains that he noticed Swellow's main problem was that it failed to angle before it hit the ground. Ash watches as it straightens out with top speed, flying under the bar successfully without hitting the ground. Somehow, Swellow is going to have to learn to do the same. As Pidgeotto passes under the bar flying near the ground, it slowly starts to speed up and rise again, just like an airplane taking off on the runway. Soon after it's several feet up in the air, it reaches one of the targets, successfully breaking it. There's a straight-on Aerial Ace for ya, now Ash's Swellow has to master that.
After adjusting the bar to a perfect height for a beginner like Swellow, Ash lets out Swellow to try Aerial Ace. Seeing as the bar is pretty high, Swellow easily passes under and hits a target. Of course, that was way too high for a proper Aerial Ace, just a practice. However, slowly, they move the bar lower and lower each time, Swellow succeeding to Aerial Ace limbo under it every time. Eventually it reaches two feet, which is the proper Aerial Ace distance from the ground. As Swellow tries this one, it loses control and lands with a thud. Looks like Swellow needs a bit more practice.
As May chops up her Berries, she dumps them in a blender and pushes a button. Kanata's mother explains how each button may have a different effect, and the number field signifies the PokeBlock level. After it finishes, it stops at level 27, and out come some Liteblue PokeBlocks! Kanata then congratulates May, taking a taste… it tastes alright to her, but funny. May takes a taste, and makes a disgusted face. Kanata laughs and says those are only for Pokemon, and then takes out a book all on PokeBlocks which is how she remembers this stuff. May then is worried that possibly she should have let her see that before blending, but oh well.
Outside, May gives her four Pokemon a dose of her homemade PokeBlocks (Beautifly gets it as PokeBlock juice). Unfortunately for her, they all seem to not be fond of it, except Beautifly maybe a little. May sighs in disappointment, but Kanata says that this doesn't nescessarily mean she'll have no hope for the Contest. Heck, she sometimes feeds her Grumpig PokeBlocks it disliked, but they still helped. Their taste in PokeBlocks doesn't necessarily represent the goodness of the effect. Some Pokemon don't like Bitter PokeBlocks, but sometimes that's the only way to raise their intelligence. Kanata doesn't always feed her Grumpig PokeBlocks it likes, but they still make a great Coordination team. After all, her Grumpig is used to occasionally eating ones it dislikes. With that, they'll manage to win enough Ribbons to participate in the Grand Festival. May hesitantly wishes her luck, but rivals are rivals, and she intends to win this one. May then passes on the message to her Pokemon that although the PokeBlocks may not be their favorite, they should eat them, because it will help when one may enter the Contest tomorrow. Kanata wishes May luck, getting ready to go home.
Before Kanata takes a step, suddenly a huge claw from nowhere grabs Grumpig! Nope, Team Rocket have not gotten it through their heads yet. While Grumpig tries to squirm free, May has Combusken jump up and use Sky Uppercut on the balloon, knocking them down and freeing Grumpig. To save Grumpig from suffering an injury, Bulbasaur grabs it with Vine Whip, placing it safely on the ground. Finally, since for some reason they must blast Team Rocket off, Beautifly does so with Silver Wind. Kanata thanks them, and notes that she was most impressed with Combusken's Sky Uppercut. This gives May a bright idea. Because Skitty and Beautifly have already gotten a chance to be winners, and Bulbasaur… needs some more time after what happened at Ruibosu, she's going to use Combusken. After all, it was her first Pokemon; it's pretty strong now.
Team Rocket have landed in a dumpster, and as they try and scramble their way out, it tips over and they crawl out. As Jessie gets up, among the garbage she finds a little flyer for a Contest here in Lilycove! With a new thought on her mind, she requests to borrow James' Chimecho. With his surprised reaction, she says she's gotten used to Chimecho and likes its power, plus she was very impressed with the way James handled her Dustox back in the PokeRing, now it's time for her to return the favor. Aww, how could he resist that… James accepts, explains to Chimecho he's letting Jessie handle it tomorrow and basically to listen to her, to which it responds with the gimmick of wrapping around his face. Tomorrow, Chimecho faces its first Contest!
The day of the Contest has come, and while Vivian makes her announcements and introduces the three judges, Ash and co wait for May, but Ash is still eager to train with Swellow a bit more. After all, there is a screen outside, so he and Swellow can watch her from there while they train. Brock and Max don't seem to mind, so he gets up and heads outside. James prays that Jessie will handle Chimecho well. May is in the waiting room, shooting the breeze with Kanata as they patiently wait for their turn. Jessie, in the corner, introduces herself to Chimecho. Being who she is, she's rather harsh on it, as it cowers in fear.
In the showcase rounds, out of the characters we care about, May is the first up. Ash and Swellow pause their training and pay attention. As she lets Combusken out to the stage, Vivian introduces it, as she starts off with a Fire Spin. As Combusken lets out the Fire Spin, Vivian is about to comment about it, but it seems to spread through the whole stage, scaring even her! That can't be good… everyone in the waiting room and audience are worried about what will become of the Contest, even Team Rocket, and Ash who is watching from outside… maybe it was a good idea to go outside after all. What will become of the Contest, and everyone in the hall? TO BE CONTINUED…
Thanks To Zak For Writing this for us
366: Pokéblock, Stock & Berry
366: Arrival in Lilycove City! PokéBlocks and Aerial Ace!?
May learns how to Blend Berries
Ash teaches his Swellow Aerial Ace
May & Jessie enter the Lilycove Contest
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