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At the shipyard of Slateport, Captain Stern and Dock wonder why the safety lock of Submarine Explorer 1 was suddenly deactivated, and the President of the Pokemon Fan Club remarks that Ruby must have deliberately done that inside the vessel to protect them from the red-caped man. In the submarine, Slugma unleashes a flamethrower and Zuzu quickly fends it off. Hank says he admires Ruby's courage to lure him away for a one on one confrontation, but grins that no one ever stands a chance against his Slugma's special abilities. The lava pokemon start radiating off a suffocating heat, and the whole room soon gets so warm that the electronic thermometer on the wall cracks into pieces.

Ruby notices that the things in front of him begins to sway back and forth, and Hank lets out a maniacal laugh. Hank asks if Ruby has ever heard of the story known as 'The Little Match Girl', and says one easily gets illusions from staring at a fire too long. He smirks that his Slugma is trained at manipulating temperature change in enclosed areas, and that he himself is an expert in creating fire illusions. Two monstrous creatures suddenly take form in front of Ruby, and the boy yells in shock as they lash out towards him.

Back at the shipyard, the President of the Pokemon Fan Club asks if it is possible to control the submarine with the computer there, but Dock says it is not feasible. Captain Stern wonders why the red-caped people are after Submarine Explorer 1, and the President suddenly gets an idea. He remarks that the enemy seems desperate to need the functions of the submarine requiring the special engine starter, and they could perhaps stop whatever evil plans they have by not developing the starter. Captain Stern says it's too late because the starter has in fact been completed. He explains that Mr. Stone of the Devon Corporation is supposed to deliver it to them personally, but the man got attacked by wild pokemons earlier and is currently lying unconscious in a hospital. Since no other staff at the developing company is supposed to know about the engine starter, the whereabouts of the item remains unknown until Mr. Stone awakes.

Meanwhile, Ruby is starting to get illusions of Norman through the flames of Slugma. He suddenly sees himself as a little child again, desperately chasing after his father and begging him to teach him the skills of pokemon battling, but Norman coldly turns his back on him and slowly moves away. Ruby bolts with a start as he snaps back into the present, and Hank laughs that Ruby is not the first person to drown in lucid memories under his fire illusions. Ruby, however, lets out a cold grunt, and says Hank has unfortunately stirred up painful memories in him that he never wanted to recall again. The boy puts on the frightening glare again, and orders an earthquake from Zuzu.

Hank hollers that Ruby is putting himself at risk as well by unleashing such attacks in a submarine, but Ruby ignores him and tells Zuzu to continue the assault. Ruby accidentally hits a button on a wall, and the door to the emergency exit cabin opens. He quickly jumps into the small room and withdraws Zuzu. He then asks Hank if he still wants to know how he realized the nature of Slugma, and grins that his experience in pokemon contests has made him skillful enough to tell a pokemon's nature by simply observing its expressions and movements. The emergency exit door closes and the small cabin slowly detaches itself from the submarine. Ruby gets lost in thought thinking about his father as he slowly ascends towards the sea surface.

Down at Submarine Explorer 1, Hank is slightly upset about Ruby's escape. He calls Maxie via his Pokegear to report his success in stealing the vessel, and remarks that once they locate the engine starter, they will be able to access the unknown and deepest region of Hoenn, the Seafloor Cavern...

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

202: VS. Slugma (Part 2)!

Volume 17

Ruby escapes from the Submarine