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Sapphire gasps in disbelief at what she has just witnessed, and wonders since when has Ruby become this strong. She counts that there are a total of twelve Grumpigs, and rationalizes that it isn't a simple task to handle such a large quantity of pokemons that are in panic. She recalls learning from the Pokedex about the blackpearls on the body of Grumpigs being their centres of energy, and realizes Ruby's Mightyena must have targetted those spots during its assault. However, she knows that in order to accomplish such a feat, especially in times of urgency like that, takes a tremendous amount of experience and skills. While she has always deemed Ruby's evasiveness towards battles as a sign of being weak, she starts to wonder if she has underestimated the boy's strength all this time.

Ruby, on the other hand, realizes that he has mistakenly shown the secret side of him, and continues to play dumb by saying that Nana was probably just lucky in hitting the right spots. This fails to fool Sapphire, however, and the girl demands him to stop pretending. Without warning, she orders Ronono to attack, and Ruby and Nana jump out of the way skillfully by reflex, inadvertantly showing his real strength once again. Knowing that he has been outsmarted by Sapphire and could no longer conceal himself, Ruby remains silent.

Aggravated by Ruby's now busted lies, Sapphire marches over and starts yelling into his face. She demands to know the reason behind his pretense, but Ruby keeps his mouth shut and refuses to speak. Seeing that she wouldn't be able to press anything out of the boy, Sapphire understands that Ruby has the right to keep his secret to himself, and decides to take the matter to another direction. She asks if Ruby knows why the gymleaders are congregating in Fortree, and explains that they are meeting to come up with a plan to solve the catastrophic changes looming over Hoenn. She mentions about the gymleaders' possible need of seeking external assistance from other trainers, and says she has already agreed to help out. But Ruby puts on a cold tone, and states that he doesn't see what it has to do with him.

This immediately ticks off Sapphire, who knows that the boy clearly understands what she's implying. She yells at him for playing dumb again, and hollers that with his skills and fighting strength, he should lend his effort to the pending combat and fight alongside the gymleaders. However, to her shock, Ruby turns his head away, and says he has no interest at all. Retrieving Nana into its pokeball, Ruby remarks that the only goal of his journey is to conquer all the contests, and any other business does not concern him. Sapphire starts to get really upset and reasons with him. She points out that a volcano has gone dead and earthquakes are threatening the land. If the culprits behind the evil deeds are unstopped, they will sabotage the whole of Hoenn and rip everything away from the people. To safeguard Hoenn, she has already put aside her quest to conquer the gyms. She wonders how it is possible that Ruby could be so indifferent towards the fate of the place he lives in, and cares about nothing but his contests.

Putting on a sarcastic grin, Ruby reminds her that he has just moved to Hoenn, and it is absurb that he should care for a place he barely knows. He remarks that he is planning to return to Johto after winning all the contests, and says Hoenn isn't where his heart belongs. Sapphire is completely stunned by what she just heard, and stands speechless with a look of disbelief on her face. She starts to tremble with anguish and rage, and without warning rips all of her clothes off.

Ruby freaks out, and immediately covers his eyes, wondering what the girl is doing. Sapphire proceeds to snap off a branch from a nearby palm tree, and wraps the thick leaves around herself, making a tarzan-like outfit just like the one she used to wear before she met Ruby. She then pulls out the short note that came with the outfit the boy made her back in the cave near Littleroot Town, and asks if Ruby remembers what he wrote. She reads out the last few lines in which Ruby mentioned that the outfit would definitely suit her, and says it was because of that particular remark that she decided to wear the clothes and keep the note with her on the journey.

But she now finally sees who Ruby really is, and all those mean nothing to her anymore. She crushes the note in her hands, and hollers that she doesn't understand why Ruby would have trained hard to possess such skills if he wouldn't use them to help others. Ruby tries to say something, but Sapphire quickly cuts him off. She angrily throws the torn garments back at him, and screams that she never wants to see him again before turning around to leave. Knowing that nothing he says will help, Ruby tries to wipe the bitter look off his face, and silently walks away towards the opposite direction.

Meanwhile, in the Tree Tower, Winona enters the conference room to find Roxanne and Brawly wearing discontent looks on their faces. She asks if they have been injured by the earthquake earlier, but Brawly rudely tells her to cut out the crap, and Roxanne starts bashing at her for acting on matters they haven't had a consensus on yet. Winona says she doesn't understand what they are saying, and Roxanne slams her hand angrily on the table. She accuses Winona of recruiting Sapphire's help in their battle against the evil teams when the gymleaders have yet to come to a final decision about it, and points out that Flannery and Winona herself are the only ones supporting the idea so far. Winona tries to reason with her, but Roxanne refuses to listen and says they shall discuss it again after Tate and Liza arrive. Unable to pacify Roxanne and Brawly, Winona could only hope that the two young Mossdeep gymleaders will stand on her side, and wonders where they are right now.

High up on Mt. Pyre, Tate and Liza are making their way through the heavy mist while keeping the ghost pokemons lurking around at bay with their Solrock and Lunatone. Unable to spot anything out of place, Tate starts to wonder if it was just a false alarm, but Liza assures him that she has sensed something. Just then, Solrock picks up a strange vibration with its psychic powers and quickly floats up to locate its source. Liza points out that it must be responding to the evil energy she felt, and Tate agrees by saying that Solrock can read the emotions of others. He says its peculiar behaviour clearly indicates the presence of intruders on Mt. Pyre, and Liza grins that it is time they carry out their duty.

Tate voices his concern about not showing up at the gymleaders' meeting, and wonders if they should at least inform the others of their whereabouts, but Liza reminds him that their job on Mt. Pyre is a secret to other gymleaders, and says it is also the sole reason why the Pokemon Association accepted their special request of having 2 people bearing 1 single gymleader title. Suddenly, both Solrock and Lunatone spin around and start dashing into tunnel lit by fire torches along its walls. Tate and Liza quickly give chase, and soon arrive in the internal part of the mountain where the graveyards of the deceased pokemons lie.

Funeral boxes line up in staircased rows across the vast cemetary, and on each box sits a ball of fire that signifies the undying spirit of the pokemons. Tate and Liza slowly climb the ascending path in the middle, and start to feel the heat of the surrounding flames consuming them. A voice suddenly echoes in the room to say that Mt. Pyre probably got its name from the thousands of ceaseless burning firelights in the cemetary, and grins that it's certainly the ideal place for departed pokemons to rest eternally. Liza quickly orders Lunatone to fire a psybeam to part the flickering flames, and immediately sees two red-caped men standing on top of the stairs with two Slugmas.

One of the men smirks that they are after the Red and Blue Orbs that have the power to control the legendary Kyogre and Groudon, and Liza demands to know how they learnt of the two jewels' location. The other man snickers that it isn't difficult with the help of the scanner they found on the abandoned ship, and says they don't really want to harm cute young children like Tate and Liza if they have the choice. Without warning, the two Slugmas unleash a combined flamethrower, and Tate and Liza quicky clasp their hands together before hopping off the ground. They sommersault backwards to opposite ways when the blasts of fire are about to strike, and adeptly avoid the attack.

Landing next to Solrock and Lunatone, Tate and Liza grin that the two men are fools to judge them by their appearance. The two young gymleaders get into a combative stance, and declare themselves as the mysterious combination of Mossdeep, best known for their expertise in double battles…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

228: VS. Grumpig (Part Two)!

Volume 19