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Sapphire gasps with shock when she sees the scar on Ruby's forehead, and realizes with a start that he is the boy who saved her from the Salamence in her childhood, the same boy whom she has loved all these years.

Just then, a silhouette appears behind Ruby, and inquires if all is set. Ruby replies that he is more than ready, and the silhouette reveals itself to be Team Magma's Courtney, riding on her Swellow. Clutching tight to both the Red and Blue Orbs, Ruby commands Tororo to head forward with Courtney flying next to them, and dive straight towards where Groudon and Kyogre are.

Trapped inside the air-car, Sapphire bangs hard on the window shield while Plusle and Minun let out desperate squeals. Tears start to well up in Sapphire's eyes as she watches Ruby battle the ancient titans without her, and wonders what she should do now.

Ruby sends out Zuzu to target a powerful hydropump onto the back of Groudon's head, while he commands Tororo to fire a series of solarbeam from its giant wings onto Kyogre. However, the attacks hardly cause any injuries to the titans, and they remain fully engaged in their own clash.

On the north-eastern border of Sootopolis, Wallace stands on top of Registeel, and couldn't understand what Ruby is doing. Everything has been going according to their plan so far, and he thought they were taking a closer step to victory when Ruby and Sapphire returned from their training with his teacher Juan. Yet Ruby suddenly locked Sapphire up in the air-car without warning, and started fighting alongside Team Magma's female admin instead.

All along, Wallace has deemed Ruby and Sapphire the hopes of Hoenn, and thus requested his teacher Juan to give them the extra training required to power them up. Now that Ruby has done something so unexpected, Wallace starts to get a bit anxious and wonders what the boy is thinking in his head. Seeing the frustrated look on Wallace's face, Steven says they can't afford to be distracted under such perilous situations, and urges him to first move Sapphire and the air-car away from the danger zone.

Meanwhile, the Hoenn Elite 4 are still working to hold back the destructive energies of Kyogre and Groudon from expanding outside of Sootopolis. Sidney is impressed that the three golems still show no signs of exhaustion after such a prolonged period of struggle, and Drake remarks that they surely live up to their names as being legendary Pokémon. However, both he and Glacia soon notice that they have another situation at hand, and Phoebe realizes that the landscape of Sootopolis is starting to alter.

Drake explains that with the combined powers of Regirock, Regice and Registeel from three different directions, they have managed to contain the energy created by the titans from reaching beyond the borders of Sootopolis. Unfortunately, the ongoing fight between Kyogre and Groudon are continuously adding power to the energy pool, and the trapped energy has nowhere else to go but up.

With that, the ground surrounding Sootopolis begins to crack and crumble, and the entire volcano which the city is built on slowly breaks off from the earthcrust. Rubbles tumble upwards as if a powerful magnetic field to pulling them into the skies, and the whole of Sootopolis soon follows suit stand watching on their respective golems.

The rising boulders hurl themselves uncontrollably towards Tororo, and nearly knocks Ruby off from the Tropius. Wallace manages to steer the air-car away with his own Pokegear before it gets hit, and Ruby starts to doubt whether he has made a right decision as he watches the vehicle leave his sight.

He recalls the moment Sapphire confessed her feelings to him within the voids of time, and still couldn't believe that she is the same girl he has dreamt of every day since his childhood, the same gentle girl whom he loves so much.

Just then, Courtney snaps Ruby out of his trance, and remarks that he seems to be having second thoughts about their pact. She reminds him that they must have absolute focus while dealing with the ancient titans, and wants to know if he is changing his mind. Ruby decides that there is already no turning back at this point, and grins that he is simply still trying to digest the fact that the two of them will be fighting together. Turning his gaze back at Kyogre and Groudon, Ruby recalls how he reencountered Courtney on the Mirage Island the other day…

Night has fallen, and Ruby and Sapphire have just finished another day of training under Juan, Tate and Liza on the Mirage Island. Unable to sleep, Ruby sits alone on a giant tree root and fiddles with his Pokedex. The device doesn't seem to be fully functioning, but he soon discovers that it now holds data on Sapphire's Pokémon as well as the record of her journey.

He wonders how those ended up in his Pokedex, and soon realizes that their bagpacks must have collided during their fight against the ancient titans, and the two Pokdexes inside have somehow mixed records with each other, a special feature of the Pokedex. He reads that Sapphire has hill-climbed for 521 times, ventured out to the sea for 42 times, and even visited a hotsprings for once.

Looking up at the girl who is slumbering on one of the tree branches above, Ruby muses over the fact that while he himself did all his travelling in Gabby and his teacher Wallace's cars, Sapphire has wandered across the vast Hoenn on her own pair of feet.

Just then, Ruby hears someone calling out to him, and turns around to see a silhouette leaning against a tree with a firelighter in hand. It soon reveals itself to be Courtney, and Ruby quickly sends out Zuzu to defend himself. He demands to know what a Team Magma admin is doing there, and Courtney grins that she has decided to follow where Ruby goes, and it makes no difference to her even if it is the elusive Mirage Island. Ruby grunts that Tate and Liza have mentioned about sensing the presence of outsiders, and they all thought it was Plusle and Minun who showed up unexpectedly and fatefully. Now, he finally knows that it was Courtney whom they felt.

Ruby gets into a combative stance as he asks what Courtney wants, and the young woman casually presses her palm onto Zuzu's face, and says she is there for a proposition. She acknowledges the fact that Ruby will be teaming up with Sapphire to fight the ancient titans after they complete their training on the island, but she wants to know if Ruby would consider teaming up with her instead.

The remark clearly shocks Ruby, and the boy quickly calls it absurd, as she is part of Team Magma, the evil team which schemed behind Groudon's attacks, the evil team which he is fighting against. Courtney calmly states that she understands his reaction, but says their project to expand the land is just a personal crave of their team leader, and she herself doesn't really care either way. She herself simply wanted to see some chaos break out across the land, and that desire has already been fulfilled.

However, things have gone much farther than she expected, and obviously the people in Team Aqua share the same sentiment. If the current situation is allowed to go on, the entire Hoenn will be destroyed and every single thing will be wiped out. That is why she is on the same side as Ruby is, working to stay alive.

Ruby remains silent as he thinks over Courtney's words, and Courtney remarks that as a Team Magma admin, she knows quite well about Groudon. She then mentions about the special mind training Ruby and Sapphire are working on to gain full control of the Red and Blue Orbs, and wonders whether or not Ruby has thought of the consequence if Sapphire fails to live up to the challenge.

Almost immediately, an image flashes across Ruby's mind, and he sees Sapphire being possessed by the mystical jewel and losing herself like Archie and Maxie did. His eyes snap wide open in horror, and his hands begin to tremble. With little hesitation, he reaches out a hand to clasp Courtney's, and agrees to her proposition…

While Ruby recalls that night he made the pact with Courtney, Courtney also lets the same scene play in her head. She looks over at Ruby to commend him for being a decisive person, and grins that she is really envious. Ruby wonders what she is talking about, and Courtney hopes that he will remember their collaboration.

Taking the Blue Orb from Ruby, Courtney says they could hopefully succeed in one go, and the two of them get ready to unleash the powers of the mystical jewels on the ancient titans…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us

260: The Last Great Battle I!

Volume 22