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As Ash & Co. make their way towards Kanazumi City, a passing trainer challenges Ash to a match. Ash uses Pikachu, opponent uses Beedrill, who starts with a Twinneedle. Pikachu then Thunderbolts it, winning the battle. Although the boy is very worries about Beedrill’s condition, he complements Ash on his training, and they shake hands.
As they continue walking through the woods, May feels a little jealous of Ash, as she thinks about that last battle. She asks Ash for some tips, then Brock adds the fact that friendship can make you’re Pokemon battle better, considering it will feel stronger. Max, meanwhile, is thinking about the battle in his head, and analyzing the possible outcomes… as usual. Ash, however, feels like he’s being criticized, mostly because he’s embarrassed that someone who hasn’t even trained before knows more than him.
Suddenly, out of the bushes comes a Zigzagoon! Ash uses the dex, which explains why its running in a zigzaggy pattern. Max, however, being the Pokemon expert, notes that this Zigzagoon is much larger than the average Zigzagoon! They figure this one must be an adult. So, they wait and watch… and later, they see a bunch of Zigzagoon who seem to be running from a Sentret and Pinsir nearby. Then, they all run up to the big Zigzagoon… but then, they realize that surprisingly, the big Zigzagoon is really a boy in a costume! Then, they watch, as he slowly gets up, and challenges one of the Zigzagoon to a battle! Apparently this costume was some sort of trick, to lure Zigzagoon… so, the boy takes out a Mudkip. May and Max slowly approach to watch the battle… but as they approach, they scare the Zigzagoon away! This gets the boy very angry. However, Ash and Brock approach, and they applaud his clever trick of luring the Zigzagoon, and they ask who he really is. Then, he takes off his costume, and shows that he has a bunch of other Pokemon costumes (he even demonstrates a Tentacruel costume!). Then, he introduces himself as Nicolai. Then, May and Max both apologize, and introduce themselves. Although he doesn’t really take it well, and acts kinda rude, May and Max understand how he feels. Then, as Ash and Brock introduce themselves, Brock asks why he has all those costumes. He explains that when he captures a Pokemon, he likes to know the Pokemon’s feelings. Plus, it’s a better way to lure them. He says that once he captures a Zigzagoon, he plans to battle over at Touka Gym. May and Max seem shocked at this fact, so Ash explains that the Gym leader there is May and Max’s father. Surprised, Nicolai assumes that since May is their daughter, she may have as much skill in battle. He starts to challenge her, but then she admits that she has absolutely no experience in battling ^^;. However, Nicolai insists on having May battle her. As he sets it up, May tries to worm her way out of it, but then Ash suggests giving her first battle a try. She argues to it, but eventually Ash and Nicolai convince her.
They agree that this will be a 1 on 1 battle, Brock being the ref. Nicolai starts by taking out Mudkip, and to their surprise, putting a Mudkip suit on. Brock pats May on the back, wishing her luck on her first battle, as she takes out Torchic! Although Nicolai is surprised, considering that a Fire type Torchic usually wouldn’t stand a chance against a Water type, but Ash and Max insist that its possible for her to win… all she needs is skill. Anyways, May starts by telling Torchic to attack. However, Torchic looks all confused, since she didn’t say WHAT attack to use. Ash then whispers some advice to her, so she tells Torchic to use Ember. As usual, Mudkip easily counters it with Water Gun. Torchic, pretty angry now, tries to Peck at Mudkip, but Mudkip is just too fast. Before Torchic has time to think, Mudkip uses one more Water Gun, finishing it off. May returns Torchic, worried about its condition, but Brock suggests to just let it rest for a while. Nicolai thinks, and assumes that due to May’s terrible battle skills, Touka Gym will be an easy Badge! Max, however, gets angry at this comment. But Nicolai just runs off rudely, continuing his quest for Zigzagoon and looking forward to the “easy Badge”. Meanwhile, Team Rocket are spying on them. They feel impressed at how powerful Mudkip is, so… they decide to try and steal it for the boss!
Meanwhile, Ash & Co. walk in the woods, May embarrassed at being an utter failure. Especially since she lost to a little kid! Brock tries to give her advice, by saying that a lot of beginner trainers usually make mistakes, and that’s how they learn. Ash suggests that she shouldn’t feel nervous all the time. However, May can’t get over how Nicolai insulted her father, and she really hopes he kicks his butt. Suddenly, Ash & Co. realize Max has disappeared!
Meanwhile, as Nicolai gets in his costume, ready for another shot at the Zigzagoon, Max hides nearby, intent to get him back for what he said. He watches as Nicolai scatters wooden fruit as bait, hoping the Zigzagoon give in…
As Ash and the others desperately search for Max, they’re just about to give up, but then Ash has an idea. He sends out Taillow to look around, just like old times…
While Nicolai isn’t looking, Max sneakily collects the fake fruit that he scattered for the Zigzagoon. Then, he tries to trick Nicolai by faking a Zigzagoon voice… which he apparently does a little too good, considering a whole bunch of them approach. Before Max knows it, he’s cornered and surrounded by Zigzagoon! Suddenly, Taillow approaches with Ash & Co., surprised to find Max like this! Quickly, Ash has Pikachu Thunderbolt them all, scaring them away, and rescuing Max. He thanks them… although the Zigzagoon seem to be angry that he has all the fruit. Max then says that its fake, and then points to where the real fruit is. They start to go there, but Brock insists that he try the fruit first… so he takes a bite. This gets them angry again, as they start to use Sand Attack on Brock. Ash then starts to apologize—but then, who is to appear, but our old friend Nicolai in the costume, and his Mudkip! Once again, the costume lures all the Zigzagoon. Ash & Co. watch, as he uses a different strategy this time! He has Mudkip use a Water Gun to knock down genuine fruit, this time. As the Zigzagoon start to eat, Ash & Co. approach, and compliment him on his strategy. He thanks them, and Max starts to apologize… but Nicolai doesn’t seem to know what he’s apologizing about. Max then explains what he did, and how he was annoyed… and instead of being angry, Nicolai just laughs. Max then asks Nicolai if he can really speak Zigzagoon. He laughs, and explains that there’s no need to know how to speak Zigzagoon… its all in the heart. Then, he also apologizes for insulting their father. Suddenly, Nicolai notices a Zigzagoon, close enough for him to reach! He takes over, and challenges it to a battle.
Nicolai starts by switching into the Mudkip costume, and having his own Mudkip start by attacking Zigzagoon with a Water Gun. However, Zigzagoon, being fast, avoids it quickly, and goes for a Tackle! However, Mudkip also runs towards Zigzagoon… jumps, and hits it with a Water Gun. Nicolai then throws the Pokeball, and easily catures Zigzagoon!
Suddenly, a giant claw comes down, and grabs Mudkip! As usual, its TR in their balloon, wanting Pikachu… Ash tries his usual stratgegy, Thunderbolt. This time, James takes out an antenna, which absorbs the electricity! Nicolai doesn’t give up though. He takes off his costume, ready for another plan. Nicolai decides to use the many Zigzagoon to help Mudkip this time, so, he gets them all to cooperate, and they all dig a hole! May and Max are kinda confused at the plan, but Ash and Brock understand it perfectly. Quickly, Nicolai changes into a Gligar costume, flies up, and grabs Mudkip! Before Team Rocket could do anything, Ash takes out Taillow, and has him puncture the balloon, knocking them down… right in the hole that the Zigzagoon made! With a little trouble, they manage to escape from the hole, and have Arbok and Weezing attack! They use Poison Sting and Sludge, both of which Pikachu dodges, as he knocks them both out with a Quick Attack. Finally, Pikachu uses Thunder, blasting them off.
Now, Nicolai feels like he’s ready for Touka Gym, and apologizes once again for what he said. However, Ash warns him that he’s really strong, since he knows from experience. Plus, he best not let Senri know what he said about him. Max is still convinced that he doesn’t stand a chance, but whatever. Then, Nicolai challenges Ash to a battle one last time! Of course, he accepts, so Nicolai uses the Zigzagoon he just caught, and Ash uses Taillow. Nicolai starts by telling Zigzagoon to use Dig, but then immediately changes his mind and goes for a Tackle. But Taillow, good with turns, manages to dodge Zigzagoon’s attacks by nose-diving and skyrocketing around… As they battle, Max realizes that they’re both trying to raise the level of their newly captured Pokemon. May also seems to understand how it works, and Ash and Nicolai both feel strong, eager to participate in the Houen league.
Thanks to Spinazak for writing This for us
281: In The Knicker Of Time
281: Zigzagoon and Youngster! May's First Battle!!
May has her first Match