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Ash and his friends are nearing Petalburg City with the usual plans, so they decide to make a pit stop in North Petalburg City, a suburb, to heal at the Pokemon Center. When they go in, to their surprise, Joy recognizes Max and May as the children of the Gym leader of Petalburg Gym, Norman! They introduce themselves as well as Ash and Brock, and tell her that their friend Ash is coming here to challenge their father. As a side note, they mention that May has been traveling with him to become a Pokemon Coordinator. Gladly, she heals their Pokemon and wishes him luck, but what they don't notice is a passing woman in the Pokemon center, who jumps in shock at the news of Max and May's presence, and Ash's challenging plan! Unbeknownst to them, it's too late, she's already running through town, shamelessly spreading the word…
As they walk out and get ready to make their way out of here, they suddenly hear rumbling in the distance, and find themselves surrounded by a mob! Then, they start to hear them asking questions, and realize that they're just a bunch of fans of Norman that are after their autograph and an interview. At first, Max and May are shocked and nervous, but then, when the mob finally calm down, they feel more excited about this. Then, a couple reporters (one of them being the lady that spread the word) say that they heard that May was a Coordinator, and are interested in how good she is. She then takes out her box and shows her two ribbons, which surprises the crowd. Then, she tells them she just started training not long ago, and the optimistic reporter wishes her luck in future Contests, since it's no surprise she would do well, being the daughter of Norman. Then, without being asked, Ash steps in front of the camera, flashes his four Hoenn badges, and declares that he is on his way to Petalburg City to challenge Norman! When he notices they aren't that impressed, and more interested in May and Max, he sneaks out of the crowd, disappointed.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket are nearby, walking along in North Petalburg City as well, because they always MUST be within a few miles of Ash and his friends. Suddenly, they come to a huge poster of Norman and Caroline! Of course they remember him, back from when they first arrived in Hoenn and got to Petalburg City. They do indeed remember that Gym leader and his powerful Vigoroth. Before they know it, they see people walking in the city with Norman-themed T-shirts, caps, and pants… and they even see a booth selling pictures and dolls of him! It's like they worship him in this area. Of course this gives them an idea to make some money…
A bit later, Team Rocket disguise themselves and look exactly like Norman and Caroline, while Meowth disguises himself as an utterly deformed May, and Wobbuffet as a weird blue-skinned chubby Max. Now, usually, no matter how deformed the disguises are, they ALWAYS work for Team Rocket, because this is Anime… right? Well, the May-Meowth easily evades recognition, despite it's odd height and cat ears and albino look. However, people don't get fooled easily by skin color, at least since Wobba-Max is noticed for it's blue color. When the leader of the crowd asks what the problem with it is, they quickly think of an excuse, and say that it's because he studies too much. Remember kids, don't study too hard or get addicted to it, it'll turn your skin blue and make you look constipated! The crowd somehow buys this, so Team Rocket get ready to make a living!
Back at the crowd interviewing the genuine May and Max, she talks about how she won those contests with the help of her trusty Beautifly and Skitty. When asked to present some skill, she sends out Beautifly, and has it show off its talent by creating a breeze of Silver Wind.
Ash and Brock watch from a distance as the crowd cheers for May. Suddenly, a couple of trainers notice them and ask if they're May's friends they heard about. Ash nods and introduces himself, and says he plans to challenge Norman in the Petalburg Gym. The two trainers gasp, then start to laugh and taunt him about how he doesn't stand a chance, and Norman is a good Gym leader, and how he'll whoop him and stuff. But then they warn him that Norman has been undefeated for a while now, but Ash still thinks he can do it. Eventually, they agree to have a battle so they could see how strong Ash really is.
At the park, Ash and one of the trainers are about to battle. The trainer uses Golduck, Ash uses Grovyle. Golduck starts with a Focus Punch, but Grovyle jumps out of the way with its amazing speed, and Golduck punches the ground instead. Grovyle then hurts Golduck a bit with its Bullet Seed, but Golduck retaliates with a Hydro Pump. The water pushes Grovyle back, knocking it over! Golduck is about to finish it off with Scratch, but Grovyle gets up and counters with a Quick Attack before it can do anything, and then finishes it off with Leaf Blade.
Meanwhile, while Team Rocket are pulling off that scheme, Meowth and Wobbuffet in disguise are selling tickets to meet Norman and Caroline (Team Rocket), Norman-James is signing fake autographs, and Caroline-Jessie is selling fake pins with them on it. They seem to be making quite a lot with this scheme…
Back at the field, the Golduck trainer admits his defeat, so the next trainer gets ready to challenge him. However, soon he is blocked by a crowd of trainers who heard the word of Ash's challenging of Norman, and they all want to challenge Ash. So then they form a line to battle him.
Back in the city, May is now showing off her Skitty's juggling tricks. The crowd sure gets an impression and cheer. Unfortunately, Max is starting to get kind of jealous.
At the park, Ash sends out all five of his Pokemon before battling any of the trainers, and the all look tired out. This of course gets the crowd of trainers booing, and tossing Pokeballs madly. Five trainers send out a Zangoose, Igglybuff, Aron, Shroomish, and Spheal, but Pikachu roasts them all quickly with its Thunder attack alone. The rest of the trainers, some surprised, some impressed, some angry, toss the rest of the Pokeballs. Ash is starting to get a little nervous of peer pressure…
Skitty finishes its juggling act, as the crowd cheer. Then, the two trainers that confronted Ash before approach, and warn the reporters that their Idol Norman has some competition. A trainer named Ash has been squashing trainers like bugs, and he plans to challenge the great Norman. Upon hearing this, they decide to shoot a battle between Ash and May, since she's related. Of course, May, with the low battle knowledge, gets a little nervous at facing Ash.
When they get to the park, they see all the Pokemon that Ash defeated, plus a few more, such as Kecleon, Azumarill, Doduo, Swablu, Volbeat, Sandslash, Machoke… this guy is good! Suddenly, Ash notices the cheering crew, and they explain what went on and how they want May to battle him. However, Ash looks rather tired out from all those other battles, but this gives May a streak of hope.
Back at the scam-autograph part of North Petalburg, the crowd suddenly notices all their autographs and stuff gone! Next thing they know, “Norman” and “Caroline” are running off with their money! Still not realizing that their fakes, however, they do realize what they did, and their images of Norman and Caroline start to shatter. What a shame…
Back in the park where the whole crowd and reporters are watching, Ash and May are ready to battle. May is to make the first move this time, so since she had already shown off the power of her Beautifly and Skitty, it's time to use Torchic. Ash wants to use Pikachu, but its too tired out… how embarrassing. Ash thinks for a second, and decides to use Taillow, since it has a chance and did the least battling.
Taillow easily knocks Torchic off guard by swooping down and Pecking repeatedly at that clumsy chicken's head. The crowd, on May's side, start to boo, giving Ash a headache. At least he's winning, while once again Taillow hits Torchic hard with a Wing Attack. As the crowd boos even more, Ash gets distracted, and doesn't pay attention until May has Torchic hit both Ash and Taillow hard with an Ember. Unfortunately, May uses this to her advantage, and commands some repeated Embers. Torchic does so, and as they go faster and faster, they turn into a raging flame. Taillow dodges this one, but Ash gets caught and roasted in it. Déjŕ vu! The reporter, who is also the ref, declares May the winner of this match, since Ash is unable to command.
The crowd cheers for May, except for Max. He's a bit annoyed that the proper way to win a Pokemon battle is to have the Pokemon faint, and he has a suspicion that they are purposely treating Ash unfairly, because they dislike how he is a threat to Norman. Suddenly, a boy passes by, and calms the crowd down, and warns Max and May with the surprising news that their parents are a joke, and how they just pulled a big scam. This stuns them speechless, since they don't want to believe that… so they ask for proof. However, the crowd of Norman worshippers just ignores the boy, and says that he probably confused them with someone else, or was hallucinating. Then, the crowd keeps cheering for Max and May as they carry them off.
Now, the other crowd, the one of scam victims, keeps chasing the outlaws, and eventually they run into the good crowd! Max and May are surprised to see their parents, but then they see those poor excuses for clones of themselves. They keep stalling and somehow avoid the truth, and try to convince that the real Max and May are actually impostors. Then, they break out in a fight commenting about each other's looks (pretty entertaining), and both crowd leaders are convinced that their side is true. Then, May gets a bright idea and sends out Torchic, and has it use the raging Ember. As the smoke clears, the four of them are revealed to be Team Rocket, Meowth, and Wobbuffet.
Now the crowd is truly angry. Sending out Cacnea and Seviper, James has Cacnea attack with Pin Missile aimed directly at Torchic. Pikachu then jumps in the way and quickly Thunderbolts them out of the way. Then, Jessie has Seviper use Haze, then tells it to dive in the smoke and swipe Pikachu as they go up in the balloon. When they're finally up there, they're ready to go, but then they realize that Seviper accidentally took Torchic instead! With this advantage, Pikachu climbs up a nearby tall tree, makes a running leaf for a Quick Attack into the distant balloon. It just makes it, and manages to save Torchic, and all the scam victims' money. After that, Pikachu jumps down, and Thunderbolts them to oblivion as it falls.
The crowd all cheer, impressed, and seem to have changed their opinion on Ash now that he helped get rid of the impostors. Now, the reporter gets ready to interview the real idol… Pikachu! While Ash falls over, as you probably expected, he then realizes that Pikachu really did deserve more of the credit. Now, it's time to head South to Petalburg City and win that Badge!
Thanks To Spinazak For Writing this for us
344: A Double Dilemma
344: Papa is Idol?!? False Gym Leader!
May beats Ash in a battle...Ash was constantly getting boo'ed whenever he got a hit in however