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On the long hard road to Fortree City, Ash and the others arrive in a small town called Rubello City, for a pit stop at the Pokemon Center. Just as they decide what to do, Max notices a poster, which gets May excited. It is none other than an ad for a local Pokemon Contest! At least now May has something to do. However, Brock is having some second thoughts. In the middle of the poster is a picture of a ribbon with "R1" printed on it, and they have yet to find out what it could mean.
At the local PokeCenter, they ask Joy for info about the Contest, and sure enough, she is aware that the "R1" means you need at least one Ribbon to enter this one. May is much more relieved now, and prepared to go kick some butt in this Contest. Joy also informs her that there is an event going on which will give her a better chance to participate in the Grand Festival. Suddenly, they are interrupted by a familiar voice, that being of May's Contest rival, Drew. This guy seems to be stalking her, or just desperate to beat her, considering he's entering this outcast Rubello Contest as well. May proudly flashes her two ribbons, but Drew insists on being elite and acting like it's nothing. Suddenly, a bunch of chicks start to flock around Drew, but he doesn't even seem to know them. At first he's a bit intimidated, but then he realizes they are his fans who watched him in the other Contests. The even have merchandise of him, such as pictures, shirts, cellphones and whatnot! May starts to get jealous of all the attention Drew is getting, but then a young woman notices May and Max, and immediately recognizes them as the children of the Petalburg City Gym leader, Norman! She even happens to know their name, and the fact that May is a Coordinator, so she grabs the crowd's attention by announcing her presence. Of course, May didn't expect her to do that or even ask her, but the lady seemed to notice her jealous look. But of course, she had slightly taken back the feeling of being jealous, since she got a déjŕ vu of the incident back at North Petalburg. Yes, once again, all the Norman merchandise as well.
They both sigh, realizing that they don't actually like them for their talent, but for who their father is. But either way, they still have faith in her as a Coordinator. Then they all begin a cheerleader chant, about something called the "PMDM". The woman that attracted the attention then apologizes and introduces herself as Tsukiko, then explains what the PMDM is. It stands for "Pokemon Daisuke Mama-zu", and is basically a group of fangirl cheerleaders who idolize Pokemon Trainers and Coordinators, and Tsukiko is the club president as well as one of their Coordinator idols. They even notice she has gotten one Ribbon already, and are quite proud of that. Ash then pipes up, being the egotistical Trainer he is, and asks if they knew him. One of them gives him a blank look, and they look in the book and find nothing on him. Aw well, probably because he's from all the way in Kanto. J&J have arrived in Rubello City, and sure enough Jessie has noticed the Contest ad, and ready to enter with her Dustox. Much to her dismay, however, Meowth points out the R1 and informs her that she needs at least one Ribbon, and she doesn't have a single one. Angrily, Jessie and the others head over to the reception desk where she desperately tries to haggle with the clerk to let her enter, but to no avail.
Back at the Pokemon Center, May and the others as well as Tsukiko and a few girls from the PMDM have a small lunch break and discuss the matters between her and Drew. Apparently, while they idolize Drew as well, they did happen to see May win the Verdanturf Contest, and her Skitty did an outstanding job. May is now a little more relieved and proud of herself, but Ash is starting to get jealous that they have not mentioned a single word about his Gym battles, but Max reminds him they don't even know who he is. Then, May remembers that Tsukiko is a Coordinator as well as a PMDM member, and asks her about her skills. The girls say that she's pretty good, and is also gonna be in this Contest.
Later, the PMDM girls decide to take a small break from interviewing them, since it's their free time, but Tsukiko stays. She then explains that as much as she'd like to join them, she can't, because as well as a PMDM member, Tsukiko is a mother and has a daughter she needs to watch. However, Brock, with some obvious thoughts on his mind, tries to convince her to let them hang out and bring them along. It's not that hard for May, Ash, and Max to figure out what he's up to, so they refuse as well.
However, Tsukiko does happen to have some time to introduce May to her Pokemon she's using in the Contest-a Flareon and a Lairon. This is the first time May's seen a Flareon, so she 'Dexes them both. Tsukiko then explains how she has a strategy for both of them, but given that May is entering, it wouldn't be fair to tell now, would it? May, concerned, realizes she's got a new rival.
As they walk through the town, Brock gets sidetracked at the marketplace, noticing the tomatoes and thinking of adding that to his culinary list. He then explains that as well as a breeder, he's also a good cook, and those tomatoes would come well in handy. While Brock buys some, Ash asks May what Pokemon she plans to use in the Contest. Realizing she forgot to plan that, she racks her brains for a moment. They did say Skitty was good in Verdanturf, but they didn't see Beautifly in Fallarbor. Hmm… but then again, Beautifly lost back as Slateport. Plus, there's still Torchic and Bulbasaur, who have never been in a Contest. Suddenly, Brock notices an onion, which would be perfect for his recipe. However, as he grabs it, another girl beats him to it. Then they realize that this is Tsukiko's young daughter, Hoshika. Brock decides to give it up and let her buy it anyway. Tsukiko then introduces her daughter to the rest of them, and with a tone of excitement introduces May as the Coordinator with two ribbons, as well as her brother Max, which are the children of the one and only Norman! However, Hoshika seems less excited that most of them, and just slags her mother off as the "raving PMDM head honcho". Not that she dislikes trainers, she's just used to hearing her mother rave. In fact, Hoshika is a beginner trainer as well, and about to go off on her journey just like Ash. She even seems to like his Pikachu a little bit, as it jumps into her arms. To Ash's surprise, Hoshika seems to know what she's doing when handling the rat, unlike most people who get zapped. She even seems to know that he's been training it pretty well, which makes him a bit happier since this is the first acknowledgement he's gotten as of their arrival in Rubello. Tsukiko is glad to see that her daughter is getting along well with Pokemon like she's supposed to, but she's ready to go. Hoshika insists they stick around a little, since she wants to play a little with Pikachu. To a request like that, she'd gladly agree, since May and her friends sure are a talented bunch and she's bound to learn some tips.
Later that evening, May does a bit of training with her team by the center. Starting with Torchic, she has it use an Ember, then run into it and around with a Peck, which looks okay. Next, she has Beautifly make a wavy Silver Wind, followed by a String Shot through it, which creates an interesting pattern. Now it's Skitty's turn, as she has it use its Blizzard followed by the motion of a Doubleslap. Finally she has Bulbasaur try a Vine Whip and Tackle combo, and it horribly blunders as it ends up tripping on its own vines. May sighs, but then remembers what the PMDM girls said about her training, and connects it with how Skitty went from a newbie to a powerhouse. Suddenly, she hears Drew's voice, and realizes that he apparently decided to train her as well. To her surprise, she notices he's not training his famous Roselia, but a Masquerain! Having never seen one of those before, she looks up some data on it as well. Then, she watches as it uses Quick Attack through the air, stopping right in the moonlight (like Medicham did). Next, it uses a big Bubble attack, causing a few beautiful rings of Bubbles around the moon. Suddenly, Drew notices May there, and decides to brag about his new Masquerain. It's strong, beautiful, smart, cool, and cute, which is a perfect balance for Contests. May is impressed, and then decides to show off her new Bulbasaur. Drew is surprised to see one, especially since Bulbasaur isn't exactly a run-of-the-mill Pokemon in Hoenn. It seems to like Masquerain as well, but to May's dismay, seems to not have gotten used to her quite yet. However, despite Drew's attempts to make fun of her, she's still confident in entering it.
The next day, as May goes with her friends to sign up at the reception desk, Ash and the others are shocked to find out that she has chosen to enter Bulbasaur in the Contest, of all Pokemon. Max warns her that it might be a bad idea since she just recently caught it, but she seems to have a plan. Suddenly, she notices Tsukiko on the other side of the hall, very nervous, with her Lairon and Flareon! Unfortunately, they both really want to enter, and she still hasn't decided which to enter. Then May says hi, and Tsukiko quickly asks for her advice in which one to enter, but she immediately takes that back when she notices May's cute Bulbasaur. So then, they decide to do some pre-training to help Tsukiko decide.
Meanwhile, Ash, Brock, and Max are taking a walk through the marketplace again, when once again Pikachu notices Hoshika, and greets her by jumping on her shoulder. Then, they ask her if she saw either Tsukiko or May around, and she reminds them that it's a busy day for Coordinators before the Contest, and they're probably training.
Indeed, they are at the park, about to battle. They are going to have a 2-on-1 battle! Not fair, but this is just training anyway. Lairon and Flareon VS Bulbasaur. Lairon starts with a Metal Claw, as Bulbasaur blocks it with Vine Whip. Next, Flareon tries its Flamethrower, and May being the genius she is, counters with a Razor Leaf. But it actually creates a bit of wind blowing it out of the way, even though the leaves get burnt. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a couple huge robot arms snatch May's backpack as well as the ribbon from Tsukiko's neck! Yes, it's them, and it would be nice to see them do something new rather than the armed balloon. Oh well, this is the first time they stole Ribbons, I'll give them that. Anyway, they then realize they only need one, so they throw May's backpack back. Although Tsukiko's is still missing, so May has Bulbasaur use Razor Leaf again, which Jessie's Dustox stops with Whirlwind. Flareon then tries a Flamethrower, which Wobbuffet throws back at them with Mirror Coat.
Dustox then uses Poison Sting, which Pikachu knocks back with Thunderbolt. Ash and the others have found May and Tsukiko, so they decide to help out as well. Brock tries Lombre and Mudkip's Water Guns, but Wobbuffet's Mirror Coat blocks them both. Hoshika isn't used to TR and their stubbornness, so her mother tries to stop her as she just yells at them to give it back, and sure enough gets mocked, and attacked by Dustox's Psybeam. While her mother is too scared to move, May has Bulbasaur use its Vine Whip to pull Hoshika out of the way. Tsukiko thanks her, then has Flareon finish them off with Flamethrower. Wobbuffet gets ready to throw it back at them, but she's learned her lesson not to aim at Wobbuffet, and aimed at the balloon instead, knocking them down. For once, knowing they can't win, Jessie takes James' advice to surrender the ribbon to Tsukiko and find some other way to enter. But they don't give up just yet. However, Hoshika whispers some kind of plan in her mother's ear, and everyone watches as they both tell Lairon to use one of its secret weapons-Water Pulse. This creates a shock wave around TR, and seconds later a geyser comes from underground, blasting them off!
As Hoshika thanks everyone for saving her, she wishes Tsukiko and May luck in the Rubello Contest, taking place the next day. Tsukiko reminds them that Drew is there as well, and he's a pretty tough opponent, but May claims to know how to handle him, having faced him multiple times before. It's been a great day, and now its time to prepare for the Contest tomorrow!
Thanks To Spinazak For Writing this for us
353: A Fan With A Plan
353: Formidable Enemy!? Mother Coordinator Enters!
May arrives at Rubello Town and prepares to enter the Contest there