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In the Slateport contest house, boulders start to fall from the crumbled ceiling and walls, and hit Ruby hard on the back. But the boy ignores the pain, and continues to search for Mimi in the water while yelling out his apologies to it. Jack hollers that they have to save Ruby before he gets killed, but Wallace remains motionless with a stern look on his face. The swimmerboy decides to help Ruby himself, and calls out his Gyarados to surf him over to the boy. He grabs Ruby by the wrist to pull him up, but Ruby reasons that he has to find Mimi first. The ceiling on top of them gives way, and huge blocks of concrete come crashing down. Jack forcefully yanks Ruby off the water, and orders his Gyarados to fly out of the building as Ruby's pokemons cling onto it. Narrowly avoiding the avalanche of cement, Ruby looks back at the now collapsed contest hall, and trembles with tears at the thought of Mimi being possibly buried inside.

As Gyarados slowly hovers over to Wallace's air-car, the Sootopolis gymleader coldly remarks that Mimi's heartbroken expression is evident enough that it does not intend to return. Shooting a disgusted look at Ruby, he states that the boy's cruel words and untrusting attitude are to blame. He points out that, however, Ruby's lack of confidence in Mimi is not a recent thing. He recalls the unofficial outdoor beauty contest Ruby requested to have with him back in Fallarbor, and reminds Ruby that he chose Nana, Coco, Popo and Zuzu to compete against him instead of Mimi, who ironically was the pokemon in charge of the beauty category, simply because he deemed the little Feebas incompetent.

To make things worse, Mimi wasn't the only pokemon Ruby constantly neglected. Back in the Fallabor contest hall, Zuzu's high sensitivity towards its surroundings made it the very first pokemon to detect the fire accident among the audience, but Ruby was too caught up in his rage of seeing someone more experienced than himself in contests, and completely ignored Zuzu's warnings. Getting furious himself, Wallace yells at Ruby for his lack of trust in his own party, and condemns his oblivion towards the subtle messages they give him. He points an angry finger at the boy's face, accusing him of being too self-centered all the time, and says he will end up being one of those beauty narcissists who care about nothing but himself.

Bombarded with memories and accusations of every single incident in which he mistreated his pokemons, tears start to gush out from Ruby's eyes without control, and he soon cries himself unconscious. Jack sees his torn and mournful expression, and tells Wallace that Ruby has probably realized his own mistakes, and requests that he give the boy a break. With an uneasy look on his face, the annoucer climbs out from the back seat of the car, and hands over the hyper rank beauty ribbon to Wallace, saying that it should be rewarded to Ruby's Feebas. Jack demands to know why it is the case, and Wallace explains that intercurrent challengers are only for exhibitory purposes in contests, and are not entitled to win no matter how many votes they receive. Since Ruby was the only properly signed up contestant, the ribbon should still go to him. However, he sighs that the pokemon who is supposed to wear the ribbon is no longer around, and says he shall keep it for the moment.

The Sootopolis gymleader then hops onto Jack's Gyarados from his air-car to pick Ruby up, and remarks that they should probably bring the boy to the city's emergency medical centre before helping other citizens. He places Ruby in the back seat of his car next to the announcer and the reception lady, and tells Jack to come along with them. Though unwilling, the swimmerboy decides that he doesn't have any better place to go, and tags along on his Gyarados. Stealing a worried glance at Ruby from the front seat, Wallace prays silently that the boy will stop his evasion and come to his senses soon before it gets too late.

Meanwhile, after navigating through dark and winding tunnels in the deep ocean, the high-tech vessel Submarine Explorer 1 has finally arrived at the Seafloor Cavern. Surfacing in the small lake inside the cave next to the entrance, Archie and Maxie impatiently climb out of the submarine, and exclaim that they have finally made it to the deepest part of Hoenn known to mankind thanks to the combined efforts of the genius Captain Stern and the Devon Corporation. Archie remarks that he could already feel the mighty energy of the sea surrounding him, and Maxie starts praising the power of the land's raging flames.

Knowing that it's time for their collaboration to come to an end, the two leaders get their own team to congregate, and decide to part ways in front of the two deep tunnels. Archie smirks that their long running rivalry shall be settled the next time they meet, and Maxie shoots back that he is sure Archie will have lost his arrogance by then. Without another word, Archie leads his Aqua team into the right tunnel where frozen stalactites jag out from the walls, while Maxie and his Magma team take the left tunnel which internal is lined by solid lava. In a matter of minutes, both teams arrive at the end chamber of their respective paths, and gasp in bewilderment at the sight before them. Slumbering in the deep cave walls right in front of their eyes are the two ancient creatures that have the power to overthrow the balance of Hoenn, the legendary Kyogre and Groudon!

Back at Slateport, Gabby and Ty are making their way through the flooded streets on a life-boat. Gabby gasps in astonishment as she sees the severity of damage in the city, and wonders where Ruby is. Ty remarks that Ruby is most likely at Fortree where the gymleader conference is taking place, and suggests heading there for a look instead. But Gabby says there is still one person she wishes to meet in Slateport, and keeps sailing towards the Oceanic Museum. A giant liner that is acting as a temporary refuge for the citizens soon comes into sight, and the two quickly spot Captain Stern helping people in life-boats embark on the ship.

Gabby calls out to the scientist, and is surprised to see the man suffering from a chronic cough. Stern explains that it is a health complication resulting from inhaling too much toxic fumes of the enemy's Torkoal during the Slateport shipyard incident, and says both Dock and the Pokemon Fan Club President have been inflicted with the same condition. Thinking that Gabby and Ty must be there for media purposes, he apologizes for not having time to do an interview at the moment, but Gabby quickly assures him that they've simply come to seek his advice. The reporter lady refreshes Stern's memory of the red-attired team who has taken over Submarine Explorer 1, and the blue-attired team who has stolen the Devon-developed special engine starter, and reveals to him that the two evil organizations have decided to join forces on the night before, implying that the deep sea exploration ability of the vessel will soon be fully activated.

Stern jumps with horror upon hearing the news, and starts to tremble with fear at the prospect of such a powerful invention at its fullest potential falling into the hands of evil people. Gabby adds that she has overheard the two teams' intention to head towards a place called Seafloor Cavern, and says although she has no idea where it is, it is beyond doubt that nothing good will come out of it. She wants to know if there are any methods to stop them now, but Stern's face turns a shade of white, and mutters with a hollow tone that Seafloor Cavern is the deepest region of Hoenn known to mankind, and there exists no other possible way to reach the place…

Thanks To Coronis For Writing this for us




233: VS. Kyogre & Groudon I!


Volume 19