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After all that hard training and earning Ribbons, May’s long awaited moment has come. She’s arrived in Slateport City for the Pokemon Contest Grand Festival, and just taking a step into the Contest hall to register. At the front desk, she signs all five of her Pokemon in, and the receptionist gives her a ticket, and a guidebook for the Festival rules are a bit different.
As they leave, May is greeted by a surprise guest—her Mom. Of course they should have expected her to come see this live, this is a pretty important moment. Making their reunion, she keeps her updated on the fact that Ash has already won eight badges, and is headed for the league next. Unfortunately, May’s Dad couldn’t make it simply because he’s the only one to guard the Gym, which is getting quite a lot of challengers. But, he’ll be watching her on TV.
As Caroline delivers May her mail, she receives a surprise. A letter from Kanata of Lilycove City! You know, the one that taught her to make PokeBlocks. Then, Brock finds one from Savannah and her daughter Sandra from Rubello Town... as well as everyone else. Timmy of Verdanturf, Abby from the breeding Center (Delcatty girl), and even Janet and Chaz from all the way back in Rustboro Hole. They all couldn’t make it in time for the festival this year, but they do remember May and are all supporting her. Meanwhile, Brock studies the guidebook. Just like in Rubello Town (which did have "Grand Festival rules"), different Pokemon are to be used in various rounds, and just like any normal Contest it has an appeal stage, followed by a big tournament.
Outside, Team Rocket are pulling one of their old tricks again. They’re being dressed as Norman and Caroline, and making autographs as usual. One kid is interested in an autograph... as he comes up, they start to say their motto, but don’t give themselves away since the twerps aren’t around yet. He’s about to take out his autograph book, but they have a whole stack of fake signed posters. However, while the kid insists on having them sign his book, they snap at him and say they worked hard signing all those photos... but eventually they accept, sign, and leave. The whole fancrowd is oohing over Norman himself giving advice.
While May goes to the field where all the Coordinators are practicing training, she decides to show off some of her skills to Mom. As soon as she sends them all out, Caroline immediately notices Beautifly, and it gives her some sweet memories of her first romantic night. May adds that Beautifly was her first Contest winner. Ash also wants some attention, and while he’s in a field where everyone’s training, he might as well do some more Snorunt taming. As he sends it out, he has it fire and Ice Beam... the beam goes around in circles before hitting anything as May’s Pokemon nervously hide behind her, but as usual, it ends up freezing Ash again.
Unfortunately, Munchlax is at it again. While one of the Coordinators is practicing feeding his Zigzagoon by tossing PokeBlocks, Munchlax gets in the way and catches them on its own. Fortunately the boy has a lot of spare Blocks, and Max still has some of May’s special delicious PokeBlocks, which Munchlax falls asleep upon eating.
Drew and his Roselia have been watching this whole scene from nearby. As May notices him, they greet each other and as usual, try to outdo. Drew finally shuts her up with one of his roses, but just then, they’re greeted by another old rival—Harley! At first, May and the others are scared of him, given his malicious scheme last time. But as he approaches he seems like he’s pretty happy to see May, even after all that. In fact, he’s as enthusiastic as he pretended to be upon first meeting him, and the first thing he does is kneel and beg for her forgiveness. He even starts crying, but luckily May is easy enough after a long time. Harley breathes a long sigh of relief, and expresses his happiness and excitement in every possible way he can. He then notices the rose in her hands, and May realizes that Harley has yet to meet Drew. As they introduce each other, Harley starts going on and on about he he’s heard a lot about Drew and looks forward to facing him sometime. Drew stands, frozen in shock as Harley rambles, and eventually he takes out his camera and snaps a picture—kinda like he did when he first met May—and sets off. Drew moves along soon after, leaving May alone. Oddly, she’s feeling a bit nervous at Harley... and she’s right at that. As Harley makes his way into town, he seems to have another malicious plan up is sleeve...
Now, Team Rocket (still as Norman and Caroline) set up a stand and are pretending to be PokeSeers, and are "examining" various trainer’s Pokemon, telling them their stats and how well they’re doing, and "temporarily checking" them inside (but actually locking them in cages). As they’re doing that with some kid’s Espeon, Harley passes by and seems pretty interested ... but then realizes what a pathetic joke it is.
While they’re at it, May shows off some of Beautifly’s skills. Starting with its classic entrance with the sparkles, she then has it fly in a circle and use a spiral of Silver Wind. Harley was also watching this from nearby, and pops out complementing May on her great skill. Drew, however, is also nearby, and seems rather jealous. Harley, on the other hand, is rambling and sucking up pretty well to May, and going on and on about how she’s good and how they’ll promise to both make it far.
Eventually Drew interrupts their little scheme, claims Harley doesn’t know jack about Contests and that they’re supposed to be competitive and that his advice towards May sucks, but Harley claims he got a lot of advice himself from the Petalburg leader himself. With that, he takes out one of Team Rocket’s "signed" Norman posters. May and Max take a look at it, and feel that looks a little different from their Dad’s normal handwriting, but then again they haven’t seen him for a while. Harley, on the other hand is shocked to hear them talking about Dad, but then Ash explains to him that they’re the children of Norman himself. One problem with that, Norman is supposed to be at home watching them. So, Harley takes them over to where he got it...
Caroline can immediately tell that it’s not Norman at all, and it’s a dead giveaway that he’s supposedly with Caroline, yet she’s standing in the crowd. Ash steps up at once, accusing them of being impostors, but they boldly deny it. May then has Beautifly use Silver Wind, and that whips off their costumes as well as the tent, revealing the cages. Lucky for them, they have a propeller above the tent, which they use to escape, but they forgot the most important thing of all, making it electricity proof. A Thunderbolt from our main mouse helps knock the cages down, and Beautifly’s Silver Wind once again helps them fall slowly rather than crash. The crowd cheers, and Harley uses this opportunity to keep buttering May up...
The Grand Festival has finally started! Starting with the Appeal stage, a bunch of trainers go (even Robert and his Milotic are back, and get 98!), and out of the important people, it’s Drew’s turn first. As always, he uses Roselia for this round, and it’s Petal Dance to shower the stage and crowd with flower petals, earning him a 95. Next up are Harley and his Cacturne. Cacturne jumps, does a flip and uses Bullet Seed. Ash is amazed with Cacturne’s incredible speed. He only gets an 84. Oh well, it’s not like he did anything abstract, it just had impressive speed. Finally, it’s May’s turn, and Harley wishes her luck as she steps up. Expectedly, she uses Beautifly for this round, and starts by shooting a couple beams of Silver Wind right at the sun. This causes a cool illusion of sparkles showering from it. While Harley is sitting there in the waiting room smirking to himself, he’s surprised to see that May got an 88—better than him! However, as Drew walks in, he manages to resort to his happy self.
Later, as May goes back to the Center with her friends to chill, Harley pops out from behind and once again starts buttering her up. While he seems half sad, he’s able to cover that up by acting like his usual happy self. Suddenly, on the outdoor screen they notice Vivian announcing who passed. As the Coordinators appear on the screen, among them are Drew, Harley, Robert, and May! To Be Continued...
Thanks to Zak for writing this Guide for Us
398: Hi Ho Silver Wind!
398: Begin! Grand Festival! (1)!
May, Drew & Harley Enter the Grand Festival and gets past the first round