The kids are at Terracotta Town, where May and Max will catch a boat back home to Hoenn. The town happens to be hosting a festival, complete with its very own Pokémon Contest. Ash figures it’s unofficial, so he wants to compete. Both Ash and May sign up, with Ash using Pikachu and Sceptile, and May using her Eevee and Combusken.
Nurse Joy is the MC, doing her best Lillian impersonation. May goes first, impressing the crowd by having Eevee use Dig and Shadow Ball to create a fireworks display. Ash is equally impressive when Pikachu uses Quick Attack, Thunderbolt, and Iron Tail to create electric rings that buzz around the arena. At the end of the first round, May is in first place with Ash a close second, both of them advancing to the finals against each other.
Between rounds, Team Rocket shows up in a parade float, tossing Pokémon food out so they can lure the Trainers’ Pokémon into a net. Sceptile frees the Pokémon from the net and Pikachu uses Thunderbolt, but Combusken seems to be ill and can’t attack. Just then, it evolves into Blaziken, and uses Blaze Kick to send Team Rocket packing.
The contest resumes, and Ash and May shake hands and start the battle. When Blaziken dodges all of Sceptile’s attacks, Ash starts to lose points. He finally connects with Pound, but Blaziken returns with Fire Spin. The two Pokémon begin to lose points at roughly the same rate. Eventually both Pokémon are weakened, and Sceptile’s Ability Overgrow kicks in. Blaziken’s Ability Blaze also appears, and the two commence their battle. Eventually Blaziken fires Overheat and Sceptile responds with SolarBeam, with the two attacks colliding. The results of this attack will determine the outcome of the match, but no one can see the scoreboard, now obscured by a thick cloud of smoke.