Pokémon Hunter J has trapped Ash and a kidnapped Riolu in the heart of a blazing forest fire so she can capture Riolu for her client—and Ash is unable to stop her from seizing Riolu and flying away! In another part of the forest, Top Ranger Kellyn recruits some Blastoise to quench the flames, but Ash must rely on Chimchar's Dig to keep him safe. As soon as the coast is clear, Ash sneaks onboard Hunter J's ship and confronts her in person, only to discover that she already knew he was there. Hunter J then ejects Ash from the ship in mid-air, but a timely rescue by Kellyn and Staraptor keeps the show from coming to a premature end.
As Ash and his friends consider their next move, Ash realizes he can use his Aura connection with Riolu to sense its location. Everyone saddles up on some Dodrio and sets off in pursuit, hoping to intercept Hunter J before she can hand off Riolu to her client. They reach Hunter J's rendezvous point, but they're too late: the client has already gotten Riolu, and he leaps on a Fearow and takes off with his prize! While Dawn, Brock, Officer Jenny, and Solana hold off the client's troops, Kellyn and Ash spur on their Dodrio in pursuit.
Kellyn's Dodrio leaps onto Fearow to bring it down, yet it still doesn't convince the client to give up Riolu. He flees into a cave and blocks the path behind him, not realizing that Kellyn can recruit a Donphan to clear the way and Ash can use Aura to find Riolu. The client is finally cornered and knocked out by Pikachu's Volt Tackle, his men are subdued and put in custody. As for Pokémon Hunter J, she escapes to hunt another day, but Riolu is safely headed home to the Paradise Kingdom. So for now, Ash and his friends are happy with a job well done as they continue down the road to Pastoria City!
Faced with a raging fire and Hunter J flying overhead, Ash orders Buizel use Water Gun to douse the flames, allowing him and Riolu to escape. However J intervenes, freezing Riolu with her laser. Ash picks up the wooden Riolu figurine before he is blasted away by Salamence's Hyper Beam. Hunter J proceeds to retrieve Riolu, storing it aboard one of her land vehicles. Meanwhile, Dawn and Brock help all the wild Pokémon escape the raging forest fires, and Pokémon Ranger Kellyn enlists three Blastoise to use Rain Dance to put out the flames.
Ash escapes J’s clutches and flees to higher ground with the help of Chimchar's Dig. He soon spots J’s airship and sneaks on board. Meanwhile, Hunter J takes a call from her client, who is glad to hear she succeeded in capturing Riolu for him. After verifying that Riolu is in fact real, he agrees to pay J and signs off. Ash rushes into the control bridge, demanding the return of Riolu. J responds by sending out her Drapion which proceeds to grab Ash with its pincers. Hunter J reveals that she was well aware of Ash's intrusion, but wanted to punish him. Pikachu leaps onto Drapion, causing it to flail. Ash follows by kicking Drapion and freeing himself of its crushing grip. J smirks as she opens an ejection hatch below the pair's feet, sending them freefalling. Luckily Kellyn arrives and snatches them to safety using a Staraptor. Ash is disappointed that he failed to rescue Riolu and that J got away. Back on the ground, Kellyn learns from Solana that J's client also escaped.
With J's ship hidden and with no other leads it is left to Ash's unique sense of Aura and Kellyn's abilities as a Ranger to help them find it. Ash and his friends ride Dodrio to get to the rendezvous point, where the client picks up Riolu. After delivering Riolu, J and her troupes leave the client to battle Ash and company on his own. Ash uses Staravia to slash the tires on the truck so the client can't escape. Instead, the client summons his Fearow and flies away with Riolu in hand. Solana and Officer Jenny arrive, offering to take care of the remaining henchmen; Brock and Dawn also join in. The tides of battle quickly change when Solana enlists the assistance of a Trapinch to trap the henchmen and their powerful Pokémon in a Rock Tomb.
Meanwhile, Kellyn and Ash pursue the client using their Dodrio. Kellyn has his Dodrio run across a steep cliff face before leaping atop Fearow and delivering a Fury Attack to hinder the getaway. The client quickly recovers and rushes into a nearby cave with Riolu in hand. He calls on his Aggron to block the cave with Rock Smash. Kellyn sees a Donphan and uses his Capture Styler to have it use Rollout. They knock down the barrier, only to find the tunnels all covered up with more rocks. Ash uses Riolu's Aura connection before using Donphan's Rollout to clear the tunnel on the farthest left leading to the client and Riolu. The client is furious to see that Ash and Kellyn located him. He orders his Aggron to attack, but Donphan counters with Horn Attack. Aggron is sent backwards and knocks over its Trainer, who loses possession of Riolu's case. Ash rushes over and frees Riolu from its glass case. Aggron retaliates with a Hyper Beam, but Riolu strikes back with an Aura Sphere. Using Pikachu's Volt Tackle, Ash is able to knock Aggron out, which pins the client to the ground. Kellyn confronts the client, telling him the jig is up. Meanwhile, Officer Jenny, with the help of Brock and Dawn, have since tied up all the henchmen.
Later, J receives her latest mission. However Team Rocket are determined to get the revenge on the Pokémon hunter. J ignores the trio's motto and drives her airship directly into their Meowth balloon, which explodes as a result and sends Team Rocket blasting off. By evening, Officer Jenny leaves with a van full of criminals and Riolu is happily reunited with its rightful Trainer. Kellyn thanks Ash and his friends for the help and declares mission complete. Riolu's Trainer also offers his gratitude. Ash then remembers that he still has the little figure that Riolu owns. He gives it back to Riolu and steps back only to get caught in its Aura communication, as Riolu thanks him for returning its prized possession back.