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Ash then says, "Gee thanks, mister! You saved our lives!" The explorer responds with a "Noooo!". The man then identifies himself as {{FB|Pyramid King|Brandon}}. Brandon talks about the ruins, called [[Pokélantis]], an ancient kingdom whose king tried to control {{p|Ho-Oh}} as part of his plan to rule the world. Ho-Oh destroyed the entire kingdom for the King's wicked attempt. Team Rocket overhears and misinterprets that Ho-Oh is in the ruins, so they set off to find it.
 
Ash is excited that he might run into Ho-Oh, but Brandon doesn't want them to follow. Ash reveals that he won six {{gdis|Battle Frontier|III}} Symbols and runs off. Brandon and the others pursue Ash. Meanwhile, Team Rocket find a {{p|Smoochum}} statue and set off a boulder trap similar to the one Ash set off.
 
Ash runs into the door leading into the King’sKing's chamber, which quickly opens, letting him inside, and shuts immediately thereafter. {{an|May}} and Max push against the door, but it does not budge. Brandon tries to find the mechanism that opens the King's chamber. Inside the King’sKing's chamber, all of the torches light automatically as Ash stands up. He finds the King's throne under an enormous monument of the King himself and a stone orb shaped like a {{Ball|Poké}} resting on the seat. Thinking Ho-Oh is inside, he grabs the orb and holds it above his head, commanding it to emerge. Brandon gets the door open and they get inside. Brandon tries to get Ash to set the orb down, but the mysterious object suddenly activates. The orb levitates in the air as a dark voice chants a spell, enveloping Ash in dark energy. He falls to his knees, still surrounded by a blue and black aura. The others stare in shock as Ash gets back on his feet and laughs with a deep, sinister voice.
 
Team Rocket encounter a door, and {{MTR}} volunteers to look through the keyhole, where he sees a bird's silhouette. Thinking they have found Ho-Oh, Team Rocket open the large doors, only to be chased away by an angry {{p|Pidgey}} pecking at their bottoms.
The battle is set for a one-on-one match. Brandon sends out Regirock. Ash wakes up inside another dimension but can see through the King's eyes. Noticing the battle, Ash summons {{AP|Sceptile}}, which the King replicates in reality. Ash orders Sceptile to use {{m|Leaf Blade}}, which the King replicates. Regirock uses {{m|Iron Defense}} to nullify the attack. The King then orders {{m|Bullet Seed}}, but Iron Defense also nullifies it. With a snide grin, the King orders Sceptile to fire Bullet Seed at the ceiling. Sceptile is hesitant at first, but obeys. The attack causes rubble to crash on top of and bury Regirock. The group notes that Ash would never attack in that manner. Brandon calls the King a coward for his tactic, but Ash hears the insult from within the King. Ash temporarily breaks the spell, denies that he is a coward, but soon loses control to the King.
 
Max thinks Regirock is down and out, but the Rock Peak Pokémon breaks out of its tomb and immediately uses {{m|Hyper Beam}}. In an astonishing move, the King orders Sceptile to use the referee as cover. Sceptile initially hesitates, not used to Ash using such dirty tricks. The King tells him to obey, so Sceptile leaps behind the frightened referee, [[Samuel]], forcing Brandon to cancel the attack. The King uses Sceptile’sSceptile's Leaf Blade on Regirock’sRegirock's leg, causing it to kneel down. Regirock uses {{m|Lock-On}}, targeting Sceptile. The King orders another Leaf Blade on the other leg, rendering Regirock immobile. Regirock uses Hyper Beam again. Sceptile’sSceptile's attempt to dodge fails as Lock-On ensures that the attack hits. Hyper Beam comes around and Sceptile is blasted to the ground and faints. The King refuses to admit defeat and orders Pikachu to battle. May, Brock, and Max defend Pikachu and try to break through to Ash. The King appears resistant and orders Pikachu to use Thunderbolt, but it refuses. Brandon reminds Ash that they’rethey're his good friends, and Ash gets {{AP|Pikachu}} to use {{m|Thunderbolt}} on him. The attack frees Ash from captivity and purges the King from his body. Brandon uses a counter of the spell to banish the King's spirit back to the orb. Ash returns to normal, much to his friends' relief. Brandon admits to Scott that Ash's friends freed him from the spell.
 
Meanwhile, Team Rocket are still in the ruins. They find a hidden room between two sliding walls that houses a mere {{p|Hoothoot}}. Jessie throws a rock, angering Hoothoot and prompting it to attack Team Rocket's bottoms as they flee. They unknowingly activate a spring tile that sends them flying out of the ruins.
 
As the sun sets, Brandon tells Ash that his own carelessness and arrogance attracted the King and rendered him vulnerable. Ash admits that he may be a foolish kid at times, but he still wants the chance to battle Brandon fair and square. Unfortunately, Brandon declines the challenge as he has some more ruins to visit, but he tells Ash he will get in touch when the time is right. He advises Ash to train hard in the meantime. Brandon and Samuel enter the [[Battle Pyramid]], and Scott advises the group to stand back. The Pyramid's corners slide outward and dust begins to be kicked up. The massive structure lifts into the sky on rotors that keep it aloft, allowing Brandon to move to the his next ruins site. May notices a golden bird in the sky, and the whole group witnesses the real Ho-Oh flying in the distance. Ash remembers how he saw it [[EP001|when he first started out]] on his journey. He uses this to inspire himself to train for the official battle. But for now, the [[Grand Festival]] is on the horizon, and May cannot wait to put herself to the ultimate test.
 
==Major events==
* {{p|Regirock}} ({{DL|Brandon's legendary titans|Regirock|Brandon's}})
* {{p|Ho-Oh}} ({{an|Ho-Oh|anime}})
* {{p|Pidgey}}
* {{p|Hoothoot}}
* {{p|Salamence}}
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