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Following [[JN034|his defeat]] at the hands of [[Bea]], {{Ash}} and his {{OBP|Pokémon|species}} are jogging as a part of their {{pkmn|training}} to win next time. Hearing this, [[Goh]] and his {{TP|Goh|Raboot}} decide to join them. Ash suddenly gets an alert on his [[Rotom Phone]], with his next [[World Coronation Series]] opponent standing only feet away. {{DL|Battle judge|Drone Rotom}} soars into to oversee the one-on-one match, with Ash calling on {{AP|Riolu}} against a male {{pkmn|Trainer}} and his {{p|Octillery}}. Ash notes that Octillery will probably move like Bea's {{p|Grapploct}} and warns Riolu to stay back as much as possible. Riolu makes the first attack. Octillery evades the flurry of {{m|Vacuum Wave}}s before striking back with {{m|Psybeam}}, which manages to {{status|confusion|confuse}} Riolu. In its daze, Riolu is unable to escape Octillery's {{m|Wrap}} attack and is struck out by a direct blast of {{m|Octazooka}}. Ash rushes to aid his Riolu, though the defeat causes his official ranking to drop from 930 to 975.
Ash's disappointment quickly subsides when he receives another battle invitation, this time from a female Trainer with a {{p|Tentacruel}}. Ash again calls out his Riolu, warning it to keep its distance. Riolu starts off strong, evading an oncoming {{m|Bubble Beam}} while firing off several Vacuum Waves. However, Riolu gets too close to its opponent, and is battered away by a tentacle. Tentacruel follows on with a {{m|Bind}} before using {{m|Poison Sting}}, leaving Riolu unable to battle. Ash's official ranking again declines for the third consecutive time, now down to rank 1021, landing Ash back in the Normal Class, which seriously dissapoints him.
Meanwhile, in [[Mauville City]] of the [[Hoenn]] [[region]], a large sandstorm has appeared out of nowhere. A hauntingly beautiful song from inside the sandstorm seemingly hypnotizes the people, and they walk towards it. Reports of the strange phenomenon soon reach [[Cerise Laboratory]], with [[Ren]], [[Chrysa]], and [[Professor Cerise]] left baffled by it. As they consider that the strange song may be the work of an unknown Pokémon, Goh volunteers to help the Professor investigate further. The Professor allows his research fellows to go, though Goh is forced to drag the unusually somber and broken Ash, who is still painfully mulling over his three consecutive losses, out to Hoenn.
Ash and Goh arrive in Mauville to find the city half-buried in sand. With a new Pokémon mystery to uncover, Ash quickly cheers up. Putting on their [[Go-Goggles]], the boys and their Pokémon walk directly into the sandstorm. They brave the vortex winds to reach the eye of the storm where they rush towards the distant cries for help. As three people are dragged into a pit, a {{p|Trapinch}} appears, snapping its jaws. Goh consults his [[Pokédex]], learning that Trapinch dig bowl-shaped pits to trap and hunt prey. Goh decides he will have to catch the Trapinch to save the people. A standard throw fails, but his curveball manages to {{pkmn2|caught|catch}} the Trapinch. The three people thank their rescuers before leaving.
Goh deduces that the Trapinch line's final evolution must be somewhere nearby, and soon enough a {{p|Flygon}} bursts from the desert sands. Goh instantly concludes that Flygon is the source of the song, which was created by the desert wings hitting Flygon's wings. He believes Flygon must have whipped up the sandstorm so it could build its nest without being disturbed. Goh throws a Poké Ball, but quickly realizes that he and Ash will need to battle it first. Goh chooses {{TP|Goh|Sobble}} to assist, while Ash erroneously selects {{AP|Pikachu}} and orders a {{m|Thunderbolt}} attack. Flygon is unaffected by the {{type|Electric}} attack, and Goh reminds Ash that Flygon is a part {{t|Ground}} type. Ash switches Pikachu out for Riolu and orders a flurry of Vacuum Waves. Flygon whips up another {{m|Sandstorm}} to defend itself, though Sobble's barrage of {{m|Water Gun}}s eventually break through.
Ash realizes that Goh was trying to get the loose sand to react to water, which leaves Flygon open to a combo of Water Gun and Vacuum Wave attacks. Flygon switches tact and dives underground using {{m|Dragon Rush}} to navigate the sand like water. It eventually strike Sobble, forcing Goh to [[recall]] it before having to contend with an outburst of tears. Ash tries to think of a counter-strategy, but due his thoughts about three consecutive failures in the World Coronation Series, he andcan't Rioludo it and struckeventually Flygon strikes down byhim Flygonand Riolu, making them stroke in thesand with face — Ash's battle spirit is completely broken and he feels himself powerless to do meantimesomething. As Flygon flies back up, Goh order Raboot use {{m|Double Kick}}. Though the move misses its mark and Flygon goes into a Dragon Rush yet again. Raboot takes its time to listen to Flygon and it manages to successfully evade Flygon's sneak attacks. Flygon escapes two {{m|Ember}} attacks and responds with a {{m|Draco Meteor}}. Goh orders Raboot to keep dodging while closing in to attack, a strategy which Ash questions. However, Goh follows through, suing the Draco Meteors to help Raboot get leverage before having Raboot use Ember on one of the meteors. The combination proves a success, knocking Flygon to the ground before Goh makes the catch. The sandstorm over Mauville City dissipates as a result. Goh lets out a mighty cheer, thanking Raboot for its amazing effort.
Ash is stunned by Goh's surprising combo technique, to which Goh reveals that he developed it from watching Ash battle. Goh adds that he really wanted to use Ember, a move that he and Raboot worked hard to develop. Inspired by this, Ash vows to continue aiming to battle {{pkmn|Champion}} [[Leon]] and realizes his mistake, admitting he tried to only attack from a distance after his loss to Bea's Grapploct's tentacles. Pikachu and Riolu nestle up to Ash, supporting his rediscovered confidence thanks to Goh's newfound determination.
==Major events==