| VS. Slugma I
Ruby wakes up to find himself and the chairman of the Pokémon Fan Club tied up in a closed room. He wakes up the chairman, and the two of them remember that they had been making Pokéblocks in the Contest House before they were knocked out. They wonder what happened to the other two men, and peer out of a window slit in the door to see Mack holding one of the missing men in the air by his throat.
Ruby instantly recognizes the Team Magma uniform from the incident on the Abandoned Ship, and realizes that Mitch and Marge didn't recognize him because on the ship, his face had been covered with berry juice, and he was wearing his glasses. He also realizes that the man Mack is threatening is Captain Stern of the Oceanic Museum, and the chairman deduces that they've been taken to the shipyard on the outskirts of the city. The chairman also reveals that Stern designs the submarines used for underwater research, and so the other man with him must be Tuga, his research assistant. As Mack continues to threaten Stern, Ruby and the chairman argue over who should try to battle Team Magma.
Mack throws Stern against a door, demanding to know what else is needed to make the submarine work, and raises the submarine to the surface inside its tank. Tuga tries to intervene, but Mack sends out his Slugma, using it to injure Tuga to pressure Stern to talk. Unwilling to let his subordinate suffer, Stern finally explains: while the Kaien 1 will travel underwater at normal depths, it won't be able to reach the Seafloor Cavern without a special heart component, which they've already ordered from the Devon Corporation. Mack calls Mitch and Marge to report this information, and Ruby and the Fan Club chairman, listening through the door, hear the entire thing.
When Mack opens the door to throw Stern inside, Ruby and the chairman fall out, and Mack realizes they've been listening. He sends Slugma after Ruby, who runs away, saying he doesn't know anything, Pokéblocks falling from his bag as he dashes in a panic towards the submarine, Zuzu right behind. Slugma follows, though Mack hadn't ordered it to, and Mack himself dives into the submarine behind Slugma, his suspicions aroused. The safety latch on the submarine hatch then closes, and the sealed sub begins to sink once more.
Inside the submarine, Mack confronts Ruby, saying he lured Slugma into the sub on purpose by dropping bitter green Pokéblocks, which are its favorite because of its calm nature. He demands to know how Ruby knew Slugma's nature, and who Ruby is--and Ruby's stance suddenly toughens as he stops pretending it wasn't a trap.
|This article is part of Project Manga, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each series of Pokémon manga.|