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The Four-Star Challenge by Howard Dewin is the 11th book in the adaptation of the Pokémon anime. It was published by Scholastic. It is the third book to take place in the Orange Islands. It is 90 pages in length.
The Ultimate Test
The Orange Islands have a Pokémon League of their own. But these gym matches are beyond different. Mountain Climbing? Dancing Pokémon? And sometimes Ash can't even use his Pokémon! What's up with that? Can Ash stand the challenge? With help from his friends and a little luck, Ash just might have a chance.
This book is based on the events of the anime episodes Fit to be Tide, Navel Maneuvers, The Mandarin Island Miss Match and Misty Meets Her Match.
Fit to be Tide
Ash, Misty and Tracey are riding on Ash's on their way to Mikan Island for Ash's first Orange League Challenge. They climb off Lapras and begin to hike through the jungle on the way to the Gym. Suddenly, a young boy hops down in their path. Ash tells him that he is looking for the Gym and the boys laughs, saying the Orange Crew is way tougher than him. A young woman walks around the corner and asks the little boy if he is causing trouble. Ash says that he has come to challenge the Gym and she reveals that she is the Mikan Island Gym Leader and accepts his challenge. She tells Ash that her name is Cissy and tells Ash that she wants to use Water Pokémon for her battle against him since he is a little squirt.
Everybody follows Cissy into the Gym. Pushing a button, the Gym floor slides away to reveal a pool. On the side of the pool, on top of a table, were tin cans. Cissy throws out Seadra. Cissy announces that she and Ash are going to have the Water Gun Challenge. She tells Ash to pick his Pokémon with the best Water Gun attack. Ash lets out Ash's. Cissy has Seadra aim its Water Gun at the cans and it knocks them all down. Tracey begins to sketch Seadra as Ash has Squirtle aim its Water Gun at the cans. Squirtle knocks off all of the cans.
Cissy then decides that they are going to try it with moving targets. A flying disc flies out and Seadra hits it out of the air. Then Seadra also hits three more discs out of the air. Next, it was Squirtle's turn. One disc flew out into the air and Squirtle shot it down. Then three flew out and Squirtle knocked them out too. Cissy decided there would be a quick-draw contest. Whoever hit the disc first won. Tracey grabbed his binoculars. The disc flew out and Seadra and Squirtle fired. The disc exploded and no one could tell who hit it first. Tracey says that they hit at the same time. Cissy tells Ash that the winner of his challenge would be decided by a Pokémon Wave Ride. Cissy then heads for the beach.
Ash asks Cissy what wave riding is as they stand on the beach. Cissy says that they each have a Pokémon that they can ride on to swim out to a flag in the ocean, circle it, then head back. Cissy releases her Pokémon, a Blastoise. Ash chooses Lapras. They both got onto their Pokémon and got ready to go. Cissy tells her brother to fire just as a Magikarp Submarine explodes onto the surface. Team Rocket launch into their motto then demand Pikachu. James sends out Weezing who uses Smokescreen. They fire a net which misses Pikachu and captures Blastoise. They drag Blastoise into the water but Cissy is confident that Blastoise can handle them. Suddenly, Blastoise comes firing up out of the water. Pikachu and Blastoise then send them blasting off.
With Team Rocket defeated, the race can begin, however Ash didn't know that he had to ride on Lapras. Both Lapras and Blastoise clash as they try to position themselves on the inside, and Blastoise prevails, taking Cissy into the lead as they round the marker and start to head back. Cissy is almost knocked off of Blastoise by an approaching wave, which Lapras used its Ice Beam to stop. Although shaken, Cissy is still in the race, and starts to pull ahead of Lapras. Ash instructs Lapras to direct an Ice Beam towards the shore and use the ice to move faster. Ash therefore wins the race, and it awarded the Coral-Eye Badge.
Ash, Misty and Tracey are riding on Lapras, Ash being very eager to face his next Orange League battle. Tracey spots Navel Island, a volcanic island. Upon landing on the beach a young man introduces himself as Dan, and leads the trio towards the Gym. Ash believes that Dan is also there to challenge the Gym. After walking along a long path they reach the mountain with a cable car adjacent. A sign says that challengers of the Gym must first climb to the top of the mountain alone, without any assistance from their Pokémon. Dan remarks that he will also be making the ascent. Tracey and Misty use the cable car to climb to the top.
While climbing the mountain, Ash finds it very difficult, loses his footing and falls down the mountain. He almost calls out his Bulbasaur to use Vine Whip to steady himself, but Dan manages to dissuade him from doing so, as it would have disqualified him. Ash and Dan keep climbing the mountain, and the slopes started to become covered in snow. Ash's was starting the feel the effects of the cold, urging Ash to climb the mountain faster, ahead of Dan. At the summit Ash comes upon the realization that Dan is the Navel Island Gym Leader, and that climbing the mountain was a test. Dan introduces the Gym rules as a contest of three rounds, with the victor having to win two out of three. The first round is announced to be the quickest to freeze a geyser. Dan is confident and sends out his Nidoqueen to use Ice Beam. Ash hesitates, and then calls out Lapras. However, Nidoqueen proves to be faster and Dan wins the round.
The second round is to turn the frozen geyser into an ice sled, with each participant using three Pokémon. Ash calls out Pikachu, Bulbasaur and Ash's, despite Charizard not listening to Ash. Dan uses Machoke, Nidoqueen and Scyther. Dan's Pokémon make early headway building their sled, while Bulbasaur and Pikachu are too ineffective. Ash tried to coax Charizard to help, but Charizard feigns interest. Charizard then sends a fiery blast in the direction of the ice column, turning it into an ice sled, much to everyone's disbelief. This gives Ash victory in the second round. The third round consists of a race in the ice sleds down the mountain and onto the beach.
The race begins, with Ash using his Pikachu, Bulbasaur and Ash's to assist him. Dan pulls ahead, but crashes into a ditch. The ditch is revealed to have been dug by Team Rocket, who appears from behind a snowbank. They capture Ash, Dan and their Pokémon in a giant pit and steal Pikachu, before heading off into the distance. Dan calls out his Geodude and orders it to use Rock Throw. Ash tells Bulbasaur to start making snowballs for Geodude to throw at Team Rocket's balloon, which eventually sinks due to the excess weight. The balloon's basket is turned upside-down, and Pikachu is freed. The race is continued, and the sleds head towards the rock slopes. In order to avoid a large boulder, Ash diverts his sled using a tree trunk, which sends it careening off into the forest. Ash's sled hits a large bump, sending it into the sky, landing just ahead of Dan's on the beach. Ash wins the race, and receives the Sea Ruby Badge.
The Mandarin Island Miss Match
On the way to Trovita Island for his third Badge, Ash and his friends stop at Mandarin Island for a rest. Tracey arrives with a leaflet about a Pokémon lecture hosted by Prima, who Misty adores. Ash wishes to challenge her, but Prima overhears from behind them. Misty and Tracey start badgering Prima with questions but she ignores them. Prima's nonchalant attitude annoys Ash, who storms off after she refuses an attempt to battle him. Ash battles another trainer, to which Ask sends out his Squirtle. The other boy sends out Persian, which uses Thunderbolt at Squirtle. The boy then sends out Tauros to faint Squirtle. Ash sends out Charizard, who engulfs Tauros with a burst of flame, fainting it. However, Charizard takes to the air and starts to attack the restaurant and other diners. Prima sends out Slowbro and uses Disable to freeze Charizard in place. Prima lectures Ash on his inability to control Charizard, giving Ash a lot to digest about being a good trainer.
Misty Meets Her Match
After feeling sullen from his encounter with Prima, Ash silently rides Lapras. Lost in his own thoughts, he is startled when he hears a scream. The scream is originating from a little girl helplessly clinging to a Seel, caught in a whirlpool. Misty uses her Misty's and uses it to approach the girl. She and Lapras rescue the girl, who is introduced as Mahri. Her brother, Rudy, welcomes her return as they arrive on the island. The island is revealed to be Trovita Island, and Rudy to be the Gym Leader. Ash challenges Rudy to a battle, and they head towards the Gym. Before battling, Rudy shows off his Pokémon, engaging in various forms of dancing.
The Gym battle starts, in which both competitors use the same Pokémon for each round. The first round is an Electric type round, and Ash sends out Pikachu. Rudy sends out Electabuzz. Ash uses Thunderbolt, but does not affect Electabuzz, so Ash uses Quick Attack instead. Electabuzz anticipates the attack, and blocks it. Electabuzz then uses Thunder Punch, knocking Pikachu out. The next round is a Grass-type round, and Ash uses Bulbasaur. Rudy sends out Exeggutor, and issues for music to play in the arena. Bulbasaur uses Razor Leaf, however Exeggutor avoids the attack by dancing through the leaves. Ash orders Bulbasaur use Razor Leaf again, but to no avail. Exeggutor uses Egg Bomb, almost knocking Bulbasaur out. Bulbasaur then uses Sleep Powder, and Exeggutor starts to fall asleep. However, it starts to walk off the arena, so Ash commands Bulbasaur to save it using Vine Whip. Rudy recalls his Pokémon, giving Ash the victory.
The final round begins, between Water-type Pokémon. Rudy sends out Starmie, dedicating the battle to Misty, who Ash is upset with appearing to support Rudy. Ash sends out Squirtle, and both Pokémon use Water Gun. Starmie dances, avoiding Squirtle's attacks, and dancing with enough speed to generate an electric field. Ash starts to lose his confidence, until Misty snaps him out of it, repeating Prima's lecture. Ash then commands Squirtle aim a Water Gun at the ground, catapulting it in the sky, avoiding Starmie's electric attack. However Squirtle had catapulted too far, and soared past the arena. Squirtle tucks itself into its shell and spins, fanning out water and effectively learning Hydro Pump. Squirtle uses Hydro Pump to land back into the arena, and uses Skull Bash to knock Starmie out. Rudy then awards Ash the Spikeshell Badge. While heading out on Lapras in search of the fourth Badge, Misty promises to support Ash in future battles.
- The Navel Island Gym Leader is called Dan in the book, however in the anime he is called Danny.
- Although the back of the book says that it is the third of three books taking place in the Orange Islands, five more books following this one take place in the Orange Islands, adding up to a total of eight.
- This book follows the anime in naming the Ice-type Elite Four member "Prima". However, one instance near the end of the book refers to her by her original English name, Lorelei.
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