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Scyther, Heart of a Champion by Sheila Sweeny is the twelfth book in the adaptation of the Pokémon anime. It is a book focusing on Tracey's Scyther and Ash's Charizard. It was published by Scholastic in August 2000.
This book uses plot elements from of the anime episodes Tracey Gets Bugged, A Way Off Day Off, and Charizard Chills.
Ash, Misty, and Tracey arrive at Murcott Island, which is famous for its Bug-type Pokémon. Misty, predictably, wants to leave the island.
The group walks along, and Misty, horrified by some Caterpie, drags Ash away - into a Pinsir. They run back to Tracey, and Tracey's Pokémon eventually spot a badly injured Scyther, nearly passed out from exhaustion. Ash checks his Pokédex, before the group approaches it. Scyther wakes up, and jumps into a battle position as Tracey tries to approach. However, it is too weak to fight, barely able to even stand. Ash throws a Poké Ball in an attempt to catch it, so he can take it to a Pokémon Center, but Scyther swats it away easily. Ash attempts to send out Pikachu, but Tracey steps in with his Venonat. Tracey orders a Sleep Powder attack, which puts Scyther to sleep despite its attempt to escape. Tracey tosses a Poké Ball, easily catching Scyther.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket is flying over the island in their balloon, surveying the land. A Beedrill flies towards them and cuts through the balloon, bringing it down. Team Rocket gets out of the wreckage and notices all of the Bug Pokémon around before stumbling across a Scyther swarm. The leader, denoted by two cuts forming a cross on its forehead, leads an attack on Team Rocket. After outrunning the Scyther swarm, Meowth and James notify Jessie that her hair was crudely cut short. After checking it, she is outraged and declares her intent to confront the Scyther responsible. Meowth stops her and plans a method to capture the entire swarm.
At the Pokémon Center, Nurse Joy and Chansey work on Scyther. Ash and his friends watch through the window as Scyther glares at Tracey, seemingly mad at being caught. Chansey brings Scyther out of the room and takes it to recovery. Joy concludes that it lost its swarm leadership position from battling a younger Scyther challenger. The loss forced it to leave the swarm and live in exile unless it wins another leadership match. Ash calls Professor Oak, who points out that Scyther's self-esteem is probably low due to losing its leadership and then being caught. Oak suggests that Tracey improve Scyther's confidence in its strength. Tracey takes this to heart. He apologises to the Scyther. Ash remembers Scyther's love of battling and advises Tracey to help Scyther prepare for a rematch.
Scyther looks stronger already - and then flies out of the bed and through the window to go look for the rematch!
As Ash and friends chase after him, they find Team Rocket. Jessie fires a bazooka loaded with yellow glue into the air, which immobilizes the swarm, before Meowth nets them all. Scyther swoops in to help, cutting the nets. Ash and the others notice Jessie's hair and quickly make fun of her, prompting a new, hair-themed motto. James brings out Weezing, who uses Smokescreen to cover the field. Scyther blows it away with Swords Dance. Meowth translates; Scyther is saying that he won't let them take the other Scyther, even though it's no longer their leader. James brings out Victreebel, and Jessie brings out Arbok and Lickitung.
Team Rocket's Pokémon outnumber Scyther four to one and Pikachu tries to step in, but Scyther wards him away. Tracey understands, saying Scyther needs to prove itself to win back its warrior pride. Meowth even joins the Pokémon to attack, leading the charge, but Scyther easily swats him away. Lickitung and Victreebel try to hit Scyther, but it flies up, and they crash into each other. Arbok attacks from underneath Scyther, but Scyther dodges quickly to throw Arbok off, sending it back to the ground. Victreebel attacks, but Scyther makes it retreat by cutting off some of its leaves. Arbok attacks with Poison Sting, and Scyther is too weak to retaliate.
The new leader steps forward and blocks a second barrage with its wings. Jessis orders the pokemon to attack together, but they're as weak as Scyther was at the start. Tracey and Scyther work together to defeat them easily, fighting off another attack from Arbok, and then crossing its wings to produce an energy blast that knocks them all down. Jessie tries to fire a bazooka, but Pikachu stops her with Thunderbolt. They flee, but Scyther gets off one last slash, leaving them with mohawks as the friends laugh.
A bunch of bugs squirm around, and Misty asks if they can leave now. The others agree, heading to shore with the swarm following. As Ash lets out Lapras, Scyther says goodbye to the swarm, and then re-enters its ball. They then sail away on Lapras's back. Soon, they see a nearby island, which they mark as their destination due to hunger. They touch down in a cove as Pikachu and Togepi run off while the humans take in the island scenery. A nut hits Ash in the head as they see a Farfetch'd flying above them. Tracey says he needs to observe this, but Ash is more interested in lunch. Tracey points out how many berries and fruit there are, and the group decides to rest for the day on the island as a vacation. Ash brings out his Pokémon, his Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Snorlax and Charizard. Misty sends out her Goldeen and Staryu to play, along with Ash's Lapras.
Tracey brings out his Pokémon, Venonat and Marill. They all play together, Marill letting Togepi play with its tail float. Ash notices Tracey hasn't let out Scyther. He does so, and Scyther scares the others with a roar. Despite Misty's protectiveness, Togepi is not afraid, walking up to Scyther and playing. Everyone else soon follows. Ash calls to Charizard to greet, but it looks away. Ash walks closer as Charizard uses Flamethrower on Ash. The attack hits Scyther on accident, who flies over and roars. Ash stops them, but they keep growling. The friends decide to make food, and start cooking. Snorlax then eats everything, but fortunately Misty has some spares. They call all the pokemon over, but a Jigglypuff tags along. She quickly sings, putting everyone to sleep. As usual, Jigglypuff stops, gets angry and draws on everyone.
When everyone wakes up, they decide to let Snorlax sleep longer while they eat. Scyther and Charizard keep growling at each other as they eat. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is watching from a distance.
James's Victreebel uses Sleep Powder to put everyone to sleep, before Victreebel once more tries to eat him. Jessie fires a bazooka, capturing everyone with suction plugs. Meowth tries to reel them all in, but Scyther and Charizard wake up, cutting the lines and waking the camp. The powerful Pokémon roar battle cries, waking the camp and getting Ash and Pikachu to return. Team Rocket rappels in on a zip-line reciting their motto, crashing into a tree before they can finish, which makes them say their final lines incoherently due to being stunned from the impact. Meowth jumps in and gets them in line with scratches to the face.
Team Rocket sends out Arbok and Weezing. Weezing's Smokescreen covers the field, but Scyther's Swords Dance clears it, although Scyther is still weak. Ash decides it needs help, and has Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Pikachu attack with Vine Whip, Water Gun, and Thunder Shock to attack Team Rocket. Charizard follows up with Flamethrower. Tracey, knowing a victory would improve Scyther's confidence, has it use Skull Bash to send them blasting off. Ash congratulates the Pokémon, but Charizard and Scyther are still growling at each other. Tracey and Misty agree that the pokemon have learnt that they can co-operate, and are just trying to look tough. They hop onto Lapras as everyone departs the island with refreshed spirits.
Unfortunately, they encounter a large ship that nearly hits them while riding Lapras. The ship's captain checks on them for any injuries, and then introduces himself as Mugsy. He quickly recognizes Ash from the Trovita Gym.
Aboard the boat, Mugsy explains that he is trying to get into the "Pokémon League". He states that he heard about Ash at the gym. Misty comments that Ash only knows how to use pure power to win. Mugsy challenges Ash to a battle, claiming that he likes strong trainers. They then set a course toward an empty island.
After the group reaches the Island, the battle begins. Ash selects Pikachu for the match, while Mugsy chooses his Poliwrath, which is wearing the golden championship belt that it won from Mugsy's hometown for being the most powerful Pokémon there. Misty is puzzled by the choice, given that Poliwrath has the type disadvantage. Tracey urges Ash to be careful. He orders Pikachu to use Thunderbolt, but Poliwrath was unfazed by the Electric attack. He then uses Double Team to surround Pikachu. At Ash's command, Pikachu then uses Quick Attack to get rid of the illusory Poliwrath. Pikachu strikes all the Poliwrath at once, merging them into one, but to no effect. Poliwrath quickly uses Hypnosis, followed by Water Gun to defeat Pikachu. Tracey explains that Mugsy had used psychology, using a water type so that Ash would assume he'd have an easy fight.
Tracey sends out Scyther, but Ash insists it's his battle. He decides to match power with power and calls out Charizard, much to the horror of Misty and Tracey. Ash comments that he can handle Charizard, just as it barely misses him with Flamethrower. Mugsy chuckles, asking why Ash would even do this. Ash denies that this is a mistake, but CHarizard ignores him, knocks him down with his tail, and shoots fire near him again. Scyther roars, knowing it could do better. At Mugsy's request, Poliwrath launches a Water Gun at Charizard, which instantly calls the Pokémon back to the beach. The two opponents exchange several Water Gun and Flamethrower attacks, as Ash tries to persuade Charizard to use a physical attack. The match comes to an abrupt end when Poliwrath unleashes a powerful Ice Beam, which freezes Charizard in a block of ice. Mugsy says they should have a rematch when Ash learns to handle his Charizard. Tracey says he's not sure if Charizard will recover.
Ash says he will recover, insisting this is his fault. They set fires around to help melt the ice, but Charizard is still cold to the touch. Ash massages him until his hands are red and sore, saying it was nothing compared to the damage Charizard had taken. Everyone worked together to keep rubbing, until everyone but Ash had to go to sleep. While Charizard was barely conscious, eyes closed, Ash talked to it, promising to do better, and saying that he wanted to be experienced enough for them to work together. Charizard seemed to respond well, but was still weak. Ash gathered a little more firewood and encouraged it.
In the morning, the others found Ash asleep on top of Charizard. When they woke him, Charizard roared, sending up flames. Everyone congratulated him, even Scyther. Then, Team Rocket appeared with a drill machine, and trapped Pikachu in a shockproof box. They then tunneled away. Ash ran after them, and Charizard scooped him up. Misty comments that Charizard really wants to help, but Tracey worries whether it's strong enough.
The pair flies into the tunnel after Pikachu, and emerges from the other side. At Ash's request, Charizard crushes the drill with his foot and bites down to destroy the box containing Pikachu. Pikachu is returned to Ash, but Team Rocket is not done yet. Meowth presses a button, and two circular saws attempt to cut Ash, Pikachu, and Charizard. Charizard manages to avoid the blades, but Ash and Pikachu fall off and are knocked out on the beach. Seeing Ash unconscious, Charizard produces a swirling fireball in its mouth, which shoots flames at Team Rocket. Their shouts awaken Pikachu and Ash, who checks his Pokédex for more details. To Ash's surprise, Charizard has learned Dragon Rage; the attack sends Team Rocket blasting off once again.
Ash hugs Charizard when they return to the beach, and Misty and Tracey compliment them. Mugsy does, too, and asks for that rematch. Charizard agtrees. Mugsy sends out Poliwrath and makes the first move, Water Gun. Ash orders Charizard to fly, and the Pokémon complies to evade the attack. Poliwrath's Ice Beam attack is melted by a fiery blast. Charizard dodges another Ice Beam with Fly, before countering an attempted Body Slam with Seismic Toss. Poliwrath is knocked out after it hits the ground. In celebration, Charizard lets out a mighty roar and Ash hugs his Pokémon. Mugsy says it was a great battle, and says they should do it again some day.
Misty says Ash is on the way to becoming a master trainer, now he knows the secret isn't power, but friendship and teamwork. Ash agrees, because Charizard only listened when Ash demonstrated he understood how it felt.
- Arbok's attacks are actually written as Poison Needle, rather than Poison Sting. Once again, this could be an error, but could be a different move, perhaps due to Poison Sting being a particularly weak attack.
- The character Mugsy appears in Charizard Chills under the name Tad. He appears friendlier in the episode than the book.
- The move used by Poliwrath to freeze Charizard is referred to as Cold Beam, rather than Ice Beam. This might be an error, but the description is of a white ball of ice, so this might be intended as a different move.
- The Pokédex incorrectly identifies Charizard's Dragon Rage as Rage. This error was also made in the English dub of the episode.
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