Playing the Leveling Field
Dawn and her friends are passing through a town on their way to the Celestic Contest when they see Zoey in the middle of a tough battle with a well-dressed Coordinator. Zoey's Glameow is beaten by her opponents's Mismagius, and this stranger introduces herself as Fantina—the Hearthome Gym Leader herself! She's traveling as a Pokémon Trainer to become a better Gym Leader and perfect her own style, so she's not interested when Ash requests a Gym battle and Jessie (disguised as the reporter Jessedia) requests some interview time. But Fantina is willing to battle Ash in a friendly three-on-three battle, starting with her Drifloon against Ash's Buizel.
The battle's barely started when Drifloon hits Buizel with Hypnosis, putting it to sleep. By the time Buizel finally wakes up, it's too exhausted to battle! Next up is Chimchar, but Drifloon uses Psychic to stop Chimchar's Flamethrower and follows up with Hypnosis yet again. Now Chimchar falls sleep, too! Now it's up to good ol' Pikachu to save the day—if it can. Pikachu confidently launches a Volt Tackle that's slowed to a crawl and then reversed by Drifloon's Ominous Wind. Pikachu strikes back with Thunderbolt, but that just sparks Drifloon's Evolution into Drifblim!
Drifblim uses its aerial mobility to dodge Pikachu's Thunderbolt, then uses Hypnosis again! With Pikachu sleeping like a baby, Ash's team is unable to battle. Ash is bummed by the loss, but Fantina promises him a battle at the Hearthome Gym and even agrees to someday battle Dawn as well. That night, Jessie, hoping Yanmega can learn Drifblim's moves, shows her Pokémon the videos of Fantina's battle, while Zoey shows Dawn her third Ribbon. Now that Fantina has given them some new challenges to consider, Dawn and Ash are ready to get back on the road to Celestic Town!