Pop Goes the Sneasel
With Larvitar returned to its rightful home, Ash and company make their way to Silver Town for the Silver Conference Tournament. On the way, they find a group of people lined up by the Ho-Oh Shrine, where the Silver Conference Torch is ready to be carried!
The torch runner appears to be late, and when an attendant goes to tell them the news, Togepi and Pikachu run inside. Ash and the others catch them, but not before they see two trainers leaving in a huff, afraid for their Pokémon's safety. The attendant is saddened that two more trainers have fled the Shrine, and turns to Silver Conference entry Ash Ketchum for help! Before Ash can answer, Harrison, a trainer from Hoenn, appears to help them out.
The attendant tells the tale of the shrine and why it is here; a Ho-Oh put a stop to a battle by spreading its flame throughout the area. All weapons burned, and the land was left uninhabitable, until one day, plant and animal life returned. One flame remains, which has been preserved as The Sacred Flame at the Ho-Oh Shrine. At the top of the steps is a Sneasel, which is intent on stopping anyone from approaching the Shrine. Without being able to get close, they will be unable to use the Ho-Oh's flame to light the torch!
Ash and crew approach the Secret Flame, just as Team Rocket get approached by the Sneasel, and its Machop and Machoke friends, for invading their space. Sneasel's Faint Attack sweeps Team Rocket into a frenzy and blast off before long. Ash makes his way to the shrine while Misty and Harrison deal with Machop and Machoke, but Sneasel shows up toss top Ash before he can take the flame. Totodile tries to stop the Sneasel, but gets taken out of the match before long by Sneasel's Shadow Ball. Ash and Totodile crash into a tree, but Ash refuses to give up.
In the forest, Team Rocket talk about replacing Meowth with Sneasel, believing that Meowth is keeping them down, while Sneasel could help them start winning some battles. Meowth overhears the conversation, and puts a plan into motion to stop them from getting the Sneasel. Ash and Harrison are still trying to stop Machoke and Machoke, and use Phanpy and Houndoom to get the job done. Before Harrison can catch Sneasel, team Rocket come around in a Sneasel shaped balloon!
Meowth, dressed in a Sneasel outfit, approaches the wild Sneasel with a smoke bomb, but clues Sneasel in on the trick before it can go off. The bomb goes off anyway, but Team Rocket grab Meowth by accident, who goes and pops the balloon, blasting them off for a while longer. Harrison calls out his Blaziken, a Pokémon Ash's Pokédex has no data on, as it is native to the Hoenn region. Blaziken's Fire Punch manages to knock down Sneasel, long enough for Harrison to catch it!
Machop and Machoke are hired to guard the shrine for good, as the torch is lit and carried off to Silver Town. Harrison announces that he too is entered in the Tournament, and cannot wait to meet Ash in the stadium!