As our heroes and Alexa wrap up their shipboard tour of the Decolore Islands, they spot several Pokémon native to the Kanto region. Porter says that’s a sure sign that their final stop, Vermilion City, is close by! They all have plans for Kanto: Ash can’t wait to get home, Iris and Cilan really want to see some Pokémon that are new to them, and Alexa has plans to interview Professor Oak.
Of course, Team Rocket is close behind, and the villains have plans of their own—to finally capture Pikachu! From their Basculin submarine, they try to stop the cruise ship by entangling its propellers, and when that doesn’t work, they succeed in floating the ship up into the sky with giant balloons! The passengers panic, and in the confusion, Team Rocket manages to net Pikachu, Axew, and an impressive haul of Poké Balls from our heroes and the other passengers!
Trapped in the cargo hold, Ash, Iris, and Cilan make several attempts to escape before they’re successful, and then come at Team Rocket with a vengeance! It isn’t long before the hapless trio is overpowered, and all the Pokémon are safely returned, as the ship glides down to a safe and gentle splashdown. Alexa has been working in her cabin with headphones on the whole time, so she has no idea of what’s been happening—but when she finds out, she wants to write an article about it!
The Decolore Queen finally docks in Vermilion City, and Iris and Cilan can’t contain their excitement—they want to set out on the next leg of their journey right away! Iris wants to go to Blackthorn City to train with Gym Leader Clair, and Cilan plans to attend a fishing competition in the Hoenn region. Ash and Alexa go to the train station to see them off, and as they say goodbye, it’s a bittersweet moment as Ash thinks back on all the adventures they’ve had together.
But after a long journey, he’s nearly home, and it’s time for Ash and Alexa to set off for Pallet Town!