Our heroes are headed for Rustboro City, where Ash hopes to have his first real gym battle in Hoenn. Team Rocket is making their way along the same path when they stumble upon a cage full of Ekans. Jessie is delighted that their work has been done for them and orders Arbok to attack. Arbok can't manage to attack the helpless Ekans, however, because it remembers when it used to be an Ekans. Jessie is sympathetic. James soon makes a similar concession when they find a cage of Koffing that Wheezing will not hurt. The cages belong to a poacher named Rico who uses his Fearrow and Pupitar to chase off Team Rocket. Team Rocket returns to the scene, now hoping to free the Ekans and Koffing. Things turn dangerous when Rico's Pupitar evolves into a Tyrannitar, and Team Rocket is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice for the Pokémon that they love.