The special starts with a scene of Grovyle stealing a Time Gear. As he makes off with it, time freezes in that area.
The scene shifts to Chimchar, who is anxious to start an Exploration Team by joining the Wigglytuff Guild. As we walks toward the entrance, Team Razor Wind is blasted out by Wigglytuff's Hyper Voice, and members of the Wigglytuff Guild notice Chimchar's footprints, thinking he's an intruder. This scares Chimchar into running away from the beach, where he meets an unconcious Piplup. After he wakes up, Piplup, claiming to be a human, is scared to find out that he has turned into a Pokémon. Chimchar thus convinces Piplup to go with him to meet Wigglytuff and start an Exploration Team, in the hopes that he'll find out what has happened to him.
They then enter the Wigglytuff Guild, and after causing a slight ruckus (the guild thought that they were intruders), they are able to talk to Wigglytuff himself. After Chatot, Wigglytuff's right-hand man, explains the strangeness going on in their world with the Time Gears being stolen, Piplup and Chimchar receive an Exploration Team Starter Kit as well as Rescue Team Badges, officially joining the guild as Team Poképals. That night, Piplup and Chimchar rest in the guild. When Chimchar accidentally rolls on top of Piplup, Piplup receives a vision of the future: in this case exactly what the third member of his rescue team will buy at Treasure Town.
The next day, after the guild oath recital, Piplup and Chimchar receive their first rescue mission: they must go into Labyrinth Cave and retrieve a Gabite Scale, in order to cure a young Shinx's sister's sickness. To help them on this presumably dangerous mission is guild veteran Sunflora. They first go to Kecleon's to stock up on items, and it is there that Piplup's vision is fulfilled: Sunflora buys a Joy Ribbon, Defense Scarf, and Power Band for Piplup, Chimchar, and herself respectively, exactly as it happened in Piplup's vision. Team Razor Wind spots them and secretly decides that they should go retrieve the Gabite Scale, since Team Poképals is too inexperienced. Team Poképals then enters the cave, but it's not long before Chimchar gets attacked by a wild Golbat swarm. After Sunflora attacks them with Razor Leaf, she explains the usefulness of the items; the Power Band made her attack stronger, and the Defense Scarf saved Chimchar from injury. As they proceed, Piplup almost falls into a pit, but Chimchar grabs his hand and saves him. This triggers another one of Piplup's visions of the future: a stone bridge collapses into a pit. When they come to the bridge, Chimchar insists on crossing it, but Piplup remembers his vision and stops Chimchar from crossing it. The bridge then collapses, and Chimcar is thankful.
A bit deeper into the cave, they find a beat-up Team Razor Wind, who explain that they had just been challenged and defeated by Gabite when they asked for his scale. Team Poképals then heads further in to find the Gabite. When they ask and beg for his scale, he refuses and insists that they battle him for it. To which Piplup agrees.
Gabite starts by using Sandstorm. Chimchar tries to use Ember, but the attack can't break through. Piplup then uses Bubble, which clears the storm. Gabite then uses Dragon Claw on Chimchar and Piplup, knocking them down. In response, Sunflora uses Razor Leaf, which due to the Power Band is very strong. She then prepares to use Petal Dance, but before she execute the attack, Gabite uses Attract, leaving Sunflora heartstruck and unable to fight. Noticing Sunflora cannot battle, Piplup uses Peck, to which Gabite laughs at its puny power, knocking him down again with Dragon Claw. Seeing Piplup go down, Chimcar uses Fury Swipes on Gabite, and while he is occupied, Piplup uses what he thinks is Bubble. Chimchar, however, comments that the attack is actually BubbleBeam, which Piplup learned through experience from the Joy Ribbon. Piplup then uses BubbleBeam one more time on Gabite, knocking Gabite out. Sunflora is freed from her love trance, and the team then regroups and recuperates. However, Gabite slowly gets back up. The team prepares for battle once again when Gabite tells them not to worry - he had a worthy and exciting battle with them. He then presents them with one of his scales as their reward, thus completing their mission.
Back at the guild, Shinx is overwhelmed that his sister has gotten better, and thus thanks Team Poképals with a Luxray Fang as their reward. Chatot, however swipes the fang, stating that it is a guild rule that all rewards go to Wigglytuff, to which Chimchar and Piplup ar dismayed. Loudred, another member of the guild, then barges in and claims big news: Grovyle the Thief has stolen another Time Gear. Piplup then tells Chimchar that he would like to stay on Team Poképals, calling Chimchar his partner, in hopes that he will find out more about what has happened to him. Chimchar then excitingly approves and the two partners shake hands.
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