Episode #230 - Just Waiting On A Friend
Our friends are hiking through a mountainous area when a thick fog comes up. A girl approaches with a Ninetails and introduces herself as Lacoco. She suggests they stay at her home until the fog clears. Team Rocket is nearby, hungry. They see the group and plan to capture the Ninetails as well as Pikachu.
Lacoco brings the kids to a huge mansion; Team Rocket sneaks inside after them. During dinner, Ninetails seems to take a liking to Brock. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is looking through rooms and they find a room full of cookies. They forget all else and begin to eat.
The kids are invited to stay the night, but when Lacoco leaves the room to prepare bedrooms for them, Misty notices there's no reflection in a mirror. Both Brock and Lacoco brush it off. However when Lacoco returns, Misty asks why she lives here alone. Lacoco explains that the owner of the house went on a journey and hasn't yet returned. Of all the staff, she's the only one that has stayed to look after the house and the Ninetails. Then she surprises everyone by asking Brock to stay with her. Brock freaks, thinking that she means marriage! He runs to hug her, but passes right through her! Misty and Ash try to get him to come to his senses, but he's too smitten.
After taking Brock aside, Lacoco tells Ash and Misty to leave, and the Ninetails uses a mysterious power to throw them outside. Ash is determined to help Brock, so he and Misty sneak back in. Misty suggests that they look around in some other rooms to find out who Lacoco is. Eventually they find a room with a portrait that looks like Brock posing with Ninetails. On a desk is a Pokeball and a diary. Apparently the man in the painting is the owner of the house, and the diary is his too, only it was written 200 years ago!
Ash thinks that he can use Totodile to battle Ninetails and rescue Brock. Misty warns him that if Ninetails has lived so long, who knows what kind of powers it might have. They go to the porch and surprise Brock and Lacoco. Totodile fires its Water Gun, which goes right through Lacoco, and she vanishes. The house is revealed to be old and decrepit. Inside, Team Rocket discover themselves eating leaves instead of potato chips.
The furious Ninetails chases the kids through the house with its fire attacks until they come to the room with the portrait. Ash tries to battle with Totodile and Pikachu but the Ninetails is too powerful. Brock snatches the Pokeball from the desk and orders Ninetails to return, which it does. Lacoco reappears and thanks them all, she had been waiting for someone to catch Ninetails so she would be freed.
Brock releases Ninetails so they can all hear the story. Lacoco says that when the master of the house left on his journey, he promised he'd be back in a month. But he never returned, and over time the servants all left until only Lacoco remained.
Now Ninetails seems to speak through Lacoco. She too tried to leave one day but found herself bound to the house by a mysterious force, which Brock realises originated in the Pokeball. A hundred years passed and she knew her master could no longer be alive, but she used her powers to maintain the illusion. When she saw Brock and saw that he looked so much like her master, she foolishly hoped that if he stayed, everything would be happy like it was before. She apologises.
Suddenly a net comes down and catches Ninetails! The image of Lacoco vanishes. Team Rocket hauls the net up to their balloon, but Ash has Bayleef cut it and Ninetails is freed. Victreebell attacks Brock, and as Ninetails shoves him out of the way, he drops the Pokeball and it breaks. Ninetails and Pikachu send team Rocket blasting off.
Morning dawns. Brock tells Ninetails that since the Pokeball is broken, she can finally leave and find happiness elsewhere. Perhaps her master would have wanted that. Ninetails walks away, and the kids continue on their journey. Lacoco appears a last time and thanks them.