As Maryann panics in the face of the knowledge that Archie is the director of Hoenn TV, Tyler takes control, logically pointing out that doing anything more would endanger their lives and that they must inform the gym leaders and Ruby. The two rush off.
Late at night, Sapphire is frantically training near Fortree City. She goes to find Winona and holds a training battle with her, which Sapphire wins overwhelmingly, astonishing Winona with her drive for victory. Winona awards her the Feather Badge; little do they know, but Roxanne and Brawly are watching disapprovingly.
Elsewhere in Fortree, Ruby punches a tree in frustration. He confesses that, seeing Sapphire in danger, he had acted without thinking—and now Sapphire knows his secret. At that moment, Ruby's Marshtomp shudders and evolves into Swampert, making Ruby realize that, with so many battles on his journey, Ruby had fallen back into the habit of his battle instincts.
Ruby catches sight of Wallace going to talk with Winona. Peering through a window, he listens in on their conversation. Wallace reports that he checked the humidity and found that the death of Mt. Chimney has affected it. He goes on to question if Winona can unite the gym leaders successfully, putting a hand on her shoulder and telling her she doesn't have to do it herself. Winona, insulted, throws off his hand and says that she was appointed the lead gym leader by the Pokémon Association, and she will do her duty. She tells him not to do anything inappropriate to his position—and, more quietly, reminds him they no longer share that kind of relationship.
Ruby, remembering Sapphire asking him to help, realizes the breadth of crisis in Hoenn and that he himself is only a nuisance to them. Ruby, struck again by the memory of Sapphire. Ruby impulsively decides he can't stay here any longer.
Wallace notices Ruby jump onto his Swampert, diving into a river and swimming frantically away. Wallace takes to the air in his car, chasing him, but loses track of Ruby in the jungle downstream. Wallace deduces that Ruby is likely going to Slateport City, intending to participate in the hyper contests. Wallace travels there and finds that it is flooded with water.
29 days left until deadline