In the middle of the night, chaos breaks loose in an isolated research center as research subject RX-1, a Riolu, escapes with the help of several men and a getaway truck. But the men want to steal Riolu, not help it, so Riolu breaks out again and flees into the forest. The next day, nursing an injury, it encounters Ash and the gang, but mistakes them for more false friends and blasts Ash with Aura Sphere when he tries to help. Fortunately, Kellyn, a Top Ranger from the Pokemon Rangers, catches up with Riolu. Kellyn is just in time to stop Pokemon Hunter J's minions from grabbing Riolu themselves; he uses his Vatonage Styler to recruit nearby Bug Pokemon to halt the thugs' kidnap attempt.
Now that everyone can relax, he explains that Riolu hails from the Paradise Kingdom where it uses its special Aura powers to serve as the kingdom's guardian. Those powers strike a chord with Ash who's able to sense mental images from Riolu's past. Riolu was kidnapped from its kingdom and is now on J's target list, so Kellyn, together with Pokemon Ranger Solana and Officer Jenny, is here to save Riolu and get it back home. As proof of his good intentions, he brings Riolu a wooden carving made by the old man who raised it.
Hoping to evade J, Kellyn teams up with our heroes to escort Riolu downriver toward a waiting recovery team. It's all for naught, though, as J and her Salamence attack, forcing everyone to scatter. Ash manages to rescue Riolu and its prized carving from the water, but they wind up lost on a riverbank and cut off from the others, with J's goons already searching the forest around them.
Ash and Riolu make a break for it only to be spotted. J coolly decides to flush them out into the open by burning down the forest around them and Ash and Riolu escape the flames only to find themselves cornered by J and her Salamence. Are Ash and Riolu ever going to get out of this in one piece...?