Continuing their travels to the Nimbasa City Gym, Ash and friends meet a Trainer named Georgia, who’s obsessed with defeating Dragon-type Pokémon. This “Dragon Buster” challenges Iris to a battle, and her Beartic quickly beats Iris’s Axew. Georgia demands to fight against Iris’s other Dragon-type Pokémon, but of course Axew is the only one. Iris sends out Excadrill instead, and at first it actually seems willing to fight...but a Rock Smash from Beartic quickly sends the stubborn Pokémon back into hiding.
Iris opens up to her friends about her history with Excadrill, and we learn that it first went into hiding after being defeated by the same move a while back. Cilan suggests that perhaps Iris hasn’t been paying enough attention to Excadrill’s feelings while battling, and she tearfully vows to make amends. An all-night special training session ensues.
The next day, Iris asks Georgia for a rematch, and Georgia accepts. Excadrill acts like a brand-new Pokémon, battling Beartic fiercely! The match ends in a draw, but a very happy Iris and Excadrill are as close now as they were in days gone by—maybe even closer!
Ash, Iris, and Cilan are walking down a road in silence when they are abruptly stopped by a girl named Georgia, who claims to be the Dragon Buster, and having heard that Iris is a Dragon-type Trainer, she demands a battle. Cilan is curious about Georgia’s obsession with defeating Dragon Pokémon, and she replies that she wants to get her revenge after being beaten badly by someone from the Village of Dragons. As Iris calls Georgia out for being a kid, to which Georgia orders her to run away if she’s scared. Iris is infuriated and accepts the challenge.
The battle begins with Georgia sending out her Beartic. After Ash gets his Pokédex information, the battle begins with Axew going in for a Scratch attack, but is quickly hit by Beartic's Slash. Beartic unleashes Icicle Crash, and Axew dodges all but one of them. The two counter each other with an Ice Beam and a Dragon Rage, but Beartic proves to be stronger and knocks Axew out. Georgia demands that Iris sends out another Dragon Pokémon, but Cilan informs Georgia that Axew is Iris’s only Dragon-type Pokémon, causing Georgia to insult Iris. This hits a nerve and Iris then sends out Excadrill, who stubbornly refuses to emerge from his drill-mode position. After getting knocked into a tree by Beartic's Slash, he gets up and gets ready to fight. Iris commands it to use Dig, but he uses Metal Claw instead, battling for himself, and not for Iris. Beartic uses Icicle Crash, and Excadrill knocks all of them out of the way. He dodges an Ice Beam by using Dig, which lands a direct hit. Excadrill uses Drill Run, but is knocked away by Beartic's Rock Smash, effectively ending the match. After making fun of Iris for being weak, Georgia walks away.
Ash and Cilan ask if she's alright, but Iris is only worried about her Excadrill, saying she caught it as a Drilbur near her hometown, the Village of Dragons. She explains that she first encountered Drilbur after he kicked one of her friends, a wild Patrat, out of its burrow. She and her forest friends confronted Drilbur over the incident, and Iris tried to battle him. Iris was defeated over nine consecutive days, and on the tenth attempt she countered his Metal Claw and kicked him into some finds. While struggling to free himself, the vines snapped sending Drilbur hurdling over a cliff. Iris swung into action, rescuing Drilbur from the fall. The two soon became friends, and defeated many opponents. Feeling confident, Iris and Drilbur entered the annual Village of Dragon Battle Competition. They reached the finals and defeated a Druddigon with Drill Run to win the competition. As they celebrate their victory, Dragon Master Drayden approaches and is impressed by Iris’s performance. He is pleasantly surprised to hear that she hadn’t received any formal training, and even accepts her challenge to battle him. He sends out his Haxorus, and she sends out Excadrill. His Metal Claw attacks seem to have no effect, and is whipped away by Haxorus. Iris commands Dig, which also does nothing. Excadrill is surprised by this. When he performs a Drill Run, Drayden counters it with Rock Smash, and Excadrill faints. After this, Excadrill curled up, and has since refused to answer or listen to Iris. When Iris mentions the battle, Excadrill closes his eyes in agony.
Back in the present day, Cilan explains that Exacradill probably doesn't listen to her because he distrusts her guidance in battle. Later that night, Iris is sleeping with Excadrill, still curled up. She mentions what Cilan said, and realizes that Excadrill had known he wouldn't win the battle with Haxorus but that she had kept on pressuring him to battle anyway. She tearfully apologizes and promises to be considerate of his feelings from now on, which causes Excadrill to cry under his armor. Later, Exacdrill gets up and walks away from Iris, who wakes up and sees this. She finds Excadrill training in the forest, trying to learn Focus Blast, but it loses its sphere shape and turns into a blob, which explodes in his hands. Iris volunteers to train with him, and it takes until sunrise to fully master the move.
As Iris and Excadrill celebrate the milestone, Ash and Cilan call them over for breakfast. When they return, they are surprised to find that Georgia is at their breakfast table, and has eaten all the food. Georgia suggests they just cook some more before turning her attention to Iris and Excadrill. They decide to have another battle, Beartic versus Excadrill. They counter each other with Metal Claw and Slash, but Beartic proves to be stronger, knocking it away. Beartic uses Icicle Crash, and Excadrill dodges with Dig. Dig lands, and Excadrill releases his new Focus Blast, which strikes Beartic down. Excadrill then uses Drill Run, which also lands. With its opponent in close range, Beartic freezes Exacadrill with an Ice Beam. However, he soon breaks out using Metal Claw. Beartic uses Icicle Crash, and Excadrill knocks some of them away with Focus Blast, but is still hit. As Excadrill kneels to the ground in exhaustion, Iris assures him that she still has faith, and he regains the strength to fight on. Beartic follows with Rock Smash, which Excadrill counters with Drill Run. Excadrill and Beartic faint, resulting in a tie. Georgia says that she couldn't care less as long as her Pokémon didn't lose to a Dragon-type. As she walks away, Georgia mentions that she expects another meal from Cilan next time they meet. Even though Iris and Excadrill didn't win, they are still happy, and Iris says that they'll become stronger together. Excadrill confirms this by hugging his Trainer. Having regained their friendship, Ash and his friends continue their journey towards Nimbasa City.