Deep in Eterna Forest, Ash and his friends have joined Cheryl the treasure hunter on her quest to find Enchanted Honey. Along the way their paths cross with that of Gardenia, a Trainer who's a real Grass-type fanatic. She admires Ash's Turtwig so much that she challenges Ash to a battle—the quest will have to wait! Gardenia sends out her Cherubi to battle Turtwig, but soon switches in her own Turtwig instead. As fast as Ash's Turtwig is, Gardenia's Turtwig is even faster and wins the first round!
Ash's next pick is his speedy Staravia, but he's shocked when Gardenia's Turtwig turns out to be fast enough to dodge Staravia's attacks and win once again. Gardenia is the victor! She then offers to help our heroes find a Combee Wall, because wherever Combee gather and store nectar, there's bound to be honey.
But then Team Rocket makes another attempt to steal Cheryl's Mothim, hoping that its keen sense of smell will lead them to the Enchanted Honey instead. Yet even their villainy is no match for Gardenia's fearless love for James' Grass-type Pokémon and the power of her Turtwig, and Team Rocket finds themselves blasting off again, still empty-handed. After all the help she's given, however, Gardenia has to part ways with our heroes, who soon spot a Combee. Excitedly realizing they must be close to a Combee Wall, Cheryl, Ash, Dawn, and Brock once again rush off in search of the unknown...
Ash, his friends, and Cheryl continue to seek out the Amber Castle with Cheryl's Mothim in tow. They pursue Mothim, the Pokémon racing towards a tree with a spot of honey, snacking along with a Caterpie and Ledyba. Ash notices that the area looks familiar, and everyone realizes that they came back to the tree Cheryl had slathered Honey on earlier. Brock notices that it is getting late and that they should postpone the search until the next day. They set up camp and rest for the night.
The next day, the group sets off and Cheryl notices that Mothim is quite excited. As they head through the forest, Cheryl gets strung up by a bunch of vines. Ash sends Turtwig to cut the vines with Razor Leaf. She falls and Brock catches her, but a bunch of Kakuna falls out of the tree as well. They hear Mothim calling out and everyone returns to the search, finding Mothim above a group of shrubs. Mothim dives down and sends a Gloom jumping up. Suddenly, a woman steps out of nowhere and mouths off facts about Gloom. The Gloom jumps over the group and casts a foul stench, forcing everyone to hold their breath as the Pokémon escapes. The woman was upset that she could not catch it, but she notices Ash's Turtwig and rushes to hug it. She commends how strong the Pokémon is as Ash introduces himself. The woman identifies herself as Gardenia, a Grass-type Trainer. Brock is instantly attracted, but Croagunk stops him cold as usual.
Gardenia challenges Ash to a battle, and he accepts. Dawn mentions that they are still searching, but Cheryl agrees to stop and observe the battle. Gardenia mentions that the Eterna Gym Leader is a Grass-type Trainer, so Ash knows it will be good practice. Meanwhile, Team Rocket hike exhausted, trying to find Ash and his friends. Jessie trips over a Kakuna, which triggers all the nearby Kakuna to evolve into Beedrill. They rush to attack Team Rocket as they flee.
The battle between Ash and Gardenia is set for two-on-two, Gardenia sending out Cherubi against Ash's Turtwig. Dawn checks out Cherubi on the Pokédex. Ash starts with Turtwig's Tackle attack, scoring an easy hit and following up with Razor Leaf. Cherubi runs around wildly to avoid the attack as Gardenia watches intently, surprisingly calling Cherubi back. While Gardenia praises Turtwig, Brock realizes that she was simply analyzing Turtwig's abilities. She throws another Poké Ball, and her next Pokémon is also a Turtwig. Ash decides to show off some speed with a fast Tackle attack. At the last second, Gardenia's Turtwig dodges the attack, shocking everyone. Ash tries to repeat another Tackle, but again, Gardenia's Turtwig dodges, sending Ash's Turtwig crashing into a tree. Gardenia orders Turtwig to fire a Leech Seed, which sprouts vines that drain Ash's own Turtwig of his stamina. Turtwig is helpless against Gardenia's Turtwig, who uses a speedy Tackle attack to send Ash's own Turtwig flying into a tree and knock him out. Everyone notes that Gardenia's Turtwig was faster than Ash's and moved rarely, but when it did, outpaced Ash's Turtwig by a lot.
Ash sends out Staravia next, thinking that the type advantage and flying speed can overcome Turtwig. Staravia launches Wing Attack, but Turtwig is surprisingly able to dodge Staravia's attack at the last moment. Even after repeated Wing Attacks, Turtwig was able to dodge. Ash loses his cool and decides on Staravia's Aerial Ace attack, knowing that the attack is unavoidable. However, Turtwig jumps up at the last moment and Staravia is sent crashing into the bushes. When he does come back around, Turtwig pummels Staravia with Leaf Storm and Staravia is pinned to a tree and is knocked out cold. Ash recalls Staravia as Cheryl introduces herself, her Mothim circling Gardenia. Ash is disappointed at his loss but Pikachu convinces him to do special training.
The group sits around a fire as Cheryl tells Gardenia about the search for the Enchanted Honey. Cheryl mentions her reason is that her grandfather did not find the honey and that she wants to find it. Gardenia agrees to help, mentioning that the Combee are connected and that she knows a spot where Combee gather to form the Combee wall. They decide to go the next morning, knowing that Gardenia has extensive knowledge of the forest.
The next day, Team Rocket hikes along, wrapped in bandages and still trying to find the honey. Meowth points down the path as they notice Ash's group moving. Team Rocket follows from behind and tries to hide, but James slips and gets their attention. Team Rocket recites their motto and ditches the bandages. James sends out Carnivine, which instantly chews at his head. Gardenia instantly runs up and hugs Carnivine. She asks to trade for his Carnivine, but he turns it down as she frees him from Carnivine's grip. Ash's group warns her about who he really is. Gardenia is convinced that someone that raises Grass types can't be bad, which drops everyone's jaws. Gardenia tries to offer a Victreebel in return, but that brings up memories of his Victreebel.
Jessie snaps James out of his reminiscing and orders him to do something. James has Carnivine use Bite, but Gardenia gets in the way, Carnivine biting down on Gardenia's head. Brock tries to help her, but Dawn pushes him aside as James has Carnivine release her. While Meowth mentions to Jessie that they don't have money for a mecha, Jessie sends out Seviper and James sends out Cacnea. Gardenia instantly hugs up Cacnea, asking it to use Pin Missile on her back. Jessie gets impatient and has Seviper use Poison Tail. Gardenia snaps out of it and sends out her Turtwig, having it bite Seviper's tail. Cacnea attempts Pin Missile, but a Leaf Storm sends Cacnea flying up and into the Meowth Balloon. Team Rocket gets in the balloon and uses a mecha arm to grab Mothim. Turtwig uses Leech Seed to break the arm and free Mothim. Pikachu fires Thunderbolt at the balloon and sends Team Rocket blasting off. Cheryl thanks Gardenia as Mothim flies off, everyone following. They find some of the flowers as a Nuzleaf carrying a message shows up, which causes Gardenia to split from the group. Mothim flies around the flowers as they notice Mothim excited. A Combee appears and flies off, forcing the group to run after it.