The Pokémon League semifinals have begun, with only four participants remaining. The first round is Black against Iris. Both Trainers express surprise at having to face each other, but they send out their Pokémon and the battle begins. Black sends out Brav, while Iris sends out her Fraxure. Fraxure slams Brav's face with an Iron Tail, which forces Black to have Brav go into the air to avoid direct contact. Iris prepares for any aerial based combat and has Fraxure plant itself firmly in the ground to brace for moves like Air Slash or Whirlwind. Having no choice, Black has Brav dive headfirst at Fraxure. Fraxure continues bracing, but Brav suddenly dives again and speeds towards Fraxure at high speed. Brav attacks with Brave Bird, but Fraxure manages to catch Brav as it crashes into it. Black questions this strategy, but Iris reveals that she was preparing for her Fraxure's evolution into a Haxorus. Iris reveals that Fraxure has gained a lot of experience from the various battles it had. When Brave Bird hit it, Fraxure finally gained the last bit it needed to evolve into its final form.
Due to the recoil effect of Brave Bird as well as Brav trapped in Haxorus's arms, Black recalls Brav back into its Poké Ball. Iris does the same and switches out for her Druddigon. Black counters by sending out Tula. Before they fight, Black realizes that he doesn't really know much about Iris despite their various encounters. He points out her earlier conversation with Gray and asks Iris what she is fighting for. Iris blushes and expresses surprise that Black is so interested in her, which causes Black to fall in frustration. Iris states that the reason she refuses to lose is because she is fighting for her grandfather's sake.
Iris reveals that she was born in Blackthorn City, also known as the Village of Dragons. Years ago, Iris trained to become an expert in Dragon-types, but she felt her abilities couldn't grow and reach their full potential. One day, the Dragon Clan Elder introduced Iris to Drayden, the mayor of Opelucid City and Gym Leader. When Iris learns that Drayden is here to train her, she gets angry and sends out her Lapras to attack. Drayden challenges her with his Druddigon and manages to easily win. Kimi gives Iris a proper introduction to Drayden, who states that she will make a proper successor to the Opelucid Gym. Iris tells Drayden that she would much rather be the Champion instead of a Gym Leader.
Back in the present, Iris admits that she only said those things because she was flustered at the moment. Not only that, but she was surprised to see that Drayden actually took her words seriously. Back in the flashback, Drayden drags Iris through some mountains, where Alder is playing with his Bouffalant. Drayden introduces Iris to Alder and tells him about her goal to become Champion. Hearing this, Alder puts up his hands and asks if she wants to defeat him in battle. Iris refuses and states that she doesn't want to have anything to do with Alder. Drayden silences Iris and tells her that she needs to have more respect to her elders. Alder agrees and states that she should start by calling him "grandpa". Drayden decides that it would be best for Iris to call him grandpa as well. Iris tells Black that this was the first time someone treated her as an equal, which led to her finding an adult she could truly respect. Iris angrily states that N insulted Alder's dignity when he defeated the Champion in battle, which is why she cannot lose this battle.
Black notices that Tula's health is dropping fast, so he switches to Costa. Costa begins attacking Druddigon, forcing Iris to prevent it from getting close. Druddigon stomps the ground repeatedly as it uses Bulldoze to deal super effective damage to Costa. Thanks to Costa's AbilitySolid Rock, the attack doesn't do as much damage as it could have, which forces Iris to send Haxorus back out, as it has Mold Breaker as its Ability. Haxorus begins slashing at Costa with its tusks, which Black's Pokédex notes can cut steel beams. Black also notes that a Carracosta's jaw can also break steel, which makes Costa and Haxorus comrades in a way. Black begins expressing his own determination to win and refuses to back down and lose.
Costa continues to block Haxorus's attacks until it eventually clamps its jaw onto Haxorus's tusk. Using its tail to balance itself, Costa lifts Haxorus upwards and fires an Ice Beam directly at Haxorus. The attack successfully freezes Haxorus, defeating it and giving Black the win. Iris falls down and begins crying while apologizing to Alder for not being able to avenge his honor. Black states that he meant it when they were comrades, since he and Iris share the same goal. Black states that his goal was to become Champion, but since Alder was defeated by N, his new goal is to surpass N. Black tells Iris that he is going to take over her goal and promises to defeat N.
Black and Iris battle each other in the first round of the semifinals.