When are we going to get out of this forest?" Iris whined. "We’ve been lost for days now!"
Ash, her friend, trudged ahead, again following a whim of Iris'. It was true; they had been ambling in circles through the thick wood just miles West of Driftveil for almost a week now. Even Iris, who was well-practiced in long journeys and rough terrains, was no match for the constant traveling with a distractible boy, and not to mention an empty stomach.
"I'm actually starting to miss Cilan’s annoying Connoisseur talk," she whined.
"Don't worry," Ash stated confidently, "We'll find him."
"Pika pika," the little Electric-type chimed in, wanting to get its two cents worth.
For another half an hour the silence was only broken by the rustling of Pokémon in trees and bushes, along with Iris' light scolding of Axew whenever it ran off to investigate something interesting.
Iris' shout pierced the quiet. "We just passed this rock!"
"Huh?" Ash said, turning around. Pikachu hopped off his shoulder and strode toward Iris.
"Hey, Iris, what's wrong?" Ash asked his friend.
She sighed, petting Pikachu. "The fog is too thick to look through from a treetop, and there are almost no Berries to eat." She paused before saying, "Do you think it's possible that Cilan went on without us? Maybe he thinks that we'll meet with him at Chargestone Cave or something."
Ash thought about what she had said. But he spread his hands wide and concluded, "No way. Cilan would never just leave us. He would keep looking if it meant seeing us again."
Now it was Iris' turn to think. There was a good pause before she nodded and got up from the ground. Ash turned to continue walking, but the girl stopped him.
"Hey, Ash? What makes you believe so hard in your dream?"
"Yeah, I mean, you're always so confident that you'll win the next battle or challenge. Well, this can't be your first journey, so why do you keep trying even though you know the chances aren't that great?"
Ash responded with his usual boyish grin. "Because I know that if I want to be a Pokémon Master someday, I have to keep trying even if it's tough. I know I'll win a Region Tournament someday, and when I do I'll enter the Champion's Tournament. My dream keeps me going, even though I know my chances are slim."
"Oh," Iris muttered as they resumed walking, Ash leading at a brisk pace. It suddenly dawned on her that if she really wanted to become a Dragon Master, she'd have to work harder. Which wasn't going to come with as much difficulty as normal, with Ash dragging her around from battle to battle.