Corsola, surf!" Gold yelled. Corsola let out a crashing wave, knocking the opposing Arcanine flat. It's HP slowly sank to zero. "Arcanine, return," Blue ordered and returned the ball to his belt. The Viridian Gym Leader regarded Gold with his piercing, dark eyes. "You beat me," he said, incredulous. Blue ran a hand through his hair. "I can't believe it. I'm the strongest gym leader in Kanto. I was the Champion- until Red beat me." Blue narrowed his eyes and glared at a spot above Gold's head. "I was always a step ahead of him. I thought I was stronger. But he beat me in the end- I didn't train hard enough!" Blue sighed. "I trained harder than ever- but now, I've been defeated by you!" Gold stood very still, too afraid to speak or disrupt Blue. He patiently waited until Blue had finished his venting. However, Blue's rant was short lived, and he quickly composed himself. "I'm sorry, Gold," Blue muttered. "You shouldn't have had to listen to me. Here." Blue handed Gold a green-white badge that resembled a feather. "This is the Earth Badge. Now pokemon of all levels will obey you without question. Additionally, you may use rock climb." "Thank you, Senapai!" Gold said. He took the badge and pinned it to the inside of his jacket pocket, next to the Cinnibar Island badge. He then looked up at Blue, and was startled at the change in the Leader's expression. It had changed to something somewhat more... kinder- caring even. His eyes were softer, and less hostile, and his eyebrows had unfurrowed. "Red used to pin his badges to the inside of his jacket," Blue whispered. "But he only had eight, you have sixteen!" Gold stared steadily into the Leader's eyes, not sure of where the conversation was going. "You just might..." Blue shook his head in disbelief. "You just might be able to defeat Red." At that, Gold's amber eyes opened wide. "Me... defeat Red-san?" he asked. "Yeah!" Blue exclaimed. "You're a dexholder, right?" he asked, noticing the red device peeking out of Gold's bag. Gold nodded. "My grandfather only gives a pokedex to those he thinks are special." Blue reached down and lifted Gold's chin so they were eye to eye with his. "Gold. You have a tremendous amount of potential. If you can beat me, you can beat Red, with a little more training. In fact..." Blue turned around and grabbed a disc from his desk. "Here's TM92. It's called Trick Room, and enables the pokemon to swap abilities. In addition, the slower pokemon gets to move first." Blue dropped his hand from Gold's chin. "Good Luck, Gold. You must be on your way now. Mark my words, I'll train harder than ever to beat you next time! Smell ya later!" Blue smiled and pushed Gold off the platform and onto the moving tiles.
As soon as Blue was sure Gold was gone, Blue sat down on the floor and ran his hand through his brown hair. He sighed and put his head in his hand, leaning on his knees for support. The reason why? Red had been missing for the past three years. After winning the championship, Red had left on a training journey and never returned. Blue had given up his Charizard so Red might have a flying pokemon. Everyone he loved- His mom, Oak, and Blue himself, were worried sick about him. Nobody knew where he was. Blue had sent Gold on the mission to find Red for two reasons. One was Gold was more than capable to defeat Red. Another was that Blue hoped that Gold would find Red and bring him back. But, Blue wasn't even sure that was possible. He had a theory about what Red was doing, and if he was right... well... Blue had just lost his best friend. A tear slid down his cheek at that very thought.