AGNPH Stories

Luca - 2nd Edition by Felix


Story Notes:

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of me,Felix9. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Author's Chapter Notes:

How can life get any better? A caring mate, a new child and loving friends. However, when an old enemy finds the intrepid group, will they be as lucky as the first time...?

Chapter 10 - A Grunt's Revenge

The five of us continued our aimless travels for another wonderful month. The weather was nice except for a couple brief rainy days. We spent most of those two days huddled together in a tent but even that was pleasant given the company.

After watching his mother, Leo seemed more determined than ever to become stronger and constantly plead with his mother and me to keep training him. I was surprised at first as to how much he wanted to fight. I constantly had to remind myself he was part pokemon, and considering everyone else in our party would battle either wild or trained pokemon, I really couldn't blame my son. Leo was still a Riolu so I tried to find easier battles for him to start with. Perhaps that had been a mistake too, because with training partners like Lady and his mother he was far stronger than Luca was at his age. In the end Ky turned out to be a good sparring partner for my son. With his type advantage Leo could hold his own long enough that both of them got a good workout and lots of practice. Ky even started to pick up a new move, Last Resort. However, because he had to be worn out almost to the point of collapse we rarely got to practice it and he never had a suitable target to use it on.

Soon enough we found another gym to challenge and since it was a normal type gym I let Leo be my first choice. Determined to impress his mother and I, our son thoroughly trounced his opponents with a variation of Luca's force palm attack he had adopted as his signature move. Since he couldn't use Aura very well Leo relied more on his size and physical strength. He quickly learned how to put enough force into his attacks to make them just as strong as if he could use Aura. At first even Luca had wound up with a few bruises as she spared with Leo.

In the end, the relatively inexperienced gym leader gave us her badge and happily praised Leo for his strength. Once he was out of the serious environment of a battle though he quickly became embarrassed and shy. As the girl rubbed his ears he couldn't help blushing as his tail swayed against his will. He stayed quiet though until we left. Luca and I both knew why though. The first trainer battle he'd been in was against a similarly cute girl who thought Leo was the most adorable pokemon she'd ever seen. When he'd thanked her for the battle though she fawned over him more and even accompanied us back to the pokemon center as she tried to get Leo to speak to her again.

After apprising my mother of Leo's success that night we set out again on our travels. Eventually, we came to a rather big industrial city. Unfortunately, the city's gym had been demolished for lack of use. The old leader had been too tough for most anyone to defeat and people had stopped coming. Where the gym once stood was the beginning construction of a brand new coliseum though, where the city obviously hoped to hold grand tournaments and pokemon contests.

We decided to have a bit of fun while we were in such a prosperous city with no gym business to worry about. So I treated everyone to a nice lunch and dinner while we explored the shopping and entertainment district. Unknown to us though... our arrival hadn't gone unnoticed.

We got up early in the morning to get a head start on our travels. Heading south towards a city that would have another gym, the only real care anyone had was who would be first to battle at the gym. None of us realized we were being followed until a glowing ball of energy just missed slamming Luca in the shoulder! It wasn't clear whether the attack was meant for her but I felt my mate stiffen in shock as it whizzed past and violently destroyed the base of a three foot round tree. The tree fell across our path, but was hardly impassable. What made us turn was the threat of another attack if we ran...
"Run and we'll pick you off one by one!" a man's voice said as we spun, Luca and Lady already on guard. Luca hesitated though when we found a Darkrai uniform flanked by another Lucario...

"What do you want?" I asked as I held my hands up; though with all of my pokemon out it was an empty gesture.

"Me? Oh nothing much. I just want my life back! FIRE!" he ordered and pointed at me! The Lucario's eyes lingered on Luca for a moment. "NOW!" the man ordered again as he angrily clenched his fist. I saw the Lucario stiffen before his eyes met mine. The look behind those red eyes that were so beautiful on my mate was cold and resigned, but there was something else. Sadness and regret swam behind the listlessness, an odd thing for a supposed killer...

The Lucario leveled his paw at me as ordered and charged another buzzing ball of energy. Confused, I froze where I was. It had taken him far too long to charge his attack. A moment later though he fired, quickly flooding my mind with fear at the realization; Leo was still on my head! In one fluid move I lifted my son off my shoulders and crouched, curling around to shield him from the Lucario's attack. Seconds passed like hours as I waited for the inevitable blast to hit my back but all I felt was the cool forest breeze. Scared, Leo clung to me as I quickly uncurled and turned. If nothing had hit me that meant someone else took the hit... my heart stopped for a moment when I saw Luca standing between me and the Lucario, a single paw outstretched and smoking.

"Luca...?" I questioned, fearing the worst until her eyes flicked for a moment to look over her shoulder, ensuring we were safe. The look in her eyes terrified even me though. Her pupils were slits and the red of her eyes burned with anger.

Clearly the other Lucario was shocked that Luca had canceled his attack, but with another scream from his Darkrai trainer he was quickly on the offensive.

Lady wasn't far behind and the normally timid Ky, much to my surprise, was in nearly as feral of a rage as the Ninetales! Unfortunately this wouldn't be as easy as a three on one. As the instinct hit me to recall a terrified Tarzan, the man whipped out two more pokeballs. In a flash it was a three on three, Luca Lady and Ky against the Lucario, a Rhyperior, and a Feraligator. Lady's tails tensed as she saw the Feraligator but that didn't stop her from loosing a torrent of flame at the Lucario rushing Luca and me.

"I should have killed that fox when I had the chance! I had no idea you would come back to destroy our research!" the man yelled angrily at me. "Finish the job Feraligator!" he finished, sending the all too jovial water type on a grim mission. With a toothy grin and roar the monster shot a hydro pump to meet Lady's flamethrower, shrouding the Lucario in steam as the two attacks canceled. Hearing the man's verbal assault and seeing the grin on the Feraligator's face seemed to snap something in the usually timid Ky. His fur bristled and his eyes narrowed like Luca's. The next instant he rushed as fast as he could to attack the water pokemon, a blue and black streak amidst the glare of Lady's flamethrower. Unfortunately for him, the Rhyperior defended his teammate.

My mind raced to piece together this tangled puzzle and keep track of everyone. Without flinching Ky never slowed his advance, slamming a fierce head butt into the armored Rhyperior's side. Leo clutched tightly to my leg while Luca used her aura sight to keep track of the now enshrouded Lucario. It was all happening too fast!

"I got kicked out of the organization because of you! It was all I could do to hide these three just so I could get another shot!" the man continued to rant as his pokemon did his dirty work. Slowly, everything started to make sense. That night Lady was attacked and Ky was stolen on the island. Lady was sopping wet. This guy must have been the one who did it! He probably went back and bragged about his cruelty only to have his position ripped away when we were the ones to destroy the place.

Seeing Ky lunge into a fight so readily caught even Lady off guard. In a flash of white the Ninetales was upon the Rhyperior though as it tried to land a hammer fist on the small black canine that had just rammed into its armored hide. An iron tail fan to the face was ample distraction though and the heavy weight struggled to get up from being knocked on its back.

Meanwhile, Ky was completely oblivious to everyone but the Feraligator. He faded from sight as Lady kept the Rhyperior off of him and in the blink of an eye he reappeared to smack the water monster's nose with his tail. Landing with a bounce he quickly darted away to avoid a spray of water, but with a swift bounce off a tree he lunged and bit the Feraligator's thick tail! He seemed to be running on rage alone but I wondered just how long he could keep it up. The Feraligator roared in anger at the sting of Ky's shadowy fangs but seemed none the worse for my Umbreon's efforts.

As Ky and Lady kept their opponent's busy Luca had her own fight. Still dumbfounded by Ky's shift in character I failed to notice my mate shut her eyes and vanish from my side. Only a dull thud to my left brought my attention whirling around. Luca had used extreme speed to smack the other Lucario into a tree. He seemed surprised by the retaliation but with another scream from the grunt he stood and planted his feat. With his aim refocused Luca might not get the better of him so easily again.

By now Lady had managed to gather all of the Rhyperior's attention. Embarrassed and angered by the shot to the face she'd given him, the behemoth continued to swing its fists, horns, and tail wildly. Luckily, it was slow and all of its attacks were missing as Lady nimbly leapt and ducked out of the way. When she could get around behind the creature she barked and spun to deliver another iron tail blow to one of the creature's many armored plates. Each time it roared in pain and anger, its rage furthering its motivation to strike my dear Ninetales as it whirled with a shining attack from its fist.

A sharp, quick yelp from Ky pulled my concentration from Lady. The Feraligator had managed to land a harsh slash attack, leaving furrows in the fur on his side. His ring was broken by the messed fur but the ever so slightly red hew at the edges of those marks reminded me of the stakes in this battle.

Ky was panting in exertion and as the Feraligator shot yet another torrent of water at him he was just a split second to slow to react. The hydro pump caught his back leg just as he tried to leap away, forcing him back to the ground with and thump. "Get up!" I shouted in encouragement. His ears perked as he scrambled to his feet and hurried out of the path of a strong aqua tail. The blade of water narrowly missed the tip of his tail but I could see he was favoring his left hind leg. That hit had done more than he wanted to show.

I knew Ky needed help, and fast. The grunt was still raving at his two visible pokemon. Luca and the Lucario were lost to the rest of us except for the occasional explosion or snap of a branch or bush. With so many of my friends to look out for I prayed my mate wasn't on the receiving end of those hits. I wasn't about to send Leo into this fray. I knew neither he nor Tarzan would be safe giving even one attack. Luckily Leo seemed too afraid to try and Tarzan was safely in his ball. However, that only left Lady to aid Ky in his fight. I knew she had a move in her arsenal that could help but I didn't know how to tell her without tipping off our assailant.

"Lady!" I shouted above the din of battle. Hearing my cry she ducked another attack and used quick attack to dart away from the Rhyperior before he could target her again. Skidding to a halt as she faced her opponent she was left panting in exertion, unable to look at me lest she leave herself open. "Use the sun!" I shouted again, hoping that was vague enough to give her the time she needed.

My fox's ear twitched at my command. I knew she heard but did she understand? Soon enough I got my answer. Her writhing tails started to calm and straighten into a stiff, fierce arch. She growled at her oncoming opponent as it started to charge; unaware of what was in store for it.

Once again Lady was engaged in a game of tag with the thundering Rhyperior. Using all of her focus just to escape its attacks and charge her own I knew the best thing for me to do was wait. One by one, Lady's tail tips started to glow and light with a wisp of fire, starting a countdown the left me clenching my fists and grind my teeth.

Worried, my attention flashed back to Ky. Knowing he didn't have the speed to keep avoiding the barrage of water attacks he rushed the Feraligator in hopes of winning a hand to hand fight. My heart ached as I watched him take another harsh slash to the face and land shakily. By now his fur was matted with dirt water and blood. His nose was split by that last attack, letting a fresh trickle drip as he squared off yet again with a pokemon more than six times his size. However, despite the difference the Feraligator was showing its own weariness. Purple bruises had blossomed under that blue skin where Ky had relentlessly slammed into it. I knew Ky could win if he could just score one last defining hit, but then again, maybe he wouldn't have to.

A flash of movement brought my eyes back to Lady. As she leapt over the Rhyperior's club like tail she ducked a shining fist, landed and spun. All of her tails were alight with fire. She was ready to attack! "Do it!" I needlessly encouraged as the Rhyperior bore down on her. Opening her mouth she gave a shrill cry as she released the solar energy in a concentrated beam. Both I and the Darkrai grunt shielded our eyes amidst the blinding flash but something caught my ear. Lady's cry had been cut short with a quick yelp before a thunderous thud shook the ground.

Worried, I blinked in the quickly fading light to see what happened. Lady still stood, but she seemed dazed as she panted, barely managing to stay on all fours. Her opponent however, was out cold. Having been catapulted an impressive twenty feet away by the attack it lay motionless amidst a squashed bush.

"Finish her this time! Hydro cannon!" the enraged man yelled seeing Lady still reeling from Rhyperior's last attack. I nearly broke my neck as my wide eyed attention turned to Ky and the Feraligator. Still unconcerned with Ky as its opponent the water type turned and got on all fours to charge its attack.

"Ky! Last resort!" I screamed desperately. I knew he had only just started to learn the attack but it was Lady's only hope...

Ky's claws flexed, gripping the ground as he lunged forward. It was only a few feet between him and the Feraligator but he couldn't close it in time. A furious surge of water shot from the Feraligator's open maw, aimed straight at my weary Ninetales. "Lady! Protect!" I shrieked desperately as I turned. The moment unfolded in agonizingly slow motion. Every drop of water in that attack seemed to burn itself into my memory.

With devastating ferocity Ky slammed his head into the Feraligator's cheek moments later. A sickening crack rang from the large pokemon's bones as its jaw broke under Ky's attack. The Feraligator's eyes rolled into its head, unconscious or perhaps even dead as it and Ky fell into a tangled mess on the ground.

Snapped from her daze by my command my oldest friend looked up to see the half fired pillar of water still rushing towards her. Her eyes widened as fear overtook her, something I had never seen happen to my Lady. Her legs locked up, her tails stiffened and despite my plea she stood rigid as the water overtook her entirely. I looked away before the water could subside...

I felt a tear leak from my eye as I watched, fearing, no; knowing I had just lost my oldest friend. There was no way she put up her shield and she couldn't have had the strength to take even half of that attack. Only a weak whine from Ky forced my eyes open. I looked to find the Umbreon struggling to push himself off the limp Feraligator. His right eye was shut and a little swollen. Finally, a flash of blue caught my eye nearby. Looking up, I found Luca's opponent standing near the grunt.

Fear gripped my heart once more. What happened to Luca? Surely she hadn't lost. And yet, if that other Lucario was just standing there what else could have happened? My legs felt weak, I took a hesitant step backwards as I reached for Ky's ball. I realized then that Leo was still hugging my other leg. Dear lord what was I going to tell him after this?

"Aura sphere!" the grunt commanded his last pokemon before I knew what was going on.

"No!" I gasped and immediately grabbed Ky's ball. Aiming it the moment I had it in my hand I pulled Ky back to safety, but again I had made a terrible mistake... A sharp feminine yelp pierced my ears. As Ky disappeared my eyes flashed to my left. Luca was there and so was Lady! Luca must have saved Lady at the last moment but, that had been her voice I just heard.

The Lucario lowered his paws and stood straight, watching as Luca crumpled to the ground, unconscious. "Now finish them," the grunt said loud enough to draw my gaze. A sadistic grin curled his lips seeing the fear and hate in my eyes. Nothing happened though as Lady rushed to nose Luca's shoulder in an attempt wake her.

"I told you to finish them! Obey me damn it!" the angry man barked, realizing his Lucario had hesitated again. He squeezed his hand tightly once more, which is when I realized he held something in his hand. The Lucario gagged and stiffened. The fur around his neck stood slightly on end, just enough to show the collar underneath.

The pokemon's eyes looked at me with regret, then at my girls. His paws shook ever so slightly as he raised them and summoned the energy for a focus blast. "Lady!" I shouted as the Lucario's energy ball flared to life faster than before.

Hearing my cry, Lady's gaze rose to see the Lucario fire his attack. Her tails flexed quickly and just in time a green bubble flashed around her and Luca. A split second later the focus blast impacted the shield, exploding and stirring a cloud of smoke and dust.

"Again!" the grunt ordered as he wasted no time squeezing the trigger in his hand. Sorrow flooded the Lucario's gaze before the look in his eyes went cold and blank. He stiffened and gagged once more before he summoned another buzzing ball of light.

"Lady move!" I yelled again, but I had no way of knowing if she heard. Before I knew it I was running towards my girls. Terrified, Leo's grip on my leg had loosened enough for me to pull away. Without thinking I dropped Ky's ball as I bolted. The Umbreon rematerialized next to my trembling son, thankfully providing at least some protection for the trembling Riolu.

After that, everything was a blur. The Lucario fired his attack as I ran and the next thing I remember was a flash of light amidst the cloud of dust. A searing instant of pain shot through my body in the next moment and then... blackness.


Somewhere in the distance I heard Felix's voice, but with the dust I couldn't see him. I swiveled my ears, trying to locate him or that other Lucario. I heard footsteps near me and couldn't help growling. Felix would never forgive me if I abandoned Luca but she was too heavy for me to drag away in time. The buzzing got louder as the footsteps neared. I knew I only had one option. I had to use protect again. Bracing over Luca I tried, but only a slight spark flashed before my nose. Whatever was coming... I could do nothing to stop it.

Suddenly, a shadow took form in the dust, just as a buzzing light exploded in the same spot. I couldn't help flinching and crouching over Luca. I expected pain to follow but there was nothing. My ears rang with the boom and the dust still clung to my fur as I opened my eyes. The shadow was still there! I growled and rose on weak legs, showing I could still fight but as my eyes adjusted I couldn't believe what I saw.

It was Felix! He had come for us, but what was that buzzing and explosion from? Had he used an attack somehow? Maybe Ky? I looked around once but couldn't find the sweet Umbreon. My eyes lingered on Leo, who wore an absolutely horrified look. All of the sudden Felix moved. I looked ahead, trying to gather the last of my strength to keep fighting at his word but... He just collapsed.

Felix, my beloved trainer fell to his knees then face first in the dirt. I heard laughter as I scrambled to his side, ignoring the protests of my aching muscles. I tried nosing his arm but he wouldn't move; he was dead weight. I licked his ear, knowing he hated it, nothing. With a whine I paced quickly to his other side and nosed his head. Limply it rolled to the side so I could see his eyes. The sight nearly made me sick. His expression was lifeless, his beautiful blue eyes distant and glazed. My nose twitched, I could smell blood. Looking closer I could see the edges of his shirt were ripped and streaked with crimson. He hadn't attacked; he had taken the hit for Luca and me...

Mystery Lucario

As my second focus blast hit its mark I stood there wondering if it was even worth the effort to keep living after doing something like that. Had I really grown so used to following orders with those shocks and chokes that I couldn't even think for myself? Those two pokemon were gravely hurt if not already dead. I'd hurt many people and pokemon before trying to save my own life but... I'd never outright killed someone like that.

I couldn't stand to watch so I'd let my gaze blur. Now though, as my eyes refocused, there was something else there. As a reflex my legs tightened, but I willed myself to relax. If that trainer had sent out another pokemon to save the others I would gladly let it have its revenge. I deserved as much anyway, but I couldn't stop my eyes from widening as the image registered. That trainer... had thrown himself in front of my attack!

A chill went down my spine. Why had he done something like that? Humans were weaker than pokemon; he couldn't have hoped to survive! My eyes drifted to his chest where my attack had hit. My own stomach churned at the sickening sight. Even compared to the horrors I was forced to endure at those Darkrai places this was hard to look at. Burned and bloody, a large circle in the center of his chest was stripped of skin. His breast bone was barely visible in places but even then several of his ribs were more than likely broken and barely held in place. My legs started to weaken as he started to move. His face was blank, his eyes hollow but he moved! Terror gripped my mind though when I realized he was falling. First to his knees then to the ground he simply crumpled under his own weight. A laugh to my left pierced the deafening quiet. The human who'd told me to do this... was laughing.

"Ha! Good job Lucario. Nice shot. He sure won't bother us again. All I need now is proof. How about you get those pokeballs and I'll set you free? No one at the lab will notice if a Lucario specimen suddenly turned female," the grunt laughed and sneered, watching with glee as the weak Ninetales nosed her fallen trainer. The Lucario however, didn't move. "Hey! I said get those balls!" the grunt commanded, his anger showing again as he squeezed the trigger in his hand. The Lucario stiffened and fell to his knees, his paws flying to grasp at the collar tightening around his throat. "Do it now!" the grunt commanded as he released the trigger. The Lucario looked at him defiantly but stood and faced the fallen boy. His eyes met the Ninetales, a feral growl emanated from her throat as she stood over her trainer protectively. He blinked, his eyes flashing to the Riolu not far away. The little one's eyes were filled with tears but terror prevented him from even moving a paw. He shivered visibly as he saw the Lucario look at him. "Now, before that Ninetales recovers more!" the man barked again, triggering the collar once more and making the Lucario gag.

~I won't... I won't do this anymore,~ the Lucario thought as he watched and felt the despair of the pokemon he'd attacked. When the collar ceased its cycle the canine whirled and smacked his paw against the human's where he held the accursed controller. His wrist spike tore a gash in the man's hand, making him cry out and curse at the defiant pokemon. The Lucario hardly seemed apologetic though. With the same cold look he wore when he fired that attack at the two helpless pokemon he raised a paw and formed a glowing blue ball at the man's chest.

"H-hey! You can't do this I'm your master!" he protested as he took a step back, only to have the Lucario follow, keeping the aura sphere point blank. "Fine, you know what? I'll set you free right now. Just knock out the last two and go okay?" he conceded with fear in his voice seeing the vacant look in the Lucario's eyes. Slowly he held his hands up in surrender with a pokeball in his left. The Lucario's ear twitched, wondering what the man would really do. If he enlarged the ball... the Lucario knew his attack would hit before he was withdrawn.

Deliberately the man dropped the ball and promptly stomped the small thing into shards. The hold of the device on the Lucario broke, though it hardly changed the situation. Though he hated the man for what he'd done the Lucario couldn't bring himself to repeat what he'd done to that trainer. The flickering aura sphere faded away and the Lucario lowered his paw as he continued to glare at the man.

"I mean it. No one will look for you, just knock them out and leave," the man continued, completely unaware of the angry fox that had stalked up beside the two of them.
Hearing the Darkrai grunt laughing had snapped something in Lady's mind. Her nine tails seethed with anger as her head slowly rose, watching the squabble of the trainer and his Lucario unfold. Standing just in front of Felix she waited for the Lucario to deliver his blow. Then she could have her revenge for what he'd done.

She knew the human was pleading for his life as he smashed the ball, but surely the Lucario wouldn't be satisfied with that would he? Or, she wondered, had that been their agreement all along? Smoke trailed from her jaw as she gritted her teeth. Her fangs bared and hackles raised, she stalked forward as the Lucario let his attack fade. "No... neither of them will get away with this," she thought as she came within striking distance.

Lady's tails flashed white with energy as they lashed out at the pair. One tail twirled around each of their necks, another around each of the Lucario's limbs, holding them rigidly and painfully at full extension. Being the "lucky" one, the Grunt earned only three more tails; one around his uninjured hand, another around an ankle and the last wrapped tightly around his chest.

The man tried to scream in pain but it was cut short as the glowing tails constricted around his neck and chest. His arm and leg both threatened to pop out of socket as his eyes met the feral snarl of the pokemon before him. Terror flooded his mind as he struggled desperately against his bonds, his bloody hand trying to pull the tail from around his neck but slipping off of the artificial metal surface of her iron tail attack.

With a growl the fox's jaws parted softly, letting small licks of flame caress her teeth until a touch at her side brought her attention wheeling away from the terrified human. Ky gave a soft whine as he nuzzled Lady's shoulder a second time. Her enraged gaze softened seeing him pleading her to stop but her tails only tightened threateningly around her victims. "Please?" he whimpered, "No more?" Lady snarled again and turned her attention to the Lucario, who had yet to make a sound. What she saw was another sobering surprise. The canine didn't seem to be resisting at all. It was clear he was in pain as she pulled at his arms and legs but not even a whine escaped his throat. Her anger wavering, she turned back to the human and snarled again. Seeing him choking and starting to lose consciousness her growl quieted. Her teeth gritting she tried desperately to keep her resolve to kill this man. 'Just a little longer.' she told herself as she felt him go limp in her tail. He was unconscious now, just a moment more or just a quick tightening of her tail and...

Ky stopped his rubbing of Lady's flank. He could see the man was already unconscious, but the Lucario still seemed reserved to his fate. Everything about the situation went against what Felix had taught them, how he'd cared for them. He hoped Lady wouldn't carry out her threat but he knew he couldn't do anything more to stop her. Looking back at Felix his heart sank further. Leo had inched his way closer to his prone father. He was close enough to touch him and the Riolu gently put his paws on Felix's shoulder to try and wake him. His nose twitched, catching the sharp scent of blood though he probably didn't know what such a strong scent would mean. With a heavy heart the Umbreon went to console the Riolu as he started to cry and shake his dad's shoulder harder.

As the bloody hand of the Darkrai grunt hit the ground beside him Lady suddenly snapped from her murderous intent. Her tails loosened and pulled quickly away as her eyes widened. The realization of what she'd done forcing all of her limbs to shake softly in fear. The Lucario coughed for air as he hit the ground on his paws and knees. The grunt gasped as well, though he remained unconscious. Still confused and upset Lady recoiled, taking a step back as she stared at the human before turning and looking back at Felix. Seeing a weeping Leo and a ragged and weak Ky she knew where she needed to be. She spared one last look to the Lucario, catching his confused and seemingly disappointed look. With a half hearted growl she turned and trudged back to her heartbroken family, her beautiful tails dragging through the dirt with her sorrow.

Leo sniffled and sobbed as he shook his prone father's arm in a fruitless attempt to wake him. "He won't get up," he whined to Lady as she came to the pup and nuzzled her long muzzle against the pup.

"I know," Lady replied sadly and sat next to him, gently curling her tails around to block his view of his father. Meanwhile, Ky couldn't help mourning Felix as well. His vision blurred with tears as he lay down, wincing at the unseen wounds he'd sustained in his fight. Gingerly, as if he were almost afraid to disturb the quiet figure he nuzzled Felix's cheek.

As if in response, a gentle breath brushed his black fur, earning a blink of confusion from the Umbreon. Leaning close, Ky was shocked when it happened again... "Lady! He's alive!" he barked, springing to his feet.

Her heart broken the Ninetales was slow to react. Raising her head from Leo who clung to her leg, letting his own tears wet her soft fur; she looked curiously back at the black canine. "He's alive! We have to get him to that pink haired lady!" Ky continued frantically, his legs shaking as he tried to figure out what to do. He knew he couldn't carry or drag the human himself. With an ounce of hope restored to her heart Lady rose to her feet and leaned close to her lifelong friend's face. Her eyes widened as she felt his shallow breaths as well. Frantic she turned to Luca who still lay where she'd fallen. She might be weakened but she would still be stronger than any of them. Leaving a confused Leo behind, the fox leapt to the unconscious Lucario.

"Luca wake up!" Lady howled into her large ear. The stiff triangle only twitched against the offense as its owner continued to rest, her body having shut down in an attempt to recover. "Wake up! You have to wake up!" Lady pleaded, a fresh batch of tears welling in her eyes as she poked, prodded, licked, tickled and kicked at the unconscious Lucario.

I scarcely had time to react as I was besieged by vicious snakes of fur. I should have been ashamed of myself as a Lucario for not sensing her rage. It exploded from her like lava from an erupting volcano. I stifled my whine of pain as my limbs felt like they were being torn off. I knew I deserved this. I'd hurt her, attempted to kill her and actually killed her trainer. There was no reason for me to fight her fury so I shut my eyes and waited for the end. Her tail twitched around my neck, making my heart beat faster. This was it. She would suffocate me or just snap my neck, but then... there was a soft whimper, a plea. Managing to crack one eye open from where I hung in the grasp of those tails, I saw a black figure. It was the Umbreon from before. Did he want to finish me? Selfishly, I didn't want to suffer but as that thought passed through my mind I reminded myself I truly deserved it. A moment later, he left. What had he said though? The Ninetales seemed almost as mad at him when he'd whined but now, the look in her eyes was that of someone about to weep. I was forgotten as she glared at my former master. I felt the strength in her tails lessen as she focused on the ones around the human. Maybe I could... escape, but what would I do? No, she deserved to have her way with me. I wouldn't run from my fate anymore. I felt her tails tighten one last time, making my vision cross as unconsciousness finally threatened to overcome me as it had the human, but just as suddenly as her tails appeared they were gone!

I coughed and gagged as I tumbled roughly to the dirt. I rolled in pain, my limbs sore from being held painfully tight for so long. Again I weakly opened my eyes, expecting to find fire bearing down upon me. Instead I saw a bewildered and fearful Ninetales, hesitantly retreating as she stared at the still form of my former master. I could feel his aura; he wasn't dead, though he had been close. Her eyes met mine as I panted and gasped for breath. I don't know what she saw but I could tell her heart wasn't in the growl she gave before she turned to head back to the others. With a soft groan I pushed myself up and put a paw to my neck where the tail had been. I couldn't help watching the three mourning canines as they looked over their trainer. Maybe this was my punishment, to watch the despair I caused from the one action in my life I truly wished I could take back. My own heart broke seeing that Riolu so devastated. Death might not have been explained to him yet but he was surely at the age he would understand. I hoped I wouldn't have to see his innocence shattered like that right here.

As the largest and smallest of the group embraced and started to cry my ear twitched at a sound from the Umbreon. Curiously, he seemed excited, almost relieved, but why? More words followed, and with my large ears I couldn't help eaves dropping. The trainer... was alive? My eyes dropped to the creature lying in a pool of his own blood. I knew what injuries lay hidden and for him to live through such wounds would be a miracle. Still, as I stared I could feel the spark of aura still burning within him, but only barely.

I blinked in astonishment as the two conscious adults frantically tried to decide what to do. The Ninetales tried to wake the other Lucario, but thanks to that last hit I'd given her, she would still be out for quite a while. The Umbreon didn't seem to have a plan either as he nosed the human in different places. It was obvious he wouldn't even be able to roll the human on his own though. Looking back at the other human my mind was flooded with every cruel thing's I'd done in my life. Maybe... This was my chance to make up for it, but how would I get them to trust me? As I managed to stand against my aching joints something caught my eye near the grunt. "Just maybe, this will help."

Leo's ear twitched as he heard someone come close. Hopeful it would be someone to help he looked up with a thankful smile. His eyes quickly widened as he froze in fear at the sight of the other Lucario. Only a soft whining gasp came from his quivering muzzle as he tried to scream. His body failed to cooperate though as the larger creature looked down at him.

Ky's attention was torn from Felix when he heard Leo's cry. In the blink of an eye the Umbreon was between Leo and the Lucario, snarling as his rings glowed brightly in rage. "Leave! Now! I will not protect you again and if you so much as try to attack us you'll regret it!" he snapped, forcing the Lucario to take a step back. He could scarcely believe the Umbreon had that much fight left in him considering his legs barely seemed able to keep him standing.

"Wait, I can help!" he said quickly, holding up his paws in an attempt to show he meant no harm. The motion only made the Umbreon lower further, ready to spring at the biped's throat.

Caught off guard by the outburst Lady turned to see Ky protecting Leo. Her ears instantly flattened as she rose and stalked closer, her previously depressed tails coming to life with anger once more.

Seeing the Ninetales advancing the Lucario took another step back. "Please wait. You need to get him to the center right? I can help," he tried to plea, his heart racing in the tense moment.

"Why should we trust you? You're the reason he's lying there!" Lady barked, coming beside Leo and wrapping a tail protectively around the pup, giving him something to cling to.

"I know... Here," he said softly and tossed a small black cylinder at Ky's feet. "It's for this. If I'm not back in thirty minutes hold that button down for a minute and I'll be unconscious. Two more and I... won't wake up," he answered, pausing to choose his words carefully as he saw Leo peak from behind the tail shielding him.

The gift of the controller and his admission caught Ky completely off guard. The Umbreon looked back to the Lucario in confusion, part of him still distrusting him, though the hope of saving their trainer was quickly overshadowing everything else.

Even Lady seemed momentarily surprised. That is until a fluffy tail snaked around the trigger and lifted it to bring the Lucario's gaze to meet hers. "I don't think you know how much I want to press this right now," she growled harshly, glaring at him as smoke trailed between her fangs.

"Then when he's safe you can. Please... Just let me make this one thing right," he pleaded in return. The fear of impending death kept his breaths short as he watched the fox's tail tip graze the red trigger. Still, he knew he was their only hope and one way or another he would atone for his sins today.

Lady's tail wrapped tighter around the trigger to the Lucario's collar. Unable to trust the Lucario she started to shake as her desires conflicted. In the end, it was Ky who spoke up. "Okay," he said softly, his red eyes still intently focused on the Lucario, scanning for any sign of deception.

It was all the Lucario needed. He nodded swiftly and knelt at Felix's head. Frantic that their attacker was touching his father, Leo finally found his voice. "No! Don't hurt him!" he cried, trying to escape Lady's tail, which had now become a prison. The Lucario only lowered his ears, knowing nothing he could say to the pup would comfort him. The only thing he could do was try to save this human before it was too late.

As the Lucario carefully started to lift Felix from the ground Ky hurried to block Leo's view. The last thing he wanted the pup to see was his father's grave wound. Still holding the Riolu and the collar's trigger Lady sat and watched, just waiting for any hint this Lucario was lying. She couldn't help noticing though the Lucario seemed genuinely concerned about his task as he gingerly squatted and coaxed Felix's limp form onto his back.

"No! Let him go!" Leo pleaded, fresh tears welling in his eyes as he struggled harder. "Mom! Get up, Mom!" Leo cried desperately. The Lucario flexed his legs and slowly rose with his heavy load. Being smaller than the human it left him leaning awkwardly to keep his balance but he knew he could manage.

"Calm down Leo. He's helping," Ky answered when Lady failed to speak up. Her eyes were still trained on the Lucario as he turned towards them. Their gazes met, and though Lady didn't speak, her burning glare clearly conveyed what she was thinking. ‘I will kill you if he doesn't make it.'

The Lucario looked to Leo as the pup continued to sniffle and whine. "I promise he'll be okay," he said, hoping to ease the pup's opinion of him, but if it did anything at all Leo's tear filled eyes didn't show it.

Knowing his mission was urgent the Lucario turned and ran towards the city. The center was two miles away but his pace never slowed. His lungs burned, his legs ached and as he reached the paved streets of the city his pads started to wear raw. Not once did the canine pause under the horrified looks bystanders gave. His back felt wet, and he knew the human's wounds were still oozing blood. Perhaps that was why mothers were shielding their children's eyes as he ran by. He couldn't help but wonder if the human's blood would ever wash out or shed away from his coat.

A mere 15 minutes after he'd left the others the Lucario burst through the pokemon center doors. "Stretcher!" he barked at a surprised Chansey even as he hurried towards her.

"What is this? What are... What happened?" Joy exclaimed, at first annoyed by the rude intrusion. Seeing the boy's open chest though, her attitude instantly shifted to urgency. Knowing Joy wouldn't understand him he gave her a pleading look. It had the desired effect because Joy nodded and rushed to the back with the Chansey.

Standing there alone as the operating light flicked on the Lucario stared at the door. Things were out of his control now and he couldn't help the sense of worry and fear that crept into his mind. If that trainer didn't survive... what would the Ninetales do to him? Worse yet, what would the four of them do without their clearly beloved trainer?

"Mom... Mommy please wake up!"

My ears twitched at the sounds as I felt someone pushing my shoulder. My whole body ached as I groaned and started to come around. ‘What happened?' I thought, blinking against the light as I opened my eyes to the haze of the world around me.

"Mom!" Leo said as I sat up, only to find my pup hugging my chest tightly an instant later. It hurt quite a bit but I couldn't refuse him. Weakly I smiled through a soft wince until the memories of the fight came flooding back.

"Leo!" I gasped as I shot to my feet, clutching Leo protectively as I looked around. The Feraligator and Rhyperior were both lying battered and unconscious. Their Darkrai trainer had a nasty wound in his hand as he lay nearby in a similar state but where had the Lucario gone? Frantic, I shut my eyes to look for his aura. I spun my head left, then right before a nudge at my leg caught my attention. It was Lady, and her aura was as cheerless as I had had ever seen.

"What happened?" I asked as I opened my eyes. My vixen friend whined as she nuzzled me again. All of the sudden a realization hit me. Where was Felix? I looked around quickly but only saw his backpack hastily dropped where he had been during our battle. "Where is Felix?" I asked, looking from Lady to my other side where Ky sat. He was staring at my feet with ears back and rings dark.

"He's hurt," Lady answered solemnly.

"That Lucario took him!" Leo whined urgently, instantly freezing my heart.

"To the center," Ky added quickly, but that only raised further questions. Wordlessly, I gapped at Lady and Ky, asking for answers. "We couldn't wake you," Ky continued, "He offered to help. He was our only hope."

"If he doesn't come back or Felix doesn't make it... I press this and he never bothers anyone again," Lady added with a growl and held out a tail, showing me some kind of black object with a red button on it.

My breaths were catching in my throat as I hugged Leo, my son being the only attachment to Felix I could feel at the moment. I wanted to know what happened but why were they talking like Felix was dying, and for Mew's sake why had they trusted his life to our attacker!

Lady was silent after her remark, she only stared angrily at the dirt with her ears back and that thing squeezed tightly in her tail. Ky was the one to speak as my questioning gaze fell to him. "We should go to the center," he suggested softly.

Still aghast at everything that had happened I looked around the area again. I wanted to kick the three unconscious figures, force them to tell me everything they knew, what had happened, why they'd done this! Seeing Felix's back pack though brought my thoughts back in line. I hurried to grab it. It was heavier than I thought but even carrying Leo in my arms I could still run with it.

I didn't wait for Ky or Lady to lead the way. After slinging the pack on my back I was running back the road towards the city we just left. Only when the two of them appeared beside me did I realize I'd left them behind. I wanted so bad to hug Lady, to cry into her fur but my legs wouldn't let me stop. At least... not until that Lucario skidded to a halt in front of us.

He was clearly shocked to see me standing before him but before I could say anything he spoke. "Follow me," he said as he turned, but the sight and scent made my eyes widen and my legs go stiff. His back... was smeared with blood, Felix's blood.

Leo whined softly as he looked up at me. I had squeezed him tighter when the Lucario turned but thankfully he hadn't seemed to notice what I had. As I released my embrace just slightly I brought a paw up to keep his sight limited. "What did you do?" I asked with a cold tone. I could feel the hate pounding in my chest, or perhaps it was only my heart starting to race in fear.

The Lucario turned back around, knowing what I'd seen. His ears flattened as he looked to Lady. Only one of her tails wasn't squirming in anger. "He's with the pink haired human now," he said, his gaze rising to meet mine. Somehow the look in his eyes had changed. Sorrow and concern had replaced the uncaring and vacant stare he'd had during our fight. Luckily for him it abated my anger just enough for me to trust him; for the moment.

Lady wasn't so easily satisfied though. In a fit of rage she threw the black object at the Lucario, brutally hitting him right in the forehead. With a sharp yelp the Lucario fell to his behind and clutched at his head. When he pulled a paw away a trickle of blood had tinged his pads. "Leave us! Now! You have your life. Be grateful!" Lady shrieked as licks of flame from between her teeth accentuated her sharp words. Stunned, the Lucario could find no words to answer. He sat there staring at us as Lady darted off, soon followed by a concerned, but obviously fatigued, Ky and myself a moment later.

The rest of the way to the center I couldn't get the image of Felix's blood on the Lucario's back out of my mind. Sure I had seen him get hurt and bleed before but never that much. I had to wonder how much humans had in them. What if Felix really was... gone?

Chapter End Notes:

Alright... So I can't believe it took me a freaking year to post again. I sincerely apologize. v.v I have no excuses. Life just ran away with me and I am very sorry. I have a few chapters to post and I am still working on my writing projects, but I haven't gotten as much time to work on them as I would like sadly.
Well. I hope you enjoy this edited chapter! And please, all comments are welcome. :)

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