AGNPH Stories

Rukario Romance by XD385


Between a Ruby and a Pearl

The day after departing the Hoenn region by ferry, Ash walked around on the upper deck while enjoying the midday sun. He and his family had just finished lunch and were enjoying themselves as they cruised along the ocean's surface. Remembering that his children had gone to the stern to use the swimming pool, Ash decided to check on them and made his way aft. 

Once he reached the back of the ferry, Ash looked over towards the pool and smiled as he saw little Sapphire resting on Chiara's belly as the Lugia floated on her back at the very center of the pool while Pikachu swam laps around her, occasionally grabbing on to her feet to rest. But he soon noticed Lucash struggling to swim. "Gah, help! I can't float!" But as Ash ran to the side of the pool, Shadow caught their eyes as he swam by Lucash while performing the backstroke. Lucash could not believe what he was seeing as he stopped flailing about, unaware that he was now floating. As Shadow swam circles around Lucash, he chuckled, "Can't float? Just because we're Steel type Pokémon doesn't mean we lack buoyancy." Lucash blushed in embarrassment at his discovery as he made his way to the shallows. Ash brought a hand to his face, amazed that Lucash understood the properties of metal, but was unable to know that it did not apply to Lucario.

After walking over to another side of the pool, Ash heard a voice behind him speak, "Ash, you're in my sun. You're gonna give me weird tan lines." Recognizing the voice, he turned to face Ruby as she relaxed upon a deck chair. But he blushed to find that she was not wearing her blue pants. Instead, she was wearing the bottom half of a two-piece swimsuit. Ash asked, "Um, are you sure you can get a tan? I don't think the sun can get through your fur." The Lucario smiled, "Maybe the rest of my body's fur is too thick, but my upper legs and lower torso have thinner fur. I'm sure I'll get something out of it." Ash smiled, but then asked, "Now that I think about it, have you seen Pearl?" Ruby shrugged her shoulders, "Last I heard, she was with Brock. I just hope he doesn't try to hit on her. She can be really rough with men who don't interest her if they try to put the moves on her." No sooner had she said that, a yell was heard while steadily becoming louder. A few seconds later, there was a massive splash as something fell into the pool right next to Chiara. A few seconds later, Brock swam to the edge and pulled himself up onto it. He had a somewhat tearful expression with a red welt on the side of his face, a sign that someone had slapped him. Ruby asked as she tried to suppress a laugh, "Did you try to hit on my sis?" He bowed his head, "She hit me so hard..... I thought I was gonna fall overboard..." Ash sighed, "Don't let that get you down, Brock. You'll find your girl someday. But don't try Pearl again. I think she has no interest in you." 

Elsewhere, Ashton was walking up the side of the wide funnel on the top of the ship. He was still baffled as of how the ship could move without the use of sails. "I've never seen a vessel with something like this on it. There's probably something at the top." Once he reached the top, Ashton checked his Chakra focus to make sure he would not fall if he lost balance. After checking around the top, he found a few gaps in the floor that were covered with a type of grating. He soon noticed a faint odor and stuck his face over the closest gap. He soon yanked his head back and gagged, having gotten his nostrils filled with the stench of diesel fumes. "Guh! What the hell?! I've never smelled an odor like that!" After trying to cleanse his nose of the stench, Ashton muttered, "Actually, I think I'll try not to think too hard about this. If I focus on understanding what makes this thing move, I won't be able to enjoy myself." 

Ashton looked around as he gazed at the ocean and the ship below him. He soon noticed his family relaxing at the stern and eyed Chiara as she floated in the deck pool. "Hm. Guess I should join them." After focusing his Chakra into his legs, Ashton made a massive leap towards the stern. However, he had not taken the ferry's forward movement into account. As he became airborne, the ferry moved out from under him. As he came down, Ashton's eyes went wide as he found he was about to overshoot the deck! "Aw nonononononono!!!" Ashton screamed as he flailed about. Just as he fell past the stern, he lashed out and grabbed a hold of the railing. Lucash happened to notice Ashton fly overhead and over the side and ran over to the railing. "Hang on, Grandpa!" He reached over the railing and grabbed Ashton's spare hand as the viscount reached out to him. "Atta boy, Lucash. Now pull!" With one yank, the Lucario child pulled his ancestor over the railing and fell down as Ashton collapsed upon him. "You OK? I didn't hurt you, did I?" Ashton asked as he rolled off of Lucash. The boy laughed, "Nope! I'm fine!" Ashton smiled and helped the Lucario boy to his feet before walking over to his family and took a seat near Ruby.

Ashton asked, "Ruby, are you sunbathing?" She looked over to him and smiled, "A girl has to look her best. Right?" Ashton nodded, "Very true." But before Ashton could say anything else, Brock asked, "Ashton, I just remembered something. Remember when we first met? You called me and May something. Did you mistake us for someone else?" Ashton nodded, "Ah yes, you two brought to mind a few familiar faces from my previous lifetime. Would you care for me to tell the tale?" Everyone began to crowd around him as Chiara and Sapphire climbed out of the pool and the others took a seat near him. Aurora even burst out of her Safari Ball to listen more clearly. Ashton chuckled, "Quite an audience." But a voice then asked, "Um, what's going on? Is someone showing something special?" Everyone turned to see Lucy standing a short distance away with a soft drink cup in hand. 

Ash smiled and motioned for Lucy to approach them, "Ashton was about to tell us about his past. Come on. It'll be cool." Lucy slowly made her way over and was about to take a seat, but Ash tenderly grabbed her and directed her to sit next to him on a bench. Once she was seated, Lucy blushed as she felt Ash lay a hand on the opposite side of her hip. But she soon smiled, "Thanks for inviting me." But Ruby and Chiara took especially close note of this action. Chiara smiled as she thought to herself, (When a boy touches a girl there, you know there's something special going on between them.) Ruby lovingly gazed at Ash and smiled, (You're making progress, dear.) Ashton looked around, "Wait... Is Pearl not here? I suppose it's fine if she has business elsewhere. So, shall we begin?" 

Ash spoke up, "Before I forget, I need to know something. Who did you marry?" Ashton chuckled, "So you know, eh?" He sighed, "Out of my eight servants, the one who I chose to be my bride was Ruby." Ruby asked, "Me?" But Ashton laughed a little, "Of course not. She shared your name and species, but Ruby was quite a bit different from you. She was my youngest servant, and my most innocent. But our love was true, and we were wed a year or so after it was decreed that humans and Pokémon are equal." He then raised his right hand and examined a simple gold ring on his finger. Lucy asked, "Is that your wedding ring?" Ashton smiled, "It is. A simple ring of gold that was as modest as it could be. Ruby and I wanted our rings to be as modest as possible as nothing could match our love in terms of value." Ruby sighed, "Beautiful. I'll have to remember that when Ash and I get married. Right, dear?" Ash blushed, "Yeah, sounds like a plan." 

Brock asked, "But what about when you mistook me and May for someone else?" Ashton stared at Brock for a moment as if he was scanning his face and hairstyle. He then nodded, "I recall now. You have the same face and hair as Father Pietro. The only difference is that he was much older than you. That, and he was not at all a skirt chaser." Brock raised an eyebrow, "My ancestor was a priest?" Ashton nodded, "Yes. And he was the man who presided over my wedding." But Ash then asked, "And what about May? Who did you mistake her for?" Ashton nodded, "Oh, yes. She reminded me of Lady Mayka. She trained under me as a squire." Lucash asked, "Can you tell us about her? Did she make a good knight?" Ashton smiled, "All right then. Where do I begin? Let's see..." 

During late spring, Ashton watched as Chiara flew above the Crimson estate while Winston flew near her as his mother taught him how to fly. Now at nearly four years old, Winston was almost as large as his mother. Three years had gone by since Ashton and Ruby were married and life as a couple had been grand. There had been a surge of marriages between humans and Pokémon throughout the kingdom as Rohta took note of their bond. As he enjoyed his lunch, a meat and seafood kabob, Winston called out, "Father, there's someone coming!" 

Ashton looked towards the path that connected his home to Green Mile and noticed a young girl coming up the path. The gates to the estate were wide open as there was no reason to fear attack from vigilantes now that Ashton was not guilt of bestiality. Once the girl had reached the open gates, she stopped. Ashton could tell that she was in her mid teens. Her simple clothing pointed out that she was a commoner, possibly even a lowly peasant. Her brown hair hung off the sides of her face in long locks. Her blue eyes seemed to be filled with nervousness and uncertainty, as well as a hint of excitement. 

Ashton asked, "May I help you?" The girl stuttered, "Is this the Crimson estate? I wish to see Lord Ashton, if he will let me." Ashton smiled as he motioned for her to approach him, "That would be me. Please enter. What do you wish to speak to me about, my dear?" She slowly walked into the courtyard and blushed, "I...uh... My name is Mayka. I wanted to ask you a favor, my lord." Ashton nodded, "I see. And what do you wish of me?" She bowed, "I would like to train under you so that I may become a member of the Knighthood of Rohta." 

Ashton cocked his head to one side, "You wish for me to train you? But why? Surely the academy in Verdant can handle that." But Mayka frowned, "I'm sorry, but that is not possible. My family is rather poor. We cannot afford my tuition. But I want to become a knight so I can help protect the people of this land. I know I really shouldn't ask you, but I was desperate. And I really cannot pay you anything." Mayka then bowed, "If you will not train me, I will leave now." But Ashton smiled, "You don't have to give me anything. I would be happy to train you in the ways of the knight." Mayka raised her face with a stunned expression, "R...really?!" He nodded, "It would be my pleasure. Come with me, and we shall choose a weapon for you." He then took Mayka into his home as she shed tears of gratitude, certain that Ashton would have turned her away. 

As they walked down the hall, the two heard a voice, "Ashton, who's our guest?" Ashton replied, "Don't worry about her, Ruby. This is Mayka. I've taken her under my wing as a squire." Mayka looked past Ashton and saw a Lucario standing before him. Ashton turned to Mayka and smiled, "Mayka, I would like to introduce you to my wife. This is Ruby." Mayka smiled and bowed, "A pleasure, Lady Ruby." The Lucario smiled, "It feels so awkward when someone calls me that. I used to be a lowly servant until a few years ago." Ashton then spoke, "Ruby, please excuse us." He then led Mayka to the armory. "I've never used any of these weapons, so they might be a little dusty."

Lining the walls was a variety of weapons. There were axes, lances, swords, maces, hammers, daggers, flails, and throwing knives. Ashton spoke, "Choose your weapon." Mayka looked around and her eyes soon fell upon a lance. But as she reached for it, she shook her head and looked around a little more. Her eyes then fell upon a javelin of sorts. It was long and heavy enough to be used like a spear, but light enough to wield in one hand and even to throw if necessary. Mayka took the weapon into her hands and looked it over. Ashton then spoke, "Now choose a sidearm." Mayka then looked over to a rack that held many smaller weapons. Almost instinctively, she reached for a small arming sword. As she held the spear in her left hand and the sword in her right, Ashton nodded, "A spear for distant foes and a short sword for proximity encounters. A wise combination." Mayka gave Ashton a surprised glance. The viscount smiled, "You chose your weapons wisely. I will store these for you when your training begins tomorrow. I will be expecting you at noon." After taking the spear and sword and carrying them to his bedroom, Ashton escorted Mayka out of his home. The girl bowed, "You have my eternal gratitude, Lord Ashton. I swear I will not disappoint you." She then ran down the path towards Green Mile as she returned home, anxious to tell her family that she had been accepted as an apprentice for no cost.

".....And that is how it began. Over the course of the summer, Mayka trained under my watch and perfected her skills. Once I was certain that she had come as far as she could under my guidance, I reported her to the queen and she was accepted as a member of the Knighthood of Rohta. And in time, she would join the special unit that I led alongside my two sons. She even saved my skin a few times." Lucash smiled, "That was pretty cool! Did she ever kiss you?" Ashton blushed, "When she was knighted, yes. She did." Chiara giggled, "I'm certain it was more than that. Did she not ask you once to meet her in your bedroom one night for a certain 'thank you' gift?" Ashton's face turned red as he shouted, "CHIARA! Not in front of the children!" Everyone let out a laugh at Ashton's embarrassed response. 

Unknown to Ashton's audience, Pearl was silently watching and listening from the top deck of the ferry. She giggled a little at Ashton's response to Chiara's addition to the story. But as she eyed Ash sitting next to Lucy, she began to feel a primal craving in the back of her mind. She then quietly snuck off as she made her way back inside the ferry.

A short while later, Ash returned to his cabin with Lucy by his side. "I think I'm gonna take a nap for a while. Come wake me up when it's dinner time. OK?" Lucy nodded, "All right. I'll stop by at 5." Once Lucy went back down the hall, Ash stepped inside, leaving the door open. But as he removed his tattered jacket, Ash jumped at the sound of the door slamming shut, followed by a clicking sound as it was locked. Ash slowly turned around, but breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Pearl standing in front of the door. "Whoa... You kinda spooked me there. Let me know you're there next..." But Ash stopped short of finishing his sentence as he locked eyes with her. Pearl was giving him a very loving and tender gaze. She then slowly began to approach him, causing Ash to nervously take a few steps back until the bed was right behind him. Seeing that Pearl was not herself, Ash gulped, "Pearl, you're freaking me out. What do you want?" The sultry Lucario murred, "I want you." 

Before Ash could do anything, Pearl lunged forward and tackled him to the bed. She let out a giggle as she saw his stunned expression, "What? Did you think I was going to eat you?" She then grabbed his hat by the brim and cast it aside. Ash gazed up at the Lucario as she pulled her yellow vest over her head and tossed it to the side of the room, revealing her ample breasts, her nipples standing erect as they hardened. Ash gulped, "Pearl, this really isn't a good idea! What if Ruby finds out?! And besides, didn't you send Brock flying when he hit on you today?!" The Lucario surprised him by tenderly caressing his face with one hand while smiling, "You saw that, huh? Yeah, he tried to put the moves on me, but he wasn't good enough for me." But she then narrowed the distance between their faces and whispered, "I was not joking at all when I said I know a good man when I see one. And you are the best I've seen in my entire life. That's why I want you." She then gave him a slightly pained gaze, "Ash..... I want to bear your pups..." 

Ash gulped, remembering the last time Ruby had acted this way. "Pearl..... Don't tell me you're in heat!" But Pearl laughed, "In heat?! What gave you that idea?! I just want to have your babies someday!" Ash froze as he gave her a strange glance, "You're....NOT in heat? Then why are you...?" She shushed him and smiled, "Is it so wrong to tell a man that I want to bear his pups when I'm not in heat? Sure, I'll go into heat someday, but I'm not right now." She then spoke, "Ash, I've been waiting all my life for someone like you to come along. I will only settle for the best male possible to sire my offspring. You have no idea how jealous I am that Ruby found you first." She then gently cupped his face with both hands, "Ash, I have always loved you. But I know I can't make you love me. Tell me now. Do you love me?" Ash simply smiled and replied, "I already answered that question a few weeks ago." He then sat up and embraced her, "I love you." 

Pearl shed a few tears as she embraced the boy who spared her life when he could have killed her. But they soon froze as they both felt something. Ash blushed as he felt Pearl's bare breasts pressing against his bare chest. He backed away slightly, "Uh... Sorry. It's different than Ruby's." But Pearl smiled, "It's no trouble at all." She then grabbed one of his hands and held it to her breast. "They're all yours." Ash blushed a little as he began to massage both of Pearl's breasts. He spoke, "They're even softer than Ruby's. It must have something to do with having thinner fur on them." But Pearl shuddered, "Ooooh, yeah... I can only imagine how it would feel if they were full of milk." She then whispered, "Ash, I've waited long enough. Please..... Take me."

Pearl rolled past Ash until she was resting against the back of the bed. Ash smiled and began to remove the rest of his clothing. Once he was nude, he crawled over to Pearl and looked down at her upper thighs. But he then raised an eyebrow, "Um..... Where do I start?" Pearl gave him a puzzled stare. Ash explained, "You're not like Ruby. You don't wear pants. So what should I do?" Pearl suppressed a laugh and replied, "Oh, that. Our fur around our hips is that thick in order to protect against stray blows. After all, you wouldn't want to get nailed there without something to cushion the impact, right?" Ash became a little blue in the face at this revelation, "Ugh... That makes sense." But Pearl then reached down with one hand and began to dig into her fur between her legs. "Just let me...there we go." With two fingers, she spread some of her fur apart, revealing her virgin lips. "Now you know where. Shall we begin?" 

Ash was already slightly aroused by the fondling of Pearl's breasts from a moment ago, so he carefully positioned his stiff member at Pearl's lips. Once he was sure he was properly aligned, he gave a firm thrust. But he heard Pearl gasp as he sank himself to the hilt. When she saw him give her a worried glance, she replied, "Ash, did you forget? I've been waiting all my life for someone like you. That means you're my first." Ash blushed, "OK, sorry. I just get a little worried when I hear a girl gasp in pain like that." He then began to steadily thrust into Pearl in an attempt to replace the pain with pleasure. Pearl was trying very hard to not scream as she felt the boy she loved filling her with each thrust. She reached out and gripped the back of his hips to keep him from pulling too far out.

Ruby soon came to her and Ash's cabin. But as she reached for the door, she heard some muffled voices coming from within. When she pressed her ear to the door, Ruby froze as she recognized the voices of Ash and Pearl. Desperate, she prepared to break the door down. But she quickly stopped herself as she pondered what the crew would do when they found that she had damaged the ferry. Remembering that she had a spare key for the cabin, she unlocked the door and slowly inched the door open.

As Pearl gasped and whimpered in pleasure from Ash's thrusting, a voice shouted, "HEY!!!" Ash and Pearl froze as their eyes went wide with fear. As Ash looked behind him while Pearl looked between his legs, Ruby shut the door and locked it while giving them an angry glare. She growled, "Who gave you two permission to have some fun together?" Ash and Pearl were too terrified to move, let alone speak. But their expressions changed from fright to puzzlement as Ruby began to remove her blue shorts. Once she had cast them aside, she gave the two lovers a mischievous smirk as she added, ".....without me?" 

Ash and Pearl looked back at each other and back at Ruby. She asked again, "Did you hear me? Who gave you two permission to have some fun together without me?" She then sat down near Ash and murred, "Let's make it a threesome." Ash was speechless as he heard his girlfriend reveal that she did not mind him making love with another girl. But Ruby explained, "What? Did you forget? It is not uncommon for a male Lucario to have more than one mate at a single time. I can't argue with you if you love my sister." She then reached out and gently caressed Ash's testicles, "Go ahead. I'll do my part to help." 

Ash and Pearl looked back at each other and smiled with a look of relief on their faces. As he went back to thrusting into Pearl, Ruby gently fondled Ash's male equipment to help induce an orgasm. While doing so, she began to thrust her other fingers into her womanhood as the scent of Ash's musk was starting to turn her on. As all three neared orgasm, Pearl could no longer hold herself back and pulled Ash close for a kiss. She forced her tongue through his lips and passionately kissed him while tightly embracing him. Ash held Pearl's head from behind as he sank himself to the hilt, his sperm flooding into her womb while her inner walls squeezed him firmly. Ruby was not far behind as her body violently trembled as she gritted her teeth, her womanhood drenching her hand with her sweet fluids. 

Ash fell upon Pearl in exhaustion as the two sisters lightly panted in orgasmic bliss. Ruby soon reached out to Ash and smiled, "Looks like you and her make a great couple." Ash was too out of breath to reply. Just then, a thought passed through Ruby's head. "Hey, Ash! I need to ask you something before I can forget." Ash grunted as he sat up, pulling out of Pearl in the process. "What's up?" Ruby explained, "I've been meaning to ask you this for a while, but it kept slipping my mind. You remember the night when Sapphire was conceived?" Ash blushed, "Um...yeah. What about it?" She added, "You told me 'You are so beautiful and innocent that you won my heart weeks ago.' right after we finished." Ash nodded, "Uh-huh. And what about it?" Ruby explained, "Ever since the day I first met you, I always thought you saw me as a friend and nothing more. But did you really love me like that for so long? And if so, why did you never tell me? Or was that little confession a 'heat of the moment' kind of thing?" 

Ash gulped, "You want to know why I didn't tell you?" He slightly turned away and replied, "It was because I was afraid of what you would do to me." Ruby gasped, "Afraid?! Ash, I treasured you! I never considered harming you!" Ash explained, "Something.....happened a while ago that made me a little afraid of girls in that department." Ruby raised an eyebrow, "And what was that? Did someone beat you up?" Ash blushed, "Yeah. Lots of times." Ruby's face became flushed with anger, "Tell me who did that to you. I need to know what happened." 

Ash explained, "Right when I first became a Pokémon Trainer, I ended up traveling with a girl who I kinda owed a new bike to. She had a really nasty temper and would sometimes beat me up over simple things. And not just me. Even Brock was attacked by her a few times." Ruby snarled, "How dare she?! Who is this wretch?! I'll pummel her!" But Ash threw up his hands, "Whoa, hold on! She may have been a jerk at first, but she became a good friend later on. After about a year, she started to mellow out and we parted ways after two years. By then, we were really good friends. That was right before I first came to Hoenn." Ruby calmed down slightly, "OK, so let me see if I get this straight. The reason why you never told me about your feelings was because you had become afraid of what girls would do if you told them that you loved them?" Ash silently nodded. But Ruby frowned and reached out and embraced him, "Ash, I could NEVER hurt you. I owe you my life thrice over." Ash smiled and embraced her, but he soon asked, "Huh? Thrice? I saved you when we first met, and again when Shadow came after you, but when did the third time happen?" Ruby and Pearl's eyes shot wide open as they remembered what Ashton had warned them about right after Ash had slaughtered the other four members of the Blackflame Five. Pearl quickly spoke, "Oh, she made a mistake. It wasn't you who saved her the third time. It was Ashton. She just thought of you because you two look a lot alike." Ruby nodded, "Yep, that's it. I forgot that it was Ashton. I can see where you got your looks." 

Pearl slowly crawled over to Ash and asked, "Ash, sweetie. May I ask you something?" The boy looked down at her and replied, "Sure, what's up?" She blushed, "Next time I go into heat, would it be OK with you if I had your baby?" Ash's face turned red in embarrassment. He turned to Ruby, but she laughed, "Oh, don't look at me! I can't say no to this. If she loves you, I can't stop her. Just don't forget about me." Ash looked back at Pearl and nervously smiled, "Uh...sure. I wouldn't mind giving you a baby." Pearl gave Ash an excited grin and embraced him, "Thank you, love. I can't wait to see your children's faces when we give them a cousin." As he was embraced and kissed by the two sisters, Ash blushed, (I don't know if I'm really lucky or not.)

After several days at sea, Ash and his family arrived in Vermilion City. Shadow glanced around and spoke, "So THIS is the Kanto region?" Ruby replied, "Sure is. Think you're gonna have any trouble moving in?" The former assassin shook his head, "No. This looks like an ideal new home for me." Ash then looked down at Lucash and smiled, "Welcome home, Lucash. This is where we live." The Lucario child looked around and grinned, "Really? Where do we live?" Ash replied, "Pallet Town." However, he soon noticed Ashton looking around with a most bizarre expression.

Ashton observed the tall square buildings in the distance and the occasional vehicle that would pass by. Chiara asked, "Is something wrong, Ashton?" He grumbled, "The architecture is much more.....bland than I recall. And what's with these carriages? They move without anything pulling them. What is it? Some sort of incantation that allows something on wheels to move without external force?" Chiara covered her mouth as she could not help laughing at Ashton's ignorance. Brock chuckled, "Man, you really need to get with the times." 

After walking through Vermilion City for a short while, Ashton asked, "Before I forget, what is our destination again?" Ash replied, "Pallet Town. You know, that little town to the west?" Chiara added, "It is where Green Mile used to be. We passed through it on our way to our home a few months back." Ashton smiled, "Oh, that! But we're not going back there on foot, are we? That will take weeks, if not months." Ash grumbled, "Now that you mention it, yeah. It'll take a while." But Chiara asked, "If I might make a suggestion, may we take a shortcut?" Pearl asked, "What sort of shortcut?" The Lugia smiled, "Just follow my lead. But first, let's get out of this bustling metropolis." 

After leaving Vermilion City through the eastern gates, Chiara led her friends to the south through some thick forestation until they reached a pristine beach. Ash looked around, "Pretty nice beach. But what'd you bring us here for?" Chiara giggled, "Like I said, we're going to take a shortcut. It will take a long time to reach Pallet Town if we go on foot, so instead we will go by sea." Her eyes glowed a faint blue for a moment as she gazed at the Safari Ball at Ash's belt. It then burst open as Aurora was released. "Hm? What? Did someone need me?" Chiara explained, "Yes, we do need your assistance, Aurora. We are to return home and you must carry someone along the way." The Suicune cocked her head to one side, "How so?" The Lugia replied, "We are to return home by crossing the sea."

Aurora backed away, " know I can't swim! And I do not even know the way!" Chiara explained, "Over the years, I have become familiar with the Kanto region's layout. I know the quickest route from here to Pallet Town. Even if you cannot swim, you can still run across water. All you have to do is follow my lead." The Suicune nervously nodded, "I...see. Just don't slow down. I will sink if I lose momentum." Chiara looked back at her companions and spoke, "Aurora and I can only carry so many of you, and so I believe we'll need to make a roundtrip. Who shall go first?" 

A minute later, Aurora stood with Brock tightly clutching her mane while resting atop her as Chiara stood with Shadow and Pearl seated upon her back. Ashton spoke, "That looks just about right. How long do you think it will take for you to return?" Chiara replied, "It should take just a little over an hour." She then spoke, "Come, Aurora! Let us be off!" The Lugia then began to levitate before flapping her wings as she was propelled forward, soaring just above the ocean surface. Aurora nervously took a few steps back to give her some distance. "I advise you hold on. I will not be able to turn around to retrieve you should you fall off." This only made Brock grip her mane even tighter, "Uh...sure. I'll remember that." The Suicune then broke into a dash as she raced after Chiara, her feet barely touching the water. As the two ladies and their passengers faded over the horizon, Ashton asked, "Well then, should I tell you some more stories as a means to pass the time while we wait for them to return?" 

About ten minutes after an hour had passed, Lucy spoke, "I think that's them now!" Everyone present looked to the sea as two figures came into view on the horizon. A moment later, Chiara and Aurora landed upon the sandy beach. Chiara smiled, "That's one down!" Ash asked, "Did you really get them all the way to Pallet Town?" Aurora replied, "Not quite. We dropped them off at the southern border." Ruby then asked, "OK then, who carries who?" Aurora bowed to Ash, "Lord Ash, may I carry you and your son?" Ash smiled and signaled for Lucash to approach him, "You bet. I don't think we'll be too heavy." But as the two of them climbed on top of Aurora, Pikachu bounded up into Ash's arms. "Uh, I guess that means you'll be carrying three of us instead." She replied, "It's no trouble." Chiara then lowered a wing, "What about you, Ruby?" The Lucario replied, "Only if Lucy comes." Chiara replied, "There should be enough room for you both." Ruby and Lucy then carefully seated themselves upon the midget Lugia. But Aurora then asked, "Oh my, I forgot about Ashton!" But before she could speak, Ashton replied, "No worries. I'll carry Sapphire." The two ladies looked at each other for a second before nodding. But just as Lucy was about to question Ashton's words, the two ladies were on their way across the ocean once again.

Ruby shouted, "What're you doing?! You left my daughter behind!" But Chiara replied, "Look again." As he looked over his shoulder, Ash's jaw dropped as he saw Ashton soaring after them on wings of rainbow flames with little Sapphire being cradled in his arms. Once he caught up with them, Ashton looked over at Ruby with his fiery red eyes and smiled, "What?! Did you forget?" Sapphire smiled as she waved at her mother, "I'm fine, Mommy! Grandpa is taking good care of me!" Ruby lightly chuckled as she blushed in embarrassment, "I can't believe I forgot about that. Oops....." But after cruising for a short while, Ashton spoke, "Hm?! What's that?!" Up ahead was what seemed to be a bridge that was rapidly growing larger as they closed in on it. Ash recognized it after a moment, remembering when he rode a rented bicycle across the bridge to deliver some potent medicine to a gravely ill Shellder. He shouted, "Oh, that's a bridge with a bike path! It's over ten miles long!" Ashton's face went blank for a moment, "TEN MILES?! THAT'S ABSURD! WHAT KIND OF BRIDGE CAN REACH THAT FAR WITHOUT COLLAPSING UNDER ITS OWN WEIGHT?!" Chiara laughed at Ashton's reaction as they flew under the bridge and out the other side, turning quite a few heads in the process; including a familiar bicycle gang that did not have enough time to recognize Ash's face. 

After nearly forty minutes of cruising over the ocean at high speed, Ruby shouted, "Land ho!" A shoreline began to come into view as they neared a forest that was near a beach at the water's edge. Ashton and Chiara increased altitude while Aurora ran on ahead, plunging into the forest while the other two flew over it. Ash, Pikachu, and Lucash ducked low as vegetation passed them. As soon as they reached a clearing, Aurora drifted a little as she turned to the north before breaking into a run again. Ashton and Chiara soon appeared overhead as they moved along a forest path that led to Pallet Town. Before long, they emerged from the forest and could see Pallet Town on the horizon with their other companions standing nearby. Aurora then turned towards them and came to a screeching halt as she neared them. Unfortunately, Ash was not holding on to Aurora's mane very well and was sent flying due to the sudden change in inertia. Ashton's face turned pale as he muttered, "It would seem history really does repeat." He winced as he recalled when he was sent flying by Aurora at the Demon's Cape to the north, resulting in him crashing face-first into a patch of thorn bushes. 

Ash shouted, "Oh man, someone SAVE ME!!!" As he was about to crash into his friends, Shadow braced his legs and held his arms out. He grunted as Ash fell into his arms, his legs slightly buckling from the impact. As everyone watched in silence for a response, Ash looked up at Shadow and blushed, "Um... My...hero?" Shadow's face became flushed in a deep blush of embarrassment as he tried to look away. As he landed and dismissed his wings, Ashton broke into hysterical laughter, "At least you didn't land upon a layer of thorns!" 

After a short walk, the group found themselves within Pallet Town. Ashton then tapped Ash on the shoulder and asked, "Ash, where do you suppose a trio of vagrants would wait for someone if they had to remain in this town for a few weeks?" Ash pointed to a distant hill that had a large red-roofed building with a modern windmill above it. "That's Professor Oak's lab. He's a pretty hospitable guy, so he let's travelers hang out there. Pallet Town doesn't get a lot of visitors, so no one ever bothered building a hotel." Ashton smiled, "Thanks. I'll be right back. We'll meet up again at your house. Chiara, please escort them." He then broke into a run as he made his way towards the laboratory. 

Failing to notice the intercom at the front of the right pillar at the gates, Ashton climbed over them and ran up the stairs to the lab's front door. He then gave a knock and patiently waited for a reply. A moment later, the door opened to reveal a young teenage boy with black hair and a red headband while wearing brown shorts and a green T-shirt. He spoke with a smile, "Hey, Ash! So you're..... Wait...wha...?" The boy took a step back as he seemed baffled and slightly intimidated. Ashton replied, "Not quite. My name is Ashton." The boy scratched his head, "Yeah, I didn't think you were. You're too tall to be him. But your face is pretty similar. Anyway, my name's Tracey. But...WHOA! Is that sword on your back real?!" Ashton glanced at the hilt of the Flamberge and shrugged his shoulders, "I really don't see why it should be false. Relax. I can't kill you with this blade, even if I tried." Tracey nervously grinned, "O...K... By the way, can I help you? You must've come up here for a reason, right?" Ashton nodded, "That I did. Did you happen to receive a visit from a young man with indigo hair, a young woman with long scarlet hair, and a Meowth that knows how to speak English?" Tracey chuckled, "Oh, them. Yeah, Team Rocket showed up a few weeks ago and claimed they were only waiting for someone to come for them. Are you their boss or something?" Ashton replied, "I am their employer." Tracey grinned, "OK, just make sure you be careful around them. They gave Ash and I a lot of trouble back in the Orange Islands." Ashton smirked, "Oh, don't worry about that. If they try anything, I'll take their heads. And they know it." 

After being brought inside, Ashton was told to wait in the lobby. As he waited, Ashton spotted a square flat-screen television resting on a large series of brown wooden shelves. "Kinda looks like the one back at Ash's home. Only this one is flat and not cubed." As he examined it for a moment, Tracey's voice spoke, "OK, Ashton. I found them. Are you sure these guys are the ones you're looking for?" He then turned to one of the doorways and smirked when he saw the frightened faces of the three former Team Rocket operatives. "Yeah, that's them all right." James shuddered, "Oh no, you're not gonna kill us, are you?!" But Ashton replied, "Now why would I want to do that? I told you, did I not? I have some positions for you three back at my manor. Now then, shall we be going?" Jessie asked, "You mean... You're serious?!" Ashton nodded, "I mean it. I'm offering you three the choice of becoming my servants as the Crimson estate requires quite a bit of work to maintain. I'll explain your duties. That is, if you don't mind a little manual labor." James replied, "Oh, we don't mind that at all! Just as long as we're fed and have a roof over our heads!!" Ashton smiled, "Then it's decided! Let me show you to your new home!" Ashton then thanked Tracey for his hospitality and led his three new servants down the stairs back towards Pallet Town. 

Around that time, Ash and his family and friends had reached his house as Delia finished her gardening for the day. As she stood up, she saw her son and his friends approaching before they were even aware that she was there. Delia ran out of the yard and over to her surprised son and snatched him up in her arms, "Ash, you're home sooner than I thought! Are What... WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?!" Delia took a step back in shock at the state of Ash's clothing. While his hat was just fine, the upper right half of his jacket had been completely torn away, revealing his black undershirt. The rest of his jacket even seemed that it had been burned in a few spots. His gloves were gone and his pants had been cut and shredded in a few spots. The lower half of its left leg was even completely gone. Thinking fast, Ruby spoke up, "Oh, he just got caught up in a really bad scuffle a while back. He's fine." Delia breathed a sigh of relief, "I see. But please try to be extra careful from now on. OK, Ash?" The boy laughed as he hugged his mother, "Yeah, I'll watch myself. But to be honest, I don't even remember what happened." 

After Ash and his mother were finished cuddling, he spoke, "Mom, I have some introductions to make." Delia looked back over at the group and saw a pair of faces that she did not recognize. Shadow stepped forward and held out a hand, "My name is Shadow, Miss Ketchum. I hail from the Blackflame clan of the Hoenn region. You're son here is my Trainer and friend." Delia shook his hand, "What a gentleman. A pleasure, Shadow." She then looked over at the other female Lucario in the group. Ruby smiled and spoke, "Mom, let me introduce you to my big sister. This is Pearl. She practically raised me early on in my life." The Lucario bowed, "A pleasure, Miss Ketchum. Your son is a total joy to be around." Delia giggled, "You don't have to call me that. Since you're the sister of my son's girlfriend, just call me Mom." Pearl gave Delia a surprised glance, but then nodded, "OK then.....Mom." 

Sapphire ran over to Delia and squealed, "Grandma! I missed you!" Delia snatched up the Riolu in her arms and nuzzled her, "I missed you too, little Sapphire! How's my favorite girl been?" The Riolu giggled, "I've been great! And so has Lucash!" But Delia asked, "Lucash? Who's that?" Ash spoke, "Oh, right. There's someone special I want you to meet." Delia looked down and saw an unusually small Lucario looking up at her. Ash dropped to one knee and placed a hand on the Lucario's shoulder, "After we got back to Hoenn, Ruby went into heat again. And...well...I think you can guess the rest." Delia gently set Sapphire down as she slowly approached the Lucario. She then dropped to her knees as she stared at the boy while he gave her a shy stare. Ash spoke, "Mom, this is your grandson. His name is Lucash." He then whispered to Lucash, "Don't worry. This is your grandma." Lucash then whispered, "Grandma...?" Delia then burst into tears as she embraced her grandson, "Another beautiful child! Ash, I'm so proud of you and Ruby!" Lucash blushed in embarrassment as his grandmother smothered him with a hug, causing Ruby to giggle, "Easy there, Mom. He's still very young, so be gentle with him." 

Once Delia had ceased her crying fit, she climbed to her feet and wiped her tears, "He's adorable, Ash. He reminds me of you in almost every way." Ruby laughed, "That's why his name is Lucash. It's because he's like a Lucario version of his father." But just then, Delia noticed something standing just behind Brock. "Who's that over there?" Brock raised an eyebrow and looked behind him. "Oh, it's just Lucy." But Delia asked, "Lucy...?" Ash sighed and walked over to her and gently pulled her into the open. "Mom, this is Lucy. I found her by chance as she was wandering the Hoenn region. She's become a very special friend to me. She's really shy, so be really nice to her." Delia nodded, "I see. Well then, I hope you and Ash remain good friends for a long time, Miss Lucy." The Lucario shyly blushed and bowed, "Thank you. And I hope we remain close as well." 

After coming inside for some tea, Delia spoke, "I just remembered! Ash, you came home at a great time! I was afraid you wouldn't be home in time for your birthday!" Ash gasped, "My birthday?! I completely forgot! What kind of guy forgets his own birthday?!" Pearl giggled, "Your birthday?! That means you'll be thirteen, right? Wonderful. You're going to go from a little cutie to a total hunk!" Ash then spewed his tea in embarrassment as Ruby let out a howl of laughter while Lucy giggled with her hands over her mouth. Delia smiled, "A cutie to a hunk? My word, the girls really seem to like you, don't they?" Ash blushed, "You have no idea..." 

Just then, there was a knock at the door. "Chiara, could you please fetch that?" Delia asked as she checked some cookies in the oven. The Lugia nodded, "Sure. Just a moment." She then made her way to the front door and opened it. "Oh, Ashton! You're just in time! We have some tea ready And what are you three doing?" Meowth replied, "Ashpound here said he's got some positions open at his place! We're gonna be his new servants!" Ashton growled, "That's AshTON! As in TWO THOUSAND POUNDS!!!" Meowth nodded, "OK, Ashtwo thousand pounds." Ashton grumbled, "Watch it! Get my name right or I'll have to beat it into your skull. Or do I need to..." He then gripped the hilt of the Flamberge. Meowth saw this and gulped, "OK, OK! I'll practice!" Ashton smirked, "Good." He then turned to Chiara and spoke, "Actually, we were just about to head up to our home. I was just going to ask you and Aurora if you would be willing to come." Chiara nodded, "All right then. I'll go fetch her." She then went back inside and came back with Aurora a moment later. But Ashton did not expect Ash and Lucy to be with them. 

Ash groaned, "You guys again?! What're you after this time?!" But James replied, "Not this time, twerp! We have been offered roles as servants at this gentleman's manor." Ash glanced over at Ashton and spoke, "Ashton, you CAN'T be serious! You're not really gonna let these guys into your home, are you?! They'll rob you blind!!!" But Ashton replied, "And if they did, who would they give my goods to?" Ash then remembered what Ashton showed to the three crooks when he returned to them back in Hoenn. Ashton spoke, "The leader of Team Rocket is dead, as are some of the higher-ranked officers. If they were to betray my trust and steal from me, they would have nowhere to go. They need a place to live, and I need their services." Ash sighed, "OK then, but you better keep a close eye on them." But Ashton then asked, "By the way, did you and Lucy need something?" Ash nodded, "Yeah. I promised Lucy a dance back in Hoenn. Does your house have a room with a lot of open space?" Ashton brought a hand to his chin, "Yes, it does. The ballroom should suit your needs nicely. However, the ballroom of the Crimson estate is a bit small for one as the manor is located in a reclusive area, making it troublesome to access for large parties." Lucy nodded, "That's fine. I'm sure it's just the right size for one pair." 

A short while later, Ashton and his entourage stood at the edge of the vast forest to the west of Pallet Town. Ashton grumbled, "Without the city of Green Mile to act as a landmark, I can't begin to tell where the path used to be." After a few minutes of searching, Ashton stopped. He could barely make out a cleared path overgrown with vines, weeds, and fallen branches. He raised a hand, "Found it." But when the others came over to him, he threw up a hand, "Keep your distance." He then took the Flamberge in hand, "This is going to get tricky." He then began to hack and slash away at the underbrush as he carved a path along the long-neglected path to the Crimson estate.

After at least twenty minutes of constant slashing, Ashton breathed a sigh of relief as he groaned, "Good lord, my arms feel like grapevines!" He was barely able to place the Flamberge on his back before walking the rest of the way with his arms hanging low. The path closest to the manor was not nearly as overgrown as the rest of the path and was easy to walk along. When he reached the rusty iron gates, Ashton gave them both a firm kick to force them open as his arms were still too weak. But Ash and Lucy, as well as all three former members of Team Rocket, froze in their tracks as they gazed at the home of Ashton. He and his two lovers turned to face them when they noticed that they had stopped following them. Aurora asked, "Is something wrong?" In unison, the five guests shouted, "OH MY GOD, WHAT A MANSION!!!"

Ash ran up to Ashton and shouted, "Ashton, is this really where you live?! This is way too cool!" Meowth marveled at the majesty of the manor, "Not even da Boss had anything like dis! Dis guy must be loaded!" James smiled, "It reeks of elegance, but is not overly large or extravagant! This is worlds better than the fortress I was raised in!" Ashton turned to face his three servants, "So you have some experience with nobility, do you? Then you should feel right at home. Come inside. My home is now your home." Jessie, James, and Meowth ran indoors as Chiara and Aurora held the doors open. But while Lucy went inside, Ash stopped when he noticed a stone monument to the right of the steps. "Huh? What's this?" When he took a closer look, he saw the name 'Serra Crimson' written at the top. 

Ashton spoke, "So you noticed it, eh?" Ash looked towards his ancestor and asked, "Ashton, was she your sister?" He shook his head, "No, she was my fiancée." But Ash shouted, "Fiancée?! I thought you said it was Ruby who you married!" But Ashton silenced Ash with a look of mourning, "No. Serra was the woman who I had originally planned to marry. She was a bold, fierce, and beautiful Salamence who I had known since my days as a squire. But..." Ash asked, "But what? Why didn't you marry her?" Ashton sighed, "She.....died defending me from pirates." 

Ash was silent with shock for a moment before he asked, "She...was killed?" Ashton shuddered, "She died in my arms... It really should've been me who perished..." But he then walked over to the tombstone and caressed it, "But still, it was only a temporary departure. I met her again a century later." Ash asked, "A century? You don't mean..." Ashton nodded, "Yes. We were reunited when I died of old age. In the kingdom of Heaven, she was waiting for me at the gates. And she held no ill will towards me. Even with my other lovers there with us, I seldom strayed far from Serra. She was the first love of my life, and our love remained unchanged." Ashton then smiled, "Of course, I will see her again in another hundred years or so. So I really am not all that saddened by her death all those years ago." He then walked towards the open doors as the sun began to set, "Well then, don't you have a dance to perform?" Ash smiled, "Oh yeah. Show me to your ballroom." 

After stepping inside his home with his descendant in tow, Ashton first stopped by his bedroom. "Just a moment. I need to put my weapons away." He then stepped inside with Ash and Lucy at his side. He then removed the Flamberge from his back and placed it on the wall before setting Soul Calibur on a desk nearby. "Welcome home, my friend." The voice of Soul Calibur replied, "This familiar homely feel... I remember it fondly." But just then, Lucy noticed a sword hanging on the wall in a black wooden scabbard. "Hm? Who's sword is that?" Ashton looked at the wall and nodded, "Oh, that was a gift to me from the emperor of the Far East. But since I could never get the hang of it, I bestowed it upon Lucash when he was knighted. He returned it to me after he had retired from knighthood." Ash smiled and ran over to it before taking the sword in hand. "A gift from an emperor? That's too cool." But as he gripped the hilt, Ashton shouted, "Ahahah, be careful with that! That thing is sharp enough to cut through iron!" Ash froze for a second before very carefully removing the sword from its scabbard. It was a two-handed sword, but the blade was only middle-length. He asked, "What kind of sword is this?" Ashton explained, "That is a blade of legend. The Kusanagi, otherwise known as the Grass Long Sword." 

Ash and Lucy gave Ashton a stunned gaze, "A legendary sword?" Ashton nodded, "Yes. I was given that blade as thanks for slaying the dreaded Yamata no Orochi, a colossal eight-headed serpent that threatened the entire world. It was somehow revived by a heretic cult that originally intended to sacrifice it to an even greater evil. I don't think even the Orochi ever figured that out." Lucy asked, "A greater evil? Of what sort?" Ashton looked over at Soul Calibur, "The very cursed sword that Soul Calibur had been created to destroy." He then faced his two guests, "The Sword of Ruin, Soul Edge."

As he heard those two words, Ash felt a sudden pounding in his head, like a blood vessel throbbing. He staggered backwards and dropped to a knee as he swayed slightly. Lucy asked, "Ash?! Are you all right?!" But he shook his head and climbed to his feet, "Nah, I'm fine. Just became a little lightheaded for a second. Maybe I'm just hungry." But he then looked up and noticed the eight paintings hanging around the room. "Whoa... Are these...?" Ashton nodded, "Yes. These are portraits of my eight lovers." Ash recalled when he first met Aurora and she told him the species and names of Ashton's eight lovers. He then pointed at the picture of the Zangoose, "There's Zandria! I really hope she cooks for me again someday!" Ashton nodded, "Yes, I heard she may still be in this world." But Ash looked at him and smiled, "I know! She cooked for me when I was at Mt. Pyre! Man, it must've been awesome to eat that kind of cooking every day!" 

Ashton gave Ash a stunned expression, "You saw her?! Tell me! What did she look like?!" Ash thought back and replied, "She looked like an ordinary girl Zangoose. Oh, and she could turn into a cloud of white mist and back. I think she called herself a specter." Ashton spoke, "A ghost that can take on physical form....." Ash then added, "And she said that when she was done learning all she could from Mt. Pyre, she was gonna come find me!" Ashton smiled, "Then it's only a matter of time..." Ash then asked, "You really miss her, don't you?" Ashton nodded, "More than you know. It's been over 500 years since I last saw. Since I last held her in my arms..." Ash nodded, "Yeah... She really misses you too... She cried when she told me about you." Ashton sighed, "Even so, it's only a matter of time before she comes back." Just then, there was a knock at the door. Chiara peeked in and asked, "Ash, Lucy, would you like me to show you to the ballroom?" Ash and Lucy happily nodded together. But before Ash could approach the door, Ashton barked, "Not so fast. First, return the Kusanagi to its scabbard and place it back on the wall." Ash nervously chuckled as he had forgotten that he still held the sword. Once he slid the blade back into the scabbard, he gave it to Ashton and followed Chiara down the hall with Lucy by his side.

After he placed the Kusanagi back on the wall, Ashton asked, "Do you really think that Soul Edge is gone forever?" The voice of Soul Calibur replied, "Without a doubt. With the destruction of Night Terror, Soul Edge will disappear from the world of the living forever. We destroyed Night Terror together, so there is no possibility that it can still exist." Ashton nodded, "Mmmm, true. And Zasalamel claimed that he saw the moment when Soul Edge could be destroyed forever. If that's the case, then it must be gone." He then turned to face the spirit sword, "And I really hope it is gone. I dread the thought of facing it again. Thought I was gonna die..." Soul Calibur replied, "I can understand. Even I felt a certain degree of fear in Night Terror's presence." Ashton then made his way to the door and spoke, "It is getting late. Get some sleep. I am sure we will be heading out sometime in the future." 

Ash and Lucy were led into the ballroom, which was now being softly illuminated by many candles placed on the walls as the sun began to set for the night. Ash and Lucy marveled at its size. There were several arched windows that reached near the ceiling while stopping several inches off the floor. For a ballroom constructed in its time, the Crimson estate's ballroom was indeed a bit small, the dance floor being just large enough to hold 35 dancing couples. With that said, the dance floor covered about 80% of the entire floor. Ash spoke, "Whatcha think, Lucy? We have the place all to ourselves." The Lucario smiled, "It is quite lovely. But don't we need some music to dance too?" Just then, Ashton spoke from behind them, "That you do. But I am not particularly skilled in music, if at all. And I don't think we even have any..... Wait a second. Where'd that come from? I don't recall us having one of those." Ashton pointed at something in the far corner. There seemed to be a square box of sorts nestled in one corner of the ballroom. A circular tray was in the middle and a funnel of sorts extended from it with a wide mouth at the end. At the side was a handle that could be rotated in one direction. 

When Ashton approached it, Chiara smiled, "Oh, that. That would be me. A little over 200 years ago, there was a breakthrough in sound recording. Apparently, this device played music by having a little needle of sorts scratch across the surface of a black disc. The music on the disc is then played through this funnel. But what is it called again? It's on the tip of my tongue..." Ash then spoke, "I got it. It's a phonograph!" Chiara nodded, "Exactly. A phonograph. When I found one of these, I was so enraptured that I just had to get one. I tracked down Aurora and we removed the barrier here so I could place it inside the manor. But I never got any discs for it. I did not want to dance alone." Ash then asked, "Ya know, I think modern records might work with this. And I'm pretty sure my mom has some for a turntable we've got somewhere. Think we can use those?" Ashton replied, "Only one way to find out. I'll be right back." Ashton then ran down the hall and out the door of the manor as he made his way back to Pallet Town.

About fifteen minutes later, Ash and Lucy heard the door close as Ashton returned. They then gathered in the ballroom as he carried a large black disc in his hands. "Is this the kind of disc we need?" Ash nodded, "Yep, that's it! What kind of music is on it?" Ashton shrugged his shoulders, "Don't know. I think the label has been worn away." Lucy then asked, "Why don't we try it to find out?" Chiara took the disc in hand and nodded, "Just leave it to me." She then made her way over to the phonograph and positioned the record on the center of the round tray. She then carefully placed the needle on it and began to crank the handle at the side. After a few dozen rotations, she let go as the handle began to slowly rotate in the opposite direction. The sound of a raspy gritty noise could be heard. And then came music. 

A pleasant sound began to pour forth from the funnel as the phonograph played out the music that had been etched into the record. Chiara sighed, "I recall this score. Beethoven's Spring Sonata. The Violin Sonata #5." The gentle and tender tune began to entrance Ash and Lucy. When they locked eyes, Ash spoke, "Hold on a second. I don't think my shoes would work well with this kind of floor." He then proceeded to remove his shoes and socks until he felt the cool smooth wooden floor beneath his feet. The two then took each other's hand and began to dance slowly to the masterpiece of Beethoven. 

As Chiara watched the two friends dance, she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. She turned and saw Ashton reaching out to her. "Care to dance, my dear?" Chiara gave Ashton a tender gaze as she blushed. She then draped a wing before her and replied, "It would be my honor." Ashton then took her large hand in his own and joined Ash and Lucy on the dance floor. The two lovers carefully and gracefully weaved around each other, Chiara's tail slowly sweeping as she turned and moved around her lover. About three minutes into the song, the viscount and scholar came together and closed their eyes as they sealed lips, their tongues performing a dance of their own as they showed that their love had not dwindled throughout the time they had been apart.

When Ashton and Chiara broke the kiss, they lovingly gazed into each other's eyes, daring not to blink or look away. But they then remembered the other couple in the ballroom and turned to see that Ash and Lucy were still dancing, oblivious to their presence. Chiara giggled, "It would seem that they will be dancing for quite some time to come." Ashton nodded, "I think we should leave them be. Let's get started on some dinner. I'm sure they'll be hungry when they finish." Chiara then nodded and followed Ashton out of the room. But before she closed the door, the Lugia took one last peek at the two dancers as they continued to weave around each other, very rarely looking away from their dance partner. Chiara sighed, "Young love... How beautiful."

Far away in the Sinnoh region as the dead of night covered the landscape, a lone Lucario stood in a forest with a long-handled sword in its hands. Its eyes were a pale white, a sign that it was blind. It then took the weapon in both hands and gripped it near the wide curved blade, aiming the blade at its heart. Without a second thought, the Lucario plunged the blade into its chest, a groan escaping its lips as its body shuddered in pain. The Lucario dropped to its knees as it became still.

A moment passed. The Lucario then pulled the sword away, removing the blood-smeared blade from its chest. The blood quickly stopped flowing as the wound rapidly closed. The Lucario dropped its weapon as tears began to pour from its sightless eyes. 

A young woman's voice whimpered, "Why..... Why can't I just die...?"

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