AGNPH Stories

Rukario Romance by XD385


Kindred Flames

Somewhere to the west of Twinleaf Town, a pair of vivid and fierce pink eyes scanned the surface of the ocean while carefully concealed in the leafy branches of a tree growing near the shoreline. Its belly grumbled lightly, reminding the creature of its hunger and that it was high time for breakfast. It continued to gaze at the water, wary for any signs of movement beneath the surface. Soon, a long narrow object glided nearby in the depths. The creature recognized the shape and raised its hand. It then thrust it forward, causing a long rope of fire to extend from its arm, a large gaping hand at the end. The rope shot into the water and grabbed its prey a moment later. The prey immediately began to squirm. But the creature then jerked its arm upwards, causing the rope of flames to yank the creature out of the ocean. The beast's blood began to boil in excitement at the sight of a Gyarados in its clutches. As soon as the massive serpent saw the owner of the flames that was constricting it, the Gyarados fired a potent Hydro Pump at it. But the beast countered with a Flamethrower that caused the Hydro Pump to evaporate without being forced back. Once the Gyarados paused to recover from the attack, the beast pulled its arm back, making the rope of flames retract towards it at high speed, causing the Gyarados to go slack from the whiplash. The beast stood with its claws extended, ready to gut its meal. And once the Gyarados came within range, the beast of flame took a swing with its claws towards the serpent's belly.

Out on the high seas, Ashton went for a walk up on deck. Once he reached the bow of the ferry, he saw Lucy leaning on the railing while watching several Wingull gliding alongside the ship. He walked over to her and smiled, "Lovely morning, wouldn't you say?" She nodded, "Yes. And the Wingull are most certainly enjoying it to the fullest." Ashton leaned against the railing next to her, "You are from Sinnoh, are you not? Will we see any familiar faces there?" Lucy sighed, "Truth be told, it would be best that I do not encounter my clan while we are there. We are.....not on good terms with each other." Ashton nodded, "I see. I apologize if I brought up any unpleasant memories." Lucy shook her head, "Oh, it's fine." But when she looked towards him, Lucy asked, "Wait..... Where is your sword?" Ashton smiled, "Oh, the Flamberge? I left it back in my cabin. The only weapon I carry around at all times while on a pleasure cruise is my sidearm, Soul Calibur." Lucy giggled, "A pleasure cruise... Right."

Ashton asked, "Is your clan hunting you? You're not in the same kind of trouble Ash was with Ruby's clan, are you?" Lucy suppressed a laugh, "No, I didn't elope with anyone!" Ashton then asked, "Then why are you and them not on good terms?" Lucy sighed and replied, "I would.....rather not say..." Ashton was silent for a moment before speaking, "Do you think they will try to harm you if they locate you?" Lucy replied, "Possibly, but I am sure they will try to capture me alive." Ashton then spoke, "Then I suppose I will have to act as a barrier between them and you." Lucy asked, "Barrier?" Ashton smiled, "It is the knight's duty to defend those who are close to him and his people." Lucy replied, "And I qualify as someone who is close to your family?" Ashton chuckled, "Well, you are involved with Ash. Am I right?"

Lucy blushed deeply at what Ashton just asked of her. "What?! I... No! I'm not close to him in that regard!" Ashton smirked, "No need to be modest. I've seen how you two have been. Quite the couple you are." Lucy then screamed, "I AM NOT! Ash is my friend! A very dear friend, to be sure. But just a friend! We are not mates! And we probably never will be!" Ashton took a step back from Lucy's outburst, "You are...sure?" Lucy's only response was an annoyed glare. Ashton sighed, "I apologize. I did not mean... I was not trying to offend you." Lucy nodded, "All right. Apology accepted." Ashton then leaned against the railing again, "But what do you see in him? What makes him so special to you?" Lucy replied, "He is.....the first male from outside my clan who ever showed me true kindness and acceptance. All other humans would've viewed me as useless since I cannot effectively fight. But he accepted me for what I am. He became my first human friend." Ashton spoke, "Well, I don't view you as useless." Lucy looked back over at Ashton as he gave her a grin. "I find you to be a very bright and helpful little lass. After all, strength in combat is not necessarily strength of character. My son, Kota, would vouch for that." Lucy smiled, "You..... I suppose you're right. I'm sure everyone has a talent in some field." Ashton then asked, "And what are some of your talents?" Lucy replied, "The only one I can think of off the top of my head is cooking. Although I really only cook ramen most of the time..." Ashton nodded, "Ramen..... A humble noodle with vast potential. I need to try some again sometime."

After a moment more of idle chitchat, Ashton felt a shadow cover them. When he looked up, he noticed a familiar form descending towards him. "Ah, there's Chiara." Once the Lugia landed, Ashton asked, "How fares the search?" Chiara replied, "According to Latias, the closest port to where she dropped Ash off was at Goldenrod City. And I did manage to find a lead." Lucy asked, "You did? What did they say?" Chiara smiled, "Needless to say, the locals were quite skeptical when I began asking around. They assumed that I was a Pokémon that had escaped from her Trainer. But I managed to earn their cooperation and they told me what they knew." Ashton nodded, "And what did they have to share?" Chiara explained, "While they did not see anyone matching Ash's description, some claimed to have witnessed a strange Zangoose-like apparition sneak aboard a high-speed private cruiser just moments before it left the docks. And the cruiser was destined for Sandgem Town in Sinnoh. This happened two nights ago. And judging by the speed it could reach, it is likely that it arrived in Sinnoh yesterday evening."

Ashton's eyes went wide. "A Zangoose-like apparition?" Chiara nodded, "Yes. They even claimed that the creature seemed to be on fire. Of course, they did not have enough time to get a good look before the cruiser left." But Ashton shuddered, "But if he was covered in flames....." Ashton then looked up at Chiara, "Then the Eternal Flame must have been active." Lucy asked, "You mean like when he..." Ashton shook his head, "No. I am certain that he is in full control of himself this time. The first time the Eternal Flame becomes active is the most frightening time, as the host has no grasp of how to control it. I doubt he will harm anyone without reason." But as Lucy breathed a sigh of relief, Ashton added, "But I don't see how he could've tapped into its power consciously after only one use. Something must've triggered its activation." Chiara spoke, "Even so, we now know that Ash is likely somewhere near Sandgem Town by now, and this ferry is scheduled to dock there in four days. It should not take long for us to locate him once we get there." Ashton nodded, "I see. Thank you for your efforts, Chiara." The Lugia bowed and left her lover and Lucy alone as she walked towards the stern.

Ashton turned back towards Lucy and noticed that she seemed extremely worried after hearing what Chiara said about Ash's current state. He asked, "Are you worried about him?" She nodded, "Very much so." He then placed a hand on her shoulder, "Are you absolutely certain that you do not feel love for him?" Lucy replied, "Why are you asking me this again?" Ashton explained, "At one time, I was very naïve in matters of the heart. You remind me of how I used to be." Lucy was silent at this. Ashton then whispered, "Listen. If you ever feel love for someone precious to you..." Ashton then closed his eyes as he recalled the moment when his beloved Serra died in his arms aboard the Flying Duskull, "Do not hesitate to tell him how you truly feel. You may not get another chance." Lucy replied, "You sound like you speak from experience." Ashton bowed his head, "Trust me. I know what I'm talking about." He then turned and walked away. But as Lucy contemplated Ashton's words, she muttered, "Do I really feel that way towards him? And if not, will I ever feel that way towards anyone?" Lucy then let out a sigh, "Even if I did, I would never deserve him..... Not after what I did to her..."

In the forests near Twinleaf Town, a young female Blaziken walked through the trees, a turquoise-colored sling bag hanging over her left shoulder. As she snacked on an apple, she soon noticed something long and light blue in the distance through the trees. Curious, she cautiously approached it. But when she came to the object, she froze at the sight of a Gyarados lying on its side with its back to her. Knowing how dangerous Gyarados are known to be and that she had a major type disadvantage against them, the Blaziken remained still for a moment to avoid making a sound as she plotted how to get away without waking the Gyarados up.

After a moment of careful thinking, the Blaziken then noticed that there was something odd about the Gyarados before her. It was too still to be asleep. She heard no deep breathing or the telltale rise and fall of its sides with each breath. And it was several dozen meters from the ocean, too far for any sane Gyarados to crawl. Worried, she walked along to the Gyarados' head and found that its eyes and mouth were wide open. Yet it did not react to her presence in any way. But when she came to the serpent's white underside, she froze in horror at the sight before her. She gulped, "What the..... Who the..... What'n the hell did this?!" The Gyarados' belly had been viciously torn open and had been partially hollowed out. A closer examination revealed that the innards had been torn out, or even possibly eaten.

Cold sweat trickling down her face, the Blaziken took a step back. But she soon froze as she felt herself step in something wet. When she looked down, she found a large spot of blood on the ground. "Whatever did this probably just left. I should high-tail it outta here myself, before that thing comes back and has me for lunch." But just as she looked ahead, she saw a trail of blood staining the ground and vegetation. The Blaziken then looked back at the Gyarados and noticed a second large gash in another part of its belly. However, this one did not go as deep, leading her to believe that the hunter had carved out a hunk of meat small enough to drag away. She then looked back to the trail of blood and pondered what could possibly do this to a Gyarados. After gathering herself, she began to follow the trail, painfully curious of the hunter's identity.

After several minutes of trekking through the trees, the Blaziken came to a cave that seemed to rise out of the ground. The trail of blood went inside it as well. Spotting a small dead tree branch nearby, the Blaziken snatched it up and ignited one end with a quick Flamethrower. But before she could enter, the Blaziken noticed the bloodied remains of what seemed to be a Bidoof and Staravia at the mouth of the cave. The bones had been picked fairly clean of flesh, but the heads were left intact. The Blaziken shuddered, "Well..... I guess a guy's gotta eat." Gathering her courage, she stepped inside the cave.

After walking for less than a minute, the Blaziken noticed that there seemed to be something illuminating the cave up ahead. (A torch? Maybe a lantern?) But as she rounded the corner where the light seemed to be brightest, the Blaziken froze at the sight of what seemed to be a Zangoose that was covered in flames. And it was feasting greedily on a large slab of Gyarados meat as one side was still covered in white belly flesh. The translucent 'fur' of the Zangoose was giving off a reddish orange glow that was too bright to see through very well. But as it feasted, the Zangoose suddenly glanced over its shoulder and stared directly at its intruder. But the cruel pink eyes soon became filled with fear, and even a hint of shame.

The Blaziken watched silently as the creature of flames began to back up against a corner as it gazed at her with fear. (What the..... Why's it scared?) The Blaziken slowly reached out, "Easy there, little fella. I'm not gonna hurt ya." The creature covered its face and shuddered, daring not to look at the Blaziken. But a moment later, he felt a three-fingered hand rest upon his shoulder. "See? I won't hurt ya." He turned and faced the Blaziken, who was giving him a smile. "For somethin' so tough, yer kinda cute." As it gazed into the beautiful azure eyes of the Blaziken, the beast of flames felt its fear begin to slip away. As it became calm, the cloak of flames began to dissipate in a steady flow of rising embers. Once the only source of light became the Blaziken's torch, she gasped, "Yer.....human?"

Now that the cloak of flames was gone, the Blaziken could see the creature's true form. The beast was really an ordinary human boy with raven hair, but his clothes were in tatters, as would be expected from something that would have the courage to fight a Gyarados. But his eyes were a vivid pink and were identical to those of a Zangoose. There were also two Z-shaped markings on his face, just below his eyes. However, they were very bold and the end of the one under his left eye extended over his eyelid and up his forehead, disappearing under his hairline. The Blaziken asked, "So yer...human? What's yer name?" The boy replied, "I'm...Ash. Ash Ketchum."

The Blaziken looked down at the unfinished slab of Gyarados meat and asked, "Ya gonna finish that?" Ash asked, "Um... I guess so." But before he could reach for it, the Blaziken spoke, "Just a sec. Lemme tenderize it." She then fired a Flamethrower at it for a few seconds. "Best to properly cook seafood." The smell of roasted fish filled the air, making Ash's mouth water. He quickly snatched up the slab of meat and sank his teeth into it. The Blaziken asked, "Better?" Ash nodded, "Yeah! Much better!" Once he had finished his lunch, the Blaziken grabbed Ash by the hand, "C'mon. Let's get back outside." She then held her torch ahead as she led Ash out of the cave.

Once outside, the Blaziken dropped her torch and kicked earth over it to snuff it out. She then looked back over at Ash and smiled, "Those weird pink eyes of yers ain't as creepy in the daylight." But as he looked at her, Ash's eyes carefully scanned the body of the Blaziken, as he had never seen a female before. Her body was very feminine with fairly broad hips. Her breasts were not too large or small, about C cup in size. But as she noticed the way Ash was looking at her, she giggled, "Oh, cut it out! Am I really that darling?" Ash snapped back to his senses and gulped, "Uh...sorry. Just never seen a female Blaziken before. But now that I think about it, what's your name?" The Blaziken grinned, "The name's Kazeerah."

The two walked through the woods as they chatted. Kazeerah spoke with a heavy southern accent, much like a southern belle. Ash asked, "So, what brings you to Sinnoh? I don't think Blaziken are native here." Kazeerah nodded, "Yup. I just like to travel where the wind blows me. Guess ya could say I'm a drifter." Ash smiled, "Good thing you Blaziken have strong legs." Kazeerah snickered, "Ain't that the truth?" After a while, they ended up back where the slain Gyarados was left behind. Upon seeing it again, Ash seemed a bit frightened as he backed away. But Kazeerah spoke, "Where ya going?" Ash gulped, "I... I'm sorry... I wasn't..." But Kazeerah laughed, "What? Ya not hungry?! A guy's gotta eat! Don't want this to go to waste, right?" Ash only stared at her for a moment, but shrugged his shoulders, "Oh, all right. No point in crying over spilt milk."

Later that evening, Ash and Kazeerah sat around a campfire while feasting on Gyarados meat. Kazeerah grinned, "I don't think I would've ever tasted Gyarados meat if I never met ya. Pretty firm for fish, but not too firm." Ash nodded, "Yeah. And it tastes even better cooked." Just then, Kazeerah asked, "So, what's a handsome boy like ya doing out here all by yer lonesome? Ya a Trainer?" Ash replied after a moment of hesitation, "Yeah, kind of. I don't have any Pokémon on hand right now." Kazeerah then asked, "Where ya from?" Ash replied, "Pallet Town." Kazeerah whistled, "All the way from Kanto, huh? Yer a long way from home." Ash only silently nodded. But Kazeerah groaned, "Oh, cheer up! Sheesh, yer just as gloomy as mah sister when I first met her." Ash asked, "Sister? What's her name?" Kazeerah smiled, "Her name's Lucy. Only thing is it's been a while since I last saw her." Ash raised an eyebrow, (Lucy? Could it... Nah, it couldn't be.)

Once she had eaten her fill, Kazeerah asked, "So, where ya heading?" Ash sighed, "Don't know..." Kazeerah then smiled, "Ya know, I think ya should stay with me for now. I never mind a little company. And it should be a touch livelier that way." Ash asked, "You really wouldn't mind having me along?" Kazeerah nodded, "Not at all. I just know we'll be pretty tight, Ash." He then nodded, "OK then. I'll stick with you for now."

A few days later, the ferry that had departed from Altomare docked at Sandgem Town a little past noon. As the passengers filed off the deck, Ashton looked around, "So this is Sinnoh..." Once he and his companions had gathered at the edge of the harbor, Ashton spoke, "Is everyone all accounted for?" Ruby shouted, "Yes, we're all here! Now let's find Ash!" Ashton replied, "Easy there, Ruby. Don't lose your head. Ash is probably somewhere near this town. Start by gathering information. Let's meet up at the local Pokémon Center in three hours sharp." With that, the group split up and went their own ways.

Just as Ashton was about to start searching for info regarding Ash's whereabouts, he noticed that Lucy was looking towards the east. "Something wrong?" Lucy looked up at him and asked, "Ashton... I know this may sound selfish, but may I ask you a favor?" Ashton nodded, "It can't be that selfish. What's wrong?" Lucy explained, "I need to...visit a certain location. It's a few miles to the east near the shoreline." Ashton nodded, "I don't see why not. But let me carry you. It'll be faster that way." He then scooped up the Lucario in his arms and took off running to the east as he focused his Chakra into his legs. As he ran, he asked, "If I may ask, what is it you wish to see?" Lucy replied, "An old friend. Well.....kind of..."

Elsewhere, Ash and Kazeerah were walking east along the path to Sandgem Town. Kazeerah spoke, "Get out! You've already been to Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and the Orange Islands?! Yer a real vet, ain't cha?!" Ash laughed as he looked ahead, "Well, I do have two or three years of experience under my belt! What about you, Kazeerah? Where have you traveled to?" But after a moment without a response, Ash asked, "Kazeerah?" He then looked to his right and saw that she was no longer beside him. But when he looked behind him, he saw Kazeerah frozen in place. However, she seemed to be made of a brass-colored stone. "What the..... Hey, Kazeerah! What's wrong?!" But as he walked back towards her, a Poké Ball whizzed by his head and struck her. A second later, the ball popped open and sucked Kazeerah inside in a flash of red light. "No way! Hang on...huh?" As he ran towards the ball to grab it, it flew back past him. When Ash turned around, he saw the ball land in the hand of a woman with silver hair and a pair of strange visor-like goggles. She smirked, "Talk about lucky, finding a wild Blaziken outside of Hoenn."

Ash growled, "Hey! Who're you?!" The woman was wearing a long dark purple coat and red high heels that were barely visible below her draping attire. Her left hand, which held Kazeerah's Poké Ball, was outfitted with a strange gray metal gauntlet. She spoke, "Who am I? You must not be from Sinnoh if you don't already know." Ash growled at her response. She spoke again, "My name is J. I am what you call a Pokémon Hunter." Ash raised an eyebrow, "Hunter?" J replied, "Or if you want to be more direct, a poacher." Ash's fierce pink eyes glared at the woman, "I couldn't care less if you're Santa Claus! Give Kazeerah back!" J smirked, "Oh, I'm sorry. So you're this Blaziken's Trainer?" Ash replied, "No, I'm not. But she's still my friend." J shrugged her shoulders, "So my guess was right after all. But in any case, I can't give this back. My client has demanded a Blaziken, and I intend to complete this deal."

Ash growled as he bared his teeth, "Tell your client to go find a Blaziken on his own! I'm taking Kazeerah back!" But at this, J pulled out a Poké Ball in her right hand and scowled at him, "Look, kid. I'm just doing my job. And if you try to interfere, I'll have to remove you myself. Permanently." At this threat, flames began to enshroud Ash starting at his feet. After a moment more, a cloak of flames covered his body that strongly resembled a Zangoose in outline. J raised an eyebrow, "What the hell....."

Ash raised a hand and snarled, "Last chance. Either give back Kazeerah....." At this, a pair of black claws extended from between his fingers. He then gave J a most wicked sneer, "Or I'll be painting this forest red. With your blood!!!"
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