AGNPH Stories

Rukario Romance by XD385


A Life Unfulfilled

"No......" The Skydiamond Oracle's eyes went wide as she detected a presence most foul to the south. "This unholy presence.... Outcast... What in the world have you done?!" Tia glanced over at the Oracle, "What has transpired?" The Oracle replied, "Outcast... That fool has done the unthinkable. He... He has..." Tia's eye went wide, "Oracle, what has he done this time?!" The Oracle spoke in a tone that was somewhat louder than what she normally used, "He has murdered a dear friend of the Angel of Hope after mistaking him for a demon! The Angel of Hope's heart has been gravely wounded, and the Angel of Doom has taken advantage of her sorrow." Tia gasped, but soon growled, "That idiot! I should've executed him when I had the chance!"

Tia drew the Skydiamond Sword from its scabbard and raised it above her head before channeling her Aura through it, causing the blue energy to be emitted from the blade as it shot above her like a flare. As the blue light radiated in the sky for a moment, Tia returned her sword to its scabbard. Seconds later, ten elite Lucario warriors emerged from the woods around them. One spoke, "You called, my lady?" The Alpha replied, "Yes. The Angel of Doom has emerged once again. And this time, her influence over the Angel of Hope is great." Another warrior nodded, "Understood. We will find and capture her, or eliminate her if that is impossible." But the Alpha shook her head, "No, you will not. You shall accompany me. I will see to this myself." But the Oracle spoke up, "No... Not yet. It may be unnecessary for you to confront her."

Tia turned to the Oracle, "Whatever do you mean?" The Lucario sage replied after his/her eyes closed, "I was mistaken... The friend of the Angel of Hope has not yet perished... He still lives, but his wounds are dire. He will perish if he is not healed soon. If you are able to find and heal him, the Angel of Hope should regain control knowing that her friend is safe. If not....." Tia nodded, "Very well. Are one of you trained in the healing arts?" A young female spoke up, "I am. Whatever injuries this boy has suffered, I should be able to mend them." Tia replied, "Very well. You shall tend to his injuries when we find him. But should we not arrive in time, we will have to confront the Angel of Doom directly." But just before she gave them the signal to move out, Tia added, "And one last thing. When we encounter him, eliminate the exile known as Outcast. He and his methods have become a threat to this world and our people. He must be disposed of before he endangers us again. Now, let's move!" The eleven Lucario warriors then vanished in blurs of blue and black as the Skydiamond clan's Alpha female led them south. Now temporarily in charge of the Skydiamond clan grounds, the Oracle muttered, "Be swift, Lady Tia. I fear that...the loss of this boy would be.......a grave threat to the Angel of Hope's balance with the darkness....."

Outcast shuddered as he beheld Lucy's descent into darkness. The Lucario before him was now golden yellow instead of blue and was surrounded by a constantly billowing dark Aura. "I've never felt a presence this powerful..... This...vile." But as Outcast cowered in the overwhelming dark presence of the creature before him, Lucy turned her gaze to the raining night sky and let out a scream of wrath and sorrow, tears still pouring from her eyes. As she wailed, her dark Aura surged from her body, very nearly blowing Outcast off his feet. The Lucario exile's eyes quivered in a combination of fright and bewilderment. "You... You can't be the same helpless maiden I used to know! What the devil are you?!" Lucy growled at Outcast's question, "I already told you..... I am...your Doom!!!" At these words, Outcast gulped, "Doom... Why does that sound so familiar...?"

Before Outcast could even blink, Lucy dashed forward and slammed her fist into his belly with Mach Punch. As he gagged with his eyes nearly popping out of his skull, Outcast was then sent soaring with a Sky Uppercut. At the top of Outcast's climb, Lucy thrust out her hand and launched a dark purple orb at him which moved erratically on a jagged trajectory. When it struck him, the shadowy wisp burst in a cloud of dark mist as the Lucario fell to the ground. But before he could even touch the ground, Lucy threw herself into Outcast while engulfed in her dark Aura, sending him flopping across the ground as he reeled from the chain of attacks.

As he struggled to his feet, Outcast gasped, "Those last two blows...... I've never felt such agony before.... Even that Mach Punch and Sky Uppercut could not compare to that pain....." He gazed ahead at Lucy as she charged at him with a Focus Punch ready. "How...? How is she able to fight at all? And on such an advanced level?!" As Lucy threw her fist at Outcast, the Lucario warrior countered with a Mach Punch of his own, striking her in the face. While the blow did cause her to lose focus, thus negating the Focus Punch, she hardly flinched. Outcast was only barely able to dash away from Lucy in time to evade another Sky Uppercut. He panted, "That face... There was no pain. Is she.....some kind of immortal?"

Outcast shouted, "What are you?! How are you able to use so many advanced moves?!" In reply, Lucy went into what seemed to be a ballerina spin as dark wisps of some sort of vile energy began to encircle her like a cyclone. "I am......Doom!" At Lucy's shout, the cyclone of dark wind erupted from her and began to approach Outcast. "Crap!" The Lucario exile attempted to flee, but the dark whirlwind sucked him in. Outcast shrieked as he felt the blades of wind slice away at him like small knives. The whirlwind soon lost its strength and dissipated, letting Outcast fall to the ground. Many cuts and scratches lined his body, some deep enough to allow his blood to spill. As he struggled to remain standing, he muttered, "Again with the word... Doom. Where... Where have I........" As he tried to think back, his eyes went wide as a cold sweat began to trickle from his pores, "It can't be..... YOU?!"

The memories of his days in the Skydiamond clan came rushing back to him as Outcast gazed at the wrathful Lucario that stood before him. "These foul attacks that seem to be formed from wrath itself.... This unholy presence... You..... You can't be...IT, can you?!" At Outcast's accusation, Lucy held out her hands as a massive amount of dark Aura began to gather in her palms. Outcast gulped, "These strange moves..... Such a dark color... No... Not Dark... More like...Shadow." A second later, a massive wave of Shadow energy was released from Lucy's hands, streaking towards Outcast. However, the Lucario warrior knew better than to try to counter it. Instead, he leapt straight up, narrowly evading the blast as it exploded when it struck the ground behind where he used to be standing. However, he gathered his Aura into an orb in his hand as he anticipated Lucy coming at him from the front. His hunch proved correct as the golden Lucario soared towards him with a Force Palm ready. Before she could actually reach him, Lucy was blown back down into the ground by Outcast's Aura Sphere. Upon landing, Outcast grumbled, "I don't understand..... Why did they hide it from me?"

Lucy let out a growl as she regained her footing. But Outcast shouted, "You can't hide from me! I understand now. I know who you are, demon!" At her enemy's claim, Lucy frowned, but soon showed a very unnerving smirk. Outcast shouted, "I will never understand why they kept it a secret from me... If I had known..... I wouldn't have bothered raping you. I would've obliterated you where you stood! I understand what you are, you witch!" He then tensed up his body as he focused, using a combination of Bulk Up and Calm Mind, "That Tia..... What a fool! Why hide from us the identity of the vilest of all demons?!" He then took a defiant stance, his body beginning to radiate his Aura, "You will not escape from me, Angel of Doom! I will vanquish you... For the Skydiamond clan! For the world!" At this threat, Lucy spoke in a much more sinister tone of voice than she normally used, "Doesn't matter what you do. You're still dead."

Outcast let out a roar as he lunged at Lucy, throwing a Focus Punch at her head. She raised an arm to block the blow, straining under the force of the impact. The Lucario exile knew he could not back away in time as he braced himself for Lucy's counterattack. Much to his surprise, Outcast was not struck with a single strike, but a multitude of blows as Lucy bombarded him with Close Combat. Outcast struggled to endure the pain, letting out only a mild groan as he staggered back from the barrage. But as soon as Lucy relented, Outcast smirked, "When all is said and really are still a novice." At this, Lucy tried to follow-up with a Low Kick. But before she could strike, Outcast struck Lucy in the gut with Counter. A potent shockwave blew away the rain that was falling around the two Lucario for a few seconds as Outcast hit his opponent with twice the force that Lucy's Close Combat attack had hit him with.

Lucy staggered back from the force of the blow, coughing up a little blood. Outcast smirked, "That one should do it. See you in Hell, Doom.....huh?" After a moment, Outcast saw that Lucy seemed completely unfazed from the crippling attack she had just suffered. She did not seem to be in pain, nor did she seem to have trouble breathing as the blood trickling from her mouth quickly stopped. Outcast grumbled, "How is this possible?! That one should've shattered your ribcage and collapsed your lungs! How can you even breathe after thaGAAHH!!!" Outcast was interrupted when Lucy struck him across the face with a Cross Chop, dazing him for a moment. "You little...." Outcast staggered back as he saw stars while Lucy blasted him pointblank with an Aura Sphere that was laced with her dark power. Outcast lay sprawled upon the ground for a moment as he gathered himself. "If it wasn't for that Calm Mind I used, I would've been vaporized...."

After regaining his footing, Outcast grumbled, "I now see that I can't take you on at arms-length." He then brought his fists together as his Aura shot out from the sides like a rope of fire he was holding between them. Soon, the blue color of his Aura became a pale green as it extended from both sides of his hands. The two ends of the growing rod of Aura ended with the telltale rounded nubs of bones, now almost as long as Outcast's body. He then adjusted his grip and held his Bone Rush like a staff. "I'd like to see you get through this now." Lucy responded to Outcast's challenge with a roar as she dashed at him with a Bullet Punch. But despite Lucy's great speed, Outcast thrust his Aura staff forward, firmly poking her in the gut, causing her to grunt in surprise as she did not expect anyone to be able to counter her while moving at such speed. Outcast then began to circle Lucy while smacking and striking her in a steady rhythm with his staff, carefully attacking while watching for any attacks to parry.

After a moment of circling and striking her, Outcast noticed that Lucy appeared to be allowing him to strike her without trying to resist. He soon noticed that she never flinched or yelped in pain from each blow, though her body would reel from the force of each strike. After a good minute of constant attacks, Outcast stepped back with his Aura staff angled at Lucy's throat. "Are you even trying?!" Lucy replied, "Do you WANT me to try?" The Lucario exile roared, "YOU DARE TO MOCK ME?!" He then tried to plunge his staff through Lucy's throat. But the Lucario maiden swiftly grabbed the staff at the tip before performing a back-flip kick to Outcast's face, causing him to fly backwards while releasing his grip on his weapon. Upon landing on her feet, Lucy channeled her Aura into the staff, causing the pale green Aura to change to a vile dark purple hue as it became corrupted with her dark presence. She smirked, "I'll show you how to really use this." Before Outcast could fully recover from the kick to his face, Lucy dashed up to him and began to smack him around at even greater speed than he could, the Shadow energy composing the staff causing great pain with each blow.

After too many strikes for him to count, Outcast was sent flying backwards with an upward swing to his chin, causing him to somersault several times before landing back on his feet and miraculously not falling over. But before he could react, Outcast's eyes trembled as he felt a sharp pain as Lucy threw his own Aura staff at him. There was a splash of blood as it shot through his lower torso like a javelin, dissipating into a flurry of purple wisps of light as it struck the ground behind him. Outcast gritted his teeth as he clutched his waist, blood staining his hands. Lucy scowled, "Does it hurt? Do you see the crimson tears that stain your hands, same as the crimson tears that came from my friend? My love?!" Outcast glanced at the yellow fur that covered his upper body, the human blood still staining his fur a dark red. He groaned, "No wonder you loved him..... You're as much a piece of trash as that wretch was." Lucy growled as she clenched her right hand into a fist as it was engulfed by her sinister Aura, "You will never understand...."

Lucy slowly walked towards her prey with her eyes constantly glaring at Outcast, never blinking once. Struggling against the pain, the Lucario exile brought his hands together and held them a short distance apart. (Everything I throw at her seems to be ineffective... It's like the wound is healed the instant it is dealt. I guess I'll just have to destroy her in one shot. She can't heal if there's nothing left to mend!) Outcast began to focus his Aura into a compact orb between his hands. But Lucy continued to approach him without any fear in her eyes. The orb between his hands began to swell and grow as more and more of his Aura was channeled there. (80%..... That's as much as I'm willing to risk.....) As Outcast channeled the vast majority of his Aura between his hands, the orb began to take on a reddish hue. When Lucy was less than ten feet from him, Outcast snickered, "This is no Aura Sphere, Doom. This is the trump card of every Lucario." He then thrust out his hands towards Lucy and shouted, "The ultimate Aura attack! Focus Blast!!!"

A massive wave of reddish Aura engulfed Lucy as Outcast dumped 80% of his Aura into a final desperate counterstrike. The Lucario exile laughed madly, "YES! TAKE IT ALL!!! BURN TO ASHES, YOU ABOMINATION!!! BURN IN HELL!!!!!" The Focus Blast upturned the ground as it collided with it, uprooting trees and reducing boulders to pebbles and sand. But as his Focus Blast began to die down, Outcast could see a form within the wave of Aura before him. "Heh. Probably nothing more than a dried-out husk now. Wait until the Skydiamond clan sees this. Might just even be selected as the successor to Lady Tia." Outcast began to laugh hysterically, overjoyed that he had destroyed the infamous Angel of Doom on his own power. But as the Focus Blast dissipated, his laughter boiled down to nervous chuckling as he saw Lucy standing before him, almost completely unscathed aside from some singed fur here and there. Before he could even beg for mercy, Lucy slammed her Shadow energy-cloaked fist into Outcast's chest, sending him flying backwards and nearly knocking him out.

Outcast gagged as blood spurted from his mouth. He winched as he felt his chest, the spike on it torn from him and his ribs shattered. He gazed back at Lucy, her hateful eyes glaring at him. "How....... How could you even be standing after that...?" Lucy growled, "Talk all you want. You're about to die. Scream if you must." She then slowly began to approach him once again. But at this, Outcast slowly climbed to his feet, "Never......" Lucy stopped as she watched him gather his Aura into his right hand. As he clutched an Aura Sphere in his hand, Outcast panted, "I gave this battle everything I had. And I still failed. I have failed my clan and dishonored my people. But.....I will not allow myself to die a dishonorable death. At the very least, I won't allow my death to shame my people. Or myself..."

Lucy glared at Outcast, "Dishonorable death..... Shame your people?" Outcast began to chuckle as blood oozed from his mouth, "You have soundly bested me, I'll give you that. However.....I will never allow myself to die at the hands of a monster like you....." He then smiled as he pulled back his hand while the Aura Sphere pulsed in his grasp, "I would rather die by my own hand.....than by the hands of the greatest disaster to ever walk the earth!" Seeing what Outcast was about to do, Lucy dashed towards him with her hand preparing for a Drain Punch, "Forget it! I won't let you escape your punishment! I'll never forgive you for what you did to him! NEVER!!!"

Outcast smirked as he watched Lucy dash towards him, "My one that I failed to rid this world of its greatest demon. May the Skydiamond clan succeed where I failed..." Before Lucy could reach him, Outcast plunged the Aura Sphere in his right hand through the left side of his chest, sending a beam of Aura through his body and out the other side like a laser. Lucy stopped in her tracks less than eight feet from him, watching him silently. Outcast trembled for a moment before dropping to his knees. He then fell forward, collapsing facedown in the mud as rain poured down all around him. He trembled for a moment more before he became still, his ravaged heart ceasing to function.

Lucy could only glare down at her rapist in a complex combination of anger and accomplishment. She had failed to kill the man who had murdered the one she loved, but he did not die peacefully either. She slowly began to chuckle quietly as joy began to build up inside her. As her chuckling burst into loud laughter, lightning streaked across the sky as thunder filled the air. Soon, the golden yellow fur on Lucy's body began to revert to its familiar blue color while the dark blue fur on her torso became a familiar shade of yellow. But as the darkness receded, Lucy's joyful laughter began to dissolve into remorseful weeping as tears began to once more flow from her eyes. She dropped to her knees while slightly leaning back, overwhelmed by the sorrow of losing one of her most precious companions.

Lucy shuddered as she looked down at Outcast's corpse. She slowly raised her hands and looked at them, immensely relieved that they were not stained with his blood. She gasped, "Thank god....... That was far too close..." She shuddered in horror, dreading the thought of her killing someone with her own hands. She began to feel exhaustion take over as she regained control of herself. Lucy muttered, "Thank you... Thank you for not letting me.....end your life..." She then fell forward, fatigue overwhelming her. But just before she could completely pass out, Lucy stopped herself from falling as a familiar face flashed through her mind. "Ash..... He might still be......" Desperation and hope pushing her on, Lucy climbed to her feet and ran back towards Jubilife City. "Need to hurry....."

The rainstorm had intensified into a heavy downpour, forcing more people indoors and leaving Lucy's path unhindered as she ran through the streets of Jubilife City. She did not take long finding the hotel she and her companions were staying at. Lucy burst into the lobby, soaked to the bone by the rain. She glanced around, hoping to find her friends. After a moment of searching the first floor, she breathed a sigh of relief as she found Ruby, Ashton, Pearl, Rukaria, and Shadow enjoying pastries and ice cream for dessert in the café of the hotel.

Lucy barged into the café and pleaded, "We need to go! Now!" Ashton turned to the Lucario maiden, "What happened to you?! You look like a Buizel who spent the whole evening at the bottom of a river." But she replied, "I don't have time to explain! Please, follow me!" Pearl then walked over to her and held her by the shoulders, "Easy now. What happened?" Lucy tried to catch her breath before speaking, "Ash... He's dying! We need to find him before it's too late!" At the mention of his Trainer, Shadow choked on his crepe and gasped, "Dying?! How?!" Lucy shuddered, "A member of my clan... Outcast. He... He mistook Ash for a monster and..." Shadow growled with rage in his eyes, "Where is he?! Where is that freak?!" Lucy hesitated before replying, "Dead... He took his own life..." Rukaria then walked over to her, "Fine. Then where is Ash?" Lucy nodded, "Somewhere to the west. That's all I know..." Ashton then set down the glass of cider he was drinking and spoke, "Then let us not tarry. We will assist you in your search. Lead on."

Before they could turn to leave, Pearl noticed that Ruby was standing in a corner while glancing back and forth with an expression of uncertainty. Pearl approached her sister and grabbed her by the shoulders, "What's wrong with you?! Didn't you hear?! Ash is dying! We need to find him!" But Ruby's only reply was a glance that showed great uncertainty and disdain. Pearl gasped, "What happened between you two? What aren't you telling me?" Her sister's only reply was, "I..... We...." Pearl then pleaded with a hint of panic in her voice, "What are you saying?! Your man is out there dying somewhere! Are you saying you don't care anymore?! After all he's done for you?! For us?!"

Ruby closed her eyes, remembering when Ash attempted to destroy himself after being purified of the evil Soul Edge. She could not help but feel anger and scorn for him after that, even though he claimed to have seen the error of his suicidal ways. She could feel her fear and doubt holding her back, but her memories soon began to fill her mind. She remembered when she was assaulted by a Camerupt after punching it in the face out of frustration. She remembered expecting herself to die, only to awaken later with her body carefully bandaged up. And sitting next to her was the last kind of person she ever expected to receive aid from. A human male.

Ruby closed her eyes, remembering when she and Ash huddled together for two hours as they observed the morning sun rising over the horizon. She remembered all the passing days when she remained with him, never straying from his side. And then she remembered the day when her life permanently changed for the best. The day when her first child was born. She remembered the pain of childbirth, significant yet fleeting. But the pain felt like it was all worth it as she held the tiny pup in her arms. And when Ash came in to see her, he did not flee in fear of parenthood, but accepted his role as a father, tenderly cradling the daughter he had sired. It was as she remembered that night that Ruby opened her eyes as tears began to fill them. "What have I done.....?"

Pearl stepped back as Ruby removed her sister's hands from her shoulders. "All right. Let's go find him." She ran over to Lucy, "You said he is somewhere west of here?" The Lucario maiden nodded, "Yeah... Somewhere. I couldn't find him in time before the rain washed his trail away." Rukaria then asked, "Wait. Do you think we should prepare for battle?" Lucy shook her head, "No. Outcast was an exile. He was alone. We don't have to worry about any others getting in the way." Rukaria nodded, "Then I don't need to retrieve the Hyup Do from my hotel room. Let's go. Now!" Lucy nodded and made a mad dash for the front door. She then ran towards the western edge of the city with her companions close behind her.

It did not take long for them to reach the edge of Jubilife City. Upon reaching the western gates, Ashton called out, "Hold on a moment!" Everyone stopped and turned to face him. "I'll separate from you for now. The rest of you stick together." At that moment, a dozen pillars of flames erupted around Ashton. A moment later, twelve solid copies of himself stood around him. "Me and my Fire Clones will spread out to broaden our search. If any of us find Ash, we'll send a flare into the sky to alert you to the position. But should YOU find him, alert me by launching an Aura Sphere into the sky." The five Lucario nodded in agreement. At that moment, Ashton and his Fire Clones disappeared into the forest to the west of Jubilife City. Shadow then spoke, "I'm on point. Stay close." The former member of the Blackflame Six then led the four ladies into the trees before them.

The rain was pouring relentlessly as Shadow led his four companions through the trees in search of his friend. "Lucy, do you have any indication of where Ash may be?!" The Lucario maiden cried, "I don't know! He's somewhere west of Jubilife City! That's all I know!" Rukaria then closed her eyes and focused her Aura a bit more than she normally did. "I don't sense him anywhere. Either he's still a good distance away or....." Pearl screamed, "Don't say it! Don't you dare say it!" After several more minutes of searching, the five Lucario stopped upon some low tree branches to get their bearings. Shadow grumbled, "Darn it...... If it wasn't for this rain, I probably would've found his trail by now. Where the hell is he?!" As if to answer his question, there was a deafening thunderclap as a bolt of lightning lit up the sky. Before the lightning dimmed, Shadow noticed something out of the corner of his eye and at the edge of his vision. Ruby noticed Shadow's sudden glance to the north and asked, "What is it?" Shadow then shouted, "I... I FOUND HIM!!!" He then dropped from the branches and made a dash to the north the instant his feet touched the ground with his four companions in pursuit.

Shadow came to a slow halt as he stopped near the base of a tree. "Rukaria..... Is he....?" The blind Lucario maiden stepped forward and gasped at the sight of her friend lying motionless on the ground, "His Aura is very weak... But he's still alive..." Pearl ran up to Ash and dropped to her knees while focusing her Aura into her hands. She turned to Lucy and asked, "That guy... Outcast? Did he say exactly what he did to Ash?" Lucy nodded, "Something about his heart..." Pearl then laid her hands upon his chest to check for damage. She gasped, "My god... It's like his heart has been partially liquefied... I need to work fast..." But Ruby shoved her sister aside, "No! Let me!" She then pressed her hands against his chest, her Aura radiating from them. "Please.... I'm sorry for all I said..... Don't die..." As she watched, Lucy offered a silent prayer while holding back tears, (I was such a fool..... Please... Don't leave me yet... I swear... Make it through this, and I'll never lie to you again.... Ash... I love you....)

Nearby, Tia and her ten escorts watched from the trees. The young female trained in the healing arts whispered, "Should I assist them?" Tia shook her head, "No. We must remain hidden. Besides, it seems that they have the situation under control." A young male asked, "Your orders, my lady?" Tia replied, "Remain on lookout. Protect them until the boy has been properly healed. He is.....important to her." The majority of the Lucario warriors scattered and surrounded the five Lucario and the human boy while remaining hidden to the point where even Rukaria could not detect them easily. A moment later, another scout silently jumped next to Tia and kneeled. Tia asked, "Did you find him?" The scout nodded, "Yes. Outcast is dead. It would seem the Angel of Doom got to him first." Tia sighed, "A shame..... How could a member of the noble Skydiamond clan become so lost...?"

After a moment, Pearl noticed Ash's eyelids twitching. "Keep at it, sis... Don't let up." She then gently nudged Ash's face, "Come on, dear... Wake up." Ash's eyes slowly opened, prompting a relieved smile from all who was present. Ruby smiled, "Thank god... Be still, Ash. You're gonna be fine." His gaze scanned his companions, but soon rested on Lucy. He whispered, "Lucy..... I couldn't stop him..." But the Lucario maiden shook her head, "It's all right... You've done enough." But his gaze then fell upon Ruby. He then asked as he saw her smile, "Why are you so happy?" Ruby looked down at him in surprise, "Why? I'm relieved. I was afraid I lost you, but we got to you in time." She smiled, "You're going to be fine. Your heart is still a mess, but you'll live if I don't lose focus." But after a moment, Ash coldly replied, "You're lying....."

Ruby gasped at Ash's claim, "Wh...what?" He whispered weakly, "You... You don't care about me anymore... And I can't blame you... You had every right to say what you did......" Pearl glared at her sister, "Ruby, what did you say to him?!" The young mother sobbed, "I was a fool...... A moron! A genuine idiot! I'm sorry!" She pleaded, "Ash, please forget everything I said... I wasn't in my right mind!" But Ash soon smiled, "It's all right, Ruby..... You don't have to keep lying anymore."

Ruby shook her head, "No, I'm dead serious. I don't want you out of my life..." But Ash smiled as blood oozed from his mouth, "Stop lying... It hurts..." Shadow asked, "What are you saying...?" The Trainer smiled, "I thought I was a monster a week ago.......and it looks like I was right all along..." Ruby tried to find the right words to say, but they kept slipping through her fingers before she could actually say them. Ash whispered, "I know you hate me.....and I don't blame you..." But Ruby sobbed, "You're wrong..... I was wrong! I was too obsessed over the past! I said things I shouldn't have!" But Ash shook his head, "It's all right, Ruby... You can stop trying to make me feel better." He smiled, "I'll have to remember to thank Outcast when I see him... He saved me the trouble of...doing the job myself..." After a brief pause, Ash whispered, "Pearl... Tell Lucash and Sapphire..... I love them..." But Pearl shook her head, "No, you can tell them yourself when we get you back to them." However, Ash smiled, "I can't... Not where I'm going..." He then looked back at Ruby and shed a single tear, "I know it's too late, but..... I'm sorry...for screwing up...your life..... Forgive me...Ruby......."

At her lover's words, Ruby shuddered in guilt, "Don't be that way... Your heart is already starting to stabilize... You're gonna be fine, Ash......." She froze as she felt his heart slowing. "Ash...? ASH?!" Rukaria gasped, "His Aura is fading!" Ruby's hands lit up like a torch as she overloaded her hands with her Aura and pushed down hard. "Ash, I'm sorry! I take back everything I said! You're the best thing to ever happen to me! I'm sorry for telling you such lies!!!" She was completely oblivious to the feel of Ash's blood as it began to stain his shirt from the inside. Ruby wept hysterically as she pushed down hard with her hands, "Don't go! I love you! You're my world.... My life! I need you! Don't leave me! Please, stay with me!" As Ruby continued to wail in despair, Shadow grabbed her by the arm and shouted, "Quit it..... That's enough! He's dead!!!"

Ruby shuddered in silence as she gazed down into the half-closed eyes of her lover. They were still. Lifeless, but filled with an untold sorrow. She held up her hands, her black fur stained red with his blood. Her mind started to go blank with horror, believing that she had killed Ash herself. Her ears became filled with noise as if she was hearing everything that was happening in the world. Her vision became blurred as she began to sway, her ears deaf to the calls of her companions. Before she even knew what was going on, Ruby was lying on her side next to her lover's corpse. Her body felt numb. She reached out to him, her hand shaking as her soul died.

As the world around her went black, Ruby lightly closed her hand around Ash's, tears pouring from her eyes. Before exhaustion took her, she muttered one last barely audible breath. "I love you..... I love you...... I......." Ruby's eyes closed, her soul now as dead as the boy whose hand she grasped. In the trees nearby, Tia shed a single tear as she gave the signal to pull back. (This world has lost a truly honorable soul...)

A bolt of lightning streaked across the sky, a sorrowful howl filling the night air.
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