AGNPH Stories

Rukario Romance by XD385


Reap what is Sown

Ash awoke with heavy eyes as he felt a pair of furry arms embracing him from the side. He slowly turned to face his bed mate, who he could hear snoring lightly. To his left was Pearl, sleeping soundly with a peaceful smile on her face. She was sleeping nude, stripped of her yellow vest. Ash then recalled that he too was naked under the blanket. He then tried to remember exactly why they were in such a situation. It was then that he remembered what had occurred the previous night. His hand slowly reached down and rested against Pearl's lower belly. The Trainer blushed and smiled with pride knowing that, somewhere within his lover's womb, an hours-old child was steadily growing. He whispered, "You'll make such a great mom, Pearl."

Pearl stirred as she felt someone kiss her on the muzzle. "Mmmm... That felt nice...." Her beautiful red eyes slowly opened, which were greeted by the warm smile of the boy she had fallen in love with. "Morning, beautiful. Did you sleep well?" Pearl blushed deeply, "I honestly can't recall the last time I ever slept this well. I feel like a new person." But her lover grinned, "You're kinda right. In two months, you'll be a completely different person. Remember?" Pearl gasped lightly as she felt Ash tickle her lower belly. She then giggled, "Of course I remember. In two months, I'm going to be a mother." She then gave Ash a sweet kiss on the lips, "All thanks to you, love." The Trainer blushed, "I'm glad I brought you home with me. I'm relieved I didn't...hurt you like the other four." Pearl's eyes went wide, "The other four... Did Ashton tell you?" Ash nodded, "Yeah. But don't worry. I've accepted myself for who I am. I'm not a monster. I'm the Devil of the Eternal Flame." He then brought a hand to Pearl's belly again, "I wonder if our kid will ever have a title like mine." The Lucario giggled, "Maybe it will in time, although I'm sure it'll be completely different from yours."

As the two lovers climbed out of bed, Pearl slipped on her yellow vest. "You coming to breakfast?" She smiled at her lover. Ash replied, "After I get dressed. I don't want anyone to see me in my birthday suit, right?" Pearl let out a giggle, "Right. It wasn't YOUR birthday yesterday. I'll save you some doughnuts." With a swish of her tail, Pearl left the hotel room. Ash then turned to his clothing, which was lying in a corner. But as he stared at the heavily torn and tattered outfit, he remembered something. "Wait a sec... Do I still have it?" Ashton ran over to his backpack and pulled it open. The instant he glanced inside it, the Trainer smiled, "All right! Thank you, Mom!"

Moments later, Ash looked at himself in the bathroom's mirror. He smirked, "Now that's what I'm talking about." On his feet was a pair of red and black shoes while he was clad in light blue pants. His hands were covered with black knuckle gloves with light green wrists. Covering his upper body was a sleeveless black jacket that had a bold yellow stripe horizontally laid across the middle of his chest. Beneath the jacket was a white t-shirt. And resting atop the Trainer's head was a red and black hat. The hat was red from its brim to the sides while black in the center from front to back. And at the front of the hat was a pale blue half ring symbol with a round dot below it, resembling the top half of a Poké Ball. Ash grinned, "I better remember to thank Mom for getting these for me on my birthday. Now it's time to catch up on lost time! Sinnoh League, here I come!" After gathering up all that was his inside the hotel room, Ash ran out the door and towards the stairs.

Ash jumped from the stairs as he ran towards the lounge, where everyone else was likely eating breakfast. Upon bursting into the lounge, Ash found every last one of his friends and family happily enjoying a varied breakfast of doughnuts, meats and eggs, and various pastries. Pearl immediately handed a glazed doughnut to the Trainer, "Glad you could join us, dear. And there's plenty more where that came from." Ash smiled gratefully before chomping on his doughnut. As he enjoyed his breakfast, Ash glanced down as Lucash ran over to him. The Lucario child smiled, "Is it true, Daddy? Is Auntie Pearl having a baby soon?" After swallowing, Ash nodded, "Yup, but not exactly soon. How long does it take, Ruby? Two months?" The young mother nodded, "Yes, on average. If all goes well, Pearl should be having her baby in sixty days or so." Upon hearing this, Rukaria and Zandria applauded together. The blind Lucario maiden smiled, "Congratulations! You're so lucky to have a kid on the way!" Zandria grinned passionately, "I'm jealous! Why is everyone getting children but me?! But anyway, congrats! And I take it my boy is the father?" Ash blushed, "Mom!" Everyone present let out a laugh at Ash's reaction. But Lucy smiled calmly while shedding a few tears. Noticing this, Ruby leaned towards her and whispered, "What's wrong? This is what Pearl has always wanted. You should be happy for her." The young maiden smiled, "Oh, but I am. I just...always get choked up when I hear about babies and the parents who are expecting them."

After joking around a bit with his companions regarding Pearl's love for Ash and her dreams of having a child, Ash was approached by Ashton. The viscount ran a hand over Ash's jacket, "Where did you acquire this attire? Did you grow weary of that ragged outfit?" Ash nodded, "You bet I did. Now that I've finally gotten outta my slump, I'm ready for the Sinnoh League! To that, I swapped out those ugly tattered clothes for the clothes my mom got me for my birthday. I've just been carrying them around for the last month or so until I felt ready." Sapphire smiled, "It looks really good on you, Daddy. Really handsome too!" The Trainer blushed at his daughter's compliment, "Me? Handsome? Come on, I'm not that good-looking!" But Pearl grabbed Ash by the arm with an amorous smile, "Don't be so modest! You're very appealing to the ladies. Isn't that right, sis?" Ruby grinned, "You got that right!" Ash blushed in embarrassment as everyone laughed in unison.

Once everyone had sated himself or herself, Ash stood up with a belch, "That was good... Now I'm ready for the Gym!" But Sapphire replied, "But you don't look fat, Daddy! How do you not put on weight after eating so much?" The Trainer frowned, "Wrong kind of gym. I meant the Oreburgh Pokémon Gym." Sapphire smiled, "Oh, THAT kinda gym. Sorry!" Shadow then headed towards the door, "And I know exactly where it is. Follow me." But before anyone could leave, Chiara spoke up, "Just a moment. Are you certain you're not forgetting something?" Ash froze for a moment. "I don't think so..... ACK! I need to register for the Sinnoh League first before I can take the Gym Leaders on." The Lugia smiled, "Precisely. And do you know where to do so?" Ash shrugged his shoulders, "Ya got me." Chiara then explained, "We were already there at one point. Sandgem Town."

Ash became somewhat red in the face at the mention of the seaside town they had first arrived in upon reaching Sinnoh. "Are you saying.....I totally passed up my chance to register when I had the chance?" Chiara chuckled, "It's all right. I too forgot about it during the turmoil while we were there. All you have to do is return there and speak to someone by the name of Rowan. He should also be able to update your Pokédex to the latest model." Ash groaned, "We have to go ALL the way back there? Great..." Ash then silently made his way out of the lounge and to the lobby. Lucash called out, "Wait for us, Daddy!" Everyone quickly filed out of the lounge, not wanting to be left behind.

After some time wandering around Oreburgh City, Ash came to the city limits at the western edge of the bustling metropolis. "Um... Where does this go again?" Ashton approached his descendant, who was gazing at a large cave up ahead. The viscount replied, "I believe Kazeerah called it the Oreburgh Gate. It seems to be a natural tunnel that connects Oreburgh City to Jubilife City." Lucash smiled, "Come on, Daddy! You remember coming through here! A Zubat scared Mommy and she grabbed onto you!" Immediately understanding that the incident Lucash was speaking of occurred while he was still deceased, Ash smiled nervously, "Uh... Oh, that little thing... Yeah, your mom latched onto me like a leech." Ruby turned her nose up, "I wasn't in my right mind at the time. No Zubat will scare me now." Before anyone could argue further, Ashton took the Flamberge in hand, "I will lead this time. Everyone stay close so you don't get lost in there." The viscount then turned and entered the Oreburgh Gate. Once a short distance inside, the blade of the Flamberge was completely engulfed in flames, effectively turning it into a massive torch. Ashton turned back to the cave's entrance as his companions followed him inside. "Stay close now."

Like their first time through a month ago, the Oreburgh Gate was quite dark inside with no lanterns or torches provided anywhere along the natural rock walls. Ashton constantly held the blazing blade of the Flamberge out in front of him to illuminate the path before him while his companions remained close behind him. A moment passed before Lucy asked, "Ashton, are you certain you recall the path Kazeerah led us along?" The viscount nodded, "I do not recall very many turns. It's almost a straight line through the cave. Remain close and we shouldn't get lost." But to everyone's curiosity, Rukaria hastened her pace until she was just behind Ashton. With a mischievous smirk, she held out the blunt end of the Hyup Do's long handle and was about to touch Ashton's lower leg with it. She spoke, "I hear venomous snakes inhabit this cave. Best be careful." But upon hearing this, Ashton came to an abrupt halt. Everyone came to a stop at their guide's cease in movement. After a moment of silence, Ashton grumbled, "Rukaria. A fair warning." The blind Lucario maiden gulped, "Y...Yes?" The viscount then spoke, "If you even touch me with that thing, or make any remarks about venomous serpents when there are none present, I will set you on fire and let you burn until the flames go out on their own. Understood?" With an expression of nervousness, Rukaria clumsily attempted to hide the Hyup Do behind her back, even though it was taller than she was, "Uh.... Yeah. That would be extremely painful... Are you still sore about that from yesterday?" The viscount replied as he began to walk again, "To be honest... Very."

A short while later, there was a familiar screech of a Zubat somewhere deeper within the cave. Everyone jumped slightly, startled by the sudden distant shriek. Shadow muttered, "Pesky Zubat..." But just then, Sapphire glanced over at her mother, "Mommy? You're not scared?" Ruby smirked, "Why would I be? You know me." But the Lucario child added, "But last time it happened, you..." However, Ruby laughed. "I wasn't in my right mind that time! As long as you father is with me, I fear nothing." She then reached out and embraced Ash, "Isn't that right, sweetie?" Ash chuckled, "You bet. And don't worry if anymore Zubat bug us. I'll shoo them off." But Lucash then spoke, "But Mommy, he WAS with us last time! You even screamed and ran off when you hugged him!" Confronted with this reminder, Ruby only stood where she was and giggled nervously, not really giving a proper explanation.

Minutes after Ashton resumed leading his companions through the tunnel, Rukaria suddenly stopped. Chiara noticed and asked, "Something on your mind, Rukaria?" But the blind Lucario maiden glanced around, "There's something close..." Hearing this, Ashton stopped and turned to face her, "Another Zubat?" But Rukaria shook her head, "No. It's bigger than that... There it is again!" She turned around abruptly. It was then that everyone saw something flit through the darkness at the very edge of the field of light that was being cast by the flames on the Flamberge. Ashton muttered, "If we extinguish the flames, perhaps it will come closer." At his words, the flames engulfing the blade of the Flamberge suddenly vanished, casting darkness over the immediate area. Lucy gulped, "Ashton, is this really a good idea?" The viscount replied, "Just be still." A moment passed before Rukaria glanced upwards, noticing something descending from above. "That shape... Is that a...?" Before Rukaria could finish, there was a crash as it landed on Ash's head, sending him falling to the ground as it seemed to be rather heavy.

Ash let out a muffled grunt as he fell down onto the hard cave floor. Upon hearing the thud, Ashton once again engulfed the Flamberge's blade in flames, illuminating the area. Upon being able to see again, everyone glanced down at Ash, who was lying face-up on the ground. The only problem was that his face could not be seen. Lying upon the Trainer's face was a purple creature of sorts with a pair of pincers to the side of its head and a tail that ended in a stinger. "...A Gligar?" Chiara muttered at the odd sight. However, once it seemed that Ash had regained his bearings, he let out a muffled yell as he realized that the Gligar was tightly holding onto his face. His mumbling could easily have been interpreted as, "GET IT OFF, GET IT OFF, GET IT OFF!!!"

Seeing that her lover was in danger, Ruby grabbed the Gligar by its tail and gave a firm yank. "Let go, you pest! Get off my hubby's face!" But no matter how hard she yanked; Ruby could not dislodge the glider scorpion from Ash's head. Taking matters into her own hands, Rukaria gripped the Hyup Do in a reverse grip and slammed the end of its long handle into the Gligar's back. Unfortunately, it seemed that Ash too felt the full force of the strike as he let out a loud yelp of pain, followed by an angry punch in Rukaria's direction. However, due to lack of sight, Ash's aim was off and he ended up striking Ashton clean across the face with a potent jab. "Ow!!! Why me?!" The viscount fell to the ground with a thud, the flames consuming the blade of the Flamberge dying out instantly the second he lost his grip on the hilt. Once again engulfed by the pitch-black darkness of the Oreburgh Gate, the entire party went wild in the confusion of Ash's muffled shouting and the general lack of orientation, with some of his companions tripping over bumps in the ground and even running into each other.

After a moment, Ashton managed to locate the Flamberge and once again engulfed its blade in flames, bathing the area in light. "What the devil is going on here?!" Scattered about him were all of his companions either collapsed on top of each other, or lying down after running into stone formations within the cave. The only ones who had managed to remain standing were Chiara and Rukaria. Ash was running around in a panic nearby, still unable to remove the Gligar from his face. Sapphire gulped, "Is he gonna be all right?" Zandria chuckled, "Let him be for now. This is pretty fun to watch." After a moment more of frustration and panic, Ash finally ran face-first into a tall stalagmite that was jutting from the ground. He was clearly dazed from the impact, as he staggered backwards before losing his footing and falling on his back with a thud. Pearl dashed over to him, "You OK, hun?" The Trainer's only reply was a light mumble, which was still muffled from the Gligar covering his face. "Get off already!" Pearl grabbed the Gligar by the back of its neck and yanked it off with no effort. Not surprisingly, the Gligar was very nearly unconscious as well due to the force of the impact against the stalagmite, its eyes dazed and tongue hanging from its mouth.

Lucy helped Ash up, who was rubbing his face from the two blows he had received. The Trainer grumbled, "Rukaria, never hit me with that thing again..." The blind Lucario maiden giggled nervously, "Sorry... Didn't think you'd actually feel that." But Pearl then held up the unconscious Gligar, "But what do we do with this little guy?" Ash thought the possibilities over in his head before reaching for his pocket and pulling out an empty Poké Ball. "It would be mean to just leave the poor thing here." After enlarging it, Ash gave a light toss, hitting the Gligar with the ball. Upon making contact with it, the Poké Ball popped open and sucked the Gligar inside in a stream of red light. Upon closing and falling to the ground, the ball shook for only a few seconds before becoming still. Ash then calmly retrieved the ball and grinned, "Guess this means I caught a Gligar. And I didn't even need to battle it!" Before they had time to celebrate, Ashton signaled for the group to follow him as he headed west through the tunnel.

It did not take very long for Ashton to lead his companions to the other side of the Oreburgh Gate. But several hours later, everyone decided to set up camp a short ways off the main path as the sun was starting to set in the west. Zandria smirked as she quickly set up a campfire and her cooking equipment, "Who's in the mood for some pasta tonight?" No one objected, so Zandria promptly set up her collapsible pot, which Chiara filled with a Water Gun. While waiting for the water to boil, Zandria glanced over at Ash, "I think now would be a good time to let our new friend out. The poor dear must be pretty hungry by now." Ash glanced down at the Poké Ball at his side and nodded, "Thanks for reminding me, Mom." After enlarging it, Ash tossed the ball above him, where it popped open in a burst of light. But once the light faded, the Gligar fell right onto Ash, sending him falling to the ground with it on his chest. "Dang it! Not again!" Ash groaned as his companions laughed at his predicament.

As the exhausted Gligar glanced around, Ash shoved it off of him. "Sheesh! For a Pokémon that's famous for gliding, this Gligar really sucks at it." The Gligar looked around itself, surprised by the large number of Pokémon. The first to speak out was Chiara, who helped the glider to its feet. "A pleasure to meet you. It would seem that you will be traveling with us from now on, sir." The Gligar then seemed to say something to her in its native tongue. The Lugia gulped, "Oh, I see. My apologies, miss." Ash gulped, "Miss? Then...this Gligar is a girl?!" Chiara smiled, "That's what she says. I recommend you treat her kindly." Ruby grinned, "Yeah, you should be nice to girls, dear." Ash chuckled as he reached down to the Gligar with one hand, "Um... Sorry for roughing you up back there in that cave. I'm Ash. And I'm your Trainer now." But Ashton grumbled, "It's thanks to you I took a punch to the face... Honestly, are ALL Gligar poor gliders inside caves?" But as the Gligar stared up at Ashton's displeased eyes, she burst into tears and leapt into a surprised Ash's arms, tightly hugging him. Ashton gulped, "Er... I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make her cry." But Pearl growled, "Ashton, shame on you! How dare you make a girl cry!" The viscount blushed in embarrassment as Ash tried to comfort his new companion. "Hey, it's OK. Ashton wasn't trying to be mean. You're safe now." At Ash's words, the Gligar looked him in the eyes for a moment before gently nuzzling him with a smile. Lucy giggled, "Awww... She's like a baby!" Ash chuckled, "Guess that makes her MY baby now."

A short while later, Zandria served up a large helping of pasta to her companions. The pasta was linguine coated in a combination of tomato and cream sauce, mixed with sautéed green beans, broccoli, peas, and chicken. Due to everyone's appetite, and the delicious flavor of the pasta, it did not take long for everyone to clear out the entire pot. Zandria smirked, "I never knew it would be that good. That's a recipe I whipped up in my head just now." Shadow sighed, "That was superb... And you only thought it up just a short while ago?" But a moment later, Gligar dove into the pot, causing it to fall over. Zandria gulped, "Hey! Don't go putting any dents in that!" But a moment later, Gligar emerged from the pot, her face smeared with leftover sauce. On the inside of the pot, she had licked it clean. Zandria chuckled, "I guess that touch of hot sauce was a good idea after all. I better remember that." The Zangoose then hoisted the pot to her shoulder, "Only now I need to get it cleaned. Don't want any Gligar spit in the next batch. Which way to the closest river?" Lucy smiled, "I know of one. Just follow me." As Lucy began to head south from the campsite, Ash ran up alongside her, "I'll go too." Lucy smiled at her friend, more than happy to have him along.

After crossing the main path again and into the bordering forest at the southern side, Zandria began to notice an odd odor in the air. She came to an abrupt halt, sniffing the air curiously. Ash noticed and asked, "What's up, Mom?" The Zangoose muttered, "Thought I smelled something strange... It smells vaguely familiar... But I can't put my finger on it." Ash took a quick sniff of the air, finding no unusual scents wafting through the air. "I'm not smelling anything outta the ordinary. Maybe it's all in your head?" Zandria nodded, "Perhaps. But let's go. Lucy's gonna leave us behind at this rate." The two then ran after Lucy, who had not noticed the two stop behind her.

Several minutes passed before the three companions came to a wide shallow stream. Zandria smiled, "I'll bet this is the same one as the last time we took this path." Lucy then held out her hand, "I'll clean the pot this time, if it's all right." Zandria smiled, "That's very sweet of you, Lucy. Go right ahead." The Lucario maiden then took the pot in hand and ran over to the stream, submerging the pot the best she could while rubbing the inside of it with her hand. But as Lucy cleaned her pot, Zandria noticed the strange odor again. "Where have I smelled this before..." The Zangoose glanced around as her ancestral son watched her. Before long, her eyes fell upon Lucy, realizing that she was upwind from them. "...From her?" The odor was an odd spicy smell. It was then that Zandria nodded, "Now I remember. It's all coming back to me." Ash looked down at the Zangoose, "You know what it is?" She nodded, "Pretty silly of me to not remember right away, but I get it now." She took another whiff of the air, "This scent..... It's a Lucario. In heat."

Ash's eyes settled upon Lucy, "In heat? Seriously?" At that moment, Lucy stood up and shook the pot to dry it out a bit. But when she walked back over to her friends, the Lucario maiden noticed a concerned gaze coming from Ash and a mischievous smirk on Zandria's face. "Um... Did someone tell a joke?" Zandria then snickered, "Been having naughty thoughts lately?" Lucy raised an eyebrow, "Have I....what?" Ash then asked, "Are you in heat?" Alarmed, Lucy nervously backed away with a blush, "How'd you know.... Oh, right. You can smell it, can't you?" Ash nodded, "I can't, but Mom can." Lucy sighed, "OK, I'll admit it. Yes. I am in heat. Is that a problem?" Ash shrugged his shoulders, "Are you feeling all right?" Lucy replied, "Aside from a slight burning sensation inside me, I feel fine. Don't worry about me. I've been in heat many times before. I know how to handle it." Zandria then smirked, "But do you have naughty thoughts now and then?" Lucy blushed deeply for a moment before nodding, "Yes... Every once in a while." But the Zangoose then added, "And would you like someone to soothe your cravings?" At this, the Lucario maiden sighed, " good as it would probably feel, no. I'm not ready."

Lucy eyed her companions warily, worried that their discussion could become messy at any moment. Ash asked, "Not ready? What do you mean?" Lucy sighed, "You know what happens when a woman mates while in heat, right?" Zandria grinned, "It results in a little bundle of joy!" But Lucy solemnly nodded, "Yes... And I'm not ready. Besides... The thought of mating..." She shuddered as some of her memories resurfaced, remembering Outcast gazing down upon her. Ash frowned, knowing that her first time was when she was raped. He knew that it must have made her afraid of sex. The Trainer sighed, "It's OK. If you don't want to, you don't have to." He then walked over to Lucy and placed his hands on her shoulders. As the Lucario maiden gazed up at her friend, he smiled, "I'll make sure no one tries to get you while you're like this." Lucy smiled gratefully, "...Thank you... But it will only last for a week. In seven days, it'll pass." Ash nodded, "OK. One week. Now lets get going before it gets too dark out here." Lucy walked ahead of her two companions, guiding them back to camp.

Hours later, everyone was sleeping peacefully at the campsite as the campfire smoldered at the center of the tiny clearing. However, Lucy lied awake in her sleeping bag with her eyes fixated on Ash, who was sleeping soundly in his sleeping bag with Ruby. The Lucario maiden only watched silently, seldom blinking. "He is right before you. Why do you hesitate?" Lucy sighed as she heard the familiar dark presence within her mind. The Angel of Doom.

Lucy spoke to herself, "What is it this time?" Doom replied, "What is it? You know the answer to that." Lucy remained silent, a hand over her lower belly. Doom spoke, "We both know how you desire that boy. And we both know that he too cherishes you." Lucy sighed, "I know..... You don't have to remind me of how I feel about him... I won't lie anymore. I love him..." But Doom then asked, "Then why do you hesitate? Now that you are at your most fertile?" Lucy gasped at the mention of her heat, "What do you mean? Surely you..." Doom chuckled, "I do. This is the chance you've been waiting for. The chance to start your own family."

Confronted with Doom's claims, Lucy lied quietly in her sleeping bag. Soon, tears began to trickle from her eyes. "...I never knew what it was like to have a family of my own... The love of a father or mother... But still... I have often wondered what it would be start a family of my own..." Her eyes once again fell upon Ash, "What would it be have a child of my own with the one I love?" As she pondered this thought in her head, Lucy grunted lightly as her womb burned more intensely. Doom spoke, "Do not let your fear from the past hinder you. Go forth and claim your lover."

Lucy's eyes closed as she tried to ignore the burning within her womb. But in her mind, a vision appeared before her. She could see herself lying on a sofa, most likely somewhere within a house she had been to before. And kneeling next to her was Ash with a warm smile on his face. He reached out and stroked something that Lucy seemed to be clutching in her arms. When Ash removed his hand, Lucy's heart skipped a beat as she saw what she was holding. Wrapped in her arms and a small blanket was a beautiful newborn Riolu, eyes lazily open as if trying to fight off sleep. Lucy felt tears flow from her eyes, "It's so....beautiful... A baby.....of my own..." She slowly reached out, hoping to be able to touch her child. But just before she could lay her hands on the tiny Riolu, Lucy's vision blurred as Doom interrupted, "If the thought of it moves you to tears, why do you hesitate to make it a reality?"

Her vision ended, Lucy's eyes shot open, finding herself in the familiar campsite. And once again, her eyes were fixated on Ash. Her hand tightly gripped her lower belly, her heat demanding satisfaction. Doom chuckled, "He is right there. Now, claim him." But as her desires began to fill her mind, Lucy growled, "...No." Doom hesitated before speaking, "No? Your desire... Your dream is..." But Lucy screamed in her mind, "Stop trying to manipulate me!" Doom's voice became silent at Lucy's defiance. The young maiden continued, "I know..... You don't have to remind me that I love him. But...I'm not ready... I can't give myself to him. I will only take that step when the time is right. And only if I feel so!" Lucy once again felt Doom's presence go dormant, apparently having decided to give up for the time being. The burning in her womb also became weaker, her will suppressing her primal desires. After casting one more gaze upon Ash, Lucy slowly drifted off to sleep.

Over the next few days, the group steadily approached Jubilife City while adjusting to the presence of Ash's newest traveling companion. Simply named 'Gligar', the young glider proved to be very childish at times, yet was very eager to win her Trainer's approval and praise. And she did just that by winning a handful of battles when Ash encountered a few fellow Trainers along the path. But after a while, Ashton gulped, "There it is again... I'm still getting used to the sheer size of those buildings." Jubilife City was just on the horizon.

As they approached the eastern gates of the city, Ash and his companions gazed up at the towering skyscrapers. But Ruby then noticed that her sister had a somewhat ill expression as her hand gripped her stomach. "Pearl? What's wrong? Tired from the long walk?" The Lucario mumbled, "Don't feel so good..... Ooog... But it's OK. I always feel like this in the morning now..." As she staggered forward, Pearl felt Ash grab her in his arms. "What's wrong? You eat something rotten?" But Zandria growled, "Rotten?! You'd dare claim that I'd use spoiled ingredients in my cooking?!" Before the Zangoose could smack Ash with a ladle, Pearl held out a hand, "No, it's not like that at all! I feel this way because my body is adapting to my pregnancy!" Ash blushed, "You mean... You really are..." Pearl blushed with a smile, "Yeah... I mean this IS my first time being pregnant after all. It's only natural that it would be a bit hard on me at first. I'll get better in a day or two." Ruby giggled, "How sweet. Big sis is finally having a baby. Guess that means I'll have to start getting used to being called Aunt Ruby from now on."

As the time was just past noon, everyone decided to remain in Jubilife City until the next morning. Zandria and Ruby even took the time to stock up on supplies while during their stay. But just after stopping by a local supermarket, Ruby noticed a tall building just to the west of the local TV station. After parting ways with Zandria, Ruby made her way towards the building, which had a tall sign standing before it. "...The Pokétch Company?" Puzzled of what a 'Pokétch' could be, the young mother stepped inside.

Once inside the so-called Pokétch Company, Ruby found many types of devices that all resembled digital watches. They came in a wide variety of colors, but seldom differed in design. The clerk behind the counter eyed Ruby suspiciously, as if worried that she was planning on causing trouble. Curious, Ruby turned to the clerk and asked, "What are these?" Clearly surprised that a Pokémon just spoke to him in English, the clerk asked, "Um.... You can speak?" Ruby nodded, "Yes. Lucario are skilled in speaking human languages. Didn't you know that?" The clerk chuckled nervously, "Er... I forgot about that. Sorry. Now, you wanted to know what these are?" Ruby nodded in silence. The clerk then explained, "Every last one of these devices is what is called a Pokétch, which stands for 'Pokémon Watch'. And like any watch, it can be used to keep time. However, that's not its only function. It can also function as a notepad, a calculator, a map, and many other features! Basically, it's a must-have accessory for every Trainer out there." Ruby grinned, "That useful, huh? I'll take one! How much?" The clerk reached under the counter and handed over a blue Pokétch. "Don't worry about the price. Some rich guy accidentally ordered two instead of one, but didn't bother asking for a refund after canceling one of the orders. So you can say this one's already paid for." The young mother grinned, "Seriously? Thanks! Ash will love it!" With a grateful smile, Ruby snatched up the Pokétch and ran back to her family, eager to give Ash his new gear.

Later that night, Ashton stepped out of the shower and wrapped a towel around his waist. With a yawn, he stepped out of the bathroom and into his hotel room. But he soon heard a noticeable purr coming from somewhere and glanced around. The purring soon stopped, leaving the viscount puzzled. But a voice spoke, "You don't need this!" Before Ashton could react, someone yanked his towel off and jumped backwards. When Ashton turned around, he saw Zandria sitting on the bed, his towel in her hands. "I never get tired of looking at your body..." Ashton glanced down at himself, completely nude from head to toe.

"Zandria..... Why this?" Ashton grumbled, slightly annoyed by his lover's mischievous prank. But the Zangoose purred, "Is there something wrong with a woman giving her man some love?" She then jumped off the bed and embraced him around the waist, her furry body tickling Ashton wherever it touched. "Uh... I take it you're in the mood tonight?" Zandria smiled, "You know I am. God, I want you inside me again so badly..." Ashton remained silent for a moment before asking, "...Zandria. Before I agree to... Are you...fertile tonight?" The Zangoose blushed, "Fertile?" She took a step back and ran her hands over her lower belly, her eyes closed as she tried to feel for anything out of the ordinary. After a moment, she nodded, "...I...think so."

Ashton gulped, "Zandria... I'd rather not run the risk of impregnating you. We did decide on waiting until we get back home before having another child, right?" Zandria nodded slowly, "Yeah... I remember. But still..." She paused for a moment before asking, "Could we still do it anyway? Only you pull out before the end?" Ashton smiled, "You really miss our love life, don't you?" The Zangoose responded with a question of her own, "Can you even remember the last time we made love?" The viscount blushed, "To be" Zandria then smirked, "Then it would probably be best that we catch up on lost time." The Zangoose then brought her hands together to form a hand sign of some sort. Ashton gulped, "Zandria, are you...?" But Zandria replied as she closed her eyes, "Don't interrupt me, Ashton. It's been a while since I last tried this." The Zangoose then began to picture the body she desired in her mind. (Slender limbs..... Beautiful breasts that are large, but not freakishly so... And a body that has all the right curves...) Zandria then nodded, "Yeah... I think that should do it." An instant later, the Zangoose was engulfed in a puff of white smoke.

As the plume of smoke began to clear, Ashton watched cautiously. "Is this what I think it is?" Zandria's voice replied, slightly sultrier than normal, "Take a look and decide for yourself." The smoke then cleared enough for Ashton to make out Zandria's body. And his eyes went wide with shock as he gazed at the creature before him. Like long ago, Zandria had used the same shape-shifting spell that a kitsune of the Far East had taught her. Her legs were now long and slender, as were her arms. Her hands ended in lovely slender fingers that were still covered in pink fur. Her chest had filled out more, now exceeding a D cup in size, her pink nipples now clearly visible. The Zangoose then opened her beautiful pink eyes and smiled, "Well? Did I get it right again?"

Zandria snickered as her lover gave her a blank stare that she rarely saw on him anymore. "At least you've adapted to the point where you don't have a nosebleed anymore." She then casually approached Ashton, her eyes watching his member as it rapidly became erect. When she was just inches from him, Zandria tenderly caressed Ashton's face, "Did I make any mistakes?" The viscount came out of his trance at Zandria's touch, his eyes roaming her beautiful nude body. "You.... I still can't get absolutely gorgeous you made yourself look. It's...nothing short of perfection..." Zandria smirked, "Looks like I've still got it." She then sealed lips with her lover, kissing him deeply.

Ashton tenderly embraced his beautiful Zangoose lover, their lips locked together in a passionate kiss. His hands slowly reached down and caressed Zandria's hips, prompting a delighted shudder. Her long furry tail reached around behind him and also caressed his lower back, occasionally tickling his rump. She grinned, "You always did have a cute butt." Ashton blushed in response, "Zandria, please...." But the Zangoose then reached low and gently cupped Ashton's equipment, "And it looks like you're ready, handsome." Without a word, Zandria jumped backwards and fell upon the bed. She smiled up at Ashton, "I know you want this as badly as I do. Honestly, when was the last time you got laid?" Ashton snickered, "If that means what I think it does, then this would be my first time in this lifetime." The Zangoose raised an eyebrow, "Ooh, so you're a virgin once again? How splendid! Guess this means I get to claim your virginity a second time!" But Ashton then approached her with a smirk, "That you do, Zandria. That you do."

Zandria spread her legs wide as Ashton crawled over to her. "I like that look in your eyes. Seems someone's coming out of his shell. Mrow." Zandria chuckled with a playful purr. Ashton smirked, "Considering how long it's been since the last time, you know I am." But instead of prodding her, Ashton bent down and began to lick Zandria's nipples. "Ooh! That's just.... Wow..." Zandria panted as the viscount's spare hand began to gently fondle her other one. "So soft... They remind me of Serenade's." But the Zangoose giggled, "Only they...weren't as warm and...fluffy as these..... Right?" Ashton nodded as he closed his mouth over her nipple, sucking on it. After a moment, Zandria spread her legs even wider, completely surrendering herself to him. "Ashton... Please. No more teasing." When the viscount looked into Zandria's eyes, she smiled calmly, "Take me."

Hearing his lover's request, Ashton gripped her thighs for balance and slowly pushed into her flower. "Oooooh.... I can't...recall the last time it...felt this good." Ashton gasped as he felt Zandria's warm moist folds envelope his manhood. The Zangoose groaned, "Oh god... Please.... Don't stop, dear Ashton. Do it... Make me yours again!" The viscount braced himself and began to thrust slowly into her, "I shall...beautiful Zandria. I shall..." Zandria reached out to her sides and gripped the bed sheets as the man she loved began to rut her. She closed her eyes, overwhelmed with pleasure the likes of which she had not felt in centuries.

Ashton started out slowly pushing and pulling himself into Zandria's birth canal, trying to savor the moment. Only after a few minutes did he increase his speed to a more reasonable pace, all to Zandria's delight. The Zangoose purred, "Some things never change... You're just as godly as I recall, Ashton! Cassandra would be rolling in her grave with jealous rage if she could see us now!" The viscount chuckled, "How she would! I can imagine the look on her face now!" Overwhelmed with joy, Zandria reached out and threw her hands around Ashton's back, pulling him to her. "I love you, Ashton... Oh god, I love you...." The viscount replied by caressing the back of her head, "Thank you, Zandria... Thank you for waiting for me to return to this world."

The two lovers cuddled together lovingly as Ashton steadily rutted the lovely Zangoose. But over time, Zandria's mind began to become clouded with a powerful lust and desire. Slowly, her legs began to fold over Ashton's lower back, preventing him from pulling out too far. Her arms also began to grip Ashton more tightly to her chest. Despite having planned to wait until they had returned home before starting a family, Zandria was now desperate to feel Ashton fill her womb with his seed, despite the fact that she was fertile. She no longer cared about sticking to her plans. If anything, she wanted to have Ashton's child as soon as possible.

"I feel it getting close... I had best pull out now." Ashton panted as he felt his orgasm starting to draw near. But when he tried to pull out, the viscount felt Zandria's legs hold him against her. "What the...?!" Ashton once again tried to pull free, but Zandria's grip on him would not release. Even more to his surprise, Ashton felt the needy Zangoose begin to buck her hips against him, taking him into her while he remained stationary. "Ashton..." Zandria gasped in pleasure. When Ashton gazed back down at her, he pleaded, "Zandria, don't! It's too soon!" But she blushed, "I can' it..." The viscount began to sweat profusely as Zandria smiled at him calmly and lovingly. She whispered, "Please, dear Ashton.... I want it now... Your baby... Give me your baby..."

Ashton continued to try to reach Zandria as she moved her body against him. But no matter how much he pleaded, Zandria was dead-set on having Ashton's child and would not cease her affections. "Come on, love... Keep at it..." Zandria purred, almost drunk in desire and love for her former master. Eventually, Ashton began to give in to his pleasure and the need for release and began to once again thrust into his lover. With their combined efforts, it did not take long for their climax to arrive. Zandria tightly gripped Ashton with her arms and legs as her inner walls clamped down on him like a vice. "Ooh YEEESSSSS!!!!" The viscount let out a groan, "Zandria.... Can't hold out......" With a gasp, Ashton released his seed into the Zangoose's womb. Zandria's eyes rolled back into her head from the pleasure, having not felt anything so wonderful in far too long for her tastes. Ashton shuddered as his orgasm slowly began to subside, finally collapsing onto Zandria out of exhaustion.

Zandria's hand rested upon her lower belly, a feeling of immense satisfaction and motherly pride washing over her. But an exhausted voice whispered, "Zandria... Why?" Suddenly realizing what she had done, Zandria turned her head and looked Ashton in the eyes. She gulped, "I'm sorry... I don't know what came over me. It had been so long... And it felt so good...." The viscount panted, "So the...pleasure overwhelmed you?" She nodded, "...Yeah. I'm sorry. I know we had agreed to... But I.... I also wanted....." A few tears began to trickle down Zandria's beautiful face, "I'm so sorry... More than anything, I wanted to start anew with you, Ashton. I bear your child all over again..."

Seeing tears in Zandria's eyes, Ashton calmly smiled and touched her on the cheek, "There's nothing to be sorry for, Zandria. It's all right if you decided to have your second child early." Zandria sniffled, "You're not angry with me?" The viscount chuckled, "How could I be angry with a woman who loves me enough to bear my child? Who loves me enough to wait for 500 years for me to return to her?" At his words, Zandria smiled, "Ashton... Your title of 'Angel' is well earned." She then proceeded to give Ashton a kiss on the lips, "You're right. We'll make it work somehow. Assuming I AM still capable of breeding." Ashton's hand reached down and caressed Zandria's lower belly, "I love you, Zandria." The Zangoose blushed as she embraced him tightly, "I love you, dear Ashton. Now and forever."

The next morning, everyone gathered in the lobby after Ruby had gone out and bought a box of doughnuts. But as everyone had breakfast, Shadow was watching the morning news on a television in the corner. However, he raised an eyebrow as the screen soon showed a massive hulking wreck of metal in the background that seemed eerily familiar to him. "...Have I seen that somewhere bef..." His eyes went wide, "I have... A month ago... Just outside of..." He then shouted, "Ash, get over here! You need to see this!" Hearing his Lucario friend call for him, the Trainer approached the television. "What's up? Something good on?" Shadow pointed, "Does that thing in the background look familiar to you?" Ash quickly glanced at the screen. "Hang on... Is that thing....." At the bottom of the screen were the words 'The Hunter J Mystery'.

One by one, Ash's friends and family began to approach the television as they saw Ash and Shadow watching it intently. On the screen, a familiar reporter spoke. "For years, the Pokémon poacher known only as J terrorized the Sinnoh region, as well as anywhere her armored airship happened to take her. Abducting Pokémon, both wild and those already in the care of Trainers and Coordinators, she was arguably the most wanted woman in the criminal world. She was considered so dangerous, it was not recommended to capture her alive, even for professional bounty hunters. Until roughly one month and two weeks ago. When her airship was found to the west of Sandgem Town crashed into the ground and engulfed in flames. And to make matters better, her heavily mutilated corpse was found very close by. But there is one question that everyone wants answered. Who, or what, killed the nefarious Hunter J?"

Everyone's eyes turned to Ash, who seemed to be mystified as he tried to recall the event. "I did... It was I." Rukaria gasped, "Ash, it was you?! You're the one who took her down?!" He nodded quietly, "Yeah. I don't wanna go into detail, but I'm the one who did it." However, at the mention of J having been mutilated, Lucy began to cast a wary gaze at Ash. (Mutilated... Butchered... Could he have really done such a thing?) The television screen quickly changed from the airship's crash site to the face of what could have been assumed to be a criminal investigator. A young man dressed in a long brown coat with short black hair. Text below the camera's view read 'Agent "Looker"'.

'Looker' spoke, "It was a most puzzling case. We've been trying to capture Hunter J for years, so you can imagine our surprise to find her mobile headquarters set ablaze out in the open. With all of her henchmen dead, it seemed as if they had perished when the airship simply crashed into the ground. But J's body was found just outside the ruined cockpit. However, the state her corpse was in...alarmed us. It was as if the scene was right out of a slasher horror film. As this is public television, I am not permitted to explain the sight in detail, but the sheer savagery of the killing leads me to believe that whoever brought down her airship and slaughtered her in such a fashion must have been very powerful. Certainly not human. I believe a Pokémon of immense power, or possibly even an entire swarm of them, may have managed to bring the whole airship down. But I have my doubts. If it was just a wild Pokémon or two, I'm sure they simply would have killed J, plain and simple. But judging by the state of her remains, I suspect that she met her end at the hands of someone who most likely harbored an absurdly powerful grudge against her. Not like she didn't deserve it, mind you." Looker proceeded to chuckle for a second before regaining his composure.

Lucy turned to Ash, "Ash, why? What made you...?" The Trainer sighed, "She kidnapped Kazeerah. And I wasn't going to let her sell my friend like a simple possession. She...sent out three Pokémon to stop me... An Ariados, a Drapion, and a Salamence. I...killed them. And she...didn't care at all. Just threw them away without a second thought... I couldn't let her live... Not while knowing she would rather leave her Pokémon for dead as long as it meant getting paid for taking my friend away." Lucy remained silent. But before she could even find the words, Ashton gave her a stern gaze. "Don't scold him for his harsh actions. She got what she deserved. If I was in Ash's place, I would've done the same to her without hesitation." The Lucario maiden remained silent, still somewhat disgusted that her dearest companion would kill someone in such barbaric fashion.

The television screen swapped back to the reporter who was standing somewhere near the remains of Hunter J's airship. "The good news did not stop with Hunter J's death. Investigators found several abducted Pokémon inside J's wrecked airship. While the stern of the ship was engulfed in flames for a time, the protective barriers that J often had placed around her captives ironically protected them from the heat. Those Pokémon were rescued from the remains of the airship and have since been united with their Trainers. But the good news did not stop there. Computer specialists later managed to hack into the computer files onboard the airship's mainframe, which led to the discovery of the locations of every last one of Hunter J's accomplice's and commissioners. Since then, there have been dozens of arrests around the globe as police forces located and captured the individuals who paid for Hunter J's cruel services. These arrests have also led to the rescue of every last one of the Pokémon that were abducted by Hunter J, with only a handful who have yet to be reunited with their Trainers."

The camera soon changed views again, showing a young teenage girl tearfully hugging a female Pikachu. From what could be seen, the girl was wearing a dark purple shirt that only covered her upper torso, revealing her midriff. She had very long brown hair and beautiful blue eyes with a tan complexion. The Pikachu seemed to have a few anomalies in her appearance. There was a noticeable scar on her tail, and a narrow scar across one of her eyes. And while one of her eyes was the usual black color, her other eye was blue. The girl then began to speak tearfully, the name 'Chrissy' at the bottom of the screen. "I lost Naka a year ago and I never once thought I was ever gonna see her again. I don't know who brought her back to me, but whoever did it is a true hero. Truly, words can't describe how happy I am now that she's back in my arms." Chrissy then turned to face the camera directly, "If you're watching this, whoever you are, thank you! Thank you for bringing Naka back to me!" Chrissy then tightly embraced Naka in her arms, who cooed happily as she nuzzled her Trainer.

The television began to show a few more Trainers and Coordinators who had been victims to J's greed. Every last one of them was in tears. As he watched, Ash began to feel tears building in his eyes as well, relieved for those who had suffered at the hands of the despicable poacher. The television once again showed the reporter as she continued, "Some of those arrested included high-profile individuals, including members of the mysterious Team Galactic organization. However, no arrests were made as Team Galactic negotiated with authorities and agreed to pay massive amounts of money in compensation for the victims who Hunter J had targeted while commissioned by them. However, thousands upon thousands of Trainers and Coordinators around the globe are demanding that the individuals who commissioned Hunter J receive capital punishment for their deeds. And while the general law is that commissioning others to steal Pokémon from Trainers is not deserving of the death penalty, the justice systems in charge of the pending trials involving Hunter J's accomplices are 'considering making an exception due to the exceedingly vile methods used by their client'."

The camera once again showed Agent 'Looker', who spoke, "Hunter J was not only guilty of petty kidnapping. The lengths she went to in order to complete her assignments often resulted in her committing far greater crimes than just kidnapping. These included environmental destruction, assault, and even attempted mass murder on several occasions. She already had a sizable bounty on her head when she first made the wanted list, but every crime she committed afterwards only increased that bounty. We're still waiting for the one responsible for Hunter J's death to come forward and claim his or her prize." The camera then swapped back to show the reporter one last time. She spoke, "Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Hunter J's killer is asked to report to their local law enforcement agency. But even if this hero's identity remains a mystery, it is safe to say that the world is a little safer now. Reporting live from Route 201, this is Reporter Kinsey from Jubilife TV."

Shadow turned the television off as the report on Hunter J ended. He then turned to face his Trainer. "Well, looks like we have a bounty to collect." Lucash then grinned, "Wow. Who knew Hunter J was so mean? Dad, you're the coolest for taking her out!" Ash chuckled lightly, "Ah, it was nothing. I was just helping a friend out." Zandria then gave her son a playful hug, "That's my boy! You're a chip off the old block, all right! Don't let those scumbags get away with what they do!" Pearl then asked, "So, should we stop by the police station here? Or should we wait until we get to Sandgem Town?" Ash nodded, "Sandgem Town is closest to where it happened, not to mention we already have some business to do over there. We'll drop by the local police station in Sandgem Town when we get there." Rukaria then smiled, "They say crime doesn't pay. But hunting criminals does! I can't wait to see how much money we'll get for it!"

As the group headed for the hotel's front door, Lucy tapped on Ash's shoulder. The Trainer looked down at her, "Hm? Something wrong?" The Lucario maiden pulled Ash away from their companions without them noticing. Once they were alone, Lucy spoke, "Ash... Tell me honestly. Everything that was said on TV just now. And everything you described about J. Was it true?" Ash sighed with a frown, "Sorry, but yes. J was every bit a monster as I said she was." But Lucy's ears drooped, "Then... You really did butcher her?" The Trainer slowly nodded, "...I did. I...hated her for what she made me do to her Pokémon. Just threw their lives away... I couldn't stop myself. I wanted her to suffer for everything she did."

Having heard the truth, Lucy sighed, "I was afraid of this..." She then looked Ash in the eye, "Ash... Normally, I wouldn't be able to accept having a friend who would so willingly butcher another person. But..." She then glanced over at the television, "After seeing just how horrible she was...and how many people were hurt by her actions.....and that you did it to save my sister..." She then turned towards Ash and smiled, "...I can't help but make an exception this time." Lucy then threw her arms around her friend, "Thank you... Thank you for protecting Kazeerah. She was the best thing to ever happen to me, so you know how grateful I am that she's all right after all that happened." Ash grinned in relief, "She was my friend. So there was no way I was gonna let J get away with her." Lucy sighed, "I swear. She reminded me of Thanatos..."

Hearing the name of the evil Alpha male of the Blackflame clan, Ash grumbled, "Don't remind me. That guy was the worst. He got what was coming to him." Lucy nodded, "I know... No matter how much I dislike that it had to be done, the Hoenn region will be better of without him." However, Lucy then looked up at Ash, "Tell me something... And be honest. When you killed them... Did you...make them suffer?" Ash tried to think back to when he fought the Blackflame Five, his memory clearer now that he had come to terms with his inner power. He remembered how Lucy had begged him to not make his enemies suffer. And he shuddered as he recalled how horrifically he slaughtered them, even though he had agreed to Lucy's request. He gritted his teeth as he recalled splitting Titan in two, then felt his stomach churn as he remembered tearing Hawkeye's ribcage open and devouring his heart. He could almost feel his head throb in pain as he saw himself behead Silent Fang and crush his cranium in his hand. And he finally began to wobble as he remembered literally making mincemeat out of Thanatos, carving him up piece by piece until every last bone, muscle, and organ were separated with surgical precision.

Lucy held onto Ash as he began to lose balance. "What's wrong?!" After a moment, Ash regained his composure and gave Lucy a warm smile, "I remember... I made their deaths quick. They didn't suffer much." Lucy gave Ash a tender hug, "Thank you... I know how furious you must've been, but I want you to know I'm grateful you did not put your rage before everything else." The Trainer patted her on the head, "Yeah... And I'm sorry for almost clawing your face off. Really..." The Lucario maiden smiled, "It's all right. You stopped yourself. And I already forgave you, right?" She then let go of him and ran to the front door, "Come on! We don't want to be left behind!" But as Lucy left his sight, Ash gripped his stomach as he felt sick with himself. "I can't believe I really did that to them... Even though Soul Edge wasn't in complete control, I... I completely ignored Lucy's request...." Feeling disgusted with himself, Ash proceeded outside. (Lucy... I'm sorry. I hope you never find out what happened back then...)

A few days passed as Ash and his companions headed south towards Sandgem Town. But at around noon on the fifth day since leaving Jubilife City, a familiar roadside inn came into view. Rukaria smiled, "Here we are again. That humble little inn." Ashton then asked, "I know it is only a little past noon, but should we stop here while we have the chance?" Ash glanced around, "It sounds good to me. Anyone else wanna take the day off?" No one was against spending the rest of the day relaxing, so everyone approached the entrance and stepped inside.

After enjoying a tasty lunch, most of the group proceeded to the hot springs for a bath. Over on the women's side, Sapphire slowly submerged herself into the water, "Wow, it's just as warm as the last time." Rukaria whispered to Ruby, "I still can't get over how gorgeous your daughter is. Are you sure she never had any plastic surgery?" The young mother snickered, "Nope! Everything you see on her is all natural." Zandria then chuckled, "Physical beauty must run in the family."

Pearl sighed as she relaxed with the water up to her shoulders. Lucy sighed, "We made a good choice stopping here when we did. Taking a dip in a hot spring during the day feels different than at night." Pearl nodded in agreement. But when she glanced at Lucy's chest for a second, Lucy raised her hand, "If you're going to ask me if I've changed my mind about getting breast implants, the answer is still no." The young mother-to-be giggled, "You read my mind."

As she soaked in the hot spring, Lucy's gaze occasionally trailed off towards Pearl's body. Eventually, Pearl noticed and asked, "What's up? Jealous of my figure?" Lucy blankly replied, "No..." But she then added, "I was just...curious of how you're coming along." Pearl gave Lucy a puzzled gaze, but her eyes soon went wide as she understood what her friend meant. Pearl then smiled, "Would you like to feel?" Surprised by Pearl's offer, Lucy nodded, "Yes." Her hand then reached below the water and rested upon Pearl's belly. As she ran her hand over it, Lucy felt a slight firmness to it. "I feel something. There's...something in there." Pearl smiled proudly, "So it worked after all. Guess that means you're gonna be an aunt, Lucy." The Lucario maiden giggled, "I'm honored, Pearl. Truly, I am."

Later that evening, Ash washed up in the shower of his bathroom while Shadow waited outside for his turn. But after a moment, the Lucario warrior noticed that the glass door to the shower was slightly open. Once again, Shadow began to feel a powerful curiosity began to pull at his mind. (I really shouldn't.... I better just close it.) But as Shadow reached for the door, he hesitated. After a moment of mental debating, his eyes finally peeked in at his Trainer, who was too busy bathing to pay any heed at Shadow's peeking.

The longer Shadow watched Ash bathe, the more entranced he became. A familiar stirring within his blue shorts soon caused him to awaken from his trance. The tightness within his shorts proved to be more than he was willing to take, so Shadow quickly and quietly removed his shorts, revealing his erect manhood. The Lucario winced as he saw himself so aroused, having never been interested in romance before. But as he glanced back at Ash, his mind began to wander as his memories came flooding back. He could remember having been inspired by Ash to leave the shameful Blackflame clan behind, and even the moment where Ash put his life on the line to defend him from the evil Thanatos. (You've much for me...) After a moment more, Shadow sighed to himself. (Ash, please forgive me for what I'm about to do.)

Ash soon finished washing his hair and began to feel around for the bar of soap. But he soon felt something furry that had what felt like a pair of ears sticking up out of it. "Huh? Is that you, Ruby?" Once he had washed all the shampoo out of his hair, Ash looked down at who was standing before him. But while his guest was indeed a Lucario, it was not Ruby. "You're a...guy?!" Ash gulped as he looked down at Shadow, who was standing nude before him. His body was very similar to Lucy's, as he had removed both his blue shorts and his yellow vest. However, his body was much more masculine, his upper body being very well toned from his time serving as a warrior of his clan in Hoenn. But Ash became uneasy as he saw Shadow's member standing erect. It was more slender than that of a human and was a deep red. Slightly afraid, Ash took a step back and slipped on the bar of soap, losing his balance and falling down against the wall. Taking the advantage, Shadow stepped forward and held his Trainer against the wall in order to prevent him from getting up. "I'm sorry." Without another word, Shadow leaned forward and sealed lips with Ash, much to the Trainer's disbelief.

Shadow kissed Ash deeply and gently, trying to avoid frightening his Trainer. However, Ash was still baffled by Shadow's actions as his tongue was caressed by that of the Lucario male before him. Once he felt his Trainer relax somewhat, Shadow released his grip on Ash's arms and embraced him, being ever so careful to not let the spike on his chest harm him. Ash even began to enjoy the affection of his friend and embraced him too, pressing into the kiss. The Trainer and his Pokémon continued to kiss each other for a minute before slowly breaking the kiss, both with a deep blush on their faces.

After staring into each other's eyes for a moment, Ash and Shadow realized what they had done and quickly stood up. Shadow gulped, "S...sorry about that. Don't know what came over me." But Ash then asked, "It's OK... I kinda liked it." The two friends stood in the shower for a moment, the warm water splashing over them. Seeing that Shadow was still erect, Ash gulped, "Shadow... Tell me something. And be honest. Are" The Lucario sighed, "...Not exactly." The Trainer raised an eyebrow, "What's that supposed to mean?" Shadow explained, "I still find females attractive. But when it comes to you, I..." The Lucario sighed, "I think the correct term is bisexual."

Having heard his friend's confession, Ash took a step back. But Shadow spoke, "No... It's not what you think. Even though I may be bisexual... Romance still does not interest me... I have no desire to get between you and your lovers." Ash gulped, "But...why me?" The Lucario warrior blushed, "...You are...very precious to me. You were my first real friend. During my days in the Blackflame Six, all respected me. But I never had any real friends. You were the first... What is more... Your body impresses me. Just yours. I don't know if it's because there's something unusual about it, or that my interest is amplified by my bond with you, but..." Shadow gulped as he looked Ash in the eye, "...Try not to freak out, but I find your body to"

Ash began to hyperventilate slightly as he heard a word come from Shadow that he never expected to hear from him. " Are you serious?" Shadow nodded nervously, "Dead serious." There was a long moment of silence as Ash contemplated Shadow's words. He then sighed, "Shadow... I still view you as my friend, but I'm not interested in guys like you are. This kind of relationship will never work out." Shadow nodded, "I know... I know. But still....." He then turned his back to Ash while pressing his hands against the wall for support, his tail rising into the air. "If you don't mind... Just this once? So I know what it's like?"

At the sight of Shadow presenting himself to him, Ash gulped nervously. "Shadow... Are you sure this is a good idea?" The Lucario replied, "I don't know... I've never tried something like this. If it hurts, I'll let you know. If you really want to go through with it, that is." Ash shook his head, "Even if I did, I don't find staring at a guy's butt to be very appealing. I don't feel..." Shadow turned to face his Trainer and suddenly reached down and grabbed his member, "I think I can help with that." Before Ash could object, the Lucario began to fondle his manhood with his furry fingers. "That kinda tickles..." What was more, Shadow was focusing his Aura into his hands, which was then being radiated into Ash's manhood. The presence of the Aura began to stimulate Ash as his member began to harden while his erection grew. Once Ash's manhood was standing erect, Shadow asked, "Will you?" Ash sighed, "...OK, fine. I'll do it. But just this once. Got it? I don't wanna know what Ruby would do if she found out." Shadow gulped, "Dang... You've got a point there. Doing it more often in the future will increase the risk of her discovering us."

Once Shadow had his hands against the wall and his tail raised, Ash held the Lucario by his hips and positioned himself at Shadow's anus. The Trainer gulped, "This feels really REALLY wrong right now..." Shadow too shuddered in anticipation, "I'm also worried..." Ignoring his better judgment, Ash slowly began to push himself in. Shadow grunted as he felt his insides stretching, "Man... You feel huge inside me!" Ash too groaned, "It's so tight! It's like you're trying to crush me!" A moment later, Ash was hilted to Shadow. The Lucario shuddered, "It feels strange, but... I think I like it." Ash gulped, "It's not like doing it the normal way... But I think I could get used to this." Shadow then looked at his Trainer over his shoulder, "Whenever you're ready."

After taking a moment to gather himself, Ash began to very slowly thrust into his friend. "Man, that's tight... I don't think I'll last very long like this." Ash panted as Shadow's insides squeezed his manhood harder that any girl's birth canal had. Shadow began to growl, "That feels....great... Keep at it..." However, as Shadow was being rutted by his Trainer, his own erection was growing. Near the base of his own member, the flesh was beginning to swell as his orgasm began to grow. "Guh! Better than expected...!" However, it only took several minutes for Ash to feel his climax on the verge as his member was squeezed by Shadow's anus. "Too tight! I can't hold out! Gonna..." But Shadow then grunted, "Pull out! Quick!" As instructed, Ash pulled himself out fast as a powerful orgasm hit, his sperm being sprayed all over Shadow's back. At the same time, Shadow let out a howl as he had his own orgasm, his potent Lucario seed being sprayed all over the wall in front of him. Exhausted, Shadow fell backwards into Ash's arms, who sank to the floor in his own sexual afterglow.

Pokémon and Trainer panted together in orgasmic bliss, the warm water from the shower head still drenching them. Shadow wheezed, "Amazing..... Never knew it would be that good..." Ash chuckled, "Yeah... Better than I thought it'd be." He then held Shadow's hand, "That was good, Shadow..." The Lucario then gazed into his Trainer's eyes, "Ash... I know I'm not the type who is seeking romance. And you have no interest in males. But still..." He then tenderly embraced him, "I... I just want you to know I love you... You're my best friend... No... Maybe more. You're like the brother I never had." Ash sighed, touched by his friend's heartfelt confession. He embraced the Lucario, "I love you too, Shadow. You're one of the best friends I've ever had. You're always there for me, and I can always count on you when things get dangerous." Shadow smiled, "I hope it stays that way..." Ash then helped the exhausted Lucario to his feet so they could finish bathing together before the hot water ran out.

A few days later, Ash entered Sandgem Town once again from the north, his companions by his side. The atmosphere was sleepier than before, now that the commotion caused by the crash of Hunter J's airship had run its course. Ash spoke, "First thing's first. I'll head over to the police station to talk to the authorities about Hunter J. And once I pay a visit to Professor Rowan, I'll meet up with you guys at the hotel." Chiara nodded, "Sounds like a plan. We'll be sure to reserve a room for you." But Rukaria then stepped forward, "Do you even know the location of the police station and Rowan's lab?" The Trainer thought it over for a moment before shrugging his shoulders. The blind Lucario maiden smiled as she hoisted her Hyup Do to her shoulder, "Then let me lead the way. I've lived in Sinnoh all my life, so I know my way around." Ash grinned, "Really?! I owe ya one! Lead on!"

Rukaria led her friend through the town with a confident spring in her step. Before long, they came to the local police station. "Here we are." Ash smiled at his Lucario guide, "Thanks." He then looked up at the door before him, finding it difficult to believe that he was about to receive a sizable bounty for killing Hunter J with his own hands. "This suspense... Wow." Without another word, Ash pushed the door open with Rukaria close behind him. He found the lobby to be empty. When he approached the receptionist sitting behind a layer of bulletproof glass, Ash spoke, "Hello?" The man behind the window replied, "Yes?" Ash then asked, "I'm here to claim the bounty on Hunter J." The receptionist gave Ash an awkward stare for a moment before asking, "...Wait... Seriously?" The Trainer nodded, "Um... Yeah." The receptionist then spoke into an intercom, "We've got another one here." He then turned to Ash, "Take a seat and Officer Jenny will be right with you." With nothing left to do, Ash and Rukaria took a seat next to each other.

While they waited, Ash turned to Rukaria, "Hey... You ever see Hunter J in person?" The blind Lucario maiden frowned, "If I did, I would've killed her myself." Ash gulped, "Wow... You had a grudge, huh?" Rukaria shook her head, "Not exactly. I hated her. It's like she stood against everything the Angel of the Eternal Flame worked to achieve. I could never forgive her for that." Before Ash could ask, Rukaria turned to him, "Your ancestor is a great man. He worked to improve Pokémon rights, and she made a mockery of his memory." Ash remained silent for a moment, but soon smiled, "It's OK. She's gone now. Ashton's memory won't be disgraced anymore." Rukaria sighed, "I really hope so."

Moments later, a familiar policewoman opened a door and spoke, "We have another 'poacher slayer' here?" Ash recognized the woman immediately due to her turquoise hair and familiar uniform. "That would be me, Officer Jenny." The policewoman turned to him, "Wait a second... You're the same kid from last month. So, you're the one?" Ash promptly nodded, but Jenny shook her head, "This isn't going to take long. This way, please." She motioned for Ash to follow her, who readily proceeded to do so, as did Rukaria.

Ash and Rukaria followed Officer Jenny to a room with a large glass window separating it from the hallway. Inside were just a table and two chairs. A familiar-looking man was sitting at the end of the table that was closest to the door with a Kadabra standing behind the other chair. Rukaria pointed, "Isn't that the same guy from the news report? The one called 'Agent Looker'?" Jenny replied, "That's just his codename. He's not permitted to reveal his real name while on the job." Once they were standing just outside the room, Jenny signaled for Ash to go in. But when Rukaria tried to follow him, Jenny barred her path. "You wait here." Rukaria was reluctant to oblige, as she quickly noticed that the room Ash was inside was soundproof. She proceeded to lean against the wall across from the window, her hands tightly gripping the Hyup Do. She kept a constant eye on the Kadabra; somewhat worried that Ash was possibly walking into a trap.

'Looker' glanced over his shoulder at Ash, who smiled, "You're the guy from the news, right?" The agent nodded, "I am. Now take a seat." The Trainer did as he was told. The Kadabra took a step forward, standing just inches behind Ash. The Trainer noticed and asked, "Uh... What's the Kadabra for?" Looker explained, "Several individuals have already claimed responsibility for Hunter J's demise. This Kadabra will read your thoughts to determine if what you say is true or not." Ash gulped nervously, "A lie-detector.... I get it." Looker then spoke, "I will ask you some questions. Answer them truthfully and sincerely. If you do not..." His eyes glanced at the Kadabra for a moment, who nodded. Ash began to sweat, "I get it. If I lie, you'll know."

Ash watched as Looker examined some documents. The agent then asked, "Let's begin. Tell me. Did Hunter J put up any sort of resistance? If yes, what did she do?" Ash began to think back to the grueling battle against J and her Pokémon. He closed his eyes, "She...sent out three Pokémon to stop me... An Ariados... A Drapion... And a Salamence... I had to kill them first." Ash then quickly opened his eyes and looked at the Kadabra behind him. It was holding its silver spoon above the Trainer's head. Looker explained, "In case you are wondering, that spoon will act as the lie-detector. If you are dishonest, it will bend forward." He then looked ahead at the spoon, somewhat surprised that it was still straight. "So you're not lying. Let us continue."

Looker asked, "Are you a Trainer? If so, what Pokémon did you use to fight J?" Ash replied, "I'm a Pokémon Trainer of three years, but I didn't use any during my fight with her." The agent sighed in disappointment as he looked up at the Kadabra's spoon. But to his surprise, it remained straight. His eyes then trailed back to Ash's face. Without showing much emotion, Looker continued, "How did you wreck her airship?" Recalling the moment it crashed stern-first into the ground, Ash replied, "I slammed it into the ground when it tried to fly away." Despite how ridiculous Ash's claim sounded, Looker began to sweat nervously as he saw the Kadabra's spoon remain straight. "I am....not even going to bother asking just how you did that."

Rukaria began to worry intensely as she saw Looker becoming uneasy behind the window. Worried that he was going to pull a gun on her friend, she prepared to shatter the window with a Force Palm at a moment's notice. Inside the soundproof room, Looker asked, "I will not ask why you did it, but...what did you use to kill Hunter J?" Ash gulped as he started to remove the knuckle glove on his right hand, "Don't freak out when I show you it." Looker watched with great curiosity as a faint veil of flames began to coat Ash's hand. As the Trainer's hand tensed up, a pair of long black claws extended from between his fingers. "I killed her with these." With a nervous expression, Looker glanced up at the Kadabra's spoon, which remained perfectly straight. "I see... Just one last question." Ash retracted his claws and slid his glove back on as the flames vanished, "OK..." Looker then asked, "Why did you pursue Hunter J? What made you want to do her harm?"

Hearing this final question, Ash sighed, "...She...took my newest friend away... A Blaziken named Kazeerah." Looker glanced over at the Kadabra, whose silver spoon was still straight. Now 100% convinced that Ash was being truthful, Looker signaled for the Kadabra to stand down. "This Blaziken. Was she yours?" Ash shook his head, "No. She was just a traveling Blaziken who happened to bump into me a few days before it happened. We traveled together and J captured her before I could react. I... I couldn't just stand there knowing that she was going to sell Kazeerah like livestock..." Ash paused for a moment before continuing, "But that's not the whole reason...why I did it... When she sent out her Pokémon to stop me, she didn't care at all about what happened to them. She showed no remorse as they died right in front of her..... I couldn't let her live after learning just how evil she was..."

Looker sat before Ash for a moment in silence. Soon, he stood up and walked over to Ash before placing a hand on his shoulder. "You did the world a great favor." Ash glanced up at the agent, who smiled gratefully. "We never would've brought Hunter J down without your help." Ash's eyes went wide, "You believe me?" Looker nodded, "You answered all of my questions truthfully. You must have been honest." With a smile, Ash stood up. But Looker then asked, "Just one last question. What is your name?" The Trainer smiled, "Ash Ketchum."

A short while later, Ash and Rukaria stood outside the police station with a pair of large briefcases. Rukaria smiled, "The bounty was too big for just one?" Ash chuckled, "Looks that way. Now, which way to Professor Rowan?" Rukaria pointed, "Right this way." The blind Lucario maiden led her friend through the town, arriving outside of a building near the western edge of Sandgem Town. "Here it is. I hear Professor Rowan looks pretty scary sometimes, but he's really a good person." Ash nodded, "If you say so." With Rukaria carrying one of the briefcases, the two friends stepped inside.

The interior of the building was indeed that of a laboratory, though not as homely as that of Professor Oak's. There were many complex machines placed everywhere that Ash and Rukaria could not begin to understand. But as they ventured deeper inside, they found an elderly man reading a book of sorts while occasionally glancing at a computer screen. Ash spoke up, "Are you Professor Rowan?" Upon hearing the Trainer's voice, the man turned to face him. He answered, "I am." He had short white hair and a refined moustache. He wore dark blue pants and a light blue shirt with long white sleeves and a red necktie. As Rukaria had claimed, his face had a stern expression on it.

Slightly intimidated by the professor's face, Ash asked, "Um... Can I register for the Sinnoh League here?" Rowan nodded, "I can take care of that for you. First, hand me your Pokédex." Ash did as he was told and waited while the professor took a seat at a computer that was connected to another larger machine. He then proceeded to connect the older Pokédex to the machine with a cable while he did the same with what seemed to be a different model of Pokédex. He then began typing on the computer's keyboard while the machine hummed with activity. Ash and Rukaria watched with interest as the professor went to work. A few minutes later, Rowan stood up and unplugged the newer Pokédex as the machine quieted down. He then walked over to Ash and handed it to him. "I transferred your personal data from your old Pokédex to this one. You are also now registered to participate in the Sinnoh League. Just remember that while your data was transferred to this one, your Pokédex cannot be replaced. Take care not to lose or damage it." Ash smiled, "Don't worry about that, Professor. Some things you just don't forget." He then opened his new Pokédex, finding that it had two screens instead of one, with the lower screen even possessing touch-screen functions.

As they turned to leave, Ash and Rukaria stopped when Rowan spoke up. "Forgive me for asking, but what are you two doing with those briefcases?" Ash replied, "I think these contain my payment for taking out Hunter J. I haven't actually opened them yet to count." Rowan raised an eyebrow, "Hunter J? You mean... YOU are the one?!" Rukaria nodded, "He is. You have a problem with that?" The professor smiled, "No, not at all. Just let me say thank you for doing something about that lowlife." He then glanced at Ash's hand and noticed a blue Pokétch on his wrist. "May I examine that device for a moment?" Ash nodded and extended his hand. The professor then took some sort of card out of his pocket as he took Ash's hand. He then slid the card into a thin slot in the side of the Pokétch, and then removed it after the device beeped. "There you are. Your Pokétch should now have a calendar function." Ash looked down at his watch while cycling through the features. When he came to the calendar feature, he seemed to think for a moment before marking a date several weeks ahead of then. He then grinned, "Thanks, Professor. I'll take extra good care of this now." But once he and Rukaria had left the lab, the blind Lucario maiden asked, "What were you doing with that thing?" The Trainer then glanced down at his Pokétch, "Just making sure to set a reminder." Rukaria asked, "A reminder for what?" Ash blushed as the calendar showed the next month, "The day when Pearl has her baby."

A short while later, Ash and Rukaria entered the local hotel where their companions had made reservations for them. They then looked around and found Shadow, Ruby, Pearl, Lucy, Ashton, and Chiara relaxing in the lounge. "Whatcha guys up to?" Ash asked with a smile. Ashton replied, "We were just waiting for you." But Pearl then pointed, "Whoa, where'd you two get those?" Rukaria raised hers' and Ash's briefcases, "These? They have the bounty inside." Ruby then ran over to them, "What're we waiting for?! Pop them open and see what's inside!" Ash and Rukaria then set the briefcases on the central table and undid the clasps that held them shut. Ash then gripped both and smiled, "Let's see what they got for us." Without further delay, he lifted the briefcases open, revealing their contents.

" much in there?" Lucy asked as she looked at the open briefcases. Inside them were many bundles of paper money. Rukaria gasped, "So much... I can't begin to count them all!" Chiara then took the briefcases, "Allow me. I'll count it." The Lugia scholar began setting the money out while counting every last slip and the value of each. After over twenty minutes, she wrote down the total amount on a blank sheet of paper. Ashton asked, "Well? What does it amount to?" She silently handed the paper to him. The viscount looked it over for a second before muttering with a shocked expression, "That is....quite a few zeroes...."

Once Ash took a look at the total, he gagged, "Good grief! This means..... I'm filthy stinking rich!" Pearl smiled, "Crime doesn't pay. But it looks like hunting criminals pays well!" Rukaria smirked, "I said that a while ago myself." But Ash then asked, "Just one problem. What in the world am I supposed to do with all this?! I've got more money than I know what to do with!" Chiara then raised a hand, "If I may make a suggestion, perhaps you should just keep what you need and send the rest home to your mother. I'm certain she could manage it for you." Ruby smiled, "Excellent idea! Mom could open a bank account for you back home!" Ash smiled, "Why didn't I think of that? Can you handle the delivery, Chiara?" The Lugia nodded, "Of course. I was the messenger of the Crimson estate long ago, so I am well-suited to the task."

Once Ash had removed the amount of money he felt they would need during their stay in Sinnoh, Chiara closed the briefcase that was still full and secured it with locks to prevent it from falling open. She did the same with the other briefcase, and then tied their handles together with a chain and lock. She then tied a sling to them and slid it over her shoulder, much like how she would carry a messenger bag centuries ago. Chiara then turned to Ashton, "It will take several days for me to return. Should I head towards Jubilife City once I make the delivery?" He nodded, "I believe that would be a wise choice. We'll be leaving tomorrow, so we'll be long gone by the time you return." The Lugia smiled, "Then I will see you in Jubilife City. Take care until then." Chiara then proceeded outside the hotel before taking to the sky and flying back towards the Kanto region. "I really do wonder what Delia will say when she learns that her son is now a multi-millionaire." Chiara giggled, imagining Delia's screams of joy at her son's unexpected financial success.

The next morning, Ash and his family and friends departed from Sandgem Town and headed north. The day was fairly uneventful with only occasional skirmishes with a passing Trainer or two. But late in the afternoon, Ash noticed another figure approaching them from the north. As it drew closer, Ash saw that it was just a human boy. His hair was a muddy purple while he wore an indigo jacket with black sleeves and indigo cuffs. He also wore dark gray pants with purple and black shoes. However, his eyes were very harsh and almost seemed angry. As he passed them, Ash's group hardly reacted to the boy. But after a few seconds, the boy and Ash stopped dead in their tracks. They then simultaneously turned to face each other. As their eyes crossed, the two smirked confidently.

Seeing that Ash had stopped, everyone turned to face him. Ash then spoke, "I definitely feel some skill on you." The boy replied, "I can say the same thing about you. You're no amateur." The boy's eyes then scanned Ash's companions. (A Zangoose... And this many Lucario?! Not bad...) The boy then gave Ash an arrogant smirk, "You must be quite skilled to have so many Lucario under your command." Ash replied, "Oh, it's not just them. I've also got a Gligar and Suicune with me." The mention of a Suicune made the boy's eyes go wide. "A Suicune, you say? Interesting....." He then reached for a Poké Ball at his belt, "This I gotta see." Ash grinned, "Only if you can handle Shadow." The Lucario warrior stepped forward, "It's been a while since I've had a real challenge." The boy then asked, "Since you can control so many powerful Pokémon, I'd like to know your name." Ash replied, "I'm Ash Ketchum. From Pallet Town." The boy then replied, "Paul. From Veilstone City."

Before Paul could send out his Pokémon, Lucash cheered, "Take him down hard, Daddy! You're the best!" Ash blushed, "Yeah, sure. No problem, Lucash." But at Lucash's cheering, Paul raised an eyebrow, "Wait a minute... Daddy?" He then pointed, "Hey. What's the deal with that Lucario? Why's it calling you its father?" Ash replied, "Because that's what I am. He's my son." Paul gave Ash a shocked stare, "...Are you serious? Treating a Poké if it was your own child?" But Ruby then spoke up, "No, it's more than that. He doesn't just view Ash as his father. He IS his father." Hearing Ruby speak, Paul frowned, ".....This must be some kind of bad joke." Ash smiled, "It's no joke, Paul. Lucash is my son. And Ruby is my girlfriend. And someday, she'll be my wife. Once I'm old enough, that is. Now quit stalling and send out your Pokémon! We're not getting any younger!" But after a moment of silence, Paul sneered as he put his Poké Ball away. "Forget it. Those who let their delusions of friendship get in the way are one thing, but softhearted fools like you are below my standards."

Hearing Paul insult his father, Lucash shouted, "Where are you going?! I think you're just scared to take my dad on!" Paul turned to face the Lucario child and frowned, "Oh please, you just keep thinking that. And I don't have to put up with whatever a weapon has to say." Hearing this insult, Ashton growled, "What.....did you just say?" Paul looked towards the group, their eyes glaring angrily at him. "You heard me. Pokémon are just weapons for us Trainers to use. They live to battle. It's what they exist for. Anyone who doesn't understand that are just fools." Unable to restrain herself, Rukaria held her Hyup Do out in front of her and prepared to lunge at Paul. But Ash held up an arm, "No, Rukaria." Seething with anger, she reluctantly stood down. However, Ash then slid off the glove on his left hand and dropped it to the ground. But as Paul began to walk away, Ash asked while speaking with more of a growl than usual, "Where do you think you're going?" Paul replied, "Save it. I'm not going to battle you. As I said, you're below my standards." But Ash snarled as a layer of flames began to engulf him, "Who said anything about us having a battle? I'm gonna tear you limb from limb!"

Hearing Ash's threat, Paul began to turn around, "What was tha...GUH?!" Before he even saw him coming, Paul was slammed against a tree with Ash grasping him by the throat. Zandria smirked, "That's it, Ash. Go ahead! RIP HIS FACE OFF!!!" Paul gasped for breath as his feet dangled off the ground. He quickly noticed that Ash was covered in a layer of flames that resembled a Zangoose in shape. But Ash then growled, "I didn't throw away my chances at the Hoenn League, take an Aura Sphere for my lover and daughter, get killed TWICE, get possessed by an ancient demon, just to have my family insulted by some punk who doesn't know the first thing about friendship!" Ash then glared Paul in the eyes, his eyes a vivid shade of pink and no longer appearing to be human. The heartless Trainer gasped, "What...are you?!" Ash's grip on Paul's throat tightened as he raised his left hand, a pair of black claws extending from between his fingers. "Does it matter? I'm part Pokémon myself. And if what you say is true, then I have every right to kill you. After all, weapons only exist to kill. Right?!" But as he prepared to claw Paul's face off, Ash felt someone grab his left arm, holding it back. "Ash... Please, don't."

Ash turned to face whoever was holding his arm back. He found Lucy restraining him, her eyes pleading for him to not go through with it. "It's not worth it..." Ash then turned back to Paul, whose eyes were filled with utter terror. Ash then growled, "Do you see? If all Pokémon are weapons, then why is this one begging me to not kill you?" Paul could not speak, as Ash's grip on his throat was almost too tight to allow him to breathe. Ash then added, "Because they have hearts. They have a conscience. They have souls. Just like you and me." Without another word, Ash took a step back and threw Paul in the direction of Sandgem Town. The Trainer crashed with a shout as he hit the ground. When he turned back to face Ash, the Devil of the Eternal Flame roared, "GET LOST BEFORE I CHANGE MY MIND!!!" Not needing to be told twice, Paul climbed to his feet and dashed to the south.

Lucy set a hand on Ash's shoulder as he slowly calmed down, his cloak of flames dissipating. "Ash... Thank you." The Trainer sighed, "That guy makes me sick.... I can't believe he said all those things with a straight face..." But when he turned around, Ash found Sapphire holding his left knuckle glove out to him. "You dropped this, Daddy." Ash smiled, "Thanks, Sapphire..." He then slid his glove back onto his left hand. But Zandria grumbled, "Aw man, just when I thought I could cook up my special human meat stew. I'll never be able to cook it again at this rate." Shadow gulped, "Human...meat...stew?" The Zangoose nodded, "Yeah. The main ingredient is human meat. Sure, it sounds creepy, but it tastes great." However, everyone began to slowly back away from her with disturbed expressions on their faces. Zandria asked, "What?" Ash gulped, "Mom..... Do you really...have a recipe that requires...human flesh?" When she nodded, Ash ran north while yelling himself silly. Lucash called out, "Daddy! Wait up!" But as everyone ran after the Trainer, they all failed to notice that Ashton was no longer with them.

Paul panted as he stumbled through the trees, having gone off the main path out of fear that Ash was going to pursue him. "What was that freak...?" The Trainer stumbled backwards and rested against a tree, falling down until he was sitting with his back against it. He panted in exhaustion from his long run, having never been so frightened in his life. But a voice soon spoke, "Calling Pokémon weapons is the same as referring to them as tools. There is no insult more degrading." Paul glanced around, "Who's there?! Who said that?!" The voice replied, "You must be in a hurry to die, boy."

There was the sound of a steel blade slicing through wood, followed by the sound of a tree starting to topple. Paul glanced to his side and saw a tree about to fall on him. He frantically crawled out of the way, barely evading the falling tower of wood. But his eyes soon saw the same man he saw with Ash's group standing behind the stump of the tree that had just fallen. In his hand was a massive sword with a wave pattern blade. His eyes were a fiery shade of red while the Z-shaped scars beneath them were bolder than before. Ashton growled, "If you have a death wish, I shall gladly accommodate you!"

Paul stood up, having never been so terrified in his life. He turned to run, but suddenly found Ashton standing before him. The viscount lashed out with a kick to Paul's face, sending him falling against the ground. But as the Trainer reached for a Poké Ball, Ashton warned, "Unless you don't mind losing your arms, I don't recommend trying to send them out." Paul froze as he heard Ashton's threat, knowing that he was more than capable of carrying the task out if he wished it. He stood up and tried to run, but let out a scream as he felt something slice him across the back. Ashton glanced down at the tip of the Flamberge, the very end of the blade coated in blood. He glared at Paul, who was now leaning against a tree in pain. "The fact that the Flamberge allowed me to strike you with its edge... That's all the proof I need. You're going to die here, wretch!"

Ashton charged at Paul with his sword held high. At the last second, Paul dashed out of the way. He turned and watched in disbelief as the Flamberge's mighty blade split the tree he was leaning against a mere second ago in two. The furious eyes of the viscount glared at Paul, causing the Trainer to let out a yell of pure terror. Ashton lashed out once again, leaving a deep cut in Paul's left arm. He staggered back before falling against another tree. Too afraid to even move, he could only watch as Ashton slowly approached him, his sword pointing towards his chest.

Pitiful whimpers rose from Paul's throat as he watched Ashton stand before him, his sword less than an inch from his face. "I never once imagined that I would hear the greatest of all insults to Pokémon spoken again. You must have never heard of me if you spoke it so willingly. Do you know what I do to those who have enough of a death wish to refer to Pokémon as tools?" Paul only remained silent in fear as Ashton glared at him. "DO YOU?!" Paul shook his head frantically, tears beginning to fall from his eyes. Ashton then explained, "I don't just kill them. I make them wish I killed them quickly."

Paul began to feel sick to his stomach as he pondered what Ashton meant by 'making them wish he killed them quickly'. The viscount then began to raise the Flamberge as if preparing for an overhead swing. "The fact that the Flamberge allowed itself to cut you is proof of your heart of ice. Your mind is black with evil. The truth is clear to me now. You die!" As the viscount held the Flamberge above him, Paul began to scream in fright, tears rolling down his face. His screams echoed through the forest, only with no one to hear him. Ashton then spoke, "However..." Instead of splitting Paul in two, Ashton placed the Flamberge on his back beneath his cape. "...I cannot."

The screams that filled the air quickly came to a stop as the forest became silent. "...W...what?" Paul asked, puzzled by Ashton's sudden change of mind. The viscount spoke. "You can't even begin to fathom how fortunate you are that Ash grabbed you by the throat when he did. The truth is that when he pinned you against the tree, I was reaching for my blade. If he had taken just two seconds longer, you would be a pair of bleeding hunks of meat right now." Paul became somewhat blue in the face as he imagined what his fate would have been if Ash had hesitated a bit longer than he did. Ashton explained, "He gave you another chance. Spared your life. And it is my duty to respect his decision." Ashton turned to leave, "You owe him a great deal. He saved you from my blade. But I warn you..." He then glanced over his shoulder, looking directly into Paul's eyes with his fiery red eyes. "If I ever see you, or even so much as hear of you treating Pokémon as mere tools again....." Paul gulped, waiting for Ashton's threat. "I will not rest until your severed head is hanging from my manor gates."

Ashton began to slowly walk away. But before he got very far, Paul called out, "Hang on." Ashton stopped and turned to face him, "What?" Paul reached for a Poké Ball and held it out to him, "Here..." Ashton sighed, "You can't bribe me. I stand by my warning." But the Trainer added, "It's not for you..." Ashton began to walk towards him, puzzled. Paul explained, "You're right... I owe that guy my life... I want you to give this to him." Ashton slowly took the Poké Ball in hand, suspicious of Paul's intentions. Paul added, "I was considering releasing it, but I think he may be a better Trainer for it than I am. Give it to him for me. And..." Paul bowed his head, "Tell him...I'm sorry for insulting his kid..." Ashton remained silent, finding it difficult to believe what he had just heard. After a moment of silence, Ashton pulled out a sword from behind his left hip. As he began to lower the blade towards Paul, the Trainer gasped, "What're you doing?!" But Ashton replied, "Be still." He then rested the flat side of the blade against Paul's left arm. "Go ahead, Soul Calibur." The sword began to glow a bright shade of blue as Paul felt his pain recede. He soon found that his wounds were rapidly closing. Once he had been healed, Ashton returned Soul Calibur to her scabbard. Before he left, the viscount spoke, "Treat your companions as equals and there will be no limit to how far you can go." Ashton then turned and left with Paul's Poké Ball in hand. Once he was alone, Paul muttered, "As equals... Maybe... Maybe it's not such a bad idea after all."

Ash gagged after running for so long without stopping. Zandria patted him on the back, "Sheesh, never knew you'd freak out that badly about that. I won't bring it up again." It was only then that Sapphire noticed that someone was missing. "Hey! Where's Grandpa?!" After a moment of looking around, Rukaria pointed, "Here he comes now!" Everyone turned to see the viscount running towards them from the south. Ash called out, "Where the heck were you?!" He replied, "Having a nice long chat with that lad." Ash gulped, "Ashton... You...didn't..." But the viscount laughed, "Heavens, no! You spared him, so I had to respect your decision! But about that..." He then handed a Poké Ball to the Trainer. "He says he's sorry for insulting your family." Shadow muttered, "He had a change of heart that quickly? I wonder..." Ash then looked the Poké Ball over, "What is it?" Ashton replied, "No idea. I suggest you see what's inside." Taking Ashton's advice, the Trainer enlarged the ball before lightly tossing it. After a second, the ball burst open in a flash of light. Seconds later, what seemed to be a small chimp with fiery orange fur stood before the group.

Pearl smiled, "What a cutie!" Lucy smiled, "Yes, it is a cute one. I think it's a Chimchar." Ash then pulled out his new Pokédex and pointed it towards the Pokmon. A digital voice then spoke, "Chimchar. The Chimp Pokémon. The flame on its rear is fueled by gas from within its belly. The flame is only extinguished when the Pokémon falls asleep." The little chimp seemed to be glancing around out of fear, as if looking for something. Ash smiled, "What's the matter? If you're looking for Paul, forget about him. I'm your new Trainer, little guy." He then extended his hand in friendship. Clearly unaccustomed to kindness, the Chimchar backed away nervously. But Lucash then ran up to the little chimp and gave it a hug. "There's nothing to be scared of! Daddy's a great Trainer! He'll be nice to you!" At first startled, the Chimchar smiled and returned Lucash's hug. Ruby giggled, "How cute! Less than a minute and they're already bonding!" Ash smiled in pride, "Looks like you and my little boy are gonna get along just fine." The Chimchar said something to Ash in its native tongue, but he was naturally unable to understand it. Rukaria smiled, "That's a nice name. She says her name is Ember." Ash smiled, "Ember? It's a girl? Well, it's really nice to meet you, Ember." He then gave his new friend a tender handshake.

Later as everyone sat around the campfire, Zandria cooked up a varied meal with meats, soup, and veggies. Ember was very impressed, as she had never eaten so well before. Ash smiled, "Easy there, Ember! You're gonna burst if you don't slow down." The Chimchar let out a satisfied belch, but still slurped up more soup. Ashton grinned, "Remind me to teach her English when we return to Jubilife City." Lucash smiled, "OK, Grandpa!" Pearl watched her nephew casually dining with Ember, seeing just how quickly they were bonding. She whispered to Ash, "It wouldn't surprise me if those two turn out to be lovers someday." Ash looked back over at his son and grinned, "You never know, Pearl. You never know."

That night in Veilstone City, Charon stood before his commander. "We are still monitoring the Angel of Doom closely." Cyrus nodded, "Very good. And her companion?" Charon replied, "He seems to be taking longer to bond with her than expected, but progress is steady." Cyrus muttered, "Very well. However, these recent fines have left us in a very fragile financial state. We do not have the resources we are used to having access to anymore." Cyrus then commanded, "As soon as they are on the verge of romance, capture the Angel of Doom. But be gentle with her." Charon nodded, "Yes, boss." Once Charon had left, Cyrus turned to his private computer and once again watched a video file, a fierce battle being shown on screen.

"Trust takes time to build. But it can be shattered in an instant. And when that instant comes, the Angel of Doom will be ours for the taking."

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