AGNPH Stories

Rukario Romance by XD385


Honorable Devil vs Fallen Angel

Ash could hardly bring himself to move as Lucy stood before him. Her sinister dark Aura billowed around her like flames, casting an unholy presence over the area. (I can't move... It' evil... Who is she? I know that's Lucy, but...) Having lost all faith in her dearest friend, Lucy had finally submitted to the Angel of Doom within her. Finally, Ash shouted, "Who are you?! I know you're not Lucy!" The Lucario before him, her yellow fur now an extremely dark blue and her blue fur a golden yellow, replied with a dark tone. "Oh, but I am. I am Lucy. Or at least her darkest half. Although... I see why she liked you. You try to be true to yourself and are quick to make friends. But very well. As it was you who allowed me to emerge, I shall tell you everything there is to know about that weak little girl as a token of thanks. If you have the heart to listen." After a moment of thought, Ash solemnly nodded, "...Sure. Tell me. I need to know." 

The Lucario standing before Ash spoke, "I am the Angel of Doom. She who brings the world to its end. For years I have waited, awaiting the time to seize control and fulfill my purpose. And thanks to you, I am finally free." Ash asked, "You mean... The truth about the Blackflame Five..." Doom nodded as she slowly began to circle him, "Correct. She knew all too well that they were too vile to allow to live. They would likely bring far more death to Hoenn if spared. As much as she hated this fact, she understood that they had to die. But she pleaded with you to end them quickly, not to make them suffer. And if memory serves, you agreed to it." She then pointed at Ash, "So why did you stab her in the back by completely disregarding your promise to her?" 

Confronted with his sin, Ash bowed his head as tears began to fill his eyes. "I don't know why... I know Soul Edge was influencing me at the time, but...I was still in control. I remember I agreed to kill them quickly. But I didn't..." The Trainer sobbed, "I won't make any excuses... I broke my promise to Lucy and lied about it for months. I'm sorry... I know what I did was wrong..." He then pleaded, "Please! Let me talk to her! Let Lucy out!" Doom responded by closing her eyes for a moment. When she reopened them, she smirked, "Hm. I was not expecting that answer. It would seem that she wants nothing to do with you anymore." As Ash dropped to his knees from the sorrow of being rejected entirely, Doom sighed, "You cannot possibly fathom how much you hurt her. Even now, she is devastated beyond words. But I suppose you want to know why. And I agreed to tell you. Correct?"

Once Ash regained his footing, Doom explained, "The Lucario known as Lucy Hikari. Orphaned at a young age, she never knew the love of family or friends. In fact, her dearest wish was to have friends who would accept her despite her flaws. Who would never betray her." But Doom then smirked, "Oh, but that was what she always told herself. Beyond that humble desire, she craved something more. Something so precious and sacred, she often pondered if she would ever be worthy of such a blessing." Ash asked, "And...what was this desire?" Doom replied, "She desired a lover. A husband. And, most importantly, a child. She wanted, more than anything else, a family. And she found that man. The man she wanted to bond with and start a family with." She then pointed at Ash, "She wanted YOU, child. She wanted to marry you. She wanted to bear your child. She...wanted you to become her life mate." 

Ash felt his chest burning as tears began to cascade down his face. Doom continued, "Now do you know why she was hurt this much? Being betrayed by the one man, the ONLY human in her life that she had ever completely fallen in love with, was more than her heart could bear." Ash dropped to his knees and buried his face in his hands as he cried. Doom shook her head, "To be honest, I was surprised. Even in all her past lives, she very rarely found true love. And even then, it never lasted very long and it was never with a human. When she began to fall for you, it was quite a shock." However, Ash soon looked up at Doom while choking on tears, "Wait... What do you mean... Past lives?" 

The Angel of Doom gazed down at the sorrowful boy before her, "I suppose you have earned the right to know." She then explained, "Yes. Lucy has existed in this world before. For centuries, for so long that I no longer remember where we began, we have been bound to this realm in a cycle of samsara. I, the Angel of Doom, and my other half, the Angel of Hope. Our vessel has always been, and always will be, this poor little girl. Since her first life, she has always been known simply as 'Lucy'. Despite her sweet and charming personality, all her past lives have been almost nothing but sheer misery. However, with every rebirth, her memory is wiped clean. She remembers nothing of her previous lives. She has never once known the sweet embrace of Heaven's light nor the searing anguish of Hell's fire. If she were able to hear me speak these words right now, she would have no knowledge of what I am referring to. In fact, there is a legend about the so-called 'cursed' angel." Doom then smirked, "Born in sorrow. Die in sorrow. It sums up her existence perfectly."

Hearing the truth of Lucy's origins brought Ash to the verge of despair. (No way... Lucy's been through so many more lives...without ever knowing lasting love or happiness?) Doom nodded as she stopped in front of the Trainer, "Sad, is it not? This is the cycle that has repeated for ages. However, if she had never learned of your betrayal, her current life may have ended in joy instead of sorrow for the very first time. Of course, that is no longer possible now, is it?" Ash clenched his fists and closed his eyes, feeling the pain of his own actions coming back to haunt him. Doom closed her eyes, "A poor sorrowful maiden who has been through countless painful lives finally fell in love with someone who turned out to be a heartless and selfish monster. I suppose her fate cannot be altered after all. Although you did prove useful in restoring my freedom, and for this, I am grateful." But she then looked ahead at Ash and spoke, "However, that girl entrusted me with protecting her sisters from the monster who betrayed her. She does not hold grudges easily, yet she wants you to disappear. She must truly despise you now." Ash dropped to his knees, unable to bear the thought that one of his most precious companions now wanted him dead. "And to that end...." The Angel of Doom suddenly ran up to Ash before he could react, a dark Aura Sphere in her hand. "I shall now fulfill my part of the bargain." An instant later, Doom blasted Ash point blank with the Aura Sphere, sending him flying away in a dark explosion. 

Ruby stared out the window as dark storm clouds began to fill the night sky. "This sense of dread... Please be careful, Ash..." Rukaria sat nearby, polishing her dagger's blade to help pass the time. "All we're doing here is waiting for him to get back... But at the same time, it feels like he might not be coming back." Ruby frowned, "Don't jinx him, Rukaria. I know my husband. He'll pull through. He's been through worse." The blind Lucario nodded solemnly, "I know... He's descended from Sir Ashton. I know he can handle just about anything that comes his way."

Moments later, Chiara entered the hotel room. "It seems a rainstorm is approaching. Best stay indoors for now." Rukaria nodded, "Thanks for the update, Lady Chiara..... Hm? What's that?" The Lugia was carrying a teapot in her hand. "I brewed some honey tea. It should make the situation seem a little less dreary." Ruby smiled, "Thank you, Chiara. We'll have some too." The Lugia poured the two Lucario a cup of tea each and one for her as well. Rukaria sipped her tea slowly, "Mmm... It's quite warm and refreshing, Lady Chiara." The Lugia smiled, "It has become a favorite for Ashton, so I brew it often for him." Ruby then asked, "Where is he anyway?" Chiara replied, "He was sitting by the window in our room while sipping from a cup of this tea. I'm sure he's still there." 

Once she had finished her cup of tea, Chiara left the pot behind and returned to her hotel room. But upon entering it, she found that Ashton was nowhere to be seen. "Ashton...? Are you here?" Chiara glanced around, but soon saw the Flamberge leaning against the wall with Ashton's blue cloak and the black scabbard of Soul Calibur resting in a chair. The top half of the scabbard was covered by the cloak. "Oh... Well, Ashton would never go anywhere without Soul Calibur at his side. He must still be somewhere in this building." The Lugia scholar began to clean her medical tools while waiting for her lover's return. However, unbeknownst to Chiara, the scabbard beneath Ashton's cloak was empty. 

Just to the north of Veilstone City, Ashton ran through the forest with Soul Calibur in his hand. "Soul Calibur, where are they?!" Ashton asked, desperate to reach his descendant. The spirit sword replied, "The evil presence is just north of us. The boy is likely there as well." Ashton nodded as he tossed the sword directly upwards while still running. He then whipped out a scroll that was contained in the pouch on the back of his hip. After unfurling it, he placed his palm against a symbol drawn on the scroll. A puff of white smoke engulfed the viscount, his footsteps clanking noisily as he ran. Upon emerging from the smoke, he was clad in his favorite suit of armor. He then caught Soul Calibur in his right hand as she fell towards him. "Whatever danger awaits us, I am ready for it. Please, lend me your strength, Soul Calibur." 

The Angel of Doom turned her back on Ash, who lied facedown several meters away from her. "The first human child to die at my hands following my freedom. A fate he was certainly worthy of. Though I suppose it may have been more satisfying to allow him to observe this world perish due to his own actions..." But as Doom turned to walk away, a voice growled, " ya think you're going...?" Doom stopped where she was, "No human could survive such a blast...But then again, he is by no means a pure human." When she turned to face Ash, a familiar cloak of flames had begun to creep over the boy's body. Seeing this, Doom muttered, "Of course. You have been blessed by the phoenix. It should be no surprise that you could endure such an attack." The cloak formed two fluffy ears on top of Ash's head and a long bushy tail extending from his spine. As he slowly climbed to his feet, the Trainer growled, "It's my fault that this happened... So it's my responsibility to stop you..." He then glared at Doom with vivid inhuman pink eyes, "I can't let you go, Lucy! Not like this!" 

The Devil of the Eternal Flame and the Angel of Doom shared a long gaze, neither one moving from their spots. Finally, Doom broke the silence with a smirk, "The Devil of the Eternal Flame. You could not possibly hope to best me in combat. After all, the Devil always falls before the Angel." But Ash growled as he extended his claws, "That may be true, but that doesn't apply to us! You're a fallen angel from what I can tell! I'll redeem myself here! I'll save Lucy, no matter what it takes!" At Ash's words, Doom burst into laughter. "Save her?! Do not delude yourself, mortal! How can you hope to save her when you cannot even save yourself?!" She then let out a shout as what seemed to be an orb of water was launched from her mouth. But instead of being a natural blue color, the liquid was a vile shade of dark purple that brought to mind poison. But Ash countered with a Potent Fire Blast, canceling out the attack. "The color was different, but the form was the same. I know a Water Pulse when I see one." Ash glared at his opponent, not the least bit fazed. Doom smirked, "Ah, that's right. You have three years of experience as a Pokémon Trainer. So you know how to counter various moves. Perhaps this will prove entertaining." The dark Aura that surrounded her seemed to billow more fiercely as she stood prepared, her stance almost seeming to say, 'Bring it!' 

Ash responded to Doom's challenge by dropping to all fours and dashing towards her. However, the demon stomped her foot with a smug expression. Following his instincts, Ash leapt skyward just before Doom's Rock Tomb attack could emerge from the ground, leaving several stone slabs jutting from the ground where Ash used to be standing. As Ash fell towards her, Doom launched a Shadow Ball towards the boy. Ash barely evaded the shot, but Doom immediately followed-up with a Flash Cannon. The Devil of the Eternal Flame once again narrowly dodged the attack, dragging his claws through the beam of light. Doom remained perfectly still as the Trainer fell towards her. (To be able to evade projectiles in the air like that requires split-second decision making. He's doing this entirely on instinct.) An instant later, Ash sank his claws through the Lucario's face as he fell by her. 

To the west, the Skydiamond Oracle led Tia and their escorts towards the Angel of Doom as swiftly as he/she could. However, the Oracle glanced upward for a moment. Tia asked, "Something catch your eye, Oracle?" The Oracle replied, "Hm... It would seem we have an ally in this dark hour." One of the escorts asked, "An ally?! Who is it?!" With a calm nod, he/she spoke, "The same honorable devil the Angel of Doom fought several months ago. The same boy...the Angel of Hope lost faith in..." Tia frowned, "Is he trying to stop her to atone for his actions? Regardless, he will never survive against her. We must hurry." The Oracle nodded, "Indeed. Let us make haste." 

A brief calm came over Ash as he breathed a sigh of relief. "It's over... That one went almost through to the other side of her head." But a dark tone asked, "What exactly is over?" With a gasp, Ash turned to face Doom as she also turned to face him. Very deep cuts had been dug into her face, taking out her eyes and even a large chunk of her skull and brain. Her dark Aura seemed to engulf the wounds. Seconds later, the Aura faded, revealing Doom's seemingly unscathed face. Ash shuddered in fright, "You've gotta be kidding me... That should've killed you!" Doom calmly smirked, "Have you forgotten? I am the Angel of Doom. An angel. Therefore, do you believe angels should be immortal as well?" But she then glared at him, "But truly, you would do such things to the girl you love? Hmph, seems she was right. You truly are a monster." At Doom's words, Ash snarled, "Shut it. You're not the girl I love." But as he prepared for a counterattack, Doom asked, "What is more, have you forgotten that this is Lucy's body as well? If you somehow manage to kill me, you will kill her as well."

A terrible feeling of helplessness filled Ash's heart as he suddenly realized that he could not destroy the Angel of Doom without murdering Lucy in the process. "I can' her...?" Doom nodded as she held out her hand, an Aura Sphere forming in her palm. "Exactly. Being unable to save your friend... It must be unbearable. But for your betrayal, an even greater eternity of suffering awaits you. Beginning now." However, Ash soon lashed out with his claws and severed Doom's arm before the Aura Sphere could be launched. As her Aura tended to her injury, Doom asked, "Why do you continue to resist? You know you cannot save her." Ash, tears in his eyes, growled, "She's... Lucy isn't just a friend to me anymore..." He then cried, "I love her! More than a monster like you could ever know!" Doom, clearly amused by his claims, chuckled, "Oh, please. What could that pathetic weakling be worth to you?" The Trainer sighed and spoke with a very serious tone, "I'll put it this way. I would give up everything I have to be with her again. I would throw away my Trainer license, leave my family, and disappear into obscurity just to always see I want to hear her voice... I want to hold her in my arms... I want to be able to tell her just how much she means to me..." He then shouted, "Lucy, please! If you can hear me, please believe me when I say this! I love you!" 

Irritated by Ash's persistence, Doom reached out and grabbed the Trainer by the throat. "I can hear everything she says and thinks. You want to know what she did when you said that just now? She shook her head and turned away. You betrayed her, child. She wants nothing to do with you anymore." A type of sphere began to form in Doom's empty palm as Ash eyed it warily. (Is that...a Hyper Beam?) Doom then held the dark ball of energy to Ash's abdomen, "Now, do her a favor and die." But before Doom could release her attack, Ash let out a roar as a massive Eruption exploded from the ground beneath them. The sheer force of the blast blew Doom a good distance away while covering most of her body with severe third degree burns. Ash stood in the center of the lava pool that was left behind and growled, "I don't care what it takes! I'll find a way to take you down without hurting Lucy!" As her Aura soothed her wounds, Doom chuckled, "Empty words, but all the more satisfying to watch you fail. By all means, try. Your death means your beloved's life!" 

Ash lunged for the Angel of Doom as she prepared a Focus Blast in her hands. The Devil of the Eternal Flame growled, (All of her attacks are the same color! How am I supposed to tell them apart?!) But upon launching the Focus Blast, Doom frowned as Ash once again evaded it by tumbling out of the way at the last instant. "Focus Blast isn't all that accurate, ya know! But I'll show you something that is!" As Ash drew near, a glowing orb of his Aura began to form in his hand. Doom muttered, "Aura Sphere?" Ash slid to a stop as he drove the orb into Doom's belly, "Not quite! Aura Bomb!" Upon making contact, the Aura Bomb exploded with great force, blowing Doom across the ground. Before she could regain her footing, Ash caught up to her with Quick Attack and sent her even further away with Blaze Kick. As she reeled from Ash's attacks, Doom chuckled, "Most impressive... It would seem that he actually surpasses me. At least in sheer speed. But only for the moment..." 

Doom hit the ground with a crash, Ash stared in bewilderment. (What's going on here? She's a Steel type Pokémon, and both of those moves work well on Steel types. That should've really hurt, but I didn't even hear a yelp outta her. Is she numb?!) His blood began to boil as Doom regained her footing while still looking calm and collected. "You..... You're... You're not even trying, are you?!" The demonic Lucario smirked, "Do you actually want me to try?" Ash roared in frustration as he dashed towards her. Doom responded by waving her arm, conjuring up a cloud of dark mist that quickly engulfed Ash. The Devil of the Eternal Flame stood ready, fearing that the cloud was toxic. "It doesn't smell poisonous... What's she up to?" Suddenly, he detected a presence coming from just ahead of him. "Don't bother!" Ash jumped out of the way as Doom lunged at him through the mist. But just as he went airborne, Doom burst into a puff of white smoke. "A Substitute?!" Before Ash could land, Doom burst through the dark mist and rammed Ash from behind while engulfed in her surging dark Aura. Ash's mind went temporarily blank as searing pain coursed through his body. He landed a good distance away from the cloud of mist, barely able to move. "That.....hurt so much... What'd she hit me with...?" 

The Angel of Doom approached Ash calmly as he struggled to move. "Your instincts are not perfect. If distracted by something else, you have an opening in your defenses." Ash growled, "Shut up..." He then launched an Ember attack, scorching Doom's front with a flurry of small flames. However, she stood where she was and did not flinch as she was burned. Ash could only stare in shock as Doom did not appear to be feeling any pain. She smirked, "Is that all?" Infuriated, Ash forced himself to stand and pummeled Doom with Close Combat. But after a moment of taking Ash's punches, Doom performed a sudden Low Kick and knocked him off his feet. "What the?! No fair!" Before Ash could hit the ground, Doom's fist glowed a vile shade of purple as she punched him into the ground with Poison Jab. "Exquisite agony will soon come to you. Exactly what a monster deserves." 

Much to Doom's surprise, Ash began to chuckle. "That was Poison Jab, right?" Puzzled, Doom asked, "It was, and now a potent venom is coursing through your veins. Why do you laugh? You enjoy the pain?" Ash replied by blasting Doom with a Heat Wave at point blank range, sending her falling backwards. "I'm part Zangoose! And Zangoose have a natural immunity against poison!" Doom grumbled, "Indeed, they do. I'm amazed I forgot such a simple fact. Not that it will save you." Before Ash could lunge at her again, Doom blew him away with Psychic. "What the...?! She can use Psychic type moves too?!" After bouncing along the ground for a moment, Ash managed to dig his claws into the ground to slow himself down. However, he soon noticed that Doom was nowhere to be seen. "Where'd she go... Wait a sec..." He then squinted his eyes as he noticed something near where she had been standing a moment before. "Is that a hole in the ground?" A familiar demonic voice replied in his mind, "Indeed." Ash suddenly glanced down just in time to see Doom burst from the ground, striking him in the jaw with a potent uppercut with the use of Dig. Ash was sent temporarily airborne from the sheer force of the blow. But just before he touched the ground, he shouted, "That does it!" He then extended his hand, launching a rope of fire with the shape of a hand at the end. The massive hand of flames grabbed Doom, pinning her arms to her sides. Despite being restrained, Doom calmly smirked. (Yes, go ahead. A little more and I will be even closer...) 

Ash pulled Doom towards him with a yank of his arm. As the restrained Lucario neared him, he lashed out with his other hand, striking Doom in the face with a Fire Punch. The force of the blow sent Doom away from Ash, but the rope of flames did not release. Over and over, Ash pulled Doom towards him only to bash her in the face with Fire Punch. However, after many repeated strikes, Ash released Doom just as he connected one last Fire Punch to her face. After being sent several meters away from him by the force of the blow, Ash summoned an Eruption just below her. The immensely powerful volcanic blast sent Doom high into the air while scorching her body with intense heat. All the while, Ash was forming an Aura Bomb in his palm. But he soon muttered, "Something's wrong here... She's not even trying to fight back... What's she up to?" After gauging the distance between him and his opponent, Ash chucked the Aura Bomb at Doom. But just as the ball of Aura was about to pass right by her, Ash thrust out his hand as he sent a very weak pulse of his Aura towards his weapon. At that instant, the Aura Bomb exploded, engulfing Doom in the blast. "I call that little trick the Aura Grenade. Just because I can't use Aura Sphere doesn't mean I can't hit ya from a distance!" He watched in satisfaction as Doom plummeted to the ground, certain that she was in no condition to continue fighting. 

To be certain that Doom had been subdued, Ash ran over to the spot where she had fallen. But before he could even reach it, he froze at the feel of an ominous presence. "What the... That feels like... It's almost like it's worse than before..." In the distance, he could see Doom's dark Aura beginning to billow more fiercely. He snarled in frustration as he saw her climb to her feet, but stared in bewilderment as she dropped down onto all fours. A second later, a pair of red beacons lit up like torches. It took a moment for Ash to realize that the two red 'pure seas of fire' were actually her eyes. The claws on her feet and fingers extended slightly while her fangs grew longer. She then growled in a wrathful voice, "Finally... Now...kill you...!" 

Ash took a step back at the incoherent speech pattern that he had just heard. "What's wrong with her? Does she suddenly have rabies?" Suddenly, Doom let out a horrific roar that sounded more like a shriek from the netherworld. Ash's eyes opened wide as he became rooted to the spot by an indescribable terror. "What happened to her...? I... I feel like I'm about to die..." Doom then sprinted towards him on all fours. Due to the extra strength of her arms, she moved at even greater speed than before. Ash was quick to notice what seemed to be dark flames extending from the claws on her hands. (Come on, Ash. Don't just stand here... MOVE!!!) After a moment of mental encouragement, Ash leapt to the side just as Doom lashed out with her claws. The claws themselves missed, but the dark flames that coated them tore through Ash's right pants leg and dug into his flesh. He winced as he felt the burn of the dark flames. "That burned... But I'm covered in flames myself! How can I get burned by any kind of fire?!" Upon landing, Ash gazed at Doom. Instead of a Lucario, she brought to mind a ravenous feral beast. Ash growled, "Trying my style now, huh?! All right then, bring it on!" 

Doom made the first move as she let out a bark, launching what seemed to be a bolt of dark lightning from her mouth. "That looks like Thunderbolt... But what's with the weird color?!" Ash trusted his instinct and jumped skyward to evade the shot, but took a deep breath as Doom leapt towards him. Before Doom could reach him, Ash let out a roar as he unleashed a mighty Blast Burn into her at point blank range. The force of the fiery explosion was so great; Doom left a small crater in the ground when she fell. But upon landing, Ash gasped as he suddenly went flying towards Doom's location. "What's going on?! Is this Psychic again?!" As if to answer him, Doom leapt out of the crater as he neared it, ramming him with Giga Impact. The Devil of the Eternal Flame gagged as blood spurted from his mouth. He then bounced across the ground before landing in a heap. "That.... Oh man...." 

As Ash tried to catch his breath while remaining perfectly still to minimize the pain, Doom slowly approached him until she was looking down at his face. The two opponents shared a brief gaze before Doom opened her mouth wide as she prepared to Bite him on the neck to rip his throat out. However, Ash smirked calmly as Doom reached down and clamped her jaws onto his throat. But upon doing so, Ash burst into a puff of white smoke. Doom muttered, "Substi...tute?" A voice shouted from behind, "Ya got that right! Thanks for giving me the idea in the first place!" As Doom turned around, Ash dashed right by her while sinking his claws through her waistline as deep as he could get them. A second later, the Lucario's upper torso fell to the ground after being cleaved right off her lower body. 

Ash breathed a sigh of relief as he watched blood ooze from the two halves of Doom's body. He then asked, "Lucy... Are you all right? Can you hear me?" As if to answer him, Doom's dark Aura engulfed the area just below her upper body. A moment later, Ash stood aghast as Doom's lower body was restored. "This... This has got to be a bad joke!" Doom then turned her head to face Ash and launched a Dragon Pulse from her mouth with a bark. The Trainer evaded the shot with a back flip, but went into a rapid forward flip as the flames composing his tail began to intensify. He then hit the ground in the form of a flaming boulder of sorts as he used Flame Wheel. Doom attempted to counter it with Force Palm, but the fiery boulder bowled right over her. Ash muttered, "Even if she's just as fast as me, my Fire type moves still give me an edge." 

Once he came out of his attack, Ash turned to face the Angel of Doom just as she regained her footing. But an instant later, she seemed to vanish. "Was that...Teleport...? No way, Lucario can't learn that move!" Ash then glanced around and noticed Doom in the distance to his left. But she soon vanished again. He continued to glance around, occasionally catching very brief sightings of Doom. The Trainer became increasingly disoriented to the point where he began to stagger. As soon as Doom saw an opening, she took it. Before Ash could regain his composure, Doom rammed him with Extremespeed. "Dang it...! Should've known!" Ash groaned as he landed near one of his leftover lava pools. 

Ash panted as he tried to think up a strategy to counter Doom's power. "OK... She's definitely tough. But she's still a Steel type Pokémon. If I'm gonna end this, it has to be with something that hits hard. Really hard..." Doom let out a frightening howl as she charged Ash, her dark Aura beginning to surge more intensely around her. "Another one of those really painful moves, huh?" Ash dropped to all fours as orange flames surged around him. He then lunged at Doom like a missile as he used Flare Blitz. "Let's see if you can get through this!" 

The two combatants rammed each other head-on, trying to overwhelm the other. But after a moment where it seemed the two were equal in strength, Ash let out a roar as the flames surrounding him became a light shade of blue. Doom growled, "Blue...? Awful...heat..." The sheer heat of the Flare Blitz began to singe Doom's fur before it even made direct contact. "Just...let her go! Give Lucy back!" Ash roared as he burst through Doom's surging Aura. Upon contact, Doom's entire body burst into flames. The Lucario was bulldozed across the meadow for a moment before being launched far into the distance, crashing into the ground before smashing into a boulder. However, despite being burned alive, the Angel of Doom remained calm and even began to smirk as she remained as still as possible to allow the flames to linger on her body as long as possible while her Aura repaired any damage as quickly as it was wrought. 

Ash took the time to catch his breath as he slowly walked across the meadow to locate the Angel of Doom. "That last hit really sent her flying. I wonder if she ended up in the ocean? I hope Lucy can swim..." It took him nearly ten minutes for him to reach the collapsed boulder Doom had become wedged inside of. The odor of burning fur still lingered in the air. He gulped, "I hope Lucy's OK after that..." But as he drew nearer to the pulverized boulder, thunder rang out as rain began to pour down onto the meadow. "Where'd this rain come from?! I've never seen a thunderstorm pop up this suddenly before!" However, a familiar voice seemed to echo from everywhere, "I cannot believe a mere mortal pushed me to this limit..." 

A familiar form began to emerge from the rubble where Doom had been buried. Ash gasped, "This feeling... What IS she...? It doesn't even feel like I'm looking at a real creature anymore!" His breathing became heavy as cold sweat began to trickle down his face. The Lucario that was approaching him was once again standing on two legs, but the billowing dark Aura that constantly surrounded her now appeared to be a plume of surging black fire that scorched the very ground she walked upon. The claws on her hands and feet had grown longer and sharper while the spikes on the back of her hands had also elongated while taking on a noticeable curve with the tips pointing backwards. Her eyes still glowed like red beacons in the night. Suddenly, some of her Aura began to compress around her upper back. Ash stared in fright as the Aura seemed to partially solidify, forming a pair of demonic wings with each wing as long as her own body if not longer. Doom's voice echoed from everywhere as her mouth remained shut, "Good... The more you harm me, the more complete I become..." She then smirked, "The seas will boil. The land will burn. The skies will rain fire. The Earth will split. Hell will erupt forth." As Ash cowered before the demonic presence of the Angel of Doom, the cursed angel cackled, "Abandon all hope, mortals. For I am the Angel of Doom. And by my bloody hand, the world will die and be a sea of fire." 

Ashton came to a sudden halt as he felt an overwhelming dark presence fall over the area. "My god...! Did you feel that?!" Soul Calibur whispered, "Such godly might... What has just been unleashed into this world?" Cold sweat began to pour down Ashton's face, "It... I can't believe I'm saying this, but... I believe this presence is more overwhelming than that of even Night Terror... Is such a feat even possible?!" The spirit sword replied, "It is difficult to say. I have never once detected an evil presence that surpassed the cursed sword. For something to be greater... Could the source of this new presence be...a god?" The viscount gathered his courage, "Against such a force, Ash can't possibly survive! We must hurry!" As he burst into a run, he whispered, "Please... Please, just let me make it in time..." 

The Angel of Doom smirked calmly as she watched the Devil of the Eternal Flame beginning to cower in her presence. "Such fear in those eyes... Yes, you can feel it too." Ash then asked, "What...are you..." The demon before him replied, "It is as you see, I am now complete. This Angel has finally earned her wings, so to speak. This body is entirely under my command now. And I have you to thank for this, child." At this claim, Ash roared, "What did I do to help you do this?!" Doom chuckled, "Well, aside from showing Lucy just what a monster you really are, you inflicted just enough harm on me to regain my grip on this body. The more harm this body suffers, the greater my influence. As thanks, I believe I will refrain from carrying out the revenge Lucy desires and allow you to observe as I reduce this world to ashes. After all, it was because of you that I am finally free now. Is it not?"

Ash sank to his knees as the flaming ears atop his head drooped, "You don't have to rub it in..." However, Doom chuckled, "Perhaps I will start with your children. And then your mother." Ash screamed, "Leave them outta this! This is my fight! I'm not done yet! I won't give up on Lucy!" Doom, puzzled by Ash's bravery, crossed her arms, "Child... You know it as well as I do. All the damage you inflicted so far has only made more and more of my influence and power emerge. You know full well that you cannot possibly defeat me, let alone kill me. This is a fight you cannot win, so why do you still insist on playing this farce?" Ash, tears beginning to form in his eyes, replied, "You really wanna know? I doubt a monster like you could ever hope to understand, but fine. I'll tell you why." 

Doom watched as Ash stood up, a look of defiance in his eyes. "A while ago, I was just like Lucy. I had a demon inside me. Something that made me become a monster. When it took over me, I could only watch as my own hands hurt those I cared about. Even after the evil inside me was erased, the memories and guilt are still with me. Even now, I'm still haunted by the fact that it was MY body that hurt MY friends." The Angel of Doom listened silently. "I know what it's like to be a demon's puppet. I know the guilt of having no control over your own actions while you're chopping and slicing up your dearest friends. I know what it's like to be forced to.....kill...someone you care about..." Ash then let his tears fall as his voice broke slightly, "Lucy... She's the same as me. We're both victims of demonic possession. We both know the pain, the guilt, the fear of harming those we love. I understand her pain. And she understands mine. And we've had nearly a year to learn these things about each other. That's why..." He then dried his tears and smiled confidently, "That's why I can't give up. I love her... I NEED her. And I know she needs me too. Lucy's probably the closest thing to a soul mate I'll ever have. And mark my words, Angel of Doom..." He then extended his claws and stood ready, "No matter what, I'll stop you and bring Lucy back! Even if it kills me!" 

Having been told the true reasons of Ash's dedication to saving Lucy from her control, the Angel of Doom began to chuckle. "You stand before a goddess, yet you continue to fight? You struggle on, knowing that you will fail? Humans... What pathetic creatures." Ash roared as he charged at Doom, "I'll make you eat those words!" But as the Devil of the Eternal Flame closed in, Doom muttered, "You wish..." An instant later, a massive wave of her dark Aura spread out from her in all directions, blowing Ash and even the falling rain away from her as the demonic Aura ignited the meadow in a sea of black fire. Ash groaned as he hit the ground hard, "All she did was use her Aura... This is gonna be a tough fight." 

"I will not kill you just yet. Entertain me for now." The Angel of Doom laughed as she launched a flurry of small Aura projectiles at Ash that bore a resemblance to arrows cloaked in black flames. "Are those physical or not?! Do they even have mass?!" Knowing better than to allow himself to get hit by Doom's true might, Ash relied on his sharpened instincts and weaved around the entire storm of burning 'arrows'. But just after they passed, a few of the arrows turned around and plummeted into Ash's backside. "Argh!!! That burns!" The flames quickly dissipated, though strange burns now adorned his flesh beneath his shirt. "It's hot enough to burn me...?" In frustration, the Devil of the Eternal Flame roared as he launched a mighty Blast Burn at Doom, certain it would cause significant harm. However, as the fiery blast exploded into the Lucario, Ash noticed the dark Aura around her seem to react in some way. Once the flames faded, Ash gasped as Doom's injuries seemed minor. "That dark Aura... Is it negating the type advantage?!" 

Doom chuckled at Ash's obvious frustration. "Still showing no fear... You're a brave one, child." She then held out her palm as her dark Aura began to gather into it. "That's not Aura Sphere..... Is that...Thanatos' Aura Cannon?!" Doom replied, "Interpret this next attack however you wish!" At that instant, a massive concentrated wave of demonic Aura was launched from Doom's palm. "Not good!" Ash took off running to the side as he narrowly evaded the blast. But Doom began to move her hand in Ash's direction, causing the wave of Aura to follow him. Ash growled to himself, "This is like a bad dream... Huh?" Just ahead of him was one of his leftover lava pools. "Just what I needed!" Ash adjusted his course slightly and made a mad dash towards it. Just as he passed over it, he roared, "Now!" At that instant, a massive Eruption exploded from below him, sending the Trainer skyward as the wave of Aura passed just underneath him. "Hm. His style can be rather spontaneous." Doom muttered to herself at Ash's sudden use of the terrain to his advantage. 

At the top of his rise into the air, Ash fired a Flamethrower from his mouth to send himself plummeting towards the Angel of Doom. He then managed to turn himself around and extended the claws on both hands before outstretching his arms towards her. "You can't stop me at this speed!" But just before he could impale her, Doom smirked, "I have no need to do so." Much to his shock, the dark Aura that surged around Doom seemed to hold him back just before he could actually reach her. He yelled in agony as the exceedingly dark Aura scorched his arms. "Fool." Doom smirked as she slashed Ash across the face as her claws were engulfed in dark fire before punching him away with what was likely a Focus Punch. After rolling to a stop, Ash held his face in his hands and wailed. (Not even Meowth's scratches ever hurt this much!) 

After regaining his composure, Ash formed an orb of his Aura in the palms of each hand. "I'm already sick of you!" Once the two Aura Bombs were complete, Ash tossed both of them at Doom at once. But as the two Aura explosives neared her, Doom folded her wings over herself. Upon impact, the two orbs rapidly changed from blue to the same hideous shade of purple as her Aura. Strangely enough, they did not detonate. But Ash smirked, "No problem. I'll just do it myself." He then thrust out his hand, sending a faint pulse of his Aura into them. However, the two Aura Grenades still did not explode. As Ash stared in bewilderment, Doom explained, "Naïve little whelp. The Aura that composes these is no longer your own." She then launched the two Aura projectiles back at their creator with a flap of her wings. "Darn it all!" Ash tried to counter with Overheat, launching a white hot stream of fire at the two Aura Grenades. But after a few seconds, the two explosives detonated just before reaching him. While not exposed to the full force of the blast, Ash was still scorched by the corrupting dark Aura. "This burns... What'll happen to me if I get burned by this stuff even more?" 

Ash and Doom shared a long glare with each other as the Devil of the Eternal Flame tried to devise a strategy. "This might help..." Ash quickly formed an Aura Bomb in his left hand before quickly passing it to his right. Much to Doom's curiosity, Ash began to form more Aura Bombs while juggling them as he made more. In a moment, he was juggling ten of the glowing orbs. Doom asked, "What is this? A circus performance?" Ash smirked as he quickly tossed all ten directly upwards, "If it is, this is the highlight of the show." He then reached up as a rope of fire extended from the flames on his arm as a large hand shape opened at the end. It then caught all of the Aura Bombs in its grasp. "Batter up!" Ash then reached back and threw all ten of his Aura Bombs at Doom. She smirked, "Quantity over quality is not always better." She countered by launching a Focus Blast at the cluster of explosives. But just before the shot could intercept them, the Aura Bombs split into ten tiny orbs of Aura each with less than five of them being caught in the Focus blast. "What?! They divided?!" Doom shouted, not expecting such a unique tactic. Ash laughed, "Let's see ya get around this one! Aura Cluster Bombs!" 

The dozens of tiny Aura particles rained down onto the Angel of Doom, exploding almost simultaneously in a shockingly mighty blast. Ash clenched his fist, "That got her for sure... If I could just knock her out, Lucy might regain control." But in the cloud of dust and soot, Doom growled, "Some of the earlier explosions created an opening in my barrier, allowing some of the other blasts to get through... Such an irritating foe." She glanced down at her body as the wounds she sustained from the Aura Cluster Bombs quickly healed. "You have finally annoyed me. Few after ever succeeded in doing so." Suddenly, Ash went flying forward as if being pulled by an unseen force. "What now?! Is this Psychic again?!" He flew right through the dust cloud and soon found himself being held above the ground before Doom as she formed a pulsing orb of Aura in her hand. "You gotta be kidding... You're still all right after that?" Doom replied as she held the Aura Sphere to his chest, "I am immortal. And you are not. Only now..." Just as she unleashed the demonic energy, she muttered, "You are dead." 

Ash let out a scream as he was engulfed in the mighty blast of sinister Aura, being sent to the far end of the meadow as the wave of Aura exploded upon contacting the ground. The rain that was falling seemed to become heavier as it blanketed the area. After waiting a moment for any response, the Angel of Doom approached the crater that contained her enemy. When she reached it, she found Ash lying face up in the very center. "His shell of flames remains. To think that he remains in one piece after that... The Eternal Flame is a mighty force indeed."

The Angel of Doom gazed down at the barely conscious boy before her. His gaze was listless and unfocused. "Pathetic creature. But you do indeed deserve this fate for your treachery." She then held out her hand and began to form another Aura Sphere in her palm. "Lucy wants nothing to do with you anymore. Just accept it. You are a monster she despises. And you proved yourself as such by trying so hard to destroy her tonight." To Doom's surprise, a few tears began to roll down Ash's face. He then muttered, "You..." Doom then smirked, "Dying words for your beloved? Very well then. I shall allow you to tell her." But Ash suddenly roared, "YOU PIECE OF TRASH!!!"

A massive plume of lava suddenly erupted from the crater, sending Doom soaring through the air before landing several meters from Ash's location. "Persistent..." As steam rose from the molten rock as the rain doused it, Ash slowly merged from the crater. However, the flames that coated his body were beginning to burn more intensely. The translucent cloak of flames became a coat of scorching fiery orange fur as Ash's form could no longer be seen underneath. His fierce pink eyes stared at Doom, now looking like a true humanoid Zangoose. On his hands, chest, and left ear and side of his face where a Zangoose would have pinkish fur, Ash's second skin of flames was a somewhat darker hue. Doom smirked, "A coat of fire as fur. Just like the last time..." But Ash shouted, his voice with more of a growl than usual, "Only that wasn't really me, was it?! But it doesn't matter! I don't care what it takes! Even if I have to become a real Devil, I will save her! I'm not quitting on Lucy! Not now or ever!" But Doom cackled, "You never learn! You truly have the mind of a monster as..." Doom's sentence was cut short as Ash blazed past and beheaded her with a single stroke of his claws. 

Ash turned around as he watched Doom's head fall to the ground. But just before it could touch the earth at her feet, the surging Aura around her body seemed to 'hold' the head in place before raising it up and placing it back where it used to be. "You're kidding... Not even cutting the head off works?!" Ash growled as Doom turned to face him. She frowned, "I did not even detect that movement. What type of speed does he possess?" Somewhat annoyed by Ash's continued resistance, Doom formed what seemed to be a dagger in her hand composed entirely of her dark Aura and threw it at him. In mid-flight, the dagger suddenly divided into countless more projectiles. "No way you can hit me with those!" Ash responded by taking off running at blinding speed leaving only a trail of lava in his wake. 

The hail of dark Aura daggers rained down all around Ash, but not one was able to strike him. Anticipating his movement, Doom launched an Aura Sphere at the area just ahead of him. However, Ash leaped straight up before he could run into the Aura Sphere. As the Devil of the Eternal Flame rose into the sky, Doom hurled another flurry of Aura projectiles at him. As he saw them coming, Ash brought both hands together as an orb of his Aura began to form between him palms. The Angel of Doom frowned, "That Aura... It's too much for an Aura Bomb..." Ash then thrust his hands outward as a massive Aura Sphere was launched! "He...can launch Aura projectiles now?!" The unparalleled wave of Aura erased the dark Aura projectiles as it impacted them while still hurtling towards Doom. "I admit that you impress me, child. No one from outside the Skydiamond clan has ever put up such a fight before." Doom stood her ground as she shielded herself from the Aura Sphere, a mighty explosion of blue energy following the impact. 

Once the smoke cleared, Doom glanced around to find that Ash was nowhere to be seen. "He is somewhere near... Below me." Doom formed an Aura Sphere and aimed it at the ground as she prepared for an attack from below. Soon, the ground burst open from below her, but not just from the front. What burst out of the ground in front of Doom was Ash's flaming tail. "His tail?" The demonic Lucario was sent crashing across the ground from a Blaze Kick to the back of her head. Before she could regain her balance, Ash dashed up to her and threw her into the air before leaping after her. The Devil of the Eternal Flame began to slash the Angel of Doom over and over as he jumped by, steadily picking up speed in the process. "If this could finish off even Thanatos, maybe it'll help here too!" After dozens of strikes that left countless trails of flames below her, Ash plummeted towards Doom from above with claws erect. But the Lucario growled, "Insolent mortal!" She opened her mouth wide and launched an unnaturally large Dragon Pulse at him, sending Ash high into the air. 

Doom landed on her feet and watched as Ash fell to the ground in such a fashion that led her to believe that he had been rendered unconscious. However, she then extended her hand and caught him with Psychic just before he could land on his head and break his neck. "If anyone is going to kill you, it's going to be me." Doom then pulled Ash towards him again as she prepared another Focus Blast in her spare hand. But Ash then reached out with his flaming hands and grabbed the ground as his flaming arms extended, holding him in place. "You... You're not worth the trouble!" Doom focused harder, trying to dislodge Ash's grip on the ground. But after a significant amount of mental strain, Ash finally released his grip. However, due to the stronger pulling on him, he went flying towards Doom at breakneck speed feet first! Before Doom even knew what hit her, Ash dropkicked her in the face, leaving her muzzle snapped upward on an awkward 90 degree angle. "He used my own attack against me...?" Doom snarled as she pulled her snout back down to its original position as her dark Aura healed it. 

Out of patience, Doom began launching Aura Sphere's at Ash like mad, hoping to finally catch him by surprise. But the Devil of the Eternal Flame's extraordinary reflexes and instinct allowed him to evade every shot thrown his way. "Why... Why can't I hit him...?!" Suddenly, Ash stopped and raised his hand above him. "Try this one! Magma Tsunami!" At his words, the ground before him split open as a massive wall of lava roughly fifty feet across towered above him. The massive wall of lava then began to fall towards the Angel of Doom. Unfazed, she used Psychic on the ground before her and erected an equally massive wall of hardened earth before that bent towards her slightly to help endure the force of the impact. The wall of molten rock crashed against the wall of earth. Doom focused on the wall to make certain it would hold back the flow of lava. But just as she began to relax, a massive Aura Sphere slammed into her from behind! "Gotcha!" Ash shouted as Doom crashed face-first into the wall in front of her, causing the massive wall of earth and lava to collapse all over her and burying her underneath them. 

Lightning began to race across the rainy sky as Ash took a step back. "This doesn't feel right..." As the ground quaked, the pile of rubble was blown apart as Doom emerged from it with a wrathful scream. Her eyes glowing red with hate, she yelled, "No more!" She then punched the ground with shocking force as the entire meadow was engulfed in black fire, the area beginning to heave all around them. The quaking intensified as Ash lost his footing. The ground split open as plumes of lava burst forth while parts of the earth sank as others rose. Moments passed as the meadow became an uneven wasteland covered in flames and lava. 

The Angel of Doom hovered above the ground during the seismic upheaval to observe the chaos. Once the earth below her stopped shaking, she descended as only the rain could be heard around her. Doom then muttered, "He may have been crushed in one of the fissures, but his speed more than likely saved him." She careful scanned the area around her, sensing for any sign of life. "......There." She then launched a Focus Blast to her right, the burst of Aura exploding into a raised plateau of ground as Ash leapt out from behind it to escape the blast. Doom smirked as she regained her composure, "You can continue to run all you want. Sooner or later, Doom will reach you. You cannot win. You cannot save her. You cannot kill me. It is a battle without Hope. How much longer are you going to continue this meaningless defiance?"

Hearing Doom's words and observing the carnage around him, Ash began to finally realize how dire his situation really was. "You're right... Sooner or later, I'll start to tire out. Then I won't be able to evade your attacks anymore. And I've been watching. No matter what I hit you with, you heal as quickly as you get hurt. I can't defeat you. Which...which means..." Ash dropped to his knees and sobbed, "I...can't save her after all....." Doom smirked in silent satisfaction, reveling in the moment of watching Ash's mental suffering. "I couldn't save her... I failed her... I love her enough to marry her and I let her down...!" However, Ash then wiped his tears away. "But...even if I can't save Lucy, I'm still gonna stop you here!" 

Doom raised an eyebrow at Ash's defiance, puzzled that he had come to understand that he could not defeat her yet still believe he could stop her. "You keep healing after every attack you take. But what if you keep taking damage as quickly as you can recover, huh?!" Ash extended the claws on his right hand and plunged his fist into the ground. The earth beneath him rapidly melted into lava. He then pulled his fist out of the pool of lava. His claws were now coated in the superheated molten rock and were twice as long. "I call this my Magma Claw. It's so hot; it doesn't burn. It'll melt right through you!" He then pointed at Doom with his left hand, "No one can survive without a heart! If I keep this stuck in you where your heart is, it'll just keep being melted away before it can completely heal!" He then prepared to charge her, "This time, the Devil will slay the Angel."

The Angel of Doom stared at Ash, "That is an interesting theory. No one has ever tried such an act before." But she then held out her right hand to her side, "But can you survive long enough to carry it out?!" Once again, her dark Aura began to gather in her palm. But it soon began to surge as the color changed from dark purple to purest black. The concentration of Aura was so intense; black flames had begun to creep up her arm. "You will not survive this, mortal." Ash nodded, tears in his eyes, "I know... It kills me to have to do this. But... I know there's no way around it. The Lucy I know would never want to live as a demon who takes pleasure in making others suffer!" He then spoke, "Lucy... I might not live long enough to say this again..." Doom smirked, "I see. Very well then. Speak your last words."

Ash bowed his head, "The last year or so we spent together were some of the best days of my life. I got to learn about you and become friends with you. You were always a joy to be with and your smile always warmed my heart. You were one of the greatest friends I ever had. And I'm grateful for that." The Angel of Doom waited quietly for Ash to finish speaking, knowing that Lucy could hear every word he was saying. "But...I can't call you my friend anymore. You're so much more to me than that now. Lucy... I love you. I know I hurt you and I'm sorry. I wish there was some way for me to make it up to you. But it looks like that's impossible now. I don't know how I'll live with myself once you're gone... But as your As someone who loves you for who you are, I'm gonna at least stop you from hurting anyone else. Not because I'm your friend, but because...I love you..." He then gazed ahead and looked Doom in the eyes. "Lucy....." After a moment more, Ash shed tears as he spoke, "Goodbye..." 

With nothing left to say, Ash and the Angel of Doom lunged for each other. Ash sprinted along the ground while Doom flew towards him on her demonic wings. Ash left a trail of orange flames in his wake while a trail of black fire was left behind Doom. To each of them, it felt as if time had come to a standstill as they neared each other. The two opponents snarled as they raised their right hands and thrust them towards the left side of the other's chest. Upon colliding, a massive surge of flames and dark Aura flared around them as dark flames scorched the entire area behind Doom while some of the landscape behind Ash began to melt from the intense heat.

Ashton slowly came to a stop as rain poured down around him. His right hand opened, dropping Soul Calibur to the ground as he fell to his knees. Tears began to stream down his face. The viscount then buried his face into his armored hands and sobbed, "I'm...too late..." 

Ash's coat of fiery fur began to rapidly fade as he and the Angel of Doom stood perfectly still with their right arms outstretched. An eerie silence had fallen across the area that was broken only by the constant sound of rain falling around them. Ash's claws had missed their mark, instead tearing two long gashes in Doom's left wing. The lava that coated them fell off as both claws retracted into his hand. Once the flames had faded, the extent of Doom's attack became apparent. Her right arm was impaled through his chest, her blood-coated hand having emerged through his back. The dark Aura that had coated her hand now pulsed inside Ash's body like a flame. Doom slowly retracted her arm from Ash's body and stood before him silently. Without anything holding him up anymore, Ash dropped to his knees before limply collapsing onto his side. Doom could only silently stare down at the body of the one human who had ever tried to stop her on his own. Soon, a trail of tears began to fall from her eyes.

The Angel of Doom whispered in a quiet sorrowful tone with a voice that did not sound like it was really hers, "Why... Why did it come to this..."

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