AGNPH Stories

Forbidden Love by XD385


Story Notes:

This may become a bit of a Naruto crossover, but no characters from the series will appear, this I promise.

Duel with a Demon

A chilling breeze blew across the valley as Ashton and his companions stood before the man who led the sinister cult that had been lurking about. And even Ashton was trembling in fright at his very presence. Whoever this man was, he was a being of great evil.

"Ashton Redford Crimson. Or should I say Ketchum? Whichever you prefer. It is a true honor." The pale man then slowly walked towards the viscount. Ashton's breathing became erratic as he reached for the Flamberge. But just before he reached him, the man stopped. He then extended a hand. "If it is not too much trouble, may I shake your hand?" Ashton gave the man a baffled look, but slowly reached for his hand as he carefully eyed the mysterious man. But when they joined hands, the man gave a gentle shake without a hint of malice. "Why do you fear me so? I am not your enemy. You are my guests." He gave a calm smile to reassure the viscount. Ashton calmed down slightly, but was still wary.

Ashton asked, "So, you are the leader of the suicidal cult who tried to kill me? Just who are you?" The man replied, "Like the rest of them, I have no name. In this order, names are meaningless. The only thing of importance to us is our goal. But if you must call me anything, I suppose you may address me as the High Priest." Ashton frowned, "High Priest? Surely there's a better name. But whatever. Why did your henchmen try to kill me with suicide attacks?" The High Priest replied, "It was only a test to see if you were the man I had heard of. And sure enough, you escaped those attacks without a scratch." Ashton frowned, "OK, but why did they have to die in the process?" The High Priest replied, "There was nothing left for them to do. Our goal is now in reach. Tonight, our master will return to this world."

Ashton frowned, "And who is your master?" The High Priest chuckled, "I'm certain you've heard of him. The great Yamata no Orochi." Ashton remained silent for a moment before letting out a laugh, "Now that's a good one! You really are a total nutcase! It's true that the legend of the Yamata no Orochi is a truly fascinating tale, but something like that could not have possibly existed! There would surely be some proof somewhere, and there is not." But the High Priest soon began to cackle wildly. At this point, Koga walked forward. "What? You think you actually found some proof?" The High Priest calmed down and gave them a sly smirk, "Tell me something. Why would someone go through the trouble of making up such a grand story if it was not the least bit true?"

Koga gave the High Priest a shocked glance at his question. He continued, "Do you honestly believe someone would make up such a grand lie for the entertainment and fascination of others? Why would anyone do such a thing? Spreading lies that would become legends? Such a person would be executed for spreading false information and sowing confusing throughout the land." The High Priest smiled, "Tell me. Do you recall if anything was found on the Orochi's corpse after Susano slew it?" Ashton brought a hand to his chin, "If memory serves, the story claims that he discovered the Kusanagi. But does such a weapon truly exist? It was never stated what happened to it afterwards." But the High Priest chuckled, "True. The Kusanagi vanished from history for a time. However....." He then pressed his hands against his abdomen as he looked straight up and opened his mouth wide. To everyone's shock, a snake of some sort stuck up out of his mouth and opened its own mouth. And from that mouth came a sword. But unlike the swords of the Far East, it was actually double edged. It shot up a short distance before the blade turned downwards as it fell. But before it could touch the ground, the High Priest grabbed it in one hand as the snake in his throat vanished. "After much toil and time, I found it. This is the Kusanagi, known to the Far West as the Grass Long Sword." It was indeed a long sword. The blade was somewhat long and the hilt was long enough for two hands to grip it.

Ashton marveled at the blade before him. "The Grass Long Sword..... So it does exist..." The High Priest then held the hilt out to him, "Would you care to examine it?" Ashton smiled, "Yes, thank you!" As he took the sword in hand, his eight servants came over to look at it as well. Ashton examined the blade, "The blade is straight. It looks like that of a broadsword back home. But I thought swords from this land are curved." The High Priest replied, "It is said that the Kusanagi was crafted during the Bronze Age when all blades were straight, long before the curved blades of today were forged." Ashton nodded and handed the sword back to him. "Such a magnificent blade. Still, while it does have some connections to the legend, I still do not see how the Orochi could have lived without leaving behind some sort of proof of its existence. Considering its size, the bones left behind after its death must've been absolutely massive."

The High Priest smiled, "The details are sketchy, but I assure you the Orochi will be revived tonight. And with your aid, my dear Ashton, the human race will kneel before our master." Ashton then asked, "Just what do you mean by 'kneel'? Do you mean the human race will see Orochi as a leader and guide?" The High Priest smirked, "Perhaps. That is, after he's eaten his fill. Orochi was quite taken with the flavor of humans." Ashton gagged, "That's more than I need to know. And just what made you think I would aid you in your mission?" The High Priest replied, "Because I know of your grudge against humanity. How you desire to make them suffer for the harm they inflict on Pokémon every day."

Ashton was silent for a moment, but he shook his head, "No, you misunderstood my grudge. I do bring swift punishment on the worst of the humans who subjugate Pokémon, but I do not despise my own kind. Once I find solid proof that Pokémon have souls like we do, the queen will have no choice but to make it so that Pokémon are the same as humans. When that happens, they will learn and will eventually come to understand the truth." But the High Priest cackled, "How naïve. You really think they will be that accepting of such a change?" But Ashton nodded, "I do. They may be reluctant at first, but I'm sure they would adapt and even embrace the change in time. Besides, just how would I be of aid to you? I'm not that special."

The High Priest smirked, "Nothing special? Absurd. You don't understand just how rare it is for a human to be gifted with the Eternal Flame." Ashton raised an eyebrow, "Eternal Flame?" Serenade's eyes went wide with tension. (He knows?!) The High Priest laughed, "Do you honestly believe that your control over fire is nothing more than some freak pyrokinetic trick? No. It's far more than that. Do you recall how you destroyed the Night Hawk? Or how you sent Archibald and the Leviathan to the bottom of the sea on your own?!" Ashton's eyes went wide with surprise, "How do you know of that? I can't...remember how it happened..." He then grabbed the High Priest by the shoulders and demanded, "What happened?! What did I do?!" But with a calm grin, he replied, "I believe your sister can explain it better than I can." Ashton, as well as everyone else, turned to Serenade, who had taken a few steps back. "Serenade?"

Ashton slowly approached his sister. "I know nothing of what he's talking about!" But Ashton continued towards her. "I know nothing! I swear it!" But Ashton placed a hand on her shoulder, "Sister..." Serenade then looked into the dark brown eyes of her brother. "Please... I need to know." Serenade relented for a moment, but she spoke, "I did not know at first. I only discovered the truth when we visited Mother and Father. After what you did to the Night Hawk, I wanted to know why you became that way." Ashton wanted to ask Serenade what he had become, but waited until she finished. "That night, Mother told me everything. She made me promise to never tell you, but I suppose you need to know now. Your mother, your true mother, was infected with a dreadful disease. Before you were born, you were infected too. And a few weeks after you were born, the illness had weakened you to the brink of death. Mother... She was delusional with grief. She prayed for a way to save you. And someone answered. Following a mysterious voice, she carried you to the Dead Forest in the night. And somewhere in that forest, she found her." Ashton asked, "Her?" Serenade nodded, "Ho-Oh. The phoenix. She saved you the only way she could. She infused her own power with you. That power, the power of the phoenix, is the Eternal Flame."

Ashton staggered backwards at his sister's revelation. "Ho-Oh..... Her my own?" But as he curled his hand into a fist, he turned to the High Priest. "So you wanted to recruit me since I am practically a human Ho-Oh. Correct?" The High Priest nodded, "Yes. The phoenix, Ho-Oh, constantly travels the sky. It is next to impossible to find it unless it stops to rest. And even then, it only does so in remote locations and only for brief periods. But why settle for that when you are just as capable of providing us with the same kind of strength?" He then asked, "So then, Vulcan Warrior, will you help us return our great master to this world?" Ashton gave a snort, "I still think you're certifiably insane if you think you can revive something that never existed. But even so..." He then grabbed the hilt of the Flamberge, "Seeing that you intend to unleash ruin upon the world, I can't let you live." Koga then grabbed the hilt of the sword on his back while the eight ladies took defensive stances as they spread out. The High Priest stood silent for a moment, but gave Ashton a malicious smirk. "So I see. Well then, if you will not aid us....." With his hair obstructing his right eye, and the Kusanagi resting in his right hand, the High Priest brought his left hand to his left eye and with one finger, pulled his eyelid down slightly, allowing for a clearer view of his yellow snake-like eye as he gazed at Ashton and all eight of his servants at one time. "...then you will die here as the first meal for my master."

Ashton's eyes went wide as he felt something come over him. Then, he heard a mass of great noise and metal cleaving flesh as his body was torn asunder. He heard himself scream in death, just before his head was torn from its body. But even then, he dropped to his knees, unscathed. "What the hell... I'm still whole?" But even though he was unharmed, Ashton could still feel a terrible sense of horror from what he had just witnessed. Koga, who had not been affected, shouted, "Ashton, what's wrong?!" The viscount shuddered, "That was me..... I was a witness to the moment where I died..." The High Priest cackled, "Not just you. Take a look." He then made a sweeping motion with his arm as he pointed to Ashton's eight servants. They had all collapsed, their eyes spilling tears while showing signs of true horror.

"Them too?" But the High Priest shook his head, "Not quite. It wasn't their own deaths they witnessed." He then pointed at Ashton, "What they witnessed...was YOUR death." Ashton's eyes went wide with shock, "Mine?" The High Priest nodded, "Yes. To them, watching you die would be the same as them dying. They live for you, so your death would mean the end of their own reason for living." He then raised the Kusanagi, "But now that you know what will happen, will you reconsider my offer?" But Ashton surprised the High Priest with a laugh, "My death? Absurd. Now that you've shown how I would die, I know how to avoid it." He then climbed to his feet, his legs still a little shaky from the genjutsu he had been a victim of. He then gripped the hilt of the Flamberge, "I'm more curious to see how YOU will die." The High Priest then gave Ashton a smirk that reeked of malevolence, "I see. Don't disappoint me!"

The High Priest made a dash at Ashton with the kind of speed he had only seen in Zandria. But when the sinister shinobi took a swing at him with the Kusanagi, Ashton blocked the blade with the Flamberge. Ashton then made a wide swing with the blade, forcing the High Priest back. But then Koga made a lunge for him, swinging at him with both swords while the High Priest blocked them with the Kusanagi. He then made a counter slash, but Koga ducked and then kicked away with a blow to the chin.

"Ashton, give me a hand!" Koga shouted as he made a number of hand signs. "Ah, I get it!" Ashton placed the Flamberge on his back and ran up alongside his mentor. "All together now." In unison, they shouted, "Fire Style: Twin Dragon Flame Jutsu!!!" At that instant, two ropes of fire erupted from their lips and spiraled around each other as they soared towards the High Priest. Seeing there was no way around this attack, he made a great leap straight up. Once he had a clear view of his opponents, he held out both arms and shouted, "Striking Shadow Snakes!" At his call, several snakes shot forth from both sleeves of his robe and extended towards both fighters. "A summoning?!" Ashton and Koga hacked away with their weapons to keep the snakes at bay, but two got through and sank their venom-filled fangs into their throats.

The High Priest dropped to the ground with his snakes still extending from his sleeves. "All too easy. I did warn them, after What's this?!" Ashton and Koga seemed to turn into sculptures made of mud and began to sink as they lost their form. The High Priest called back his snakes and they returned to his sleeves. "A Substitution. Seems I underestimated that boy's abilities as a ninja. But then where did they.... OH NO YOU DON'T!!!" The High Priest made a quick back flip as Koga's hand shot up through the ground as he tried to grab his ankle with his Headhunter Jutsu.

As the High Priest landed on his feet, Koga shouted, "Now, Ashton!!" Before the High Priest could react, Ashton stood behind him with the Flamberge in one hand as he prepared to cleave him in two. "It's over." With a wide horizontal slash, Ashton split the man in two at the waist. But as his upper torso was about to fall towards the ground, a slew of snakes shot forth from both halves and pulled them back together. Ashton jumped backwards, "What is he?! Is he even human?!" Once the wound had been closed, the High Priest looked ahead at Ashton, "Define what it means to be human." Just then, he realized that he had dropped his weapon when he evaded their Fire Style attack. "Wait... Where is the...?" But before the High Priest could see it, Koga had grabbed the Kusanagi. "You mean this?" But the High Priest smiled and raised a hand, "Return to me." As he said that, the blade of the Kusanagi began to glow a light blue. Seeing this, Koga stuck a type of paper tag to the hilt. The blade returned to its natural color. The High Priest then surprised them with a smirk, "I see. So you nullified all external control over it. But now that I have both hands free, I can show you the extent of my knowledge of a shinobi instead of that of a swordsman."

The man made a few hand signs and spoke, "Do try to escape this one, dear Ashton." Out of instinct, Ashton made a few quick jumps backwards. But then, the High Priest's head suddenly shot out from his body as his neck rapidly extended! His face then showed extreme malice as his teeth became sharp. "He brings to mind a rokurokubi! Stay away from him!" Koga yelled as the High Priest closed in on Ashton. But before he could strike, something beheaded him at the base of his neck. Ashton turned to face the body and saw Zandria with her claws draped in blood. "You OK, Ashton?" But before the head could fall to the ground, its mouth opened as a large snake shot out towards Zandria!

Zandria saw the attack coming and jumped out of the way, causing the snake to get its head stuck in the ground. But its skin began to crack as something emerged from it. "Not bad at all. I thought you were still reeling from that little illusion I showed you." The Zangoose smirked, "I won't allow Ashton to die. And besides, we Zangoose have quite a taste for snakes." She then licked her lips as the High Priest gave her a spooked look. " snakes?" Zandria replied, "Sure do. It's a staple of our diet." But the High Priest then grinned, "But what if this snake eats you first?" But before he could make a move, a massive explosion of wind sent him flying into a hillside. Ashton called out, "Nice one, Chiara!" The Lugia smirked, "Aeroblast. The ultimate wind assault."

The High Priest climbed to his feet, "Ten against one. I like those odds. Or is it ten against one thousand?" He then opened his mouth wide as his tongue hung out of it. He then lowered himself to the ground as a swarm of snakes emerged from his gaping jaws. They soon opened their mouths as well as blades coated in venom extended from them. As the wall of blades closed in on them, Ruby jumped in front of her companions and held her hands apart from each other. "I can handle this!" Soon, a sphere of red Aura began to form between them. "Let's see if the attack I used to finish off Lance works here too!" She then held her hands out in front of her as a massive Focus Blast engulfed the wall of serpents, erasing them all in mere seconds. The High Priest then had a very excited smile on his face. "These fighters.... These warriors of the Far West..... They intrigue me to no end!" But then, a voice spoke from behind him, "Aren't you forgetting someone?"

The High Priest turned to face the owner of the voice and found Serenade standing before him. But before he could do anything, she slammed her palm into his body, placing great pressure on his lungs as a telekinetic pulse pressed against them, preventing them from expanding. "Guh...! Can't breathe..." Serenade sent both palms crashing into the High Priest, sending him flying towards her allies at high speed. Cassandra then called out, "Stand clear!" She then sent two blades of wind at the incoming shinobi with the curved horn on her head. The blades sliced right through the man's shoulders, severing both arms instantly. But before he could actually hit the ground, Laika and Aurora sent a Shadow Ball and Aurora Beam into him simultaneously, causing him to hit the ground in a puff of smoke as the two attacks engulfed him in a loud blast.

"Ugh... Such teamwork..." The High Priest wheezed as he struggled to climb to his feet. Once he was standing, Laura made her move. She grabbed him around the chest with both arms and flew straight up at high speed. The G-force from moving at such high speed prevented the High Priest from fighting back at all as he could not even move his head. In just a moment, they were above the clouds as Laura gazed at the moon. "Just...where are we?" The High Priest asked. The Latias giggled, "We're above the clouds! This is about as high as I can fly! And now..." She then positioned herself so she was facing towards the ground. "It's time to say goodbye!" The High Priest shouted, "No... You wouldn't!!!" But Laura was not going to turn back now as she went into a freefall as she made a dive for the ground. The High Priest let out a scream of terror as he could do nothing to stop his captor from killing him at this point. After only a minute or so of falling, Ashton and his companions saw Laura come into view again and jumped backwards as she neared the ground. A second later, there was a very loud crash as she slammed the High Priest headfirst into the ground.

Laura stayed where she was for a moment as she saw just how close she had come from killing herself in the process. The ground was only an inch from her face, meaning that she was extremely lucky that the High Priest was tall enough for his head to extend past hers while she gripped him around the chest. She then let go and righted herself. The High Priest was now standing on the top of his head. His face had a look of absolute terror on it. Soon, his body fell forward onto its back. Everyone remained silent as they waited for a sign of life from him. Slowly, Serenade approached him and kneeled next to his head. She looked up at her brother, who gave her a nod.

Serenade pressed her hands against the man's head, whose eyes were now obstructed by his long black hair. After a moment, she gasped, "His brain... I've never heard of this kind of damage! It's as if it's been partially liquefied." Laika then coldly spoke, "In other words, he's dead." The Gardevoir nodded, "Yes. It seems that we succeeded." Koga breathed a sigh of relief, "Thank goodness. Orochi or not, this man was a grave threat to this world. I thank you on behalf of the Far East for your assistance." Ashton also spoke, "We couldn't have done it without you girls." He then turned to Laura, "Especially you, Laura. That was quite a move you got him with." The shiny Latias giggled, "Hee hee! It was all for you, Ashy!" Ashton frowned, "I thought you promised to never call me that again."

Before the ten companions turned to leave, Ruby made one last check as she sensed for any Aura signatures nearby. Sure enough, there was no life left in the High Priest. But as they turned to leave, a voice asked, "It's not over. It is just beginning." Everyone turned to face the corpse of the High Priest and looked on in shock as the body began to slowly climb to its feet by placing one foot flat on the ground and then pulling itself up. It moved more like a puppet than a living creature now. And its face was still obscured by its hair.

"Not quite dead yet?" Aurora asked. But to their surprise, a new left arm grew from the left shoulder. Once it was fully restored, it reached up to the face and seemed to grab the skin near the left eye. With a tug, it tore some of the skin away as if it was a thin mask. It then moved the hair that was covering the left side of the face. To everyone's shock, some of the skin around the eye was gone. And underneath where it had been were black scales. The eye looked no less reptilian than before, but was now a crimson red. "Truly impressive, Ashton of Green Mile." The High Priest spoke. But now, it sounded as if nine voices were speaking at one time.

Koga shuddered, "Who...or what are you?" The mysterious creature cackled, "I am this world's new king. And I must say that this servant of mine did his duties very well. He originally planned to revive me on this very night. But I had instead returned to this world a few months ago, residing in his body without anyone ever suspecting it." Ruby then asked, "But...who are you?" The beast replied, "I'm sure you know by now. Of course, the only reason I perished that night long ago was because that foolish Susano got me drunk. Well, I won't be making that mistake again."

The beast began to cackle loudly as a dark Aura began to radiate from its body. A sinister light began to shine from the corpse. Ashton shouted, "Let's get outta here! NOW!" The ten of them made a mad dash for the edge of the forest that they had originally emerged from. But just before they could reach it, a massive shockwave blew them off their feet as something emerged from the High Priest's corpse.

Once Ashton and his companions had climbed to their feet and turned to face the valley, they were stunned by a towering sight of a monstrous eight-headed serpent that seemed to reach as high as the heavens itself while the end of its body could not even be seen from their location. They could not even see where the eight heads united.

Ashton felt a sense of dread and terror the likes of which he or anyone else had never felt before. As he gazed up at the towering demon, he whispered, "The Yamata no Orochi...."
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