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.

Ruby meets the Rival

Ruby awoke as the sun cast its rays onto her face through the window. She had a splendid dream, the very first pleasant dream in over a decade. She gazed over at her new master. He still had his arm around her. She still found it difficult to believe that a human would treat her like an equal. She could hear birds singing outside. A new day had begun.

Ruby jumped at the sound of knocking on the bedroom door. Ashton lazily rose and said, "Who's there?" The voice of Zandria answered, "It is I." "You may enter." An aroma filled the room as Zandria pushed a cart holding two covered platters, just like the previous night. "Hmmm. I thought I would find you here, Ruby. Hope you like eggs and roasted pork." The platters contained typical breakfast foods. "Today, we have quail eggs served with pork grilled with pineapple juice with a side of oven toasted bread with your choice of fruit spread. Please enjoy." With that said, Zandria left her master and friend to enjoy their breakfast.

As they ate, Ashton asked, "Did you sleep well?" Ruby happily nodded. "You definitely seem to be in better spirit since I brought you here." After Ruby swallowed her load, she asked, "I suppose I am. May I ask you something? Why do your servants speak English instead of their native tongues?" Ashton chuckled, "Actually, Serenade learned how to speak at the same age I did. Laura also has always been able to speak English as well. However, I had to teach Zandria and Cassandra how to speak English on my own." Ruby grinned, "It must have been difficult." Ashton laughed, "They mastered it quite quickly. I think they wanted to learn how to communicate with me for a certain reason. I never learned what that reason was though." Ruby then suggested an impossible reason, "Maybe they wanted to learn how to speak to you to ask you to be their mate." Ashton nearly choked on his toast at that. "Are you all right?!" Ashton pulled himself together, "I really wish that were possible." Ruby remained silent. "It pains me to say this, but Pokemon are not widely referred to as "Pokemon" by humans. They see Pokemon as underlings, as animals. Instead of Pokemon, most humans call them "Beasts." Many people in this kingdom view me as insane because of how I treat my servants. It is truly tragic." Ruby spoke after a moment of silence, "I..... Thank you for your kind words. I know I can trust you." Ashton replied, "You don't have to thank me. I just do what is right."

After they finished breakfast, the window blew open, letting in a northern wind. Ashton chuckled, "Seems that she has returned." Ruby gasped when she saw a gorgeous Suicune leap through the window! However, her mane was a deep blue instead of the typical purple color. She bowed, "I apologize for returning so late, Lord Ashton. I found a dried up spring and spent several hours filling it. Oh?" She noticed the female Lucario seated across from her master. "Ah yes. Aurora, this is Ruby. I brought her home yesterday and she will be staying with us from now on. Ruby, this is Aurora. She keeps a steady supply of water in the manor. She also helps with the hot spring we get hot water from." Aurora bowed, "Please to meet you, Ruby." "Likewise." As Ashton gathered the dirty dishes and placed them under the metal domes on the cart, he said, "Aurora, I have one last request for you. Please send word to Garyson that it is about time for our monthly duel. Tell him to be her at noon." Aurora bowed and was gone after leaping out the window.

Ruby asked, "Who is Garyson?" Ashton chuckled, "Oh, he's an old friend of mine from the academy. He is also my rival. So far, I haven't been able to beat him even once, but this time will be different." Ruby asked, "How so?" Ashton grinned, "Wait and see. I want you to accompany me. So, shall we take a walk through the garden?"

Ruby marveled at the tall bushes in the garden. They had been carefully trimmed to resemble the shapes of many Pokemon. "I see that you are quite taken with the sculpting that Cassandra did." Ruby looked at him, "Cassandra did these?" "See for yourself." Ashton pointed ahead. Cassandra was standing in front of an untrimmed bush. Then, using Razor Wind, she engulfed the bush in a whirlwind! When the wind disappeared, the bush had been cut into the shape of a Lucario! She noticed her master and friend. "Oh, Lord Ashton! Ruby! Do you like my latest work?" Ashton looked it over. "Um, I think you forgot to remove something." Cassandra looked at Ruby and back at the bush. She realized that she forgot to remove the three spikes. "Oops. One moment please." With three swings of the blade on her head, Cassandra sliced off the spikes, leaving the rest of the body intact. "Is that really me?" Cassandra nodded, "Of course it is. I make one for every newcomer to the manor." Ashton commented, "A job well done. Your Razor Wind attack never fails to amaze me, Cassandra." Ruby noticed Cassandra blush, "Thank you, My Lord. Oh, isn't it about time for your dual with Garyson?" Ashton nodded, "Indeed it is. All we have to do is wait for him to arrive. If you'll excuse me..." Ashton led Ruby back towards the front gate. A moment later, a large shadow passed over them.

"Hm? That must be Chiara." After circling for a moment, a large silver Pokemon swooped down in front of them. It was a Lugia. However, with the wings folded, she was hardly any larger than Aurora. "Lord Ash, your parcels have been delivered. Oh? Who's this?" Ashton answered, "Ah, let me introduce you. Ruby, this is Chiara. She is a Lugia I found washed up on the shoreline during a terrible storm. When I found her, I could hold her in my arms. Now look at her." Chiara blushed, "Please, my lord. I am a midget. This is as large as I'm going to get. Anyway, it is a pleasure to meet you, Ruby." They both bowed. "Now then Chiara, I have no orders for you for the day. Do as you will." She bowed, "Thank you, my lov- um, LORD!" She began to sweat as she walked inside the manor. "It's a good thing that's as large as she's going to get. Otherwise, she wouldn't be able to fit through the halls." Ruby giggled at the fact that he hadn't noticed that Chiara nearly told her master her darkest secret.

Ruby asked, "My Lord, just how many servants do you have?" He grinned, "In all, there are eight people living in the manor." A moment later, a familiar human stepped through the gates of the manor. "Well Ashton, are you ready for your 30th loss?" Ashton stood up, "Not this time, Garyson! From this moment on, you won't be able to defeat me!" After a good laugh, Garyson asked, "Ashton, is that your new servant?" Ashton replied, "Indeed. Her name is Ruby. Have you brought a weapon?" Garyson drew his sword, a rapier. "I have. Where is yours'?" Ashton grinned sneakily, "You'll see. Ruby?" She walked over to him, "Yes, my lord?" He whispered, "My weapon is in my bedroom hanging on a wall. Please bring it to me. Be careful, it is quite long." Following his advice, Ruby ran back inside and into the bedroom. It didn't take long for her to notice a long flat object hanging on the wall. "I think this is it." It was quite heavy, but Ruby was part Fighting type, so her arms were able to lift it with ease. While holding it above her head, she ran back down the hall to the front door.

"Honestly, Ashton. If you can't beat me this time, I may as well stop showing up. Huh?" He saw Ruby come back out with a long object above her head. "Ah yes, that's it!" Ruby stood it up next to Ashton. Garyson stared, (Is that what I think it is?) It was wrapped in thick cloth. With a pull of the end, the whole sheath fell to the ground, revealing a Zweihander sword, a massive sword requiring both hands to lift, as well as very strong arms to swing it. This design was a Flamberge sword. Garyson's mouth dropped open, "Ashton, tell me you jest! I know you said that you were going to try something new, but you can't possibly lift that!" Cassandra showed up and freaked out, "Master! Do you really think you can even fight using that thing?!" He just grinned, "Don't worry. One slash and this duel will be over."

Garyson took a stance, "Oh please! If you won't listen to reason, I'll just have to show you!" He ran towards Ashton with sword in hand. However, when he was seven feet from him, Ashton swung his sword. An instant later, there was the sound of metal shattering as Garyson fell backwards! As he tried to get up, Garyson found Ashton's sword pointed at his throat. "That makes checkmate." After accepting his loss, Garyson gathered up the fragments of his blade. "I'll never understand how you could swing something like that with only one hand, but I'm not sure if I even want to know!" They all had a good laugh.

After Garyson left, Cassandra and Ruby accompanied Ashton back into the manor while he had the Flamberge hoisted over one shoulder. Finally, Ruby asked, "Lord Ashton, how did you do that? Not even the strongest member of my clan could have swung that sword so easily!" He laughed, "You're right. I don't have nearly enough muscle mass to swing this thing, even with both arms!" Cassandra stared, "Then... How?" Ashton replied, "Do you remember that shadow warrior who visited our home a few weeks ago?" Cassandra spoke, "Oh! Do you mean the old man named Koga?" "Yes. In exchange for allowing him to rest here, he taught me a spot of 'Chakra Control'. By focusing my Chakra, whatever that is, into my arms, I can boost my strength tenfold or more." Ruby gasped, "Tenfold?! That's amazing!" Ashton chuckled, "Thank you. Now, Cassandra. Please tell the rest of the girls to look after the manor for an hour. I need to visit the market for some goods." Cassandra bowed and took off down the hall. "Ruby, I want you to come with me." Ruby happily grabbed his arm as he walked out the gates and towards the market.

Ruby marveled at the variety at the market. There weren't just foods. There were weapons, tools, even jewelry. She saw most passersby stare at her. She didn't mind and stayed close to her master. However, a small gang of thugs were watching her.

After purchasing a feather duster, some fruits and meats, and a certain piece of jewelry, Ashton turned to face Ruby. However, she wasn't there. Ashton tried focusing his 'Chakra' into his ears, hoping that he would hear her voice. His mind became clouded with dread when he heard her screaming for help! Following her voice, he ran towards an empty side alley.

"Heh heh heh, looks like we found a real treat, boys!" The ringleader chuckled as he held Ruby by her ears. "Let me go! My master will probably kill you if you don't!" They whole gang laughed. "Kill us? Listen mutt, if your master had been keeping an eye on you, we wouldn't have bothered since that would have been a sign that he didn't want to lose you. Since he wasn't watching ya, he must not care what happens to you." Ruby could feel tears building in her eyes. (What if they're right? What if Lord Ashton doesn't care about me after all?)

"RUBY!" The gang and Ruby looked at the end of the alley to see Ashton glaring at them. "Well well, looks like someone changed their mind too late! Sic em, boys!" The three other thugs charged at Ashton with daggers drawn. Ashton drew a short sword from behind his cape. He didn't want to use the Flamberge just yet. He managed to hold off against the thug's daggers, but didn't notice that one of them had a small grenade in hand! As soon as the two other thugs suddenly backed away, the third thug tossed the grenade, which exploded into Ashton, knocking him down. He fell head over heels before landing on his face.

"Heh, you had your chance to go home with your mutt, punk. Too bad. It's ours now." Ruby had been overcome with desperation and managed to get loose by biting her captor's hand. "MASTER! PLEASE HOLD ON! I'M... uh....." Ruby was cut off when one of the thugs kicked her into a wall. "Stay out of this, mutt, or else..... What the....." The thugs noticed Ashton climbing to his feet. They jumped when they saw the Flamberge on his back burst into flames! When he looked at them, his eyes were filled with inhuman rage! "No..... He's...... HE'S THE VULCAN WARRIOR!!!!!"

Ashton reached for the hilt of his sword and, in the blink of an eye, slashed it sideways. A second passed, and the three thugs standing in front of him ignited. They screamed in agony for a moment before being reduced to a pile of ashes. With his burning sword in hand, Ashton slowly walked toward the leader of the gang. He was frozen in place with terror. "No... Please... I'm sorry! Take your Beast back! Just don't hurt me!" Ashton stopped. After a moment of silence, he asked, "What did you call her?" The thug was silent. "No one calls my family 'Beasts' and lives!" As the thug screamed his last breath, Ashton incinerated him.

After taking a deep breath, Ashton sheathed his sword. The flames that had enshrouded it had disappeared. He turned to face Ruby. She was huddled in a corner in fear. He Ashton placed a hand on her shoulder, she looked at him. His eyes were gentle again. "MASTER!" Ruby screamed as she threw her arms around him. He whispered, "I'm sorry I took my eyes off of you. I promise to watch you always when we are in public." She cried against his chest for a moment before stopping.

Everyone Ashton passed on his way back to the manor tried to stay out of his way. Even though he had calmed down, flames flickered from his sword every few seconds. He was carrying a traumatized Ruby in his arms. He looked straight ahead without blinking once. He just wanted to get his friend home without further incident.

"*whistling* I wonder what dear Ashton is buying at the market today? He's such a gentlemen. I bet he's trying to show Ruby just how much of a pleasure it is to be around him." Cassandra was busy rearranging a flower bed as she whistled a song to herself. Just then, she heard the gate open. However, she gasped at the sight of her lord and love carrying Ruby in his arms while his clothes were singed! "Lord Ashton! What happened?! Is Ruby all right?" He sighed, "I don't know. Send for Serenade. Ruby needs medical treatment." Cassandra bowed, "At once, my lord!" She burst through the front door and down the halls while shouting Serenade's name. Ashton continued to his bedroom.

"Lord Ashton, may I enter?" Serenade peaked inside her master's bedroom. "Yes, please do." Serenade walked in with a small leather bag in hand. Aside from doing laundry, she was also the manor's nurse. She walked over to Ruby, who had fallen asleep on the bed, and pulled out a stethoscope. "Her pulse is steady. I believe her injuries are minor at worst." She scanned Ruby's body with her underdeveloped Psychic powers. She breathed a sigh of relief. "She only has a minor bruise on the side of her head." After applying some special ointment, Serenade wrapped Ruby's head in a thick bandage to reduce impacts. "She will be fine. Please excuse me." Serenade left the room and proceeded to the kitchen to request some herbal tea with Ruby's meal.

After an hour, Ruby awoke to find her master sleeping behind her with his arms around her. "Master? Are you hurt?" Ashton mumbled a little and awoke. He looked like he was about to cry. He surprised her when he squeezed her against his body. "I thought I was going to lose you." Ruby whispered, "I feel fine. I'm not angry with you. I could never be angry with you." After a few minutes of gentle cuddling, Ruby brought up a question that had been bothering her all day.

Lord Ashton, could you tell me how you met all of your servants?" He grinned, "Certainly. Make sure you're comfortable. It's a long story." Excited, Ruby found a comfortable position. "As I told you, Serenade has been my closest friend since the day I was born. We were inseparable. We saw beyond our differences. When I inherited this manor, she came with me." Ruby listened to every word he said. However, Ashton seemed depressed as he continued.

"Zandria was the first servant I 'acquired' after I inherited this manor. I was taking a stroll through Green Mile, that's the name of this town, when I overheard a scuffle. When I rounded the bend, I saw a brutish looking man forcing his Machoke into mating with a female Zangoose. I was quite disgusted and kicked the Machoke off of the Zangoose before he could impregnate her. Before the man could object, I offered to purchase the Zangoose. He agreed and I took the Zangoose home with me. I taught her how to speak English and how to cook. That Zangoose is Zandria. I know she seems a bit like a tomboy, but she has very deep mental wounds. I have treated her a little better than everyone else due to her violent past. I recently celebrated her birthday. I can't describe how I felt when I saw her blow out the candles. She even went so far as to give me my first kiss." Ruby giggled as Ashton raised a hand over his mouth. "She means a lot to me, but I'm sure I mean more to her than even her own freedom."

Ruby looked at Ashton funny as he looked like he was going to laugh. "Laura came into my life next. She was causing a lot of mischief in town while trying to gather food to survive. When she was wounded and cornered, I rescued her. The next day, I'm not entirely sure what happened, but I think she tried to mate with me in my sleep. We were in an awkward position when I woke up. We couldn't stop laughing. She became almost fanatical about me since then. She is so focused on me that she sometimes forgets her duties, even going so far as to forget what she is about to say." Ruby couldn't stop laughing at that, but stopped when she heard Ashton loudly clear his throat.

"As I was saying. I met Cassandra next. I was visiting a neighboring province when a small earthquake occurred. The damage was minor, but the residents were shaken when they found an Absol near the village. Sadly, Absol have the ability to sense impending disaster. Because of this, they are widely seen as Doom bringers. Cassandra was no exception. A small number of hunters pursued her and nearly killed her. I tried to persuade the hunters to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen. Since they were dead fixed on killing her, I..... I had no choice but to kill them first. After destroying the bodies, I carried Cassandra back home and tended to her wounds. I later taught her how to speak. We soon discovered her ability to use the Blizzard attack and her knack for creative bush trimming. She has become one of my more loyal companions." Ruby shed a tear. She understood why Cassandra blushed earlier that day. She was in love with him. And why shouldn't she be? Ashton had saved her when any other human would have let her die.

"Now, where was I? Oh yes. Next was Chiara. During a terrible storm about two years ago, less than a week before I became a knight, I was trying to get back to my manor while walking near the shoreline. I thought I noticed something wash up on the shore and went closer to see want it was. A tiny Lugia, just slightly larger than Cassandra, had been thrown onto the beach after nearly drowning. I took pity on her and carried her to my home. Over the next few days, I personally oversaw her recovery. She claimed her name was Chiara, so we've called her by that name ever since. She's grown a little bit, but she is a midget. However, that doesn't stop her from leading a happy life." Ruby felt so lucky that her master was so generous to risk his life in a hurricane.

"Lord Ashton, what about Aurora?" Ashton crossed his arms, "She is an odd one. Even though she is a Water type, she has no knowledge of swimming. She can run on water, but sinks if she stops. I found her near the same village that harassed Cassandra. They had recently suffered a flood. Thinking that Aurora caused it, they chased her towards a wide and raging river. She ran halfway across, but slowed down when she noticed that they were not following her. She fell right into the river and was swept downstream. I found her bloodied and battered near a waterfall. She had gone over it and slammed into the rocks below. I didn't think she would survive, but I managed to get her back here. Serenade and I tried hard to keep her alive. In the end, we enlisted the aid of Sabrina, a witch and forest hermit who has looked out for me since I was born. Aurora recovered and I decided to release her. There are very few of her kind in the world and every one of them is important to the world. However, for reasons she won't say, she refused to leave. I gave in and let her stay. Because she has been alive far longer than any of us, I made her the head maid. After me, she leads the household. Her wisdom is deep, so I know we can trust her." Ruby could only guess why Aurora would not want to leave Ashton. If she is so important to the world's well being, why would she give up her duties to stay with him?

Ashton finished, "Then, yesterday, I found you, Ruby." She giggled, "So that's everyone? What a history." Just then, the door opened. Zandria pushed in a cart with their meals on board. "Lord Ashton, Lady Ruby, your dinner is served. For both of you, the main course is wild turkey simmered in white wine with a lemon garnish. As a side dish, I have included a fruit salad mixed vegetables. Also, for Ruby, I have prepared some tea. Please drink it when you finish." While Ashton and Ruby enjoyed Zandria's cooking, she stayed near the door. Ashton was curious of why she had not left, but Ruby didn't pay her any mind. After eating her fill, Ruby slowly drank the tea. "Zandria, I don't know how you make everything taste so wonderful!" Zandria chuckled, "Experience, my dear. Along with Lord Ashton's lessons, my skills in the kitchen come from experience." Ruby mumbled, "Indeed, you must" She fell asleep. Ashton asked, "Zandria, what was in that tea?" She reassured him, "I just added some sleeping herbs. She needs her rest, according to Serenade. She will wake up in twelve hours. Please excuse me." Zandria gathered up the plates and bones and carted them of to the kitchen for cleaning and disposal.

Ashton carried Ruby down to her bedroom and tucked her in. He placed a gentle kiss on her bandaged head. "I promise to never let you out of my sight when out in public. Good night." He lit a candle and made his way down the dark hall to his room.

As Ashton got dressed for bed, he heard the door creak open. He turned and saw the face of Cassandra peeking behind it. "Cassandra? What is wrong? I don't think it's normal for you to be up at this hour." She slowly walked in. Her face was matted with tears. Ashton could tell that she was hurt, somehow. He helped her up onto his bed. "Come now, is something troubling you?" She looked at him, "I..... I'm just afraid of waking up to find you gone. I know what happened today. I nearly lost you. Some thugs in the market almost killed you." She burst into tears. Ashton knew that Cassandra was always a romantic at heart. He was also fond of her. He made her look up at him by cupping her face. To her surprise, he sealed lips with her. He ran his hands through her glossy white fur, making her sigh with pleasure.

After a moment, the two broke the kiss. Cassandra pressed against her master's chest. "Thank you. I feel so much better now." Ashton raised the covers. "If you want, you can sleep here tonight." Cassandra was happy beyond words. She eagerly slipped under the covers, letting her master drape them with it. She sighed when he wrapped his arms around her ribcage. "I promise. I will always be here for you and everyone else here. Good night, Cassandra." Cassandra cried, "Good night, my lord and love." However, Ashton had fallen asleep before he could hear the last half of her sentence. Little did they know, Ashton would find a new friend and family member tomorrow. However, her story would be the most hateful and tragic yet.
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