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.

The Voyage Home

Just past noon, Ashton slowly slid on his shoulder pads and breastplate before securing his flowing blue cape. He then placed his trusty zweihander on his back. Lastly, he reached for his newest acquisition, the Kusanagi. "It still flatters me that the emperor himself would offer such a weapon to me." The blade of the Kusanagi was securely sheathed in a black wooden scabbard that had been specially designed for it. From a glance, it looked like an ordinary broadsword. "I'll have to practice using this sometime." He then slid open the door to his room and stepped outside before taking one last look inside. He had left it almost as neat as it was when he first arrived.

Ashton slowly made his way down the hall towards the entrance. Standing near it was Yuriko. "We enjoyed our stay, Yuriko. Thank you for being so hospitable." The host bowed and spoke with her heavily accented voice, "It was a pleasure. And I thank you for saving us from the Yamata no Orochi, Lord Ashton. Please do come back sometime." Ashton smiled, "I will someday. Oh, but before I go, I have a little parting gift for you." He then handed her a small chest. It was filled with currency of the Far East. Yuriko gasped, "But this is...?!" The viscount nodded, "Take it. It's useless to me once I leave this land anyway. And my vessel has been restocked with supplies. And I still have some left for when I return. I'm not giving it all away." Yuriko nodded, "Thank you very much, my lord. Now it is my turn to thank you." Before Ashton could react, the young woman gave him a sweet little kiss on the lips for only a moment. She then smiled, "Take care on your journey home." Ashton smirked, "Oh, I won't be alone. I have some of the finest allies I could ask for waiting for me."

Just outside the Akatsuki Inn, Ashton found his eight servants waiting for him. They all gazed at him as if awaiting orders. But Ashton then noticed Zandria with a tearful expression on her face. "Something troubling you, Zandria?" The Zangoose sniffled, "I'm just....going to miss the food of this land badly. It was so good, and I didn't even put on any weight." Ashton chuckled, "Don't worry too much. Knowing you, you probably wrote down the recipes of every single type of food you tried. And I wouldn't be surprised if our food supplies contain the ingredients you need for them." Zandria's face lit up at this, "Seriously?! Then I'll make some tonight!" Ashton smiled, "That's the spirit. But let's be on our way. It's been three weeks since we slew the Orochi. And we can always come back another time."

On their way toward the harbor, they passed by a familiar complex. But when they passed by the entrance, a familiar young woman stepped out to meet the entourage. "Heading home, Serenade?" Serenade gasped and smiled, "Hanako! Good to see you!" The young Hyuga nodded, "Just wanted to send you off after helping me out!" That reminded Serenade. "Did it help? Are you more popular with the boys now?" Hanako gave her a sly smirk as she reached for the upper half of her robe. Ashton noticed this and turned away. "See for yourself." Ashton heard the sound of cloth being waved and asked Cassandra, "Did she do what I think she did?" The Absol nodded with an embarrassed look, "Yes. She pulled open her robe and her chest is hanging out....." Serenade blushed, "What in the..." Hanako gave a tiny hop, causing her D-cup breasts to jiggle. "What do you think? Pretty nice, right?" Serenade then asked, "Do you like them?" Hanako laughed, "Like them? I LOVE THEM! They're perfect! Just the right size, perfect softness, and not too heavy either! I'll have no trouble finding a man now!" Serenade gave a nervous smile, "I'm...glad to hear it. Now please close your robe before someone spots you like this." Hanako giggled as she wrapped her chest in her robe, "Right, right, sorry about that. But seriously, have a safe journey home. Maybe by the time you return, I'll have found a real hunk!" Serenade gave a smile while thinking to herself, (She's like a human version of Laura...)

After passing through the busy marketplace near the harbor, Ashton noticed a familiar presence. "Master Koga, did you come here to wish us a safe voyage?" Leaning against some crates behind the group was Koga. "But of course. It is only natural to send my star pupil off with a smile." Ashton turned to face his mentor, "Star pupil? I'm not that special." Koga smiled, "You're modest too. Good. Don't let your strength go to your head." Together, they proceeded to the harbor. Koga pointed ahead, "Your vessel is right over there. I believe you will find the repairs to be pleasing." It took Ashton a moment to actually identify the Flying Duskull as it look like it had only just been constructed. "It's just like new!"

After boarding the Flying Duskull, Ashton turned to wave goodbye to his mentor. But during the climb up the gangplank, several dozen ninja had gathered along the piers. "What the... What's this?!" Ashton shouted, fearing that this was a surprise attack. But in unison, every ninja present kneeled and shouted, "Best wishes to you, Angel of the Eternal Flame!" Ashton blushed in embarrassment, but called back, "Farewell, my friends! May our paths cross again someday!" But when he looked back at Koga, they shared a long glance with each other. He then spoke, "I'm planning another visit to Rohta in a few months. Watch for me, Ashton!" Ashton smiled, "Then I'll see you there! Take care, Koga-sensei!" With that, the sails of the Flying Duskull were filled with a strong breeze as Ashton ran up to the helm. "Our next destination: Rohta!"

That evening, Ashton rested in his cabin while closely examining the blade of the Kusanagi. "Absolutely brilliant. Whoever forged this blade must have been a remarkable swordsmith with unmatched skills." Just then, he felt Laika nudge him. Unlike most times, she was stretched across his lap. "You're being unusually clingy tonight." The Mightyena whispered, "I...just don't want to lose you..." Ashton sighed as he caressed her head, "Are you still blaming yourself for that? It is your duty to protect me from all threats, but there was nothing you could do to protect me from the Orochi. That beast was completely out of your league. Even I couldn't bring that monster down on my power alone, and I have the Eternal Flame at my disposal. To be honest, it should be me who is protecting you." But before Laika could object, there was a knock at the door as someone opened it. Laura peeked in, ", I mean Ashton. Dinner's ready. Zandria told me to let you know we are to assemble in the galley." Ashton smiled as he slid the Kusanagi back into its scabbard, "Thank you. We will join you shortly."

A few minutes later, Ashton sat at the head of a long table with seven of his servants seated or standing along the sides. Zandria then came over with a large bowl of soup. "Ashton, I'm letting you taste my newest dish first!" She then placed the bowl before him. The soup contained shrimp, crab, scallops, seaweed, and many soba noodles. The soup smelled like miso soup, but the color of the broth said otherwise. But the very sight of the food was beginning to make Ashton's mouth water. "If you wish for me to taste it, I shall." Taking a soupspoon in hand, he scooped up some crab with the broth and took a sip. The flavor was a bit sweeter than the flavor of miso soup. Ashton smiled, "This is...fantastic!" He then started to slurp away as Zandria brought out more bowls of soup for herself and the others. But before they started to eat, all seven spoke in unison, "Itadakimasu!" Zandria blushed as she smiled, "Such polite table manners!"

For the next week, Zandria cooked meals consisting of recipes entirely from the Far East as they headed home. But only a week after departing from the Far East, Ashton was resting in his cabin while once again examining the Kusanagi by candlelight. But the ship was suddenly rocked by something bumping into it from the side. Laika's ears perked up. But Ashton placed his hand on her, "Stay behind me. I'm curious of what the Grass Long Sword is capable of." He then stepped outside his cabin with Laika behind him. When he reached the door that led out to the deck, he found his other seven servants there waiting for him. Without a word, they stepped aside, allowing Ashton to reach the door. But when he walked outside, a familiar voice shouted, "Ahoy, Ashton! Fancy seeing you here! I was just on my way back to fetch you!"

The viscount looked to his right to see a familiar vessel alongside the Flying Duskull. A number of sailors quickly tied the two ships together to prevent them from drifting apart. A moment later, a certain young woman crossed over from the other ship and approached Ashton. "What's this? You trying out a new style, Ashton? Never knew you had a thing for something that small." Ashton chuckled, "Nah, just keeping it handy as a side arm. Not that I had any intention of using it on you, Black Mist."

Standing before Ashton, Black Mist smiled, "I have to say, you look more like a man than I remember! What say you we head over to your cabin" Ashton suddenly covered her mouth and whispered, "I'd watch what I say if I were you. Due to a certain incident during our stay in the Far East, the ladies have been unusually protective of me." Once Ashton removed his hand from her mouth, Black Mist sighed, "Phew, I gotcha. But seriously, that's a nice sword you got there. Nice scabbard too." Ashton nodded, "Thank you. They were a gift from the emperor himself."

Black Mist asked, "So, seeing that you're heading away from the Far East, you must be going home to Rohta. Am I right?" Ashton nodded, "We are." But Ashton then gave her a solemn stare, "Black Mist... Did you...?" The pirate captain noticed and sighed, "Yeah. I made sure to get Serra to the queen. She's sitting in cold storage now. When we got there, the soldiers tried to arrest us. But when I told them we were there on your behalf, they let us through. The queen took the news pretty hard."

Ashton gave a slight smile, "Thank you for keeping your word. Hm?" Ashton then noticed something about the sail of the Perla Celeste. "Just a moment." He then crossed over to the Perla Celeste's deck and took a good look at the sail. "Is that.....the crest of Rohta?" The sail had what seemed to be a shield with three swords sticking up under it from three angles with a red avian shape in the center. Ashton then looked over at Black Mist, "Last I checked, you were pirates!" But the pirate laughed, "Not anymore! You're looking at the captain of Rohta's naval forces!"

Ashton shouted, "Naval forces?! But the kingdom of Rohta has no navy!" But Black Mist explained, "It does now. Well, kind of. The Perla Celeste is the only vessel in service at the moment. A few dozen other vessels are being refitted for combat roles." But Aurora then asked, "But you are pirates. Why would the queen appoint you as the leader of the new navy?" Black Mist explained, "It's true that me and my mates have a reputation as pirates, but after we brought Serra home, she made us an offer. Seeing as how we are pirates, we are skilled in combat at sea. If we agreed to become the leaders of the navy, she would pardon us for any trouble we've caused and lift the bounty from our heads. And the pay's pretty good too. So you see, we've gone from pirates to pirate hunters." Ashton laughed, "She must have a lot of faith in you!" But Black Mist joked, "To be honest, she said that any friend of you is a friend of Rohta!"

A short while later, Ashton and Black Mist were relaxing in Ashton's cabin while Laika rested in his lap. "Blow me down. You're serious? The Yamata no Orochi?" Ashton nodded, "It was hell. I really wish I had some sake at the time. The battle would've gone much more smoothly for us." Black Mist giggled, "I knew there was something crazy about you when you sank the Leviathan. But taking on a beast of legend? Now I know it. You're nuts! Not even a bloke who drank ten jugs of rum would be that crazy!" Ashton chuckled, "Makes you wonder what Susano was thinking when he fought the Orochi."

After sharing some stories, Black Mist asked, "So, have you thought it over?" Ashton gave her an odd look, "Thought what?" Black Mist then gave him an amorous gaze as she slowly uncrossed her legs and set both feet on the floor, "My offer." She then slowly stood up, "You said to give you some time. So, have you fallen for me?" At this, Laika prepared herself to pounce. But Ashton gulped, "Um, sorry. Still too soon. I'm still fond of you, but I'm still not quite there." Black Mist let out a chuckle, "Taking your time, huh? Fine by me. That should make the moment even sweeter when you say yes." She then yawned, "Well, time to turn in." But as she made her way to the door, Black Mist turned back and gave Ashton a wink, "There's still no ring on my finger. I'll wait as long as I have to." But when she opened the door, Black Mist added, "Even if it's too soon to make our vows, just call me if you need some 'release'. See ya tomorrow." Ashton gulped, "Release? Oh man, she is one brazen lass."

Over the course of 50 days, the Flying Duskull and the Perla Celeste glided across the ocean together. Ashton grumbled as he stood at the helm, "It's been 57 days in all. Feels like this voyage is taking longer than it should." Chiara sighed, "Perhaps the wind has been weaker than usual, slowing us down." But a moment later, the lookout in the crow's nest of the Perla Celeste shouted, "Captain Ashton, land ho!" At this, Ashton ran to the bow and gazed out towards the sea. After a brief moment, he could see a landmass ahead. "Home at last! Chiara, go fetch Aurora! We're almost home!" The Lugia nodded and made her way back inside. Soon, Black Mist came up on deck. "Something up?" Ashton nodded, "Yes. I need you to cut the ropes that are holding our vessels together." Black Mist nodded and drew her snake sword. With a few lashes of its extended blade, the two ships separated. "We're going to dock in Green Mile! Serra is still at the castle, so I'll see you there!" Black Mist called as they parted ways.

A short while later, the Flying Duskull approached a waterfall pouring down from above it. "Now!" Aurora focused for a moment, causing the waterfall to come to a complete stop. Once the ship had entered the cave beneath the Crimson estate, Chiara created gentle gusts of wind to propel the ship towards the dock while Aurora made the water under them rotate the ship until it was facing the entrance to the cave. Once docked, Laura lowered the gangplank with her telekinesis. Ashton spoke, "You girls stay here and unload the cargo. I need to head into town." But Serenade replied, "I'm coming too. You need me to dispel the barrier."

After disposing of the barrier around the estate, Ashton made his way to Green Mile with Serenade at his side. "May I ask why you insisted on coming?" The Gardevoir replied, "Just a hunch." Upon reaching Green Mile, the two siblings encountered Black Mist. "Told you I'd see you here. Come on. I'll show ya the way." The sultry captain led the two siblings to the castle, where they were readily allowed inside. Black Mist then guided them into the main hall, carefully eyeing the shinobi sentries hiding behind the many pillars. "I'll wait by the entrance. I'm sure you're the only one she wishes to see." Serenade also stayed behind with Black Mist. Silently, Ashton proceeded down the hall until he stood before the queen herself. They shared a long solemn gaze with each other before the queen sobbed, "I'm so sorry. I never should have allowed Serra to accompany you."

Ashton sighed, "I know it hurts. Serra threw her life away for my own." The queen wept, "She was always so devoted to you. You and her would have made an ideal couple should I have made it law for humans and Pokémon to be equals." Ashton frowned, "That is quite enough, my lady. You know why I am here, don't you?" The queen silently nodded and looked towards one of the shinobi guards. He nodded and vanished in a blur of blackness. A moment later, the shinobi appeared from nowhere with the partially frozen corpse of Serra. After setting her before the viscount, the shinobi returned to his post. Ashton then created a weak Flamethrower to carefully thaw Serra out. "There's no need to keep her preserved now. It won't be long before she receives a proper burial."

After hoisting Serra onto his back, Ashton smiled at the queen, "Thank you for keeping her preserved for so long." The queen nodded while wiping a tear away, "It was the least I could do for someone who saved me." But just as he was turning towards the door, Ashton looked back at the queen and asked, "Before I can forget, have you heard any rumors about something wandering this kingdom? Something in possession of a sword similar to my own?" The queen gave him a puzzled look, "What? No. You are the only person in this kingdom that wields a zweihander as large as yours. If something like that were seen in this land, rumors surely would have reached me. Why do you ask?" Ashton turned towards the exit, "Just a hunch....."

Shortly after leaving the castle, Black Mist spoke up, "I'll be around if you need me, Ashton. Try to cheer up. There are plenty of other girls out there. And I'm always available for a wedding." Ashton blushed, "I thought I told you I haven't decided yet." Black Mist laughed, "Fine, I get it. Just let me know when you make up your mind." She then gave him a playful wink as she headed towards the harbor. After a moment more, Ashton stopped. Serenade noticed and asked, "Something wrong, brother?" Ashton turned to his left, "We need to pick up a tombstone for Serra." Ahead of him was the local cathedral. Serenade gulped, "Ashton, that place makes me feel uneasy. You know how they are about humans and Pokémon together." Ashton replied, "Yes, but you and I are siblings. If they have a problem with that, they'll have to deal with me."

After stepping inside the cathedral, Ashton could hear multiple monks making their daily prayers. "May I help you?" A voice spoke from the right. Ashton turned to face the owner of the voice. "Father Pietro." The priest had tan skin and spiky brown hair while his eyes seemed to be shut at a glance. He was also quite elderly as his face was much wrinkled. "Ashton. I seldom see you here." The viscount spoke, "I need a tombstone for my childhood friend here." The priest nodded, "Yes, I know of the bond the Dragon Masters have with their partners. This way."

Father Pietro led Ashton to a side room filled with marble tombstones. "Choose whichever you like." Ashton pointed to one and Serenade walked over to it and levitated it with telekinesis. After handing Pietro some gold coins as payment, the two siblings turned to leave. But before they could reach the doors, Pietro spoke, "One moment, if you please." Ashton grumbled, (Something tells me I am not going to like this...) The priest spoke, "Ashton, I have heard disturbing rumors that you are performing the unthinkable with your servants behind closed doors. Although love is a beautiful thing, all God's creatures have their place in this world. And humans and Beasts are not meant to have that kind of relationship with each other. I'm certain that they are just rumors, but be careful to not stray down the path of evil."

Serenade brought her hands to her mouth, nearly losing her focus on the floating tombstone. (Don't lose it now, Ashton. Not here...) Ashton began to tremble, "What did you call them?" Ashton looked over his shoulder at the priest. Pietro staggered back at the sight of Ashton's eyes. They were now a fiery red. "You are extremely lucky that you are a holy man. But if you ever refer to my family as Beasts again, so help me, I will cut you down without a second thought. And don't tell me that Pokémon and humans cannot coexist like that when my only family are Pokémon. It's not that difficult to tell what is right and wrong." He then turned away from the frightened priest, "Good day to you, sir."

Once Ashton returned to the Crimson estate, he looked about for a proper place to bury Serra. He then noticed a bare spot to the right of the steps to the front door. "That looks about right." He then walked over to the spot and pointed to where he wanted the tombstone. Serenade nodded and set the tombstone down. Ashton then waited as Serenade raised a large chunk of earth out of the ground with psychic force. Ever so gently, the viscount lowered his beloved into the ditch. But before he instructed Serenade to cover the Salamence, he gave Serra one last tearful kiss. "Goodbye, my love." He then signaled for Serenade to lower the earth onto Serra, even though it still looked as if someone had gone at it with a shovel.

Ashton then went inside his home to fetch a chisel and hammer from the cellar. Once he came back outside, he pushed the tombstone on its back. He then began to chisel away at the face of the tombstone. After no less than twenty minutes, Ashton pulled the tombstone up until it was standing again. He nodded, satisfied with the result. "Serra, I will find love anew, but I will never forget the bond we shared." He then wiped his tears away as he entered his home for the evening.

On the tombstone, Ashton had inscribed, "Here lies Serra Crimson, fiancé to Ashton Redford Crimson. Died defending the one she loved. May her regal and fierce heart never be forgotten."
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