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 Angel's True Caliber

On the other side of the world in the Far East, a veil of darkness began to descend upon the towns and fields as the now midday sky became black as an eternal night began. As the evil sword Soul Edge reached its ultimate power, its own dark presence overshadowed the world as its twisted form became something out of a true nightmare. The Nightmare had ended, and the Night Terror had just begun.

Ashton could only stare up at the burning form of the Azure Knight as it underwent a horrific transformation after extracting a mere fragment of his soul after impaling him on the cursed sword itself. Now at maximum power, a feat that Soul Edge had never before achieved, it roared with inhuman ferocity as the evil sword's sentience began to boil down to pure destructive will. Once the laughter of the Azure Knight had been completely replaced with beastly growls, the burning mass dropped to the ground with a thunderous crash. Ashton, his father, and his eight lovers could only look on in sheer terror as the flames receded, revealing Soul Edge's ultimate form.

The purplish armor of the Azure Knight had disappeared and the strange void that held the two halves of its body together was nowhere to be seen. The being that stood before Ashton now seemed to be a living creature of flesh and blood instead of a monstrous golem. It was also somewhat larger than the Azure Knight and its hide was a dull crimson hue. A pair of large spikes jutted from its back above the spots where its wings were attached and a flap of thick hide rested against the sides of each upper leg like tassets. A slightly long segmented tail extended from its spine, a trait that was not present with the Azure Knight. Its feet lacked toes and both arms were large and ended with talons that had two sets of claws apart from each other. And in the palm of each talon was a gaping maw with fangs, but there did not seem to be any sign of a throat. But in its left talon rested a truly grotesque sword that seemed to be about twice as long and wide as the last one. The eye of Soul Edge had vanished from the sword and a long row of teeth lined the center of the blade from the base of the hilt to its very tip. A curved horn of sorts extended from the base of the hilt and looped under the talon that held it like a knuckle guard. The top edge of the sword was dull, but the opposite edge was clearly sharp as Soul Edge now seemed to be single-edged. But everyone could also see in the center of the monster's chest a molten core of orange flames that seemed to extend up the chest and down each arm, its veins glowing with unholy might. The head of the creature bore a slight resemblance to the head of the Azure Knight as a fairly long horn jutted from its forehead where the orange crystal spike used to be. However, its mouth could be seen in a small gap on the front, but it lacked lips as its teeth were constantly visible. And the beast's two eyes stared at its targets with a fiery yellow glow that lacked any intelligence beyond pure destructive will.

Siegfried crawled over to his fallen son and demanded, "Ashton, what the hell happened to it?" Ashton gagged as blood spurted from his mouth, "It would seem…..Soul Edge has reached its peak. It has reached maximum power, reaching a level that it has never achieved before." But Siegfried, with a tone of panic in his voice, spoke, "But is it the Azure Knight or not? You might call it the Azure Knight, but I don't see a speck of azure on it anymore!" Ashton then looked towards Chiara and asked, "Chiara… Do you know of anything else that may help identify that beast?" The Lugia shuddered, "There was a brief description alongside that prophecy… I remember it well…" She paused for a moment as she gazed at the horrifying body of Soul Edge. "The Nightmare will end. And only then, the never-ending Night Terror will begin." Ashton gagged, "Now that you mention it… Most reports of the Azure Knight have named it as Nightmare. So then this beast must be….." He then looked back towards the hulking abomination as it began to slowly approach him. "Night…Terror…"

As Night Terror approached its prey, Ashton pleaded, "Run! Leave me! I'll only slow you down!" But Ruby wept, "Never! We came here to bring you home, and that's what we'll do!" But Ashton replied, "Don't….. I won't survive this wound…" They all stared down at the absurd amount of blood that was pouring from the wound in his chest where he had been impaled upon Soul Edge. "I'm already as good as dead… Please…go. If you stay, it will kill you and our children." All eight of his lovers looked down at themselves, knowing that each of them contained at least one unborn child growing within their wombs. Before any of them could object, Ashton whispered, "I have a last request… Hide. Find a place where Soul Edge will never find you. Raise our children away from the fires of despair. And when they are old enough to understand….." A moment of silence passed before Ashton shed a single tear, "Tell my children…..that I love each and every one of them…"

All eight of Ashton's eight lovers were shedding tears as they listened to the love of their lives speak his final words. But as Night Terror drew near, Serenade gathered her courage and jumped in front of it with a hand raised. Siegfried gasped, "Serenade, don't!" But she cried, "Father, get my brother away from here! I'll hold it off!" She then focused her attention on Night Terror, "If you want my brother, you will have to get through me first!" But to their surprise, Night Terror stopped and merely stared at Serenade for a moment. But it then began to raise its demonic sword until the blade was partially pointing upwards on an angle. And then, something happened that made Serenade's skin crawl. The rows of teeth that lined the sides of the blade began to ripple as if there was something under them. Suddenly, the sword ripped open at the center to reveal a long narrow mouth as a slender tongue lashed about! The true form of Soul Edge was more than just a living sword. It was a living sword with an appetite!

Serenade's eyes began to quiver in horror as she looked into the maw of Soul Edge as the blade's two fanged halves joined at the very base of the hilt. It then seemed to lick its tongue over its teeth as if inspecting its meal. A moment later, the sword let out a horrible shriek as it decided that it was time to feast. And yet, Serenade could only look on, paralyzed with fright. But Ashton then screamed, "SERENADE!" At that instant, Serenade let out a scream and raised her hands as she projected a barrier around her. The jaws of Soul Edge clamped down hard around her, but were kept at bay by the psychic force as Serenade kept her eyes closed shut while whimpering in fear.

Chiara's eyes began to glow a faint blue as she glared at Night Terror. A second later, a Psychic blast sent the beast and its sword flying backwards. After that, she held one of her large hands open and pulled Serenade towards her at high speed until she landed in the Lugia's open palm. After setting the Gardevoir down, Chiara spoke, "Honor your brother's last wish. Don't throw your life away for nothing." The eight ladies looked down at their lover one last time to see him smile. Ashton then looked up at his father, "Father… I leave them to you." Siegfried did his best not to cry, and signaled for the ladies to follow him. But before they had even gone ten feet, they turned at the sound of Night Terror running towards them. For something that bulky, it was surprisingly swift.

Night Terror was about to run right into Ashton, but came to a stop just in front of him. It looked down at the viscount before looking back at the other nine. After a moment, Night Terror decided to go after the one that was closer and raised its sword as the jaws closed tightly. It then turned the sword around and held it in a reverse grip with the tip pointing down at Ashton. As they watched their lover about to be murdered, the eight ladies turned away in tears. They were desperate to help, but knew that any effort they made would be futile. Siegfried clenched his fists and shuddered, (Starlet, I could not save him…) But as Night Terror raised its talon a little higher for some momentum, it staggered back with a frightened shriek as a bright light shone forth from Ashton's wound!

Siegfried looked on as the terrifying monster seemed to be unable to approach Ashton. "Is it…afraid?" Ashton looked down at the wound in his torso as beautiful rays of bright blue light engulfed it. To his surprise, the pain was gone and he did not feel cold anymore. And at such close range, he could make out something sticking out of the deep gash. "Is…something there?" As he reached into the light with his right hand, his father and eight lovers came closer as they could see that Night Terror was not able to resist the light. Slowly, Ashton pulled something out of the wound. When he finally extracted whatever was lodged in his body, the light began to die down. When the shine receded, Ashton and everyone else present gazed in awe at what Ashton held in his hand.

"It's…beautiful…" Aurora said with a whisper. In Ashton's hand was a sword that had a hilt that was too short to be held with both hands. The entire thing was composed of a beautiful blue alloy. But at about 1/3 up the blade, the blade became two. The sword had two blades that were barely separated from each other. But just then, Zandria shouted, "Ashton, your wound!" Snapping back to his senses, Ashton looked down at his chest to find that the wound had vanished! That and even his armor had been restored! "This sword…healed me?" But Ruby asked, "What in the world is it?" However, as he gazed at the sword a moment longer, two words escaped Ashton's lips. "Soul Calibur."

Siegfried turned to his son and asked, "Wait… Did you say Soul CALIBUR?" Ashton nodded, "Yes… The words just popped into my head." But Chiara whispered, "Soul Calibur… The Sword of Salvation…" Laura asked, "You know about it?" The Lugia shook her head, "Hardly. Even though there is little information on Soul Edge, the amount of information on Soul Calibur makes Soul Edge seem like a household name!" Laika asked, "It's that mysterious?" The Lugia nodded, "Yes. From what I have managed to uncover, it would seem that Soul Calibur remains hidden from humanity. And it seems that it only reveals itself when Soul Edge's power reaches critical levels." Ashton grunted, "And Night Terror is as critical as it gets. Although it was a bit late this time. As it is now, I'm not sure if even Soul Calibur can match Soul Edge." But Ruby pointed out, "Even if Soul Calibur is weaker than it, Night Terror seems to be afraid of it. See?" The Lucario pointed at the hulking monster as it stood its ground about thirty paces from them. It had raised its right arm to try and shield its eyes from the rays of light being emitted by the spirit sword.

Serenade requested, "Ashton, we should leave. If Night Terror is frightened by Soul Calibur, then it should stay away from us. We can't win against it, so we should retreat." But Ashton slowly climbed to his feet, "Actually, I couldn't ask for a better opportunity." Chiara asked, "Opportunity? To do what?" Ashton smirked, "To destroy Soul Edge once and for all." Aurora gasped, "My lord, what are you saying?" Ashton explained, "I don't know. The knowledge just popped into my head the instant I took Soul Calibur into my hand. And this is a once in a lifetime chance." But Ruby pleaded, "Are you mad? You just said it yourself! Even Soul Calibur may not have the power to stand against Soul Edge now! Why try to fight it?" But Ashton replied, "True. Night Terror is undeniably Soul Edge at its absolute most powerful. However….. It is also at its most vulnerable." Laika asked, "Most…vulnerable?" Ashton then glared at Night Terror, "Should Night Terror fall, the souls that have been devoured by Soul Edge throughout the centuries will finally be released. And Soul Edge itself will forever cease to exist!" He then whispered, "Garyson….. Hold on just a little longer. I'll get you out of there soon."

Zandria extended her claws, "If that's the case, we'll back you up." But Ashton placed his spare hand on her shoulder, "No. All of you wait for me at the edge of the forest. I must face this beast alone." But Cassandra pleaded, "No, we can help! Even if Soul Edge devours our souls, our bodies will still be alive. That means our children will be unharmed as well. Once Night Terror has been slain, our souls will return to our bodies." Ashton grumbled, "Yes, that would be the case if Soul Edge devoured your souls. But that's impossible now." Laura shrieked, "What do you mean? If our souls are devoured, our bodies will still be fine!" Ashton replied, "True, but Soul Edge no longer has any interest in that! Now that it has reached its ultimate power, Soul Edge no longer needs to devour souls. All it seeks now is to destroy." He then gave his eight lovers a worried gaze, "If you attack, Night Terror WILL kill you. And if you die, our children will die with you. There will be nothing I can do to bring you back." He then smiled a little, "I promised all of you that I would never die and leave you behind. Now you must promise me that you will stay alive so our family will be born."

Siegfried spoke, "Ashton, I still have my doubts about this. Are you sure you can handle this monster?" Ashton sighed, "Soul Calibur appeared in my hand for a reason. It thinks that I am the best-suited for confronting Soul Edge. Have faith in me." The word 'faith' struck a spot in his eight lover's hearts. They all smiled as they gathered near him. "Hm? Something you want to say?" They each smiled and leaned towards him. Ruby whispered, "We have faith in you, Ashton. Don't let us down." Ashton sighed, "I won't. I will see you again shortly." They then backed away from him and began to head south. Ashton turned to Siegfried and nodded, "Father, I'm entrusting their safety to you." The Gallade smiled, "Got it. Make us proud, my boy." He then followed the eight ladies to the southeast towards the edge of the Dead Forest.

Ashton reached down and picked up the Flamberge in his right hand after placing Soul Calibur in his left. He then looked ahead at Night Terror, who was still standing its ground. He spoke, "This is it, Soul Edge. Live or die. Neither of us can exist for long while the other lives." He then closed his eyes as the Z-shaped scars under his eyes became bolder. Ashton then opened his eyes and glared at Night Terror, his eyes a fiery red. "Prepare yourself, Soul Edge! I'm giving this duel everything I've got!" At that instant, Soul Calibur began to shine brilliantly as it began to grow. After a moment, the shine dimmed somewhat, revealing a zweihander that was no shorter than the Flamberge. Near the hilt, a beautiful blue crystal orb shimmered with Soul Calibur's will. The blade was slightly wider than the Flamberge and just as thick. But unlike before, the blade was no longer composed of a blue metal. The entire sword, blade and hilt, was a beautiful translucent blue crystal. Ashton gazed down at Soul Calibur's true form. "It changed. This crystalline form… It is Soul Calibur's purest state." He then stretched as he bent backwards slightly. A pair of large wings composed of flames emerged from his back, shimmering with a rainbow of colors. "I am the Angel of the Eternal Flame. And like an angel from the heavens, I will smite the evil demons that wish to destroy this world. Brace yourself, Soul Edge! I vow to vanquish you!"

Ashton stood ready with dual zweihanders in hand, but Night Terror backed away slightly before letting out a growl. It then spread its flaming wings before leaping into the air. Despite its bulky form, Night Terror was quite graceful as it hovered in place. It then flew above the trees and soared to the northwest. Ashton frowned, "It fled? Does Soul Edge really fear Soul Calibur so?" Ashton then took to the air himself as his rainbow wings scattered embers with each flap. As he cleared the Dead Forest, Ashton shouted, "You won't get away from me!"

Despite the unnatural inky blackness of the night brought on by Soul Edge's unholy power, Ashton could very easily make out the form of Night Terror soaring through the air ahead of him due to its wings being made of fiery orange flames. It was also moving through the air at surprisingly high speed. Even so, Ashton had no intention of letting Soul Edge escape, so he took off in pursuit with his wings flapping in a steady rhythm.

Night Terror's bulky form made it less streamlined and slower as the air pressed against it. As Ashton gained on the nightmarish beast, Night Terror turned around while flying backwards and faced the viscount in the distance. Ashton soon noticed a strange yellowish glow near the creature's head. A few seconds later, a volley of lasers was launched in rapid succession at Ashton! But the Angel of the Eternal Flame did not flinch as he faced the onslaught and flew head-on into the fray. He held his wings straight and went into a glide as he flew between the lasers that nearly clipped his armor. One even shot past his ear. Night Terror seemed to be frightened by Ashton's will of iron and continued to flee from him.

After chasing Night Terror for a short while, Ashton felt that he had closed the gap between them enough. He locked his wings in place and made a wide swerve as he turned sideways. After working his way to Night Terror's right, Ashton held his two swords flat against his sides to minimize air resistance. "Let's try this. Sky Attack." As his speed increased, Ashton's body became enshrouded with flames until he took on an undeniably avian form. Night Terror soon heard a whistling of sorts and looked to its right, only to be nailed by the deadly strike a second later. A massive burst of flames erupted from the impact and Night Terror let out a roar as it fell from the sky. Ashton came out of his dive and hovered in place to check his bearings. Once he spotted Night Terror falling towards the earth, he went into a dive as he pursued Soul Edge once again.

After falling a good distance, Night Terror flapped its wings to right itself and hovered in place. At that moment, a bright yellow orb began to glow in front of its face. Ashton knew what was coming next. "Darn it! I'm falling too fast! Can't…evade…" But just before Night Terror could fire, Ashton noticed a sudden flicker of orange light somewhere near the ground. A few seconds later, a beam of orange energy was fired directly into Night Terror! The beast was taken by surprise, but seemed mostly unharmed as it fell to the ground with a thud. Ashton managed to come out of his dive in time to gently land. "Where did that attack come from?" A second later, a high-pitched cry replied to Ashton's question and something flew towards him. "A Dragonair…..? Wait….. Dimitri?"

The Dragonair flew over to Ashton and coiled around him before nuzzling his face. "How long has it been? So good to see you again, old friend. Wait a minute….. Just where am I?" Ashton glanced around, "Am I in the Dragon's Den? Just how far did I fly?" But he then glanced over to Night Terror and gagged as he saw it climb to its feet. "No way… Even a Hyper Beam didn't faze it!" When it glared over at Ashton, Dimitri lunged at it. "Dimitri, don't!" But when the Dragonair came within reach, the massive sword opened its jaws and took a snap at him.

Dimitri began to weave and twist his long slender body to evade the snapping jaws of Soul Edge. With each thrust, the jaws would snap shut sideways. But after a few dozen strikes, Dimitri slithered up Night Terror's arm and used Wrap to constrict its body. The monster squirmed a little, but could not move its arms very much. Ashton laughed, "Nice one! Now just hold it steady for a moment….. What?" Night Terror folded its wings forward as it hunkered slightly. Ashton knew what was coming and screamed, "Dimitri, let go! Get outta there!" But a second later, a massive dome of blue soul energy exploded out from Night Terror's body, sending the Dragonair flying. Ashton stood his ground as he waited for the dust to settle. He then spotted Dimitri a short distance away from him. Although bruised and burned slightly, he was alive. "That was close. With him being as tightly wound around Night Terror as he was, that explosion would've torn him apart."

Night Terror ran towards Dimitri with Soul Edge in its left hand. But before it could reach the wounded Dragonair, Ashton jumped in front of him and shouted, "Have you forgotten? I am your opponent, Soul Edge!" He then took a swing with Soul Calibur, sending the beast falling backwards with a slash to its shoulder. While Night Terror was stunned, Ashton turned to Dimitri and spoke, "You OK?" The Dragonair weakly replied with a quiet coo. Ashton smiled, "Thank you for trying. But I am the only one who can destroy this beast. If you try to aid me, you'll only…hm?" Ashton turned to face Night Terror as it let out an angry roar. He placed the Flamberge on his back and took Soul Calibur into both hands. As the monster made a dash at him, he shouted, "Don't interrupt us!" Ashton then plunged the crystal blade of Soul Calibur into the ground, sending a wave of crystals jutting out of the ground as they grew like weeds. The crystals quickly reached Night Terror and grew all over it, encrusting it like a layer of ice. The beast roared and growled as it struggled to break free. As the crystals began to crack, Ashton turned to Dimitri, "Get out of here. I will survive this fight, but you must promise me that you will stay away from that thing." The Dragonair weakly nodded before spreading his feathered ears. He then flew off to a safer region of the Dragon's Den.

Ashton took the Flamberge into his right hand again as Night Terror broke free from the crystals encrusting its body. But it did not attempt to flee, even though Ashton was holding Soul Calibur a little higher into the air to try and intimidate it. In fact, it seemed to be extremely defiant of the spirit sword. Ashton grumbled, "Looks like it's done running. I guess it's time to get serious." Night Terror then raised Soul Edge and performed a powerful horizontal swing. A fiery shockwave was flung at Ashton by the sheer force of the swing, knocking Ashton off his feet. "What the…? Where'd that come from?" But before he could recover from the blast, Night Terror was right up in Ashton's face. It then slammed Ashton in the chest with its massive right talon, causing the knight to drop to his knees while gasping. It felt as if someone had taken a swing at him with a blacksmith's hammer.

Ashton glanced up at Night Terror and gasped in horror as it held Soul Edge above him. A second later, it brought the blade down hard, impaling Ashton through the back. Night Terror then raised a talon to the sky and let out a roar. A second later, a bolt of unholy lightning struck the hilt of Soul Edge and was directed into Ashton's body. Once Night Terror removed the blade, Ashton was sure he was about to die. But he then noticed the crystal orb near Soul Calibur's hilt begin to shine. A few seconds later, Ashton felt the pain disappear and the blood stopped flowing. Even his armor seemed to have been repaired. "Did Soul Calibur…..heal me?" But Ashton then looked up and saw Night Terror once again preparing to impale him. "Not this time!" Ashton flapped his wings to get himself off the ground and above Night Terror, but the beast still plunged Soul Edge into the ground. When it struck the earth, a massive shockwave radiated in all directions. The earth was cracked and a sphere of demonic force blew Ashton skyward.

"What…the…hell…?" Ashton managed to shout as he was sent soaring into the air while facing upwards. Once he was able right himself, Ashton noticed that he was no longer holding his swords. He glanced downwards and saw Soul Calibur and the Flamberge falling. Ashton then held out his hands and sent a rope of flames out of each of his palms. The ropes then grabbed the two swords by their hilts. When the ropes of flames retracted back to Ashton's hands, he grabbed the swords as they came within reach. "Good. Now where is….." But before he could finish his sentence, Ashton froze as he felt Soul Edge's presence right behind him. "Touché." A second later, the monster split Ashton in two at the waist with a swift stroke of its sword. But the two halves of his body were suddenly engulfed in puffs of white smoke as many light blue crystals fell. A voice then spoke from behind Night Terror, "Thank goodness for Substitution." Ashton then began to hack and slash away at Night Terror from behind before bringing both swords down with an overhead swing, sending the unholy apparition plummeting to the ground below them.

Night Terror let out a grunt as it flapped its burning wings to stop its descent. Ashton grumbled, "Well that didn't work." But he then noticed the area around them. They were in the Dragon's Den. "If we stay here, the creatures that reside here may get caught in the crossfire." Ashton then laughed, "What's wrong, Soul Edge? Feeling a little TOO full of souls? Guess you should go on a diet for a while!" Night Terror let out a growl as it heard Ashton's insult. The viscount shouted, "If you think you're not overweight, prove it! Catch me if you can!" He then took off to the southeast back towards Rohta. Night Terror took the bait and began to pursue the fleeing knight at high speed. As they flew away, Dimitri gazed up at the glowing wings of Ashton. He offered a silent prayer for Ashton to survive this duel.

Ashton flapped his wings hard to remain ahead of Night Terror as they reentered Rohta's territory. He glanced over his shoulder to check his distance between Night Terror. "That thing is much faster than it looks. Won't be long before it catches up to me." But a few minutes after turning away from his pursuer, Ashton thought he heard a strange noise coming up behind him. "What is it up to this time?" But when Ashton looked over his shoulder, Night Terror was diving towards him while going into some sort of spin! "Oh sh…" Ashton was cut off as the beast drilled into his backside as it began to bulldoze the viscount across the black sky.

Ashton was finally released from the attack as they flew over the Dead Forest once again. Ashton went into a fall for a moment as he reeled from the blow, but caught his breath and flapped his wings to right himself. "This has gone on long enough!" He then turned to Night Terror and flew at him with both swords in hand, but the beast swung its own sword at him to repel him. Ashton kept swinging both swords to try and reach the beast, but Night Terror was much quicker than he and Soul Edge would even snap at Ashton with its fangs. After a moment, Night Terror unleashed a sphere of soul energy from around its body, blowing Ashton a good distance away. "Whoa! Didn't expect that!" Ashton then hovered in place as he kept his distance.

"What does it take? Flames have no affect and my weapons are too short! That sword is twice as long as my own! I can't strike it if it can reach me first! Think, Ashton….. There must be some way…" Just then, he recalled the moment when he was about to duel Night Terror. He remembered when Soul Calibur grew from a small singlehanded sword into a massive zweihander. "It grew….. Then perhaps….." Ashton then adjusted his grip on the Flamberge until he was holding it in a reverse grip. "Soul Calibur, please…" Ashton then joined the two swords at the tip of their hilts. A second later, the crystalline hilt of Soul Calibur began to creep over the hilt of the Flamberge until they were firmly fused together. Ashton held the new weapon out from him to examine it. His two zweihanders had fused into a single colossal double-bladed weapon. "A sword of flames and a sword of souls… Soulfire…" Ashton then glared ahead at Night Terror, "My weapon is now twice as long as before. Stop me if you can!" He then flew towards Night Terror with his new weapon in one hand.

Once Ashton was about to reach the beast, he grabbed the hilt of the Soulfire with both hands and took a swing at Night Terror with the half that was Soul Calibur. To counter this, Night Terror struck the blade with Soul Edge. But once the blades met, Ashton followed up by directing the half that was the Flamberge into the side of Night Terror. The beast shrieked in pain as the heavy blade sank into its flesh. "This is just what I needed!" Ashton then began to spin and twirl the massive weapon as Night Terror struggled to fend off the attacks. But while it was busy dealing with both blades, it had no time to attack Ashton. But it finally had an idea and made the jaws of Soul Edge open wide and grabbed the blade of the Flamberge with its teeth. As Ashton struggled to pull free, the beast gave a sharp yank, breaking the sword from Soul Calibur's crystal hilt. Night Terror then punched Ashton with its spare talon, sending the knight flying away from it. It then took a swing with Soul Edge and released the Flamberge mid-swing, sending it soaring towards Ashton. He was only barely able to evade his own sword as it slashed by his face, leaving a deep scratch in his cheek.

Ashton looked around frantically for his sword. "Where is it? Where did it go?" But after a moment, Ashton yelled, "I lost it! How dare he? That sword was a custom!" But he then remembered to never take his eyes off the enemy and turned to face Night Terror. But his face turned pale as volleys of yellow rays of light were fired from Night Terror's eyes and mouth. The rays of evil light shot through Ashton's body, making it feel as if his own body was burning from the inside. Once the rays had run their course, Night Terror flew right up to the suffering knight and slammed the side of Soul Edge into his face, sending the knight falling towards the border of the Dead Forest.

Ashton braced himself for impact as he fell towards the ground. But just before he could collide with the earth, Ashton felt himself suddenly stop. "What? Am I floating?" A second later, someone grabbed his hand and helped him to his feet. Ashton recognized the large feathered hand immediately. "Chiara?" He found himself surrounded by his eight lovers and his father. Siegfried asked, "So, how goes it? Did you manage to bring that beast down?" Ashton groaned, "Not yet. That thing keeps repelling everything I throw at it. At this rate, Night Terror just may turn out to be a true immortal." But Laura then shrieked, "What is that? What kind of sword are you holding?" Ashton looked down at his large crystal sword and smiled, "Oh, this? It's Soul Calibur. Apparently this is its true form." But Serenade asked, "But it doesn't even look as though it's made of metal anymore. It looks more like some kind of crystal." Ashton shook his head, "Don't ask me how it changed form, all right? I'm not a sage."

Ashton then looked to the western sky and could see the flaming wings of Night Terror as it hovered in place, waiting for him to return and continue the duel. "I can't retreat now. I need to see this through to the end." Ashton brought Soul Calibur to his right hand and took a deep breath. Ruby then grabbed his empty left hand and gave him a pleading gaze. "Come back in one piece." He smiled, "I will never abandon any of you." Siegfried then gave his son a pat on the back, "Go get em, my boy." Ashton nodded before spreading his wings wide, "Don't worry. I won't be long this time." He then soared towards Night Terror with Soul Calibur shining with holy energy. "This is it. I'm going to end this with one blow."

Night Terror could see its prey returning to continue the fight. But it soon noticed a slight change in Ashton's approach. He was not intending to continue the fight. He was going to end it here. Night Terror grunted as it accepted Ashton's challenge and swooped towards the knight with Soul Edge in its left talon. After a brief charge, Night Terror and Ashton neared the space above the very center of the Dead Forest. Ashton raised Soul Calibur with his right hand while Night Terror did the same with Soul Edge in its left talon. The two foes then thrust their swords forward as they aimed to settle this duel for good.

When the tips of the two soul swords collided, there was a massive shockwave as the two combatants tried to overpower each other. Fiery red unholy energy flared past Night Terror while bluish holy energy billowed past Ashton. The very air seemed to quiver with tension as the two legendary powers grappled to overcome their other half.

Ashton grunted as he felt Soul Edge's unholy might bearing down on him. Even with the power of the Eternal Flame backing Soul Calibur, Soul Edge's strength still surpassed him. "No… I can't die yet….. Not like this….." He then pleaded in his soul, (Please… Someone. ANYONE. I need more strength. If I fall, Soul Edge will reduce the world to ashes. Please. I don't want my children to live in a world of hellfire without ever knowing their father!)

Night Terror growled in satisfaction as Ashton was pushed to his limit. Soon, the Angel of the Eternal Flame would fall. And then the rest of the world would be become like a lamb to the slaughter. But just when it seemed Soul Calibur was about to shatter under Soul Edge's power, a shimmering blue glow engulfed Ashton. It was not the doing of Soul Calibur. And it was not a glimmer of the Eternal Flame. It was his Aura! Ashton let out a roar as he pressed into the strike. Cracking sounds could be heard as Soul Edge began to strain under the power of this almighty power. Then, the tip of Soul Edge shattered as the fragments were reduced to dust. The rest of the sword soon followed as Soul Calibur burrowed through it. As Soul Calibur was about to be run through its body, a flicker of intelligence returned to Soul Edge's mind. (Impossible! This boy… This lowly human….is a descendant of the Hero of the Wave?)

Ashton gave every ounce of strength he had as he shot past Night Terror, plunging Soul Calibur into the molten core on its chest. As he came to a stop and turned around while hovering, Ashton could feel his strength wavering. "That's it. If that didn't do it….." But Night Terror seemed to merely float in place as if time had come to a halt. But a moment later, a beam of holy energy ruptured out of its burly right shoulder! Soul Edge came to its senses as Soul Calibur's holy power began to tear Night Terror apart from the inside. More and more bursts of holy light exploded from the evil beast. But as its existence came to its final moment, Night Terror suddenly cast its gaze to the edge of the Dead Forest as it looked upon Ashton's eight lovers. Its eyes shook as it scanned them, but it soon locked eyes with Zandria for a split second before it was consumed with agony. And a moment later, Night Terror let out a deafening roar as a mighty flash of holy light exploded out of the unholy monster. When the light receded, the form of Night Terror collapsed into countless bright blue wisps of light as Soul Edge vanished from the world for the final time.

Ashton dropped into the Dead Forest below as his wings of rainbow flames dispersed into many embers. He landed with a thud as he gasped for breath. But as he looked to the sky, Ashton noticed something odd about the many blue lights that filled the black sky. There were far too many to count. As the stars and clouds returned to the night sky, most of the lights ascended above the clouds while many others descended into the earth. And a fairly large number, a few hundred at most, flew across the sky to the south. Ashton gasped, "Those must've been the souls that Soul Edge had devoured throughout the ages." He then smiled, "Head on home, Garyson. I'll see you tomorrow." He then climbed to his feet and made his way east.

After emerging from the Dead Forest, Ashton glanced around. "Wait, did I come out too far off the main path?" He then heard someone call his name from the south. He then noticed his father and eight lovers running towards him. "Um…slow down for a minute. I'm not in the best shape." They then came to a stop before him, but Siegfried asked, "Ashton, are you OK? Nothing broken?" Ashton sighed, "I'll live. But it's over now. Soul Edge is gone forever. And did you happen to see those lights flying south?" Aurora asked, "Those? Do you suppose those were the souls of Verdant's population?" Ashton nodded, "Most likely." But Cassandra then asked, "But what are you going to do with your new sword?" Ashton only then noticed that Soul Calibur was still in his hand.

Ashton raised Soul Calibur and held it in both hands. "Why is it still here?" Chiara asked, "Why? Was it supposed to vanish?" Ashton explained, "Soul Calibur was created for the sole purpose of destroying Soul Edge. But now that Soul Edge no longer exists, why does Soul Calibur remain?" But just then, the blade of Soul Calibur began to lean towards Ashton. He tried to restrain it, but the side of the crystal blade soon rested against his shoulder. Just then, a beautiful voice spoke, "Please, young master…" Everyone present froze. The voice seemed to come from everywhere. Laika growled, "Who goes there?" The voice spoke again, "Do not be afraid. I reside in your master's hands." Ashton gasped, "You are…Soul Calibur?" The spirit sword replied, "Yes. Though I am not a living sword like Soul Edge, I too have a soul of my own."

Zandria smirked, "Judging by that voice, Soul Calibur must be a real beauty of a woman. I wouldn't be surprised if she has the hots for you, Ashton." The viscount grumbled, "Zandria….." But Soul Calibur spoke, "Please, young master. Listen to me." Ashton looked down at the shining crystal orb near the sword's hilt. The spirit sword spoke, "Soul Edge has been destroyed for the final time. My purpose has been fulfilled. I no longer have a reason to exist. However….." Soul Calibur paused for a moment, but then went on, "As you dueled Soul Edge, I was able to see into your soul while you held me in your hand. And as I viewed your past, I began to feel something that I had never experienced before." Ashton asked, "And what was it?" Soul Calibur explained, "I am not certain. But I believe you living creatures call it 'love'." Ashton blushed, "Excuse me?" Soul Calibur explained, "I felt a type of calmness I had never felt before as I rested in your hand. I felt a need. A desire to protect you." Soul Calibur then pleaded, "Young master, please. Allow me to remain by your side. To be at your beck and call whenever danger arises." Ashton remained silent for a moment, but soon smiled, "I would be honored to have you in my company, Soul Calibur." The sword then began to shrink. "I thank you for your hospitality, young master. But for now….I wish to...sleep…" When Soul Calibur's beautiful voice ceased, the spirit sword had returned to its smaller metallic form. Ashton held it in one hand, "I better remember to get a sheath for this."

Ashton tried to walk forward, but stumbled and dropped to one knee. "Oops. Looks like that duel took more out of me than I expected." Aurora then stepped forward, "Allow me, Ashton. I can carry you for the time being." But as Chiara levitated Ashton up to the Suicune, he objected, "Aurora, I don't think that is a good idea. You are with child. Are you sure the extra weight will not bother you?" She smiled, "Ashton, I am stronger than I appear. And I am sure our child would not mind her father riding her mother for a short while." Ashton could only smile as he laid face down on the Suicune. "If you insist. Oh, and Father? Could you hold this for now?" He handed Soul Calibur to the Gallade. Siegfried took it in hand, "Absolutely. Just let me know where you want it when we get home." But as the group began to head east, they stopped at a strange presence. Serenade asked, "Did you hear that?" They all turned around and gazed in awe at what was happening to the Dead Forest. The bare twisted trees began to thicken and straighten. The branches began to grow leaves and flowers. Soon, the entire Dead Forest was abounding with new life. Ashton muttered, "The disappearance of Soul Edge undid the effects its blood caused. The forest has been…..reborn." After admiring the new forest, the group turned and continued east. From that day forward, the Dead Forest was renamed the Forest of Rebirth.

When the entourage came within view of Verdant, Ruby pointed, "What's that over there?" A little ways off to the right was a large sword with its blade stuck in the earth. Ashton breathed a sigh of relief, "So that's where it ended up. I was worried that the Flamberge was gone for good. Ruby, could you please retrieve it?" But Zandria barked, "Ashton, shame on you! Asking a pregnant girl to carry such a heavy object?" But the Lucario objected, "It's no trouble at all! Just watch." She then ran over to the sword and yanked it out of the ground. She carried it over her shoulder, "See? We Lucario may be a bit small, but we have a lot of power in our bodies." Zandria grunted, "Huh. I stand corrected."

When they reached the center of Verdant, Siegfried stopped and spoke, "Hold on a moment. It's very late. It'll take you hours to return to Green Mile, so why not stay at my place tonight?" But Serenade asked, "Father, are there enough guest rooms for everyone?" Siegfried looked them over, "There are seven guest rooms while you and Ashton's rooms are still there. So there should be just enough." Ashton nodded, "I'm all for it. The sooner I can get to bed, the better." Siegfried smiled, "Good to hear. Now, it's quite dark in the Viridian Forest at this time, so stay close." The Gallade then led his family to the north.

After trekking through the Viridian Forest for about twenty minutes or so, Siegfried stopped. "Ah yes, right this way." He then led them through the underbrush until they stood in a clearing where a modest cottage stood. Ruby asked, "Where are we?" Ashton replied, "This is where I lived until I turned thirteen years of age." Ruby smiled, "It's a very cute cottage." Serenade giggled, "I'm glad you think so, Ruby. Allow me to introduce you." She and Siegfried led the others to the front door and inside.

Siegfried spoke, "Starlet, I know I was out later than I claimed I'd be, but I hope you can forgive me." At this, a Gardevoir walked into view with a slightly annoyed expression on her face. "I should say so. Your dinner has gone cold. Oh?" She then noticed the guests behind him. "So many guests! And…oh my! Ashton?" She ran over to her son and helped him to the floor. "Are you all right? What happened?" The knight wheezed, "Soul Edge….. Gave me one hell of a fight…" Starlet threw her arms around her son, "I feared the worst. But at least you're not gravely wounded." She then took a step back and noticed the Lucario standing near him. "Oh? I don't recognize you. What is your name, dear?" The Lucario bowed, "My name is Ruby. And you must be Lady Starlet." The Gardevoir smiled, "I am. And you must be my son's fiancé. And I see my grandchild is growing well." She ran her hand along Ruby's swollen belly. Ruby blushed, "Yes, it is. I should be due in a few weeks." Ashton then groaned, "Forgive me for butting in, but I really need to sit down." Starlet giggled, "I can imagine. Siegfried, please show our guests to their rooms." The Gallade nodded, "Will do. Ladies, this way please." He then led the seven girls to the stairs leading underground while Serenade headed towards her own bedroom. Starlet turned to Ashton, "I'll get a warm bath ready for you, dear. Just wait here for a little while."

A short while later, most of Ashton's lovers had drifted off to sleep while Ashton washed up in the bathroom of his home. Siegfried and Starlet were sitting in the dining room while sipping some tea. Siegfried soon noticed Starlet's forlorn expression and asked, "Something on your mind, dear?" Starlet simply sighed and said nothing. Siegfried recognized this behavior and asked, "You pining for Ashton again?" The Gardevoir silently nodded. The Gallade was not surprised. Although they were a very happy couple, Starlet's love for her adopted son could not escape Siegfried's notice.

Siegfried sighed, "Are you really so in love with him?" Starlet quietly nodded, "Do not get me wrong. You are the one true love of my life. But Ashton is very close to that point as well. I cannot describe it. I am…..drawn to him. I have always desired him along with you." Siegfried brought a hand to his chin, "I can see why. Ashton is very popular with the ladies, even when he tries not to be. I mean look at him. He has not one or two, but eight lovely ladies all over him, including his own sister. I'm not surprised you would feel at least some desire for him." Starlet sighed, "I cannot help it. I want him so badly, I could die. And yet, I know it will never be." But Siegfried laughed, "Oh what the hell, I say go for it."

Starlet glanced ahead at her husband, "Go for it? What are you saying?" Siegfried smiled, "Ashton has eight separate women falling for him. And they are all pregnant with his children. I have also noticed that they are not the least bit jealous of each other. That can only mean that he treats them equally without picking favorites. So if he can handle eight, why not nine?" Starlet nearly choked on her tea as she heard Siegfried's analysis. She asked, "But…..he is your son! Are you really not against this?" Siegfried nodded, "If he was indeed my own flesh and blood, I would likely be against it. Incest does come with risks. However, Ashton has no blood ties with us, so there is no risk to speak of." But Starlet slowly brought a hand to her belly, "But it's not just that. I also wish to bear his child." Siegfried smiled, "I'm not surprised. You always did enjoy your fertility. If you want another child, I won't stop you. But if Ashton refuses, please honor his decision." Starlet was silent for a moment, but then gave her husband a loving gaze, "Siegfried, I am the luckiest woman in the land to have found you as a husband." The Gallade blushed, "Oh please, I just want you to be happy."

After wrapping himself in a robe, Ashton made his way downstairs to check on his seven lovers before going to bed. The warm bath had soothed his sore body quite nicely. When he made his way downstairs, Ashton found that each of them was asleep. He then made his way back upstairs and to his bedroom. He then slipped into some clean undergarments and climbed in bed. But after no more than a minute, he heard a knock at the door. He turned and saw his mother standing in the doorway with a lit candle in hand. "Mother?" The Gardevoir smiled, "Did that bath make you feel better?" Ashton nodded, "Yes. My aching muscles feel much less sore now."

Starlet closed and locked the door before placing the candle on a desk. She then took a seat on his bed. "You look even more like a man now." Ashton chuckled, "That's probably because I just returned from battle." But Starlet then smiled, "All right, I just can't wait any longer. Let's get started, shall we?" Before Ashton could reply, Starlet's flowing white dress began to shimmer. A moment later, it disappeared. Starlet now sat before Ashton with her bare white flesh exposed. "Are you ready?"

Ashton gulped, "Again? Mother, I do not believe this is a good idea. What if Father learns of this?" But Starlet giggled, "Oh, he already knows. And he has given me his consent." Ashton gulped, "He…knows? And he has nothing against it?" Starlet explained, "He knows how you manage eight lovers at one time without choosing favorites. He felt there was no harm in adding a ninth. And it's not just that." Starlet then crawled over to Ashton and gave him a most beautiful gaze. "Ashton, I want to bear your child."

Ashton began to sweat profusely at what his mother just asked of him. "Mother….. You can't be serious…" But the Gardevoir tenderly caressed his face, "It is not true incest. You and I have no blood ties. There is no risk." She then leaned forward and embraced him while pressing her milk-swollen breasts against his chest. "Please, my dear Ashton." But Ashton replied, "Not only does this feel wrong, but it is also not the right time. We did this just last night and you were not very fertile then." But Starlet giggled, "True, I was not fertile then. But today is the start of my period. If you were to make love with me tonight, there is no doubt in my mind that I would become pregnant." Ashton sighed, "I give up. I just can't resist someone as beautiful as you, Mother." The Gardevoir smiled, "That's what I want to hear. Now make me a mother all over again, Ashton."

Ashton and Starlet joined lips as they pressed into a most passionate kiss. It became noisy and messy as time passed and they soon broke the kiss with deep blushes on their faces. Starlet then pulled the covers back and then stripped Ashton of his robe and undergarments. "Go easy on me, Mother. I'm still feeling a tad tired from that duel." Starlet nodded and gently cupped his testicles with her hands. She tenderly caressed the two orbs that would plant new life in her womb. Ashton shuddered at the gentle touch of his mother as his erection steadily grew. Before long, his manhood stood ready. Starlet smiled as she anticipated her imminent impregnation.

Starlet crawled over to Ashton as he sat up and kneeled over his member. She placed her hands on his shoulders as she positioned her womanhood just above his erect manhood. They shared a silent gaze as Ashton gently gripped his mother's sides. She then lowered herself onto him, gasping as she felt his warm flesh enter her. "Oh yes….. Just like before." Ashton began to gently thrust into her as they made love a second time.

Starlet threw her arms around Ashton and folded her legs across his lower back. She gasped with each thrust he gave her, making her shudder in pleasure. He then began to suckle her breasts as her nipples began to leak milk. "I'm producing so much milk… That proves just how fertile I am." Ashton drank greedily from his mother's breast as if he were a newborn himself. Starlet sighed, "That's right. Drink up. Drink as much of your mother's milk as you wish."

Ashton could feel his orgasm building rather quickly. Starlet could also feel her orgasm coming on, although not quite as quickly as Ashton's. When she felt his member beginning to throb, she became excited at the thought of becoming pregnant once again. "Yes! Any minute now. I'm going to have another baby!" Ashton groaned as his orgasm reached the brink, but he suddenly felt himself unable to release his sperm. "Huh? What is…?" He then noticed that his mother's eyes were glowing a faint blue. "Mother? What are you…?" She smirked, "Not so fast. Don't go ahead without me." He continued to thrust into her, but the pressure continued to build as he tried to let his orgasm loose. Soon, Ashton groaned, "Mother, please! It's starting to hurt!" But just then, Starlet gasped, "Right, let it out! I'm coming soon too!" As soon as she released her mental grip on Ashton's member, Starlet sighed as her inner walls clamped down hard onto Ashton's member. The viscount groaned loudly as his excess buildup of sperm exploded into his mother's womb. She shuddered, "My god, I can't believe how forcefully you're spraying into me!" But once the orgasm subsided, Ashton fell backwards and collapsed upon his bed.

Ashton breathed lightly as drool oozed from his mouth. (I can't believe it… I just impregnated my own mother…) Starlet leaned forward and kissed her son on the cheek. "Ashton… Thank you. I have always wanted to have a child with you, and now that dream has come true." She then tenderly caressed her belly, knowing that Ashton's sperm was well on its way to her womb to fertilize her waiting egg. Ashton gazed up at his mother, unable to believe how much more beautiful she looked now that she would soon be carrying new life inside her. "Mother, I will always view you as my parent. But I will also view your child as my own." He then leaned forward and planted a kiss on her slim belly. Starlet blushed. "I love you, Ashton." He then sat up and embraced her, "I love you too, Mother." Starlet shed a tear of bliss as she embraced her beloved son. They then rested side-by-side as Ashton pulled the covers over them. Starlet whispered, "I just hope Serenade does not mind having a half-sister." Ashton smirked, "Don't get ahead of yourself. We don't know if it will be a girl yet." The two lovers quietly giggled together as they drifted off to sleep.
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