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.

A Fallen Hero

An unsettling mood had descended upon the Ketchum estate. Ashton and his six servants had returned home to find the courtyard ravaged and Chiara gravely wounded. Worse, her attackers, the Black Wing, had abducted Ruby. Ashton, enraged that the most wanted criminals in the kingdom had captured his youngest servant, was preparing for battle.

"Lord Ashton, why? Why would they kidnap Ruby?" Laura asked as she watched him slide his feet into long leg armor. "She is young and charming. They knew I would rescue her if something happened. Whoever did this knows me well." He then proceeded to slide on his chest armor. "But...but there might be an ambush! You can't take on an entire army by yourself!" By now, Ashton had finished sliding on his long metal gloves and shoulder pads. He was now protected by a suit of light blue armor. "It doesn't matter. I will save her."

Ashton placed the Flamberge on his back and turned to Laura. "What is wrong? Do you not have faith in me?" He saw that Laura was trying hard not to cry. The expression she was wearing was entirely out of her character. "Laura, I will come back alive. You have my word." Taking his word for it, the Latias wiped away the tears that had formed at her eyelids. "You have never broken a promise to us. I know you'll return alive." Ashton gave her a reassuring stroke of her neck and proceeded down the hall towards Chiara's bedroom.

"Serenade, may I enter?" The Gardevoir replied, "Yes, and Chiara is conscious." Ashton opened the door and smiled to see Chiara as good as new, her left wing completely healed. "Your nursing skills are centuries ahead of our time. To think that you could restore Chiara in only an hour." Chiara raised her head, still weak from loss of blood. Ashton took a seat next to her bed and gripped her right hand. "My lord...forgive me... I shouldn't have failed..."

Ashton shook his head, "Chiara, I am grateful just for you still being alive. If you had managed to slay the foes that captured Ruby, I'm sure that you would not have survived." The Lugia looked away, still feeling ashamed that a creature of legend like her could not defeat a swarm of villains. "Chiara, where did they go?" Without even looking at him, she replied, "The Demon's Cape."

Ashton groaned, "All the way out there? Wonderful. That's miles to the northeast." As he stood up, Chiara pleaded, "No! Of all places, that is one where you must not travel! Urgh!" Chiara gagged as blood spurted from her mouth. Serenade held her down, "No, you must save your strength. Even though your wing is restored, you still have some internal damage that has not yet healed. Besides, what's so terrifying about this Demon's Cape?" Chiara caught her breath, beckoning Ashton to stay with her eyes. Nodding, he took a seat and said, "Yes, please do tell."

Chiara spoke, "The Demon's Cape is an L-shaped peninsula just to the north of the city of Celestica. It's named that for its close proximity to Mt. Moon in the west. However, the Demon's Cape is outside the kingdom's territory, so it's generally unsafe to go there." Ashton shrugged his shoulders, "It's a peninsula. There's only one way to get there. There's no chance of me encountering any invading soldiers or barbaric tribes." Chiara spoke up, "That's not the point! moment." She took a few breaths to calm herself down. Serenade gave her a pat on the shoulder, "Good. Don't raise your voice."

Ashton asked, "So what's the biggest threat over there?" Chiara closed her eyes and spoke, "I never saw it myself. Just the debris it left behind and the survivors. I was flying over the Demon's Cape when I saw it. There were several shipwrecks littering the shallows. But they did not appear to have been run aground. It was as if something very powerful had ravaged them until it felt that enough had been done. Curious, I flew south to Celestica to eavesdrop on the locals. I happened to notice a mass of wounded sailors being carried to an inn. While I stayed out of view, I overheard one talking. He seemed delusional, but he kept going on and on about a massive creature that rose high above the ship before it tore it asunder. This was just a few weeks after you brought me into your home."

Ashton nodded, "Yeah, now I remember. The queen issued a decree of warning to stay away from that area. Even the bravest seamen won't go near the shoreline. It's no wonder no one wants to claim that land for themselves. But then again, that's what makes it ideal for villains to hide from the law." Chiara nodded, "Precisely. I advise you enlist the aid of the Knighthood of Rohta. You will need them." Ashton stood up, "There's no time. If I seek aid, they may very well execute Ruby. I must do this with minimal assistance." Serenade asked, "But from who?" He then gave them a reassuring smile, "Don't worry. I'll be back by morning at the latest." With that, he proceeded down the hall to Aurora's room.

"Aurora, I must speak to you. May I enter?" A voice replied, "Yes. Please come in." Ashton nudged the door open to find Aurora staring out the window at the setting sun. When she looked at Ashton, her eyes were filled with dread. "Please, don't look so glum. I'm going to bring her back. And I need your help."

Aurora gasped, "Me?! What can I do?" Ashton chuckled, "Normally, I would ask Chiara for this, but you will have to do since she can't fly at the moment." The Suicune nodded, "I see. So you need me to take you somewhere." Ashton spoke, "Yes. Ruby is being held captive at the Demon's Cape just north of Celestica. The sooner we get there, the better. And I know that you can run faster than the wind. So, will you help me?" Aurora let out a giggle and bowed, "Anything for you, my lord."

Once they were at the gate, Aurora kneeled for Ashton to climb on. "I'm a bit heavier with this armor, but I'm sure you can handle it." Once he was seated, Ashton asked, "So, should I drop some luggage?" As she rose to a standing position, Aurora laughed, "Please! Do I really seem that frail to you?!" Ashton smiled, "I guess that's a NO. Now, let's go! Ruby may already be dead!" Aurora replied, "At once, my lord!" In a flash, the Suicune burst through the forest surrounding the estate and through the town of Green Mile.

After a few moments, Aurora was dashing across the plains to the northeast, making sure to not have to climb over Mt. Moon. It was at that time Aurora asked, "Lord Ashton, may I ask you something?" The viscount replied, "Of course! What's on your mind?" She then proceeded, "Well, do you know the identity of the Black Wing's leader?" Ashton shook his head, "Can't say I do. They've been careful to cover their tracks that might lead to that discovery. However....." Aurora asked, "What? Is there something else?" Ashton sighed, "There are rumors. Most claim that the leader is the former captain of the kingdom's Dragon Masters Unit. Of course, even though he disappeared without a trace, I know that's not possible." Aurora asked, "What makes you so sure that he wouldn't be the leader?" Ashton frowned, "Because he was not a man who would turn against his kingdom to lead a group of criminals." The Suicune then asked, "And how can you be so certain?" Ashton then sighed, "Because.....he was my mentor. Captain Lance was the man who taught me how to fight while riding Chiara." Aurora was surprised and asked, "You knew him?!" Ashton sighed, "Yes. And he was the only human I knew who respected Pokemon on the level I do.........."

"Prone. Step. Thrust. Prone. Step. Thrust." Ashton kept chanting as he practiced his lance skills. "Mother and Father will be so proud to hear that I've come so far." A familiar voice spoke from behind him, "I'm sure they would. You're the only ten year old who chose the lance as his weapon." Ashton turned and faced the owner of the voice. "Captain Lance! How are you today?" The captain of the Dragon Masters Unit smiled at his youngest apprentice. His long orange hair stood straight up in a spiky style as his trademark black cape fluttered in the breeze. Wrapped around his upper body was his dearest friend. A Dratini named Dimitri.

"You've come far with the basics. You seem to be a natural with the lance." Lance chuckled as he rubbed Ashton's hair like an older brother would. Just then, Dimitri slithered down Lance's armed and wrapped himself around Ashton's upper body. "Oh, hi Dimitri! Were you jealous?" Ashton laughed as he cuddled the little dragon lovingly, prompting a coo of delight from him. "You should feel honored. Dimitri only allows humans who see Pokemon as true equals to lay their hands on him. So he must think you see Pokemon as more than just equals to wrap himself around you like this." Ashton smiled at his teacher's kind words. "Yeah! Mother and Father are Pokemon, so why should I think less of them?"

As the three of them headed towards the mess hall, Lance asked the boy at his side, "So, Ashton, I'm only curious, but why did you want to become a knight?" The boy smiled while still embracing Dimitri, "Because I want to protect people! And not just humans. I want to protect everyone! Especially Pokemon! Everyone else is so mean to them. That's why I want to fight for them." This prompted a very surprised look from Lance. "Ashton, I never thought I would meet someone with the same kind of respect for Pokemon that I have. It is I who should be honored to have you as a student." Ashton blushed, "I'm still just a kid. I just want to protect those I like." Lance smirked, "Is that so? Ashton, meet me at the watchtower once the stars are visible. Make sure you are alone." Ashton nodded, "OK, but let's get some lunch first."

That night, Ashton climbed the spiral staircase that led to the top of the watchtower at the academy. He was quite sleepy as it was already late. "What could Captain Lance want at this hour?" Ashton mumbled with a yawn. He followed the trail of torches that lined the walls blindly to the top. Once he reached the end of the stairs, a voice greeted him. "Good evening, Ashton. Lovely night, is it not?"

Ashton looked around and saw Lance leaning against the parapet. "Oh. Good evening, Captain." Ashton said with a yawn. "Come. Have a seat. I wish to speak to you." Lance motioned for Ashton to approach him, which he did. He then lifted Ashton to help him look over the parapet. "Do you see it? Our home of Rohta?" Ashton groggily nodded, "Uh huh." Lance continued, "But it's not just our home. It is the home of all the Pokemon that reside in it as well."

Ashton seemed about ready to conk out as he leaned forward against the parapet. Lance added, "You know, Pokemon and humans really aren't all that different. We're more alike than you think." For some reason, Ashton snapped wide awake when he heard this. "Really?! How?!" Lance smiled, his face gently illuminated by a nearby torch, "You said it yourself today. Humans and Pokemon are people."

Ashton was a bit baffled at this, but Lance spoke, "Think about it. You, more than anyone, should know that Pokemon are people too. Your parents are prime examples. They can think and communicate with others. They, like humans, have souls. Even though most Pokemon live in more primitive fashion than we do, they are still people. They all have souls." Ashton was deeply moved by this and surprised Lance by giving him a hug. "You're a good guy, Captain Lance."

Lance gently set his apprentice down and patted his head. "Never forget what I told you tonight. Now, off to bed. It's already late." Lance then headed down the staircase with Ashton behind him. But just as they passed the stables, where the dragons slept, Ashton stopped. "Um, Captain Lance? I need to use" The captain chuckled, "OK. You know where it is. But get to bed once you're done. Good night." He then proceeded down the corridor towards his quarters. But Ashton had a sneaky smirk on his face. Looking back and forth to make sure there was no one coming, he slipped inside the stables.

Ashton walked in between the stables and started peeking inside them. There were Flygon, Charizard, Dragonite, Altaria, and a Latios. They were all sleeping on a bed of wool. However, each of the Charizard were resting their tail-flames on a stone nearby to avoid igniting their own beds. But Ashton soon came to the stable he was looking for. Peeking over the wooden door, he saw his special favorite. The only Salamence present in the Dragon Masters Unit.

"Psssstttt. Serra. Are you awake?" Ashton whispered, the faint light from only a pair of torches illuminating the room. The sleeping dragon stirred as Ashton called out to her. "Serra. It's me. Ashton." It was at the mention of his name that she awoke. The Salamence looked around and saw Ashton's face peering over the gate. "May I come in?" Serra gave the boy a very inviting gaze and nodded. "OK. Just a second." Ashton quietly raised the latch and closed the gate behind him. "It's so warm in here. You dragons are so warm."

Ashton knelt down next to Serra and ran his hands over her right wing. "Your wing is healing nicely. I can't wait to be your knight!" Serra grinned as she remembered the day. The squire that had been assigned to her had unintentionally flown her into a wall while trying to make her fly straight, resulting in a broken wing. She was an extremely hot-blooded girl and would have nothing to do with any of the Dragon Masters, even Lance. But she had a soft spot for Ashton, and surprised everyone when they found Ashton sleeping with her on the night she broke her wing.

"The bandages are still so clean. Are you trying to not get them dirty?" Ashton looked over at Serra, but smiled to see her giving a very sweet grin at him. "You're always so pretty. I promise to take great care of you when I graduate." Ashton spoke while resting his head against Serra's neck. "I love you, Serra." The dragon draped her friend with her left wing, the one that was not injured, and nuzzled him lovingly. "Everyone says you're scary, but I think you're really pretty and sweet." Ashton sighed as he embraced Serra's face, causing her to blush a deep red.

"Wait, aren't you cold? I hear you dragons don't fare too well in the cold. Wait a moment." Ashton reached over Serra's back and pulled a layer of wool over the both of them. "There we go. That's much better. Don't you feel warmer now, Serra?" The Salamence thanked him in a most sincere fashion. She joined lips with him and gave Ashton his very first kiss. It was nothing special, but Ashton was a bit surprised. "Wow..... I don't think I've ever kissed a girl before. Wait! Do you want me to marry you?" Ashton was still too innocent to fully grasp the concept of marriage, but Serra understood and nodded. "OK! We can get married when I graduate! But right now..." Ashton let out a yawn and snuggled up against Serra's neck. "Let's go to sleep. Good night, Serra." The little squire drifted off to sleep as Serra watched over him like a mother would. Once she was certain that he was asleep, the Salamence lowered her head next to his and fell asleep as well.

Over the course of a week, Ashton diligently sharpened his lance skills. And every night, he would sneak into the stables to sleep with his beloved Serra, who was always delighted to see him. And every time someone found them and tried to drag Ashton back to his quarters, Serra would growl fiercely to drive them away, refusing to give up the only human she had ever loved. But one night, some barbaric ruffians invaded the academy, hell-bent on killing any 'Beasts' they came across.

"Whoa, sounds like we've got some company, lads! Leave them be and let's move on!" The lookout shouted inside the stables. The whole mess of savages, about a dozen, shuffled out and ran down the corridor, unaware that it was leading to a dead-end. A moment later, Lance and Ashton came running down the hall. "Captain Lance! The dragons....." Ashton whimpered, knowing that Serra was in no shape to fly. There was a chute in the ceiling that led out into the courtyard that the dragons could use if the stable doors were blocked. However, both Lance and Ashton knew that Serra could not fly. Placing a hand on his student's shoulder, Lance stepped inside.

"Serra...are you there?" Ashton called, holding back tears. They slowly approached the back of the stable, where she preferred to dwell. Fearing the worst, Ashton peered around the corner over the smashed gate. His face went white with horror as his gaze settled on the Salamence. "SERRA!" Ashton ran to his friend's side, weeping as he held her head. The intruders had smashed her wings and sliced her all over her body, leaving many cuts in her scales. But miraculously, she was alive.

" Serra! Don't die!" Ashton sobbed into her side, trying to stop the bleeding with his hands. Lance was just standing there, mortified by the harm done to his student's closest friend. He began to clutch the handle of his Ahlspiess tightly as anger and disgust built up inside him. He stepped forward and spoke, "Ashton, Serra will be fine. Her wounds are bad, but she will live."

Ashton managed to stop crying and looked up at his teacher. "Ashton, I have a favor to ask. Come. And don't worry about Serra." He then headed down to the corridor with Ashton in tow. He then stood beyond the doorway a little ways down the hall. "I want you to lock this door behind me. This corridor leads to a dead-end and those intruders have not yet noticed." Ashton was shocked that his teacher wanted him to lock him in with a mass of murderous thugs and asked, "But what are you going to do?" Lance coldly replied, "I'm going to slaughter them. I will not allow them to escape here alive. Now seal the door. I won't be long." He then turned and walked down the dimly lit corridor. Ashton, with some reluctance, closed the door and dropped the wooden board across it, making it impossible to open it from the other side.

"Why..... Why do they do this? What did Serra ever do to deserve this?" Ashton sobbed as he sat down next to the wounded Salamence. She was still unconscious and did not respond to his touch. "Please don't die... I love you. Don't leave me..." Ashton whispered, hoping that they would be the magic words and that she would awaken. After ten minutes, Ashton heard banging on the wooden door. "Ashton, are you there?!" Lance called out. "That was fast! Hold on!" Ashton ran out of the stables and lifted the latch.

As the door swung open, Ashton asked, "Are you hurt? Were they tough? Did they...they....." Ashton stood aghast at the bloodied form of Lance. The blade of his Ahlspiess spear was covered in blood up to the guard. Lance's body was covered here and there with splashes of blood, none of which were his own. His eyes almost seemed lifeless, like those of a corpse. "No. They did not harm me. This blood you see is all theirs'. I am unharmed." He then walked past Ashton and stopped. "Stay with Serra. I'm going to get some potions and bandages."

During Serra's recovery, Ashton stayed by her side. He made sure she was well fed and bordered on obsessive with her wellbeing. But the damage was done. The bones in both wings had been smashed and were no longer capable of carrying her in flight, even after healing as much as possible. Serra did not mind being unable to fly, as it was this trait that made her a target of the Dragon Masters in the first place, but was heartbroken to know that she was no longer able to be Ashton's trusted partner. After a brief time, Lance got word from the king and queen themselves that they wished to take Serra in. Ashton bid a tearful goodbye to his friend at the castle gates, vowing that they would meet again someday.

Things were never the same at the academy after the attack. Lance was always eerily silent and his eyes would cast a hateful glare at any human that passed him, except Ashton. He was always kind and doting to his young apprentice at all times, and only Ashton could make his eyes seem alive. But Ashton would never be able to graduate until he had a Dragon Pokemon to ride. He trained for that day for the next three years. But three days after an intense ocean storm, Lance was sharpening his blade in the courtyard.

"Ah! Good day, Captain Lance!" Lance turned and smiled at his beloved apprentice, "Top of the morning to yooaaa.....ah...uh..." Lance's mouth just hung open as he stared at Ashton's guest. "What's wrong? I thought you were charming with the ladies." Ashton joked. Lance shook his head a few times and said, "Sorry. It's just that I've never seen a Lugia before. Especially one as small as this one." The Lugia bowed and spoke, "A pleasure to meet you, Captain Lance. My name is Chiara."

Lance was further surprised by the fact that Chiara could speak, but shook it off and spoke, "Ah, yes. So, why are you here?" Ashton replied, "Chiara has volunteered to be my dragon mount. She's not a true dragon, but I'm sure we can overlook this minor technicality. So, what do you say?" Lance began to circle the midget Lugia. "Hmmm. Well, I have to say that she's just the right size. All that remains is to see if you two can function as a team. Ready?" Ashton jumped, "YES YES YESSS! Come, Chiara! Let's fly!" The Lugia giggled and laid herself low to the ground. Ashton then sat down at the base of her neck with spear in hand. "Let's begin."

Lance proceeded to set up several training dummies made of straw. "Now, take to the air!" Lance commanded. With just a few flaps of her wings, Chiara became airborne and used psychic force to levitate higher. Lance brought his hands to his mouth and shouted, "Now, the key to fighting on dragon back is to get close enough to your opponent to attack, as well as quickly getting away to avoid any attacks from its allies! Try performing a swooping attack on one of those dummies!" Ashton nodded and pointed at a dummy. Nodding, Chiara folded her wings in and took a nose dive. But just before she hit the ground, she pulled up and flew just over the ground. As they were about to pass a dummy, Ashton skewered it on his spear using Chiara's speed. Once they were high above the courtyard again, Ashton called, "How's that?! Did we pass?!" Lance shouted back, "Very good! Now finish with the others!"

Ashton and Chiara swooped again and again to pierce the training dummies with increasingly stylish attacks. With the last one, Ashton actually threw his spear at the dummy, scoring a direct hit. When they landed, Lance applauded, "Bravo! Such talent! You truly are a prodigy!" Ashton hopped off Chiara and retrieved his spear. "Please, Captain, you're too kind. I would never have made it this far without your guidance."

"Ashton, there is but one thing left for me to say to you." Lance walked over to his apprentice with his Ahlspiess in hand. "Kneel before me. I won't hurt you." Taking his word for it, Ashton kneeled before his teacher. "Ashton Ketchum of the Dragon Masters of Rohta....." Lance then turned the blade of his spear sideways and rested it on Ashton's shoulder. "I hereby knight thee as a Master of Dragons. May you serve your kingdom with honor. Now rise, and go forth." Ashton slowly rose to his feet, tears building in his eyes.

"C-Captain...I..." Ashton choked, his face overcome with joy and sadness. Lance placed a hand on his shoulder, "You have the potential to surpass me in every way. There is nothing left for me to teach you. Walk your own path, a path that defends Pokemon from the injustices of this world." With that, Lance turned to leave. But just before that, he turned and looked at Ashton over his shoulder. "Ashton, never forget that Pokemon are the same as us. Become a better man than I could ever be."

(Those were the last words he ever said to me..... Right before he and Dimitri vanished...) Ashton thought to himself as he and Aurora dashed through the town of Celestica. In the moonlight, the town glistened with mist. The abundance of water was so great; the townsfolk had used it for art, various fountains spouting water all over town. It was very late now and no one was aware that a Suicune was sprinting through their streets. It took less than two minutes for the Suicune to clear the town and reach the outskirts of the Demon's Cape.

"Lord Ashton...I believe that we have reached the Demon's Cape." Aurora said as she ran through a horribly overgrown forest. "Yes, I can see that. This untamed vegetation is definitely a sign of a lack of civilization. We must be getting close. And we've made excellent time." A moment later, Ashton grunted, "Tch. It would seem that Laura's assumption was correct." Aurora asked, "What do you mean? What did she say?" Ashton steadied himself and climbed to a standing position. "You'll see once we clear this forest."

After a moment more, Aurora breached the forest border, running through very tall grass on the open plains. When she looked up, she saw many outlines of various Dragon Pokemon. "An ambush! They were ready for us!" The commanding officer shouted from the back of his Salamence, "Sir Ashton! If you wish to reach the Commander, you will have to get through us first!" The Vulcan Warrior grabbed the hilt of the Flamberge and replied, "Go away! If you try to stop us, I will have to destroy you!" The leader replied, "Let's see if there's iron in your words! Legions of the Black Wing! ATTACK!"

All the knights began to descend all at once like a swarm of killer bees. "Lord Ashton, what should I do?!" Aurora pleaded without slowing down. "Just keep running! Don't stop for anything!" He then turned the Flamberge broadside. "I really don't have time for these idiots. Ninja Art: Wind Scythe Jutsu!" With a wide swing of his sword, Ashton sent a howling storm of blades at the pursuing rogues. The sound of slashing could be heard in the midst of the cyclone. But when it died down, they were still flying after them!

"Were they able to dodge it?!" Ashton looked around quickly for a possible answer as the rogue knights closed the distance between them. "I could use fire, but the Pokemon would get hurt...GAH! What can I do?!" Just then, Ashton noticed that Aurora was running along the shoreline of the peninsula the entire time. "Perhaps a water element.....ah! Why not?!" Placing the Flamberge on his back, Ashton began to make a series of hand signs. Just as the swarm of dragons was about to reach him, Ashton shouted, "Water Style: Tidal Surge!" With those words, a massive wall of water rose from the ocean! "Yes! Thank you, Master Koga!" The wall of water then collapsed onto the swarm of dragons, slamming them into the ground and keeping them submerged for a moment before the water receded back into the ocean. "They should be out for a while after that. Wait.....what's that?" Ashton pointed out something in the far distance that seemed to have a flame at the top.

"Aurora, stop right nooooOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!!!" Ashton screamed as Aurora came to a screeching halt, sending Ashton flying off her back and into a bramble patch! "GAAAAAHHHHH!!!! WHY THIS?!" Ashton shouted as the brambles dug into his face. "Oh my god! Lord Ashton, are you well?! I'm so sorry!" Aurora ran over to the bramble patch, but she took a step back as an orange glow shone forth from the patch! "RAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!" Ashton roared as flames erupted from him, incinerating the brambles!

"Lord Ashton...are you angry with me?" Aurora whimpered as the viscount stomped out of the smoldering bushes. "No. It was my mistake to stand up while you were moving at such a high speed. But that's beside the point. Look over there." Ashton pointed to the east. Aurora immediately noticed the flame flicking at the top of what seemed to be a tower of sorts.

"Is that.....a lighthouse?" Ashton nodded, "Most likely. They warn ships to stay away from the area they are built on, although most hazards are rocky outcrops just under the surface. In this case, it warns against a sea monster that is said to nest near the shoreline." Aurora became blue in the face, "A SEA MONSTER?! You can't be serious!" Ashton laughed, "Oh come now! That sea monster is said to only attack passing ships! We'll be fine as long as we stay on the land. Now let's go. Ruby is likely being held at that lighthouse." With a nod, Aurora kneeled again for Ashton to board her. In another flash, she took off running for the Black Wing headquarters.

"Aurora, stop. But slow down gradually this time." Ashton spoke as the lighthouse began to loom overhead. Aurora began to slow into a run, then a trot, and finally a walk before coming to a stop. "It does have an eerie presence, my lord." The lighthouse was more than just a tower. It was built into what seemed to be a fortress of sorts, most likely used by pirates in the distant past.

"Well, shall we be going?" Aurora said as she approached the front door, which was almost falling off its hinges. However, Ashton grabbed her mane. "No. I want you to wait here. I have a hunch that I will need you to stay out here." Aurora protested, "But why?! You know I am more than capable of defending myself!" Ashton nodded, "True, but trust me on this one. Keep an eye on the roof. Something tells me that I'll need you to snatch something from it. OK?" Reluctantly, Aurora nodded. "Just please bring Ruby back alive." Ashton gave her a smile, just before disappearing into the darkness of the hideout.

"What total slobs..... A little light please!" Ashton grumbled as he fumbled around in the dark. Finally, he grabbed something that was long and stiff. "Please be a torch..." His hand was suddenly engulfed in flames, igniting what was indeed a torch in his hand. "Talk about a lucky break!" Ashton looked around at the hideout, almost surprised to find it deserted. "Guess I'll just have to go up." Ashton made his way to a spiral staircase that seemed to be inside the lighthouse itself.

About halfway up, Ashton came to the second floor of the fortress. Inside were stables of sorts, most likely for the dragons. "Yes. This is surely the den of the Black Wing." He then proceeded up the stairs again, until he finally reached the top. When he stepped out, he was on the very roof of the fortress, the moon illuminating the area.

"Hmmm..... This is the only place left to look." Just then, a familiar voice cried out, "Lord Ashton! Help me, please!" Ashton looked ahead and could see a familiar form hanging from a rope that was overlooking the ocean, which was attached to a wooden pole that was reaching out from the roof. "RUBY! Be patient, I'll get you down!" But another voice called out, "Yes, in due time. But not just yet." Ashton only then noticed the figure standing in the shadow of a parapet on the far side of the roof.

"I take it you're the leader of the Black Wing?" Ashton growled as his left hand reached for the Flamberge's hilt. The figure replied, "I am. And I am thoroughly impressed with how you disposed of the Night Hawk. The most feared assassin in the kingdom fell by your hand without much of a fight. Most impressive." The figure then began to step forward from the shadows.

"It has been quite some time since we last met. I most certainly hope Chiara wasn't hurt all that much." Ashton suddenly could make out the form of the leader, his long spiky orange air blowing in the night breeze. His black cape fluttering behind him. ", you can't be! You of all people would never found a criminal organization!"

The leader, clothed in black armor, hoisted his Ahlspiess spear to his shoulder. "You truly have grown into a fine knight, my apprentice. You have become more of a legend than I ever was. But now, you must make a decision. Will you join me? Or will you disappear forever, along with the Kingdom of Rohta?" Ashton stood aghast for a moment, refusing to believe what he was seeing. "Captain Lance..... Why...?"
No comments posted
No reviews posted