So here we are, at the very end. This has been an incredible journey for me, and this story has become a beast of its own. I thank everyone who has shared this with me, my little passion project that I started over five years ago has grown into a colossal adventure. I'm not sure what I'll write after this, if the inspiration strikes there may be a part three, but I'm not gonna promise anything.
The Legacy of Aura
The Legacy of Aura
Ore Region – World Palace
She looked up at the four statues that stood before the glorious building of governmental power that stood behind it. Looking into the eyes of one man in particular.
Ash Ketchum, First President of the World Government, leader of the Aura Guardians, war hero and saviour of the whole world. He was depicted as he was when he first took office, young, dashing, heroic, the coat of his new role hung from his powerful shoulders. The Ketchum Clan prophecy was etched into his plinth.
Looking down at the Pokeballs at her waist, Charlotte Ketchum smiled. At the age of eighteen she was already extremely accomplished, having won the Championship in three regions, having an undefeated Battle Tower record and numerous accolades to her name, yet seeing her father like that still sent shivers down her spine. Despite everything, she still felt hopelessly in his shadow.
Even from a very young age, Charlotte had found things easy. She had a natural gift to almost everything she had put her hand to, least of which was being a Pokémon Trainer. Everyone placed it down to her parents. It was like everyone had expected her to succeed. She was supposed to be a genius. It has gotten under her skin a lot throughout her life, because no one had stopped to look at how much work she was putting in. No one ever congratulated her for her hard work. Oh, sure she had admirers, people respected her, but she was supposed to be the best.
All because of her father.
He was the greatest trainer, the absolute master of Aura, commanded a power that rivalled Tensuiromo, if not greater. Some people had even started to think of him as a demi-god. His shadow was incredibly large.
"Whatcha looking at sis?"
The voice of her younger brother broke her from her reverie. "Father, of course." She said bluntly.
"Why?" Said Harry Ketchum. He was fast approaching his tenth birthday and starting how own journey. The spitting image of his dad with his mother's eyes, with a shock of blue in his spikey black hair.
Charlotte took more from her mother in terms of appearance, however her hair was as black as night, Ketchum through and through. She wore it long with a fringe that almost covered her right eye. "Just wondering what he would have done in my position. He never really knew his father growing up, after all."
Harry shrugged. "Grandad is cooler."
Sighing, Charlotte turned towards him. Harry had taken to wearing a plain black cloak over his clothes lately, blatantly in the style of the former terrorist group Shinonome. It was useless trying to ask him to take it off. "Grandad nearly killed everyone. You should have learned that in history class by now."
"Grandad was betrayed! He took on the whole world from the shadows like a secret ninja! He was awesome!"
She rolled her eyes. "You do know that father was stronger, right?"
"Daddy got help! Papa Brandon is the most powerful trainer that's ever lived!" Harry insisted, sticking out his tongue.
"You're about to start your own journey into this world, little brother. You're going to have to grow up if you ever want to succeed as a Pokémon trainer."
"I'll just get Grand Paps to teach me. Then I'll become as strong as him!"
"Brandon is working over in Unova, investigating the ruins of Team Plasma. You live in Kanto. Don't be so silly Harry. You can't travel so far on your first journey. There are rules against that now, you know?" Charlotte explained, but Harry was pretending not to listen.
Sometimes her little brother really did make her worry.
"Charlotte!" A male voice called out, causing her to turn.
Gary Oak Jr. approached her with a smile. A year older and a little less accomplished, he was still a force to be reckoned with in battle. Although as far as Charlotte knew he was more interested in following his father's footsteps of being a researcher first, Pokémon Trainer second. "I finally found you. I figured you'd be here if my old man was called in."
"Hey Gary," She said with a smile. Despite his name, he looked little like his father, taking nearly all his attributes from Cynthia. He was blonde, lean and handsome. At his side walked a Jolteon. It seemed the Oak lineage had an attachment to the Eeveelutions. "How was Sinnoh?"
"You'd be surprised of the stuff we are still learning from the World Pillar. The secrets in that cave had been kept undisturbed for millennia and I think it's going to take just as long to unearth them all. We're learning more about the origins of our world, Pokémon, and humanity than ever before, and the strides we're making in technology are going along with it!"
"That's incredible! When I was journeying around Sinnoh I spent so much time at Mt. Coronet! There is so much history there."
"Yeah no kidding," Gary Oak Jr. said, running a hand through his hair. "Least of all the war. Dad won't shut up about it whilst we are working there. He's become pretty paranoid in stopping something similar happening in the future."
Charlotte shot a glance toward her brother, who was making kissing gestures with his hands. "I know what you mean. People tend to romanticize the past given enough time."
"I heard you're now the listed Champion of three regions?" Gary asked, grinning. "Impressive! You gotta leave some titles for the rest of us meagre peasants, Genius of Kanto."
She rolled her eyes at her unofficial title. "I'm only listed as that. The only region I'm the actual Champion of is Kanto. Are you kidding? I'm not doing that much paper work."
Gary burst out laughing, but further conversation was stalled by the opening of the doors to the palace. The many tourists that had come to admire the rebuilding of the Palace and those who hoped to get a glimpse of the famous World Leaders, all started running towards the open doors, eager to see who would emerge.
A host of Guardians and Lucarios appeared first, fanning out to separate the crowds and allow those who followed them uninterrupted passage.
Ash Ketchum, President of the World Government, Aura Guardian and Saviour of Reality walked out first, his head held high and a large smile on his lips. Even at the age of forty, he remained youthful, his spikey black hair cropped shorter. The few extra lines around his eyes were the only thing that would give the incredible stresses of his job away. His cloak of office hung from his broad and powerful shoulders. Pikachu sat perched on him, sporting a new small tuft of fur on his head.
Beside him walked a menagerie of the powerful; Gary Oak, looking closer to his grandfather than ever with a few stray greys in his hair, kept his jovial confidence up as he chatted away with the President; Dawn Ketchum, the legendary Pokémon Master and Grand Coordinator had been promoted to the role of World Leader after Aaron Rosemburg's retirement. She held her husband's hand, smiling and laughing as she chatted with the group. Her long blue hair trailed gracefully down her back; Drake, former member of Shinonome and Orange Island Champion, had recently been promoted to Grand Champion to fill the void that Dawn left. His cocksure manner was in full bluster as his coat of office billowed out behind him. He had a huge grin on his face as he walked with the others; Cynthia strode out beside her husband, her World Leader's coat hanging over her shoulders and a calm but happy smile resting on her face as she conversed with the last member of their group; Serena, her hair cut short, wearing a formal dress and beaming with pride and confidence, fully embracing her known lineage, she had become a force to be reckoned with in the governmental structure.
Seeing these legendary figures, the people rushed up against the barrier formed by the Lucarios and Guardians, desperate to get close, to get a picture. Several started screaming out, the giddy excitement reaching fever pitch.
As Ash conversed with his colleagues, he spotted his daughter and smiled, and began walking towards her.
"Oh great, we've been found." Charlotte said with a small smile. "Didn't think it would take father long to notice us."
Gary Oak Jr. merely chuckled. "I think your old man probably knew you were here the moment you stepped foot back in Kanto."
Ash ran as he got closer. "Charlotte! Great to see you safe and sound!"
"Hey dad." She said embracing him as he approached. "How was it?"
He cocked an eyebrow at her. "How much do you know?"
Charlotte smirked. "You mean those top-secret documents you kept in that Aura-sealed chest back home? Oh, I know."
Depression lines appeared before Ash's face as he stooped, muttering, "I figured that you'd be strong enough to break through my wards… You are my little girl after all… "He brightened up before saying, "Grandpa Charles was asking about you, I'm amazed how sprightly he is for his age."
"I'm glad we still have him with us, I swear he's immortal." She chuckled, before turning serious. "Is it what you feared?"
Ash's eyes darkened for a moment before he smiled. "It's nothing we can't handle. It's fortunate you came so quickly, we have need of you for our next plan of action. The Guardians are being mobilized."
Further words were cut off as the rest of the group caught up to them.
Dawn ran over to her youngest child, desperately trying to pull his cloak off him. "Harry Ketchum! You will take that hideous thing off right this second!"
Struggling against his mother, Harry was overpowered, and his precious cloak was taken off him. "I hate you mom! You don't understand me!"
Grabbing him by the ear, Dawn pulled him over to the side. "You're getting seriously grounded for this mister!"
Watching the exchange, Ash and Charlotte laughed nervously.
Scratching the back of his head, the President sighed. "I'm hoping he will grow out of it. It's been hard for him, though. I'm not around for him as much as I should be, what with work taking up so much of my time lately."
Pikachu sighed, patting his trainer on the head. "Chaaaaaaa…"
Charlotte smiled for her father, putting a hand on his shoulder. "Don't stress, father. You've been a wonderful parent to us both. Harry is just… difficult."
Gary approached them with his son in tow. "Hey, well if it isn't the Genius of Kanto herself. You're looking well Charlotte."
"Thanks Uncle Gary," Charlotte said with a smile. "I hear your research is going well."
Looking down at his son with narrowed eyes and a sly smirk, Gary replied, "Oh it is. With the resources available to me as a World Leader I've been able to advance our understanding of the primordial forces at play behind our entire world."
Plucking a green Pokeball from her waist, Charlotte nodded. "The advances in the capture technology have been revolutionary. Now you no longer need to weaken Pokémon to catch them."
Gary scratched the back of his head. "That one had a mixed bag reception across the world. The Pokémon-rights groups loved it, but many thought it took the skill out of being a trainer."
Charlotte smiled at him. "Well I for one think it's a great development. It enables you to bond with a creature without harming them."
"Well if it isn't Lil' Char and Lil' Oak! Look at how damn bloody big you've both gotten!" Drake laughed, bursting into the scene.
"Nice to see you Drake." Charlotte said, nodding towards him.
"Pleasure to see you, Grand Champion." Gary Oak Jr. said.
Drake slapped his hand on Ash's shoulder. "Damn man, I still remember when you first came to me at the Orange League, no older than twelve! Seeing you here with your kids is crazy!" He laughed. "When the hell did we all get so old?"
"Since we're all here I might as well tell them," Ash said. "Cynthia! Serena! Dawn! Come here a moment!"
Dawn joined her husband, bringing her sulking son with her. Serena and Cynthia also walked over to join the throng from where they had been chatting to the side.
"We're going to be discussing it here?" Cynthia asked, raising an eyebrow.
Ash grinned. "Of course not."
Aura sprang up in the blink of an eye, enveloping the group. Before anyone could even begin to react, they had all been transported to the Ketchum Family residence in Pallet Town, now standing in the large open-plan lounge area.
"Right, should have known better." Cynthia said with a small laugh.
Taking the opportunity, Dawn took the cloak that Harry had worn and binned it, before re-joining the group and giving her husband a kiss. "Thank you for that sweety."
Ash nodded at her, smiling affectionately, before addressing those assembled in his home. "Sorry for the abrupt teleportation but I needed to be in a place where prying ears wouldn't reach."
"It's fine Ash, we all understand." Serena said, smiling.
"Alright Ash, will you tell them?" Gary said, turning toward his lifetime friend.
A seriousness fell upon the President's face. "We've received troubling reports from the Hoenn Region. After almost twenty years of peace, someone has been attacking trainers and civilians alike in the north. From the Guardians we sent there, the conclusion we've come to is that it is a Knight of Shadow."
Gary Oak Jr. and Charlotte's eyes went wide.
"A Knight of Shadow?!" Charlotte exclaimed. "I thought they were eradicated along with all of Ghetsis' schemes!"
"Unfortunately, so did we." Drake said, looking forlorn. "Even Tobias had no knowledge of this missing Knight, but the evidence has been damning."
"You mean the same Knights that created all the darkness during your time at Unova?" Harry asked excitedly. When his father nodded, his eyes lit up. "So cool!"
"I thought I felt a presence watching us throughout the war, but I couldn't quite place it. Now its familiarity makes sickening sense." Ash said darkly. "We need to eradicate this threat immediately, before it can spawn more darkness."
"With your ability this should be no problem though, right?" Gary Oak Jr. asked. "You've been able to subdue any threat with your mere presence alone since the war ended. No one has been stupid enough to take on the great Ash Ketchum."
Ash grinned but shook his head. "I'm not going to be dealing with this. This is your job. Well you and my daughter's."
Charlotte and Gary Oak Jr. stared in utter shock and amazement. First, they stared at Ash, then at each other. "Us?" They asked simultaneously.
"Your generation has not yet had any serious threat to contend with. You battle amongst yourselves but there has been nothing to truly test you in a real situation. We all decided to leave this one to you, to see if you can handle things without us." Gary said, putting his hand on his son's shoulder. "We won't be around forever, you know?"
"Yeah, besides its not fun if Ash just turns up and obliterates half a continent." Drake said laughing.
A trickle of sweat ran down Ash's temple. "That only happened the one time."
Placing both her hands on her daughter's shoulders, Dawn looked Charlotte in her eyes and smiled, her motherly embrace calming her child's nerves and filling her with warmth. "We completely trust your ability here. Your dad and I know you're strong enough to handle it. You're strong, both of you. Work together and we know you can stop this threat. Take your brother with you and keep him safe, he needs the experience."
Cynthia nodded, slapping her son on the back. "Zinnia and N are already on the group. We want you to take control of the forces there and prove yourselves. It will be unlike anything else you've had to contend with so far, but it's a necessary step in your development!"
"What will you guys be doing?" Gary Oak Jr. asked, feeling the sudden weight of his responsibilities.
"Keeping the world running smoothly," Serena said chuckling. "Don't worry, you'll get used to this soon enough."
"It's mostly just sorting through administration stuff anyway," Gary said with a bit of a grimace. "I'm getting too old to keep pushing paper, we need the next generation to take our place."
Ash placed his hands on both of his children's shoulders, looking them both in the eye. As he did his auburn eyes lit up with fiery azure light. "I'm only allowing this because I know you're ready. Darkness will always threaten our world, and neither myself, your mother, Uncle Gary or anyone else will be around to fight it off forever. We need you to keep our dreams alive and burning so that future generations will be safe. I know it's a lot to take in, but you've got greatness within your blood. Go forth and use your incredible talents for good. After all… you're the legacy of Aura."
Both Charlotte and Harry could only nod, enraptured by their father's gaze.
"We won't let you down, father." Charlotte finally said, steeling herself for the challenge ahead.
"I know you won't," Ash said, smiling proudly. "You both are my light, my life, and I love you more than I could ever possibly say. If you're anything like your old man you'll do just fine!"
Gary laughed at that last part. "In that case I hope they aren't like you! Lest we forget the pity badges, Mr. President!"
Ash looked as though he'd be smashed in the stomach. "Did you really have to bring that up now?"
The group laughed, and it all felt easy. Despite the seriousness of it, everything felt right. The old guard passing on the torch to the next in line, to keep the world right and from danger.
"We leave it in your hands," Dawn said proudly, hugging them both from behind. "I can't wait to see your progress!"
"Well there is no time like the present!" Ash said grinning mischievously. "Have fun, and watch each other's backs out there! Pass my regards on to Zinnia and N, you'll find them in the centre! Oh, and give my well wishes to the Maples, it's been too long!"
"Wai-" Charlotte half said. Before she could even utter that first word her father had enveloped her, Gary Oak Jr. and Harry in his Aura, and they had vanished from their family home, appearing outside the Petalburg City gym.
The three of them glanced at each other.
Gary Oak Jr. laughed then shrugged. "Well I guess that settles that. I guess it's down to us now then."
"This is so cool! I can't wait to explore this region and all its Pokémon!" Harry exclaimed, his eyes lit up.
Charlotte took stock of her options and the people she was with. The reality of it all was still settling in. Time to tackle this new challenge, maybe now I can finally distinguish myself, and step out of my father's shadow… She wasn't afraid. No, she felt no anxiety. A quiet optimism instead flooded through her veins. She would master this whole region under her boot and live up to her family name. They were big shoes to fill, but only she was capable of filling them. "Come, lets meet with the Maples then move to the city centre where Zinnia and N will be waiting for us."
With a steely determination, she led the way.
Their journey had just begun.
Unova Region - Plasma Castle Ruins
The cold air tugged at his long hair, blowing it about his masked face. His scar itched. His cloak bustled around his body as he sat on the edge of the mountain, his legs crossed, and his hands placed together as he focused his Aura.
In his mind's eye, Brandon watched his grandchildren start their quest to root out the darkness growing in Hoenn. He knew what was going on there, of course. He liked to stay up to date.
He smiled as he sensed the pure power and potential radiating off his clan's direct descendants. "You have begot some wonderful children there, son." He chuckled to himself.
Sighing he dropped his Aura and opened his eyes. It felt strange to be wearing a cloak and mask again, but it kept his identity anonymous, and that's what mattered. Not everyone was as forgiving as his son.
"Kazam?" Alakazam asked, noticing his trainer's change in mood.
He nodded at his faithful Pokémon and turned his attention to ruined Team Plasma castle that stood before him. "Now then, let's see what we can find in this decrepit place."
The signal given, he and Alakazam disappeared in a vortex of psychic energy.
Despite its problems, the world kept turning. But peace had been achieved and the Guardians were restored. This time, Brandon would do all he could to maintain that peace and would eradicate anyone that posed a threat to his grandchildren.
The legacy of Aura would live on.