Here's the second chapter in my new grand little fic! I must admit, I've gotten it finished far quicker than I imagined I would. It's taken me basically three days to finish this one, and one of the most challenging parts of it was coming up with names for all the Guardians, seeing as there are basically two in the entirety of Pokémon which are named, Sir Aaron and Riley.

I'm quite happy with how this one turned out, and I hope you'll all enjoy!

The War of Shadows

Chapter 1

New World

Kanto Region – League Stadium

"Bone Rush!" The cloaked man roared, rolling to the side to dodge an incoming attack.

Lucario snarled, rushing forward as an Aura club formed within its paws. It leapt, spinning to build momentum, using each rotation to multiply the force of its blow, before slamming it down in a savage arc.

Bringing up all nine of her tails to form a defensive barrier, Ninetales let her appendages curled around and followed the blow, gradually slowing it down, to completely nullify its impact. Whipping them behind her, she unleashed a fiery torrent from her maw in retaliation, bathing the whole area in a blazing inferno.

Lucario's eyes widened as he saw the approaching flames, and quickly summoned a protective barrier of Aura. The flames slammed against the energy shield, taxing its capacity in seconds. A crack began to spread up the bottom right hand side, drawing Lucario's attention. Bunching his legs, he kicked his paws into his barrier, using it as a platform to launch himself backwards, out of danger, summersaulting to safety. When he landed, he immediately braced in an attack stance, his narrowed gaze missing nothing.

The back and forth had all happened in less than four seconds, the movements of each Pokémon impossible for any normal person to follow with the naked eye.

"I'm amazed you were able to dodge," Amelia said, stepping forward with a slow clap. She stood next to her primary Pokémon and stroked its neck. "I honestly thought your Lucario would have been burned to a crisp by now."

The area around the two fighters had become a warzone. The League stadium was engulfed by vicious fighting, the greatest trainers from both sides giving it their all. Aura Guardians against Champions, Pokémon Masters and the World Leaders. The light from the unleashed explosions lit up their surroundings. Several fires burned brightly, illuminating the night with their fiery glow.

The man laughed. "Well that's some unexpected high praise from a World Leader! I thought we were all beneath your almighty gaze." His cloak still clung to his body, obscuring his face in the shadows. Only his eyes, both glowing with azure energy, were visible.

She placed a finger on her lips, tilting her head to the side in mock surprise. "Really? You believed us to be arrogant? That hurts, you know! In fact, I'm very impressed with you and your Pokémon! You're very fast! The fact that you're still breathing shows that you're doing great!"

Resisting the urge to bite back at her, he flicked his empowered vision over to his companions, who had broken free from the fighting and were approaching the World Leader from the sides. We'll have one chance to try and take her out, and it's now! Both of his allies had their chosen Pokémon already in position, Golem and Ninjask both filled with their trainer's Aura and priming their attacks.

"Now! Aura Sphere!" The cloaked man roared, rushing forward with his Pokémon, building an identical attack on top of his palms. He'd flooded his body with Aura, enhancing his physical prowess about five times over, making him extremely powerful. He was moving with the power of five people in the peak of fitness, all multiplied on top of one another, and shot forwards in a blur, moving at inhuman speeds.

They all aimed their attacks at the body of the young woman before them. Defeating her Pokémon wouldn't amount to anything if she still lived, and she was one of the three most dangerous people alive.

Glancing around herself to identify each of her attackers, Amelia's eyes went wide. "I see! You've all decided to attack me at once! Great idea! You're all so quick!"

He roared as he closed in on her, driving his attack down with all of his remaining power. Land! Please! If we can just take her out…!

Four Aura Spheres, an Aura boosted Rock Blast, and an Aura booted X-Scissor, all stuck at once, unleashing an explosion of energy that enveloped the entire area in a mushrooming cloud of fire and dust. The cloaked man and his colleagues were all buffeted back by the blowback of their own attacks, twisting in the air so that they landed on their feet, skidding across the ground and coming to a stop about four meters away.

All of them poured what Aura they had left into their eyes, desperately trying to pierce the gloom and see if they'd been successful.

The cloaked man clenched his fists as he hopefully searched. Please, Arceus! Let that have worked!

The dust cleared, revealing a totally unharmed Amelia surrounded two of her most powerful Pokémon. Ninetails, each of its tails spread like a fan to create a defensive wall at the front, and Milotic, using its mastery over water to create a liquid barrier at the back, completely protected their master from all damage. The World Leader smirked at him, tilting her head to the side once more. "You were so close! Impressive! If Milotic and Ninetales weren't here, I'd be dead! So? What's next? I think you'll need more Vestiges if you want to kill me. Your friends just aren't quite…" She said, glancing over toward their now unmoving corpses, "Strong enough…"

His eyes went wide, a thick lock of black hair falling limp over the right side of his face, sticking to it with sweat. He felt a wave of despair wash over him as he saw both Tyna and Valdo's mutilated bodies, their Pokémon laid haphazardly beside them, also dead. A shiver of dread ran down his spine, causing him to shiver. Beads of sweat dotted his face and dripped down his neck. He was out of energy, and based on how badly his Lucario was panting beside him, so was he. She killed them…! And if we don't get out of here soon… I'll die too…! Damn it! She's just toying with me… I'm still not strong enough!

She smiled at him, clapping her hands together as though she just had an amusing idea. "Oh! I get it! You're out of Aura and Pokémon! That really is too bad, Riley! You almost killed me!"

From behind the nearby treeline a blue flare shot into the sky, exploding in the air and bathing the entire area in its light.

This immediately caught Riley's attention. The signal! He shared a glance with his Lucario, and they opened up their mental link. "It's time to retreat, old friend! They made it to safety!"

"I understand, Master. Let's get out of here!" The Aura Pokémon sent back, nodding.

As one the two of them used all their remaining power to boost their physical capabilities and ran towards the treeline, rapidly retreating from the World Leader.

"Oh? You're running away?" Amelia said, watching him rapidly flee from the area. "That's not very heroic! I thought you were going to kill me and save the world?" She started laughing.

It took all the power he had to resist the urge to turn around and face her, to resist her taunts and jibes. A shadow suddenly fell over him, causing him to glance up in surprise. Ninetales was already above them, its mouth open and flames building at the base of its throat.

Shit! I'll never dodge in time and neither will Lucario! He desperately tried to turn and put up a protective barrier, but knew his movements were too slow. By the time he'd twist his body halfway, he'd be dead. I can't make it in time!

Just as the fire type was about to unleash her terrible, fiery barrage, an azure-coated fist slammed into her side, sending her flying. Ninetales yelped in pain as she flew through the air, slamming into the hard concrete of the stadium's grounds and cratering it upon impact. A cloud of dust kicked up, billowing up into the air.

Riley's eyes widened as his mouth nearly hit the floor. "Why ar-"

"Keep your mouth shut and get out of here!" Sir Aaron roared, interrupting him. The legendary Guardian blazed like a sapphire star, standing between him and the World Leader, cutting her off. "Don't lose focus! I'll hold her back!"

Amelia stepped forward, a genuine grin on her perfect face, her eyes alight with excitement for the first time in years. "Is that the Sir Aaron?! What a wonderful treat!" She said as Ninetales leapt from the crater, standing protectively before her master and seemingly no worse for wear. Milotic did likewise, the two of them forming an impenetrable barrier. "To think I'd get to fight one of the Four Pillars themselves! It's not an opportunity you get every day! You guys don't come out very often!"

Sir Aaron spun his Guardian staff around in his hands before slamming it down into the ground. His Lucario leapt to his side, his eyes trained on the World Leader, his paws surrounded by Aura. "I'm sorry to disappoint you, Lady Amelia, but I'll have to postpone our match for later. There are far more important things going on right now than you and I."

She blinked in shock, the fake smile returning to her face. "What could be more important than fighting me? If you don't stop me here, I'll kill every single Guardian currently fleeing for their lives, you do know that, don't you?"

"You won't get that chance." He said, deadly serious. Closing his eyes, he activated every ounce of Aura in his body. It roared to life around him, burning out of his skin like an inferno, shooting high towards the sky. The very ground began to tremble and crack, the air itself thrumming with the sheer release of his power. Bringing his hands up before himself, his Lucario mimicking his actions, his eyes sprang open, blazing with incredible amounts of energy. He slammed his palms together, and a great thunderclap resounded outwards, accompanied by the chime of some unseen, gargantuan bell. "Great Wall!" He roared.

Spreading out before him, a layered barrier of pure Aura burst into existence. A couple meters thick, it shot towards the heavens, slicing through the nearby stadium as though it were made from butter, sheering straight through its steel and brick and cutting a large portion of its front end off. With this one simple move, he'd calculated the positioning of every single Guardian, freeing them from their opponents and separating both sides, giving his brethren a chance to escape.

"Everyone! To the flare! Retreat while the wall holds! We have completed our objective!" Sir Aaron boomed; his voice carried by his power to every corner of the battlefield.

Upon hearing his command, they all instantly disengaged, using what power they had left to flee as fast as possible. Several of them had already lost their lives, their corpses stiffening on the floor, unable to be retrieved. It was a sacrifice the Aura Guardians would have to make.

Amelia approached the barrier from her side, rattling her knuckles against it. "Impressive, Sir Aaron!" She called to him as he turned and ran. "Even if I attack this now, it'll take me a few seconds to bust through, and by that time you and your little friends will be long gone… You got us! Well done!"

He ignored her, catching up with Riley as the two of them bounded through the air, using their Aura to jump high into the air, propelling themselves forwards at high speeds.

"I look forward to our rematch!" Amelia shouted behind them, a smile on her face. She had one hand cupped next to her mouth to amplify her voice, the other in the air, waving. Her two primary Pokémon were stood beside her. "I look forward to the day I can kill you!"

The legendary Aura Guardian paid her no heed, staying close to his protégé, making sure the younger man was keeping up.

"T-Thank you, My Lord, for s-saving me…" Riley got out between ragged breaths, one hand still holding his side. His Guardian's outfit was torn in several places, combined with large patches of crimson liquid staining the fabric.

Sir Aaron smiled at him before facing ahead. "I wouldn't simply let you die out there. You did a great job holding out until I got to you. I'm proud of your advancements."

Despite the situation, Riley smiled. "Thank you… My Lord…"

Their companions fell in, and they all rapidly leapt towards the second Waypoint at the far side of the forest. They had lost many lives but had saved the two Chosen Ones of prophecy, so they all had smiles on their faces. It was a massive win for the Aura Guardians.

Amelia watched them go and sighed, returning her Milotic. She glanced up as Odasa and his three Pokémon Masters ran over to her. "You're still alive, Odasa? That's a shame."

He scowled at her. His shoes were splattered with blood. "You let the Vestige and a Pillar escape." He said flatly.

She turned to face him, placing one finger on her lips thoughtfully. "Well… if memory serves me… it was your job to ensure that none of them could escape, and, would you look at that! They all did!" She giggled. "Fantastic job as always, Odasa."

He grit his teeth, now visibly glaring at his fellow World Leader. "Shut your trap! They wouldn't have gotten anywhere if we hadn't been betrayed from within!"

"Hmmmmmm…" Amelia said, walking over to a nearby Guardian's corpse and wiping her blood-soaked shoes off on his clothes, cleaning them. "So much for being prepared for any situation, like you told us."

"Your insults are as hollow as your chest," He replied, spitting on the ground. "Letting Ketchum escape is an absolute failure for us all."

She spread her arms wide. "But we killed so many! Aura Guardians can't just be trained, they need to be born with the ability. Thinning their numbers by this much is a huge blow for them."

"I know you're not stupid enough to not see this failure for what it is," Odasa said, shaking his head. "If he's half the man his father was, then we're in for trouble."

Catching Cynthia approaching in the corner of her eye, Amelia smiled at her colleague. "If he is such a grave threat, then it makes you wonder why we didn't deal with him before now, doesn't it? Oh well…" She turned her back on him, walking over to meet her subordinate. "Do try to not fuck up the clean up, Odasa."

He whirled and stormed off in the other direction, his Pokémon Masters on his heel.

Amelia licked her lips as she approached her own, doing her best to contain her sudden rush of excitement. The look on the Sinnohan's face was addictive "What do you have to report, Cynthia?"

Cynthia went down on one knee. "We fended off the Guardians to the best of our abilities, My Lady. We took down three of their Vestiges, as well."

The World Leader smiled, patting her underling on the head. "This is why I recruited you as my last Pokémon Master, Cynthia! Fantastic job!"

"I simply follow your orders, My Lady."

Amelia smiled at her. It wasn't a happy one. "Is that why you conspired with the enemy, replacing our men on the inside, and helped them to orchestrate their escape?"

Cynthia suddenly went rigid, stock still. Her mouth went dry, and all the colour disappeared from her face. "M-My Lady…? What on Earth do you mean…?

"Don't play coy with me," She said, bringing a finger to her lips in a 'shhh' motion, "I know full well what you've done."

Fuck! She knows! I'm dead! Cynthia's brain flailed around in absolute panic, trying and failing to think of a way out of this situation. She remained as motionless as a statue, unable to formulate any kind of response. She opened her mouth to say something… anything… but it refused to work.

"You did well."

Confused, she glanced up at the World Leader, her eyes wide and in total shock.

"What's with that face?" Amelia asked, giggling slightly. "You thought I wasn't aware? My dear girl, you only breathe because I allow it.

"W-Why?" The Pokémon Master could only cough out.

"Because I wanted Ash and May to escape, of course." Amelia said, raising her eyebrows and smiling. "You did a great job of fulfilling a goal of mine without me having to lift a single finger."

"If you ask, I'd do anything without fail or question." Cynthia immediately replied. "I just had to save them, even if it meant my death."

"Which is why I trust you over my longer serving subordinates. You're a good girl, Cynthia." Amelia said, gesturing for the Sinnohan to rise. "I know how close you were to that boy in the past. You worked together with him for quite a while, didn't you?"

Cynthia nodded. "We stopped Team Plasma when he was in Sinnoh. He's no stranger to such events, I hear."

"Exactly!" Amelia said, spreading her arms wide. "He's the one consistent factor in a sea of variables! The unmoving rock around which world spins! I think… he's the Chosen One."

The Pokémon Master nearly fell over. "The one written about in the tablets from the Old Empire?"

"Yep! The Guardians believe it too, otherwise they'd never have risked so much to get him out. The fact they'd use and risk losing two Waystones reinforces this… those things are rare."

Standing there in shock, Cynthia struggled to process what she'd just learned.

"I'll answer your unasked question." Amelia said, smirking. "I believe him to be the one who will bring an end to this whole system. He will break the World Government, tear down the World Leaders from our thrones, and change the world forever!"

Again, Cynthia looked completely bewildered. "If you think he might do such things… then why? Why would you allow him to escape?"

Amelia shrugged. "I want to see if he can. The World Government has stood for four hundred years now, and very little has opposed its authority. If he can change up the very world order… if he can break its very foundations and rebuild it… I want to see it with my own eyes! It'll be fun!"

Not knowing how else to respond, Cynthia took the knee again, bowing her head in supplication. "If you believe that to be the best course of action, then I shall follow you, no matter what, My Lady."

"I know," Amelia said, turning to walk back to the now decapitated stadium. "You wouldn't be alive if that wasn't the case." She stopped, slowly glancing over her shoulder to face the Pokémon Master, just as the other woman stood. "Oh… but Cynthia… one last thing…"

"Yes, My Lady?"

The World Leader's eyes glinted in the light of the nearby flames, shining with a hellish glare as all warmth, mirth and humanity drained from her face. Her expression was that of a demon, one of absolute rage. "Defy me again… and you'll wish for an ending like these Guardians got…"

All blood drained from her face, as Cynthia found herself immediately paralyzed with fear. Her entire body started to drip with sweat and she found it hard to breathe. Her mouth was as dry as a bone. That single glance from the World Leader was enough to give her hallucinations of the most horrific torture and pain, of a suffering that would make you lose everything that made you human. Fearing for her life, she dropped to her knees, her head bowed limply. "Y-Yes, M-My Lady…" She squeaked out, her voice hoarse and barely above a whisper.

The hollow grin once again spreading up her face, Amelia turned and continued on, Ninetales falling in behind her.

Cynthia shakily stood on wobbly legs, panting heavily. As soon as her master was out of sight, she let out a huge breath, gasping for air. Her clothes were drenched in sweat. I… I thought I was going to die… She glanced around at all the bodies still littering the stadium's grounds, and at all the people now cleaning them up as though it were of no consequence, as though they were doing nothing more than picking up litter to be placed in the trash.

Shaking her head, she made her way back to the stadium herself. "Are we the bad guys…?" She whispered to herself.

Kanto Region – Guardian's Settlement

Materialising above an identical stone to the one they'd stepped on, Ash, May and Leaf arrived in an open clearing. To either side of them, several stones identical to the one they'd just used carried on, spaced two meters apart and part of a giant circle around a town with an enormous stone tower.

"Well, we're here!" Leaf said as she disengaged with the two of them and stepped forward, taking a deep breath of fresh air. "Welcome to the Guardian's Settlement!"

Absorbing their new surroundings, Ash and May let their eyes drink in the area with glutton. The clearing was enormous, at least a couple thousand meters in diameter, and surrounded by a dense pine forest and a glowing azure barrier, which stood several hundred feet into the air. The grassland beneath their feet had a sand like soil, and the sounds of wild Pokémon nearby let them know they hadn't left Kanto. Dominating the centre of the area was an old-style town, the buildings mainly built from wood collected from the nearby forest, and a similar type of stone as from which the tall tower was built. Several lamps illuminated the streets, burning with an azure hue and clearing fuelled with Aura. All in all, it held the appearance of some kind of fantasy village, hidden away as it was in the trees, and glowing with such a fantastical sapphire light.

The most impressive and dominating feature of their new location, however, was the tall tower built in the very centre of the clearing.

It soared into the heavens, as high as the field of energy keeping the area secure. The duo put their hands above their eyes to shield their vision from the sun's rays as they glanced up, admiring the architecture of such a fascinating building. It was built from dark grey stone and looked extremely old, as though it was constructed during ancient times. Its base was the thickest part, and as each subsequent tier rose higher into the sky, it got slightly thinner, albeit not by much. Several ramparts dotted the lower levels, no doubt to serve as a lookout post or a vantage point for long range attacks should this place ever come under siege.

"Woah…" Ash breathed taking it all in. "What the hell is this place…?"

Leaf giggled at their expressions. "Impressive, right?! This is the home of the Aura Guardians and has been since the very first Guardian walked this land. He built it over a thousand years ago, and its existence has remained a secret ever since. Only those who possess Aura within them can enter it, the barrier on the outskirts blocks all else, and as I stated earlier, it's the same deal for the Waypoints."

"We're still in Kanto, right?" May asked, tearing her eyes away from the tower. "The surrounding Pokémon are all natives to the forests around Cerulean, from what I can hear nearby."

Leaf nodded. "Very perceptive of you, Miss Maple. We are indeed, although its exact location isn't known, even to us. It's been that way since the time of the Original Four who built this place. For if even we don't know where the settlement is, then neither will the World Government. The only thing we've managed to glean over the centuries is the fact that it's somewhere to the north of Bill's house."

"The Pokémon Storage inventor?" Ash asked. "That name sure brings back memories… I actually ran into him on my first journey, back when I was still with Misty and Brock."

"Oh? You know him?" Leaf asked, raising her eyebrows. "He's been working with us for a while now, and his family has for generations. They guard the only physical entrance to this place, a tunnel under his house."

"So, the main way of getting here is by using the Waystones, like we just did?" May asked.

"Bingo!" Leaf said, forming her hand into a gun and mock shooting it. "Which means no World Government agent can ever reach us. Well, unless a Guardian turned traitor, that is. But enough of that! Follow me, it's time you got fully introduced to some of the guys here before the others get back!"

Ash and May shared a look with one another before nodding. They followed the young woman onto a paved pathway that had been laid, leading up and into the small settlement. There were several more just like, spaced about five or so meters apart from one another, all converging on one larger, main path, each leading from the other Waypoints laid into the ground on the edges of the clearing.

It was rather nerve wracking to be suddenly thrust into this hidden and secluded society out of nowhere, and Ash took May's hand for mutual reassurance. She glanced up at him and smiled, as they followed the Guardian into the town proper.

"A lot of the people here have been dying for the chance to meet the both of you, so don't be alarmed if you get a few curious looks." Leaf said as they entered the limits of the settlement. "You're basically celebrities amongst the Guardians! Given what's been happening, there will still be quite a few people up and about, even with it being the early hours of the morning."

May squeezed Ash's hand tighter as a bout of anxiety rippled through her. He gave her a calming squeeze back. He couldn't blame her for feeling that way, he did too, he was just better at masking it. They'd been through a lot in the last twenty-four hours, and it would start to take its toll on anyone.

"Look, Ash." May said as they walked along the main street of the small town. She pointed to an individual glad in the iconic Guardian's regalia. "He looks just like Sir Aaron, doesn't he?"

Ash nodded. "Yeah… it's strange seeing that outfit again… especially in a place where it's considered normal…"

Several of the people living here stopped in their tracks as they took notice of the two of them following Leaf down the main street, their eyes going wide. Murmurs and whispers began to spring to life in excited tones, as they began to realise who had just stepped into their home.

May laughed nervously. "I feel like we're the centre of attention…"

"Yeah… they seem to know who we are…" Ash replied, glancing around.

Watching them through the corner of her eye, Leaf smiled. They're still holding hands… so cute! They don't even realise! She couldn't blame them though. They'd suddenly been thrown into this strange new world after being abruptly ripped from their own and were leaning on the only familiarity they had left; each other. It was really endearing, and she was glad that they had each other. After all… it's more than I had…

After a small while the three of them approached a tavern looking building near the centre of the town. Leaf lead them inside, where they were greeted with a large room dotted with several wooden tables complete with matching long benches. The entire place was made of thick oak planks, nailed together. Thickset beams supported the ceiling. There was a bar at the opposite end, although no barkeep in sight.

One of the larger tables near the far side was occupied by the rooms only inhabitants, a group of cloaked individuals who were engrossed in conversation. They immediately stopped and turned when they heard the arrival of footsteps, diverting their attention at the newcomers. One of them perked up, standing. "Leaf? You're back?" The voice belonged to a young woman.

Leaf grinned, running over. "Indeed, I am! Glad to see you made it back safely, Korrina!"

The two embraced in a hug, with the woman at the table pulling back her hood to reveal long blonde hair tied up into a ponytail. "So… are they…?" She asked, glancing at the duo behind her fellow Guardian.

"Yes indeed!" Leaf nodded, turning and gesturing for the two to join them. They slowly walked over from where they were stood near the entrance. "This is Ash Ketchum and May Maple, we got them out of the World Government's clutches just in time!"

"Incredible…" Korrina said, leaning forward to examine the pair. "So, they're from the Four Great Bloodlines?"

"The one's the prophecy speaks of." Leaf said.

A large man sat at the back of the table laughed, standing up. He pulled back his hood to reveal close cropped, spiky red hair, and unusual, soft, yellow eyes. He grinned at them. "So, they're finally here, huh? And they're a couple as well!" He remarked, noticing they were still latching onto each other's hand. They both started, realising that they had, indeed, been holding hands the entire time, and blushed, sheepishly letting go. He laughed with a knowing raise of an eyebrow before getting serious again. "I guess that means the World Government really did it… they tried to purge us again?"

Leaf sighed, nodding sadly. "Unfortunately so, David. They were both to be executed tonight."

He smashed a fist into his palm. "Well, we managed to beat those bastards and snatch our greatest prize from right under their noses! That'll teach them to mess with the Aura Guardians!"

The third figure at the table pulled her hood back, revealing a lithe face and black hair. "I'm glad you're both safe. We've spent most of our lives here preparing for the day the World Government would come to finish us off. We weren't even sure if they would ever do so, since we have had over fifteen years of peace, but we were always watching, waiting." She stood up and offered her hand, which they both took and shook. "My name is Rachel. I'm a Guardian from the Celadons, one of the Four Great Families, just like you."

Ash blinked at her. "Celadons? As in Celadon City?"

Rachel nodded. "A thousand years ago, during the formation of the Old Empire, there were four legendary Aura Guardians that helped to shape society between people and Pokémon. Some helped to found and build the first real cities, and as an honour for doing so, the cities were named after them, some of which still stand today. Celadon is one, Saffron is the other."

"Does that mean…?" Ash asked, his eyes going wide.

She smiled at him, "Yes. The former Gym Leaders, Sabrina and Erika, are Aura Guardians from the Great Families."

"How did the World Government allow them to run their own Gyms if they knew that?" May asked.

"Because Sabrina masked her Aura." Leaf explained. "The World Government is crafty. They monitored all those born from the Aura bloodlines to see if any of them had the capabilities to become Guardians. Those that were were then tracked, and if they showed any signs of heading down that route, they were snuffed out. Sabrina learned of this at a young age, and being the gifted psychic she was, was able to completely mask her power from their gaze. As for Erika, she didn't manifest her Aura until she was into her mid-twenties. As soon as she did, they tried to kill her, but we managed to save her, bringing her here."

"I see." Ash said, sighing slightly. He looked a bit pale. "Everything I thought I knew is being completely rewritten."

"Pikapi…" Pikachu sighed from his shoulder.

"It's a lot to take in when you're first brought here, I know." David said, walking around the table and patting him on the back. "Take your time and process it a little bit at a time. Don't be an idiot like I was when I was a kid and try to absorb everything at once. I was depressed for weeks!" He laughed.

"It certainly takes some getting used to…" May said, taking a deep breath. "My parents mentioned none of this, and I'm guessing based on your reactions that yours didn't either, Ash." He nodded at her and she continued. "So, it's hard to simply accept most of this at face value. If it wasn't for all the recent events that we both witnessed, we'd have called you all madmen."

"Yeah, I getcha," Leaf agreed, bringing them both into a comforting hug. "The others will be back in a few hours, most likely when the sun's coming up, along with the majority of our forces that engaged the World Government while we got you two out, so why don't you head up to your rooms for now and take a breather? I'll come get you when they're back!"

Ash glanced at May and she nodded. He smiled at Leaf gratefully. "That sounds perfect, I could use some time out to get my bearings."

Leaf handed the both of them a key. "No problem! There is a reason I brought you straight here. We already prepared a room for each of you to stay, so go and chill out there until you're ready. I'll let you know when everyone's back, but you don't need to feel pressured into doing anything. It usually takes people a few weeks to get orientated here, and you've had a lot to take in today."

"You can say that again…" May said, laughing slightly. "I don't think I've ever been in a situation as crazy as this…"

"Thank you… all of you…" Ash said. "We wouldn't be alive without your efforts today. It truly means a lot that you were willing to put yourselves at risk for our sake…"

"Don't mention it!" David grinned, thumping his barrel chest with one hand. "We're all in the same boat here!"

"Indeed," Rachel said, bowing towards him. "We're just happy that we could rescue you from the stadium. With all their top trainers there, it was a great worry for us."

"No doubt they did it to try and deter us. Even for the centenary events like that, they never bring their entire show of force. They must have known we'd try something." Leaf said, gritting her teeth slightly. It was the first time Ash had seen the female Guardian getting somewhat angry. "But we will explain it all to you when you've rested. Your rooms are prepared and waiting. I'm sure you'll be happily surprised by some of the people you'll see again later!"

Ash and May thanked the group once again and turned, walking up the stairs to the second floor and hunting down their rooms as listed on the keys they'd been given. They found them towards the end of a corridor, next to one another.

"I guess this one's mine." Ash said, coming to a stop outside room twenty-eight.

"And this one's mine." May replied, standing next to him at room thirty. "After everything that's happened, I'm killing for a lay down."

He grinned at her. "I'm normally not one for saying that, but you're right. I've lived through loads of stressful events, but none can even compare to what we've been through today. I'm glad you were with me. You kept me going through all of it, May."

"You too Ash," She smiled back at him with a light blush. "Out of everyone in the world, I'm glad it was you that I had with me through this. You always got us out of so many difficult situations when we travelled together, and I'm damn sure it'll be the same this time as well."

That warm fuzzy feeling he'd felt in the back at the stadium suddenly came welling up inside him, and he had to fight the blush that was threatening to turn his face beet red. "T-That means a lot to me, May, thank you. Alright, I'm gonna take a nap for a little while. I'll see you in a few hours."

"Right." She nodded. "If you need me, you know where to find me!" She stuck her tongue out playfully as she entered her room and disappeared from sight.

He laughed at her antics, shaking his head as he entered his allotted room. Inside, he was greeted by a medium size bedroom with a double bed, en suite, and a desk. A large window opened up to the main street below, and most of the town could be seen from its vantage. The desk had all the basic necessities, such as a coffee machine, television, mirror, a comb, and a hair dryer.

As he entered, Pikachu leapt off of his shoulder and bounced over to the window, peering down at the mysterious settlement outside. "Pika…"

Kicking off his shoes, Ash slung his backpack under the desk and then let himself fall back onto the bed, staring up at the ceiling. He pulled his phone from his pocket and threw it onto the small table beside him. "Just what the hell have we gotten involved in now…" He said, sighing heavily.

Pikachu glanced over his small shoulder at him. "Pikachu… pi pika."

"We always seem to get involved in whatever crazy shit is going off in the regions we visit, but this time feels different. I don't think life will ever be the same again, buddy."

Nodding, his starter bounced over, nuzzling up against him for comfort. "Piiii..."

Ash laughed, scratching him behind his ears. "Yeah, you're right buddy. We're fine as long as we have each other. We have May too. It felt amazing seeing her again, although I wish it was under better circumstances."

"Pikachu cha pi, pika pi." Pikachu said, settling down.

The raven-haired trainer couldn't exactly understand his long-time partner, but he could more or less translate him from tone and inflection, a skill that could only be gleaned from the years they'd spent together. He smiled. "That's true! I'm sure we will pull through this, just like always. And with you and May with me, I'm damn sure we can figure all this out." He thought over all the events that had happened earlier, a sense of anger building within him at the betrayal he'd suffered. "The World Government must pay for their crimes. They used and lied to us so many times. All along I'd not failed, like I always assumed I had… no… they were the ones weakening my Pokémon… making me doubt myself… deceiving me with every word they spoke…"

He held his hand up into the air before him, clenching it into a fist. "I might not be strong enough yet, but I'll train until I can take down the World Leaders… until I can strip them from their gilded thrones and expose them for what they are… That is my new goal…"

Pikachu nodded with him, his eyebrows furrowed with determination. He too felt the righteous anger pour through him. "Pika!"

"All I have left is revenge…" The rage had been steadily building in his body throughout the entire day, and it was starting to boil over. The scene of his betrayal kept playing over in his mind. He'd not properly had the chance to process it yet, but the more he sat on it, the more it twisted in his guts. "I'll make them pay… even if it kills me in the process…! I want them to feel the hopelessness and emptiness I did…!"

Without even realizing it, he'd grit his teeth, grinding them together. Forcing himself to calm down and allowing the frown to fade from his face, Ash turned and glanced out of the window, staring into the tranquil forests, and the wall of blue energy before them, that kept this village safe.

My people have been fighting this hidden war for hundreds of years… And here I've been… blissfully running along in complete ignorance… totally oblivious to what was really going on… totally oblivious to their pain… He clenched his fists in determination, setting his sights on his new goal, his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master burnt to ashes within his mind. I'll become the strongest Aura Guardian… and destroy the World Government at its very foundations…!

Satisfied with his new path forward, his new goal that he could work towards, he suddenly became aware of the time as the sun began to rise in the horizon. He decided to try and get some sleep, but try as he might, it wouldn't come. He tossed and turned, trying to turn his mind off from the events of the recent day, but found nothing he did would work. After a couple of hours of futility, he sighed and got up, carefully getting out of bed so as not to disturb Pikachu who was slumbering softly beside him.

He removed his dirty shirt, dumping it in the wash basket, and wandering into the bathroom. Turning on the cold water at the sink, he stared into his reflection in the mirror. The large bags residing under his eyes were the only reminder on how tired he should be, since he felt full of energy. "You need to get stronger, Ash." He said to himself. "The only way you can fix this is by becoming stronger than the League… becoming stronger than the World Leaders… You need to do that so you can protect everyone. You need to do that so you can fight for what you have left."

His deep auburn eyes stared back at him, his face set with determination. He cupped his hands under the cold water and splashed it on his face, enjoying the pain of it against his skin. It felt refreshing, cleansing. He'd always been a convicted person, who once he set his mind to something, would achieve it, but now he was burning with drive. They'd taken everything from him, and he was about to return the favour. I will fight for my family. I will fight for my people. We will stand side by side as we watch those traitors burn.

A knock at his door startled him from his internal thinking. He turned off the tap, began to towel himself down, and walked over, opening it up to see May stood there. She was dressed in her nightwear, which consisted of a loose t-shirt and a baggy pair of shorts.

"I can't sleep…" She said sheepishly, looking down at her feet, "and I was wondering if you were the same…"

He finished towelling off, removing the last of the water, then threw the towel over his shoulder. "Funny you should say that, because I've not had a single wink." He stepped to the side. "Come in."

She nodded and stepped inside, sitting down on his bed. When she looked up at him, she couldn't help but feel a tad embarrassed, her eyes eagerly drinking in his toned chest and stomach, feeling herself get giddy at just how attractive he was without clothes on. Calm down May… calm down!

He hung his towel back up and then sat down beside her, leaning back with his hands on the bed. He sighed but seemed completely oblivious to his current state of undress, so focused as he was on his internal thoughts. "The day's events wouldn't leave you either, eh?"

She tore her eyes off him and nodded, looking out of the window. "Uh huh. Everything feels so different now… I have no idea what will happen to us…" She laughed, although the humour was lost in it. "I feel as though my entire life's work has just been thrown down the drain in a single moment…"

"I know how you feel…" He said, sitting up straight. "All my life I've wanted to become the world's greatest Pokémon Master. To serve to the best of my abilities in the World Government, overseeing the League and all its tournaments. I never cared about becoming a World Leader, they have way too many responsibilities, but I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing the things I love most in the world, training and battling Pokémon."

May turned back to face him, looking directly at his face. The pain and anguish written clear there made her forget about his state of undress, because she could immediately recognise it. It was the same on hers.

"It's all been taken away from me, even though, as it turns out, it was never there for me to lose in the first place. It feels as though they've had me dancing in the palm of their hands for my entire life." He shook his head, laughing. "I didn't truly accept it until we had to run for our lives. Even now, after everything we've witnessed, a part of me still doesn't want to believe it to be true." He turned to face her then, staring directly into her eyes, tears pouring down his cheeks. "How pathetic is that?"

It was the crack in the dam holding back her own emotions, emotions she'd been keeping locked back for her own sanity. All at once they came spilling out, rivers immediately bursting forth from her eyes, as she allowed herself to be sad. "Me too!" She said, embracing him into a full hug. "I'm so glad you're here!"

He wrapped his arms around her and squeezed her close, burying his head into her neck, letting the pent-up emotions out. They both sat on the bed, bawling their eyes out, clinging onto each other like they were the last two people left in the world. At some point Pikachu had woken up from the sounds of their crying, and although he'd initially been concerned, he soon realised what was happening and had quietly walked away to give them privacy, taking refuge in the bathroom.

After a while they both stopped crying, but continued to cling to each other, not willing to let go. A new kind of energy began to fill their bodies, as their closeness and open emotions stirred up new feeling combined with primordial urges.

May began to let her hands rub against Ash's back, feeling his skin and muscles, the shape of his body, as she kept her face pressed into his neck. He's so muscled… he must have trained for many years to achieve this kind of a body… The smell of his skin, his hair, his sweat filled her nostrils, and it became intoxicating. She felt her mouth fill with saliva and her nipples go hard as she suddenly found herself flooding with lust. What is this feeling…? I can't get enough of him… She had an overpowering urge to push her lips forward and begin kissing his neck, and as the seconds went by, it was getting harder and harder to resist. She'd never felt like this before in her life, and was unsure on how to proceed, but her body was craving more. A desire was building, and it needed release.

Becoming drunk on her scent as well, Ash found himself becoming increasingly horny. May's scent was all he could smell, and with her pressed against his naked torso, his entire body was burning with lust. It was a sensation that entirely new to him. Of course, he'd fancied girls since he was around eleven, and he'd often… fantasised… about certain things, but he'd never had the opportunity to get close enough to any of his female companions to do anything. It had never even entered his head, since he'd been so singularly focused on his goal. But now, with nothing else left but those desires, they were completely taking over. He felt his manhood painfully strain against his underwear as it reacted to the stimuli, and he swallowed, his mouth full of spit. He could feel her soft breasts pressed against his chest through her t-shirt and the more he thought about it, the more his breathing became laboured. The fact that she hadn't let go and that her hands were now questing down his back was filling him with confidence that he should just go for what his body and brain were screaming at him to do.

They sat there like that for another minute or so, just absorbing each other, before Ash pulled back, much to May's disappointment. That disappointment didn't last long, however, as he only backed off enough to look into her eyes. They both stared at each other, mere inches apart, seeing the overwhelming desires swimming in each other's gazes.

At the same time, they both lunged forwards, locking lips in a blaze of passion. The fact that they'd both gone for it spurred them further, as their arms wrapped around each other again, giving into their overwhelming urges. They kissed and kissed and kissed, holding each other as tight as they could, eventually opening their mouths enough for tongues to enter. They had no idea why they wanted to shove their tongues into each other's mouths, but it felt amazing.

Ash had never been so hard in his life, and it starting to get painful. He didn't know how much further he'd be able to get without hurting her, so he decided to let her dictate the flow, not wanting to ruin it. He'd never forgive himself if he allowed his desires to fuck this up, despite how hard it was to resist.

Questing inside his mouth, May was more turned on than she ever remembered being. Her experience in this was basically zero, as the furthest she'd ever gone was using the shower head on herself. Kissing Ash was only making him more irresistible, and the desire to have her skin against his was overpowering. She grabbed hold of her shirt as she pulled back from him for a moment, braced herself for what she was about to do, and tore it off, letting her breasts spill free. The moment she exposed herself she giggled, feeling adventurous.

Ash found his eyes immediately drawn to them. If his dick hadn't been hard before, it would have been now. Without thinking he grabbed hold of them, wanting to feel them in his hands, and they resumed kissing with a frenzy. As he felt their softness in his palms, he heard her begin to softly moan into his mouth, which served to drive him further.

Breaking off and proceeding to kiss his neck, May worked her way up to his earlobe, which she cheekily bit. She brought her mouth close to ear, and as seductively as she could, whispered, "Ash, let's-"

A knock of Ash's door suddenly made both their eyes shoot wide open, fear flooding through them. "Hey, Ash! It's nine o'clock in the morning! Wakey, wakey! The others are here!" Came Leaf's voice as the door slowly began to open.

They both froze, and it was as if time slowed down to a sluggish pace. They both watched, in horror, as the door opened inch by inch, as if in slow motion. Leaf stepped through, the usual smile on her face. "I've come to get you up for th-" She stopped, her eyes going wide, as she caught them in the act.

Ash and May just sat there, as still as a statue, embarrassment and fear flooding through them, rooting them in place. They couldn't have reacted even if they wanted to.

"I'm sorry!" Leaf squeaked, slamming her eyes closed and bolting out of the door. "Just come downstairs when you're ready!"

Both of them continued to sit there, in absolute silence, staring straight ahead with wide eyes. Ash still had his hands grasped firmly on May's breasts and she still had her mouth an inch away from his ear. As one they both pulled back, looking each other in the eye, and burst out laughing. They laughed and laughed, the embarrassment and fear converting to humour.

May fell back off of him, landing on bed as she continued to giggle uncontrollably.

Falling back beside her, Ash couldn't stop his own mirth from overflowing. It was the happiest he'd felt in two days, and he was greatly thankful for it.

As their giggles died down, they turned their heads to look at one another, smiling earnestly at each other.

"I know we got interrupted, but that was amazing…" Ash breathed.

May bit her lip. "I couldn't help myself. You're irresistible…"

"I couldn't keep my hands off of you. I've always thought this, but it wasn't until we met again at the tournament that I fully realised it, but you're absolutely beautiful, May. During everything that's happened… despite everything that's happened… you're all that I've been able to think about…"

She beamed at him. "You too, Ash. I couldn't help but admire you during our match… I couldn't help but think about how handsome you were… I just have this urge to be with you all the time… and when I think about you or spend time with you… I can't help but smile…"

He chuckled, grinning wider at her. They came in together for another kiss, deep and passionate. Pulling back, he looked her straight in the eye. "I think I'm falling for you, Miss Maple."

"I think I'm falling for you too, Mr Ketchum!" She giggled, grinning back.

They came together in a loving hug, wanting to be as close to each other as they could. May's nipples were pressed tightly against his toned chest, and the feeling of it was turning them both on again, so Ash made the decision to pull apart, before it would progress further.

He noticed her slightly pouting face as he did and laughed. "I want nothing more than to continue this, believe me, but there are people waiting for us downstairs, and what I want to do to you… well it wouldn't be over very quick." As he said that his face went even redder than it already was. He'd never spoken like this to anyone in his life, let alone a girl he liked.

"Glad to hear it…" She said, biting her lip. Her face also resembled a tomatoberry. She gave him a cheeky wink. "I'll hold you to that later tonight."

A large part of Ash wanted to say fuck the guys downstairs and simple tear the clothes off the stunning woman in front of him and have the time of his life, but he forced himself back under control. I'll be able to enjoy it more tonight… when there is no pressure… no one waiting for us… He told himself. It was the main line of reasoning that was helping to keep his desires in check. Instead, he contented himself with taking one last look at May's glorious boobs before she put her t-shirt back on.

She noticed and stuck her tongue out. "Glad you like them! You'll see them again later."

He swallowed; his mouth once again flooded with saliva. "I can't wait."

Giggling, she hugged him once more time, kissing him on the lips. "I know, me neither." She pulled back, happily skipping towards the door. "I'm just going to go back to my room and get ready. Meet outside in ten minutes?"

He grinned back at her, nodding. "Meet you outside in ten!"

As she left, he found his eyes fixated on her backside, admiring it like he'd never done before. He shook his head to clear it. Get a grip of yourself, Ash! Stop being so horny! Deciding to distract himself with the task at hand, he picked out a clean shirt and trousers and got dressed. As he glanced around, he noticed Pikachu was missing. Putting two and two together, he realised where his starter must have gone and why, feeling a sudden wave of embarrassment, thinking about what Pikachu must have witnessed. "Hey buddy, you can come back out now! May's gone!"

Pikachu peeked out of the edge of the door, peering into the room. Seeing no sign of the brunette, he hopped out and jumped up onto the bed, giving Ash a suggestive look. "Pika pi."

Ash scratched the back of his head as he got himself dressed. "Okay… yeah… this time it's exactly what you think it is…"

His starter burst out laughing, pointing one little paw at him in a mocking fashion.

"Hey, don't make me retrieve Serperior from Professor Oak! I'm sure she'd love to see you again!"

Pikachu stopped his mockery immediately and saluted his trainer with respect. Hoping it would be enough to save him from the grass type's relentless advances.

Ash laughed, ruffling the fur on his head. "I thought so! Now get yourself prepared; we're meeting the Aura Guardians downstairs in just a few minutes!"

"Pika pi!" His starter said, leaping off towards the bathroom to check his fur in the mirror.

Ash watched him scamper off with a grin, as he continued to get dressed, putting on a fresh pair of socks he'd brought with him. He too followed his Pokémon into the bathroom, checking his skin and hair. He didn't want to approach the Guardians looking like he'd just come from having sex.

As he fixed himself up, he couldn't help a few thoughts pop up in his mind. I wonder if I'll even be able to contact Professor Oak anymore… Now that we've been cut off from the World Government… how will modern conveniences be? Can we still use Pokémon Centres? Can I phone my mother back in Pallet Town? Thoughts of his mother and his Pokémon at the ranch sent a pang of worry through his stomach. I hope everyone back home is okay…

Splashing himself with some cold water to wake up properly and to clear away any signs of tears from his tired eyes, Ash dried himself off with a towel. Nodding to his companion who jumped up onto his shoulder, they headed for the door. As he walked out into the hallway, May was already there, waiting for him, dressed in a similar outfit to the one he'd seen her in at the tournament, except her top was now a white t-shirt that slightly exposed her midriff.

Noticing his expression, she took his hand into her own. "Something bothering you, Ash? You can talk to me about anything. I'm here for you."

He smiled at her. "Thank you May, I appreciate that, and the same goes for you. I was just thinking about home… about Pallet Town and my mother… and all my Pokémon back at the ranch… I'm not sure if I'll be able to see them again…"

"Pika…" Pikachu sighed, his ears going flat.

"I know how you feel… I've had similar thoughts about my home, my parents." She replied, squeezing his hand. "But they've been fine all this time, right? The World Government hasn't bothered them at all before now, right? My parents were even able to run a Gym with my father being a Gym Leader. Our situation is totally separated from all that."

He nodded at her, relaxing with a smile. "You're right. Thanks May. You ready to go?"

"Yep, lead the way!" She said, grinning.

"Pikachu!" Pikachu chirped happily, pumping his paw into the air.

Keeping a hold of each other's hand, Ash and May walked down the corridor. It was time to meet the rest of the Aura Guardians.

To be continued…

Hope you all enjoyed this second instalment! I spent a good deal of time imagining the home area of the Aura Guardians, and I hope I was able to convey it well here.

I hope you also enjoyed seeing Ash and May's relationship deepen as it was really enjoyable to write! I love this pairing as much as Ash and Dawn, and I think they work really well together as a pair, able to draw from each other's strength and confidence.

As always, don't forget to leave a review, I do read them!

Until next time!