Disclaimer: Pokemon belongs to Satoshi Tajiri, Nintendo and Shogakukan Comics. This non-profit, non-copyright infringing fanfiction belongs to me under international copyright laws and taking it is plagiarism. Thank you. *Phantomness bows*

Chapter 13/Epilogue

"Such violence is unnecessary and unbecoming." Lance spoke slowly. "As High King, should you not show mercy?"

"Are you refusing to hand her over?" An ugly leer pasted itself over Gary's face. "Give her to me!"

"She is your wife." He repeated.

"Pfft!" Gary flipped a hand. "Any slave-girl can bear me an heir, and there are plenty of other maidens. I can marry any of them I wish once I return victorious from Shinou. Trash like her should be discarded!"

"My Lord…"

"Out of the way, Lance!" He snapped. "Or I'll kill you for treachery, just as I should have killed Red!"

Flame flared in Lance's eyes. "You may say whatever you wish about my motives, High King Gareth, but do not insult my wife in front of me!"

Ash swallowed nervously. This was not good!

"Or you'll what, shoot me?" Gary mocked.

"Actually… yes, I would." Lance said slowly, reaching for his bow. "My arrows are tipped with hydra venom, Gareth."

That threw the High King for a loop. "You dare threaten me?"

"I dare nothing of that sort. I do not wish for you to hurt her."

"So you are Ash's lover after all!"

"I am her friend, nothing more." He retorted. * Fool… *

"Very well!" Gary snarled. "Keep this wretch if you care so much for her! As for me, I wash my hands of the whole affair!"

Lance nodded. "You'd better pack quickly, Princess. This tower will probably be engulfed in flames soon."

Ashline nodded.

The others were busy looting the royal treasuries. It did not take Ash long to gather her possessions, though she hesitated.

Was this really the right thing to do?

Maybe she did deserve to die…

She was silent as Lance escorted her to his ship. The crew treated her courteously, much to her surprise. The redhead was more charismatic than she had thought…

Was this really the right thing to do?

Lance called her into his room the next day. Hearthome was still smoldering in the distance, but the ship was loaded well with gold and other valuables. The crew was delighted that the long war was over and that they would be finally returning home.

Ash was slightly nervous. What did Lance want from her?

She stifled a gasp when she saw Lance's eyes. They were completely white. He was blind?

"My sight was lost to me the moment I used the Hydra's venom." He explained. "Such weapons always come with their costs. But no one else would dare breach the sanctuary for the Sun Stone. We all do what we must."


"My time is swiftly pressing upon me, Ashline." Lance sighed. "I cannot protect you any longer."

The black-haired woman nodded. "I am sorry."

"It is not your folly. My fate was sealed the moment I sailed for Shinou." He smiled. "I do not fear death. I will have my love again."

Ash took Lance's hands. "This is my fault…"

"Hush." The King commanded. "The crew will treat you well. Will you return to Blackthorn with them? My cousin Drake will take you in."

"Yes." Ash nodded. She really had nowhere else to go now.

Three days later, Lance was dead.

When the ship arrived, the Johtoites mourned their fallen King, but Ash was led to the Palace and treated as a Princess and not as a slave, and none blamed her, though she wished they would.

Everything had been lost.

She never did find true love.

End Fic

Completed 2/19/08

Edited 5/27/09

Yes, I finally got it to end! Go me! I guess um, stress hormones lead to angst? Hehehe…

I was planning for Lance to die slowly from poisoning ever since I used the hydra venom in the first chapter! ^^

So, which of his many paramours did Ash love? Beats me! Or did he love Lance too? *Shifty eyes* I think Red might take offense at that!