Chapter 62: After
One by one, the five heroes rose to their feet, worn and weary. Looking around, they spotted Lusamine lying a few feet away, moaning slightly to indicate she was alive.
Without hesitation, Lusamine and Gladion ran to her side, helping her to her feet.
"Mother? Are you...yourself?"
Lusamine smiled, gently rubbing her childrens' heads.
"It's me, dears. Thank you for saving me."
The three hugged as Ash rose to his feet, being the last to recover.
"Oh man, that was crazy. Everyone alright?"
"We're okay. What was that? I've never seen anything like it before."
Ash was silent for a minute, not sure if he wanted to worry them with the information. At last, he answered.
"That's Greninja's Battle Bond ability. To put it simply, it allows me and Greninja to sync together, allowing us to fight more effectively. But it drains our energy real quickly, so we only
use it as a last resort. Combined with using two Z-Moves in succession..."
Lillie marched over to slap her boyfriend, furious that he would do something so risky.
"Ow! What was that for?"
"Ash Ketchum, how dare you do something like that! Do you realize how much worse things could've ended up? If I lost you, I..."
Realizing he had hurt her, Ash pulled Lillie into a gentle hug.
"You're right Lillie, it was stupid of me. Nothing we did was having any effect, and I didn't know what else to do. But I promise, I won't do something like that again. Not unless its absolutely necessary."
"Alright, but you need to make this up to me."
Satisfied, Lillie brought Ash in for a kiss. Smiling, Lusamine walked over to them.
"Well, well, well. Looks like someone's stolen little Lillie's heart."
Lusamine laughed at seeing Ash squirm.
"Its quite alright, dear. I can see how much you two mean to each other. It reminds me of myself when I was young when I met their father."
Lusamine shed a single tear at the memory of her lost husband, wiping it away before picking Ash up and bringing him close to her face, fire in her eyes.
"But if you break her heart, I'll make you wish the Ultra Beast had finished you off. Do you understand?"
Ash nodded vigorously, scared out of his wits. Before any thing else could be said, a strange buzzing sound could be heard overhead. Looking up, they saw more of the strange creatures floating down towards them, angry and out for revenge.
"Um, guys? Think maybe we should run?"
"Let's book it!"
Guzma stood back where they originally found him, kicking up dirt and muttering to himself.
"Man, they better hurry up. They're my only way home."
His wish was soon granted, as the others soon came running in his direction.
"About time! Hey, why are ya running so-"
"No time, just run!"
Guzma stared in confusion, only for it to become quite clear as the ultra beasts appeared shortly after.
"Uh, on second thought, wait for me!"
The group of 7 made their way to the portal and jumped through, Lunala leaping in after them. The portal closed just in time, leaving the ultra beasts to stew in anger in their own world.
Ash and his friends (and Guzma) stared at the space where the portal had once stood. After all their work, it was finally over.
Nebby, Lusamine, and their world was safe.
Lilly stood out on the observation deck, reflecting on the past few weeks. In less than a month, her whole life had been turned upside down in more ways than one. Some were good, some bad.
"Penny for your thoughts?"
...And there was one of those good things now. Lillie turned to find Ash coming up the ladder behind her, wrapping a blanket around her.
"Gets pretty cold out at night. You might want to think about coming in soon."
"I've just been thinking. About everything."
"Its just...everything's changed so much in the last year. I've changed, Gladion's changed, its all so different. It feels just like yesterday you were saving Nebby on the bridge, and well...look at us now."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. But change is just part of being a trainer. I've been to so many regions in the past few years that I don't feel like any part of my life is really consistent. But you know something? It just makes me more excited for the next adventure."
"I guess. I just...sometimes I wonder if anything will ever be the same. Change can also be scary, you know."
"Well, change isn't always so bad. After all..."
Ash pulled Lilie into a gentle hug, letting her worries melt away.
"...Change brought us together, didn't it?"
Lillie smiled. Ash always knew just what to say.
"I love you, Ash."
"I love you too, Lillie."