And now for your reading pleasure, chapter 42 is up! As usual, please read, review and overall, enjoy! ^^

Sister's note: To reiterate, Damien's lines are to be read with a British accent.

P.S. I do not own Pokemon. Damien and Caraway belong to my sister.

Previously, Hikari and Tatsuya made the acquaintance of Damien, a talented violinist, and his energetic friend Caraway. After deciding to travel to Opelucid City together, they seem to have already run into trouble.

Looking up ahead, I could hear what sounded like motorcycles coming our way. It seemed Tatsuya wasn't kidding about that bike gang.

"Oh great..." I heard Damien mutter as he stowed his violin carefully. "Cary, need to borrow some Pokemon?"

"Nah, I think I got this," Caraway answered, shaking her head. "These guys don't look so tough."

Rolling his eyes, the blonde Trainer commented, "You need glasses, Cary."

It wasn't long before two bikers showed up, braking to a halt right in front of us. "Well, what do we have here?" the first biker said with a smirk.

"This is our turf, kids. Beat it!" the other biker threatened, crossing his arms and glaring at us.

"Is this turf?" Caraway asked, looking down at the ground under her feet. "It's very natural-looking, actually..."

Nudging her in the side, Damien muttered, "Don't give them an excuse..."

Not about to be chased off so easily, I folded my arms and glared right back at the second biker. "Tell you what, cue ball. We'll beat it after we beat you!"

This apparently angered the biker, who happened to be bald. "You little brat!"

"Whoa-whoa-whoa," Cary said, stepping between the two of us. "Now before anyone gets all riled up..."

"Stay outta this, red!" Cue Ball shot at her, making the redhead flinch.

"You tryin' to pick a fight, kid?" the first biker, who was much brawnier than his friend, asked me.

"I'm trying to get to Opelucid City, actually, but you guys are in the way!" I cracked.

I could see Tatsuya facepalming next to me, Victini mimicking his action again. "Hikari, for once, can you not give a smart-alec answer...?"

"OI!" an accented voice shouted. Everyone turned to Damien, who was tossing a Poke Ball up and rolling it down his arm to his hand. Looking at the thugs with a challenging stare, he continued, "You thugs fancy yourselves men?"

"Calm down, Cas. Let's hear him out," Biker #1 said, addressing his friend. Looking back at Damien, he cocked an eyebrow. "What's your game, pretty boy?"

"The proper way to settle a turf fight... a Pokemon battle," the older Trainer replied with a smirk. "'Course, I'd understand completely if you walked away and forfeited..."

Cas grinned. "Oh, no way we're losing to you brats! Right, Jim?"

Nodding, Jim replied, "Alright kid, you're on. If you win, we'll let you pass, and if we win, you turn around and walk away."

Seeing no other way out of this mess, Tatsuya shrugged his shoulders. "Fair enough. So who else is gonna battle these guys?"

"I'd be happy to take on cue ball," I piped up.

"It's Cas, dang it!" the bald biker shouted.

"You two up for a double battle?" Damien asked, glancing at me and Tatsuya. "Me and Cary take one, you two take the other? I'd like to make this as quick as possible and move on with my day."

"Sounds good to me!" Caraway said, choosing a Poke Ball from the loop on her bag where she kept them clipped.

"Okay, you guys take Jim, we'll handle cue- er, Cas," Tatsuya quickly corrected himself, but I still snickered at his near slip-up.

"I'll go first. Get ready to lose!" Cas declared, cracking his knuckles. "Get 'em, Krokorok and Scraggy!" His two Pokemon leapt out of their balls and glared at me and Tatsuya.

Tatsuya and I let out Braviary and Sawsbuck and faced down Cas, determined to win. Caraway, Damien and Jim watched from the sidelines.

Hikari and Tatsuya are challenged by Hooligan Cas!

"Use Crunch and Hi Jump Kick on Sawsbuck!" At Cas's command, both Pokemon ran straight at Sawsbuck!

"Quick Braviary, grab that Krokorok!" The large bird Pokemon flew in and snatched Krokorok up in its talons, while Sawsbuck was able to dodge Scraggy's kick, causing it to get hurt instead. "Now, Hikari!"

"Jump Kick!" Unlike the Fighting Pokemon's attempt, Sawsbuck's kick was dead on, sending Scraggy right back to Cas.

The bald biker was completely taken aback. "What the-?! C'mon Scraggy, you're not gonna let 'em beat ya, are ya?" Then he glared at Tatsuya. "And you! How long are ya gonna keep Krokorok up there?!"

"Not much longer," Tatsuya said before suddenly giving a command. "Sky Drop!" All Braviary had to do was let go, and Krokorok came crashing to the ground.

"Grrr! Alright then… Krokorok, use Swagger!" After a shaky recovery, Krokorok crossed its arms and glared at Sawsbuck while its body glowed red.

I watched as Sawsbuck's eyes turned red as a result, and he suddenly rammed into a tree, hurting himself. "Man, I hate that move!"

"Use Brick Break on Braviary!" The attack hit the Valiant Pokemon square in the wing.

"You okay, Braviary?" Tatsuya asked, to which he got a nod from the bird Pokemon. "Alright then, use Air Slash!" Braviary flapped its wings hard, sending several blue energy blades at Scraggy. The blades hit their target, and Scraggy was down.

The foe's Scraggy fainted!

Quickly using a Full Heal to get rid of Sawsbuck's confusion, I crossed my fingers. "Horn Leech now!" Sawsbuck lowered his head as his horns became surrounded by orange energy. Then as they glowed gold, the Season Pokemon charged at Krokorok before slamming into it, sapping it of its remaining energy and healing Sawsbuck's injury.

The foe's Krokorok fainted!

Hikari and Tatsuya defeated Hooligan Cas!

"Dang! Can't believe I lost…" Cas grumbled.

Jim dismounted his bike, shaking his head. "Geez Cas, I can't believe you let a couple of kids rile you up like that…" He then faced Damien and Caraway and pulled a couple of Poke Balls out of his vest. "This is gonna be fun..."

"Fun?" Damien asked, tilting his head. "Interesting - I don't battle a lot of masochists."

"Well, I don't lose to a lot of pretty boys, myself! Scraggy and Garbodor, take 'em out!" Jim threw the balls and the two Pokemon appeared, striking aggressive stances.

"Sounds like a job for Altaria!" Caraway tossed a Poke Ball and a blue bird Pokemon with cloud-like wings appeared, hovering in the air.

"Altaria, the Humming Pokemon. If it bonds with a person, it will gently envelop the friend with its soft wings, then hum."

"Gallade, let's do this!" Damien let his ball fly and the Psychic/Fighting Pokemon got into battle mode.

Damien and Caraway are challenged by Motorcyclist Jim!

Cary was quick enough to give the first command. "Dragon Dance!" Altaria then flew around in a circle as red and blue energy crackled around it.

"Nice move," Tatsuya commented. "Dragon Dance raises the user's speed and attack power. That'll give Caraway a huge advantage."

"Gallade, use Psycho Cut on Garbodor!" Gallade's arms both glowed blue before slashing at the Poison Pokemon, causing a good deal of damage.

Jim smirked. "Not bad, kid… Scraggy, use Scary Face on Altaria! And Garbodor, use Sludge Bomb on Gallade!" Both Pokemon reacted to the commands, and both attacks hit their mark. I could see the slightly disgusted look on Damien's face when the Sludge Bomb attack hit Gallade.

"Uh-oh, better hurry!" Caraway exclaimed. "Fly, Altaria!" The Humming Pokemon took to the sky before dive-bombing Scraggy.

"One more Psycho Cut should do it!" Flicking the remaining sludge off his arms, Gallade slashed at Garbodor once more, knocking it out.

The foe's Garbodor fainted!

Grimacing, Jim turned to his remaining Pokemon. "C'mon Scraggy, use Crunch!" Scraggy leapt forward and chomped down on Gallade's arm.

But rather than flinching, Damien grinned. "Nice try, mate. Now, Cary!" he shouted as Gallade flung Scraggy into the air.

"Dragonbreath now!" Altaria let loose a thick, green air beam from its mouth, hitting Scraggy and soundly defeating it.

The foe's Scraggy fainted!

Damien and Caraway defeated Motorcyclist Jim!

"Yay, we did it Dami!" Caraway cheered as she hugged Damien, who seemed quite pleased with himself.

Jim recalled his Pokemon and let out a sigh. "Well, a deal's a deal. We'll let you through, only watch yourselves. Some suspicious lookin' guys have been hanging around here lately. A couple even tried to steal a Pokemon from a friend of ours."

Tatsuya's eyes narrowed. "You guys are having problems with Team Plasma, too?"

"Too?" Cas asked, cocking an eyebrow. "They've given you guys grief, huh?"

Nodding, I told them, "Tatsuya and I have run into them a lot recently, and right now we're going after their leader. He's gonna try to use the legendary Pokemon Zekrom to force people to give up their Pokemon!"

"Hmph, well not on the Black Empoleon Gang's watch, they're not!" Jim claimed. "You kids keep goin', I'll let the guys know so they can keep an eye out for Team Plasma."

"We appreciate that," Damien said, flashing an approving smile.

Once the two bikers left, the four of us continued on our way. Suddenly, Caraway piped up, "Ooh! Dami, you should check on Kitty now, see if he's ready to evolve!"

"I really should, though I still question your nickname for him," Damien commented as he took out one particular Poke Ball.

"Eh? How can a Pokemon be ready to evolve if he wasn't in the battle?" I asked curiously.

"I gave Kricketot an Experience Share," the blonde violinist explained. "It's a special item that transfers some of the experience a Pokemon receives in battle to another Pokemon."

"Oh, I've heard of those!" Tatsuya said. "It's good for helping weaker Pokemon get stronger in a hurry."

Nodding, Damien opened his Poke Ball and a small red Bug Pokemon appeared.

"Kricketot, the Cricket Pokemon. Its legs are short. Whenever it stumbles, its stiff antennae clack with a xylophone-like sound."

"Aww, how cute!" I gushed, kneeling down to pet Kricketot, who clacked its antennae together happily.

"Isn't he?! I wanted Damien to have a Pokemon he could have a jam session with," Cary said with a huge smile.

Suddenly, Kricketot started glowing and I quickly backed away. The Cricket Pokemon grew in size, and when the light died down it had longer antennae and even grew a moustache!

"Kricketune, the Cricket Pokemon and the evolved form of Kricketot. There is a village that hosts a contest based on the amazingly variable cries of this Pokémon."

"Yay! Kitty evolved!" Cary cheered, hugging Damien excitedly.

Laughing as he endured the tight hug, Damien finally managed to break away so he could get to his Pokemon. "Well look at you, mate! Looks like the Experience Share worked."

"Kricke kricke kricketune? (So I can perform with you?)" Kricketune asked, its eyes hopeful.

"What'd it say, Hikari?" Tatsuya asked, cocking an eyebrow.

"It sounds like he's asking if he can perform with Damien now," I told him.

Damien's eyes widened. "You could understand him? You really are a fascinating lady." He then turned back to Kricketune. "And to answer your question, I would be honored if you performed with me. How about tonight when we make camp?"

"Kricketune! (That'd be great!)" the Cricket Pokemon said, hopping up and down happily.

"Oh, I'm so happy for you, Kitty!" Cary cried, kneeling down so she could hug the Bug Pokemon. Behind her, I could see Damien shake his head in disbelief at her continued use of the nickname.

That night, we decided to make camp just outside of Opelucid City, mostly because Caraway felt more comfortable outdoors than in a Pokemon Center. Tatsuya and I, as well as our Pokemon, sat around a campfire waiting for Damien and Kricketune to perform. Minnie settled herself nicely into Samurott's arms, while Zoroark assumed his human guise and sat next to me.

Caraway and Damien had let out some of their Pokemon as well: Caraway's Vulpix joined us along with a Kirlia, who seemed more focused on Damien's Gallade than anything else. Unfortunately, Gallade was deep in conversation with a tall blue and black Pokemon with steel spikes on its chest and backs of its hands.

"Kirlia, the Emotion Pokemon. If its Trainer becomes happy, it overflows with energy, dancing joyously while spinning about."

"Lucario, the Aura Pokemon. A well-trained one can sense auras to identify and take in the feelings of creatures over half a mile away."

"What kind of song do you think they'll do this time?" I asked Tatsuya.

"I'm not sure," the male Trainer said with a shrug. "Kricketune can show different emotions depending on the sounds it makes. I guess we'll just have to wait and see."

Finally, Caraway stood up. "Ladies and gentlemen, Pokemon of all ages, I give you, for your evening entertainment, Damien and Kricketune!" she announced, resulting in applause.

Damien and Kricketune took up near-identical stances and began playing. At first, Kricketune simply mimicked its Trainer's moves, rubbing its arms together to create music, but then it started dancing in its own fashion. Damien even stopped playing a couple times to allow the Bug Pokemon to play its own music before picking up where he had left off.

When the song ended, both performers gave identical bows as we applauded them once again. "Wow, you guys were awesome!" I told them.

"Yeah, that was perfect!" Cary cheered. "I knew you two would make a good act."

"Thank you, thank you," Damien said with another bow. Kricketune also bowed, loving the attention.

Once everything had died down, I started heading back to my tent for a good night's sleep. But before I reached it, three familiar figures surrounded me. It was the Shadow Triad! "What the-?!" I shouted in surprise, but I was cut off when one of them covered my mouth and the other two grabbed my arms.

"…Come," the first man said into my ear, and I had no choice as they quickly led me away from camp. I heard Tatsuya call after me, but it was too late.

After leading me through the woods, we came to another campfire where someone had their back turned to us. As I was tied to a tree behind me and my bag confiscated, my eyes narrowed as I recognized the strange robes the man wore.

"…Ghetsis. We brought the one you wanted," one of my captors announced before all three of them disappeared, reappearing behind the figure.

Finally, the figure turned around, revealing himself to be Ghetsis. "Excellent," he said with a smug smile. "I apologize for the restraints, but I couldn't have you try to assault me again like last time."

"Should've known you'd pull something like this, Ghetsis!" I growled, struggling against the ropes. "Now let me go!"

"Not yet," the man answered simply before reaching into my bag and pulling out the Light Stone. "It seems you have obtained the Light Stone. I congratulate you on a job well done."

Giving up for the time being, I glared at him. "It was no big deal, really," I told him, my voice dripping with sarcasm. "Now what do you really want? Something tells me you didn't do all this just to congratulate me."

Ghetsis nodded before speaking again. "It is my lord N's thought that the two holders of the legendary Pokemon should put their beliefs on the line and strive to find which is the true hero. This is not necessary, however." As he said that, he put the stone back in my bag and set it down on the ground.

"What do you mean?" I asked, tilting my head.

"From his infancy, I provided him with the education required to become the hero of legend. Indeed, he has been so acknowledged by the legendary Pokemon. …Such purity of purpose is his." His voice started rising, and his smile slowly grew into a grin. "The liberation of Pokemon of which I… Of which Team Plasma speaks is the separation of Pokemon from foolish people! That's the truth! All Trainers will become helpless to resist us! We alone will be able to use Pokemon!"

"If you think for one minute that all Trainers are gonna listen to you, think again!" I shouted, once again pulling at my restraints.

"Hmph, you underestimate me girl," Ghetsis said. "The preparations are complete! When my perfect plan is set in motion, first a few gullible Pokemon Trainers who are unable to resist Team Plasma will release their Pokemon. Then that number will become a hundred, then a thousand… In no time, even the Gym Leaders and the Champion will become unable to fight us. Having a Pokemon will be considered a bad thing! Even people like the sad little Bianca, whose Pokemon was stolen in Castelia, will be unable to face public opinion and will release their Pokemon! That's the kind of world we'll make!"

"You're crazy!" I shot at him, squeezing my eyes shut as I struggled. "There's no way I'm gonna let that happen!"

Giving an amused chuckle, Ghetsis moved closer before jerking my chin up, forcing me to face him. "You may have the Stone, but there's no chance whatsoever that the legendary Pokemon will accept you as the hero. So, if you're not willing to hand over your precious Pokemon, I suggest you search for some courage – because you're going to need it!"

"Lucario, Force Palm!" a familiar voice shouted. Suddenly, Damien's Lucario was right next to Ghetsis, and before the man could react, the Aura Pokemon had its palm against his side. Then a blast of green light shot out of Lucario's palm, knocking Ghetsis away and barely missing me.

The Shadow Triad sprang into action, grabbing their injured commander before disappearing into the forest.

Lucario looked at me, and I could hear its voice in my head. Are you alright? A little stunned from the attack, I just nodded.

"Hikari!" I turned my head and saw Tatsuya running over to me, with Damien and Caraway right behind him. "Are you okay? I was so worried!"

"I-I'm fine, Tatsuya," I said as Kricketune used Fury Cutter to cut the ropes, freeing me. Tatsuya immediately embraced me, and I instinctively wrapped my arms around him, feeling safe and relieved.

"Ah, young love," Damien commented with a smile.

"Gotta love it!" Caraway giggled.

Suddenly remembering that we weren't alone, Tatsuya and I pulled away. "How'd you guys find me?" I asked.

"Lucario tracked you down," Damien explained, patting Lucario's shoulder. "I'm glad we found you, and I apologize for allowing this to happen. I should have been more careful."

"Oh Dami, it's not your fault," Cary said before suddenly hugging me tightly. "But don't ever ever ever scare us like that again! Okay?!"

"Ha ha, okay Cary," I laughed, hugging her back.

Once I was released from the redhead's grip, Tatsuya gently took my hand in his. "C'mon, let's get you back to camp. You must be exhausted."

"I am," I said, gripping Tatsuya's warm hand as we walked back. My thoughts drifted to Ghetsis; he claimed he raised N, but his methods seemed different than N's, more cruel and ruthless. I wasn't sure why, but I also had the feeling he was hiding something. I shook my head, too tired to think anymore, and allowed myself to be led back to camp.

After a shocking encounter with Ghetsis, Hikari wants to rest more than anything. But deep down, she knows that she won't be able to truly rest until Team Plasma and N are defeated. Stay tuned!

Author's note: Damien and Kricketune's performance is slightly based off of Lindsey Stirling's "Shadows" video.

Author's note #2: I would like to share my New Year's resolution with you guys. I resolve to try to update much faster than I have been, and also to cut down on the Starbucks. (although the latter might prove tougher…)