Author: Kezstar24

Chapter One Hundred and Four: The Powder Keg

 It took a week to get the centre ready for the big night.

Belle and Charlie had spent the whole day before the meeting making sure everything was planned to near perfection. The air-conditioning was heavily advertised, as was the rather large open bar with plenty of food and non-alcoholic drink available, in the hopes of securing as many people as possible while keeping the urge to fight down.

“Ahem. AHEM!” Giggles tapped the microphone in front of her. “Testing! One, two, one, two!”

“IT'S ON ALREADY! JUST GET ON WITH IT!” Someone from the PCC side of the room yelled.

“Oh boy.” Giggles sighed to herself.

“We've got this buddy. Chill.” Chuckles grinned at her. He took the microphone and began to speak.

“We thank you all for attending this evening. I know it's been a hot, muggy month and you'd all rather be at home trying to cool down.” He began.

“I'M JUST HERE FOR THE AIR-CONDITIONING!” Someone from the PRO side yelled, getting a few laughs from both sides of the room. Chuckles grinned. Giggles breathed a sigh of relief. She might be the one with the knowledge, but Chuckles had charisma to burn.

“We're here tonight because we honestly believe that our city should be united, and that all voices should be heard. I understand that there are some out there who are unhappy with how things are, and then there are people who want things left as they are. Both of these are understandable, and hopefully with a bit of teamwork we can all come together and make this city a better place.”

There was a murmur throughout the room. Chuckles felt a drop of sweat run down his face, even with the air-conditioning.

“First up, we will have nominated leaders from both the Pleasantville Revolution Organisation and the Pleasantville Community Committee up on stage to talk about their views and discuss viable options that encompass the needs of all both parties. Afterwards, we will open the floor to discussion.” Giggles quickly stepped in.

Chuckles breathed a sigh of relief. Of course Giggles knew the programme like the back of her hand.

Meanwhile, the two nominated representatives from both factions walked up to the stage. Neither of them looked particularly friendly, but both of them looked determined.

“The Pleasantville Revolution Organisation only wants the best for our city, and what is currently happening is NOT what is best for our city.” The PRO representative said.

“This is also the will of the Pleasantville Community Committee, however, we believe that it's in the best interests of the city for things to remain as they are. We could very well be opening our doors to much worse if we fight it.” The PCC representative pointed out.

“ONLY COS YOU LIKE STEALING FROM OTHERS AND YOU DON'T WANT IT TO BE ILLEGAL!” Someone yelled, gaining jeers and cheers. Giggles frowned.

“I pay my protection money, same as you all, and to this day my business, that I try to operate in the most ethical way I can, has not been hurt!” The PCC rep protested. “If we stand up and fight, the retaliation will be severe!”

“COWARD!” Another yell. Giggles began to tense up. Chuckles squeezed her hand. This was NOT going well.

“I understand where you're coming from mate, but wouldn't you prefer not to have to pay protection money at all? You earned that money, you shouldn't have to part with it. What if we could have something better?” The PRO representative said.

“WHAT, WE JUST START PAYING YOU INSTEAD?” Another yell. Chuckles winced, nearly crushing Giggles hand.

“We can do better, we just have to work together on this!” The PRO rep tried. The crowd was getting restless.

That's when Giggles saw it.

“Chuckles! Someone at the bar is selling alcohol!” She groaned as she watched the barkeeper pour beer into a cup.

“Crap. I guess you can't get good help around here.” Chuckles sighed.

Giggles looked closer. Her breath stopped.

“It's…the Haunted Maze Troupe…” She choked. “HOW did they get in here past security?!”

“They could have come in with their masks in their pockets.” Chuckles suggested. Giggles shook her head.

“Everyone was checked at the door. We would have busted them.” She groaned. “And there's Demon looking all smug like he knows what's going on.”

It was Chuckles turn to choke.

“He DOES know what's going on. He wasn't checked, his security guards wouldn't allow it!” Chuckles spluttered. “He's working with the Haunted Maze Troupe!”

“We have to try and mitigate the damage, but I don't see how.” Giggles felt her stomach sinking through the floor. “Anything we say or do is under the microscope, we HAVE to be impartial!”

More people were calling out as the debate started getting heated. Suddenly, Chuckles had an idea. He pushed in the face of his watch and waited until Lady Luck appeared.

“Get Lady Silent to set off the fire sprinklers. We need to cool off.” He whispered.

“MY CAPE IS DRY CLEAN ONLY!” Giggles hissed.

“Wouldn't know it from how many times you fall into the lake.”

“I'll get Lady Silent onto it!” Lady Luck bolted as Giggles growled angrily at Chuckles, who smirked.

“Why Lady Silent anyway?” Giggles grumbled.

“Because of her power to not be noticed.” Chuckles replied.

Suddenly the whole room erupted in wails and water streamed onto everyone in attendance.

“GET OUT OF THE WAY!”

“OUTTA MY ROAD!”

“MOVE IT!”

“GET OUT OF THE FREAKING ROAD!”

“This wasn't such a good idea.” Chuckles groaned as Giggles wept for her cape.

Suddenly there was a loud “CRACK!” as someone slammed their fist into another persons jaw!

“THAT HURT!” The victim jumped up in fury, putting their attacker in a headlock.

“Darn it!” Giggles immediately flew to break up the fight before it got bad.

“Stay out of it you witch!” Someone grabbed her foot and threw her against a wall.

“OOF!” Giggles landed on top of the bar, which collapsed under her weight. “This is YOUR fault.” She snapped at the Trouper manning the bar, who shrugged and offered her a drink.

The brawl spilled outside, where a few other citizens who weren't intoxicated managed to break it up. Shouts and threats were heard throughout the night as the crowd dispersed.

“You've only delayed the inevitable, you know that right?” Someone walked up behind Chuckles.

“Demon.” Chuckles growled. “You did this. You're the one who got the Troupe to poison the well. People would have seen the light if you hadn't interfered!”

“Oh please. I just made them be honest with themselves.” Demon smiled. “Your grandfather was honest with himself, wasn't he?”

Chuckles swallowed back his anger, before jumping off the stage to help Giggles up. Demon chuckled to himself, before heading back to City Hall.

“Things look a little rough in Pleasantville right now.” Crusader Roger poured a glass of wine for himself. “I don't know if you're still talking to Daddy or not, but I'd like to get an accurate picture of the situation before we act.”

“I speak to my Mother, and she gives me enough information to go on.” Crusader Daryl snapped. “Besides, no matter the situation there's no way we can get into Pleasantville right now.”

“We'd have PCC support.” Roger pointed out.

“You don't think the Mob knows that? Besides, Demon is in charge of the Haunted Maze Troupe now, and they'll stop us or the Mob if we try to interfere.” Daryl eyed off the glass of wine in disgust. “Face it, we're done in the Pleasantville.”

“I wouldn't say that just yet.” Roger sipped the wine. “Pop the telly on mate, see how the Leos are doing.”

“You KNOW I'm a Mynahs fan.” Daryl snapped.

“FINE, I'll turn the telly on.” Roger sighed. Daryl was the worst partner in the world. He been raised to believe he was the centre of the universe and that the world owed him. Roger knew he had a sister that he had enjoyed abusing as a child, and he sent a small prayer out for her as he walked over to the television set. He guessed he shouldn't be too hard on the boy, it wasn't his fault that he wasn't Mark, but still…

He reached over and turned the television on. After enjoying the first quarter of the game (Leos 4.1.25 to the Caryard Kitties 1.2.8) he was about the mute the ads when the news bulletin started.

“News just in! Pleasantville is descending into chaos! Reporters on site report that the first brawl started at a meeting between the Pleasantville Revolution Organisation and the Pleasantville Community Committee that was organised by local vigilantes Chuckles and Giggles. Police struggling to contain the violence that is breaking out in spots around the city. Further updates at 10.”

“DARYL! Get up! We have to get to Pleasantville NOW!” Roger grabbed his shotgun and hauled Daryl to his feet. “Rally the troops!”

“What the -?” Daryl grumbled.

“We have to get there ASAP, before the Mob or the Troupe take over!” Roger yelled at him as he ran out into the hall. “OI! YOU LOT! Get mobilised, we're going to war!”

Daryl groaned again. Then he thought of getting some much-desired revenge on Lady Courage and grinned.

“What's that noise?” Sammy stirred from his rest on the rickety old cot in the cell.

“Sounds like the boys are moving out.” TJ didn't stir from his mattress on the floor. “Probably to go and pretend to arrest the DVM or something.”

Then they heard a loud bang. Both of them shot up, ready to strike if needed.

Someone then came running through the gaol, jangling keys loudly.

“LADY SILENT!” The pair cried as Lady Silent began the process of figuring out which key unlocked them.

“It's a long story, I'll explain it once we get out of here.” Lady Silent shushed them as she finally unlocked the cell door. “Basically, Pleasantville is at war, and everyone is blaming Chuckles and Giggles for it. There's no one in the cop shop at the moment, so I took the liberty of releasing you two.”

“Is it really that bad?” Sammy hugged his sister before they made their way out of the building.

“It's worse. It's so much worse.” Lady Silent told them.

One Hundred and Three: People Don't Like Change

Hot, stinging tears fell down the face of Belle Masters.

Everything was going wrong. Fights were breaking out all over the city between people who supported the PRO and people who supported the PCC. Demon was loving it. Now TJ had been arrested too, although Belle was pretty certain those charges of him attacking his superiors was an out and out lie.

“All we need now is for the DVM, the Crusaders and the Troupe to come in and take advantage.” Belle sulked. She was sitting in the tree, and the hot, humid weather was just making her feel even MORE miserable. “This is all our fault.”

“Hey Belle. You okay?” Charlie carefully crawled into the tree from his bedroom window. “You look like you're about ready to give up.”

“I'm just frustrated. We're working so hard to make this city a better place and the citizens we're trying to protect are the ones who have turned on us!” Belle groaned.

Charlie sighed.

“Charlie?” Belle asked.

“I know you're frustrated with the situation Belle, and believe me, I don't blame you one bit for that. But you have to understand where the PCC are coming from.” Charlie told her.

“What are you talking about?” Belle raised an eyebrow.

“Change Belle. Change.” Charlie said. “I think I know where the PCC has spawned from.”

Belle looked confused. Charlie sighed again.

“Belle, even I can admit that I am terrible when it comes to change. Like when you started uni and I started dating Sunny. I couldn't handle how it changed everything, and how everything was going to continue to change.” He said.

“But you went to Awesomica. That was a huge change.” Belle pointed out.

“Running away from change you mean.” Charlie chuckled. “It was me trying to escape the consequences of us potentially moving on from each other.”

He sighed again and looked up at a flock of birds that was flying into the sunset.

“People are afraid of change. They're much easier with the devil they know, and that's Demon. Demon is the epitome of everything that Pleasantville has been since it's inception, ruled by crime, and if that changes who knows what comes next.” He explained. “Plus, while the PRO from the outside looks like it legitimately wants to change Pleasantville, you can't deny that what it's striving for, and what we are striving for, will leave a bit of a power vacuum in Pleasantville, at least until it sorts itself out. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if some more nefarious types are backing the PRO in order to remove Demon, the Mob and the Crusaders from power in Pleasantville just so they can take it themselves. I mean, I think there are people in the PCC who want crime gone too, but all they can see is that power vacuum being created and someone even worse coming along.”

“I knew it. We should never have started meddling in things.” Belle began to cry again.

“But if we hadn't, things wouldn't be happening!” Charlie protested. “You have been SO weepy recently!”

“Shut up!” Belle snapped.

The pair looked at each other, before backing down.

“Demon is doing just fine. He's getting between us no problem.” Belle slumped.

“We can't let him. Pleasantville is on a knife-point. Things could explode at any second.” Charlie sat down next to her and put his arm around her.

Belle sighed a heaving sigh as she tried to calm herself.

“I think the first thing is to get us back on the same page. I tried to keep you from Demon because I thought he would get to you and you would do something we'd regret, but that was wrong of me and now he's using that to try and get to me.” She hung her head. “I'm sorry.”

“Hey, I had the same idea as you. Only I was scared of Demon, and of my own guilt when it comes to what happened to Grandpa.” Charlie admitted. “I was a coward.”

“You're not though. You're wiser than anyone I've met.” Belle told him.

“WE'RE wiser.” Charlie reminded her. “You're the one who finds all the pieces of the puzzle that I can't see. I just put them together.”

The pair smiled at each other. Then they both groaned as another hot blast of wind scalded them.

“This heat isn't helping the situation at all. Everyone is irritable because they're too hot and sticky, and they're more likely to take things the wrong way and start a fight instead of a conversation.” Belle groaned.

Charlie pricked up his ears.

“Improbability time?” Belle asked.

“Improbability time!” Charlie grinned back.

“Will you LEARN TO KNOCK before entering?! Oh, and there's two of you. Brilliant.” Demon looked up from his paperwork to see both Chuckles and Giggles staring down at him. “Don't you have some capitalism to fell?”

“It's actually quite scary how close thievery and capitalism are, but no, your little friends have been very good recently. Except the Haunted Maze Troupe and we still don't know what their issue is or what they're even doing.” Giggles said.

“They're drug dealers and trouble-starters. Of course they love to mess with everyone.” Demon pointed out.

“Know that from your former drug dealing?” Chuckles bit.

“ANYWAY!” Giggles quickly interjected. “We want to use the Pleasantville Sports and Community Centre for a city meeting between the PRO and the PCC.”

“With air-conditioning.” Chuckles quickly added.

Demon grinned.

“With absolute pleasure.” He smirked.

“The Noble Knights of the Last Order will be guarding it, so don't think you can cause trouble with the Mob or the Crusaders.” Giggles warned.

“The Mob are laying low until they get their opening, and you know I have no control over the Crusaders, no matter who is in their ranks.” Demon said with a note of bitterness, which was satisfying to hear.

“Make sure that air-conditioning is working and it's a nice, pleasant temperature in that centre or else.” Giggles warned. “Come on Chuckles, we're leaving.”

“I do hope you've paid your respects to your grandfather recently. It's coming up to that time of year, isn't it?” Demon said smugly.

Chuckles flinched, before following Giggles out of the building. Giggles sighed sadly – the chandelier still hadn't been repaired – before walking out into the street.

“It's no where NEAR that time of year.” Chuckles snapped as Giggles lifted him up into the air.

“Don't worry about him. He's a butt.” Giggles replied.

“A powerful butt who happens to run the joint.” Chuckles groaned. “I hope we know what we're doing with getting the PRO and the PCC in the same building.”

“We have to do something. The whole city is a powder-keg right now, and it's getting hotter and hotter.” Giggles replied. “I must admit, it's nice up here.”

“I love flying.” Chuckles grinned.

“I hope you like falling too.” Giggles joked.

They lasted two more minutes before falling into the creek.

“I spy with my little eye-,”

“Sam, if you keep this up I swear I'm going to arrest you again.”

TJ and Sam were bored out of their skulls. Since the mass release of everyone who didn't deserve to be in prison, things had gotten very quiet. In fact, TJ and Sam were the only ones left in their whole cell block, which meant they were the only two people they'd seen apart from the odd guard.

“I know Belle and Charlie are working on getting us out.” Sammy tried. “They have to be.”

“There's a LOT on their plates right now. The whole city is just waiting to turn into a war-zone.” TJ told him. “Honestly, I think they'll have to calm that down first, otherwise there's going to be trouble if we get out.”

“It sucks. I hate this.” Sammy pouted. TJ put his arm around his friend and put a small kiss on his forehead.

“It'll be okay. Petunia and Lizzy are out there waiting for us.” TJ tried to brighten the mood up.

Sammy smiled as he thought of Lizzy. Then his face crumbled.

“Lizzy finished school and I didn't get to go to the graduation!” He began to cry. TJ blinked, and began to cry too.

Gaol sucks.

Chapter One Hundred and Two: Hotting Up

“It's so HOT!” Daniel waved a junk mail catalogue in front of his face to fan it.

“One of the hottest summers on record, and it's only beginning!” Petunia groaned, spraying herself with a water-bottle.

“I just hope that Demon gets his act together with those prisoners soon, because I know for a fact that the gaol isn't air-conditioned.” TJ growled.

“Belle's working on it! Give her some breathing room!” Charlie snapped.

They were sitting in front of the Masters and Begly residences, trying to keep cool under the tree. Unfortunately, it seemed both temper and temperature were up at that particular junction in time.

“BREATHING ROOM? Most of those prisoners don't even have enough room to blink let alone breathe!” TJ jumped up, angry. “Meanwhile Belle gets to sleep in her nice, comfortable room with plenty of air flow and an air conditioner!”

“What more do you want her to do!?” Charlie also got up and towered over TJ, who flinched slightly.

“ENOUGH!” Daniel got up. “We're all hot and bothered and things are tense. There's no need to make it worse. Teej, enough with trying to shift your guilt onto other people. Charlie, stop being so oversensitive about your girlfriend.”

“BELLE IS NOT MY GIRLFRIEND.” Charlie growled.

Sensitive.” Daniel booped Charlies nose.

Just then, Belle pulled up in the Elantra, looking hot, sweaty and dejected.

“The air-con has gone in the car again.” She groaned. “And Demon is being a complete and total arse.”

“What happened?!” TJ had to be restrained by Petunia to stop him from grabbing the overworked lawyer.

“He says that it's a clerical error that got those people put in prison, not out and out racism. He's not going to do a thing to Dingbat.” Belle looked close to tears. “And he won't let Sammy out.”

“WHAT?!” Everyone cried in anger.

“How did you NOT get Sammy out of gaol?!” TJ nearly screamed at Belle.

“I tried!” Belle sobbed, the tears starting to fall.

“Clearly not hard enough!” TJ snapped.

“BACK. OFF. NOW.” Charlie looked ready to kill.

“I've got this.” Tammy suddenly appeared, making everyone jump.

“Where did YOU spring from?!” Daniel had to grin a little at his friends ability.

“TJ, be sure to stop around my place before you go to work tomorrow morning. I'll get all the dirt you need on Dingbat. Also, apologize to Belle.” Tammy said, with a small smirk.

“But-,” TJ started.

“Sammy is my TWIN BROTHER Theodore.” Tammy shot him a filthy look. TJ stepped back with a growl and muttered an apology.

And the heat still sat on Pleasantville.

TJ didn't know how Lady Silent did it, but she managed to spend the whole day in plain sight in the police office, yet no one noticed her recording everything they said about their work.

“Brilliant Lady Silent!” Giggles took the recordings from her at the end of the day when they met at the tip. “Once these are all over the city, Demon will have no choice but to put the pressure on Dingbat.

“And then they'll let Sammy go!” Lady Silent beamed.

“I'll distribute these, you get Sammys place ready for him to go back to.” Giggles said, preparing to take off.

“Just be careful and don't land in Lake Pleasant again.” Lady Silent grinned.

Giggles took off, making sure that the recordings got onto every radio station in the city.

Well, at least the pro-PRO ones.

“Not content with making this city unbearable to live in, now you're spreading slander too?!” One particular DJ screamed at Giggles when she tried to pass the recordings along.

“It's not SLANDER, it's plain facts! Demon is working with a racist police force!” Giggles snapped.

“You're nothing but trouble! Get out of my sight!” The DJ slammed his office door shut.

Giggles grimaced, enjoying the last of the air-conditioning before heading to City Hall.

Charlie was feeling extremely left out. He loathed how Demon had one over on him, especially as it was his dead grandfather.

Charlie had never forgiven himself for letting Charles Howzat get killed. He had never forgiven Demon either. He had tried, because he knew he was leaving himself wide open to get baited, but he couldn't. He was useless.

He sat in the tree by his window, trying to ignore the sweltering heat. He decided to put the radio on, and chill out to some music. That would take his mind off things.

“I can't believe our Mayor is actually allowing Wallace Dingbat to keep his position. This is untenable.” He heard one talk show saying. He groaned, and changed the channel.

“Chuckles and Giggles seem to be on a crusade against common-sense and law and order. Honestly, it doesn't surprise me that they sunk this low as to fabricate controversy against our law enforcement.” Another station blared out.

“Oh go AWAY!” Charlie groaned. He switched off the radio and rested his head on his favourite branch. Across the road however, trouble was brewing.

“How DARE you let that PRO rubbish litter MY lawn!” A young lady was yelling at the older lady who lived next door to her.

“You're not involved in that PCC stuff? Surely not! I thought you'd know better!” The old lady replied.

Charlie groaned again, and turned away. Then he heard a smash. He sat up, smacking his head on a higher branch, but that was nothing to what had happened to the young lady. The old lady had gotten her son involved, and he had bottled the younger lady across her head!

“Oh no, this is getting bad.” Charlie jumped out of the tree and bolted across the street to stop the young lady's husband from getting into a fistfight with the son.

“Easy everyone, let's just go inside and not inflame the situation further!” He tried to separate the two men.

“I'm calling the police!” The old lady declared.

“After you allowed them to be slandered?!” The young lady yelled back, blood pouring down her face.

“That woman attacked my mother first!” The son yelled.

“She wouldn't ever do such thing!” The husband yelled back.

“Please calm down!” Charlie tried to stop the two men from throwing fists.

This is bad, real bad. Charlie thought as he finally gave up and the two men attacked each other. I'm starting to think my great idea wasn't so great after all…

What this evidence shows is that our Chief of Police, Wallace Dingbat, has allowed his racism to take over his work and honestly, I don't think I want that sort of person in charge of law and order in our city.” The radio blared. Wallace Dingbat reached over and turned it off. He turned to the room full of his officers, all of them tense.

Well then.” Dingbat started. “Looks like we have someone in the force who isn't fond of my methods.”

All of the officers in front of him gulped.

And instead of talking to me like an adult, they've gone crying to Chuckles and Giggles, our resident vigilantes who have zero respect for the law.” Dingbat continued. He began to pace in front of the group, enjoying their discomfort.

Tell me, who is the one person in this room who is strongly suspected of having a connection to the allies of Chuckles and Giggles, those Knights of the Last Order?” Dingbat asked.

It was like a wave. Everyone made haste to move their chairs away from TJ, who sat in silent fury.

Officer Jacobs. Anything you'd like to share with us?” Dingbat walked over to his prey.

What did you expect to happen when you threw my best friend into the slammer? That we'd become bosom buddies and go out on double-dates? Get stuffed you racist, useless piece of bureaucratic trash.” TJ let the venom out. He was rewarded with a solid punch to the jaw. TJ hit the ground hard. He barely had a second to register what had happened when he was jerked back up again by two of his coworkers, who held him up while Dingbat got in a few more cheap shots.

Lock him up.” Dingbat commanded once the torture was over. Bloodied and dazed, TJ was dragged to the cells.

Hmm?” Sammy looked up as his cell door was unlocked. He had to quickly jump out of the way as TJ was thrown in next to him, looking extremely worse for wear.

Teej!” Sammy cried as the cell door was slammed shut and locked.

I'm fine.” TJ coughed and struggled to sit up. “At least they didn't take my protein bars, right?”

True.” Sammy grinned.

The cell door unlocked again. TJ was hauled up, shaken down, the protein bars removed, and locked back in the cell again.

Well that was rude.” Sammy was NOT impressed.

Chapter One Hundred and One: The PCC

 “The Pleasantville Community Committee are a group that believes in Pleasantville.” Peter Masters read from the pamphlet. “We stand behind our Council and our Mayor, and we entrust them to protect us and make Pleasantville the best city it can be.”

“That's a no from me!” Belle gasped. “I bet this is Demons response to the PRO!”

“I don't think so.” Charlie looked at the pamphlet. “I think this is purely on the people of Pleasantville who are on the side of the Council.”

“I really don't get what people think they're going to achieve by keeping the status quo. Do they think Chuckles and Giggles are going to turn into monsters or something?” Belle groaned.

“I don't know what we're going to do.” Peter sighed, sitting down at the Masters table. “The city is almost completely split in half. This is going to get really messy, really fast.”

“We have to get Sammy out of gaol first.” Belle said.

“If we can.” Lara pointed out.

Belle scowled at her. “We WILL get Sammy out of gaol. I swear it.”

Sammy wasn't having the worst time of it, but it definitely wasn't a top ten moment of his life either. He was at least in his own cell, whereas other cells had three or four inmates.

There was a small window that looked out to the prison grounds, and Sammy could see the street beyond. Apart from that, there was nothing to do. He got let out for an hour to walk around the yard no matter the weather, but the other 23 hours of the day were in his cell.

“SAM! Hey SAMMY!” Two days into his incarceration, he woke up to see TJ tapping on the cell door.

“TJ!” Sammy jumped up and met his friend at the cell bars.

“Are you okay? Have you got plenty of food? Is the toilet and sink functioning?” TJ asked, feeling relieved that his best friend was okay for now.

“I'm fine.” Sammy grinned.

“Thank goodness. Petunia and Tammy are having a fit. Belle is trying to look up your case and get you out.” TJ told him.

A loud “Hmph!” sounded from another cell, so TJ looked for it. That's when he noticed it.

Every person in those cells had the same dark skin as Sammy did.

“Um…Sammy…” TJ's mouth felt like sawdust.

Sammy looked confused, before he followed TJ's eye-line. He shrugged when he realised what TJ was referring to. “Oh, that? I thought you knew.”

“That the police force is racist? Of course, but I didn't think it was THIS racist.” TJ felt sick.

“Yeah, you never notice until it's your buddy do ya mate?!” Someone nearby yelled. TJ flinched.

“Don't worry about it.” Sammy tried to console his friend.

“Yeah, don't worry about us! Just make sure you get your buddy out, he's the only one who matters!” Yelled someone else.

“Look, just go back and do your job. See if you can't figure things out with the others.” Sammy pushed TJ away. “I'll be fine!”

TJ swallowed. “I'll get you out mate. I swear it.” He said quietly before scampering away through scoffs and sneers.

“Every one of them?” Belle asked.

“Every. Last. One.” TJ replied, pale.

They were sitting at the tip in one of the Knights of the Last Order hidey-holes as the humidity and temperature were on the rise in Pleasantville.

“I have to look this up.” Belle pulled out her laptop and began to type frantically. Daniel cleared his throat.

“It's not your fault mate.” He began.

“I never even NOTICED. Ignorance is just as bad as racism!” TJ cried.

“It gets worse. They shouldn't even BE there. Everyone in that cell block committed the most minor of offences.” Belle scrolled through the list.

Tammy sat quietly, fiddling with her hair.

“We've got him. If this gets out, Dingbat is THROUGH.” Belle grinned gleefully.

“I'm happy for you.” Tammy said quietly.

“He's a big supporter of Demon as well, so that will be a blow!” Charlie high-fived his best friend.

“What about the people in the gaol?” Tammy asked.

“And once the supporters of Demon start to fall, it's only a matter of time until we can get Dad in there!” Belle looked rapt.

Tammy sighed, and walked away.

“Tammy?” TJ asked.

Tammy pretended she hadn't heard and continued to walk.

“TAMMY!” Petunia ran after her.

“I'm glad you're going to get rid of Demon, but what about those people in the gaol?” Tammy said, eyes shining with tears.

“Of course we're going to get them out!” Belle looked horrified. “And we're gonna make it so no one goes back into gaol based purely on the colour of their skin!”

She flew (figuratively) into the den and with a bit of huffing and puffing flew back out again (literally) as Giggles.

“I'll be back, I'm taking this straight to City Hall and get these people cleared!” She flew towards the city. Charlie made to follow her, but then he remembered how easy it was for Demon to manipulate him. He sighed, and sat down, feeling utterly useless.

And yes, the Backpack gave out along the way.

“THE PRO HAS TWISTED THE NARRATIVE OF OUR GREAT CITY. IT HAS WORKED WELL FOR TWO HUNDRED YEARS, AND WILL CONTINUE TO PROSPER FOR MANY HUNDRED YEARS MORE. DON'T BE FOOLED BY FALSE PROMISES OF A “BETTER FUTURE”, INSTEAD SUPPORT OUR MAYOR IN HIS QUEST AGAINST VIGILANTISM!” A man stood out the front of City Hall with a megaphone. The crowd in front of him cheered.

Another person took the microphone and continued. “WE WILL NOT BE THREATENED INTO SILENCE. WE WILL DEFEND OUR CITY TO THE BITTER END!”

The cheers grew louder and louder, until Giggles flew overhead. Then the jeers and the boos started.

“Well that's just plain rude.” Giggles frowned as she landed on the steps of City Hall. “Looks like the PCC wasted no time in getting their rally on – HEY, NO!”

If you guessed that the Haunted Maze Troupe would make another random appearance, congratulations. They were busy giving out “lollies” and “drinks” to the rally, and Giggles knew exactly what was going down.

“Naughty! NO! Go on, shoo!” Giggles flew over and started to shoo the Troupe away. Almost immediately she was assaulted with:

“They're allowed to ply their trade!”

“Stop harassing them!”

“Hypocrite!”

“Leave hard-working citizens alone!”

“THEY ARE TRYING TO PLY YOU WITH DRUGS SO THEY CAN ROB YOU!” Giggles groaned very loudly.

Suddenly a bottle flew towards her head, followed by an apple core, a chip packet and another bottle. Giggles sighed, before taking off again and heading into City Hall to talk to Demon. If this was the Pleasantville Community Committee then they could shove their community spirit!

She walked in, thankful that there was air conditioning in the office at least. It crossed her mind that the hot, muggy weather wasn't going to do much to help tensions within the city. She groaned, and walked towards Demons office.

“Excuse me – oh, it's you. What do you want NOW?” Demon Jones looked up from his desk, annoyed.

“Why does the colour of a persons skin decide their punishment in this city?” Giggles snapped.

Demon groaned, with a roll of his eyes.

“It's not just “this city”, it's every city in Ostraya.” He returned to his paperwork.

“Release them. Now. None of their crimes deserve a gaol sentence.” Giggles snapped. “Especially when THEY HAVE ALREADY PAID THEIR PARKING TICKET.”

“Fine.” Demon grumbled. “Just give me a list of names and they'll be released.”

“Also I want Wallace Dingbat stood down.” Giggles pressed.

Demon looked back up at her. “You want me to stand down my number one supporter? Giggles, really.”

“Dingbat is the head of the police force, and thus is the one answerable for these crimes against people of colour.” Giggles snapped. “He needs to be brought into line.”

“Giggles. Giggles, Giggles, Giggles.” Demon shook his head. “I'll give him a warning, but that's it. I'm not firing my best employee.”

“He's clearly NOT your best employee if he's exceedingly racist! What about REAL crime?!” Giggles snapped.

“Well, I thought you had a good handle on that.” Demon replied with a smirk. “Now, out of my office please. And don't try and pull one of your guns on me, we both know you won't fire.”

Giggles seethed. So she did the next best thing, and pulled out the Lucky Seven Gun. She fired it at the light above Demons head, showering him in glass and leaving the room too dark to work in.

Pettiness has its place.

Chapter One Hundred and One: The PCC

 “The Pleasantville Community Committee are a group that believes in Pleasantville.” Peter Masters read from the pamphlet. “We stand behind our Council and our Mayor, and we entrust them to protect us and make Pleasantville the best city it can be.”

“That's a no from me!” Belle gasped. “I bet this is Demons response to the PRO!”

“I don't think so.” Charlie looked at the pamphlet. “I think this is purely on the people of Pleasantville who are on the side of the Council.”

“I really don't get what people think they're going to achieve by keeping the status quo. Do they think Chuckles and Giggles are going to turn into monsters or something?” Belle groaned.

“I don't know what we're going to do.” Peter sighed, sitting down at the Masters table. “The city is almost completely split in half. This is going to get really messy, really fast.”

“We have to get Sammy out of gaol first.” Belle said.

“If we can.” Lara pointed out.

Belle scowled at her. “We WILL get Sammy out of gaol. I swear it.”

Sammy wasn't having the worst time of it, but it definitely wasn't a top ten moment of his life either. He was at least in his own cell, whereas other cells had three or four inmates.

There was a small window that looked out to the prison grounds, and Sammy could see the street beyond. Apart from that, there was nothing to do. He got let out for an hour to walk around the yard no matter the weather, but the other 23 hours of the day were in his cell.

“SAM! Hey SAMMY!” Two days into his incarceration, he woke up to see TJ tapping on the cell door.

“TJ!” Sammy jumped up and met his friend at the cell bars.

“Are you okay? Have you got plenty of food? Is the toilet and sink functioning?” TJ asked, feeling relieved that his best friend was okay for now.

“I'm fine.” Sammy grinned.

“Thank goodness. Petunia and Tammy are having a fit. Belle is trying to look up your case and get you out.” TJ told him.

A loud “Hmph!” sounded from another cell, so TJ looked for it. That's when he noticed it.

Every person in those cells had the same dark skin as Sammy did.

“Um…Sammy…” TJ's mouth felt like sawdust.

Sammy looked confused, before he followed TJ's eye-line. He shrugged when he realised what TJ was referring to. “Oh, that? I thought you knew.”

“That the police force is racist? Of course, but I didn't think it was THIS racist.” TJ felt sick.

“Yeah, you never notice until it's your buddy do ya mate?!” Someone nearby yelled. TJ flinched.

“Don't worry about it.” Sammy tried to console his friend.

“Yeah, don't worry about us! Just make sure you get your buddy out, he's the only one who matters!” Yelled someone else.

“Look, just go back and do your job. See if you can't figure things out with the others.” Sammy pushed TJ away. “I'll be fine!”

TJ swallowed. “I'll get you out mate. I swear it.” He said quietly before scampering away through scoffs and sneers.

“Every one of them?” Belle asked.

“Every. Last. One.” TJ replied, pale.

They were sitting at the tip in one of the Knights of the Last Order hidey-holes as the humidity and temperature were on the rise in Pleasantville.

“I have to look this up.” Belle pulled out her laptop and began to type frantically. Daniel cleared his throat.

“It's not your fault mate.” He began.

“I never even NOTICED. Ignorance is just as bad as racism!” TJ cried.

“It gets worse. They shouldn't even BE there. Everyone in that cell block committed the most minor of offences.” Belle scrolled through the list.

Tammy sat quietly, fiddling with her hair.

“We've got him. If this gets out, Dingbat is THROUGH.” Belle grinned gleefully.

“I'm happy for you.” Tammy said quietly.

“He's a big supporter of Demon as well, so that will be a blow!” Charlie high-fived his best friend.

“What about the people in the gaol?” Tammy asked.

“And once the supporters of Demon start to fall, it's only a matter of time until we can get Dad in there!” Belle looked rapt.

Tammy sighed, and walked away.

“Tammy?” TJ asked.

Tammy pretended she hadn't heard and continued to walk.

“TAMMY!” Petunia ran after her.

“I'm glad you're going to get rid of Demon, but what about those people in the gaol?” Tammy said, eyes shining with tears.

“Of course we're going to get them out!” Belle looked horrified. “And we're gonna make it so no one goes back into gaol based purely on the colour of their skin!”

She flew (figuratively) into the den and with a bit of huffing and puffing flew back out again (literally) as Giggles.

“I'll be back, I'm taking this straight to City Hall and get these people cleared!” She flew towards the city. Charlie made to follow her, but then he remembered how easy it was for Demon to manipulate him. He sighed, and sat down, feeling utterly useless.

And yes, the Backpack gave out along the way.

“THE PRO HAS TWISTED THE NARRATIVE OF OUR GREAT CITY. IT HAS WORKED WELL FOR TWO HUNDRED YEARS, AND WILL CONTINUE TO PROSPER FOR MANY HUNDRED YEARS MORE. DON'T BE FOOLED BY FALSE PROMISES OF A “BETTER FUTURE”, INSTEAD SUPPORT OUR MAYOR IN HIS QUEST AGAINST VIGILANTISM!” A man stood out the front of City Hall with a megaphone. The crowd in front of him cheered.

Another person took the microphone and continued. “WE WILL NOT BE THREATENED INTO SILENCE. WE WILL DEFEND OUR CITY TO THE BITTER END!”

The cheers grew louder and louder, until Giggles flew overhead. Then the jeers and the boos started.

“Well that's just plain rude.” Giggles frowned as she landed on the steps of City Hall. “Looks like the PCC wasted no time in getting their rally on – HEY, NO!”

If you guessed that the Haunted Maze Troupe would make another random appearance, congratulations. They were busy giving out “lollies” and “drinks” to the rally, and Giggles knew exactly what was going down.

“Naughty! NO! Go on, shoo!” Giggles flew over and started to shoo the Troupe away. Almost immediately she was assaulted with:

“They're allowed to ply their trade!”

“Stop harassing them!”

“Hypocrite!”

“Leave hard-working citizens alone!”

“THEY ARE TRYING TO PLY YOU WITH DRUGS SO THEY CAN ROB YOU!” Giggles groaned very loudly.

Suddenly a bottle flew towards her head, followed by an apple core, a chip packet and another bottle. Giggles sighed, before taking off again and heading into City Hall to talk to Demon. If this was the Pleasantville Community Committee then they could shove their community spirit!

She walked in, thankful that there was air conditioning in the office at least. It crossed her mind that the hot, muggy weather wasn't going to do much to help tensions within the city. She groaned, and walked towards Demons office.

“Excuse me – oh, it's you. What do you want NOW?” Demon Jones looked up from his desk, annoyed.

“Why does the colour of a persons skin decide their punishment in this city?” Giggles snapped.

Demon groaned, with a roll of his eyes.

“It's not just “this city”, it's every city in Ostraya.” He returned to his paperwork.

“Release them. Now. None of their crimes deserve a gaol sentence.” Giggles snapped. “Especially when THEY HAVE ALREADY PAID THEIR PARKING TICKET.”

“Fine.” Demon grumbled. “Just give me a list of names and they'll be released.”

“Also I want Wallace Dingbat stood down.” Giggles pressed.

Demon looked back up at her. “You want me to stand down my number one supporter? Giggles, really.”

“Dingbat is the head of the police force, and thus is the one answerable for these crimes against people of colour.” Giggles snapped. “He needs to be brought into line.”

“Giggles. Giggles, Giggles, Giggles.” Demon shook his head. “I'll give him a warning, but that's it. I'm not firing my best employee.”

“He's clearly NOT your best employee if he's exceedingly racist! What about REAL crime?!” Giggles snapped.

“Well, I thought you had a good handle on that.” Demon replied with a smirk. “Now, out of my office please. And don't try and pull one of your guns on me, we both know you won't fire.”

Giggles seethed. So she did the next best thing, and pulled out the Lucky Seven Gun. She fired it at the light above Demons head, showering him in glass and leaving the room too dark to work in.

Pettiness has its place.

Chapter One Hundred: The Sixth Clause

 “Hey Belle, you're not gonna…why are you reading?” Charlie climbed out of his window and into the tree one Saturday afternoon.

“I'm relaxing! YOU try putting up with Demon trying to turn you evil every day!” Belle fired back, her nose firmly in her book.

“RELAXING?!” Charlie looked at the large book incredulously. “That looks like a full workout!”

“Ha. Ha. Ha.” Belle snapped. “It's actually the story of how our families became friends.”

“Why would you need to read that? Everyone knows the story!” Charlie asked.

“Because when stories get passed down verbally, things tend to get missed. I think I'm the first person who's bothered reading this in three generations!” Belle pointed out.

“And how does the full story aid us now?” Charlie asked.

“I TOLD you, I'm RELAXING!” Belle groaned. “Not everything I read is for research purposes!”

“Hmph.” Charlie settled down next to her. “Anything interesting in there?”

500 years ago

The Warring Nation, led by the evil Masters Family, had taken over most of the Great Nations. Only a few provinces remained, and the Peridot Isle, ruled by the Begly Family was one of them.

“The Warring Army is huge. We have no chance if we tackle them head-on.” Count Arnold told the small war council assembled in the Begly Castle.

“They haven't shown any signs that they're interested in us yet. Maybe we should ignore them for the time being.” Captain Fern of the Peridot Army suggested.

“No. I think we need to strike before they have a chance to even think of us.” Steven Begly, ruler of the Peridot Isle, pored over his maps. “Our intelligence suggests that the Warring Army isn't very loyal to the Masters Family anyway, and are ruled by fear. If we could somehow get in there and remove the family, we could very well liberate the Great Nations from the Warring Nation grasp.”

“Which would be highly beneficial for us in the long term. Gratitude makes people more likely to be agreeable.” Count Arnold mused.

“Can you NOT make everything about profits?” Fern snapped.

“Enough.” Steven barked. The two stopped bickering. “Fern, I'm going to task you with getting rid of the entire Masters family. Cut the head of the fish off, and the rest of the body will rot. Once the Masters are gone, we can start to put things right.”

“Yes sir!” Fern saluted.

“Take my son with you. Especially as you're pregnant.” Steven continued.

“Wha-?!” Fern gasped as Arnold choked.

“I'm not blind my dear. I know you and John are very, VERY close, especially by how he talks about you. Congratulations by the way, and I look forward to meeting my grandchild.” Steven peered at his maps. “You're dismissed.”

It took Fern five seconds to process everything. “Y-yes Sir! Good day Sir!” She bolted from the meeting room.

She headed straight to her quarters, where she knew John would be waiting for her.

“We're busted. Your Dad sends his blessings.” Fern said flatly as she walked in, seeing her lover sitting by the door.

“How'd he find out?!” John jumped up, horrified.

“I'm going to take a guess and say you goofed. Again.” Fern raised an eyebrow at him. “Talk to your father about me much?”

John opened his mouth, then stopped. He blinked. “Whoops?”

Fern groaned.

The plan had been put in motion, and the Masters family died in agony, the victims of a mass poisoning. There was mass confusion, anger, terror and wonder at who had dared to assassinate the rules of the Warring Nation.

Of course, in the confusion, no one noticed that the baby Masters had gone missing.

“John. I love you. I am going to have ONE child with you. Please tell me why you’re now stealing a second baby, and the child of our enemies at that?!” Fern cried when she found her lover in a covered wagon headed back for the Peridot Isle nursing the unfortunate child.

“He’s cute, and innocent, and sweet, and yes he might have just bitten me but he’s just a baby!” John pleaded, shaking his now sore fingers.

“He's a MASTERS, he's probably born evil!” Fern groaned.

“Well, it's too late now. We're on our way home and now we have two sons.” John smiled.

“You don't know what I'm having. I could have a neutral for all you know.” Fern snapped.

“I'm certain it will be a son.” John grinned at her.

Fern was furious when it was proven John was right, and a son was born. Together, they named their son Montague, and they gave the Masters baby the name of Maurice. They hoped the boys would become friends, thus ending the violent history of the Masters and creating a new future for the family.

They had thought only problem would be trying to keep the Masters child under control. The boy was far too smart for his own good, and could nearly always talk himself out of trouble, but at least he wasn't nearly as bad as Montague. Montague manged to get a bad idea into his head at least thrice a week and was always in trouble, compared to his more reserved best friend.

Somehow Maurice and Montague were great friends, although completely different. Maurice often sat in his room reading up everything he could, while Montague got himself into trouble at every opportunity. Many of his plans came close to working, but just lacked the polish needed to get away with it. It was never malicious, and was often just childish pranks, but it was indeed most unbecoming for a future ruler.

It was while Montague was being scolded for another misdemenour that Maurice found out the truth – that the Begly family had poisoned his parents to stop them from causing war. Maurice was furious, and stormed in just as John was about to give Montague a good walloping.

“WHAT IS THIS?!” Maurice cried, holding the book in front of him that had the details of the plot. “You're the reason I'm an orphan!”

“I thought I was your brother?” Montague asked as John sighed.

“You don't understand what your family was doing Maurice.” John told the boy who was fuming. “They were destroying everything.”

“Says you.” Maurice looked equal parts livid and devastated. “I should kill you where you stand.”

“You need to see what your family did before you decide that.” John said.

“I thought we were your family.” Montague looked hurt.

“I'm sending you and Montague to the former Warring Nation. See how bad things still are because your family insisted on war.” John said. Suddenly he had a knife at his throat.

“MO-MO NO!” Montague cried, trying to pull Maurice away.

“Why should I let you all live? Why?” Maurice was poised to strike, swatting Montague away. He was about to slit Johns throat, when Montague grabbed his arm.

“Mo-Mo! Please, let's just go!” Montague had tears in his eyes. Maurice looked at his best friend, before he dropped the knife.

“Fine.” He said coldly.

The boys left the next day. John hoped it would have the desired effect.

Maurice was shocked. He rode alongside Montague as they went through town after town of the old Warring Nation and saw the scars still there. People looked up at the two boys on horseback with scorn as they desperately scavenged for food, water and shelter.

“These people…they live in poverty…because of my family…” Maurice felt the worst he ever had.

“Yeah. I'm sorry that Father made you see this.” Montague looked at his best friend.

“No. This is what my family has done. This violence still lives in me…I can't be trusted.” Maurice choked back a sob. “I would have killed your Father if you hadn't stopped me.”

“Mo-Mo…” Montague looked sad.

After a few days they went back home to the Peridot Isle, where Maurice stayed locked in his room for two weeks.

“Is he even eating anything?” Fern was worried about the boy as another nearly full tray was returned from his room.

“I'm going to try and speak to him again.” Montague got up and went to bang on the door of his best friend. “MAURICE! GET OUT HERE!”

Nothing.

Montague felt irked. So he opened the door (surprised to find it was still unlocked) to find Maurice surrounded by books and carefully writing on a piece of parchment.

“What are you writing?” Montague looked at the parchment. Maurice moved aside, looking hollow.

“I, Maurice Masters, swear the following: I will never kill another human being again. I will always respect my elders, even if I don't agree with them. I will endeavour to dress nicely and appropriately. I will never hold back, and will fight forever for what is right.” Was written on the parchment.

“Wow. I don't think you've ever actually killed anyone though.” Montague pointed out.

“My family did.” Maurice said hollowly.

“And the line about dressing nicely?”

“I'm vain Monty, don't judge me.”

“Well, you're gonna have to add an extra clause in there. You have to believe in yourself again Mo-Mo, because if you don't, you're never going to be able to be better.” Montague told his friend.

Maurice smiled wryly, and added an extra line. “Most of all, I will always believe. Signed, Maurice Masters.”

“Happy now?” He showed Montague, who nodded.

“That's great. Anyway, I'm going to go and steal some apples, so I'll catch you later.” Montague headed out of the room.

“Fine…fine…not fine!” Maurice suddenly tweaked up. His best friend was going to get himself in trouble…AGAIN! Quickly, Maurice scribbled another line on his vow.

“I will always keep that idiot Begly from letting his plans get out of hand, no matter how improbable it is that I OR the plan will succeed!”

Then he bolted after Montague, who was already hiding under the stairs as the apples were being brought in from the apple cart.

“Montague! Will you think this through?!” Maurice cried in a hushed whisper.

“I have!” Montague replied. “I just wait until they head back to the cart for more apples then sneak in and steal a few!”

“You forgot that the guards are literally standing right there.” Maurice said drily.

Montague blinked. “No trouble!” He cried, as the delivery boy headed out for another barrel of apples.

“MONTAGUE!” Maurice bolted after his best friend…and was caught by the guards! He looked around frantically, but couldn't see Montague anywhere.

“And what are YOU doing young Masters?” The guard eyed him off.

“I was just…nothing.” Maurice sighed.

“That's right. These apples are for winter, NOT for now. Now go on, off you go!” The guard gave the boy a good shake before casting him aside.

Still smarting, Maurice headed back to his room, where he passed Montague…with several apples!

“My plan worked!” Montague cried in glee. “Because you ran out, you got caught and I could hide!”

Maurice felt his eye twitching as he stormed back up to his room and did his best to remove the last clause, forever known as the Improbability Clause, from his stupid list of vows.

“Bloody stupid Begly!”

“Oh wow!” Charlie cried. “THAT'S where the Improbability Clause comes from!”

“Of course it would be a Masters invention.” Belle grinned. “Wonder what Dad will say when he finds out.”

“Oh right! Speaking of finding out, I have news!” Charlie remembered. “Sammy got arrested last night!”

“WHAT?!” Belle screamed.

“Plus there's also-,”

“WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THAT ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS, WHO IS LIKE A BROTHER TO ME, HAS BEEN ARRESTED?!” Belle screeched.

“I just found out!” Charlie pouted. “Besides, that's only HALF the news!”

“And the other half is?” Belle looked murderous.

“The PCC.” Charlie groaned.

Belle blinked. “What's the PCC?”

Chapter One Hundred: The Sixth Clause

 “Hey Belle, you're not gonna…why are you reading?” Charlie climbed out of his window and into the tree one Saturday afternoon.

“I'm relaxing! YOU try putting up with Demon trying to turn you evil every day!” Belle fired back, her nose firmly in her book.

“RELAXING?!” Charlie looked at the large book incredulously. “That looks like a full workout!”

“Ha. Ha. Ha.” Belle snapped. “It's actually the story of how our families became friends.”

“Why would you need to read that? Everyone knows the story!” Charlie asked.

“Because when stories get passed down verbally, things tend to get missed. I think I'm the first person who's bothered reading this in three generations!” Belle pointed out.

“And how does the full story aid us now?” Charlie asked.

“I TOLD you, I'm RELAXING!” Belle groaned. “Not everything I read is for research purposes!”

“Hmph.” Charlie settled down next to her. “Anything interesting in there?”

500 years ago

The Warring Nation, led by the evil Masters Family, had taken over most of the Great Nations. Only a few provinces remained, and the Peridot Isle, ruled by the Begly Family was one of them.

“The Warring Army is huge. We have no chance if we tackle them head-on.” Count Arnold told the small war council assembled in the Begly Castle.

“They haven't shown any signs that they're interested in us yet. Maybe we should ignore them for the time being.” Captain Fern of the Peridot Army suggested.

“No. I think we need to strike before they have a chance to even think of us.” Steven Begly, ruler of the Peridot Isle, pored over his maps. “Our intelligence suggests that the Warring Army isn't very loyal to the Masters Family anyway, and are ruled by fear. If we could somehow get in there and remove the family, we could very well liberate the Great Nations from the Warring Nation grasp.”

“Which would be highly beneficial for us in the long term. Gratitude makes people more likely to be agreeable.” Count Arnold mused.

“Can you NOT make everything about profits?” Fern snapped.

“Enough.” Steven barked. The two stopped bickering. “Fern, I'm going to task you with getting rid of the entire Masters family. Cut the head of the fish off, and the rest of the body will rot. Once the Masters are gone, we can start to put things right.”

“Yes sir!” Fern saluted.

“Take my son with you. Especially as you're pregnant.” Steven continued.

“Wha-?!” Fern gasped as Arnold choked.

“I'm not blind my dear. I know you and John are very, VERY close, especially by how he talks about you. Congratulations by the way, and I look forward to meeting my grandchild.” Steven peered at his maps. “You're dismissed.”

It took Fern five seconds to process everything. “Y-yes Sir! Good day Sir!” She bolted from the meeting room.

She headed straight to her quarters, where she knew John would be waiting for her.

“We're busted. Your Dad sends his blessings.” Fern said flatly as she walked in, seeing her lover sitting by the door.

“How'd he find out?!” John jumped up, horrified.

“I'm going to take a guess and say you goofed. Again.” Fern raised an eyebrow at him. “Talk to your father about me much?”

John opened his mouth, then stopped. He blinked. “Whoops?”

Fern groaned.

The plan had been put in motion, and the Masters family died in agony, the victims of a mass poisoning. There was mass confusion, anger, terror and wonder at who had dared to assassinate the rules of the Warring Nation.

Of course, in the confusion, no one noticed that the baby Masters had gone missing.

“John. I love you. I am going to have ONE child with you. Please tell me why you’re now stealing a second baby, and the child of our enemies at that?!” Fern cried when she found her lover in a covered wagon headed back for the Peridot Isle nursing the unfortunate child.

“He’s cute, and innocent, and sweet, and yes he might have just bitten me but he’s just a baby!” John pleaded, shaking his now sore fingers.

“He's a MASTERS, he's probably born evil!” Fern groaned.

“Well, it's too late now. We're on our way home and now we have two sons.” John smiled.

“You don't know what I'm having. I could have a neutral for all you know.” Fern snapped.

“I'm certain it will be a son.” John grinned at her.

Fern was furious when it was proven John was right, and a son was born. Together, they named their son Montague, and they gave the Masters baby the name of Maurice. They hoped the boys would become friends, thus ending the violent history of the Masters and creating a new future for the family.

They had thought only problem would be trying to keep the Masters child under control. The boy was far too smart for his own good, and could nearly always talk himself out of trouble, but at least he wasn't nearly as bad as Montague. Montague manged to get a bad idea into his head at least thrice a week and was always in trouble, compared to his more reserved best friend.

Somehow Maurice and Montague were great friends, although completely different. Maurice often sat in his room reading up everything he could, while Montague got himself into trouble at every opportunity. Many of his plans came close to working, but just lacked the polish needed to get away with it. It was never malicious, and was often just childish pranks, but it was indeed most unbecoming for a future ruler.

It was while Montague was being scolded for another misdemenour that Maurice found out the truth – that the Begly family had poisoned his parents to stop them from causing war. Maurice was furious, and stormed in just as John was about to give Montague a good walloping.

“WHAT IS THIS?!” Maurice cried, holding the book in front of him that had the details of the plot. “You're the reason I'm an orphan!”

“I thought I was your brother?” Montague asked as John sighed.

“You don't understand what your family was doing Maurice.” John told the boy who was fuming. “They were destroying everything.”

“Says you.” Maurice looked equal parts livid and devastated. “I should kill you where you stand.”

“You need to see what your family did before you decide that.” John said.

“I thought we were your family.” Montague looked hurt.

“I'm sending you and Montague to the former Warring Nation. See how bad things still are because your family insisted on war.” John said. Suddenly he had a knife at his throat.

“MO-MO NO!” Montague cried, trying to pull Maurice away.

“Why should I let you all live? Why?” Maurice was poised to strike, swatting Montague away. He was about to slit Johns throat, when Montague grabbed his arm.

“Mo-Mo! Please, let's just go!” Montague had tears in his eyes. Maurice looked at his best friend, before he dropped the knife.

“Fine.” He said coldly.

The boys left the next day. John hoped it would have the desired effect.

Maurice was shocked. He rode alongside Montague as they went through town after town of the old Warring Nation and saw the scars still there. People looked up at the two boys on horseback with scorn as they desperately scavenged for food, water and shelter.

“These people…they live in poverty…because of my family…” Maurice felt the worst he ever had.

“Yeah. I'm sorry that Father made you see this.” Montague looked at his best friend.

“No. This is what my family has done. This violence still lives in me…I can't be trusted.” Maurice choked back a sob. “I would have killed your Father if you hadn't stopped me.”

“Mo-Mo…” Montague looked sad.

After a few days they went back home to the Peridot Isle, where Maurice stayed locked in his room for two weeks.

“Is he even eating anything?” Fern was worried about the boy as another nearly full tray was returned from his room.

“I'm going to try and speak to him again.” Montague got up and went to bang on the door of his best friend. “MAURICE! GET OUT HERE!”

Nothing.

Montague felt irked. So he opened the door (surprised to find it was still unlocked) to find Maurice surrounded by books and carefully writing on a piece of parchment.

“What are you writing?” Montague looked at the parchment. Maurice moved aside, looking hollow.

“I, Maurice Masters, swear the following: I will never kill another human being again. I will always respect my elders, even if I don't agree with them. I will endeavour to dress nicely and appropriately. I will never hold back, and will fight forever for what is right.” Was written on the parchment.

“Wow. I don't think you've ever actually killed anyone though.” Montague pointed out.

“My family did.” Maurice said hollowly.

“And the line about dressing nicely?”

“I'm vain Monty, don't judge me.”

“Well, you're gonna have to add an extra clause in there. You have to believe in yourself again Mo-Mo, because if you don't, you're never going to be able to be better.” Montague told his friend.

Maurice smiled wryly, and added an extra line. “Most of all, I will always believe. Signed, Maurice Masters.”

“Happy now?” He showed Montague, who nodded.

“That's great. Anyway, I'm going to go and steal some apples, so I'll catch you later.” Montague headed out of the room.

“Fine…fine…not fine!” Maurice suddenly tweaked up. His best friend was going to get himself in trouble…AGAIN! Quickly, Maurice scribbled another line on his vow.

“I will always keep that idiot Begly from letting his plans get out of hand, no matter how improbable it is that I OR the plan will succeed!”

Then he bolted after Montague, who was already hiding under the stairs as the apples were being brought in from the apple cart.

“Montague! Will you think this through?!” Maurice cried in a hushed whisper.

“I have!” Montague replied. “I just wait until they head back to the cart for more apples then sneak in and steal a few!”

“You forgot that the guards are literally standing right there.” Maurice said drily.

Montague blinked. “No trouble!” He cried, as the delivery boy headed out for another barrel of apples.

“MONTAGUE!” Maurice bolted after his best friend…and was caught by the guards! He looked around frantically, but couldn't see Montague anywhere.

“And what are YOU doing young Masters?” The guard eyed him off.

“I was just…nothing.” Maurice sighed.

“That's right. These apples are for winter, NOT for now. Now go on, off you go!” The guard gave the boy a good shake before casting him aside.

Still smarting, Maurice headed back to his room, where he passed Montague…with several apples!

“My plan worked!” Montague cried in glee. “Because you ran out, you got caught and I could hide!”

Maurice felt his eye twitching as he stormed back up to his room and did his best to remove the last clause, forever known as the Improbability Clause, from his stupid list of vows.

“Bloody stupid Begly!”

“Oh wow!” Charlie cried. “THAT'S where the Improbability Clause comes from!”

“Of course it would be a Masters invention.” Belle grinned. “Wonder what Dad will say when he finds out.”

“Oh right! Speaking of finding out, I have news!” Charlie remembered. “Sammy got arrested last night!”

“WHAT?!” Belle screamed.

“Plus there's also-,”

“WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THAT ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS, WHO IS LIKE A BROTHER TO ME, HAS BEEN ARRESTED?!” Belle screeched.

“I just found out!” Charlie pouted. “Besides, that's only HALF the news!”

“And the other half is?” Belle looked murderous.

“The PCC.” Charlie groaned.

Belle blinked. “What's the PCC?”

Chapter Ninety-Nine: The PRO

 “I loathe, detest, despise, and ultimately HATE Mayor Demon Jones with the utmost passion.” Belle seethed as she and Charlie pulled up to the Masters home in the old Elantra.

“Trust me, he's not anyones favourite person. Even his own daughter thinks he's a piece of work.” Charlie commiserated with his best friend as he got out of the car. “That being said, you shouldn't let it make you an overly aggressive driver.”

(Driving tip: Driving when angry makes you a dangerous and scary driver)

“I would really, REALLY like to know how he got voted in as Mayor, because it doesn't make the slightest lick of sense at all.” Belle mused as she checked the mail after nearly taking out the garage door in her erratic parking attempt. “Even if previous Mayors were under the control of the various crime syndicates in town, they still had the illusion of being impartial.”

“I doubt we'll ever have an answer to that.” Charlie said.

“Junk…bills…Dad's magazine…the Pleasantville Revolution Organization?” Belle went through the mail.

“Pleasantville what now?” Charlie asked.

“The Pleasantville Revolution Organization aims to change the culture of our city.” Belle began to get excited as she read. “We want to improve the lives of all citizens, without the constant fear that has plagued the city since inception.”

“Oh…my…GLOB!” Charlie began to get excited too. “The people are finally starting to stand up! We're winning!”

“Oh this is a HUGE blow to Demon!” Belle rushed inside. “DADDY! DADDY LOOK!”

“Belle! I'm not young anymore!” Peter Masters groaned as Belle flung herself at him. “Now what's going on?”

“The Pleasantville Revolution Organization!” Belle grinned.

“We're finally beating Demon!” Charlie added.

Peter took a look at the leaflet, reading parts of it aloud. “Well done Beauty, it looks like the people of Pleasantville are finally coming to their senses. Hopefully this can keep gathering momentum heading into election year.”

“That sounds awesome.” Lara walked over from the kitchen. Belle composed herself somewhat, her aura getting frosty.

“I guess this means there's a chance for me this time.” Peter mused. “Maybe this time I can beat Jones and whichever corrupt third party they throw up and become Mayor myself.”

“This is a great platform for you to work off love.” Lara hugged him.

Belle narrowed her eyes. Charlie sighed. Things still weren't patched up between Lara and Belle.

“I'm going upstairs. Later.” Belle left the couple and trudged up to her room. Charlie followed, worried.

“Belle, surely you and Lara are good now.” Charlie asked as they sat down on Belles bed. “You've forgiven your father, why not your mother?”

Belle bristled.

“She IS your mother Belle. You might not be blood, but she would die for you just like she would for Maddles and Ozzie.” Charlie continued.

Belle looked away.

“They both knew what they were getting into Belle, you know that.” Charlie pressed.

“Just drop it. Please.” Belle sighed.

Charlie knew it would be useless to pursue it any further.

Belle lay down on the bed and closed her eyes. “I'm tired.” She said.

“I know.” Charlie rubbed her foot. “But unfortunately my watch is going off and I think Lady Courage is in trouble.”

“Because of course she is.” Belle grumbled.

The PRO was in full voice against Crusader Roger and Crusader Daryl when Chuckles and Giggles arrived at the scene. In fact, it looked like Chuckles and Giggles wouldn't be needed at all.

“Sooooo…why are we here again? Besides moral support?” Chuckles grinned, watching the crowd chant loudly at the criminal organization that had tried to rob the fledgling museum.

“Sir Dark mentioned that Dingbat has completely withdrawn the police force. Something about not protecting idiots that get themselves in danger.” Lady Courage told them. “So I thought it would be a good idea in case we need to protect these guys from harm.”

“You're all sheep! Get out of our way!” Crusader Daryl roared furiously at the crowd, who booed him loudly.

“Wow. A whole heap of people putting themselves in danger for nothing and causing more of a disturbance than the robbery would. Can't believe this is what Pleasantville has come to nowadays.” Someone walked past, earning themselves hisses and jeers.

“WE are here, and we will protect those who stand up for their rights!” Giggles announced.

“We're Chuckles and Giggles, and we stand with the Knights of the Last Order to make sure Pleasantville is a safe place for everyone!” Chuckles added.

The PRO cheered loudly.

Crusader Roger groaned. “Daryl, we're leaving. This has been a bust.”

“We're giving up against a bunch of goons who would probably run at the first threat?!” Daryl cried angrily. He pulled out a shotgun, ready to attack.

The crowd quickly overwhelmed him before he could get out the first shot. The gun was knocked out of his hands as the PRO began raining blows on him. He tried to crawl away, but there were too many people.

“HELP ME!” He cried.

Giggles looked at Chuckles, who shrugged. Giggles groaned, and flew over to save Daryl.

“Take this as a warning. Leave Pleasantville and don't come back.” She told him as she flew him over to where Roger was waiting to drive off.

“Filthy scum. Don't you DARE tell me what to do. You're just my fathers lapdog. Pah to you!” Daryl lashed out as Roger took him away.

“I think that counts as a victory today.” Lady Luck beamed.

“If you insist.” Sir Dark still sounded doubtful.

“Come on, we finally have the backing of the people, why do you still look so down in the dumps? Is this because of work?” Petunia asked TJ later as they got changed back at the tip.

“You don't know Wallace Dingbat.” TJ warned. “I'm pretty sure he's firmly in the pocket of Demon, and if Demon decides on payback, he's going to use Dingbat to do it.”

Later on that night, Sammy got a knock on the door. He eased himself out of his very comfortable armchair and opened the door to immediate hostility.

“You're under arrest for inciting violence and starting a brawl.” Wallace Dingbat handcuffed him as two other officers forced him to the ground. “You have the right to remain silent…”

Sammy grimaced as he was led to the paddy wagon and rudely shoved in. So this was how Demon was going to respond to the formation of the PRO.

The young Knight of the Last Order had the sinking feeling he was about to become a scapegoat.

Chapter Ninety-Nine: The PRO

 “I loathe, detest, despise, and ultimately HATE Mayor Demon Jones with the utmost passion.” Belle seethed as she and Charlie pulled up to the Masters home in the old Elantra.

“Trust me, he's not anyones favourite person. Even his own daughter thinks he's a piece of work.” Charlie commiserated with his best friend as he got out of the car. “That being said, you shouldn't let it make you an overly aggressive driver.”

(Driving tip: Driving when angry makes you a dangerous and scary driver)

“I would really, REALLY like to know how he got voted in as Mayor, because it doesn't make the slightest lick of sense at all.” Belle mused as she checked the mail after nearly taking out the garage door in her erratic parking attempt. “Even if previous Mayors were under the control of the various crime syndicates in town, they still had the illusion of being impartial.”

“I doubt we'll ever have an answer to that.” Charlie said.

“Junk…bills…Dad's magazine…the Pleasantville Revolution Organization?” Belle went through the mail.

“Pleasantville what now?” Charlie asked.

“The Pleasantville Revolution Organization aims to change the culture of our city.” Belle began to get excited as she read. “We want to improve the lives of all citizens, without the constant fear that has plagued the city since inception.”

“Oh…my…GLOB!” Charlie began to get excited too. “The people are finally starting to stand up! We're winning!”

“Oh this is a HUGE blow to Demon!” Belle rushed inside. “DADDY! DADDY LOOK!”

“Belle! I'm not young anymore!” Peter Masters groaned as Belle flung herself at him. “Now what's going on?”

“The Pleasantville Revolution Organization!” Belle grinned.

“We're finally beating Demon!” Charlie added.

Peter took a look at the leaflet, reading parts of it aloud. “Well done Beauty, it looks like the people of Pleasantville are finally coming to their senses. Hopefully this can keep gathering momentum heading into election year.”

“That sounds awesome.” Lara walked over from the kitchen. Belle composed herself somewhat, her aura getting frosty.

“I guess this means there's a chance for me this time.” Peter mused. “Maybe this time I can beat Jones and whichever corrupt third party they throw up and become Mayor myself.”

“This is a great platform for you to work off love.” Lara hugged him.

Belle narrowed her eyes. Charlie sighed. Things still weren't patched up between Lara and Belle.

“I'm going upstairs. Later.” Belle left the couple and trudged up to her room. Charlie followed, worried.

“Belle, surely you and Lara are good now.” Charlie asked as they sat down on Belles bed. “You've forgiven your father, why not your mother?”

Belle bristled.

“She IS your mother Belle. You might not be blood, but she would die for you just like she would for Maddles and Ozzie.” Charlie continued.

Belle looked away.

“They both knew what they were getting into Belle, you know that.” Charlie pressed.

“Just drop it. Please.” Belle sighed.

Charlie knew it would be useless to pursue it any further.

Belle lay down on the bed and closed her eyes. “I'm tired.” She said.

“I know.” Charlie rubbed her foot. “But unfortunately my watch is going off and I think Lady Courage is in trouble.”

“Because of course she is.” Belle grumbled.

The PRO was in full voice against Crusader Roger and Crusader Daryl when Chuckles and Giggles arrived at the scene. In fact, it looked like Chuckles and Giggles wouldn't be needed at all.

“Sooooo…why are we here again? Besides moral support?” Chuckles grinned, watching the crowd chant loudly at the criminal organization that had tried to rob the fledgling museum.

“Sir Dark mentioned that Dingbat has completely withdrawn the police force. Something about not protecting idiots that get themselves in danger.” Lady Courage told them. “So I thought it would be a good idea in case we need to protect these guys from harm.”

“You're all sheep! Get out of our way!” Crusader Daryl roared furiously at the crowd, who booed him loudly.

“Wow. A whole heap of people putting themselves in danger for nothing and causing more of a disturbance than the robbery would. Can't believe this is what Pleasantville has come to nowadays.” Someone walked past, earning themselves hisses and jeers.

“WE are here, and we will protect those who stand up for their rights!” Giggles announced.

“We're Chuckles and Giggles, and we stand with the Knights of the Last Order to make sure Pleasantville is a safe place for everyone!” Chuckles added.

The PRO cheered loudly.

Crusader Roger groaned. “Daryl, we're leaving. This has been a bust.”

“We're giving up against a bunch of goons who would probably run at the first threat?!” Daryl cried angrily. He pulled out a shotgun, ready to attack.

The crowd quickly overwhelmed him before he could get out the first shot. The gun was knocked out of his hands as the PRO began raining blows on him. He tried to crawl away, but there were too many people.

“HELP ME!” He cried.

Giggles looked at Chuckles, who shrugged. Giggles groaned, and flew over to save Daryl.

“Take this as a warning. Leave Pleasantville and don't come back.” She told him as she flew him over to where Roger was waiting to drive off.

“Filthy scum. Don't you DARE tell me what to do. You're just my fathers lapdog. Pah to you!” Daryl lashed out as Roger took him away.

“I think that counts as a victory today.” Lady Luck beamed.

“If you insist.” Sir Dark still sounded doubtful.

“Come on, we finally have the backing of the people, why do you still look so down in the dumps? Is this because of work?” Petunia asked TJ later as they got changed back at the tip.

“You don't know Wallace Dingbat.” TJ warned. “I'm pretty sure he's firmly in the pocket of Demon, and if Demon decides on payback, he's going to use Dingbat to do it.”

Later on that night, Sammy got a knock on the door. He eased himself out of his very comfortable armchair and opened the door to immediate hostility.

“You're under arrest for inciting violence and starting a brawl.” Wallace Dingbat handcuffed him as two other officers forced him to the ground. “You have the right to remain silent…”

Sammy grimaced as he was led to the paddy wagon and rudely shoved in. So this was how Demon was going to respond to the formation of the PRO.

The young Knight of the Last Order had the sinking feeling he was about to become a scapegoat.

© 2021 Kezzstar24