Chapter Eighty-Two: My Fallen Idol, Part Two
TJ might have agreed with Petunia and had a path going forward, but the fact that his father, the father he had looked up to and idolized, the father he wanted to emulate had turned a blind eye to the corruption of the Pleasantville Police Force just to further his own career made him feel sick. It was all he could think about that weekend, when he SHOULD have been thinking about how he was going to tackle Dickson.
Also, he probably should have had his mind on the game of cricket he was playing at the tip.
“TEEJ! Are you okay?!” Daniel cried as the bouncer he bowled hit TJ in the ear.
“Owch.” TJ fell to the ground, clutching the side of his head.
“You've been distracted all day, what's up?” Sammy asked as Petunia tended to the wound.
“Of course, if SOMEONE would avoid bowling bouncers, that would be nice!” Petunia rounded on Daniel.
“There is nothing wrong with my bowling!” Daniel retorted.
Ten minutes later, when the argument had finished, TJ told his fellow Knights about the conversation he'd had with his Dad.
“Wow. I can't believe your Dad just turned a blind eye to everything!” Tammy gasped. “I mean, we all know your Dad!”
“I just…” TJ couldn't bring himself to say it. Sunny put her hand on his arm.
“Your Dad loves you. He did what he thought was best to protect you and give you the best he could. Try not to hold it too much against him.” She said quietly.
“Not all Dads can be heroes.” Daniel added.
TJ sighed. “I just…what if I go against him and he finds out? What if he finds out I'm a Knight of the Last Order?”
“Then you have us. We'll wear it if it happens.” Sammy said quickly and firmly.
“Exactly.” Tammy agreed with her brother.
TJ sighed again. Petunia finished fixing up his ear and put her arm around him.
“You can't do any worse with Dickson and your father than your strike rate I guess.” She said slyly.
Instantly, TJs father was forgotten in yet another cricket argument. Stay classy Knights.
“What's up Dorkster?” Charlie poked his head out of his window. Belle was sitting in the tree, looking up through the new leaves.
“Something doesn't add up. The protest was AGES ago. The government had plenty of time to organize a raid, and something much more substantial then sending the p- Dickson.” Belle had a small giggle to herself before frowning again.
“Shouldn't we just be grateful someone is here?” Charlie asked.
“Yes…and no. Sometimes it pays to look a gift horse in the mouth. Not all gifts are given with the best intentions.” Belle mused.
Charlie looked at his best friend. “I don't think the answers will be in Pleasantville.” He said slowly. “We'll need to go to Brisvegas.”
“Yeah.” Belle nodded. “Wanna come with me?”
“And help you sift through boring information on a dumb research project? Heck yeah!” Charlie grinned. “We might need the Improbability Clause!”
“You're the worst best friend ever you know that?” Belle scowled at him.
All being said, it wasn't a bad car trip to Brisvegas.
“You are NEVER driving my car again.” Belle snapped at Charlie as they pulled into their hotel.
“You know it's a good idea to change drivers every two hours.” Charlie lectured her as he handed the key to the concierge.
“WE WERE TEN MINUTES AWAY!” Belle yelped.
They checked in with no problems (except Belle pouting) and they headed to their room. Almost immediately, Belle began to arrange the desk and Charlie closed the curtains.
“We could have been followed! You're pretty hot property at the moment!” Charlie pointed out.
“Good point.” Belle agreed. She pulled out her laptop and set it up on the desk, with her pen and notepad. She grabbed another pen and notepad and shoved it into her handbag.
“We've got two hours until the Brisvegas Council Library closes.” Belle said. “Let's get out some information and bring it back here to analyse.”
“How are we supposed to get said information? Most of it would be top secret wouldn't it?” Charlie asked as they walked out of the hotel room.
“A name is quite a lot.” Belle smirked. “And my name tends to get me into a lot of places others would fear to tread.”
They headed to the library, and got a hold of all the unclassified government records that they were allowed. They got everything they could relating to Pleasantville, and headed back to the hotel (with the all-important detour for snacks).
“So, what do we do first?” Charlie looked at the huge pile of binders on the desk.
“We procrastinate and watch the cricket, duh.” Belle told him, jumping on a bed and flicking through the channels.
“Now that sounds like a plan!” Charlie grinned.
They watched an awful game of Ostraya versus the Golden Isle. Towards the innings break, they ordered room service (charged to the account of Peter Masters) and continued watching the drivel before Belle got irritated and started reading one of the binders. Charlie snickered behind his hand, while watching the Golden Isle lose another wicket.
Suddenly, the binder was down and Belle was trying to breathe normally.
“Belle? BELLE!” Charlie jumped to her side. “What is it, what did you find?”
Belle turned to him, pale. She shakily pointed to a page in the binder.
Charlie picked up the binder and looked at it. He gulped. What he read could only mean one thing, and one thing only.
Either Lara or Peter Masters had sold the government the secrets of the Ruby Suit, long before Belle had ever worn it.