Chapter Fifty-Four: The March Hill Massacre.
The morning of the protest dawned clear and calm. At the crack of dawn both boys were up to do their chores before heading out for what they believed was the turning point in the history of their city.
"Just promise me you boys will be careful." Thomas Masters said to James as the family sat down to breakfast.
"We will. We'll be going as Damon and Pythias. That should discourage anyone from trying to attack." James helped himself to another slice of bread and butter.
Meanwhile, Peter Begly was having a similar conversation with his son, Frank.
"Any sign of danger and I want you to promise me you'll come straight home." Peter warned as Frank drank his milk.
"We promise." Frank agreed.
The pair met at the scrapyard, where they changed into their disguises and headed out to meet the crowd – and their destinies.
"Did your father read you the riot act too?" James asked as he pulled on his black pants.
"Yeah. Anyone would think he didn't have two other sons to carry on if I was lost." Frank chuckled, putting on his blue shirt.
"I have three for the old man to fall back on, although I don't think Lachlan really subscribes to the family ethos." James mused. "He's never had the Improbability Clause used on him, and I don't think he knows any of the rules from the Masters Code."
"A Masters who doesn't know the Code? That's a bit worrying." Frank raised an eyebrow. "Montague Masters wrote the Code because of his violent tendancies, which he got from his father."
"That's MAURICE Masters, Montague was the Begly, but that's just a legend though. I mean, I've never had any violent urges in my life." James pointed out as he tied on his scarf to finish his transformation into Damon.
"I guess so." Frank laughed, putting on the hat that finished his transformation into Pythias.
"WHAT DO WE WANT?" Yelled Damon.
"A SAFE CITY!" Was the reply from the slowly increasing crowd in front of the the Mayors office.
"WHAT WILL MAKE OUR CITY SAFE?" Yelled Pythias.
"COUNCIL RESPONSIBILITY!" Was the cry.
"For the last 90 years our Council has sat in the pocket of criminals and scum, letting them terrorise this city and those who live here!" Damon cried. "We won't let this city become overrun with corruption, the time to stop the rot is now!"
The crowd cheered.
"You really know how to give a good speech." Pythias grinned as Damon took a breath.
"That's because I'm educated." Damon smirked.
The front doors of City Hall opened, and out walked the Mayor.
"What is the meaning of this disturbance?" He asked coldly.
"We're sick of the underbelly this city is fostering!" Pythias replied. "We're sick of criminals hurting people and either getting let off or getting piss-weak sentences!"
"Or even the state of Pleasantville Correction Centre, anyone would think you WANTED to allow criminals to walk out of there without any worries!" Damon added. "And it's the same crims every time, the ones who are paying you and keeping you in your snug little office!"
"I have no idea what you're talking about." The Mayor replied coldly, and getting jeered and booed by the crowd for his trouble. "I will now ask that you move along, you are creating an unlawful disturbance."
"We're allowed to protest!" Damon retorted.
"You two are known for your violence and insufferability." The Mayor pointed out. "How do I know this protest won't devolve into something more sinister?"
"We've left our weapons at home. We plan to do this peacefully." Pythias opened his arms to show that the Lions Claw Blade was no where on his person. Damon copied him, to prove that he didn't have the Lucky Seven Gun etiher.
"So be it. I will not be held responsible for anything that goes wrong, you hear?" The Mayor scowled before stalking back to his office.
"Believe me, nothing is going to go wrong." Damon grinned.
Several days later, the protest was still going. Many people had left in boredom, and tempers were starting to rise.
"This ISN'T working." Pythias groaned as another small group of people left, leaving only 48 people and the two cowboys.
"Trust me, it will work. The Mayor is starting to crack, believe me." Damon insisted.
He was half-right. The Mayor WAS starting to crack. A government representative was going to be visiting in the next few days, and if the protest was still going then questions were going to be asked. It could very well mean the end of his time in charge of the city.
"You're the highest power in this city." The Mayor looked out of the window of his office at the crowd below. "They fear you, as they rightly should. That's why I called you in here."
"And what do I get out of it?" Crusader Roger scowled, his arms shackled – after the attempt at stealing the wagons, Crusader Roger had been captured by Pythias, who had tied him up and left him for the sheriff to deal with.
"A pardon, of course. For you and your men." The Mayor turned to the angry criminal. "Get rid of them."
"You have yourself a deal, Mister Mayor." Crusader Roger grinned.
Outside, Pythias was talking to another protestor while Damon was stalking the front of the crowd.
"We've almost got them. I'm certain we do. They can't just ignore us." He muttered to himself.
"Who says we're ignoring you? A bit stupid to do this unarmed, don't you think?"
Damon and Pythias spun around. In front of the Council building stood Crusader Rodger and over a hundred of his Crusaders.
"We're protesting peacefully. You have no right to be here." Pythias said, but his voice wavered slightly. Each of the Crusaders held a shotgun in his hands, and they were all pointed at the crowd.
"What are we going to do?" Whispered one of the protesters.
"We're staying here." Damon glared into the eyes of Crusader Roger. "He'd never fire on an unarmed group, and even if he did, he'd be finished within the hour."
Crusader Roger laughed. The colour drained from Damons face.
"Don't you get it you fool?" Crusader Roger pulled out his own pistol and aimed it at Damon. "The Mayor is the one who ordered us to do this."
A look of pure horror covered Damons face, before Crusader Rogers bullet went through his heart and ended his life.
"JIMMY!" Pythias screamed, before his head was blown off by another bullet. The Crusaders had begun firing on the crowd, who were sitting ducks. Some managed to start running, but they too were easily mowed down.
After the dust cleared, nothing was left of the protest but bloodied, dead bodies.
"And it was after the massacre that Lachlan Masters, fuelled by his rage, formed the Death Valley Gang." Belle continued to explain. "He kept the Lucky Seven Gun for himself, and traded the Lions Claw Blade to the Mobsters of Misneach for help in destroying the March Hill Crusaders."
"Damon and Pythias." Daniel mused.
"The forerunners of Chuckles and Giggles." Sunny said.
"Yeah, only they didn't have the luxury of seven Noble Knights of the Last Order behind them." Sam pointed out.
"And luckily, we don't have to deal with the March Hill Crusaders." Petunia shuddered. "They sound brutal."
In a small cabin just outside of Pleasantville, two men were meeting.
"I can't thank you enough for giving me this job." One said to the other. "After I stormed out of the Death Valley Mobsters in the middle of a job, I thought I was done for."
"Not at all." The other replied. "Your information has been beyond helpful, not to mention your skill and experience as a criminal. They were foolish to let you go."
"Well, I think Revolver was too concerned with what his psycho girlfriend was plotting, not to mention it's kinda hard to shoot a man in his jocks." The first man laughed.
"Either way, I'm glad you're on our side for now." The second man got up out of his chair and poured two glasses of whiskey.
"It's admirable that you and your people have managed to stay hidden for so many generations." The first man accepted the glass of whiskey from his co-conspirator.
"To our return to power." The second man lifted his glass in a toast.
"To your return to power." The first man grinned.