Chapter Nine: Sunny Came Home

Bill was rapt. His restaurant was FINALLY open! The beach-themed burger restaurant was situated right where the creek fed into the lake, lending itself to some fine views.

“This is the best Uncle Bill.” Belle said one day as she tore into her steak burger. The restaurant was empty except for the seven friends and Bill.
“I'm surprised it's not more expensive.” Daniel added.
“I like to keep things affordable, that way more people can enjoy my work.” Bill replied, wiping a glass. “So what do you youngins have planned for today?”
“Study.” Charlie groaned.
“More study.” Belle added.
“So much studying.” Daniel sighed.
“Even more studying.” TJ piped up.
“Studying too.” Petunia caught on.
“No studying for me, we had our exams yesterday.” Sammy grinned, earning him a few dirty looks. Tammy simply smirked.
The bell on the door rang, and in walked Sunny. She smiled shyly at the group of friends.
“Hi Sunny! How are things?” Belle pulled up a chair next to her.
“Getting there I guess.” Sunny shrugged. She sat down, looking uncomfortable. Petunia cleared her throat.
“We were just talking about the exams we have next week.” She told Sunny. “Apparently the twins have already had theirs.”
“Seriously? I'm not looking forward to the maths one. That's going to get ugly.” Sunny said.
“I'm not looking forward to the biology exam. That one is going to be painful.” TJ groaned.
The sound of sirens in the distance made them all stop.
“That's odd. Marion and Revolver are still in prison, and most of the DVG and the Mob have gone underground.” Daniel looked out the window.
“Do you think we ought to check it out?” Charlie asked.
“I think so. Sorry Bill, can you keep this warm for us until we get back?” Daniel started to grab his things and head out of the door.
“I suppose.” Bill sighed as the group minus Sunny stormed out, nearly knocking over poor Joe as he walked in.
“Young hooligans.” He chuckled fondly. He saw Sunny sitting by herself at the now abandoned table.
“How have you been recently Sunny?” Joe sat down next to her where his grand-daughter had been sitting.
“In some ways it's been easier. Daryl doesn't give me nearly as much grief as he used to.” Sunny replied. She sighed.
“But in other ways…my parents still don't talk to me as much as they used to, especially my Dad. He's gotten a fair bit angrier nowadays.”
“I understand.” Joe said, putting a hand on her shoulder. “You love them and you want them to love you.”
“You make it sound so simple.” Sunny replied.
“It probably is.” Joe smiled kindly.
Sunny looked out of the window.
“I want to get back at them too.” She said suddenly. “I want to prove to them that I'm just as good, if not better than Daryl.”
“Also understandable.” Joe nodded.
“I wish I could go and help the others. I could repay them and get back at my parents at the same time.” Sunny got up. Joe got up too.
“No. It's too dangerous.” He said sternly.
“You let Belle out.” Sunny pointed out.
“That's not my decision.” Joe replied. “Her father thinks she can handle it.”
“Then why not me?!” Sunny protested. Joe looked at her.
“Come with me. There's some old gas masks out the back that the contractors left behind, good strong ones.” He said.
For the first time in a long time Giggles was scared. The man in front of her in the weird dragon mask had rigged the tall Council building near the middle of the city to explode, which would take out many of the buildings around it.
Lady Silent was quickly trying to diffuse the explosives with the help of a bomb expert, while the rest of the Knights of the Last Order and Chuckles were fighting off the dragon-mans minions.
“Who ARE you?” Giggles asked. They were both on top of the building, the sun still high in the sky above them.
“I am Demon.” The man said. His dragon mask was black with gold trim, and only covered the top half of his face. His mouth was painted red and his face painted white. He was dressed in a white karate uniform with a black belt, and black combat boots. He held a large boomerang, wooden with beautiful native decoration.
“Demon, huh?” Giggles drew out the Lucky Seven Gun.
“That doesn't belong to you.” Demon pointed out.
“So? Would you prefer it in the hands of Master Revolver?” Giggles shot back.
Demon didn't reply. Instead, he aimed the boomerang straight at Giggles and threw it. Giggles shot up into the air.
“HA, you miss-OW!” She cried as the boomerang came back, slicing into her leg and returning to Demon. Blood poured from the wound.
Giggles knew she was in trouble if she had to get to ground. She had about nine minutes of air-time left.
Demon threw the boomerang again, this time Giggles was able to shoot it out of the air. It went flying back towards Demon who caught it easily.
“Damn him!” Giggles thought. Just then, the Backpack cut out.
“Of all the times for it to malfunction…” She growled, landing on her bad leg.
“This city, it's Council, it's cops, everything in this city is corrupt. The system has failed when children think they have the right to stamp their authority on the city. Pleasantville needs to start again.” Demon stood over her.
“You're kidding. You're having a go at US for being vigilantes? What about you?!” Giggles pointed out the hypocrisy.
Demon laughed.
“YOU serve the corrupt system. I wish to destroy it and start again.” He told her.
“With a name like Demon?”
“You're exceedingly nit-picky you know that?”
Giggles groaned and tried to stand up again. Demon kicked her over.
“Now. It's time for me to take the first – OW! WHAT IS IT WITH PEOPLE GETTING SMACKED OVER THE HEAD IN THIS CITY?!” Demon screamed in pain as he was hit over the head with a metal baseball bat.
Giggles almost laughed. The person who had hit Demon was wearing a gas mask, a pair of blue swimming goggles, a bicycle helmet and various pieces of cricket padding.
“Leave Giggles alone.” The figure said.
Demon growled.
“Who are you?”
“None of your beeswax. Leave Giggles alone.” The figure repeated.
“Very well, I seem to have miscalculated. Never matter. My men and I shall return.” Demon said. Two smoke bombs went off.
“Damn!” Giggles cried. The smoke cleared and Demon was gone.
“Are you okay?” The figure asked, helping Giggles up.
“Yeah. Nah.” Giggles tried to put some weight on her injured leg. Thankfully it was only a cut, but it was still a deep one that would need stitches.
“We'd better get back to the tip. Your grand-father will meet us there.” The figure said. Giggles gasped
“Sunny?” She asked.
The figure nodded. Giggles smiled underneath her helmet.
“Good on you Sunny!” She laughed.
She quickly fiddled with the Backpack (which had simply had a momentary glitch, how's that for timing?) before flying herself and Sunny back to the tip, where Chuckles and the Knights of the Last Order were slowly making their way in.
“They all escaped. Smoke bombs.” Chuckles flung himself down on one of the old mattresses.
“What happened to your leg?!” Lady Luck cried, throwing herself at Giggles wounded leg and starting to clean it.
So Giggles told them about Demon, and how he wanted to rule over Pleasantville.
“Is he insane? The Ostrayan Government would send in the Army and squash him flat.” Sir Lionheart scoffed. “But you haven't gotten to who this is, or why they're here!” He pointed to Sunny.
“It's me!” Sunny pulled off her mask. The others gasped.
“You saved Belle?!” Chuckles asked incredulously.
“Well, yeah.” Sunny shrugged.
“You're really brave!” Sir Hyper looked up at her.
“A little bit.” Sunny blushed. Sir Lionheart walked over to her, suddenly having an idea.
“Put your mask back on.” He said solemnly. Sunny did so, and Sir Lionheart led her into the middle of the group. Silence fell.
“You have shown great courage, not only to save Giggles, but to see your old ways of bullying us were wrong, and that you can have friends.” Sir Lionheart said. “Please kneel.”
Sunny got down on one knee, shaking.
“Lady Silent, go and get one of the other watches.” Sir Lionheart commanded. Lady Silent quickly retrieved the purple watch and handed it to him. He faced the kneeling Sunny.
“You have shown yourself worthy of being our friend, and you have shown yourself worthy of being a Knight. I dub thee Lady Courage!” Sir Lionheart touched her shoulders with his slingshot.
Lady Courage! Sunny felt tears welling up behind her eyes. Someone valued her. Someone cared about her.
She finally had friends who wanted her.
“Arise Lady Knight!” Sir Lionheart helped up the newly coronated Lady Courage.
“I hate to break up the impromptu party, but Belle needs medical assistance yesterday!” Lady Luck piped up.
Within the hour Belle was stitched up and heading back home with her grand-father and uncle. Looking out of the window, she smiled.
“You were right Pa. All Sunny needed was time and friendship. Now she's come good.” She said.
“Aren't I always right?” Joe replied gruffly as Bill turned into their street.
“Your tipping would suggest otherwise.” Bill shot back.
“Was I talking to you?”
“Chill out you old git.”
“Watch your mouth you little-,”
“I love this family.” Belle hugged herself.
“And how was your day Daryl?” Mrs. Jones sat at the dinner table eating roast beef and mashed potatoes and roast pumpkin.
“Pretty busy, I had to do my speech about the School Camp today. Being the School Captain is hard sometimes.” Daryl grinned, shovelling his dinner into his greedy mouth. “Plus we had revision for our Maths exams.”
“And your day?” Mrs. Jones looked down at Sunny, who was eating slowly.
“Fine.” Sunny replied, pushing her beef around the plate.
“So do you think you're going to pass the Maths exam?” Mr. Jones quizzed his son. Sunny tried to pay attention to the conversation, but soon it just became a drone in the background.
It wasn't her fault that her mother had gotten pregnant again after they'd had Daryl. It wasn't her fault she was a girl. As much as she was happy with her new friends, the pain of rejection from her parents hurt.
She did the dishes, cleaned up the kitchen and the lounge room, put a load of washing through the drier and then headed upstairs to her bedroom. Her homework was already done and she was tired.
She looked out of her window towards the creek. Her parents small boat was sitting tied to the back fence. They were rich, but money would never help Sunny.
She was about to cry herself to sleep again like she had so many nights before, when she noticed the gas mask out of the corner of her eye.
“No. I won't cry anymore.” Sunny thought to herself. “I'm Lady Courage, and I am important.”

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