Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-Six: Watch me take a good thing and mess it all up in one night…

 “NEWS JUST IN: Marion Misneach of the Mob has laid waste to the citizens of Fallsville. The population of 200 has lost 74 lives tonight, 40 of them members of the notorious criminal organisation the March Hill Crusaders. For more on this devastating development, we go to our crew on the ground…” The radio blared as Belle and Charlie raced to the tip.

“Saw that coming a mile away.” Charlie grimaced.

“This is bad.” Belle grit her teeth, turning off the radio. They'd heard enough. 

It was dark, and the full moon loomed overhead as the beaten old Elantra made its way down the roads. 

“Two of the biggest threats to the Haunted Maze Troupe are gone, no way Marion and the Mob survive this. Argh, it's going to be brutal now the Troupe are the only game in town.” Charlie said as they pulled up to the tip.

“Until the next threat comes along, and who knows what form THAT will take.” Belle got out of the car and ran to the hideout, Charlie hot on her tail. 

They rounded a huge mound of garbage and met up with the Noble Knights of the Last Order, who were all glaring at Daniel by the light of some old neon tubing Sammy and Tammy had rigged up a long time ago.

“WHERE’S MY SWORD?!” Charlie immediately bolted towards Daniel, who smirked as the others looked confused. “WELL? Where is it?”

“Judith is dead and all you can think about is your sword? I thought better of you Charlie.” Daniel stared right into the eyes of the younger man, who stopped short angrily.

“What? You stole the Lions Claw Blade?!” Sammy cried. “Why would you do that?”

“I have my reasons.” Daniel replied maddingly. 

Suddenly a long stretch limo arrived. Out stepped Mobster Marion, looking defeated. Her makeup was smeared all over her face, her hair was a mess, her dress was torn and dirty and it was plain she’d been crying. She dragged the Lions Claw Blade behind her, to the horror of Charlie.

“It’s done. You can have the sword back, I won’t need it anymore where I’m going.” Marion said, throwing the sword at Daniels feet.

“Where are you going?” Petunia asked. “Please don’t do anything silly.”

“Sillier than what she's already done?” Belle quipped.

“I don’t know where I’m going.” Marion replied, her voice wavering. “I just know I can’t stay here anymore.”

“What about the Mob?” Belle asked.

“It’s over. So is the Gang. We’re through.” Marion replied.

“Well, makes sense given you beheaded Revolver.” Daniel pointed out.

Everyone rounded on him. “WHAT?!” Charlie cried.

“I killed him. I killed Timothy.” Marion said softly. “There is no place for me here any more.”

The light from the neon tubes left haunted shadows on Marions face. She was broken, completely and utterly destroyed. 

“There's no place for me anymore.”

She got back into the limo, and it drove off. To finish Marions story, she and the few Mobsters who went with her went overseas to the War Wastes between the Great Nations and Awesomica. She lived in a tiny hovel in a tiny village, and eventually had two children of her own before passing away relatively young, her heart forever broken at the loss of her baby sister.

The Knights and Belle and Charlie watched the limo drive away. All of them were shaken.

“I don't know what right she has to be all upset, not after all the lives she's stolen.” Sunny pointed out as both Charlie and Daniel both reached for the sword.

“Back off Dan.” Charlie growled. Daniel laughed.

“It isn't even your sword, and I don't even want it.” He reached for something attached to the hilt of the sword – it was Judith's necklace. Daniel put it around his own neck as Charlie nursed the Lions Claw Blade. 

“It IS his sword, he won it!” Belle snapped.

“Puh-lease. You don't even know the full history of those weapons.” Daniel snapped back.

“Oh, and you do?” Petunia stood up for Belle.

“Of course I do. My great-great-great-grandfather was the one who made them.” Daniel said.

The group froze.

“It was in the war, 150 years ago. He created seven weapons, weapons that could only be used by blood they had been bequeathed to, or those with extraordinary skill.” Daniel told them. “Those two were stolen by the Misneach family, thus they became the Bequeathed Blood.”

“Okay, that just sounds like a fantasy novel.” Belle rolled her eyes.

“Where do you think your father got the power for the Ruby Suit from? The power that's in those weapons, because of that talisman.” Daniel pointed to the Lion talisman on the Lions Claw Blade.

“So you're Bequeathed Blood by default.” Tammy said.

“Yup. The Dragon Scale Scythe and the Mystic Eight were buried with their creator, but my great-grandfather stole them to impress my great-grandmother, who was the heir to the Lightheart family who owned the lands of Silent Lake in the War Wastes. She had no time for that, she was a hardened criminal through and through.” Daniel said.

“As interesting as all that is, the fact is you gave Marion the sword back to kill Crusader Roger!” Sammy cried. “How could you?! How could you make yourself a killer?!”

“It’s not the first time.” Charlie said quietly.

The group didn't know where to look.

“Ah. You figured it out.” Daniel looked less than amused. “That confounded Improbability Clause.”

“Figured what out?” Sammy went pale.

“Dan killed Wallace Dingbat.” Charlie said in that same quiet voice.

It took everything he had to say it, but he’d said it. It was true. The weight of that knowledge wasn’t lifted by saying it however, if anything it became even heavier with the weight of the stares of his friends, all of them begging it not to be true.

“It’s not true. It can’t be true. Not our Dan.” Sammy almost whimpered.

Daniel grit his teeth. “I didn't mean to! I didn't want to! He just kept at me and it was hot and we'd just failed AGAIN to right any of the wrongs in this city and…”

“You murdered him in cold blood. While he was unable to defend himself.” TJ, who had been silent up to this point, stood up. “If you had killed him in a fair fight or in self-defence we would have understood, but you murdered him while he was defenceless BECAUSE HE WAS PICKING ON YOU?”



“Great job on destroying all our evidence against him by the way.” Tammy snapped.

“You would have done the same thing!” Daniel roared, his voice straining. “You remember how horrible it was!”

Charlie felt his heart drop. He’d nearly killed Demon that night, the only reason he hadn’t was because Giggles had shot him. 

Belle must've been thinking the same thing. She put a hand on Charlies back and looked at Daniel sadly. “We all make mistakes.” She started.


“We ALL make mistakes, and we all need to atone for them.” Belle continued, pointedly ignoring TJ. “You, in less than ideal circumstances, ended the life of another human being. It might be unforgivable, but in your right mind you would never have done it. If one of us had been there, we could have stopped you. While you alone carry responsibility for what you did, we have to acknowledge our own shortcomings that allowed it to happen.”

“Like letting Demon and his ilk run free?” Daniel shot.

“Dan, I'm not even going to respond to that. You know why we've been doing things the way we have.” Belle said evenly, trying to keep the situation under control. 

“We're FAILING.” Daniel snapped. “Nothing has gotten better, and this city is still a hellhole!”

“That's not true!” Tammy stood beside Belle. “Stop making excuses for your impatience.”

“Your actions were not only immoral but set us back. If Dingbat was alive he would have had to answer to his crimes, Sir Hedgehog would have made sure of it.” Belle continued. “And you can bet your bottom dollar if Dingbat was going down he was taking everyone down with him. Not to mention you basically murdered 75 people by proxy if you include Revolver.”

“I didn't mean for Revolver to die.” Daniel muttered.

“But you meant for the March Hill Crusaders to die. You made a conscious decision to keep killing after you made your first mistake and that is truly beyond redemption.” Belle told him.

“I got rid of two threats, didn't I?” Daniel asked. 

“You put all of us at risk!” TJ thundered. “And for what, revenge?”

“The sod who killed Judith is now out of the world, and can't hurt anyone anymore.” Daniel said bitterly.

“No he's not.” Sunny said. “Did you see the security footage they blasted over the news?”

“Yes, I did.” Daniel snapped.

“So then you'd know it was my brother who killed Judith and he's still fine.” Sunny told them. “He just texted me bragging that Dad would be welcoming him back soon, did I want anything?”

Daniel froze. Daryl Jones. He was still alive and he had killed Judith.

“Marion wouldn't care, she's too far gone. You should have known better.” Sunny finished. 

Charlie still felt sick. He could have easily been Daniel. Or even Daryl. If Belle hadn't been there…

“We can fix this Dan.” Belle said, as if she'd read Charlies mind. “You've got to hand yourself in. You'll probably be gaoled for life, but we'll visit you and things will be okay.”

“WHAT?!” Daniel cried.

“If you go to Brisvegas and turn yourself in there you'll be treated fairly.” Belle continued. “No matter what we're trying to do here, we can't forget who we are.”

Daniel looked horrified. “No.” He said.

“Mate, you heard Belle, she's the only one talking sense at the moment.” Tammy put her hand on his arm, which he quickly shoved off. Daniel was seething. He'd known this would happen when he stole the Lions Claw Blade, and he hadn't cared then. Now faced with the stark reality of the consequences of his actions, he felt like it was all brutally unfair.

“Sense. Tell me, what sense is there left in this city?!” He looked at his friends. Friends he’d known forever. Friends who were like family to him. “I’ll tell you what, there’s no sense!”

“Think of Marcus! Think of your family!” Petunia pleaded.

Daniel scoffed. He had no family, just senile old grandparents and an infant son. He would have had a family, but they died in the battle of Silent Lake. 

The Silent Lake Gang. Destroyed by the Death Valley Gang and the Mobsters of Misneach. So without meaning to, he’d avenged them too.

“My family died protecting their patch. Maybe it’s time I honoured them.” Daniel said slowly.

“Dan, you’re not thinking straight, you’re still grieving. Hand yourself in mate, you can get help and we’ll look after Marcus.” Sunny begged.

“On the contrary, I think I’ve finally figured things out.” Daniel looked up at the full moon.

“Daniel, you’re not thinking of reviving the Silent Lake Gang are you?” Sammy asked. Everyone froze again.

“It’s my birthright. It’s what I was born for.” Daniel told them.

“NO, you’re no more a Silent Laker than I’m a Haunted Maze Trouper. Dan, think about what you’re saying!” Belle cried.

“Belle, you only found out a few months ago that you’re an heir to the Troupe. I’ve been a Laker since the day I was born. It’s the memories I have of my mother.” Daniel told her. “You couldn’t understand.”

“I understand more than you think.” Belle said quietly. “I never knew my mother, she dumped me when I was a newborn.”

“You think you do but you don’t. You never can. You think your books give you all the answers but you’re wrong. You didn’t even know Master Revolver was your cousin. He knew the whole time that you two were Chuckles and Giggles.” Daniel spat. 

“I had my suspicions.” Belle replied.

“And you don’t mourn him. Your own family.” Daniel looked at her, disgusted. “No wonder your mother dumped you, you unwanted-,”

“Dan, don’t!” Charlie warned.

“You unwanted bastard.” Daniel finished.

The only reason Charlie didn't slam Daniel to the ground was because a black-haired blur shot past him. Sunny slammed her fist into the side of Daniels face, hard enough that it was going to leave a very black bruise the next day.

“DON'T YOU DARE CALL MY SISTER UNWANTED!” Sunny screamed as she pummelled her former leader.

“Easy Sunny, you don't want to hurt your fists.” Belle pointed out, pulling Sunny away.

TJ looked at Daniel, sad and angry and confused and hurt. Behind him, Sammy was crying silent tears. Petunia was looking at Sunnys fists, making sure she hadn’t hurt them, and Tammy stared hard at Daniel.

He had been their leader. Their protector. Their brother. Their friend. Now he had betrayed everything that they had stood for. Memories danced in all of their minds of Daniel, being the brave and reliable Sir Lionheart, being the one they could rely on. Now it was all gone.

“As of now, Sir Lionheart is no more.” Tammy said coldly. “You are no longer welcome in the Noble Knights of the Last Order.”

Daniel exhaled. It was done. He had known this would be the ultimate price, but still he couldn’t bring himself to believe it. He had loved all of them so much – he still loved them! Now they were casting him out forever, and he had only himself to blame.

No. He told himself. It’s Demon and Daryls fault. Them and the Haunted Maze Troupe and the Death Valley Gang and the Mobsters of Misneach and all the cowards who let them get their way.

“I warn you Daniel, I WILL find the evidence I need, and I WILL make sure you pay for all the lives you have stolen.” TJ warned him as he turned to walk away. “I WILL bring you to justice for what you did to Dingbat and the people of Fallsville. Dingbat might have been an evil, racist and incompetent fool, but he deserved a fair trial and to pay for what he did. As do you.”

Daniel scoffed and began to walk away. All of them were united against him. For a moment, it stung. He would never again fight over cricket with them, or fight crime together, or eat at Bills restaurant together, or go fishing together…

But then his heart hardened as he knew that he would never fit in with them ever again. He snarled, and turned away, and thus Sir Lionheart, the leader of the Noble Knights of the Last Order, was no more.

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