Chapter One Hundred and Twenty five: The Long Trail

It was a few days later, and Belle had driven out to pick up Charlie from outside Treesville, where he had been canvassing for his last few signatures.

“I got them all.” He said. “We have enough signatures for the Pleasantville City Council to be forced to create a Chamber of Commerce. More than enough really. 107 signatures.”

“Well done!” Belle grinned. Charlie just stared stonily forward. Belle sighed. “So what's next?”

“Webster will be out here tomorrow, and then on Monday we take the case to Demon, with our approvals from the Brisvegas Mega Council.” Charlie told her.

Belle nodded. They drove along silently for a while. Silence wasn't usual between the pair, and Belle felt uncomfortable.

“Do you feel confident?” She asked.

“Of getting a Chamber of Commerce? Yes.” Charlie told her. “Of being the President? Nope.”

“It won't be Demon though. Not with how public opinion is on him right now.” Belle pointed out.

Charlie growled. “Yeah, and it took an innocent nurse dying to turn people against him.”

Belle watched the road, as she sped along the highway back to Pleasantville. “Let's make her death not be in vain then.”

They continued driving. Belle kept an eye on her best friend. Of the two, Charlie was the one who felt things more. Things affected him more than they affected Belle. He would get himself caught up in his feelings and thoughts, getting churned up to the point he acted rashly. That's why he ran away to Awesomica after Joe died. That's why he'd dragged Giggles out of bed to discover that the Death Valley Gang and the Mobsters of Misneach had merged after his own grand-father Charles died. She knew she had to keep an eye on him now. One rash move could undo everything.

Charlie meanwhile was going over the signatures in his mind, thinking about what would happen in court on Monday.

“You can't lose your temper at him.” Belle said suddenly, making him jump slightly. “You have to stick to the facts, and not let him bait you. I'll be in the audience, but I can't say or do anything. I can't stop you from doing anything.”

Charlie hissed. He thought about the Pleasantville Riots, when he had charged at Demon with the Lions Claw Blade, only stopped by Giggles and the Lucky Seven Gun.

“He's managed to get into both of our heads at some point.” Belle continued. “But you can't let him this time. There's too much at stake. I know you're the more passionate of the two of us – you can afford to be, you don't have a stupid violent gene like I do – but you have to keep it in check on Monday.”

Charlie looked at his best friend.

“You can do it though. Even if you have to somehow Improbability it.” Belle told him. She pulled up to a red light and smiled at him. “You're gonna hit the first real strike against the corruption in this city.”

“I couldn't have done it without you. If you hadn't put the ideas in everyones heads, I couldn't do this.” Charlie told her. “The protest and the PRO and the PCC might have failed, but they set the stage for me.”

Belle smiled at Charlie. He smiled back. The rest of the trip was filled with discussions about what would happen on Monday…and lamenting that the Brisvegas Leos would be facing the Crate Hill Falcons that weekend and would probably be in for another loss!

“Oh will you STOP IT.” Judith Jofrey snapped at the father of her unborn child. “Honestly, the way you sulk, I don't know how you ever became the leader of a crime-fighting group.”

“I'm NOT sulking!” Sulked Daniel.

“Sure you're not.” Judith lay back in her hospital bed after another walk with Marion. “Everything will be fine. I don't think that Crusader will be trying anything again.”

“What makes you so sure about that?” Daniel snapped.

“Watch your tone.” Judith narrowed her eyes at him. “I'm sure about it, because the Crusader has killed someone. That puts a target on your back. Especially if this wasn't sanctioned by Roger.”

Daniel pouted.

“Has anyone been in contact with Roger recently? Might pay to let him know he has a rogue agent.” Judith pointed out. “That would keep that Crusader under control.”

“Or give Roger ideas.” Daniel said.

“You're insisting on being disagreeable.” Judith sighed. “Have you apologised to Petunia yet?”

“I don't see why I should apologise for anything!” Daniel snapped.

“She has been looking after me for the past week with expert devotion and skill. She has made sure that our child is still surviving. You have NO right to be angry at her about anything.” Judith told him off.

Daniel continued to pout.

“You are such a child.” Judith sighed. “I'm going to have a nap. Please leave me in peace, you're ruining the vibe.”

“Vibe?” Daniel said incredulously.

“Yes. Marion bought me some healing crystals, and they can't work properly with negativity around. Shoo!” Judith snapped. Daniel couldn't help but chuckle as he gave her a small kiss and let her rest.

He walked out into the waiting room, where the rest of the Knights (sans Petunia, who had gone to do paperwork) were waiting for him.

They all looked at him. He looked back at them.

“Hey fellow Knights!” Suddenly Webster burst in, Charlie behind him, looking happy to see everyone. “Whoa….whoa….oh dear…” His reception quickly cooled as he took stock of the tension in the room.

“Hey Webster.” Sammy tried to smile at the former Noble Knight of the Last Order. “How are things?”

“About to get better. Once Charlie gets this Chamber of Commerce up and running I'll be in a better position to mount a case against Demon. I have a lot of evidence already, I just need him voted out.” Webster told them. “And I think the Chamber of Commerce will be a huge blow to him if he can't get control of it.”

“A case against Demon?” Suddenly everyone in the room was interested.

“If my evidence is correct, I can get him put away for a very, VERY long time. Especially if Sunny includes evidence of her child abuse.” Webster looked at Sunny, who dared to look hopeful. “And if I can get Demon put away, then it's only a matter of time before I take down the Mobsters of Misneach and the Death Valley Gang. Including the corrupt Counsellors that let them rule in the first place.”

Daniel tensed up. Everyone else gulped.

“There's no way to avoid it Dan. If things are to get better, than everyone who is guilty needs to pay.” Webster told him.

“And who made you judge, jury and executioner?” Daniel growled. Charlie watched him as he said the words, before shaking it off. Daniel couldn't be a killer.

“I just have evidence. Enough to put a lot of people away.” Webster looked slightly frazzled.

“Hmph.” Daniel walked off. “I'm getting myself a coffee.”

The group watched as he stalked off.

“I did warn you things were frosty.” Charlie said as Webster tried to regain his composure.

“FROSTY? That was downright frozen solid! What the heck HAPPENED?!” Webster squeaked. “I was no where near as antsy when Tate was born, and she nearly died twice!”

“Yeah, but someone is actually trying to murder Judith and by extension, the baby.” TJ said. “I can understand that he's a bit on edge.”

“But hasn't he been on edge for a while?” Webster looked at the door.

“It's been a hard road since you left mate.” Sammy sighed.

“There's a long, long trail, a-winding, into the land of my dreams.” Charlie sang.

“Old war songs Charlie? You're really getting worn down!” Webster chuckled.

“Belle made me listen to it. Sometimes it feels like a bit of a war.” Charlie said. “Anyway, I'm gonna go finalize my speech for Monday. You all have fun reconnecting.”

“Fun?!” The former Sir Hedgehog squeaked as Charlie left.

Master Revolver didn't look his best. Ever since the Death Valley Mobsters had lost power in Pleasantville he hadn't been doing too well.

His biggest worry? Mobster Marion, and her mental health. Thankfully, after Judith got pregnant, Marion seemed to calm down a bit. That was good, but then there was the fact that the Death Valley Gang and the Mobsters of Misneach had become almost a non-entity in the grand scheme of things. Even the March Hill Crusaders were more active.

He sighed, and looked at his reflection in the mirror. Brown eyes looked back at him. The brown eyes of the Masters clan. He knew full well that Belle Masters was the enigma known as Giggles. He had known it from the first time he had seen her use the Lucky Seven Gun. The Seven Weapons of the Seer could only be used by those of extraordinary skill, or matching bloodline. The Masters clan and the Begly clan were two such bloodlines, as was the Misneach bloodline. So was the Lightheart clan, but as far as Revolver knew they'd been wiped out in the Silent Lake massacre.

He knew the original mission of the Death Valley Gang. He knew it had been lost by his grand-father, Toby Masters, who had stylized himself as Lone Revolver. Knowing everything that had happened, how everything was going…maybe it was time to return to the Masters clan.

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