Chapter One Hundred: The Sixth Clause
“Hey Belle, you're not gonna…why are you reading?” Charlie climbed out of his window and into the tree one Saturday afternoon.
“I'm relaxing! YOU try putting up with Demon trying to turn you evil every day!” Belle fired back, her nose firmly in her book.
“RELAXING?!” Charlie looked at the large book incredulously. “That looks like a full workout!”
“Ha. Ha. Ha.” Belle snapped. “It's actually the story of how our families became friends.”
“Why would you need to read that? Everyone knows the story!” Charlie asked.
“Because when stories get passed down verbally, things tend to get missed. I think I'm the first person who's bothered reading this in three generations!” Belle pointed out.
“And how does the full story aid us now?” Charlie asked.
“I TOLD you, I'm RELAXING!” Belle groaned. “Not everything I read is for research purposes!”
“Hmph.” Charlie settled down next to her. “Anything interesting in there?”
500 years ago
The Warring Nation, led by the evil Masters Family, had taken over most of the Great Nations. Only a few provinces remained, and the Peridot Isle, ruled by the Begly Family was one of them.
“The Warring Army is huge. We have no chance if we tackle them head-on.” Count Arnold told the small war council assembled in the Begly Castle.
“They haven't shown any signs that they're interested in us yet. Maybe we should ignore them for the time being.” Captain Fern of the Peridot Army suggested.
“No. I think we need to strike before they have a chance to even think of us.” Steven Begly, ruler of the Peridot Isle, pored over his maps. “Our intelligence suggests that the Warring Army isn't very loyal to the Masters Family anyway, and are ruled by fear. If we could somehow get in there and remove the family, we could very well liberate the Great Nations from the Warring Nation grasp.”
“Which would be highly beneficial for us in the long term. Gratitude makes people more likely to be agreeable.” Count Arnold mused.
“Can you NOT make everything about profits?” Fern snapped.
“Enough.” Steven barked. The two stopped bickering. “Fern, I'm going to task you with getting rid of the entire Masters family. Cut the head of the fish off, and the rest of the body will rot. Once the Masters are gone, we can start to put things right.”
“Yes sir!” Fern saluted.
“Take my son with you. Especially as you're pregnant.” Steven continued.
“Wha-?!” Fern gasped as Arnold choked.
“I'm not blind my dear. I know you and John are very, VERY close, especially by how he talks about you. Congratulations by the way, and I look forward to meeting my grandchild.” Steven peered at his maps. “You're dismissed.”
It took Fern five seconds to process everything. “Y-yes Sir! Good day Sir!” She bolted from the meeting room.
She headed straight to her quarters, where she knew John would be waiting for her.
“We're busted. Your Dad sends his blessings.” Fern said flatly as she walked in, seeing her lover sitting by the door.
“How'd he find out?!” John jumped up, horrified.
“I'm going to take a guess and say you goofed. Again.” Fern raised an eyebrow at him. “Talk to your father about me much?”
John opened his mouth, then stopped. He blinked. “Whoops?”
The plan had been put in motion, and the Masters family died in agony, the victims of a mass poisoning. There was mass confusion, anger, terror and wonder at who had dared to assassinate the rules of the Warring Nation.
Of course, in the confusion, no one noticed that the baby Masters had gone missing.
“John. I love you. I am going to have ONE child with you. Please tell me why you’re now stealing a second baby, and the child of our enemies at that?!” Fern cried when she found her lover in a covered wagon headed back for the Peridot Isle nursing the unfortunate child.
“He’s cute, and innocent, and sweet, and yes he might have just bitten me but he’s just a baby!” John pleaded, shaking his now sore fingers.
“He's a MASTERS, he's probably born evil!” Fern groaned.
“Well, it's too late now. We're on our way home and now we have two sons.” John smiled.
“You don't know what I'm having. I could have a neutral for all you know.” Fern snapped.
“I'm certain it will be a son.” John grinned at her.
Fern was furious when it was proven John was right, and a son was born. Together, they named their son Montague, and they gave the Masters baby the name of Maurice. They hoped the boys would become friends, thus ending the violent history of the Masters and creating a new future for the family.
They had thought only problem would be trying to keep the Masters child under control. The boy was far too smart for his own good, and could nearly always talk himself out of trouble, but at least he wasn't nearly as bad as Montague. Montague manged to get a bad idea into his head at least thrice a week and was always in trouble, compared to his more reserved best friend.
Somehow Maurice and Montague were great friends, although completely different. Maurice often sat in his room reading up everything he could, while Montague got himself into trouble at every opportunity. Many of his plans came close to working, but just lacked the polish needed to get away with it. It was never malicious, and was often just childish pranks, but it was indeed most unbecoming for a future ruler.
It was while Montague was being scolded for another misdemenour that Maurice found out the truth – that the Begly family had poisoned his parents to stop them from causing war. Maurice was furious, and stormed in just as John was about to give Montague a good walloping.
“WHAT IS THIS?!” Maurice cried, holding the book in front of him that had the details of the plot. “You're the reason I'm an orphan!”
“I thought I was your brother?” Montague asked as John sighed.
“You don't understand what your family was doing Maurice.” John told the boy who was fuming. “They were destroying everything.”
“Says you.” Maurice looked equal parts livid and devastated. “I should kill you where you stand.”
“You need to see what your family did before you decide that.” John said.
“I thought we were your family.” Montague looked hurt.
“I'm sending you and Montague to the former Warring Nation. See how bad things still are because your family insisted on war.” John said. Suddenly he had a knife at his throat.
“MO-MO NO!” Montague cried, trying to pull Maurice away.
“Why should I let you all live? Why?” Maurice was poised to strike, swatting Montague away. He was about to slit Johns throat, when Montague grabbed his arm.
“Mo-Mo! Please, let's just go!” Montague had tears in his eyes. Maurice looked at his best friend, before he dropped the knife.
“Fine.” He said coldly.
The boys left the next day. John hoped it would have the desired effect.
Maurice was shocked. He rode alongside Montague as they went through town after town of the old Warring Nation and saw the scars still there. People looked up at the two boys on horseback with scorn as they desperately scavenged for food, water and shelter.
“These people…they live in poverty…because of my family…” Maurice felt the worst he ever had.
“Yeah. I'm sorry that Father made you see this.” Montague looked at his best friend.
“No. This is what my family has done. This violence still lives in me…I can't be trusted.” Maurice choked back a sob. “I would have killed your Father if you hadn't stopped me.”
“Mo-Mo…” Montague looked sad.
After a few days they went back home to the Peridot Isle, where Maurice stayed locked in his room for two weeks.
“Is he even eating anything?” Fern was worried about the boy as another nearly full tray was returned from his room.
“I'm going to try and speak to him again.” Montague got up and went to bang on the door of his best friend. “MAURICE! GET OUT HERE!”
Montague felt irked. So he opened the door (surprised to find it was still unlocked) to find Maurice surrounded by books and carefully writing on a piece of parchment.
“What are you writing?” Montague looked at the parchment. Maurice moved aside, looking hollow.
“I, Maurice Masters, swear the following: I will never kill another human being again. I will always respect my elders, even if I don't agree with them. I will endeavour to dress nicely and appropriately. I will never hold back, and will fight forever for what is right.” Was written on the parchment.
“Wow. I don't think you've ever actually killed anyone though.” Montague pointed out.
“My family did.” Maurice said hollowly.
“And the line about dressing nicely?”
“I'm vain Monty, don't judge me.”
“Well, you're gonna have to add an extra clause in there. You have to believe in yourself again Mo-Mo, because if you don't, you're never going to be able to be better.” Montague told his friend.
Maurice smiled wryly, and added an extra line. “Most of all, I will always believe. Signed, Maurice Masters.”
“Happy now?” He showed Montague, who nodded.
“That's great. Anyway, I'm going to go and steal some apples, so I'll catch you later.” Montague headed out of the room.
“Fine…fine…not fine!” Maurice suddenly tweaked up. His best friend was going to get himself in trouble…AGAIN! Quickly, Maurice scribbled another line on his vow.
“I will always keep that idiot Begly from letting his plans get out of hand, no matter how improbable it is that I OR the plan will succeed!”
Then he bolted after Montague, who was already hiding under the stairs as the apples were being brought in from the apple cart.
“Montague! Will you think this through?!” Maurice cried in a hushed whisper.
“I have!” Montague replied. “I just wait until they head back to the cart for more apples then sneak in and steal a few!”
“You forgot that the guards are literally standing right there.” Maurice said drily.
Montague blinked. “No trouble!” He cried, as the delivery boy headed out for another barrel of apples.
“MONTAGUE!” Maurice bolted after his best friend…and was caught by the guards! He looked around frantically, but couldn't see Montague anywhere.
“And what are YOU doing young Masters?” The guard eyed him off.
“I was just…nothing.” Maurice sighed.
“That's right. These apples are for winter, NOT for now. Now go on, off you go!” The guard gave the boy a good shake before casting him aside.
Still smarting, Maurice headed back to his room, where he passed Montague…with several apples!
“My plan worked!” Montague cried in glee. “Because you ran out, you got caught and I could hide!”
Maurice felt his eye twitching as he stormed back up to his room and did his best to remove the last clause, forever known as the Improbability Clause, from his stupid list of vows.
“Bloody stupid Begly!”
“Oh wow!” Charlie cried. “THAT'S where the Improbability Clause comes from!”
“Of course it would be a Masters invention.” Belle grinned. “Wonder what Dad will say when he finds out.”
“Oh right! Speaking of finding out, I have news!” Charlie remembered. “Sammy got arrested last night!”
“WHAT?!” Belle screamed.
“Plus there's also-,”
“WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THAT ONE OF MY BEST FRIENDS, WHO IS LIKE A BROTHER TO ME, HAS BEEN ARRESTED?!” Belle screeched.
“I just found out!” Charlie pouted. “Besides, that's only HALF the news!”
“And the other half is?” Belle looked murderous.
“The PCC.” Charlie groaned.
Belle blinked. “What's the PCC?”