Chapter Seventy-Six: What Matters
Giggles woke up.
“Belle! You're okay!” Petunia hugged her friend.
Belle felt her face. Her Giggles helmet was gone, and she was at the tip.
“It was a group hallucination controlled by the Haunted Maze Troupe!” She cried. “They had a little noise-device thing that they used to control it!”
“Explains a lot.” TJ said bitterly.
“Where's Charlie!?” Belle suddenly looked around for her best friend.
“Well…he's okay…but…” Petunia looked uncomfortable.
“Phew. Wait, where's Sunny?” Belle looked around.
“Facing off against Ruby Daryl.” TJ told her.
Lady Courage was slammed into a brick wall, and only just got her countenance back in time to dodge a Ruby Whip. Her left arm was already dead thanks to a Ruby Dagger, and the fight had turned against her.
“I don't know what it is about you, but I hate you more than I hate any of the other Knights.” Ruby Daryl told her. His eye was blackening fast, and he was certain that the little witch in front of him had left quite a few other bruises over his body.
“The feeling is mutual, jerk.” Lady Courage replied. This boy, her brother, had tried his best to ruin her life along with her father, just because she had been an unplanned pregnancy, and had been born a girl. He hadn't been a true older brother at all. He had never protected her, he had never believed in her or showed her things or loved her.
As far as Lady Courage was concerned, Daryl and Sunny Jones weren't siblings at all.
She flew at him with her baseball bat, which he dodged. He counter-attacked with a Ruby Spear, which nicked her foot, making it tingle but not quite enough to numb it completely. She spun around and clocked him fair in the shoulder.
He screamed angrily. In his fury, he fired a Ruby Blast. It threw the siblings in opposite directions, Lady Courage hitting the side of a van and Ruby able to stop himself with the Ruby Suit.
Lady Courage felt sore and defeated as Ruby advanced on her.
“You're finished Knight.” He said hoarsely, forming a final Ruby Blast.
There was a gunshot, and suddenly the Power Box on Ruby's shoulder was shattered, the Ruby Blast dissolving harmlessly to the ground!
“Wha-?” Ruby looked around, confused, before copping a knee to the head, Giggles-style!
“DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH MY SISTER AGAIN!” Giggles roared in fury.
“Giggles!” Lady Courage cried in joy.
“Darn it!” Ruby growled. Not only was Giggles armed with the Lucky Seven Gun and the ability to fly, she was also immune to the Ruby Power. Ruby wasn't going to stick around, he got out of there quickly.
“Thanks Giggles!” Lady Courage grinned as Giggles helped her up and flew both of them into the sky towards the tip.
“Any time.” Giggles grinned back. “Uh-oh…”
As proof that the drug had worn off and Giggles was in fact back to reality, the Backpack cut out, dropping both women in Pleasant Lake.
“Now I get why Chuckles hates flying.” Lady Courage groaned as the pair finally got airbourne again. “Where IS Chuckles by the way?”
“Well…” Giggles hesitated.
“Is this real life?! What if it's just fantasy again?! What if I'm still in the dream?! What's going on?!” Charlie cried, rocking in the fetal position as the Noble Knights of the Last Order looked bemused.
“It's a fault of the family.” Thomas Begly told them later as he helped load Charlie into his car. “We tend to overthink sometimes.”
“By the way…Belle…what you said before to Ruby…” Sunny asked as the pair got into the back of the car.
“You're as much my sister as Madels is.” Belle said firmly. “Don't worry about it.”
Sunny beamed all the way home.
It took three hours to finally convince Charlie that everything was okay (a quick spin on the Backpack fixed things).
“It's kinda scary to think we now have enemies that can do that to us.” He said as the group sat at Bills restaurant eating roast chicken with thick gravy and vegetables.
“Maybe we should up our breathing protection. Just in case.” Daniel shoveled down his dinner. “I mean, who knows what the side effects of that drug are?”
“I swabbed some from Belles helmet.” Peter Masters told them. “From the looks of things it's not addictive, but you'll probably be having some weird dreams for a few days.”
“How on earth do you get access to things like that?” Sammy asked.
“Being a prosecutor means access to labs and people who can run those labs.” Peter winked at him.
Just then, Judith Jofrey in her wig walked in looking harassed.
“Judy, you okay?” Peter got up and offered her his chair. She sat down, frazzled.
“Revolver…he killed Mark…and I just walked away and let him.” She shook with emotion.
There was silence around the table.
“This is getting out of control. Especially now that the Haunted Maze Troupe is back.” Sunny held Melody tightly.
“Pleasantville is a war-zone, and Demon is encouraging it for his own profits.” Tammy growled.
Lara held Madeleine, and looked at Belle and Ozzy. “I wish I could have been born elsewhere sometimes.”
“I don't blame you.” Betty had her mouth set in a thin line.
“Judith, I know you're in a bad place, but if you truly love your sister you need to join us. We can help you guys keep some sort of control until we can get a decent Mayor in to clean the city up.” Peter told her.
“Betray my sister?!” Judiths eyes snapped up with fire.
“If you don't, she could be the next one dead.” Thomas said darkly. “Especially if Jones is in bed with the March Hill Crusaders. They're going to want blood.”
“Marion and I are on thin ice anyway. If she gets even a sniff that I'm working with you, she'll kill me.” Judith groaned. “Especially now that Daryl has pretty much told everyone I'm a liar.”
“Do you see now why we want to end crime in Pleasantville?” Belle asked her gently. “If you weren't part of a crime syndicate, you and Marion would just be regular old sisters.”
Judith looked away. “It doesn't matter right now.”
There was a brief silence.
“I'll tell you what DOES matter, and that's Belle and Charlie!” TJ suddenly spat out.
“Huh?” Belle and Charlie looked at each other.
“You two!” Petunia groaned. “You OBVIOUSLY have feelings for each other!”
“You keep up with all this 'best friend' stuff but you two CLEARLY belong together!” Sammy added.
“Guys, they're oblivious. Just drop it, it's never going to work.” Sunny groaned.
Judith looked around, before turning to Peter, confused.
“Just…go with it…” He recommended.
Later on, Charlie and Belle were in their tree, looking up through the leaves to the stars, listening to the creek flow.
“I can't believe them.” Belle sighed.
“Yeah.” Charlie agreed. “We know what we have.”
“Exactly.” Belle smiled.
They were together, and that was all that mattered.