Chapter Sixteen: Exposition.
Mobster Marion and Master Revolver walked into the Misneach compound, towards the large group of about 100 men and women, all loyal to the Death Valley Mobsters.
“Hello our loyal followers.” Master Revolver spoke, silencing the crowd.
“You've probably noticed, but there seems to be a disease rampant in Pleasantville. That sickness is the Noble Knights of the Last Order and their little pals Chuckles and Giggles!” Mobster Marion began.
“It's time we fixed what has been wronged. Ever since the birth of Pleasantville the Death Valley Gang and the Mobsters of Misneach have ruled this city with an iron fist. The order MUST be restored.” Master Revolver punched his palm, inciting excitement amongst the group.
“That is why the Death Valley Mobsters have been born – because our word is law in this city, and they'd best not forget it!” Mobster Marion roared.
A great cheer went up.
“Tonight.” Master Revolver grinned. “Tonight, at midnight, we march on Pleasantville. Tonight, at midnight, we take back our city!”
The roar went up, and the two leaders grinned.
Those brats would pay.
Daniel grimaced. Sunny glared back. She quickly looked back over Daniels shoulder to Petunia, who nodded.
“MY LEG!” Daniel cried, limping away from the crease almost the moment the cricket ball hit his shin.
Meanwhile, Belle lifted one finger into the air. TJ and Sammy were furious.
“SHE DELIBERATELY AIMED FOR HIS LEG!”
“HOW CAN YOU GIVE THAT OUT?!”
Charlie watched the cricket game from the big tree, not particularly interested. He was filled with a mix of sadness and fury, both at his grand-father and himself. If he'd only been faster. If only his grand-father had just stayed home. If only he'd never donned the Chuckles costume. If only…if only…
It was no good thinking about what could have been, you couldn't change what had happened. You could only go forwards, and try not to make the same mistakes again.
Would he end up being as stubborn as his grand-father had been? Was he going to suffer a similar fate? Could Belle stop him, or would she end up failing like Joe had?
Or was he too much of a Begly? Would he end up like Grandpa Tim, who died peacefully in his sleep after saying good-bye to everyone?
It was doing his head in.
“Are you okay?” Belle was suddenly next to him. How long had he been thinking?
“No.” Charlie didn't see the point in lying to Belle. She'd know. She always knew.
She bent down and kissed his cheek. “It would have been the way he wanted to go, you know that.” She looked towards the creek. “Maybe I was wrong to try and stop him from joining us.”
“He still would have died.” Charlie pointed out. “And he wouldn't have changed anything. You saw that when Revolver and Marion were in gaol – Demon came to take their place.”
“I guess so. All we can do is try to keep them under control.” Belle sighed. “You're still going to try, right?”
Charlie looked up at the sky through the leaves of the tree. A tree that was over one hundred years old. A friendship that was over 500 years old. In all those centuries, not once had anyone given up.
Grandpa Charles hadn't given up.
“Of course.” Charlie looked up as his best friend fondly. “I won't let this stop me.”
“You won't try to get revenge on Demon will you?” Belle asked. “I will stop you if you try to kill him.”
“I won't. I might be his grand-son, but I'm not him.” Charlie reassured her.
She smiled at him. He smiled back.
“So who won the cricket game?” Charlie asked.
“No one. It turned into a brawl and Dad sent everyone home to cool off. They'll be back for dinner.” Belle giggled.
“You really shouldn't have paid that LBW.”
“Technically it WAS there.”
“You just like stirring.”
“Are you two going to come in for lunch?” Bill called from Belles room.
“Just a minute Uncle Bill!” Belle called back. She turned to Charlie.
“You're gonna be okay. I'll make sure of it.” She said.
“I know.” Charlie replied. It hurt, it would always hurt, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel now, the wound was going to heal.
The pair made their way inside where Bill had made a big pot of stew for lunch. Thomas, Betty, Izzy and Lizzy were there, and Woof was sitting with Meow.
Charlie looked at his mother, who looked away. He guessed that she'd never be able to fully forgive what had happened. He also guessed his sisters felt the same way.
The meal was still pleasant enough, Bill and Peter soon got into a fight about the price of oil in Chyna, Betty rolled her eyes, Thomas laughed, the twins ate in silence and Belle, Charlie and Joe had an in-depth discussion about cricket.
It was a fun afternoon, especially when the rest of the Knights came back over and the group headed out to Lake Pleasant for a swim. Charlie could almost ignore the lingering pain in his heart.
It was late that night, and Belle was deep in sleep. She always slept well, even as a baby (pneumonia withstanding, then again I wouldn't expect anyone to sleep well with pneumonia). The three walls that bordered her bed always made her feel secure, and crawling in the end of her bed never bothered her.
She was snuggled into one of the corners, snoring peacefully, Meow purring away against her back, when suddenly she was woken up to Charlie shaking her.
“Get up! Something's not right!” He hissed.
“Go back to bed Charlie, it's 11.30 and I'm tired.” Belle rolled over. Meow glared at her before retreating to another corner at the foot of the bed.
“Go. To. Sleep.” Belle mumbled. “You can even stay with me if you absolutely must.”
“BELLE!” Charlie whispered loudly in Belles ear.
“For the love of…WHAT?!” Belle snapped in hushed tones.
“Something's wrong. Will you do a patrol with me?” Charlie asked.
“C'mon Belle, I have a hunch.”
“A HUNCH?! You woke me up for a HUNCH?!” Belle was furious. Meow wasn't all too impressed either, and jumped off the end of the bed and headed out of the bedroom to go and sleep somewhere quieter!
“Belle, please, just come with me.” Charlie begged.
“Why haven't you hit your watch? If there's a problem, we're going to need everyone to help us.” Belle replied, irked that her sleep was interrupted.
“I don't want to wake up everyone just for a hunch.” Charlie replied.
“But you have no problem waking ME up?!”
“You're my best friend.”
“You're DEAD if we don't find anything.”
Chuckles felt nervous. Giggles was jabbing him in the back, and it was only a matter of time before the Lucky Seven Gun came out and he had no kneecaps left.
“We have been around the city TWICE. We have seen NOTHING.” Giggles growled. “You have thirty seconds to explain why I shouldn't eat you alive.”
“Because then you wouldn't have anyone to activate the Improbability Clause for you?” Chuckles tried. He knew the moment that he mentioned the Clause that he'd just signed his own death warrant.
It was only the sound of marching feet that saved him. Giggles grabbed him and flew him up to the top of a building.
“Is that…the DVG?” Giggles asked.
“There are WAY too many of them to be the DVG. And it's not the Mob either, they're all carrying handguns.” Chuckles looked down.
“Then WHO are they? Not Demons lot are they?” Giggles groaned. She hit the face of her watch, praying that at least one of the Knights was still awake enough to see it.
She looked down again and was horrirfied. Mobster Marion was walking hand-in-hand with Master Revolver!
“We are SO screwed!” Chuckles groaned. “If they're on the same page, Pleasantville is done for!”
Giggles stared at the pair, feeling helpless. Her hand dropped, hitting the Lucky Seven Gun on the way down.
She had a thought. She could take out the pair from where she was sitting. The Lucky Seven Gun could handle a bit of sniper action.
“Don't even think about disobeying the Code.” Chuckles warned in her ear. Giggles slapped herself mentally. How could she have even considered it?!
“We have to get them arrested again.” She whispered.
“Yeah.” Chuckles looked down. The Death Valley Mobsters were all standing in a formation, almost like an army. Master Revolver and Mobster Marion stood in front of them.
Suddenly Chuckles had an idea.
“We need to take out Master Revolver and Mobster Marion. If we can just hold them off until help arrives, we'll be fine!” He said.
“Not going to happen doofus. If we get into a fight with them, it's easily fifty to one. We'll be killed.” Giggles replied. Chuckles ignored her. “CHUCKLES!”
Chuckles leapt from the top of the building to a balcony below, and made his way down the building. Giggles groaned angrily and followed him down.
“Now, our loyal Mobsters, we are going to make this city pay for daring to try and defy – I'M TRYING TO GIVE A SPEECH HERE!” Master Revolver fumed as Chuckles landed in front of him.
“Let me handle this runt.” Mobster Marion glared at the newcomer to their little party. She charged at Chuckles and slashed downwards, but her sword was blocked by one of the Arm Scythes. Chuckles then swung back with the Lions Claw Blade, narrowly missing Mobster Marion but cutting off a fair chunk of Master Revolvers hair.
“What the-? DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT TOOK TO GROW THIS HAIR?!” Master Revolver was livid. Chuckles was still fighting Mobster Marion, and his back was turned to her boyfriend. Master Revolver grinned. He pulled out his gun
He would have fired had it not been for a bullet landing at his feet. Giggles was in the air, and was pointing the Lucky Seven Gun at him.
“You two are trying my patience!” Mobster Marion kicked Chuckles in the guts, sending him sprawling back. Giggles quickly landed next to her best friend, and pointed the Lucky Seven Gun at their foes.
“What on earth are you trying to do here?!” Giggles asked.
“We're seeking vengeance. Don't you see that?” Master Revolver grinned. “We've amassed our forces, and we're now going to remind Pleasantville of our might.”
“Will you just KILL them already?!” Mobster Marion groaned.
“Your might?!” Giggles asked incredulously.
“For two hundred years our families have had Pleasantville under our thumbs. Two little brats can't stop centuries of hard work. That is why we've decided to work together.” Master Revolver explained.
“So, you've laid aside a centuries-old rivalry just to deal with us. I'm flattered.” Giggles snapped.
“Yes, well, you two ARE a fair bit of a nuisance. You and your little Knights of the Last Order. I have to give you credit, you've certainly managed to scare us. But that's more due to our own complacency than any real talent you have. It's only an accident that you two ended up stealing our sacred weapons, that were forged for our forefathers so long ago. But now it's time for the balance to be corrected.” Master Revolver continued on.
“You're rambling.” Mobster Marion rolled her eyes. “Hurry up!”
“You're very impatient Marion.” Giggles pointed out. Chuckles looked up at her. What was Giggles doing?!
“Yes. Impatience has probably worked in your favour, but not tonight. Tonight, we're going to savour every last bit of your defeat. Our colossal triumph begins by making an example of you. To make sure that no one gets the foolish idea to try and take us on again. THAT is what tonight is about. Squashing any hope of resistance that these foolish peasants might have.” Master Revolver straightened himself up. “And furthermore-,”
What he would have said no one knew, because at that moment Sir Hyper bolted past, nearly knocking Master Revolver off his feet.
“What the-?” Mobster Marion looked around. The night then exploded in the colours of red and blue – the police had arrived.
“Chuckles, Giggles! Over here!” Called Sir Dark from a nearby street. Giggles lifted Chuckles up and flew the pair over to where the Knights were.
“What was THAT about?” Giggles asked Sir Hyper.
“When our watches started going off, we realised we'd probably need the police to back us up. Of course, I never realised we'd be THIS right.” Sir Lionheart looked at the many police officers who had now surrounded the small Death Valley Mobsters army. Many of the Mobsters had fled at the sight of the police lights, but a good many of them still got arrested.
Chuckles couldn't help but laugh.
“See? I told you we just had to hold them up!” He thumped Giggles on the back. “The Improbability Clause strikes again!”
Giggles was about to disagree, when she realised he was right.
“The power of exposition!” Chuckles continued to laugh. Meanwhile, Giggles had developed an eye twitch and was fuming.
She turned around and smacked Chuckles upside the head with the butt of the Lucky Seven Gun.
“We're going home. Good NIGHT you guys.” Giggles grabbed Chuckles, whose eyes were watering.
“G'night Giggles! G'night Chuckles!” The Knights waved as the heroes flew off into the night. Once Giggles was out of earshot, they too started laughing.
Poor Belle Masters!