“DARN IT Ruby!” Sir Lionheart groaned as he dodged another Ruby Blast. Since discovering the Ruby Suit, Daryl had managed to improve the skill set to include minor explosive Ruby Blasts and Ruby Whips, which could be used to grab victims while numbing them.
“Are you lot DONE yet?” Ruby turned to face Mobster Marion and three of her goons, who were busy destroying an old city memorial. Peter had warned the Knights of the Last Order that the memorial would be a target, as Mayor Jones wanted land for a shopping complex.
“We're taking our time to do things properly!” Mobster Marion snapped as another statue fell.
“It's DESTRUCTION, how “properly” can you do it?!” Ruby cried, throwing another Ruby Blast at Sir Hyper, who had gotten close enough to try and strike. Sir Hyper screamed as the Ruby Power charged up to his shoulder, numbing his entire arm.
“Sir Hyper!” Sir Lionheart tried to get to his fallen comrade, but it was too late. With a sickening pop, Ruby easily twisted around Sir Hypers elbow.
“Not another one!” Sir Lionheart groaned. That meant Sir Hyper, Sir Dark AND Lady Courage were out of commission!
“You're next Chickenheart!” Ruby grinned beneath the mask. Sir Lionheart quickly grabbed Sir Hyper and the pair bolted from the memorial, unable to save it.
“Damn, damn, DAMN!” Sir Lionheart groaned. He did his best to drag Sir Hyper away from the area as quickly as he could – when Sir Dark had his ankle broken, Master Revolver and twenty of the Death Valley Mobsters had chased them around the city. Lady Luck was still fuming over the fact that her beloved had been injured.
“I'm sorry Sammy.” Sir Lionheart climbed down one of the broken storm drains which led to the tip. Sir Hyper was following slowly, hissing with the pain in his elbow.
“I'll live.” Sir Hyper replied. Now nineteen, the small boy had become an imposing man. He was still pretty hyperactive and fun though, especially with children. He was going through University himself now, hoping to become a teacher. His theory was that while Belle could try and change minds that were already set, he could help mould the minds that were still flexible.
“If only we had Chuckles and Giggles again.” He sighed as the pair emerged from a large pipe that emptied near the tip. Sir Lionheart shook his head.
“I know Charlie's still keen, but I don't see Belle getting involved again.” The older man sighed. “Let's get your arm fixed. Petunia's gonna kill us.”
“I think the jerk just dislocated my elbow.” Sir Hyper looked at his arm. With a little wiggle and a “pop”, the arm looked normal again, if not a little swollen.
“Oh thank goodness for that.” Daniel pulled off his helmet. “A bit of ice on that and you'll be good in a week. We're running out of combatants.”
“Surely TJ should be fine soon.” Sam got back into his civilian attire.
“I'd still like for him to rest for another week or so until he's 100% fit. He could get killed otherwise.” Daniel replied.
“SAM! DAN!” A raspy female voice called out. Lady Silent (or Not-So-Silent-Any-More as Sir Dark calls her) ran towards them, jumping up and hugging her brother tightly. “You guys were on the news, I saw your arm, what happened Sam?”
“It was dislocated, but I popped it back in. Chill out Tammy, I'm fine.” Sam patted her head, wincing at the pain that was still in his arm.
“It looks like it's sore.” Tammy pointed out.
“Are you going to be annoying all the way home?” Sam frowned at her as the trio headed towards Sams car.
“I'm your big sister.”
“By fifteen minutes!”
“Still your big sister.”
Daniel couldn't help but sit in the back seat chuckling all the way home.
Belle walked out of the court room, fuming. It seemed that the Death Valley Mobsters weren't the only crooks in town, and she was beginning to regret all the times she saved the Pleasantville First Bank as Giggles. The way they treated people and they were allowed to get away with it?!
“Does this city THRIVE on corruption or something?!” She wondered out aloud.
“It's an alternate way to do business one might say.”
Belles head shot up to see Mr. Jones smiling triumphantly at her.
“You're just like your father.” He chuckled. “Neither you, nor him, nor the Knights of the Last Order can change this city. It's the place where so called “trustworthy” businesses come to make a dirty profit. That's what keeps us going.”
“Leave me alone.” Belle growled at the Mayor, stalking off.
“You're fighting a losing battle, why not join the winning team?” Mr. Jones called after her. Belle ignored him and quickened her pace. What a SLIMEBALL!
She got into the slowly dying old Elantra and headed home. One day she'd have to buy herself a new car.
“Now I understand why you got so mad Dad.” She said later, sitting at the table at home nursing a hot chocolate. “It's infuriating, the way that people get away with murder in this city.”
“You're fighting a long ingrained state of mind Beauty.” Peter replied, standing at the sink and peeling potatoes. “This was SO much easier when Bill lived here.” He grumbled.
“It wasn't a total waste of a day though.” Belle mentioned.
“Oh?” Peter looked up at her.
“You see, I stopped at the petrol station to get more fuel and-,”
Belle was cut off by Lara returning home with Madeleine and Oscar. Oscar burst into the house waving around a red ribbon.
“I won the race! I won the race!” He cried, running laps between Peter and Belle. “We had the sports carnival today and I won the race!”
“Well done!” Peter lifted his step-son up in a big bear hug.
“Have you finished those potatoes yet?” Lara narrowed her eyes at Peter, who started peeling as if his life depended on it (which it did).
“Hey little man!” Belle high-fived Oscar before pulling him into her lap.
“I ran really, really, REALLY fast Belle! Zoom!” Oscar started giving a detailed description of how he completely obliterated his competition (to be honest, he only JUST barely won, but we won't take his victory away from him).
“Did you see the Pleasantville Memorial got flattened?” Lara said quietly to Peter.
Peter grimaced. Joe Masters had a plaque there due to his actions against Johannas.
“I can't take much more of this.” He threw down the last potato and the peeler, frustrated.
Belle looked at her father, and then back at Oscar, who was still jumping around with excitement. She tried not to think of the future the poor boy faced.
Crickets chirped loudly at the tip that night, where again Charlie was having a late-night training session. Although tonight wasn't so much training as it was stargazing. And not so much stargazing as it was being lost in his own thoughts.
He'd seen the news that day. He'd seen Sir Hyper get injured. He knew Sunny still had a cast on her arm and that TJ had just gotten out of his moon-boot. Daniel was the only combatant of the Knights of the Last Order left who could still fight.
The bad guys were winning.
He sat up. It wasn't fair. He had to do something! But without Belle and the Improbability Clause he was little more than cannon fodder.
You managed to do okay before Giggles came on the scene. Remember how you won the Lions Claw Blade?
He shook the thought off. That had been with the help of Sir Lionheart and Sir Dark.
You should go and get your sword back. It's not like you need Giggles to help you.
He sighed. He didn't even know where Mobster Marion was. Probably antagonising some innocent civilian.
He got up and stretched. Probably should go for a walk, lying down with the Arm Scythes on usually ended in stiffness. He pulled on his masks and headed back towards the city on the back of the midnight bus.
He savoured the bus ride every night, because that's when he was Chuckles again, even if he wasn't fighting crime. He jumped off the bus near the Pleasantville Central Park and headed into the scented garden. It was peaceful here, the lingering smell of the flowers hanging in the air.
“I can't believe the NERVE of that man! Yelling at me as if I were one of the grunts!” Chuckles heard the distinguishable voice of Mobster Marion ranting. “I don't care what he lost, he has no right to speak to his fiancé like that!”
“Had a domestic with Revolver did you?” Chuckles jumped out from behind a bush.
“Humph. What do you care?” Mobster Marion growled.
“Hey, we've all had relationship problems before. Maybe it will help to talk about it?” Chuckles threw up his hands in defence. “You're not breaking any laws right now so I'm not going to beat you up.”
“I can change that!” Mobster Marion grinned, pulling out the Lions Claw Blade and slicing down one of the bushes.
“HEY! Not cool!” Chuckles cried.
“I'll just take my frustrations out on you shall I?” Mobster Marion laughed, swinging the Lions Claw Blade at Chuckles, who jumped back.
“I was only trying to help!” Chuckles yelped indignantly. “No wonder Revolver yells at you, you're a COW!”
“And proud of it brat!” Mobster Marion moved to advance again, when a gunshot rang out and a bullet landed just in front of her.
“The HECK?!” Chuckles spun around, looking for the source of the bullet. Nothing but silence and empty darkness surrounded him.
“Ooooh, you're going to get it -ARGH!” Mobster Marion moved to attack again, but was stopped by another bullet. In her fright, the Lions Claw Blade fell to the ground.
Chuckles saw his chance. He swung at Mobster Marion with one of the Arm Scythes, forcing her back. She kicked at her sword, sending it towards one of the bushes.
It would be a foot race to see who would get there first, and Chuckles had a sharp advantage. He swung at Mobster Marion again, forcing her backwards before taking off towards the fallen Blade himself.
“Get back here!” Unfortunately Mobster Marion still had speed on her side. She went to make a grab at Chuckles when the third bullet nicked her finger. She screamed in pain and fright as Chuckles rolled into the bushes and took back his sword.
He bolted as fast as he could back to the tip, making sure that Mobster Marion nor none of her henchmen were following him.
“I GOT MY SWORD BACK!”