She did not alter the Battle Team, though she continuously complained that the “air defense was weak” and “there was not enough support for the Hog Rider” and “the cards were underleveled.” Her complaints were annoying, yes, but she did pay up for it when she brought us to the Frozen Peak. She refused to fight another match after that, saying that King James would never improve if she did. We won against every single opponent we battled, except for one, who Cadey claimed over and over again was a troll. I didn’t know whether I should have believed her. Maybe it was just her excuse for losing to someone in the Royal Arena.
My attempts to find out more about the Night Witch proved fruitless, so I eventually stopped. I figured I would just have to continue waiting for her to appear to me, even though I’ve already waited long enough. Whenever I tried to ask King James, he would always think of another excuse not to tell me. No one else had any useful information.
I suppose my head had now become an endless cycle. I would care about something that I thought I would never give up on, but after a while I would stop and move on to something else. And then after the new interest, I would find it boring and move on again. Perhaps this was how I had always been.
After debating the situation over fifty times, I finally decided that I was once again going to try to tell Penny that I loved her, and this time I was not going to chicken out. I took her to a balcony, hoping that the sunset could make this a perfect scene.
“Do you like the view?” I asked.
“Yea, it’s so beautiful.”
I took a deep breath. “Penny, I have something to tell you.”
“Cool, I have news for you too.”
“You go first,” I said.
“It’s about Ashley. She’s done it. She’s joined some faraway castle. Everyone there calls her the ‘Bandit’. Not the most welcoming name, but good all the same. She’s a Legendary too.”
“That’s great! And now, for what I have to tell you-”
“Let me guess. It’s the same thing you tried to tell me on my birthday, but you were too embarrassed to say so.” Penny was too smart for my weak Cannon brain. Or maybe she wasn’t smart at all. I was just plain stupid, too stupid to even know it.
“Precisely,” I answered.
There was something in her eyes that I had not seen before. It was pity. She pitied me. She probably only treated me as a friend because she didn’t want me to be lonely. “I already know, Danny. I knew since the first day I met you.”
“Is it really that obvious?”
“Do you want me to be honest?”
“Yes,” she said. “Yes it is.”
“What do you think of me, Penny? Tell the truth.”
“I don’t know how to answer that question.”
“Just admit it. I won’t judge you. I know you love me. Now all you have to do is say so.”
“Are you sure you want me to tell you the truth? Or what you wish to hear?” Her words stung me, piercing a hole in my heart. I hated the truth. I’ve always hated the truth. There had been so many times where I would rather believe a lie than the ugly, ugly truth.
“My hope is that they are the same thing.” But they weren’t, and I would be forced to accept that.
A tear fell off her cheek, as she tore her gaze away from me. “I need you to do me a favor. I need you to stop this. Forget about me. Destroy every last feeling you have for me. Pretend that every memory you’ve created with me never happened. Fall in love with another girl. You don’t understand now, but you will later. Please, Danny. This is all I’m asking of you.”
“Why can’t we just continue living as friends? We can pretend that this day never happened and start all over again,” I suggested.
“Danny, do you even understand what you’re saying? Can you really feel what love is? You’re a Cannon, Danny. A Cannon. You’re not one of us. Tell Supercell to fix you. Wouldn’t you rather be normal?” This was certainly not the conversation I had planned for.
“I don’t want to be normal!” I yelled. “If I was human, would you still think of me the same way?”
“I’m not sure, and it doesn’t matter anyway. But if you really love me, then make me that promise. Forget about me. That’s all you have to do,” she said.
“I cannot promise anything.”
“Oh well, then.” Penny turned and walked away, leaving me by the balcony all alone – speechless, confused, and most utterly heartbroken, not because she had rejected me, but because I was so foolish to think that I would ever have a chance with her.
I didn’t know how long I stayed at the balcony. It could have been minutes, or maybe hours. I watched the sun sink below the hills far away, as the moon took over the night sky. It was dark already, yet I didn’t want to leave. I thought about what Penny had told me. It was unbelievable. Surely, after all this time we spent together, she must have felt some sort of connection with me.
Forget about me. Impossible. Destroy every last feeling you have for me. Why did she she want to hurt me this way? Pretend that every memory you’ve created with me never happened. I couldn’t do this, not when I still remembered every single moment. Fall in love with another girl. I would never. Penny was perfect, and I knew that no other girl suited me.
I spent the next few days in the castle isolating myself. I refused to talk to anyone, not even the king. I tried my best to forget about Penny, but she would never leave the center of my thoughts. I suppose I could consider myself ultimately friendless. However, I later tried befriending the Golem, since he seemed to be as lonely as I was. But I felt really uncomfortable talking to a huge rock, so I gave up on that idea.
Cadey chose to stay here with King James, and I was sure that the only reason why she did not return to her own castle was because she enjoyed criticizing everything he owned. The food, the air conditioning, the decorations – she really had something to say about everything. I felt truly sorry for King James, having to live with that jerk for many years. Thankfully, I didn’t have any siblings myself. Or maybe I did, back when I was a human, but I would not be able to remember any of it.
A whole month had passed since I had last spoken to Penny, yet I still could not forget about her. I didn’t know why I still cared for this girl. Now that she was gone from my life, I could easily put my whole heart in battling. Wasn’t that what I had always wanted? But for some strange reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about Penny, the girl who never even loved me. The girl I’ve always loved…
One day, I heard a commotion in the halls and rushed to see what all the racket was about. Apparently, there was a new member in the castle, surrounded by a group of screaming girls. Of course there was also Larry, the skeleton, running in circles and begging him for an autograph. I noticed the new guy wore a blue cap and carried a bottle of purple liquid in his left arm. A Lumberjack. And the purple liquid was a Rage Spell. No wonder why everyone was excited – he was a Legendary.
The girls soon left him and were off to do their own business. Using this chance, I took a few steps closer to get a better look at him. He obviously worked out, judging by the visible strength in his arms. I’ve seen Lumberjacks in the newspaper before. They were supposed to be shirtless, but this particular one did not leave his chest bare. I liked him immediately.
“Hey,” he said. It took me a moment to realize he was talking to me. How ironic. He, a Legendary, was talking to me, a Cannon, and I was not particularly a popular one.
“Hi,” I replied, smiling. I needed to leave a good impression on him.
“I didn’t know Cannons could talk.” Good. He returned the smile.
“Most don’t, but there’s always an unusual one in the pack.”
He laughed. “I’m Mavey,” he said, reaching out a hand.
I moved forward to shake it. “My name’s Danny.” Finally, after a whole month, I wasn’t friendless anymore.
Mavey was the type of guy who looked like he could kill you, but was actually a big teddy bear on the inside. His arms were covered in tattoos, making him look fierce, but the fierceness did not match him at all. He was a kind man, one who everyone in the castle liked. It felt good to be his friend.
No one was surprised when King James put Mavey in the Battle Team. Of course, Hunter, the Mini P.E.K.K.A. would not have the chance to battle anymore, so Mavey felt bad about that. But Hunter was fine with the decision, even though he wouldn’t be able to battle with Violet.
Mavey was a great addition to the Team. He was obviously the cause of our win streaks, even though he tried to remain humble about them. We were still in the Frozen Peak, but it didn’t matter. We all knew we were going to reach the Jungle Arena sooner or later. As for the Legendary Arena, it would take a really long time. Stupid Mr. Supercell, he just had to push it up to 3800 trophies. How convenient.
The only person who was not happy about Mavey’s appearance was Cadey, and you could probably guess why.
“It’s not fair!” I heard her complain to King James one day. “You already have a Legendary card, and you’re only in Frozen Peak! And I’m almost in Hog Mountain, and I don’t even have a Skeleton Army yet! A Skeleton Army, James. That’s unlocked in Training Camp. Do you not see the complete absurdity in that?”
King James was calm, as always. “Just keep waiting. You’ll get one eventually.”
“I’ve waited long enough! Plus, we both know that I’m way better at this game than you are. I deserve a Legendary card, and you know I do!” Calm down, Cadey.
“But I’ve played for longer,” he said. “Be patient.”
“That’s easy for you to say. You got yours from a Free Chest!”
“I know. But Josh didn’t get one until he reached Legendary Arena.”
Cadey shrugged. “I’m going to contact Mr. Supercell and demand him for a Legendary card.” Her eyes lightened up, and she crossed her fingers. “I hope I get the Log. Or maybe the Electro Wizard. Or the Miner. Or the Graveyard… Anything but the Sparky.” What’s wrong with a Sparky?
“Good luck on that,” King James said, watching his sister walk away.
“Hello, King James.” I popped out from where I was hiding.
“Hi, Danny. Were you eavesdropping?”
“No,” I said, a little too quickly. “Yes.” I was a terrible liar.
King James grinned. “It’s okay, I don’t really care anyways.”
“So… what is it now?”
“Nothing,” I said. “I just miss talking to you.” It was true. I didn’t speak a word to him for a month.
He took off his crown. “I see.”
“What’s Josh like?” I asked.
“He’s a nice guy.”
“Is he older than you?” I wondered.
“Yea. He’s the oldest of the three of us. I’m second, and Cadey’s the youngest,” he explained.
“Is it fun being the middle child?”
“It’s okay. Cadey didn’t change much from when she was a child, but Josh matured over the years.”
“Do I have siblings?” I was just curious, and I knew King James would probably know the answer. “The Night Witch told me that I was once a human, if you were wondering.”
He sighed. “Yes, Danny. You have two sisters and a brother. Princess Holly, Princess Hannah, and Prince Charles.”
A minute passed while I dissected this. If Holly and Hannah and Charles were his children, then King James was my… OH. MY. GOSH.
He nodded to show that he understood how I felt. “I know you have a lot of questions, and I understand that, but I will try -”
He never finished his sentence. And that was because I jumped up and pulled him into a hug.