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Mystery Girl (1)

By AIT-AuthorInTraining

Fantasy / Adventure

Here We Go Again

1. Here We Go Again

A man in a black hood pressed his back against a brick wall. He gestured for his comrades to do the same and they followed his order without question. He cautiously peered around the corner, scanned the area for guards, and made the decision to move onward. The men behind him followed suite.

The wooden boards creaked under the weight of so many men crossing over them. The water below was calm. Small waves splashed against the dock. The night time sky provided all the cover they needed to sneak onto the ships unnoticed.

Several of the men brandished axes, their shiny steel reflecting in the moonlight. The man in the black hood, the leader of one of many small groups, raised three fingers in the air. He dropped one finger, and then the other. As he pulled in the third and final finger, he let out a fearsome war cry and flung his axe down into a crate. He threw away his hood, revealing a massive headdress and red face paint. Every other man present did the same, their voracious cries filling the night air.

They destroyed everything in sight. A faction of men pushed an immense crate over the edge of the ship and into the harbor. A victorious whoop followed.

The destruction and chaos continued on until the ships were torn to pieces and all of the crates were demolished. When it was all done, a broad-shouldered man climbed his way up the mast and shouted for everyone to hear, "Patriots! On this day, we have won a great battle against our British oppressors! The Revolutionary War has turned in our favour! After tonight, they will know that we will not tolerate any more tax increases! For we are Americans, and this is our land!"

A deafening roar of approval followed the man's speech. They clapped each other on the back and smiled with pride at their work.

The scene faded to black and the credits started to roll up the screen. Overdramatic patriotic music flowed from the speakers at a volume much louder than necessary.

The TV screen was the only thing illuminating Joe's bedroom. They had turned off all the other lights beforehand. The dim lighting was enough to see though. Joe and Anna were sprawled out on Joe's bed and Fred and Sam had made themselves comfortable on the floor.

"Man, could you imagine how cool it would have been to be in the Boston Tea Party?" Fred jumped to his feet and struck a macho-man pose. "Getting to sabotage all those ships and bust open cases of tea?"

Sam let an exacerbated sigh. "How many of these terrible movies do we have to watch before you realize how historically inaccurate they all are?"

"Please, everyone knows the Boston Tea Party was one of the coolest parts of the revolution." Fred crossed his arms. "They were mad about spending too much money on something as silly as tea so they all dressed up as Native Americans and went to town on some British ships."

"It wasn't even part of the war. The actual Revolutionary War didn't start for another two years," Sam explained with an eye roll. "Not everybody dressed as Native Americans either, and those who did certainly didn't wear headdresses and face paint. They didn't even damage the ships, only the tea crates. And they didn't do it because tea was costing them more money. The Tea Act lowered the cost of tea."

"Oh, yeah?" Fred frowned. "Then why did they do it, Mr. Smarty-pants?"

"The Sons of Liberty were worried that cheaper tea would entice people to pay higher taxes for other things." Anna answered before Sam could. "Taxes that Americans didn't approve because they weren't represented in Parliament."

"How would you know that?" Joe easily dismissed his sister's answer, assuming she was wrong.

"Because we just talked about it in school, and unlike you I actually pay attention in class." Anna stuck her tongue out and slipped off of Joe's bed.

"Whatever," Fred scoffed. "There's no way any of that is true."

"Care to find out?" Anna whipped out The Book. She waved it in front of Fred's face, taunting him and daring him to take it.

"Anna!" Joe jumped off his bed and snatched The Book out of her hands. "How many times to I have to tell you not to touch my stuff? Especially The Book!"

Sam yelped and scurried away from the two of them. "You guys really shouldn't wave that thing around like that. You know what could happen!"

"Oh, come on, Sam. We're seasoned pros at this point." Fred moved closer to Joe and Anna and eagerly smiled at The Book. "I say we go back to the Boston Tea Party so I can prove you wrong."

"Why can't we just settle arguments using the internet like normal people?" Sam shook his head and kept his distance.

"Because that's boring. Why do that when we have access to a magical time travelling book?" Fred walked over to Sam and threw his arm over his shoulder. "You know you want to."

"I really don't."

"Well I do." Anna took The Book back from Joe. She flipped to the transporter page and quickly started typing in their destination.

"Give that back!" Joe grabbed The Book and found himself in a tug of war competition with Anna, not realizing that green mist had already started to leak out.

"No!"

Joe tugged extra hard and managed to get The Book out of Anna's hands, but also out of his. It soared across the room and landed in Sam's arms.

"No, no, no! Joe, do something!" Sam panicked. The green mist started to swirl around the room.

Joe bolted over to help his friends. He frantically flipped through The Book and tried to cancel the warp, but it was too late, the green mist gathered around them and they were gone in a flash.

Anna looked around Joe's now-empty bedroom and bit her lip. "Oops."

Joe, Sam and, Fred landed with a hard thump and a grunt in the middle of an alley.

"We really need to learn how to use that thing." Sam groaned and shook his head. "I don't suppose either of you still have it?"

Fred and Joe held up their empty hands and shrugged. "Do we ever have it?"

They all stood and dusted themselves off. They cautiously peered around the corner to see where they were. The alley let out into a busy cobblestone street where people milled about and horses pulled along carriages. There was an outdoor market on the other side of the road that was bustling with activity.

"I thought the Boston Tea Party happened at night," Fred said, noting that it appeared to be early morning.

"It did." Sam adjusted his glasses. "But they had a meeting to plan it out in the morning. My guess is that we're near the Old South Meeting House where the meeting was held."

"So we have to wait around all day before the main event?" Fred whined. "What are we supposed to do until then?"

"How about look for The Book?" Sam rolled his eyes.

"How come you never want to enjoy one of these adventures?"

"Because we almost die every time!"

Joe swiftly stepped in between his friends. "Sam, has a point Fred. We'll look for The Book now, and then watch the Boston Tea Party later."

"Fine," Sam and Fred grumbled and crossed their arms.

Joe sighed with a shake of his head. He was tired of always having to play the mediator with these two. He stepped out of the alley and searched the street for any obvious signs of The Book. "Let's check out that market," Joe decided. "Maybe a vendor is selling my book or something."

The market was busier than they had anticipated. Shoppers kept getting in their way and it was hard to keep track of each other in the crowd. They somehow managed to push through to the back of the emporium and find an area that was less cramped. The sellers back here seemed uninterested in the crowd and were paying more attention to the books they were reading or the other ways they were suppressing their boredom. Unfortunately for the trio, none of the books were The Book.

"I couldn't get a good look at any of those stands. Did you?" Joe looked to his friends for help who shook their heads in response. Joe groaned. They were never going to find The Book at this rate.

Without warning, Fred shoved Sam out of his way and into Joe and ran away.

"Ow!" they yelled. "Fred, what is your problem?"

They untangled themselves from each other and searched for where Fred had run off to. They looked over just in time to see him try to steal something from a young girl.

"Hey!" the girl shouted. "Give that back!" She pulled on the object Fred was trying to take from her.

Realizing that Fred wasn't going to give up, the girl let go. Fred stumbled back from pulling too hard. The girl took advantage of Fred's unsteady balance and in one swift movement, struck her leg out, kicking him directly in the chest. Dropping the item in his hands, he crashed to the ground.

His attacker grabbed the stolen item and held it out of his reach. "What is wrong with you?"

Joe and Sam gasped as they realized what she was holding onto and immediately moved toward the girl. "The Book!"

Hearing their excited shout, the girl looked over, an angry expression on her face as if she was more than willing to attack anyone else who tried to steal from her. Her eyes landed on Joe. They lit up and her heated look vanished, replaced with a wide grin.

"Joe! There you are!" She ran over and closed the distance between them. "I've been looking everywhere for you!"

"Uh..." Joe stiffened, terrified and confused by the girl. "What?"

"Very funny," she said sarcastically. "Look, I know this isn't exactly where I said I was going to take us, but it was my first time. Cut me some slack." Her eyes darted over her shoulder at Fred, who thanks to the help of Sam was starting to get up. "We better get out of here."

She seized Joe's hand and started to tug him away. Joe hastily yanked his hand away from her and stepped back. "I don't know you."

The girl looked to Joe with a frown and a hurt look in her eyes. Joe was taken aback by how bright blue they were. He studied them closer and saw an equally bright green ring around the outer edge of her iris. He felt a tang of regret at seeing her so pained. He had just met this girl, why would he feel so upset at seeing her like this? "Joe, if this is about last night..."

"I swear I've never seen you before." Joe held his hands up in apology. "How do you know my name? And why do you have my book?"

She glanced down at the blue book in her hands. "Because it stayed with me. The same thing that happened when we went to Corfu. And I know you because we've spent the last few days together. We're friends. At least I thought we were."

"You must have me confused with someone else," Joe said politely, not wanting to get on her bad side and ending up like Fred. That kick looked like it hurt. "I don't even know your name."

"It's Sydney." The girl's frown deepened and she looked away, her dark blonde hair falling over her face. "I know last night was a mistake, but you have no right to act like this." She abruptly threw The Book into Joe's arms. "Just take your stupid book and go. I'll see you later. If you even want to see me that is."

Joe blinked in surprise. The girl turned away with an angry huff and disappeared into the crowd. "Wait!" Joe called after her, his arm outstretched, but she was already gone.

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