So...hey guys...ANOTHER STORY! ...WOW!
You: How many is that now?
Me: -mutters something indecipherable-
You: what's that?
You: speak up, now!
Me: TWENTY-SEVEN! -hides face-
You: -sweat drops- and you've finished....?
Me: Shut up.
When the sun rose the next morning, Leo gave the “all clear” to all the kids to go back to their respective houses. He gave the girls permission to go back upstairs and after everyone was dressed the girls and boys each headed to their kitchens for breakfast.
The day was brighter and sunnier than it had been yesterday; there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the only evidence that it had rained was the numerous puddles that dotted the country landscape. Ellie, Storm, Rachel and Rebecca each grabbed something to eat and headed outside to the pond behind the two houses. Their daily meeting was about to start, and they planned to discuss their next move over breakfast.
Rachel and Rebecca each took seats at edge of the dock overlooking the blue-green water of the small pond. Storm sat down not far from them, her back against one of the poles that supported the railing on each side of the dock. Ellie sat across from her and barely said anything. All four of the girls were tired from their sleepless night.
A few minutes later, the boys joined them.
“Isn’t it usually the other way around? Don’t we have to wait for you?” Wiley said by way of a morning greeting, yawning loudly and stuffing half a piece of toast in his mouth at the same time.
“Manners,” Ben reprimanded jokingly and thumped his best friend of the back. They each took seats on either side of Storm and looked up at her with large, interested eyes.
Storm rolled her own grey ones up at the sky. “I’m sure you’ve heard everything already,” She said to the two younger boys who seemed unfazed by her dismissal. “But I guess if you have any questions…”
“Did you know what was going on?” Zach put in before either boy had a chance to speak. He took a seat next to Elle who glanced up at him diffidently and then blushed.
“Look, we told you everything,” Rio cut in as he knelt down near the front of the dock. Chip sat beside him.
“Yeah, don’t bother Storm, she’s been through enough,” He added.
“I’m fine, Chip,” Storm said offhandedly. “Honestly, it wasn’t all that –”
“It was too!” Wiley spoke up while Ben nodded, his sandy-blonde hair falling into his face.
“Yeah it was Dark Technology, that’s what Leo always warns us against,” He agreed.
Storm paused. “Well, yeah, it was kind of bad, but that’s not –”
She was cut off again, this time by Ellie.
“Look, guys, we came here to have our meeting and let’s have it,” She said, clearly annoyed at all the attention Storm was getting. “We all know what went down last night and there’s nothing we can do about it but be more prepared next time. Nothing happened – thankfully -- but the annual King’s Ball is coming up and that’s out last chance to get at the Princess before they leave this region.”
Rachel and Rebecca nodded in assent, and though the Ben and Wiley looked slightly let down, they ceased to ask any more questions.
“Okay,” Chip said, “back to the Princess then. We have sources that tell us she’s against her father’s support of the Beginners which is good for us – but we already know that. She’s very influential even though she’s young, like us. I don’t know if we’re supposed to actually do anything during the Ball tomorrow night, but it would be good if a few of us go and talk to her. It’s open to anyone with an invitation.”
Since he was one of the oldest refugees living under the care of Leo and Wisteria Reynolds, and because he had been there the longest, Chip was looked upon as one of the leaders of the group, along with Storm, who was the oldest of the girls. They made most of the decisions and together they planned many of the incursions and excursions the group made. Rio, who was sixteen (also the same age as Chip and Storm), was something like a co-leader, and Ellie, as Chip’s sister, was usually included as a given leader despite the fact that she was two years younger and still did not know all the ins and outs of the small Society of children.
The Society was started as just a safe-haven for concerned parents to send their children, away from the turmoil of the large cities under the rule of the King; which really meant that they were under the rule of the Beginners and their New Government. Though it did not appear so to the outside world, some were smart enough to realize that the title of “king” and his “royal family” was just a pretext; the country of America was fully run by the Beginners.
The king, Nathanial Vang, and his wife Bindali “ruled” over America and were backed entirely by the Beginners. His daughter, Margaret, though seemingly meek, humble and respectful towards her family’s administration, revealed only recently to a different Society to have complete hatred toward what her father was supporting. Bindali also had a son of her own from a previous marriage, Rashesh. He was young, handsome and had a reputation of being in entire support of his parents.
The Beginners mission was to build a New World -- and that involved almost obliterating the old one. Their goal, though it was to some extent unknown by the ordinary citizens, was world domination and crushing their populace into complete subservience. One step in this plan included annihilating cities in order to rebuild them, so at times the cities where the children had lived before were not always safe, so parents sent them away to the rural regions that were yet untouched. After being sent to live with Leo and Wisteria, the group was revealed to be part of a Society that tried, in small almost unobserved ways, to rebel and fight against the Beginner’s New Government.
The main thing the Society did was refusing to change with the rest of the country; staying true to the past and its ways, not conforming, and rescuing relics of history that would have been destroyed. With the knowledge that someone within the upper-workings of the government was on their side, the Society was about to break into a new form of rebellion that was far more impactful than merely being unusual.
“I think only a few of us should go,” Storm suggested. “The less there is, the less likely it’ll be to draw attention to ourselves.”
There were a few disappointed looks on some of the younger faces of the group, but no complaints; they knew that the older members would be the ones to go as they had the most experience.
“Who do you think should go, then?” Rachel asked from the end of the dock.
Chip shared a sideways glance at Storm. “I think it should be Rio, Storm and I,” He said.
“Why couldn’t we come?” Ben asked, pointing to himself and Wiley. The latter nodded.
“Yeah, we’d be great as spies.”
“That’s just the point though,” Zach said, sitting forward. “The goal isn’t to be a spy, it’s to blend in. Right?”
Chip nodded. “Yes, we need to blend in, talk with the Princess and get out. Hopefully before we’re noticed.”
“Why can’t I go too?” Ellie said, outraged. “If we’re trying to look like we fit in, we’ll need older-looking people, there isn’t likely to be any kids there. I look older than everyone here. I think I should go too.”
Chip shot her an annoyed look. “You’re fourteen. I think that’s a little too young. Zach’s older than you, if we needed another person it should be him.”
Rio spoke for the first time on the subject. “I think it should be two boys and two girls. You know, so it looks more professional, like we have ‘escorts’ or something. Everyone has an escort these days.”
Storm thought for a moment. “I think you’re right,” she said to Rio. “An even number’s good. We’ll need more than two for backup, so we might as well make it four.”
“In that case,” Chip said resignedly. “I guess Ellie would be able to come.”
Ellie cheered silently, doing a little dance in her seat.
“Unless either of you two wanted to come,” Chip added, looking at Rachel and Rebecca.
“Us?” They said unanimously, raising their eyebrows.
“I hate balls and dances,” Rachel said.
Her sister nodded in agreement. “Me too. They’re torture.”
The group was silent for a moment, surprised that the two seemingly opposite twins had something in common.
“Well, okay then,” Chip said glancing around at the group, who had, by now finished their morning meals.
“What about invitations?” Zach spoke up. “We don’t have any, I’m sure.”
“I’ll make some, just tell me what they look like,” Wiley said. “You know how great I am at forging stuff.”
Everyone nodded in agreement; Wiley’s specialty was making fake copies of licenses, pass cards and other important documents they were unable to attain.
“Yeah, get on that as soon as you can,” Chip said. Wiley gave a little nod, pleased to be given a job.
“Storm, come with me,” Ellie said suddenly, standing up and grabbing her arm. “We need to get you a nice outfit. It’s formal, right?”
“Yes, but…” Storm began to protest, but Ellie shook her head.
“We need to sort this out now. The earlier the better!” She began to pull Storm inside.
“Ellie, my gosh, it’s not till tomorrow night!” Storm said as her friends snickered at her situation. She turned around and stuck her tongue out at them before reluctantly following Ellie inside.
Quote of the Day:
"I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I can see that you are unarmed."