“Mindy, Lily, relax.” Said Oliver Moore, rolling his eyes as he responded to the radio. “The plan’s fool-proof! All we need is for you two to send over the goop-cannon, the gnome hats, and the beard hair, and we’re set. Stop worrying, alright?”
“Please, Mindy,” said Peter. “Lily? C’mon guys, we need that stuff, or else we’ll never get the Quest Cup back from them.”
Thirteen-year-old Peter Wood and one of his best friends, Oliver Moore, were sitting in Oliver’s basement in their pyjamas that night. They were making the final preparations for their plan to get back their stolen property. Helping them were the other two members of their group: Mindy Markle and Lily Batson. When together, they were often called the Snoops for their habit of trying to solve mysteries and getting involved in matters that were best left for adults to handle.
“How are you going to make sure the Little Daredevils don’t know it’s you two that’s pranking them?” Lily asked, the worry coming through the radio in her high-pitched voice. “You’ll both regret it if they find out.
“And they’ll come for us too, probably, just for knowing about it,” Mindy added.
“No, they won’t,” said Peter. “Because I’m going to blow the lights out with my powers.” For extra effect, he held out his empty hands for Oliver to see and made blue sparks of electricity dance across them.
Like the other Snoops—and like most of the people who lived around Oliver’s house—Peter was a Paranormal: a person with several supernatural abilities who lived in a hidden society within our world where magic and science-fiction met reality.
When the girls were finally convinced, the two boys watched their small radio glow hot red as its speaker turned into a portal through which a large, orange and black, toy shotgun with five barrels emerged. It came straight from Mindy’s house into Oliver’s hands. Green goop dripped out of the barrels, and Oliver grinned at it as Peter grabbed the gnome hats and beard hair that followed from Lily’s place. They had what they needed. The girls wished them good luck and said their final goodbyes should they be found out by the Little Daredevils. Then the two boys rushed off to carry out their plan.
The thought of being found out by Oliver’s mom worried Peter at first, but she had left earlier that night to go work at her restaurant, Mama Bear’s Diner, and said that she wasn’t going to be back till late. This meant that Jamie—Oliver’s older brother—was in charge until she got back.
When they got to the second floor, Oliver quietly and slowly cracked open the door to Jamie’s bedroom just enough so that they could see inside. Sure enough, they found Jamie along with two other boys sitting on the floor examining a wax paper cup they had cut open and laid flat. The cup in question was no ordinary cup, mind you. It was called a Quest Cup, and it was the very reason that Peter and Oliver were risking going to war over. It came from a wizard-owned restaurant chain called The Red Dwarf. These restaurants were infamous throughout the Paranormal World for creating these magical cups that led customers on treasure hunts all over their local communities. Unfortunately, the Quest Cup the older boys were obsessing over and planning on treasure-hunting with was Peter’s. The other day, the Snoops had spent all the money they had been saving drinking away cup after cup at The Red Dwarf trying to find a Quest Cup, only to have it swiped from them by the Little Daredevils.
The members of the Little Daredevils were Jamie and Dana Moore—Oliver’s older twin brother and sister; Horus Batson—who was Lilly’s older, adopted, elven brother; and Tommy Jones. The last of the Little Daredevils was Chloe Xi. They were an infamous group of teens in the paranormal city of Flinderyork, and they had been known as the Little Daredevils since they were very young. Usually, the five made sure their daring tricks and mischievous schemes brought little to no harm to the Snoops—Tommy called it their “friends and family exemption”—and they were all good friends. However, this was one of the times when exemption disappeared altogether, and Peter found himself grasping at straws trying to figure out why. He knew full well, though, that with this bunch there might be no “why” at all and the Snoops were merely unlucky that morning when they swiped the cup from him.
At that moment, Jamie, Tommy, and Horus all sat around the cup’s map on the floor as they consulted with the voices of Dana and Chloe—who were having a sleepover of their own elsewhere—through a radio of their own that they had set up. The three had surrounded themselves with code cyphers, snacks, and normal maps to compare with the Quest Cup. They were trying to figure out where to go and had backpacks full of supplies they might need for the treasure hunt; like flashlights, more snacks, and even a pair of shovels that were laid beside the boys on the floor. With a shot of panic, Peter realized that they planned on leaving with the cup that night. They would probably meet up with the girls elsewhere. Peter knew that he and Oliver had to act quickly, or else their hard-earned treasure would be gone for good.
Peter nodded to Oliver who then primed Mindy’s goop-cannon. Peter reached out with his mind and felt all the electricity rushing around in every direction through the circuits within the house, and willed as much of it as he could to surge into Jamie’s bedroom. The result was the lights in the bedroom growing brighter and brighter until the bulbs shattered from the overloading energy, plunging the room into darkness. Then Peter tossed in the beard hairs and hats that came from garden gnomes to mislead the three as to who was behind it all. And just for good measure, Oliver fired widely into the room with the goop-cannon being extra careful not to hit Peter who had dove for where he saw the cut-open Quest Cup. Once he had the cup, he ran back out of the room, grabbed Oliver, and the two ran back downstairs, leaving the three boys groaning and shouting with Chloe and Dana both yelling at them through the radio trying to figure out what on earth just happened.
Their heist was a success. Peter and Oliver laughed at the thought of the older boys all covered in sticky green slime and congratulated themselves with two bottles of Honey-Nog as they surrounded themselves with maps, flashlights, and other supplies. They borrowed the Little Daredevils’ plan; with the Quest Cup now back in their rightful possession, they would sneak out later that night. Using the new flying saucer that Oliver had just built with his mom using store-bought kits, they would meet up with Lily and Mindy elsewhere since the girls hated travelling using the Paranormal Radio-Transit Network. Then they would set off on their quest before it could be stolen again. After they had finished planning, Peter started to tune their radio to Mindy’s and Lily’s radios—to let them know where to meet them—when the door to Oliver’s bedroom slowly creaked all the way open on its own.
“I thought you locked the door?” whispered Peter.
“I did lock the door…” Oliver whispered back.
Just a second too late, Peter realized what was about to happen. Before either he or Oliver could grab the goop-cannon in time, they were both thrown upwards by the older boys’ powers of telekinesis and suspended upside-down in mid-air. With a burst of cold air, Tommy and Jamie rushed into the room with their super-speed and created a whirlwind of chaos. They ransacked the room and ripped the Quest Cup from Peter’s grasp. Horus meanwhile used his elven magic to turn into a dozen, small, flying monkeys that drew things on both Peter and Oliver’s faces with coloured markers and bound their arms and legs with ropes. The eyes of the older boys all glowed red as they moved around, and they all laughed, angrily shouting things at them like: “Thieves!”, “Killjoys!”, and “Did you really think we’d believe that the garden gnomes would move against us? They know better than that and so should you!” Then, just as quickly as the older boys arrived, they left Peter and Oliver to drop to the floor with a thud as they laughed their way back upstairs, with the Quest Cup back in their possession.
“Now what do we do?” said Oliver.
“What do you mean ‘what do we do now’?” said Peter, using his electrokinesis to burn off the ropes binding himself and then Oliver. “We get the cup back. Again.” Peter wasn’t about to just give up just because their first attempt didn’t work. The war for the cup was officially on.
For hours, the two floors fought viciously over the Quest Cup with the first floor acting as the battleground between the basement and the second floor. Both sides desperately wanted it for themselves. Sadly, though, no matter how Peter and Oliver tried, and no matter how many times they got the cup back, the older boys always managed to steal it back from them. The benefit of having Mindy and Lily send them supplies through the radio didn’t give them any advantage either because Chloe and Dana were doing the same thing for their fellow Little Daredevils anyway.
“This is useless.” Said Peter, when they returned to Oliver’s room after another failed attempt.
“No, it’s not.” Said Oliver. “We’ve nearly had them twice now, eh.”
“Think we should just let them have it? Cause I’m just about ready to give up. I’m tired, sore, and honestly, we could just wait until we come across another one, can’t we? They aren’t that rare anyways.”
“Oh, come on man, cheer up already. A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
That last bit of what he said threw Peter off completely. “Well, that sounded…kind of wise actually. Where’d you get it from?”
“Maybe I came up with it on my own.” Said Oliver, to which Peter gave a snort of laughter. “Fine.” Oliver groaned at him. “It was something your uncle said to me once. It’s a Bible verse, I think. How about you, you must have heard something from him that applies to this.”
“Yea,” Peter groaned, thinking about the different bits of wisdom—Biblical or otherwise—he got from his Uncle Casper. “There’s this one verse about forgiving each other, no matter how many times they wrong you. But I think we can both agree to ignore that one, for now, can’t we?”
“Well duh.” Oliver chuckled, as he reloaded the goop-cannon.
With that matter settled, and Peter encouraged to keep fighting the good fight, they made their way back upstairs to do just that. However, when they got back onto the first floor, Peter stopped in his tracks as he noticed for the first time the damage that had been done to the Moore family’s house. To call it a disaster would be a compliment; there was green goop everywhere, furniture tossed, some of it charred from Peter’s own lightning blasts, there was even food in some odd places, and amongst it, all was Tommy, Horus, and a panicking Jamie. They were too busy trying to clean everything up to even notice at first that Peter and Oliver had come back upstairs.
When the older boys saw them, they rushed up to Peter and Oliver begging for help with cleaning everything up before Oliver and Jamie’s mom got home. The older boys said they were sorry about the fight, asked for their forgiveness, and then asked again for their help when they said no the first time. Oliver was more inclined to blame it all on them when his mom got home, and Peter couldn’t blame him—she was more likely to believe that anyways—but he was stuck with an odd sense of guilt over the idea as another thought popped into this head.
It was a bit of Uncle Casper’s advice that he had remembered earlier that both he and Oliver agreed to ignore. The one about forgiving someone when they ask for forgiveness no matter how many times they’ve wronged you. No one would blame them for not forgiving the Little Daredevils this time, though. After all, they hadn’t even apologized for stealing the Quest Cup or even offered to give it back to them if they helped. However, if Peter had a similar mess to clean, they would probably help him. In fact, now that he thought about it, there were several times that he could think of when Peter and his friends got some much-needed help from the Little Daredevils…
Eventually, Peter decided to lay down his weapons and—choosing to follow the wisdom passed to him from Uncle Casper—he told the older boys that they would help them. This was much to the annoyance of Oliver.
After two long, painful hours, the job was done. The house looked spotless once more, and it seemed like everyone was on good terms again. The two sides ended up laughing and having fun through the whole thing, and to the surprise of both Peter and Oliver, the older boys even gave back the Quest Cup as thanks and apologized for stealing it in the first place. All was good again.
“Oh, will you two relax already?” whispered Mindy, when Peter and Oliver met up with her and Lily the next day. “It’s not even that bad a plan. Besides, Huxley has it coming anyway. Just give me back my goop-cannon so we can do it before Sleuth Scouts starts.”
“Yea, come on guys,” whispered Lily, holding out her hand. “Hurry up!”
Before Peter and Oliver could even get to tell the girls about how things played out with the Little Daredevils, both Mindy and Lily had come up to them and started to angrily explain why they were drenched in honey. And it was at no surprise at all to either Peter or Oliver that a boy named Skeller Huxley was to blame. They could only whisper about it, though, because they were all at a paranormal youth group called Sleuth Scouts, and they didn’t want the counsellors to overhear their revenge plans.
When the boys realized, there was no stopping them, Peter reached into his bag for the goop-cannon, only it wasn’t there. Instead, he found a written note at the bottom of the bag that read:
Your goop-cannon is now in better hands.
The Little Daredevils thank you for your kind and generous donation.
Peter chuckled and showed the others the note. The girls looked murderous, apparently wanting to go after their stolen property so that they could “properly” take their revenge on Huxley. In the end, though, cooler heads prevailed. After the night Peter just went through, he for one was more than happy to forgive the Little Daredevils and wait for them to be done with the goop-cannon rather than start another war over it. He was sure they would return it when they no longer needed it anyways. Eventually, he and Oliver convinced the girls to do the same and instead, Peter pulled out the Quest Cup from his bag. Together the four got to work planning on how to tackle its mystery as they waited for Sleuth Scouts to start, eating snacks, and laughing at each other’s jokes as they did.
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