Warning: This is a story written by multiple teenage authors with imaginations running wilder than men around Dick Cheney during quail season, and is therefore subject to many, many things, including:

Bad dialogue
Good dialogue
Mediocre dialogue
Sappy love scenes
Not-so-sappy love scenes
No love scenes
Mythical creatures
Not-so-mythical creatures
Men with guns
Men with mustaches
Russian men with guns and mustaches
Natasha Svetlana
Bad jokes
Good jokes
Inside jokes
Not-so-inside jokes
Fidel Castro and other dictators
Boats with pirates, ninjas, and dictators such as Fidel Castro
Many, many other things that cannot be thought of due to the evil aliens suppressing this authors' muse

Please note: though this story is subject to all these things listed, there is no guarantee that they will show up. Due to the nature of the list, however, more than on of these things is bound to show up at some point.

So...if you have a daring mind and don't mind the rather frequent changes in style, syntax, and pen color (feel free to send for the manuscript, if you can find our addresses...) enjoy! Otherwise, go ahead on a vice-presidential quail hunt.

Who knows, we may even answer the burning question: If you put a ninja on a boat, does it become a pirate?

So, without further ado, here it is...

Chapter One

"Get down from there, Rikki!" whispered Gabriel. "They're going to see you."

"Don't worry so much Gabe," she told him while climbing back down. "They're gone."

"Oh. Good. Be careful or you'll – Rikki!" Gabriel rush over to her, but she had not fallen far.

"Little help?" Rikki stuck her hand at Gabe and he helped her up. "Come on," she said, "while there's still no one there."

The two walked hurriedly down the road that had been previously occupied by a group of Kh'ostros. If they hadn't left, Rikki and Gabe would have been forced to take the long way to the capital.

"Rik, how long 'til we get there?"

"However long it takes."

"That's useful," Gabriel mumbled, slightly annoyed.

The two continued on in silence for a while until Rikki turned off the road.

"Hey!" Gabe shouted at her. "Where are you going?"

Rikki stopped and looked at him. "Weren't you briefed before we left?"

"What? No. They told me you were going to do that."

"Well, I obviously haven't, so how come you never asked?" Rikki's temper started to rise.

Gabe grumbled and followed her. "How long is it going to take? And why didn't you tell me?" he demanded.

"One, I'm not sure, but somewhere in the vicinity of a week unless we can find a lift, which I doubt. And two, because you didn't ask."

"You could've at least told me how long we'd be."

"We I'm not exactly sure how long it'll take us. Could be less than a week, could be more," she told him.

One sudden mood change later, Rikki yelled, "Beat you to that boulder!" and took off running. "Ri-ik!" Gabe shouted back as he sped to catch up with her. Sometimes she acted completely childish; there were at least five boulders. He watched as she slammed into the nearest one and screamed.


Uh-oh, he thought, recognizing the tone of her voice. When he reached Rikki a few seconds later, he saw what had alarmed her. Lying next to the boulder were the rotting, stinking remains of a Kh'ostro. Both Gabriel and Rikki took a step further back.

"Gabriel, this isn't good."

That much was obvious, but she was the one with the information on this mission.

"Gabe, this really isn't good."

"Well, if you'd care to let me in on the company secrets…" This remark earned him a less-than-pleasant look from Rikki.

"Look, we've got plenty of trouble from the Kh'ostros, right? So, they've got bigger problems than us right now, which means –"

"Oh no…" Gabriel said. "So, what's this mean for us exactly"

"We've got to keep going." Rikki started walking again, this time towards the trees a ways off from where they had previously been traveling.

"But I don't even know what we're doing yet!"

"Smuggling," she told him, so casually that he wasn't sure if she was being truthful or not. Nevertheless, he wasn't able to get any more information out of her for some time longer.

It took them six days to reach the capital, and twenty minutes to get lost in it. Sure that he recognized the problem, Gabe tried to pry the map from Rikki, who was looking for landmarks as well as holding it away from her companion.

"C'mon Rikki," Gabe pestered, "Lemme see the map!"

"Hmm…" she groaned, searching the map with determination. "I'm looking for that blacksmith on the map."

Gabe followed Rikki's finger to the shop across the street and ruffled his hair in frustration. "That's no landmark!" he shouted. "We passed it three times already!"

"That's when we were walking in circles!"

"Need help, you two?"

Rikki and Gabe turned to the voice. A large, well dressed man loomed over them. Rikki shot him an angry look.

"No thanks," she said, "We're f—"

Gabe cut her off. Taking the map, he held it in front of the man. "Can you tell us how to get to Siever Mansion? We can't find it."

The man smiled and adjusted his monocle. "Well, your problem is simple. You see, you have the right city in mind," he snatched the map, "but not in hand."

The two looked at him. "What do you mean?"

"You have the map of the wrong city but you're in the right one. My name is Thomas. Thomas Siever. We can talk more at my estate."

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