"Well ... uh ... I heard something, but it didn't make any sense."

"They never make sense," Courtney stated. "What did you hear?"

"Something about a Wizard and a Dark Knight."

"Is that all?!" Morgan asked. She rarely raised her voice, but this time she had -- she didn't sound happy.

"If there was more, I'd tell you."

"Stop fighting, you two," Courtney said, intervening once again. "Maybe we can figure this out without knowing the whole riddle. Let's see. Wizards. Dark knights."

"Maybe we're going to meet Merlin," Collin said, his mind conjuring up images of Arthur and the Round Table, swords and armor. He thought about rooms filled with treasure, too. There had to be some rewards after all these crazy trips. "If we have landed in Merlin's time, maybe he can teach us how to turn straw into gold."

"That's scientifically impossible, Collin," Morgan stated. "Even you know that."

"Yeah, sure." Collin grinned. "I just like to give you a bad time."

"Hey, look!" Courtney called out. "Behind you, Collin. Light."

Collin twisted around in the confining space and pushed against the wall where a thin crack of faint light appeared near the floor. They were stuck in something like a closet. Collin ran his hands over the wall until he found a knob. He twisted it, then fell out into the light when a small door opened.

Collin stood up in a narrow hallway, while Morgan and Courtney crawled out of the cabinet hidden away under a flight of stairs.

Together they cautiously walked down the hallway and into a sparsely furnished room. A few wooden chairs and tables were scattered about. A kerosene lamp sat on one of the tables and it gave out only a very dim light. Collin peeked out a window. It was dark outside -- no moon, no stars, no street or porch lights.

"This doesn't look much like Merlin's cave," Morgan said sarcastically. She grabbed hold of the banister and started to climb the stairs. "There's light up there. Want me to check it out?".

"Let's all go," said Collin. Geez, he was supposed to be the hero, but Morgan was getting braver with every trip. He'd have to think of some other way to impress her.

At the top of the stairs, they stepped into a long and narrow room. Bookshelves lined the walls. They were scattered with ledgers, leather bound books, and stacks and stacks of paper. One shelf toward the back of the room was filled with glass jars containing colored liquids, crystals, and powders.

 
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