Chapter Two: The Funeral
Today was one of the worst days of Nate's life. His beloved grandmother Grace had finally succumbed to the cancer that had been plaguing her for over two years know. After his parents died he would go to Grace for comfort, help, and love. Now that Grace was dead he wondered what would happen to him. He knew that it was only thanks to Grace that his crazy great aunt Beatrice had taken Amy, Dan, and himself in. As if hearing his thoughts, Beatrice harrumphed, and glared at Dan who sat in the backseat next to him. Dan had recently destroyed Beatrice's ceramic cat collection, and broke her window do to one of his crazy stunts. Nate caught Dan's eye, No funny business got it. Got it, Dan replied with his facial expressions.
"Stupid…. Boy…. Weapons….Niece…..Ninja…..Brat" Nate heard Beatrice mumble as she swerved traffic causing numerous accidents. "Aunt Beatrice? Nate asked in his most angelic voice. "What?" "Are we almost there, I don't want to miss saying goodbye to Grace." "We'll be there in ten minutes." "Thank you Aunt Beatrice." Aunt Beatrice didn't like Nate, Amy or Dan very much but Nate was the only one she was particularly civil around. Nate didn't know why, maybe it was because he was adopted and she felt bad for him (Nate doubted that), or maybe it was because Nate was extremely wealthy by his birth parents and felt she had to be nice or he'd use his influence and get revenge (after Nate's adopted parents died Nate received a package that contained all the details to his inheritance, and three different credit cards), or maybe it was because like so many others she was spellbound by his looks. Nate had midnight black hair that fell in curls around his face. He had emerald green eyes that contrasted vividly with his pale skin that glowed like moonlight no matter how many hours he stayed out in the sun. Nate had a lithe muscled frame from all the sports he played. He moved with an otherworldly grace, and his voice sounded like music, but rang with authority. Not that Nate would ever say such things about himself; he'd just say he was a normal guy.
Not that anybody else ever said he was normal. His teachers thought he was some kind of prodigy, his sport coaches said he was the star of their respective teams (Nate took gymnastics, four different types of martial arts, swimming and soccer), and Grace would always say he was destined for great things, that he was an extraordinary child and he should take pride in his accomplishments. Nate only agreed that he was different, weird things happened around him all the time and at the encouragement of Grace he had learned to control his abnormal powers. Dan liked to say he was a superhero and Amy would say he was like those hero's in all the books that they had read. Nate would often say that they had their own unique talents but they had always brushed his comments off like a duck brushes off water off their feathers. Dan remembered everything he ever saw. He could also solve almost any mathematical problem instantly. Amy remembered everything she had ever read, and when it came to her brothers Amy could be as fierce as a lion, if only she could get over her fear of strangers.
Nate sighed and looked out the window at the blurring houses; they would arrive at Grace's mansion soon. He didn't think he would be able to handle seeing all those people pretending to be sad that Grace was dead just because they wanted her money. He had to keep a firm grip on his power though because when he was really angry his power tended to react in strange ways. Like when one of their old Au Pair's slapped Dan across the face because he had tracked dirt across the floor, all the glass around him had shattered most of it hitting her. Another time when Aunt Beatrice had called Amy a useless cow, Nate had somehow turned Beatrice's hair an ugly green. When he had heard Hamilton Holt insult Grace at a family function he had forced the wind to push him in the pool.
Nate was brought abruptly out of his thoughts when Beatrice screeched the car to a halt. Nate stepped out of the car, with Amy and Dan and Beatrice following. Nate, Amy, and Dan were wearing the new clothing Nate had gotten because Beatrice refused. Nate and Dan were wearing designer black suits, with crisp white shirts. Amy looked very elegant in a sleeveless black dress, with silver sandals. "You look nice Nate" he heard a shy voice squeak out. Nate turned around to see Natalie walking towards him closely followed by her elder brother Ian. "Thank you" Nate replied graciously, "though I'm sure I don't look as lovely as you". Natalie smiled and blushed slightly. "Thank You", she said demurely. Ian looked cross, our family's didn't get along; he must hate the fact that his little sister had a crush on his enemy. Nate smiled, "I really must take my leave, I have to greet the Holt's." Natalie nodded, the only time she was tongue- tied, and shy was around Nate. Nate took the suddenly speechless Amy by the elbow, and brought her over to the Holts who were standing where Grace was going to be buried.
"Good Morning Mr. and Mrs. Holt", Nate said seeing as how Amy was studiously remaining quiet, and Dan was scowling he didn't like the Holt twins. Nate didn't like the Holt's much either but Reagan was a good girl, unlike her family, and he wanted to encourage that. "Did you get that book on Tai Chi I sent you Reagan?" Reagan's eyes lit up; "yes" she gushed, "thank you so much I already started practicing". Amy smiled, she thought Reagan was sweet and she liked her much more than her family. "I found this locket, I thought you might like it", Amy told Reagan softly holding out a golden locket one of their old Au Pairs had left. The locket had a small heart with pink sapphires embedded on the surface. "It's beautiful", she gasped surprised. "For your birthday", Amy replied softly. "Thank You" Reagan said reverently. Reagan looked up to show her sister only to see her family had moved a couple feet away. "I gotta go", Reagan said regretfully before running off to her family. "I don't see why you're nice to these people" Dan said sulkily. "It's good to have allies" Nate replied calmly, "besides Reagan is more hesitant to do bodily harm than her family and we're trying to encourage that side of her personality". "Oh", Dan said not liking it, remembering when he was six how Reagan and Madison had hung him by his feet from the weeping willow over the pond in Grace's backyard. Dan had hung there for two and a half hours before he fell in the pond. "You should forgive, and forget Dan", Nate told Dan gently. Dan harrumphed and pointedly ignored Nate throughout Grace's burial services even when Nate put his arm around Dan's shaking shoulders in a brotherly embrace.
When the funeral was over and Mr. McIntyre had gathered a few lucky recipients in the dining room of Grace's mansion for the reading of Grace's will. You are all here because Grace has deemed you worthy of a great challenge. "What great challenge?" A Russian woman, Irina Spasky, asked just as Jonah Wizard yelled "I thought we were here to get the money the old woman left us?" Nate felt Dan and Amy stiffen next to him when they heard that remark made by Wizard. Nate himself felt the hot flash of anger at the stupid teen. "Maybe if you'd shut up we could read the will and find out what Grace meant", Nate snapped out through gritted teeth. Wizard flushed an ugly puce color and opened his mouth to reply but Mr. McIntyre was speaking again so he grudgingly dropped it.
"Every Person in this room is of Cahill blood," McIntyre started, "be it if you have the surname Cahill or not. The Cahill's are the most powerful family to ever grace the earth, almost every famous person to ever live has been descended from the Cahill line. Marie Curie… Harry Houdini… Annie Oakley…Ching Shih…", "what about Mary Shelley?" a voice interrupted. "Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes," McIntyre said "and Grace Cahill has left you either a clue that will lead you on a quest to become the greatest and most powerful Cahill ever or you can walk away with everyone in this room gaining one million dollars". Nate looked at Amy and Dan, Let's do it. No, we have to put the money in a college account, came from Amy. You put it in a schooling account, I'm going to use the money on my collections, was such a Dan reply. "You won't be going on that foolhardy quest, I'll allow you three to put your money into a bank account, and I'll only take the income" Beatrice said. "You'll allow us to let you take our money" Amy shrieked before Dan or Nate could say anything. Beatrice stuttered angrily for a moment before lapsing into silence. Grace would want us to take this quest, Amy said agreeing with Nate. But my collection, Dan said unwillingly. You'll piss off Beatrice, Nate said coaxingly. Oh, all right. "We're going on the quest." Nate said ignoring the threats of disownment Beatrice was shouting at them. Amy handed Mr. McIntyre their three checks and watched as Mr. McIntyre burned them the smock coiling up like a snake to the ceiling. They had entered the race, the other teams better watch out because team seven was a force to be reckoned with.