Chapter 1

"Max, give up! There is no spell to turn your shoes into squeezable mustard bottles!"

As usual, as Max went through as many spells as he could think of that could possibly make his shoes into yellow bottles, Alex wondered how she was even remotely related to this 16-year-old idiot of a teenager. She sat to the right of the colorful wizard portal, surfing the world wide wizard web for the cutest pair of Elf's Leather boots she could find. They were the brand new wizard trend these days, and they were just too cute to not have. She had stolen some money from Justin's Captain Jim Bob piggy bank earlier that day because they weren't cheap.

"But it would be so cool! Think about it Alex... You could have mustard whenever, wherever!" He said loudly, dramatically waving his hand out in front of him.

Alex rolled her eyes and continued on her search for an adorable pair of new shoes.

Max readied his wand, holding it just above the pair of shoes sitting on the table in the middle of the lair. "Ok, shoes," he mumbled. "Try this spell on for size!" He began to chuckle at his on corny joke. "Get it, Alex? Because-"

"Seriously, I don't care," informed Alex, not even looking up from the computer screen. "Do your little mustard thing without bothering me."

Max waved his wand and said, "Shoeus Mustardo!"

A light came from the end of his wand, then quickly died out. The spell didn't work. No surprise.

"Darn!" He said, slumping onto the couch behind him. "It didn't work!"

Alex looked up from her screen, glaring at Max. "Maybe that's because that was the fourth time you've tried the same spell that obviously doesn't work!" She emphasized the last three words.

Max stroked his chin. "That is definitely a possibility..."

Alex threw back her head and groaned. Out of all of the brothers in the world, she HAD to have him...

Just then, Justin entered the room. He was looking down at a white sheet of paper, studying it with intensity.

"This is a very interesting letter," he said outloud.

Alex scoffed. "Who would send you a letter?"

"Oh, no one, just my... blog followers," he bragged, proudly smirking.

"You're right," Alex admitted. "That is no one."

"Hey! That... That is not true!" He stuttered. "People read my blog!"

She laughed loudly, pushing back a piece of her long, dark hair. "Ok, so... Zeke and Dad. Maybe."

"Uh, they are not the only people who read my blog," he said, imitating Alex's attitude.

Max looked up from his shoes. "Then why are you holding only one letter?" He asked.

Alex air-fived Max from where he was sitting. Justin had a stern look on his face. "Anyway, moving on! There is a very interesting idea for my next blog entry in this letter, and-"

Just as Justin was about to finish his sentence, Max came rushing over to where he was standing, near Alex and the portal door. "Wait!" He ordered. "This might be what I need to make my spell work!" He grabbed the letter from Justin's hands before he could do anything about it, and rushed back over to his shoes. He put the letter over his shoes and once again readied his wand.

He made much bigger wand movements this time as he said, "MUSTARDO, MUSTARDO, MUSTARDO!"

His wand began to glow and shake violently, and moments later, the light cast the spell on the shoes and the paper, and both exploded into tiny bits. It began to rain bits of shoe and burnt paper. Alex's mouth was wide open in a circular 'O' shape. Justin looked horrified

"My blog letter!" Justin squeaked, looking around in the air at what was left of his precious letter.

"Oh no," Alex said, faking enthusiasm. "Now your tens of followers will never read your blog again."

Justin stormed over to Max. "Max! What was that for?" He yelled. "And how in the world would a piece of paper make the spell any different?!"

"I dunno, but did you see that explosion?" Max said excitedly. "That was awesome!"

Justin tried to calm his anger, but he couldn't. "Dude, chill," said Alex, still over by the Wizard computer.

Justin took a fake swipe at Max's head, not intending to actually hit him. Preparing for the blow, Max held his arms in front of him, as a reaction to his reflexes. His right hand, still holding his wand, flicked downward slightly, and power from his wand shot out as a beam of light and hit something across the room from them on a bookshelf near the entrance of the lair. It flung to the left off of the shelf onto the floor and hit the ground with a thud, a few feet behind the lazy, comfy chair.

All three of them turned their heads towards the object that was just flung onto the ground. Alex slowly got up and walked over to it. She picked it up and rubbed the worn, leather cover, her red nail polish gleaming.

"What is it?" asked Justin. Max dropped his arms down to his side

"Its... Some sort of binder or something..." Alex replied. She walked over to the couch next to the table and sat down, plopping it on the table. Justin and Max gathered around as Alex opened to the first page.

On the first page, there was a picture inside a translucent pocket. It was dusty and had a few scratches, and Alex could tell it was once very glossy. She took it out of the pocket and studied it.

In the picture, there was a man and a woman holding a very small baby. Alex chuckled. "Look! Its a picture of mom and dad holding Max the day he was born!"

In the background, there was a young boy with brown hair of about 3 years old, and a girl with very dark hair who was about 2.

"Aww, look!" she said, gesturing towards Justin. "We were so cute!"

Alex put the picture back in the clear sleeve and continued to flip through pages. "Guys, do you know what this is?" Justin said, astonished. "This is a family picture book that we've never even known about! I didn't know Dad and Mom kept all of these!"

"No, really?" said Alex with a very sarcastic tone.

Alex spotted a picture that caught her eye. It was a picture of her at about five years old, with several colorful bows standing out in her dark, wavy hair. Her tan skin glowed, and she was grinning from ear to ear while tightly holding her arm around Harper, her best friend. She had sandy blonde hair and was laughing. She was wearing a bright pink shirt with a cupcake on it. She sighed, missing those times so long ago, when everything was so much more simple. She didn't even really know much about magic until she was older, let alone Harper knew anything about it.

Lost in thought, Alex didn't even notice the small picture that fell out of the book when Justin flipped to the next page. She heard it softly flutter to the ground, causing her to come out of her thoughts and look down at where the picture had landed. She leaned over, picked it up, and turned it over revealing the picture.

It was a picture of a baby, obviously only a few days old. At first glance, Alex assumed it was her. The baby had almost black hair, tan skin, and a cute toothless smile. But she noticed something that was very odd.

"Guys, I don't think this is me..." Alex said, confused.

Justin looked up from a picture he was looking at and leaned over towards Alex. "Of course that's you," he said. "The baby is wearing a pink jumper, so obviously that is a girl."

"Yeah, Alex," agreed Max. "No one puts a boy in a pink outfit." This was one of the first times Alex had seen her brother even say something remotely considered smart.

Alex ran her fingers through a tangled piece of hair. "I would agree, but look... these baby's eyes are green. I've had dark brown eyes my whole life. Besides, this only looks a little bit like me." Alex was right. Although her baby pictures and this picture looked similar, it wasn't the same, especially the eyes.

"Maybe it's just a weird picture. It could've been taken at a weird angle. And as for the eyes, maybe the printing got screwed up," said Justin as he took the picture from Alex's fingers, studying it closer. "I mean, Dad and Mom wouldn't just have some random picture of a baby who wasn't theirs in a family photo book. That's just weird."

Alex nodded. "You're right. That would be weird. That must be just a weird picture." Just as she had convinced herself, something caught her eye. "Wait," she said. She snatched the picture back from Justin, looking at the back side of the picture, eyes wide. "I change my mind. This isn't me."

Justin and Max looked at each other, confused. "What makes you say that?"

"The date on this picture is 2/20/98. And it's definitely Dad's handwriting." The handwritten date mocked Alex's confusion.

Justin froze. "What? That makes no sense! You were way older than that in the year '98!"

Alex flipped over the picture. This time, when she looked at the baby, it gave her chills.

"Who are you?"