Authors: Franklin W. Dixon
A Dead End
Her voice was loud and her words were fast. “We can't figure out what happened. There's nothing, no clue. You've got to help us!”
“Slow down,” Frank said gently as he joined Joe at the door. “Of course we'll help. What happened?”
“It's Dad,” Kay said. Her glance darted from Joe to Frank and back to Joe again. Her voice was suddenly soft and shaky, as if she were trying to swallow her words. “He's disappeared!”
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#153 Eye on Crime
#154 The Caribbean Cruise Caper
#156 A Will to Survive
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#161 Training for Trouble
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#163 The Spy That Never Lies
#164 Skin & Bones
#165 Crime in the Cards
#166 Past and Present Danger
#167 Trouble Times Two
#168 The Castle Conundrum
#169 Ghost of a Chance
#170 Kickoff to Danger
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#177 The Case of the Psychic's Vision
#178 The Mystery of the Black Rhino
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#187 No Way Out
The Hardy Boys Ghost Stories
Available from ALADDIN Paperbacks
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
First Aladdin Paperbacks edition October 2004
Copyright Â© 2004 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.
An imprint of Simon & Schuster
Children's Publishing Division
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New York, NY 10020
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
The text of this book was set in New Caledonia.
Manufactured in the United States of America
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THE HARDY BOYS MYSTERY STORIES is a trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
THE HARDY BOYS and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Library of Congress Control Number 2004100584
A Knight in the Woods
The Gauntlet Is Thrown
The Gallant Knights
NO WAY OUT
The cannon explosion drowned out even the bagpipes' drone. As the crowd jumped up and cheered, Joe Hardy felt his pulse pumping. This was going to be a great week!
He stood in the middle of the huge stadium, his arm raised out to the side. Inside his heavy leather glove, beads of sweat popped up on his fist and cascaded down his arm. He squinted against the sun, keeping his eye trained on the man standing about fifty yards away. When he heard the man's low whistle, Joe braced himself.
The man peeled the tiny leather hood off the head of the peregrine falcon perched on his arm and whistled again. Then he thrust his arm into the air.
Joe didn't moveâfor a few seconds, he didn't even breathe. Then the fastest bird in the world shot straight at him like a feathered bullet, its yellow talons glinting in the sun. It hit him within seconds, landing perfectly on his arm and sinking its razor beak into the chunk of steak on his glove.
Joe gulped a burst of air when he heard the man's low whistle for the third time. The falcon looked deep into Joe's blue eyes for a moment. Then its head whipped around and it rose into the air. With one powerful swoop, it folded its wings back and torpedoed to the man across the field.
Joe took a few more quick breaths, and then the crowd noise roared through his ears again. He brought his arm down and looked at the glove, now spotted with a few glistening drops of steak blood.
“Yes!” Frank Hardy exclaimed, running onto the field and clapping his brother's shoulder. “That was totally awesome!”
“Good job!” Ray and Kay Horton added in unison.
“Give them a bow or a salute or something,” Kay urged. “You were a great volunteer! Most people duck when the bird flies at them.”
Joe looked into the stands and waved to the spectators. “It's a pretty incredible feeling,” he admitted. Then he and the others walked off the field.
It was a late spring evening on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. The Hardys had known seventeen-year-old twins Ray and Kay for years, but had
never been to their home, EagleSpy. The twins' father, Chezleigh Alan Hortonâor Alan, as he liked to be calledâwas a Mazemaster, one of a few elite maze architects who had gained world recognition for their intricate and complex designs.
Alan bought the estate because the grounds included a very old maze, which had been ignored for decades. He restored and expanded the maze into one that would challenge even the toughest maze conquerors. Then he scheduled a preview weekâby invitation onlyâof medieval games and festivities that would lead up to the public opening of the maze. When Ray invited the Hardys to the exclusive preview week, they jumped at the chance.
Frank, Joe, and the Horton twins walked toward the stands set up around the tournament stadium. As they approached, they heard the bagpipes.
“You two go up to the box,” Kay said to Frank and Ray. “Joe and I will get us all some food.”
Ray led Frank to the family seats, the best in the house. “The heraldry parade is supposed to start as soon as the pipers finish,” he said.
“Man, what a wild group!” Frank looked around the stadium. Out on the field were sword-swallowers, jugglers, and a fire-eater up on a platform. Musicians played lutes, mandolins, and Celtic harps.
“Are you and Joe going to be in any of the maze competitions?” Ray asked Frank. “There'll be the main one, of course, plus relay races and other
team deals. You guys can buddy up with a couple of other entrants for the relay, if you want.”
“Absolutely,” Frank answered. “We're up for all of it. Joe plans to win a few prizes.” The Hardys didn't look like brothers. Joe was the same age as the twins and had the same blond wavy hair and blue eyes, but Frank had short dark hair and brown eyes. Although Frank was a year older and a couple of inches taller, Joe was more athletic.
Joe and Kay returned to the box with snacks for all. “So, are we having fun yet?” Kay yelled over the noise. A late-afternoon breeze filtered through her sun-streaked hair.
“Definitely,” Frank said with a wide grin as Joe and Kay sat down in their bleacher seats. He started to say something, but gave up trying. The bagpipers were winding back up to an even higher pitch, and all talk was useless. Even the television broadcasters had stopped filing their reports in front of bright lights and grinding videocams down on the field.
Men and women dressed like medieval knights, ladies, swordsmen, and peasants were sprinkled throughout the stands and on the stadium field below. Brigands, reivers, and archers swaggered through the gathering. Many of the spectators wore masks, hoods, or armor helmets. The falconer stood off by himself, his hooded raptor perched like a statue on his fist. Joe felt a rush as he remembered the bird landing on his wrist.
“Are we on TV?” Frank asked the twins. He pointed to a couple of men with video cameras. “Or is Alan recording all of this?”
“You guessed it,” Ray said. “Dad hired them.”
“That studio's pretty famous around here,” Kay said. “They do documentaries for clients all over the world. Dad's thinking he might put together a series on mazes and market it to some cable station.”
“Excellent,” Joe said. From his seat he could see the medieval bazaar in the large meadow between the stadium and the maze. Hundreds of vendors had set up booths and tables to sell authentic, and reproductions of, medieval wares.
The opening parade began with a blast of long herald trumpets. Alan and his wife, Penny, leading a double column of special guests and dignitaries, rode through the stadium on horses draped with colorful cloths and sporting long, flowing ribbons braided through their manes and tails.
After the parade, the Hardys and the twins watched a jousting demonstration. But they left early to help Alan set up for the ribbon-cutting.
“Good job with the falcon, Joe,” Penny said when they arrived.
“I'll say,” Alan agreed. He clapped Joe's shoulder in a firm grip. “Now give me a hand with this platform.”
“The opening event in the maze is a relay,” Kay explained to the Hardys. “And the teams will all be
from the international press corps that Dad invited. It'll be fun.”