Ren

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The day came. The weapons were unsheathed. The armor was donned. The magical items were readied...

The biggest Capture-The-Flag event ever (since Ren's first one, when he was claimed) was about to take place.

And Ren was still a guinea pig.

Man, did life suck.

Ren was preparing to sit out yet again, but Isaac Hatchet (the head counselor since Clarisse was gone) scooped him up. "Hephaestus kids have a plan for you," he muttered, and stuffed him upside-down in his pocket. Ren squeaked in discomfort and got into a better position.

He grabbed the rim of the pocket and poked his head out, watching as Isaac and the rest of his siblings headed out. Isaac herded them along like he was in charge, which Ren had to remind himself that he was.

Clarisse was gone on some sort of scouting mission. Nobody really knew anything about it. Chiron refused to tell anyone. He said they didn't need to worry about it. Naturally, that made Ren worry more.

They got to the dining pavilion, where people were starting to put on armor. Percy, Thalia, and Grover were all together. Ren watched as Nico, the new kid, ran up to them with ill-fitting armor and an unbalanced sword and started chatting. He winced.

Tango, Zedaph, and Bdubs were all with their cabins. Normally Ren didn't like the Athena campers, but now he was glad they were on the same side. The entire Athena cabin looked grave and ready for murder.

The Hephaestus cabin consisted of Tango and Beckendorf for this winter. But in a stark contrast to the Athena kids, they were smirking and whispering about... something.

Isaac was already joining Malcolm Pace from Athena, and they started going over plans. Beckendorf and Tango joined them before long.

"We'll tell everyone the plan when we find a place to hide the flag," Beckendorf said. "Do you have Ren?"

Ren perked up.

"I have him," Isaac assured them, as if he was talking about a child that he had to keep track of for fear that it would get itself killed (that made Ren mad, but he didn't stop listening).

Ren was pulled out of Isaac's pocket and handed to Tango. "We have a job for you," Tango said. Ren didn't like the way the redstoner was smiling. It reminded him of Grian.

Zedaph and Bdubs came over to them. Zedaph seemed to be telling Bdubs something, which was kind of weird since he had just been with his cabin a minute ago. "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

"Why?"

"To get to the idiot's house."

"That's horrible."

"Knock, knock."

"Who's there?"

Zedaph grinned evilly. "The chicken."

"HEY-"

"Campers and Hunters!" Chiron called. Isaac, Malcolm, and the Hephaestus kids stopped planning. Zedaph stopped annoying Bdubs. Everyone came to attention.

"I must remind you, all of you, that this is a friendly game. As always, no maiming, killing, anything along those lines. Apollo cabin and Hunters of Artemis, remember to use practice arrows so nobody gets seriously injured. Magical items are allowed and encouraged. Sabotage is also allowed, but try not to kill anyone. The boundary is the creek - pass it, and you are on enemy ground. You have thirty minutes to hide your flag and prepare. When you hear the conch horn, the game will begin. Go!"

Ren clenched the rim of Tango's pocket as the son of Hephaestus started to run with the rest of the campers, toward the east side of the creek. Apparently claims had been staked already - of course, Ren hadn't been involved. He was never involved anymore. He winced to think about how rusty his PVP skills would be when - if - he turned human again.

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