Within a few days, Ron found himself all geared up and standing in the dueling field. A large group of demigods were also assembled in the field. Chiron stood in the front, saying, “Welcome to this week’s game of Capture the Flag. Unlike last week’s game, where Mr. Dionysus made it OK for you kids to play rough, I won’t tolerate any actual fighting. Now, Luke and Annabeth will be choosing teams…”
Ron said to Jacquelyn, “I don’t like the looks of this. What if one of us gets hurt?”
“Oh, you’re such a big baby,” Jacquelyn snapped at him. “Stop being so dramatic.”
“And besides, no one actually gets killed during Capture the Flag,” said Grover. “You’re going to be fine.”
Chiron said, “This time, I want a clean match. First team to make it back here with the opposite team’s flag wins.”
Percy said, “You’re going to put me on your team, right?”
“Not if HE comes,” Annabeth snapped at him.
“Well, in that case, I’ll take him,” said Luke. “Prepare to lose, wise one.”
“Bring it on,” Annabeth snarled at him.
Luke said to Jacquelyn and Ron, “How’s about we go about crushing those disbelievers?”
Within a few minutes, the game began, with both teams charging into the field of battle. Ron said, “I usually play only Quidditch. Not this.”
“What’s Quidditch?” Luke asked.
“Please don’t ask,” Jacquelyn snapped at him.
The flag was right in front of them, and Percy was standing in front of it. Luke said, “Athena may be the goddess of wisdom, but Hermes can do just as much damage as she does. You’ll see once I have my plans in front of me.”
Percy spotted him and said, “Not this time, Luke! This time, I will stop you!”
“Not if I get you first!” Luke shouted back. He and Percy pounced on each other and fought as Jacquelyn and Ron went to get the flag. Percy threw Luke to the side as Ron ducked behind the tree, dropping the flag.
He ran to Luke and said, “Now how are we going to win?”
“I’m not sure,” said Luke. “Percy’s pretty tough to beat.”
“Indeed,” said Ron.
Within a few moments, Jacquelyn rushed by them, shouting, “I have the flag; let’s get out of here!”
“How did she do that?” Ron wondered to himself.
“No time to stand,” said Luke. “Let’s go!” To Jacquelyn, he said, “How did you do that?”
“Oh, I have my ways,” Jacquelyn smiled at him.
Percy said to Annabeth, “I can’t believe it! One minute I had the flag in my hands, and then the next minute, it was gone. How did that happen?”
“Luke,” said Annabeth. “He always does stuff like that.”
“But Luke didn’t kiss me,” said Percy. “I bet she did.”
“Indeed,” said Annabeth. “I’m going to head them off.”
She ran to the river Styx, where her team was having a difficult time trying to capture the flag from Luke’s team. Ron noticed her and said, “I think we should give her the flag now.”
“Are you nuts?” Luke glared at him. “This is Capture the Flag! The trick is to steal the other team’s flag, not take it and then give it back! What planet did you come from?”
“Give it up, Luke,” said Annabeth. “I know you used her to take the flag from Percy!”
“Ask nicely and I’ll go easy on you,” Jacquelyn smiled.
“You little minx!” Percy cried out. “I should have known that you’d pull a trick like that!”
“Well, I don’t play to cheat,” Jacquelyn smiled at him. “I only play to win.”
“Indeed,” Annabeth frowned at her.
Ron said, “You can’t just go picking fights with Jacquel! Not unless you want your butt handed to you!”
“It’s not her I want to fight,” said Annabeth. “It’s you. Draw your weapon.”
Ron swallowed and pulled out his sword. No sooner than he had done that, Annabeth came charging at him. Ron gasped as he tried to dodge Annabeth’s blows, something that came naturally to Jacquelyn. Annabeth said, “I wonder if Poseidon had made a mistake when he claimed you as his son.”
“He did not,” said Luke.
“Stay out of this, or you’re next!” Annabeth snapped at Luke.
Ron hoped to use that to his advantage, but Annabeth swung her sword and it caught him, sending him flying into the mud next to the river.
“Ron!” Jacquelyn rushed to his side. “Are you all right?”
Ron didn’t hear her; he was too busy staring at his reflection in the river. He had a huge cut on his cheek where Annabeth’s sword had cut him. He frowned, knowing that he had lost to Annabeth Chase.
Just then, he heard a voice calling his name. The voice said, “The river is your strength.” Ron frowned, not knowing what that meant.
Jacquelyn said, “Ron, that’s the River Styx! It’ll heal you!”
“How?” said Ron.
Jacquelyn grabbed Ron’s foot and jammed it into the water. Immediately the river bathed him until his bruises were healed. Even the cut on his cheek was gone. He stood up and said, “I hope you’re ready for a rematch!”
Annabeth frowned and said, “Humor me.”
Percy stepped back as Ron and Annabeth fought again. This time, Ron was able to get the upper hand and defeated Annabeth. She dropped her sword in shock as Ron said, “Now will you quit doubting me?”
She frowned as she looked around. There was a huge group of campers who had gathered to watch the fight. Grover came to them and said, “Now that was a good fight.”
Chiron said, “A good fight indeed. But I wonder if we’re still playing Capture the Flag.”
“We are,” said Jacquelyn as she pulled the flag from under her shirt. She held it up and said, “Looks like we win.”
Later that night, Grover sat at the Poseidon table and said, “I don’t know what was going on, but I must congratulate you on your second win.”
“I won?” Ron said, confused.
“You proved to Annabeth that you truly were the son of Poseidon,” said Grover. “She usually doesn’t lose a fight.”
“Indeed I don’t,” Annabeth said. “But yet, you do not revel in your glory.”
“Ron has issues,” Jacquelyn said. “He’s the youngest in his family. No one really likes him.”
“What a shame,” said Annabeth. “Surely they could have appreciated his talents.”
Percy was about to respond when an owl carrying a letter was spotted flying into the camp. “Why would an owl be here?” he cried out.
“Perhaps it’s carrying a message,” said Ron. “Wizards usually prefer to communicate by owls.”
“Haven’t they heard of emails?” said Percy?
“Indeed not,” said Jacquelyn as she reached for the owl. “Whatever message it has, it won’t be good.”
The letter opened and turned into a mouth. Ron said, “Oh no, not another Howler!”
The Howler shouted, “RONALD WEASLEY, HOW COULD YOU JUST RUN AWAY FROM HOME? WHAT ARE YOU DOING AT THAT CAMP? WHY DID HERMIONE TELL ME THAT YOU DECIDED TO GO RUNNING OFF?”
“Crap!” Ron glared at Grover.
“How was I supposed to know that she would be claimed by that woman?” Grover said.
“You could at least told Chiron,” said Luke, “or told me. I could have handled her.”
The Howler continued, “YOU HAVE LESS THAN 24 HOURS TO PACK YOUR BAGS AND GET BACK TO NEW YORK OR I’LL DRAG YOU THERE ON YOUR BOTTOM!” The Howler tore itself to pieces and fell on the table.
Ron frowned; little did he know that the entire camp had heard the message. Chiron said to him, “Don’t you worry about a thing; I’ll handle her.”
“But she’s a witch,” Ron protested, but Chiron continued, “I’ve had dealings with witches in the past, and I’ll handle this one. She won’t be taking any of my campers, not as long as I’m here.”
Ron nodded and Jacquelyn said, “I can’t believe Hermione betrayed us like that. Why would she do it?”
“Maybe she was threatened,” said Ron. “Anyway, I can’t stay here if she could walk into the camp and take me.”
“She won’t get too far,” said Percy. “The borders will keep us safe.”
“Not if they have been tampered with,” said Luke. He said, “I want all campers to be on your guard at all times. We don’t know when she could strike.”
At once, everyone gasped and fell into chatter. Who would want to break into Camp Half-Blood and take Ron? Especially since he was claimed by Poseidon? Ron felt tears of shame pouring down his eyes; he would rather die than be forced to stay with a family that despised him.
Little did he know that Molly Weasley would be the least of his worries…