~~As we make our way over to the tower and I catch people giving me impressed looks and I see Ethan smile at me, silently saying, well done. We reach it quickly and I look up and smile, they’re still there. “You’re a genius” Marcus says and pats me on the back. We climb the stairs to the window where the blue flag hangs and open it. Ethan unhooks the original one and it easily comes off the wall the Finn passes him our one and he slides it into the hole. We wait a few moments to make sure it’s not going to fall out then walk back down the stairs and admire our work.
The blue flag is the second one to the top and unless you were looking for it you wouldn’t be able to notice the difference in size between it and the other flags. “Now that’s sorted what are we going to do now?” Jilly asks and we all turn to Ethan. He looks up at the flag quickly then back at us, thinking about something. “I feel pretty confident that they won’t find the flag very easily so we don’t need to leave it heavily guarded but I do want to leave someone hiding near the bottom of the tower, maybe sat at the table in the cafe” Ethan says and a man with bushy black hair and equally hairy eyebrows puts his hand up “Alright Cliff, sit near the back and watch, only attack if they figure it out cause we don’t want to make it obvious that something is hidden here, they’d find it easily then.” Cliff nods his face expressionless. “Now to sort out the attack” Ethan continues “Who wants to be in the retrieving team?” Hands fly in air, every ones eager to grab the glory. “I’m the fastest one here” Finn says and Cody elbows him in the ribs “Are not, my Gran could beat you” He says, I roll my eyes, they’re acting like kids. “We should have a distraction team” Marcus puts forward and Ethan nods. “We’ll send them over to take out as much people as possible and, depending on the location, the retrievers should both sneak over and grab it or just snatch and go” Everyone nods in agreement. “What about people to hunt down the other team?” Kestra asks and Ethan smiles
“Good idea, Finn and Cody are you up for doing that?” he says and they look at each other then nod deciding that it was more fun to catch people than run from them. That leaves me, Ethan, Jilly, Marcus, Kestra, Tyler and Gavin. “So who wants to do what?” Ethan asks looking at each of us. Jilly purses her lips “I’ll distract, I’m not a good runner” Ethan nods at her then turns to me
“You’re a good runner, fancy being on the retrieving team?” He asks and I raise my eyebrows I surprise, then shrug “If you say so” I reply
“Is that a yes?”
Ethan turns to the others and we end up having me, Marcus, Gavin and Ethan on the retrieving and the others are on the distracting. “Stick with you group and work together” Ethan instructs us.
We all look at Orave who looks at his watch then nods “You can go” He says then looks me straight in the eye, I don’t know whether it was my imagination but as I started to jog after Ethan I could have sworn I saw a flash of curiosity in his eyes. “Right, Finn and Cody go ahead and take out as many as you can, we’ll start looking for the flag. We start looking in the most obvious places like the canteen and running track but, as we thought, they aren’t there. As we run around the place I notice people giving us strange looks and avoiding us not wanting to be run into. We wonder round some of the corridors listening out carefully but we don’t find any one. “Where next?” Marcus asks once we’d finished walking round the corridors around the training hall. Ethan’s about to open his mouth to say something but I see a flash of red and suddenly Gareth is holding Tyler’s tag in the air smiling smugly but he doesn’t have time to escape before Marcus yanks his off. Tyler huffs in annoyance and walks off with Gareth back to the training hall. “Was he with anyone?” Kestra asks looking around but nobody else decides to show their face to we cautiously make our way out of the corridors and back to the centre. “I bet they’re down the bottom or a corridor where the flats are” Marcus grumbles
“How unoriginal” Jilly sneers, and I’m tempted to point out the suggestions she made weren’t exactly unique but keep my mouth shut, the last thing we need is arguing amongst ourselves. We quickly jog over to the entrance and Ethan looks through the glass window then motions for us to go in quietly. We all silently slip inside then he gently pushes the door shut. “We’ll go first” Kestra mouths then pulls Jilly in front with her. The two girls start walking down the corridor but nothing happens so we follow. We successfully make it round each turn without bumping into any one, which is strange because even if it’s not a member of the game surly someone would be going to or from their room.
After a while we start to move a bit quicker and start to make noisy mistakes, every time someone lets a door swing we wince and look around but no one comes. We reach the end and sigh in frustration “Well that was a waste of time” Jilly moans. We start to jog back until we here whispers from round the corner. We stop and look at each other, then we instantly know what to do. Jilly and Kestra take the front and me Marcus and Ethan prepare to run. The whispering gets closer then all of a sudden Kelta and Harry round the corner holding a blue tag. They spot us instantly and their smiles drop from their faces then they turn and run. Kelta is slow and Kestra easily picks her tag off but Harry lunges forward every time someone makes a grab for him, he seems to be running towards the exit but before we get there he takes a sharp right instead of going left. I skid to a halt and drag Marcus and Ethan with me “What are you doing?” Marcus hisses at me and I motion to run the other way and the realisation crosses over his face and he nods and I see Ethan smile next to me “Well done Ash” He whispers then we quietly run towards the exit and slip back into the centre. “Now what? We’ve lost half the team” Marcus shouts a little too loudly and the people around us gone him dirty looks, why are they bugging me so much? “We don’t have long till they’ve captured the others we need to get their flag now or we’re all going to be out” Ethan says looking around. Look at all the people again and realise that they must have all been told to stay out of the way of them game, that means they’d know where the flag is if it was hidden round here. I know it would be cheating asking them where it is but I could watch them to see where they aren’t going... “Over there” I say and point to the cafe that’s normally full of people and right now is empty “Are you sure?” Ethan asks and I nod, feeling positive. We walk over to the cafe and look around, there’s nobody with red belts out here but there’s likely to be inside. “We can do it like a relay and pass the flag like a baton, I’ll go in and fetch it the give it to Ashlyn and Ash you run and give it to Marcus who can stand round the corner, then it’s up to you to get it there” Ethan says and I stare at him, impressed. Marcus winks at us then walks over to the corner and Ethan turns and walks into the cafe. I stand nervously and wait for him. He turns the corner and I spot movement behind the counter, so does Ethan but he doesn’t show it. He walks round the corner and I hear a ripping sound then Ethan appears holding a red tag and the flag. Freya jumps out from behind the counter and pounces at Ethan but I grab her tag while she’s in mid-air but she manages to somehow yank Ethan’s as well, but not before he’s placed the flag in my hand. I hold it tightly and start to run towards Marcus who holds his hand out ready. I notice the door to the apartment corridor swing open and Harry and James run out. They spot me with the flag and start charging towards me, I have a head start though and reach Marcus quickly “Good luck I shout after him as he sprints off then I turn to the other two. I quickly jump back as Harry takes a swipe at me and grab at James’s tag as he tries to run pass after Marcus. It rips off and I grin in satisfaction, I hear the rip of my tag being pulled off then watch Harry chase after Marcus with my tag in his hand. Ethan catches up to me followed by the people who we got out on the red team. I notice Jilly, Kestra and Tyler come out from the apartment corridor and we all run after the action to the training hall.
Marcus stands there waving the flag proudly a huge grin on his face, tag still on his belt my team erupts into applause and I spot Harry panting on the floor and see no blue flag anywhere. Us blues cheer and pat him on the back and high 5 each other. “You were great” Ethan says when he reaches me, I smile “You weren’t too bad yourself” I reply shaking his hand. He surprises me by pulling me into a hug and warmth floods through for those few seconds then he pulls away and smiles. “Ethan!” Jilly squeals then he turns his attention to her so I walk over to Finn and Cody. I’d expected things to be awkward between me and Finn but he’s acting like it never happened and it suits me that way. “Hey you two, what happened?” I say noticing Cody’s empty belt. He shrugs and Finn punches him on the shoulder “He’s not as fast as he thinks he is” he says and we laugh.
“I see you didn’t do any better” Cody says motioning towards my own empty belt and I smile innocently “It was a necessary sacrifice for us to win” I say
“Give over, we all know Marcus would have out fun those two” Finn teases and I pretend to take offense “Now you’ve hurt my feelings” I say and shake my head. They laugh and Cody lightly punches me on the shoulder “You’re alright you know” he says then they walk off. I stare at their backs and smile, I’ve earned their respect.