Two months after Gaia’s defeat and we were holding the very first Greek vs Roman Capture the Flag. It’s at Camp Half-Blood because heads beats tails so my team has a good advantage. Seeing as we’ve never played the Romans before, we held a ‘war council’ at the camp fire the night before the game. Jason gave us an insight into what the Roman’s tactics usually were when they played a similar version and told us that it would be likely for them to build a fort around their flag.
“We – I mean they are able to build a strong fort within a night” Jason had said, “luckily for us, they don’t have that long but they might be able to put together a wooden border to make it easier to defend.”
“Well then we should burn it down with Greek fire!” One of the Ares cabin shouted.
There was a murmur of agreement while Piper sighed. Annabeth leaned over to her and asked what the matter was.
“It’s just that if we had Leo…” She trailed off looking sad as Jason squeezed her hand reassuringly. We were all missing Leo but Jason and Piper were taking it the hardest seeing as they had known him the longest out of the rest of us.
“We have the advantage of knowing the woods.” Annabeth said, “Plus, if Jason doesn’t mind, he can fly up and get us an aerial view of where the Roman’s flag is.”
“Yeah. I can do that.”
More decisions about where people were going were made. Nico will be leading a group to find the Roman attack group while Jason, Annabeth, Piper and I go into attack together. When almost everything had been discussed, we all headed back to our cabins and slept.
The next morning, the Romans arrived.
A fleet of sleek, black SUV cars parked near the Amphitheatre and deposited the Roman legion into Camp Half-Blood for the first time as friends. Hopefully this time they wouldn’t try to bomb the camp and slaughter the lot of us, although I suppose anything can happen in capture the flag. Chiron did have to reassure some of the younger campers that if they try to do that then they will lose all dessert privileges for a whole month. The horror of that threat will definitely stop them!
We showed them round our camp in small groups and then ate lunch in the Mess Hall. Seeing as Capture the Flag is after dinner, we decided to let the Romans spend the afternoon with their Greek siblings. The Vulcan kids went to the forges with the Hephaestus cabin, the Mars lot went with the Ares cabin to the arena to practice killing people or something super fun and those like me who didn’t have a Roman or Greek counterpart were allowed to join in with any group.
This did have some rather funny results when a son of Janus called Adam was arguing with the Dionysius/Bacchus kids in the strawberry fields about the best way to start a party. Adam was saying that his dad was the God of beginnings so his ideas were better but the Dionysius/Bacchus kids were saying that their dad was the God of partying so they knew best. It ended when Pollux (son of Dionysus) made strawberry vines push Adam out of the field.
I spent most of my time moving between the groups and talking to the rest of the crew from the Argo II – the ones still here that is.
As soon as dinner was over, the fun began.
A reminder about the rules was called out by Chiron. The creek is the boundary line. The entire forest is fair game. The banner must be prominently displayed, and have no more than two guards etc. I zoned out after a while having already heard these rules a gazillion times before. Eventually, after double checking everyone knew not to kill anyone, we were allowed into the forest and the games began.
The minute the conch horn was blown by Chiron, Jason zipped into the air and said, “They’ve gone to a pile of rocks that look like dog poo!”
When he landed I volunteered myself for the highly entertaining task of telling him that he had just compared the rocks, named Zeus’ Fist after his father, to dog poop.
After everyone had finished laughing at with him, Annabeth, Jason, Piper and I set off at a run for Zeus’ Fist. Whenever we saw a Roman, Piper called out random things like “Quickly! Go that way!” and “I think you should do thirty sit-ups!” which confused them a lot.
As we neared, I could see that Jason had been right. A small wooden fort surrounded Zeus’ Fist with the purple banner peeping over the top. There were two guards that looked extremely familiar armed with spears, bows and swords. Hazel and Frank were standing side by side facing to the right of us.
“I’ll put my hat on and distract them.” Annabeth whispered. After the battle with Gaia, Annabeth’s hat started to work again. She had been over joyed with this because it meant that she’d pleased her mother by following the Mark of Athena and finding the Athena Parthenos. If Athena was pleased then that is fine by me. She still doesn’t think I’m the right guy for her daughter even though I have helped save the God’s holy backsides twice now. Some people are way too hard to please.
While Annabeth ran to the right and made a lot of noise, Jason, Piper and I tried to creep quietly round to the other side of the fort so we could burn the back of it without hurting Hazel and Frank. That plan failed the second it started.
I stepped forward as stealthily as possible and set my foot down right on top of a dry stick. Jason winced from beside me as a loud crack filled the air. Frank and Hazel saw us in an instant and grinned, waving energetically.
“Hi!” Hazel called sounding rather apologetic, “Sorry about this.”
I spent half a second wondering what ‘this’ was until I saw the huge spear heading straight for my face. I guess we aren’t getting any special treatment from our friends.
I deflected the spear with my shield whilst running towards Frank. He lifted his bow onto his back and drew out his sword at the same time that Piper ran towards Hazel, her sword from the Borads brandished. As Frank and I started to clash blades, we held up a quick greeting.
“Hey Frank! Long-time no see.” I blocked his sword and made a jab towards his stomach.
“Thanks for helping me out in the Arena with those Ares kids. They’re much more blood thirsty that us Mars children.” He grunted as I swung Riptide in a wide arc towards him.
“Yeah. Can really see how gentle and peace-loving you are. You wouldn’t hurt a fly, would you?!” I panted as he made a slash at my chest but I just managed to deflect it and swipe my sword at his legs.
We continued like this for a minute or two. I could hear Hazel and Piper laughing whilst they fought which is a bit bazar. It wasn’t until I looked over at them that I could see what was so funny. Hazel had used her new misty powers to turn Piper into a Kangaroo and her sword into a fish finger. I didn’t think that they had fish fingers back in Hazel’s day but maybe she had been to a modern day supermarkets since she got back. I could see Jason and Annabeth out of the corner of my eye trying to batter down the fort. They could have used the Greek fire but that would probably kill us all so it’s a good that they like dessert more than killing people.
Straining my ears, I could hear Reyna calling out for the Romans to retreat back to the flag. I’m guessing that Nico’s group had found the Roman attack squad and is moving them back. They would be at Zeus’ Fist within minutes! Jason and Annabeth had better get that flag. But then we have to get it across the creek! This was starting to be an impossible problem.
I carried on slicing at Frank and dodging his blade. Hazel had turned Piper back into a person again but they were both laughing hysterically. Reyna and her troops could be seen just through the trees.
Just as the Romans and Nico’s team burst out around us, a huge shadow appeared above us.
“THE FREAKIN’ SUPERSIZED McSHIZZLE STRIKES AGAIN!”
The source of the shadow swooped down. It was Festus! Festus the dragon! And Leo was on his back with Calypso!
“LEO! YOU’RE ALIVE”
“I knew he wasn’t dead!”
Everyone around us was cheering and waving up at Leo. I can’t believe he survived! Piper had tears of joy running down her face and was hugging Jason who had abandoned the mission at hand to celebrate the non-death of his best friend.
Leo circled down and reached out, snatching the Roman banner up with him.
“Victory will be ours!” he yelled with the biggest grin plastered across his face. Festus flew at a slower pace than normal so everyone could keep up with him as we all hurtled toward the creek.
Frank and I were running side by side. Hazel, Piper, Jason and Annabeth were right on our tail with Nico and Reyna were hot on their heels as well. We all just wanted to be reunited again. To share the stories of what happened. To laugh and joke together without the destruction of the world looming over us. To be a normal group of teenagers with all of us together instead of one of us missing – presumed dead.
As we reached the creek, Festus splashed down causing a huge wave to drench the rest of us. Leo slid off his back and raced towards us. We crashed into a huge group hug. The girls were all crying and Jason was ruffling Leo’s hair while blinking and sniffing a lot.
After a while, Leo backed out and went to help Calypso down from the mechanical Dragon.
“Calypso, this is Jason, Piper, Nico, Hazel, Reyna, Frank, Percy and Annabeth.” He said, pointing at each of us in turn. “Everyone, this is Calypso.”
A chorus of “Hi” and “Hello” rang out as I took a quick glance at Annabeth. I had met Calypso on her island a while back. She had pleaded for me to stay but I couldn’t as I had to stop the Titans. I wasn’t sure how Annabeth would react to having her here but she seemed fine and was asking how Leo survived.
Leo yapped about how he had died but Festus had given him the Physicians Cure. He then told us how he got to Ogygia and got Calypso off the island. By the time we made it back up to the Amphitheatre, we had heard the whole story, including what happened before the explosion.
That night at the campfire, the fire was twenty feet of golden sparks. Everyone seemed uplifted by both the victory for Camp Half-Blood and the return of Leo. We stayed up late into the night joking and laughing with each other. People were talking about different ways they would contact each other between the camps because the Roman’s didn’t know about Iris Messages. Nico was in deep conversation with Will Solace, Clarisse was arm wrestling with a group of Vulcan kids, the Stoll brothers were pickpocketing Dakota and everyone was just generally enjoying themselves.
“I was thinking that we could meet for war games every 3 months and alternate between the camps.” Reyna spoke when it had quietened down.
“I think that is a brilliant idea. Who else agrees?” Everyone cheered at Chiron in answer. Conversation continued for a bit until the Apollo cabin started the singsong.
The golden sparks trailed into the air as I sat back and soaked in the atmosphere. These were definitely the times we fought for; the times of peace and friendship. We had fought so hard for so long for these two camps to be finally reunited at last. We had gone through so much. We had battled for not only our lives, but also the lives of all of these campers, both Greek and Roman. We were a huge family at last and there was no way I was going to let any Godly criminal take it away from me.
Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood, but now I’m glad I am because, if I wasn’t, I would never had found my place in this huge, mismatched family of mine.