299 13 36

Today had not gone as Tango had planned.

But oh well. Now he had a new friend in the form of a Nico, and a new pastime in Mythomagic.

Tango didn't really know how he had become geeky over it, but it was a pastime in the infinite boredom of having no redstone, so here he was.

Nico played a Ares card and smirked at Tango. Infinite health for the next three rounds and a blood rage were something to be reckoned with. But unfortunately for Nico, Tango had an excellent poker face.

Tango glared at the Hermes table in the dining pavilion that they had sat at to play. "That was your strongest card, wasn't it?"

"You'll never know," Nico said, grinning. He looked so happy with himself that Tango almost let him win.

Unfortunately for Nico, Tango had a Kronos card. "Bam," he said, leaning back. "Infinite attack damage. I win."

He leaned back too far and, forgetting that there wasn't a back, fell over backwards. The table of cards and figurines bumped out of place. Paper went flying, figurines toppled.

"No!" Nico moaned, but it wasn't about the game being ruined. "You just started to make your deck! How do you already have a Kronos card, that's an Epic!"

"Ha!" Tango taunted. "You can't stop me! I invented Decked Out!"

The conch horn sounded for dinner, and Nico started to clean up the scattered game pieces. "What's Decked Out?"

Tango started to explain, but he was forced to move to his own table after a bunch of Hermes kids in snow gear came in, fresh from a snowball fight.

He sat down. There was only one other Hephaestus kid there for the winter, and that was Beckendorf, the head counselor. It was the same as any other night since the summer campers had gone home.

Except for the Hunters, of course.

Nobody except Percy, Grover, and Thalia seemed to know who they were or why they were there, but they filled the Artemis table as easily as the Hermes table filled up in the summer, laughing and talking and challenging each other to burping contests like one big happy family.

Tango smiled. They reminded him of the Hermits, in a way.

Then he frowned. If a Hunter was captured by pirates or kidnapped by an army of monsters, would they gather together on a rescue?


Tango shrugged off the thought. He couldn't afford to think about that right now.

Chiron stood up for announcements after everyone was done eating. "You have probably noticed that Percy, Thalia, and Grover have returned from their quest successfully! Everyone welcome Nico Di Angelo!"

There was a cheer, especially from the Hermes table. Then an Athena kid called out, "Where's Annabeth?"

"She... well, come speak to me after dinner, Malcom," Chiron stammered. "Bring your cabin."

The campers whispered to each other. Annabeth? Was Annabeth dead? She had been here longer than almost any of them. For her to be gone was a huge blow...

Then Chiron forced a smile. "As you can see, we have a few... visitors," he continued.  "The Hunters of Artemis will be joining us for some time. They will use the Artemis cabin, as is their right. According to our tradition, our Capture-the-Flag game this Friday will be different than most: Hunters versus Campers. Hopefully, nobody dies this time."

A groan rippled through the campers.

"What? What's wrong?" Tango asked Beckendorf.

"We've never won a game against them," Beckendorf said. "Especially now, with barely any campers. We'll be demolished."

Oh, well. I suppose we'll have to make this time different.

Tango looked to his friends. Bdubs was napping with his head on the table, his food pushed haphazardly out of the way as if it didn't matter. Something had been bothering the son of Hypnos for months, and Tango didn't know what it was. He hadn't exactly asked, though.

Nico was sitting near Bdubs, and was staring at the Artemis table with a hint of betrayal - specifically, at a girl who looked a lot like him. A relative, Tango guessed.

At the Ares table, Ren the Guinea Pig was standing on top of an extinguished torch stand that someone had moved on top of the table. He was squeaking at his cabin in that tone he used when he was trying to motivate people. It was just making his siblings try not to laugh.

Zedaph and many other Athena campers stared at their food, seemingly unable to eat. Tango wondered what was up, until he remembered Annabeth.

They all had their different problems, that couldn't be solved with redstone. But maybe this game would be a good distraction.

Tango ate his dessert eagerly, as usual. But on the inside, his mind was whirring.

Ideas, plans. Sabotage, possibly? He did happen to know a couple of Stoll brothers.

One way or another, he was going to make Camp Half-Blood win this. Not just because he was a Hermit and therefore horribly competitive (yes, he was blaming that on Hermitcraft), but because the others needed this one win.

One win.

That was all Tango needed.

Camp Hermit-Blood: The Titan's CurseWhere stories live. Discover now