The next morning I'm woken up by Drew-the-fussy-stylist.
"Hurry! You need to be in the arena in two hours!" She buzzes around me, (obviously caffeinated) patting my hair and slipping me into proper arena clothing. This year we get a plain black t-shirt and a reversible black-to-camo jacket. It's super nice, most people from my faction would kill for something so expensive. Next Drew throws brown pants at me.
"If you get to warm you can roll up the pants up, m'kay?" She looks super nervous. I glance away, but then look back. I can't help asking.
"Drew? Are you nervous?" Her warm brown eyes meet mine. Then she smiles. "Why would I be? I'm not allowed to bet, but if I could I'd bet on you. Just do what's right, ok? Do what you need to do.. For Annabeth. Good luck." Then she took my hand and gave a reassuring squeeze.
With that we marched down the stairs to eat breakfast. I ate like a demon, since I didnt know how long it would be since I got to eat again. I slipped a couple rolls into my pocket for in the arena. For Annabeth. Then it was time. I was "escorted" to my tube, and then me and my stylist stood in silence. She took something out of her jeans and handed me the pen. "You dropped this when you were changing." She smiles grimly, then waves me towards the tube. I take a step then do a 120. "Drew-" I'm cut off as we rush towards eachother. We embrace, knowing I'm probably going to die. But as friends, I need someone to hold on to. Then I step inside. I give her a mock salute, and she returns it with the three fingered claw over her heart. Then the tube rises up and the fear strikes my heart. What am I doing? I'm going to die! I grab at the sides and pound. Drew just silently cries outside. Then I'm at the top, blinking sunlight out of my face.
Welcome to the 24th annual Demigod Games, I announce solemnly to myself.
I see Annabeth on the podium next to me, and she gives a reassuring nod. I smile and give a thumbs up. Unfortunately no one steps off their podium before the timer is up. Whoever steps off before the timer runs out is instantly blown up by mines buried around the podium. Then it's counting down. 10...9...8...7... This is it 5...4...3...2...1. Go!
I flat out sprint towards the Cornucopia. That's where all the weapons and survival backpacks are at. Hedge told me not to, but I need SOMETHING to help me. Out of the corner of my eyes I see Annabeth streaking towards the woods. I see a lake just to the right of the woods and I smile. Finally I have a plan.
I see Annabeth turn around to see where I'm at. I point up and she nods, and shimmies up a tree. Then I concentrate, and the lake explodes. BOOM! Water floods the cornucopia and I use the water to propel myself forward. Jason is stopped from zapping people with lightning, Piper is splashed with water. Ruining her 'doo. She stops mid charm speak from telling Frank to die. My strength goes weak, it's hard controlling so much water. I muster just enough strength to reach the backpack. Then I allow the water to flow away. Jason sits up sputtering and I gulp. He crawls to the weapons rack and plucks a knife off. Then he turns to see who caused the destruction. And let me tell you, it's obvious when someone's standing there in the middle- completely dry. He hurls the knife towards me, his eyes murderous. I instinctively out my backpack in front of my face. The knife hits it and sails halfway through. I turn and run for the trees. Annabeth is nowhere to be found, so I keep going. I figure I have run about 5 miles before I finally stop. Then I take out the stuff from my backpack and take inventory. One net, a water bottle (sadly no water), a dried fish, and a rope. Oh, and know a knife thanks to Jason. I smirk and them climb to my feet. I find a nearby river and full my water bottle. At least they aren't going to let us die of thirst, there appears to be plenty of water. I follow the river up a longways. Then it's night time and I climb into a tree where I have an advantage of height. I turn my jacket into camo version. I don't dare light a fire, though it's very cold. I wish Annabeth were here. I start to doze when I fall halfway off the branch I'm using. I catch myself, breathing rapidly and alert. Then I take the rope and tie it around my stomach and the tree trunk. That's better.
I see a fire about a 1/2 mile away and not too soon, a horrible gut-wrenching scream. A girl. At first I think it's Annabeth but she's too smart for that. Then in the dim light, about 10 minutes later- I see a silhouette. No wait- Jason, Khione, Piper, the boy from 1 and... Annabeth. What's she doing with the Careers??
"Hey Wise-Girl, you sure he went this way?" Somehow hearing that jerk Grace call my Annabeth "Wise Girl" was NOT cool. That's my name for her. "Ya, that was his trap back there." "You'd better be right." He growled at her. "Or your neck goes like this." He gave a demonstration of a twig snapping. She just defiantly turned up her nose. Then they continued along their merry way. Leaving me shocked and breathless. You can bet that the cameras were all on me, watching my reaction. I shook it off and decided to have a face of steel. I would resolve to crying mentally.
I didn't get much sleep that night, and woke up early. I checked my reflection in the river as I rinsed off and refilled my canteen. Wrinkles, and mussed hair. Great- that'll be a lasting impression. I go find the girls campfire from last night and find some matches on the ground. I grab those then wander inside the makeshift fort she had. She's still in there and I try not to gag. I take her pouch- not believing my luck. Then find two beef jerkies and another water canteen. Perfect. Then I continue following the river, just to get far away from the Careers. That's my main goal now.. As for Annabeth I'm sure she has a master plan. She always does. But if be lying if I said I wasn't doubtful.
So now I've been walking for a solid two hours and am settling down for a snack. I refill my two canteens. I know I should be wise about how much good I eat, but I'm a guy for gods sake. I'm HUNGRY. Next to me the river is draining quick, with in five minutes it's completely dry. I stare in amazement then shrug. I wolf down half of the dried fish, when I sense movement behind me. Hydra. I whirl around, Riptide in hand. It snarls at me and lunges. I sidestep and thrust, but it just grabs my sword and yanks it out of my hand. I am now weapon less.
This is becoming one heck of a day.