Neal heaved and pulled and felt the sword give, and then it was free of its stony home so quickly that he went spilling off of the rock with the force of his pull and the surprise of the sword actually coming free.  He landed with a grunt in the grass, the sword in his hand.  Later, his mother would get him in trouble for the grass stains on the seat of his pants, but for now he revelled in a feeling of triumph.

            “My hero.”  Dan said snidely.

            “I think if I had pulled a little longer, I could have gotten it.”  Alex said.

            “You had your turn,” Evan said.  “Everyone did.  Neal got it, so that’s fair.  He gets to be King Arthur.”

            Neal sat up and held the sword in his hands.  It was just big enough for a boy, made of wood and wrapped in tin foil that reflected the sun.  That was why it had seemed to glow from the stone, jammed into a crack that Ethan had filled with rocks.  The hilt had been painted in gold, with red and green shapes to represent gems.

            “My grandpa helped me make it.”  Ethan explained, noticing Neal admiring the sword.  “He said I could use all the spare wood I wanted to make enough for the game, and I figured we could use cardboard boxes and stuff for armour.”

            “Armour?”  Jason asked.

            “Knights need armour.” Neal said, standing.  “Anyone who wishes to be a knight of my Round Table must first quest to find his own armour, and then return to Camelot to be knighted.”

            Ethan smiled, seeing Neal take to leadership of the group easily.  “Yes, and there your swords will await you.” 

            “Not to sound stupid, or anything, but where’s Camelot?”  Owen asked.

            “Uh, that’s actually a really good question…” Ethan said.  He hadn’t thought of that.  The barn sprung to mind, but it was smelly and dusty, no place for a king.

            “What about that?”  Neal said, pointing at the house.  Its top floor was actually a cupola, a tower that had windows to all four corners of the compass and could see all around the farm.  “That seems like a good place.”

            “That’s our attic, I guess.  I can ask Grandpa.”  Ethan said, seeing that it was well suited.

            “And the rest of us shall quest for armour, so that we might be worthy to serve Arthur.”  Evan said, bowing as he got into the game. 

            Daniel quickly caught on and mimicked Evan, and then Owen, Jason and Alexander followed suit, bowing to Neal.  He nodded to them regally, and then he and Ethan headed for the house.  The others grabbed their bikes to ride to their respective houses, hoping to find things their active imaginations could transform into suits of plate and mail.  Owen yelled “Hi-ho, Silver, away!”  as he jumped on his bike, already pretending that it was a horse.  It seemed not to matter to him that the Lone Ranger rode Silver, and he had been a cowboy, not a knight.

            “This was a great idea!”  Neal said as they walked up the steps to the farmhouse porch, clapping Ethan on the back warmly.  “What happens next?”

            Ethan grinned sheepishly at the praise.  “I guess we can get the swords Grandpa and I made, and then find some stuff for armour.  Then we can paint it any way we like.”

            “This is going to be a great summer.”  Neal said, smiling warmly.

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Neal, Alex and Jay

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