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The 3rd Hunger Games

Raeoki March 3, 2011 User blog:Raeoki

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Preceeded by: The 2nd Hunger Games

Succeeded by: The 4th Hunger Games

Hey, y'all! This is my 3rd Hunger Games. My second is not completed yet (still working on the Victory Tour - muse, where art thou!?) but I decided to just go on with the 3rd Annual Hunger Games. Hooray!

Kai Shivers of District 5 (created by Firecratcher) stares as the escort, Marmacet Jeweler, with disgust and curiosity. Sure, she was always eccentric, but now Marmacet just looks...weird. She had dyed her pale skin a bight yellow, her once lovely brown hair cast as short as Kai's and turned into the many colors of the rainbow. As he strides onto the stage and takes a seat, Marmacet lets out a high-pitched giggle, and starts pinching his cheek with a marigold hand.

Just another day at the reapings, eh, Kai?

Elexsis Safier of District 3 (created by Leshawna) just sits on her chair, staring blankly at the crowd. Her first reapings as a victor, her first year as a mentor. She lets out a soft moan, hoping nobody hears her. Who's gonna die this year, Elexsis?

"Go away," she whispers to her voices.

Who? Who? Oh, bloody well who? Will it be him? Will it be her? The small cries of children screech in her ears. Will it be me? Will it be me? The escort of District 3 looks over his shoulder, and suddenly turns into Tecy Pines of District 7 (made by Moviepopcorn), her eyes sunken and dead, a bloodied axe in her hands. Welcome to my new world, Elexsis. She raises the axe, and it comes down on the insane victor's head.

Just as the escort is about to call out the girl's name, Elexsis faints.

The Reaped

District 1 Kill or Be Killed

Female: Ireland Winona - $30 - 12 - Clubbed below the throat by Sapphire Ryuu.
Male: Ryotato Ida - $30 - 3 - Killed by Brooke Fitzpatrick

District 2 Dead or Dying

Female: Vanessa Jimenez - $60 - 8 - Speared in the chest by Larka Dew.
Male: Alexander Sidorov - $60 - 9 - Drowned.

District 3 Smart and Ready

Male: Nano Pythagorus - $40 - 5 - Shrapnel from ship explosion was sent into his brain.
Female: Electra Vargas - $50 - 6 - Dawn threw a knife at her chest.

District 4 The Sharks

Female: Waterlily Wave - $70 - 6 - Skull bashed open by Sapphire Ryuu.


Male: Splash Blue - $75 - 9 - Neck broken by Ruby Steiner.

District 5 For Saydee!

Female: Larka Dew - $35 - 11 - Skull cracked open by falling rock; killed by Sapphire Ryuu.
Male: Finch Shade - $10 - 4 - Beheaded by Katherine Storm.

District 6 Healing Soul

Male: Ruby Steiner - $20 - 7 - Stabbed in the gut by Katherine Storm
Female: Liesel Hammerman - $45 - 2 - Killed by falling tree.

District 7 Hack them Down!

Female: Dawn Woods - $105 - 8 - Sapphire stoned her.

Male: Blaze Storm - $80 - 9 - Skull broken by Sapphire Ryuu.

District 8 We're not Scared of Needles!

Female: Silvia Gardner - $60 - 5 - Killed by Rush Leafs.
Male: John Gero - $75 - 10 - Stabbed in the gut by Splash Blue.

District 9 We'll Hunt'em Down!

Female: Sapphire Ryuu - $110 - 6 - Mouth stabbed by Katherine Storm.
Male: Fang Ryuu - $50 - 7 - Hatchet thrown at his head by Hayley Winters.

District 10 Not to be Cow-tipped

Female: Hayley Winters - $65 - 1 - Killed by acid-spitting lizards.
Male: Rush Leafs - $40 - 9 - Drowned by Liesel Hammerman.

District 11 Harvesting Souls sense 1939

Female: Katherine Storm - $45 - 8 - Victor of the 4th Hunger Games
Male: Gabe Millen - $40 - 9 - Killed by first explosion.

District 12 Burning Coal

Female: Brooke Fitzpatrick - $30 - 7 - Eaten by shark mutt.
Male: Noah Harte - $30 - 9 - Stabbed and killed by John Gero.

Chariot Rides!

There's happiness everywhere! Capitolites are clicking there heels, taking a few (actually a lot) of alchohol, and having the time of their lives. They also happen to pass around some gossip about one of the most influencial Panemians, the Gamemakers. "Rosella and Kent's gonna get married!"

"OMG, really?"

"No..." It's sort of illegal for children to marry.

In a room over-looking the crowd, Head Gamemaker Raeoki and Gamemaker Elialova ar dancing to "Hot Blooded." President Leshy, stands in a corner, arms crossed over her chest, sunglasses fitted over her eyes, and her head subtly banging.

That's right. We're that awesome.

District 1

As usual, the District 1 tributes ride forth first. The chariot is a giant, glittery purse, and after a few moments, the tributes Ireland Winona and Ryotato Ida spring out, wearing gleaming jumpsuits. The crowd claps, but isn't particularly pleased.

District 2

Though they both died on the first day, District 2's tributes did remarkably well in the chariot rides. This year, their chariot seems to be made of stone. Vanessa Gimenz is dressed in a gray robe, and Alexander Sidorov a suit of the same color. The crowd doesn't seem to be all to excited, until their clothes burst into a dazzling white light that makes the two tributes look striking and glorious. The Capitolites happily cheer for them.

District 3

"Remember last year?" Nano whispers to Electra

"How can I forget?" she grumbles. "It made me wish I lived in some other district. Does my hair look okay?"

Before Nano can respond, they roll out of the stables and into the street. Electra Vargas looks like a space cadet, with a silver dress that ends at the shins, and is quite skimpy and slightly revealing. Nano Pythagorus wears black, loose pants and a red shirt with black sleeves, and in his hands is a fake laser gun. He aims it at the crowd, and shoots, but instead of lasers is a beam of red light that contorts itself into a 3, and Electra blows a kiss in their direction. The audience claps.

District 4

Waterlily Wave and Splash Blue come out, there chariot looking like it was a wave taken from the sea. Waterlily wears a blue dress that ruffles as if it were making waves, and Splah wheres a robe that does the same. They both wear pearls, and look extroadinary.

District 5

District 5's latest tributes, Larka Dew and Finch Shade, ride out. Many people have high hopes for District 5, as they were the first district to win the Games, thanks to Kai Shivers.

But those hopes soon diminish into nothing.

Their stylist has tried a new tactic - cute and cuddly. They're suits, made of the furs of domestic rodents, are puffing out immensly, and instead of people they look like cotton balls. The crowd can barely see their faces, but they manage to see the bright make-up that's meant to make them look adorable. The crowd sniffs at Larka and Finch in disappointment. "They're no Kai Shivers..." Larka hears someone grumble, and her hopes of winning crumble, but she keeps on a smile for Finch's sake.

District 6

The District 6 chariot ride last year had been a total disaster last year. Many children had become scarred for life, and some of them were now disembowling dogs or lived a life of rockin back and forth in a dark, dark corner. One thing was obvious: District 6 needed better stylists if they wanted sponsors.

This year is better, but not exactly fantastic either. The tributes, Ruby Steiner and Liesel Hammerman, are dressed in very nonrevealing scrubs. The only thing cool-looking is their chariot, which is painted white, but has two giant syringes poking out of the side spurting out a glowing liquid.

District 7

It's Dawn Woods and Blaze Storm's turn now. They look like woodland fairies, both both garbed with glowing green wings strapped to their backs and dainty-looking slippers fitted on their feet, the color of bark. Blaze wears a robe with images of branches and leaves sewn in. Dawn wears a green dress that comes to her knees. They also wear brown belts with polished brass buckles, and the belts carry axes that glow from green, yellow, red, and brown. The audience is very pleased.

District 8

At first, nobody is impressed with District 8. It seems like the stylist just recycled the 1st Hunger Games's design: suits made of different colored paches that glow. But, their stylist wait till District 12 comes out when their clothes burst into flames. Everybody is shocked, and is screaming. Silvia Gardner and John Gero frash aout wildly, letting out terrible, animalistic cries. Just as people come over to help, the fire dissolves, and Silvia and John looked terribly frightened, but otherwise unharmed. Their clothes are dark, with a purple glow to them. Their is still some fire on their suits, but it doesn't hurt. Instead, it makes them look vicious. There is a dark substance, probably cinders and soot, that covers their faces and hair, making them look like warriors when Silvia and John finally get over their scare. The audience whoops and hollers in excitement.

But elsewhere...

"YOU! YOU DID THIS!" roars Silvia's stylist, Dunner, at John's stylist, Saphin.

Saphin nods. "I did," she says calmly.

"WHY!?"

"They have a chance, Dunner," Saphin says soothingly. "Let them have it."

"NO!" Dunner stomps her foot. "IF THEY LIVE, THEY WILL BE HAUNTED FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE BY THE FACES OF THOSE POOR DEAD KIDS!" Dunner is shaking with rage. She inhales a deep breath, before adding, "I didn't become their stylist to pretty them up like you and my predecessor, Judeny. Okay? I meant to rescue them from what is to come!"

A pause. "They have a chance," Saphin repeats. "They have a chance."

That pushes the other stylist to the breaking point. "THAT FIRE WAS MEANT TO SAVE THEM! BUT YOU...YOU...DID THAT!" She points to the television, where people are crying out Silvia's and John's names. "THEIR BLOOD IS ON YOUR HANDS!"

"Give. them. a. chance!!" Saphin says forcefully, balling her hands into fist.

Dunner lets out a growl and lunges at Saphin, pinning her down. She bashes the stylist's head against the corner of a table, until Saphin's brain oozes out of a hole. But, during this murder, Saphin fought back. She gave Dunner plenty of punches, until her skull contacting with the table stunned her. Now, Dunner has two black eyes and a face covered with large bruises. Hands shaking, Dunner goes to the District 8's kitchen, and slits her throat with a knife.

District 9

District 9 has two new stylists, as dealing with last year's tributes gave them both a mental breakdown. So, Disrict 10's stylists has been promoted to 9. Unfortunetly for Sapphire and Fang Ryuu, distant cousins of last year's District 6 female tribute Nyx Ryuu, they highly disapprove of hunting down animals and pretty much eating meat in general, as to why District 10 didn't do very well in the 1st Hunger Games, but thanks to Dark they were loved last year.

Sapphire and Fang ride out, covered in so much animal blood it's hard to see their clothes, which is just a torn flannel shirt and ripped jeans. The audience would've cheered if it wasn't for the unbearable stench of blood and rotting corpses. Instead of the district seal on th chariot (which is also covered in blood), is the word "KILLERS," written in large, bright letters.

Somewhere else, President Leshy looks at the television, and then narrows her eyes at the road below. "What shall we do about this, Lady President?" asks Head Gamemaker Raeoki, who stands beside her. "It is obvious that this is the work of rebels."

"Tell the Peacekeepers to take the stylists in for questioning, and then torture them to death," Leshy says calmly.

Raeoki nods.

This isn't meant to offend animal-rights supporters, vegetarians, or vegans. I do no wish harm upon those who think eating meat is a crime, but I do highly disagree them.

District 10

Because their stylists were promoted (and are now being dragged into a torture chamber as we speak), Distrct 10 also has a new pair of stylists, who had once dressed up the Distrct 11 tributes but gt a higher district to fill in the leaving ones. They are both very excited, as this is the first time they've ever designed an out-fit animal related, and they both love animals very much.

Hayley Winters wears a white dress that looks like some famous painter had painted some form of live-stock on it. It starts out as a lamb sniffing a frog by a creek, and then suddenly tramsfoms to a cow grazing in a field, and then to a rooster "cockle-doo-dooing" on the roof of a barn. Rush Leafs looks like the stero-typical farmer and is rather jealous that Hayley got all the attention, and a better stylist.

District 11

Katherine Storm and Gabe Millen come out in a chariot that looks more like a tiny field of corn, with real corn! Katherine's dress is made of apples of all collars, and an apple peel keeps a braid in place. Gabe's suit is shaped from oranges, with orange dust scattered on his face. The audience isn't exactly impressed.

District 12

Brooke Fitzpatrick and Noah Harte wears skimpy coal-miner out-fits, the only real difference between them is that Noah is shirtless. Their pickaxes, which they cockly lean upon, glow, so that's pretty cool.

During Prep Week

Mentors and Apprentices

The Arena

The past arenas have all been rocky, but this year it's tropical and oceanic. The Cornucopia sits upon a cruise ship that goes around in circle within an oval-shaped sea; it's like a giant saltwater lake in the center of an island. The island is the shape of a circle, and the cruise ship never meanders far from it's sandy beaches. The island is full of fruit and edible beasts of all kinds. There are springs of fresh water, and the water is never tainted. However, there are mutts in every corner. Giant cockatoos with razor-sharp teeth in it's beak, average-sized lizards that spit acid, flesh-eating insects that will happily devour a sleeping tribute...

The weapons aren't as diverse as most Games. There are mostly hatchets and knives, but to add some pizzazz the Gamemakers added spears and whips.

The tributes uniforms are more-or-less suited to the warm tempertures of the arena. They wear a white, short-sleeved t-shirt and cacki shorts.

Note: The money in a tribute's account will rise after every day they survive and/or every kill.

Bread - $5

Apple - $10

Cheese - $15

Meat (any kind) - $20

Water - $25

Knife - $30

Hatchet - $35

Spear - $40

Whip - $45

Sword - $50

Medical Kit - $55

Day 1: The Bloodbath

The tributes are raised into the arena. They are on a cruise ship, gently rising up and down with the small waves, and in the horizon Ireland Winona of District 1 can make out what looks to be tall palm trees sticking out of the blue sea. There’s an island out there. Luckily for the tributes who aren’t good swimmers, there are lifeboats they can escape off of.

Ryotato Ida, Ireland’s district partner and boyfriend, is positioned correctly enough to peer into the Cornucopia. He does not like what he sees. Mainly knives, but there seems to be hatchets to add variety in there; some whips, and a very tiny handful of spears and swords; Ryotato pushes his glasses farther up his nose. The tributes weren’t allowed to be picky about their weapons this year.

Forty seconds left on the clock.

Vanessa Jimenez of District 2 gives her district partner, Alexander Sidorov, a half-hearted smile that he doesn’t notice. District 3 male Nano Pythagorus repeats the five things his mentor, Elexsis Safier, had listed to him and the other District 3 tribute Electra Vargas. “…Will to live. Will to live…” Nano chants. “Will to kill. Weapon. Alliance…” He glances at Ireland and Ryotato. As far as he had seen, they weren’t interested in joining the pack. Nano furrows his brow. “Hmm…”

Thirty seconds.

Larka Dew of Five takes a deep breath. She wishes she could see her best friend and fellow Five tribute, Finch Shade, but he’s on the other side of the Cornucopia. Larka sags slightly. She wished they could’ve arranged them by District order. It would’ve comforted her to see his shining face.

Twenty seconds.

Unlike Larka, Splash Blue of District 4 is right beside Waterlily Wave, District 4 female. He remembers the interview. There he had confessed his love, only to be rejected on public television. They way she looked at him with tears in her eyes then promptly got up and ran on stage. Waterlily hadn’t looked at him once sense then. Splash wishes things could go the way people wanted them to.

Ten seconds.

Ruby Steiner, District 6 male, takes a deep breath, remembering his training in the Peacekeeper reserves. “You can do it,” he whispers. He gives his district partner and ally, Liesel Hammerman, a quick glance. “You will do it.”

Five.

Dawn Woods of Seven shudders.

Four.

Her District partner, Blaze Storm, grinds his teeth.

Three.

Silvia Gardner of Eight thinks about the grizzly demise of her and District partner’s, John Gero, stylists. She hadn’t seen the pools of blood the Avoxes had discovered them in, or the still shocked eyes of Saphin. Silvia had seen none of that. But after all the stories Silvia had managed to hear, she wonders what it would be like to be see the murder of twenty-four kids, or at least be surrounded by it.

Two.

Sapphire Ryuu of District 9 narrows her eyes. Her distant cousin, Nyx Ryuu from 6, had been the first to die. But not she. She’ll find a way to make it through, and dang it, Fang’s coming home with her.

One.

Hayley Winters of 10 can barely breathe as the last second seems to take an hour to pass. This was it. This was the day she decided to live, or the day she was forced to die.

GONG!

Rush Leafs, D10 male tribute, darts off his pedestal without another thought.

Gabe Millen of District 11 hesitates as a wave of tributes take to the Cornucopia, or away from it. He’s about to run over, too, when he sees his district partner and potential ally Katherine Storm slip on a backpack. He could tell by the way she grunts as she heaves it that it’s already heavy with supplies. That makes my life easier, he thinks. “Katherine!” She turns, and blinks at him. He beckons at her to follow him, then turns on his heel, and runs towards one of the lifeboats.

He’s a foot away from the lifeboat, Katherine a yard away from Gabe, when it happens.

A terribly loud noise echoes throughout the ship and across the sea. Katherine blacks out promptly after being thrown into the air, and when she awakes she’s completely deaf. There’s a silence in the air; all the tributes are too shocked to fight or dazed or in pain from being too close to the explosion. As they stumble back into life, Katherine realizes that Gabe has disappeared. She squeezes her tight, and lets in a shaky breath. “No…”

Along with Gabe, so are the other lifeboats. Some of the tributes has nails and splinters sticking out of them, meaning they either blew up too or got damaged in the explosion; most likely both, thanks to the Gamemakers. Brooke Fitzpatrick of District 12 grimaces. They’d have to swim now.

Finally getting over the shock, they return to the fighting. Ireland Winona and Ryotato has found themselves locked in a tight battle against Sapphire and Fang over one of the two spears that Ryotato and Fang both want, but then they were both like, “OH NUH-UH. FOOT DOWN TIME!”, and went at each other. Obviously, the girls joined in. Ireland slashes Sapphire’s face, and she lets out a howl of pain.

“Sapphire!” Fang cries out, and punches Ireland in the face, sending her falling down onto her knees. Ryotato stares at her with wide eyes, wondering if she’s alright, but before he could help her Ireland lashes out with her knife at Fang, shoving it into his knees. He gasps, and falls flat on his back, the knife still in his knee. Sapphire growls and clubs Ireland with the butt of her whip right below the throat. Blood spurts out of Ireland’s mouth, and Sapphire grabs Fang and runs. Sapphire doesn’t realize that she left behind the spear that she had just killed a girl over.

Ryotato crouches beside Ireland, holding her hand tightly. “I’m…I’m sorry,” he whispers. Ireland’s a sickly pale color, and her lovely hair seems to dull and drab.

Ireland manages a smile. “Don’t worry about it, Naruto. At least I didn’t have to kill anyone, eh? And besides…you know that…gingers don’t…give up until they’re dead…” Ireland goes limp.

Call the girl from District 8 “Sword Silvia” from now on. With their lack of bows and arrows, Silvia grabbed the first thing she saw, a sword, and ran as fast as she could. In her haste to escape the Bloodbath, she bumps into Rush, putting a gash into his stomach. Rush immediately puts his hand to the bloody scar, wincing in pain. Silvia gasps, knowing her mistake soon off. But, he has a knife and she has a sword, giving her an edge. Setting her jaw tight with defiance, Silvia inserts her sword into his shoulder, twists, and cruelly rips out. A wave of nausea crashes down on Silvia as she watches blood ooze out of the wound she had brought on the boy. This pause costs her life, but it was so fast Silvia didn’t even realize it until her spirit left her body.

In other words, Larka can’t find Finch! She is firm in not leaving until she finds him, or he finds her. She goes around, doing her best to not get into potentially fatal battles, calling out Finch’s name. Somehow, Larka had meanders her way into the Cornucopia. There she hears Finch’s voice: “Larka! TURN AROUND!”

Larka spins around faster than a dime can flip in the air. Vanessa’s right behind her, hatchet raised and prepared to split Larka’s skill. Then it’s as if her mentor, Kai Shivers, is right behind her, talking to her.

“…By human nature, you do not want to be the loser.”

This was Larka being human.

Things seemed to go in slow motion. The hatchet came down, but Larka side-stepped and it only slashed through air. Larka did not pause in her actions. Grabbing the spear beside her, Larka raises it over her shoulder and sticks it into Vanessa’s chest. The girl from District 2 grunts as Larka pulls it out. Vanessa falls on her knees, clutching her wound. And slowly, time went at its normal pace. Vanessa looks at something behind Larka with large, sad eyes. “I’m sorry, Alex…” she whispered. “I just wanted…to get home…sooner…” Those were her last words.

“Get out of my way.” The new voice, grim and hateful, makes Larka and Finch flinch as they whirl around to see Alexander Sidorov, Vanessa’s district partner. “Get out of my way before I kill you both.”

“I’m sorry!” Larka blurts out.

“Just go away,” Alex growls. Finch leads a reluctant Larka away from the dead girl’s body. Larka looks over her shoulder, to see Alexander kneeling beside Vanessa’s limp form, squeezing her hand.

Brooke has found herself in a heated battle with Ryotato, literally over Ireland. It is obvious who will come out of this alive; Ryotato is a mess. He is blinded by tears, and stumbles often, but whenever Brooke tries to escape the battle so the poor boy may live, he gets in her way. Brooke tries to back away, but Ryotato steps over Ireland and slashes her chest. Brooke suddenly realizes why, as she glances from Ryotato to Ireland, then from Ireland to Ryotato. He wants this to end. Brooke’s eyes swell with tears. “Don’t worry,” she whispers, and Ryotato stops attacking. “You will see her soon.”

And then she ends it.

Not knowing or caring of his district partner’s emotional battle, Noah sees John Gero running off with a good share of food. Noah chases after him, and throws himself at John, swinging his hatchet. John lets out a yelp, and lashes out with a knife. The knife digs into Noah’s abdomen. He stares at John, shocked, before falling into a heap.

In the sea, Liesel Hammerman and Ruby Steiner are swimming over to the island. Liesel’s farther behind, as the Peacekeeper reserves had taught Ruby how to swim well and very fast, but he tries to go slow for Liesel’s sake. Suddenly, Liesel lets out a scream, and Ruby turns around just in time to see her pulled under. “Liesel, no!” Ruby cries, and breast-strokes over to her. He’s only one more stroke away when Liesel pokes her head out of the salty water, and Rush Leafs bloated body rises and floats on the water tension. Ruby holds Liesel by the arms, and says shakily, “You…you alright?” Liesel doesn’t answer. Instead, she looks at Rush’s corpse. Ruby follows her gaze, and says grimly, “It was only self-defense, Liesel.”

Liesel doesn’t look at him. “Was it?” she asks, her voice dead.

Larka Dew’s POV

Finch is practically dragging me to the edge of the boat. I’m too stunned to lead myself. All I can think about is the poor girl I killed, and that kid named Alex, grieving for her…It makes me wonder what Finch would do if I was dead. If the positions were switched; the girl killing me instead, Finch holding my limp hand instead of Alex, Alex forcing the girl to move…

And that was when it happened.

We were so close to escaping the boat…the only thing we had to do was make another step, jump over the railing…and then the District 11 girl steps in our way. We didn’t even have time to stop. The girl holds her sword like a baseball bat, and all of the sudden Finch slumps to the floor, my hand still entwined with his. I look down at him. There’s a pool of blood already forming. But where’s it coming from? I turn my attention away from the blood, and a scream forms in my chest, rises up my throat, and bubbles through parted lips.

Finch has no head.

I don’t know what I’m screaming, but I can feel my lips forming words. Am I cursing Finch’s murderess? Am I calling out Finch’s name? Or am I wrong? Am I just screaming? The world disappears. It’s just Finch and me.

I fall on my knees, and grip Finch by the arms. Get up! Get up! Why won’t he get up?

Then I think about poor Dove Sage, holding Jayfeather Pines’ dying form. I always thought it was foolish of her, to go crazy when her survival depended on keeping her mind intact. That was how she died. She killed the District 4 male, and his district partner sought vengeance. Sure, she accepted Dove’s apology, but if it wasn’t for the D4’s fury District 5 might have had two victors. But now I understand. Now I see how easily someone can lose their mind. And all it takes is the flick of a sword.

Nobody’s POV

Nano and Electra stumble upon the screaming Larka just in time. Katherine Storm is about kill her too, but Nano and Electra rush her and push her off the boat. They grab Larka, and despite the danger they go to the over side of the ship. They know that it’s best to stay away from Katherine and Finch’s dead body. As they walk, Electra asks Nano, “Déjà vu, huh, Nano?” she mutters. Nano nods slightly.

And then the ship goes up in flames.

A terrible noise pierces the air, rings in the tribute’s ears. The explosion sends them all flying in different directions. Shrapnel goes everywhere. Pain, heat, fire…that is all they feel, until falling into the saltwater brings them back to reality. Larka feels something weighting them down as she and Electra struggle out of the water. She dares a glance, and sees Nano with a sharp piece of metal stuck in his head, digging into his brain.

Meanwhile, Brooke is dragging herself onto a giant piece of shrapnel that she intends on using as a raft. She lets out a wail as the saltwater touches her burns. Brooke drags her upper body onto the raft, but then something drags her under. Brooke looks down to see a shark roughly around the size of a bus clomping its jaws around her legs, and then it devours her.

Excluding the dead Nano, Alexander is the worst of all the tributes. His skin is either black, red, and pink. He tries to swim, but he’s too much in pain to move. Alexander quickly realizes what’ll happen. He whispers Vanessa’s name one last time, before letting the waves take him.

Day 1: The Bloodbath Deaths

24. Gabe Millen
23. Ireland Winona
22. Silvia Gardner
21. Vanessa Jimenez
20. Ryotato Ida
19. Noah Harte
18. Rush Leafs
17. Finch Shade
16. Nano Pythagorus
15. Brooke Fitzpatrick
14. Alexander Sidorov

Day 2: The Triangle

Katherine's POV, which stands for point of view, for all of you illiterate scum bags who know NOTHING.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm seeing.

I see the District 4 girl, stepping into the clearing. I'm still in the tree-line, hiding under a bush. Let's see...what's her name again? Waterlily! I remember because her (apparently) ex-boyfriend's interview was so...odd. I'll never forget the look on Waterlily's face when he told her he loved her. She had stormed up and slapped him in anger, but her face were of shock and even...fear. I think I understand. I think.

I see her district partner/ex-boyfriend, Splash; poke his head out of the foliage. Waterlily begins to turn around, and he quickly ducks back. I easily put two and two together, unless his confession of love to Waterlily was just a ploy for sponsors - but, then again, if he snuck up on her and killed her so, so early in Games would mean the Capitol would hate his guts, and he looks smart enough to understand that.

I hesitate, before getting out of my squatting position. I want to make an alliance with them. I'm not sure why, but after looking at Splash...I don't know. I just want to be around them.

My movement makes a rustling noise. Waterlily turns around, her mouth open, blue eyes wide, and her hatchet is poised to strike. I think I see Splash tense behind is cover of tropical plants. I take a step out and raise my hands in the air to show them I mean no harm. Waterlily only narrows her eyes, but she doesn't seem to be as battle-ready. I draw out my sword. Splash immediately leaps out of the plants, and unsheathes a sword of his own, and for some reason I feel...betrayed by him, but I try not to show it. I'm not very good at reading lips, but I'm fairly certain that Waterlily called out, "Splash!" And something else, but Waterlily's lips were too fast for me to read. But judging from her expression I think she said, "What're you doing here!?

Showing people I won't try to chop them up into tiny bits isn't that hard, really. I get onto my knees, raising one hand. I etch into the dirt with my blade, "I'm Katherine Storm." The letters are scraggly, but they make it out, and they're obviously confused of why I can't just say it out loud. So, I quickly draw below it, "Explosion made me deaf." And below that, "Alliance?"

Splash immediately agrees, but Waterlily seems hesitant, but I think it's more towards Splash then it is towards me. But, she agrees.

Nobody's POV. Also known as: POV of Nobody.

Electra had fainted immediately when she saw the burnt body of Nano, and Larka had to take her through the sea and drag her onto the beach, which they now camp upon. Slowly, Electra comes out of her. She looks and sees Larka at the tide-line, humming a tune. "One night in Bangkok the tough guys rumble..." Larka sings in a lovely voice.

Sluggishly, Electra gets onto her feet and stumbles over to Larka. She crashes on her rump right beside the District 5 girl. They don't speak a word to each other. But finally, Electra pipes up, "Wouldn't it be nice to just fling yourself into the sea?"

Larka is taken aback. "Wh-what?"

Electra begins to play with the purple strand in her hair. "...Nothing."

Silence follows. Finally, Larka gets up. "We need to eat."

"What?"

Larka shoves her arm outwards. "Fish."

"How?" Electra is baffled.

"We fish."

"Fish...fish?"

"Yup."

Electra stares at Larka, who's trying to think of a way to catch a fish without a net or a boat. Larka lets out a grunt, and with her spear wades into the sea. Electra watches her walk away a few yards. Larka suddenly thrusts her spear down, making Electra flinch. When the last District 5 tribute pulls the spear out of the sea, it is revealed that she had just killed a crab. With a proud grin on her face, Larka returns. "Found ourselves some noms!"

Electra pokes the crab hesitantly. "How do we get it out of its shell?"

"We pry it open," she answers. "Gimme your knife."

Electra stares at the dead crustacean. She withdraws to her backpack that Larka had propped her head on as a pillow, and rummages through it. Electra stares down at it, then reaches in and pulls out a box of granola bars.

Larka frowns deeply. "We're eating crab, Electra. Now get me your knife."

~

John grips the strap of his backpack tightly in one hand, while the other one turns white-knuckled as he grips his knife. John’s lost. Very lost. And every movement might mean death. John can feel himself panting, and he dares not to blink. Suddenly, a giant cockatoo swoops down at him from above. John screams, and runs as fast as he can, but he’s not fast enough. The cockatoo grabs him by its talons, and flies into the air.

They reach the clearing that Katherine, Splash, and Waterlily have met and camped at. They yell in surprise as the cockatoo swoops down and drops John right in front of Katherine. They stare at John, John stares at them for what seems like highly anticipated hours. Katherine quickly sees his knife, and reaches for her sword. John notices the movement, and immediately lashes out at her.

She lets out a wail of pain as it digs deep into her side. John twists the small blade, making her wail louder. With a grunt, he pulls it out, and Katherine falls into a heap. John turns around, eyes wild, only to get stabbed in the gut by Splash Blue.

Ignoring the boy dying on the ground, Splash rushes to Katherine’s aid. He props her head up. “Are you alright?” he asks. Katherine only stares at him, confused, and Splash remembers that she’s deaf. Not looking at her, Splash calls to Waterlily, “There’s a kit in my bag. Go get it.” Waterlily stiffens, but not wanting her new friend to die goes over to Splash’s pack and pulls out the first-aid kit. She returns, and Splash does his best to cover up the Katherine’s wound.

And while he works his albeit limited magic, Waterlily takes a step back, and watches with sad and slightly angry eyes.

~

The District 7 tributes are desperate. Blaze Storm was unable to get neither a weapon nor supplies, and the food Dawn Woods managed they had eaten breakfast, and even that barely got them through the pains of hunger. Now, with it being lunchtime back in Panem, their stomachs are rumbling, and it becomes almost maddening as they draw closer to the sea. But the sea means fish, and they intend to eat said fish.

They’re barely out of the tree-line when they see the two girls, Larka and Electra, and then they see their bags full of food. Dawn also sees the remnants of a crab. This alliance is eating well.

Dawn and Blaze exchange glances. They don’t want to, but they know what must be done. They’d have to steal. Blaze jerks a thumb in his direction. “I’m the distraction.” Dawn nods.

Blaze throws himself at the girls, and Larka does battle with him. Electra just spends her time trying to get a sneak attack into the fray, but Blaze moves too quickly. Dawn hurries out of the foliage, and takes a run for the backpacks. She kicks sand everywhere. Dawn wants so badly to help her ally, and nearly does as Larka sends the spear into his side, but somehow keeps on track. Her heart is pounding with adrenaline.

Dawn throws herself at Electra’s still opened backpack full of granola bars. As she grabs it, she glances to see how Blaze is doing. Blaze now has her back turned to her, and Electra is sneaking up to slit his throat from behind. Dawn screams, making the fighters turn around. She stands upright, and throws the knife at Electra. It gets her straight in the chest, and she slumps against Blaze. Her blood getting on his white shirt, she slumps to the sand. “ELECTRA!” Larka bellows, falling to her ally’s aid, but it’s too late; the District 3 tribute’s cannon boom.

Larka is breathing heavily as she cradles her friend’s head. “No...” Larka whispers. “Not again. Not again.”

Dawn and Blaze barely pay attention to her, but instead takes each other’s hands and makes a wild a dash for the jungle.

Day 2: The Triangle Deaths

13. John Gero

12. Electra Vargas

Day 3: The Liking

Dawn Wood's POV

I feel terrible for not only stealing, but also killing. I can't believe I killed that poor girl, Electra, I think her name was...I mean, I know I had to save Blaze, but if it wasn't for us Blaze wouldn't need to be saved and that girl hadn't been killed. I wonder how her ally, Lara or whatever, is doing...

We nibble on Electra's granola bars, but yesterday had made us both uneasy, and we don't talk or eat much. It's sort of ironic. I was imagining us happily feasting when we made the conclusion of thievery, but now…We’re like mice in winter. I suppose I’m more of a sick mouse in winter. Whenever I see those granola bars, I see Electra’s face, and I lose all interest in food.

Nobody’s POV

It’s a wonder how Sapphire had kept her crippled brother alive this long. They’re huddled in a small cave, silent and grim. Finally, Sapphire breaks the silence. “I’m gonna go check on those snares,” she says, referring to the traps she had laid out yesterday to snatch animals. Though she knows it’s not smart, Sapphire leaves her whip behind with her brother in case his knife fails him in a fight.

Fang watches her leave, too busy on her disappearing form to notice the small, shadowy form in the corner. The form steps into the light. Fang senses somebody watching him, and turns. Fang relaxes to see it’s only the twelve-year-old from District 10, Hayley Winters. “How did you survive the Bloodbath?” he thinks out loud, not caring that she has a hatchet in her hands.

She lets out a guttural roar, and throws it at his head. His cannon go off instantly.

Sapphire is looking at an empty snare when she hears it. “FANG!” she screams, and hurries back to the cave. His killer is gone, but Sapphire can see by the wound in his face that this wasn’t natural. Sapphire doesn’t cry. She doesn’t scream. She just stares at Fang, eyes wide, mouth agape.

She stands there for many a heartbeat, before finally turning around and walking away. Sapphire’s obviously stunned. Her trek through the jungle is beginning to get boring when Sapphire suddenly says aloud, “A shame our snares didn’t catch anything, huh, Fang?” It’s as if he’s right beside her. The tribute continues to have a one-sided conversation with herself, and the audience is baffled.

Hayley’s POV

I must admit, it’s a little thrilling, your first kill. But it’s also terrible and frightening. I’m running through the jungle, sweat pouring everywhere. My life as a tribute would be so much easier if I had a wolf beside me, or even a human ally, even though I’d have to kill him or her eventually.

Slowly, my running turns into a walk, a walk turns into a stumble, a stumble into sitting on a rock. I drop my bloody hatchet and hold my head up with my hands. Didn’t that boy I killed have an ally? His sister or whatever? I immediately feel guilty. Why did I have to kill him? Why did I have to wake up to discover that there were two other tributes in the cave I had slept in, and they hadn’t realized it? Why did I kill that poor kid? He hadn’t even made a move with his knife or whip…

Tears trickle down my cheeks. Why?

Out of the corner of my eye, I see a lizard looking up at me. “Go away!” I yell at it, and pick up my hatchet. I raise it. The lizard opens up a red frill across its neck. I throw the hatchet, but the lizard easily skitters to the side. I jump to my feet, and spin around to face it. The lizard crawls onto my rock, and spits at me.

Wait…spits at me? How’s that even possible? I barely have time to wonder before my face seems to be on fire. Intense pain is everywhere. I scream, drop, and roll, trying to get rid of the invisible flames. Slowly, I slip into darkness.

And then I’m in a deep, dark void.

Nobody’s POV

Our new favorite trio, the District 4 tributes and Katherine Storm of 11, are walking through the jungle. Waterlily leads the way, a few yards from Katherine and Splash. Katherine is limping, and is forced to lean against Splash (which clearly she doesn’t mind). Katherine stumbles on a tree root. Splash keeps her up-right by wrapping his arm around her waist. Katherine’s face immediately flushes a bright red color.

But Splash doesn’t notice. He’s too busy frowning at Waterlily, who has decided to never speak to him again, ally or not. He points at Waterlily, then jerks his thumb at himself, and then points his thumb towards the ground, a deep frown on his face. He’s saying, “She doesn’t like me.”

Katherine frowns, too. She wraps her right arm around his waist, and points to her chest with her index finger. With the same finger, Katherine points at Splash, and then points her thumb skyward. “I like you.” Her lips form a giant grin. Splash can’t help but smile that.

They walk a whole mile in silence and without action. Katherine decides to wriggle free from Splash, forcing herself to be an independent woman. Despite the limp, it does appear that she can walk on her own. Splash smirks, and goes over to a tree. He plucks a yellow fruit from a tree, and throws it at the back of Katherine’s head. She lets out a yelp, and tumbles on her hands and knees. Katherine glares at Splash, but then sputters into a laugh. She runs over to another tree, and tosses the same kind of fruit at the District 4 tribute. It quickly becomes a food fight between the two, laughing and screaming with joy, while Waterlily stares with a lonely look. Noticing this, Splash reaches over to another tree, and pulls out a red fruit. “Heads up!” Splash calls towards her. She turns around, and barely has time to deflect her face with her arms before the fruit is thrown.

Waterlily throws her hands down, smiling widely. The smiling lips then parts to make a scream.

Steam rises from under her arms. Katherine and Splash run toward her. The girl from 4’s arm is burnt and charred, and she’s in obvious pain. Her screaming sends a chill down Splash’s spine, and he finds his eyes swelling with tears. Katherine notices that he didn’t react that way when she was hurt.

Ignoring foolish feelings, Katherine draws out her sword and rushes toward Waterlily. “Kat-” Splash gasps, reaching over to stop her, believing Katherine is going to kill the writhing Waterlily. But, Katherine only slams the hilt of the blade down on the blonde’s head, and she collapses, her awful screaming silenced.

~

Larka is walking aimlessly but alert on the beach. Getting tired of the ocean, Larka meanders into the jungle. Suddenly, a rock falls on her cranium. The cannon goes off before she even hits the ground.

The camera looks into the tree above Larka. It’s Sapphire, peeking from her perch on the branches. She stares, almost dazed, at the poor girl from District 5. Instead of going down to the body, Sapphire leaves it behind, and jumps from tree branch to tree branch.

One down, six more to go…

Day 3: The Liking Deaths

11. Fang Ryuu

10. Hayley Winters

9. Larka Dew

Final 8 Interviews

Splash Blue

A family of four comes on stage. Caeser Flickerman I gives them a greeting and says to the camera, "Panem, meet Mr. and Mrs. Blue, parents of Splash Blue, and his adorable little sisters Bree and Gabby!"

Gabby, who sits on her mothers lap, hops up and squeals, "Hi! Hi you's!" Mrs. Blue scolds her and forces her to sits down. Caeser chuckles.

"So..." Caeser leans in. "What do you think of your son so far?"

Splash's parents exchance weary glances. "He's doing fine...as a tribute," Mr. Blue says.

"As a tribute? May I ask what you mean by that?"

They hesitate. "We think something's going on. Something that isn't like Splash at all," growls Mrs. Blue. "And let's just say I blame that District 11 hussey. It's Waterlily he always talks about on the subject matter of girls. He needs to keep it that way!"

Caeser is a little surprised. "You mean, you think that Splash is..." He pauses, as if it's difficult to say. "Cheating on Waterlily?"

Before they can speak, Bree pipes up, "How can you cheat on a person?" she asks. "You can't cheat on a person. You can cheat on a test, though. In my Kindergarten class, mean ol' Jicky Wilkers tried to copy the answers on my math test!" Her small chest swells with indignation. "Mrs. Tilly said he was 'cheating'. The dictionary says that cheating is 'to break the rules in a game, examination, or contest, in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage.'"

Caeser laughs. "My, aren't you a bright one!"

Bree grins. "Yup!" The grin disappears. "There was also another definition, but Mrs. Tilly said that only big kids are allowed to read that."

Caeser doesn't seem to hear. He leans closer to the little girl. "You would do wonderful in the Games, wouldn't you...?" he says dreamily.

Mr. Splash snatches Bree up so hard and fast that she squeals in surprise. "Sorry, Mr. Flickerman," he grunts. "But I think our time is over."

Caeser looks down at his watch. "Ah, so it is! Ladies and gentleman, the Splash family!"

Waterlily Wave

Another family of four walk on stage; two parents with two toddlers in tow. "I would like to introduce you all," Caeser says, "To Mr. and Mrs. Wave, plus Waterlily's lovely toddler sister Emma and Anna!"

They nod hello.

"So, Mr. and Mrs. Wave..." Caeser says with a smile. "What's it like to have one of your daughters in the Final Eight?"

Mrs. Wave forces a smile. "Exciting! ...If not scary." Her smile is weak. "We fear for her. After the fruit..." Mrs. Wave shudders.

Caeser reaches and gives her a reassuring pat on the shoulder. "Don't worry, Mrs. Wave. The tough survive the Games - and believe me, your daughter is tough." He smirks a little. And hot.

Mrs. Wave scooches away from him.

"Would you like to give your daughter a message?" he asks.

"Err, yes," Mr. Wave says with a nod. He turns to the camera. "Honey, we love you. When you were reaped, we remembered how the District 2 girl in the 1st Hunger Games had a mother that hated her for losing and falling in love with the District 6 boy. But, I want you to remember...that we love you. And always will."

Ruby Steiner

"Alright, everybody! I would like you to meet an acquaintence of Ruby Steiner's back in the Peacekeeper Reserves! Panem, say hello to Mr. Sallory Heinstack!" Caeser smiles at Heinstack. "Hello, sir!"

Heinstack nods a greeting.

"What was it like to train with Ruby in the Reserves?"

Heinstack blinks. "Interesting," he says. "It was obvious that Steiner was capable with weapons, but yet he seemed to hold back whenever he shot a gun or stabbed with a knife. As if he didn't want to hurt someone." He snorts. "Or someone. The only thing he could ever kill was a dummy."

"I see," Caeser says, intrigued. "Do you think Ruby has a chance with Liesel?"

"Him? Liesel? Nah." Heinstack shrugs. "He's likes that chick too much. If they make it to the Final 2, he'll do something stupid like commit suicide."

"Are you proud of your district for finally getting both tributes to the Final 8?"

Heinstack half-lids his eyes. "No. District 2 is my district, not Six. And we keep on getting careers who are nothing but Bloodbath fodder!" He glares at the camera. "C'mon, Two! Get your act straight! We aren't fodder, we're careers!"

"Yes, yes, thank you, Mr. Heinstack," Caeser says hurriedly. "Anything you'd like to say to Ruby before we leave?"

"Lose the dame, Ruby," Heinstack growls. "You might have a chance - not that I care."

Liesel Hammerman

"Everyone! Everyone!" Caeser Flickerman says excitedly. "You remember the tribute interviews, in which Liesel Hammerman revealed that she would be alone in the world if it wasn't for Ruby, as she doesn't know if she's alive or not? Well, Panem, I would like you to meet...Mrs. Meminger!"

Mrs. Meminger is met with a roar of applause as she steps onto the stage and takes her seat. "So, Mrs. Memiger," Caeser begins. "Do you mind explaining why Liesel didn't know if you were alive or not? I mean, she had told us you had her snuck into District 6, but can you explain from your point of view?"

Mrs. Meminger nods. "We're from District 8, where the fighting was the worst in Panem during the Dark Days. Every day we there it felt like a dozen bodies were buried. I couldn't go to the market and buy rations without hearing gun-fire. I knew my children couldn't live in this. I couldn't take care of them in a battle-field. So, I took some of my friends to the side who had been smuggling children into the districts where the fighting wasn't so bad. I told them to take Liesel, who was ten at the time, and her six-year-old brother Lee and go. They agreed."

"Did you know where they were going?" Caeser asks.

She nods. "They told me as soon a they had charted a course they were going to District 6. They had some friends there observing the fighting, and said there were rarely any skirmishes. I approved, and I immediately told them to pack."

Caeser blinks. "Immediately? Was there no time in between?"

"Yes. A week to get supplies."

"Did you know that at least Liesel had made it to District 6 in one piece?" Caeser asks, as the death of Liesel's brother had already been revealed to Panem on the day of the interviews.

Mrs. Meminger's eyes swell with tears. "No," she whispers. "My friends never came back. I never learned that Liesel was still alive until the reaping."

"Were you happy to know that your daughter was still alive?"

"Yes...and no," Mrs. Meminger sighs. "My daughter had been reaped. She was going to the Games. I was so happy on the day of the reaping, I forgot all about that. A day later, I remembered..." A tear slips out of her eye. Caeser offers a tissue, but she declines.

"What was running through your mind when you remembered?" he asks softly.

Tears streak down Mrs. Meminger's cheeks. "...That my daughter was dead. As the day progressed, I was thinking that she has a chance to live. And that I still had Lee." She sobs. "The interviews came, and Liesel said that Lee had died in her arms...I didn't think about anything except him. Except Liesel. That I will be alone in the world, if Liesel dies..."

She continues to cry, but somehow keeps her dignity and pride. "Win, Liesel, please...! Mommy loves you!"

Dawn Woods

Five minutes after Mrs. Meminger leaves, a three kids and their only parent, their mother, comes on stage. Caeser brightens at them, hoping to make this interview light and care-free. "Panem, meet Dawn Woods' family! Mrs. Woods, her older brother Pine, and Dawn's little brother and sister Ash and Fern!" As he says their names, the camera zooms in on their faces and they smile a greeting to the country.

"So, tell me about yourselves!" Caeser says cordially.

"Well, I'm a healer," Mrs. Woods says. "Pine works in the lumberyard." She pinches Ash's and Fern's cheeks. "But these guys are a wee bit too young to work just yet!"

Fern and Ash wince. "Ah, Mom!" They groan.

Caeser laughs. "Well, what do they want to do when they grow up?"

Ash smiles. "I'm gonna become a healer, like my mom." In all honesty he would like to become a hunter, but he knows better than to say that.

"I would be a tribute in the Games. Like Dawn," Fern says calmly. Her family gives her a stunned look.

The interviewer blinks. "Oh? Well, being a tribute is a great honor. A greater honor if you survive."

"I don't want to be a tribute for honor. I wanna do it for Dawn. I've always wanted to be like her, and if she dies..." Her young, bright face becomes grim. "I want to make it known to all of Panem that my sister will always live. I don't care how hard a tribute cuts her up or shoots her down. She'll always live. That's why - if I'm not reaped, that is - I'm gonna volunteer when I'm twelve."

"How old are you know?"

"Eleven."

Caeser nods tersley. "I see." He raises an eyebrow at Fern's mother. "What do you think of that?"

"...I...I don't know," Mrs. Woods whispers, obviously dumb-struck.

Another bob from his head, and Caeser turns to the camera. "Alright, folks!" he proclaims. "If it's not Dawn Woods that lives forever in our hearts and minds, it's her little sister! Give a clap for Fern Woods, everybody!"

Blaze Storm

After the Woods comes the Storm family. Up there is Blaze's little brother, Paul of age eleven, and Blaze's parents. Caeser begins the torture session interrogation interview quickly. "So..." he says, leering at Mrs. Storm.

"...Good sir, I know how to use a rolling pin as a weapon," Mrs. Storm says, making Caeser laugh. Her very dark stare quickly shuts him up, and he ignores her through the rest of the session.

"So, Mr. Storm!" Caeser says brightly. "District 7 has had such the best of luck, but yet the worst of luck as well these past two years. Do you think your son will be victorious or will he end up like Tecy Pines and Saprey Argile?"

Mr. Storm opens his mouth to speak, but his son cuts him off. "Of course Blaze will win! He has too!" the young boy shouts at him. "What right do you have to say that he'll die!?" Paul is obviously out-raged, with his blazing eyes and crossed arms.

Caeser flinches. "Now, now, I wasn't saying that he is going to die, I mean do you think he'll die?"

Paul snorts. "What kind of a question is that!?"

Mr. Storm grips Paul tightly by the shoulder. "Calm down," he growls, and then returns to Caeser. "I hope my son will live, and I know he has a chance."

The rest of the interview isn't much. The only thing that truly lasts in the audience's memory is the young boy sitting in-between his mother and father, whispering, "Blaze has to live...He has to!"

Sapphire Ryuu

Surprisingly, the people who show up for Sapphire's interview aren't parents and/or sibling(s), but two kids. Caeser introduces them as Cheryl and Timothy, students at Sapphire's and Fang's school. "Do you mind telling Panem how you know Sapphire and had known Fang?" Caeser asks.

"Well, we're really good friends with the Ryuu's. Like, everybody knows them. And absolutely adores the two of them!" Cheryl says with a very large grin.

"Or at least used to adore Fang," Timothy says. "Heck, might as well say the samething for Sapphire, seeing as how she's taken the crazy train."

Cheryl glares at him. "How could you say such a thing, Tim!"

Timothy glares at Cheryl. "Don't lie. You know it's true."

"Why aren't Mr. and Mrs. Ryuu here with us tonight, kids?" Caeser politely breaks up their arguement.

Cheryl happily answers. "Oh, uh, they were, like, totally bad parents, so they ditched'em. Sad, huh?" She gave him a fake frown.

"...I see." Caeser seems quite saddened by the news. "Fang and Sapphire hadn't mentioned that in their interviews."

"Yeah, well..." Cheryl shrugs. "Personal, I guess."

The rest of the interview isn't eventful.

Katherine Storm

Katherine's three siblings - James, Eleniel, and Rosemarie - come on screen. Caeser gives them all a very pleasant grin. "Your sister is doing quite well! I bet your district is excited to have it's first Final 8 tribute, huh?"

"Yup!" James says with pride.

"Do you think that Katherine's deafness caused by the explosion on the ship will hinder her from winning?"

"Nope!" James replies.

"I can see how it can fail," Eleniel pipes up. "Somebody could sneak up on her. They wouldn't even need to be stealthy with her hearing and all."

Rosemarie snorts. "But she's definetly gonna win!"

Caeser raises a dyed pink eyebrow with intrigue. "I love your enthusiam, dear Rosemarie, and I'm not saying that Katherine doesn't have a chance, but why are you so certain that she'll win?"

"Well, our father was a little...'out there,' shall we call it? And he taught us how to use weapons and -" Eleniel begins, but Rosemarie cuts her off.

"The reason why Katherine is gonna win is because she's Katherine," Rosemarie says with utter most certainty. "And that's that."

Day 4: The Announcement

At around Eight A.M., children should be looking up at their teacher, awaiting for him or her to begin the first class of the day. But not during the Games. Instead, they watch their friends and family kill and get killed.

That is the life of the children of Panem, every year, till there is only one out of the twenty-four children that were selected to go into the Hunger Games.

At exactly Eight A.M., Ruby Steiner of District 6 is looking dow at a circle with X's on one side and two O's on the other. Ruby bobs his head soberly. Liesel appears behind him. "What'tcha looking at?" she asks.

She makes Ruby flinch, but he calms down he sees her curious face. "A map," he answers, and Liesel goes over and sits beside him.

"How'd you make that?" Liesel cocks her head to the side.

"Well, I was standing on the shore yesterday, and I just so happened to notice the curviture of the beach. So, assuming that the island's basically a circle, I made a map." Ruby gnaws on his lip. "It's just a theory, though. For all I know, the island becomes straight just when it comes out of view."

It's obvious that her ally has impressed her. "And the X's are other tributes, right?"

"Right you are, Lady Liesel." Ruby grins widely at her.

Liesel chukles. "Well then, why don't you tell me more about your map, Sir Ruby?"

"If that is what you wish, m'Lady." Ruby points at the X. "You remember the explosion on the S.S. Cornucopia, yes?"

She shudders. "How can I forget?"

"Well, I saw a few of the tributes fly that way." Ruby points forward. "And we swam over this way." He points his thumb over his shoulder. "That means the other tributes are on the other side of the island."

"Or just the tributes you saw."

"...Or just the tributes I saw." Ruby frowns deeply.

Liesel laughs, and pats his shoulder. She leaves his side for a moment, and brushes the stems of a bush away to reveal twenty-two lines scratched into the soft sand, thirteen of the lines being crossed out. Liesel takes a near by stick. "Three died last night, right?" she asks, and even though he hasn't given an answer yet crosses one of the lies.

"Uh...yeah. Three."

She slashes three of the lines. Suddenly, she stands up. "Feast," Liesel whispers.

Ruby blinks. "What?"

"Feast. Annoucement. Tonight." Liesel slowly turns around. "We're in the Final Eight. You know what they do in the Final Eight."

They murmur it in unison. "Announce a Feast."

Ruby takes a deep breath. "We don't know if they will this year. We don't have to go."

Liesel shakes her head furiously. "They'll find a way. I know they will. We'll have to fight." She looks over to their bags hanging from a tree. "And we're running low on food."

"We'll look for food."

"What if the food's poisoned?"

Ruby rubs his face slowly. "Liesel...don't worry. We'll get through."

Liesel sits down, leaning against a palm tree. They sit in silence for awhile, until she finally snaps, "We can't do that, Ruby! We can't! Only one of can live." The girl from 6 shakes with rage. "Or had you been so busy with your theories and maps that you forgot that little minor problem!?"

There's a mixture of shock and hurt on the boy's features. "Liesel...I-"

Liesel hops to her feet, and stomps over to the fourteen-year-old. "Promise me you'll make it through, Ruby!" she yells in his face. Tears swell in her deep blue eyes as she grabs him by the collar. "Promise me! Promise me!!"

And just like that, rage is replaced with despair. Liesel falls to her knees, and wraps Ruby in a tight hug as she buries her face into his shoulder.

Sapphire's POV

I wake up from a storm of nightmares.

Fang. Fang's dead. He was in the sky last night.

But he can't be dead. That isn't right. Fang can't die. He can't.

Slowly, I sit up. I'm in some tropical tree whose name I have no clue. I miss the woods in District 9, where we learned how to hunt game for the Capitol. Why can't the arena be a forest? Fang would've loved it...

Fang.

I get to my feet, doing my best to balance on the tree limb, but it's hard once you only had a few hours of sleep. Heck, probably less. I look up at the sky. Cloudless. Sunny. A perfect day for hunting. But hunting for what?

A stupid question. I already know the answer.

I'm gonna go hunt down and kill Fang's murderer.

'''''Nobody's POV'''''

Today is proven to be uneventful. As the afternoon comes, an announcement is made.

"Dear remaining tributes of the 3rd Hunger Games, I would like to congratulate you for having made it to the Final Eight!"

The camera quickly shows Liesel, her face red with tears, and Ruby sitting beside his ally. Liesel narrows her eyes at nothing. "Get on with it," she growls.

"The Gamemakers would like to invite you to a feast in your honor! There, you will eat delecacies and drink only the finest liquids!"

Blaze holds back a snicker.

"Plus, there will be some entertainment along the way..."

Splash grimaces as he squats beside a resting Waterlily. He glances at Katherine, who has no clue of the announcement, but yet sees his worried features. "What's wrong?" she mouths.

He doesn't answer.

"Please, we do hope you will come to this lovely feast! Yours truly, the Capitol."

Dawn furrows her brow. "They sure like to make an entrance, huh?" she mumbles.

Suddenly, a screech is heard from above. They look up, and a giant, fanged cockatoo comes down on them, nearly squishing the District 7 duo. Dawn screams, "RUN!"

Blaze lunges for a large branch. The branch in his hand, Blaze jumps to his feet. "WHAT!?" he shouts, and hits the mutt in the chest.

"WE'LL MEET SOMEWHERE OUTSIDE THE FEAST!" Dawn yells.

"WE DON'T EVEN KNOW WHERE IT IS!"

"JUST RUN!"

And without another word, they make a bee-line away from the cockatoo, going their seperate ways. The muttation would have gone after them, but it was too busy snacking on the tribute's forgotten supplies.

Waterlily's POV

The first thing I see when I wake up from my rest is the night sky. I glance to the left, and there's Splash, staring at nothing with a thoughtful look on his face. "What's wrong?" I pipe up.

At first, Splash doesn't answer. His spacey look unsettles me. I have to repeat myself for him to look down. "Nothing's wrong," Splash says bluntly, looking at the sand instead of my face.

I glance at a sleeping Katherine, and then look back a Splash. "What happened, Splash." It's more like a command than a question.

"A feast was announced while you were asleep," Splash admits, staring into the trees. "All tributes are invited."

"And you're going?"

"Yes." He hesitates. "They should have medicine there."

It takes awhile for it to sink in. Splash is going to the Feast for me. "No," I growl. "You're not dying. Not because you're trying to keep me alive."

"Kate's going with me!" he protests.

That makes me boil inside. "Oh, so it's Kate now?"

"Yes, and I don't see what's wrong with that!" Splash grumbles.

We sit in an angry silence. How dare he say that!? He says he's in love with me, but yet he goes off with "Kate?" Why had even confessed his supposed love to me in the first place, when he knows full well that we're in the Hunger Games? "Was it all an act?" I finally break the silence. "Your little 'love confession?'"

"No!"

"Then why are you so infatuated with Kate!?"

"I'm not infatuated with Kate!" We're practically yelling now. Katherine mumbles in her sleep, and our heads whip around. "She's just talking in her sleep..." Splash lets out a relieved sigh. "She didn't hear us."

That's when I remember something that annoys me. "Yeah," I grunt. "Can't hear people when you're deaf."

Splash glares at me. "What is the matter with you, Waterlily!?"

"The matter with me!? What's the matter with you!?" I shoot back. "You announce that you're supposedly in love with me when I can't be in love! There's a high chance we're gonna die, and yet you say you love me! There's a lesser - but still high - chance that we'll have to kill each other, and yet you say you love me! We're in the Hunger Games, and yet you say you love me!" I try to raise my arm to slam it, but I immediately regret it as a surge of pain ripples through me. I howl in agony.

Splash put his hands on my shoulder. "Don't move them," he says gently, and looks into my eyes. And that's when I realize it, staring at those small, yet so deep pools of blue.

Splash really does love me.

Regret and sadness overwhelms me. "I'm sorry, Splash," I whisper.

He kiss me gently on the forehead. "I'm sorry, too."

"I still can't love you, Splash." His already large frown grows. "But I wish I could."

The corners of his mouth twitch, making a slight smile. "As long as you know that I love you, that's fine with me."

I sleep beside him that night.

Day 4: The Announcement Deaths

No one died.

Day 5: The Feast

Splash is the first of the tributes to stir. He wakes up Katherine and Waterlily, and they have breakfast. Using her sword, Katherine scribbles into the dirt, "Know where to go?" Splash shakes his head in reply.

Liesel's POV ho snap!

Ruby and I are eating breakfast...or at least, attempting to. I can see that Ruby is practically shoving the fruit down his throat, and my blackberry is literally untouched. This is our last meal, until we have to go to foraging for our next meal. No way are we going to that Feast.

In all honesty, I don't think anybody's going to the Feast. Nobody knows where it's gonna be, and all I can say is that there's probably not gonna be any deaths today. Unless the Gamemakers do something big, but I don't think they will. After all -

I spoke too soon.

In the blink of an eye, the entire island is shaking. Trees are falling all around, animals are rushing for cover. I try to stand, but I immediatelly fall. Ruby drags himself to my side, and I grab his hand.

There's a creaking, groaning sound. We look over our shoulders, and a palm tree is being uprooted, leaning forward. I let out a scream. "GO, RUBY!" I wail, shoving him out of the way.

"Liesel-" he gasps as he falls on his back.

There isn't enough time.

Suddenly, I'm flat on the sand. The crack of bones and a great thud echoes and re-echoes in my ears. Blood fills my lungs. Pain is everywhere. I gasp for breath, but it doesn't work. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Ruby, is eye wide with terror and anguish. I try to look at him, but I can't. I'll have to deal. "I love you, Ruby," I mouth. "Thank you for everything."

And then I fade out of the living world.

Nobody's POV

The quake is over. Ruby is still in shock. Slowly, he stumbles to his feet, and drags himself away from Liesel's crushed corpse. The boy from 6 looks across what was once a sea. It is now cracked earth, level with the rest of the land. Ruby can see the table with it's candles and dishes, and it appears to him that the other part of the island has become closer to his side. Ruby grimaces.

"They found a way, Liesel," he whispers. "They found a way."

There was no reason for him to live now. Liesel was dead. He might as well be dead now too.

Katherine's POV

I peer through the branches of a tree, examining the lay out of the land, and the table only a mile away. The earthquake will make our path to the Feast difficult, as the ground is now covered with fallen trees and debris, but at least we don't have to go looking for it. I scramble down. Splash is putting some fallen leaves and twigs on Waterlily, whose face is covered in mud. When she blinks, I can barely make out from the ground. Splash must have learned a lot from the camouflage station.

Splash looks up at me. I point in the direction of the table, and he nods. Splash leans down to Waterlily's face to say goodbye, and she says something. I can't make it out, cause she says it too quickly, but I understand soon enough when she kisses him right on the lips.

Betrayal. That's what I feel at first. Betrayal, then anger, then jealousy, and then all three of those emotions at the same time. Judging by the heat on my face, it's flushing red. The camera's are probably zooming in on it, to show my shock and anguish.

I spin on my heel, and run. I don't look back.

Nobody's POV

After Waterlily confessed his love to him and going on a search for his runaway ally and friend that only ended in failure, Splash marches himself over to the Feast table. He's three yards away when he stops, staring at Ruby, who sits on the table, his back-pack already on his back.

They size each other up for five strenuous minutes, when Ruby finally ends the silence. "District Four." He slides off of the table. "Would've thought you'd have your district partner with you."

Splash shrugs. "I had been wondering the samething."

Ruby's indifferent face is suddenly changes into one of pure fury. "You'll pay for that!" he screams in rage, and flings himself at Splash. Splash unsheathes his sword, and slices Ruby's face. The boy from 6 wails in pain, and lashes out with the whip. It hits Splash's stomach, knocking the wind out of him.

While the two battle, Dawn and Blaze take this opportunity to reunite. They grab their packs, but Sapphire appears and rushes from behind. She tackles Blaze, knocking him to the ground. "WHICH ONE OF YOU KILLED HIM!?" she roars with rage. Dawn winds up a fist, but Sapphire raises the rock over her head. "I'll do it," the girl from 9 growls warningly.

Dawn stares at Sapphire with wide, despaired eyes. "I...We don't even know who 'him' is."

Sapphire flings a curse at her, then grabs Blaze's forhead, forcing him to not bury his face into the dirt. "MY DISTRCT PARTNER! NOW WHICH ONE OF YOU KILLED MY BROTHER!?"

Dawn begins to sob. "WE. DIDN'T. KILL. YOUR. BROTHER!" she pleads.

"Liar!" Sapphire spits. "Tell me or I'll crack his skull!"

"No! Please...NO!" she wails.

In the blink of an eye, Blaze bucks Sapphire off of him. She falls flat on her back, kicking up dust. Blaze jumps to his feet and spins around. "Run, Dawn! RUN!" And then Blaze rushes Sapphire, hitting her with his branch as hard as he can. Dawn hesitates, but turns and runs anyway. She looks over her shoulder, just in time to see Blaze fall, and Sapphire lower her stone, blood and brain-matter spattered on the District 9 girl and her crude weapon.

Yah Baby Waterlily's POV!

It sure is lonely and quiet here. Sure, I can hear the sounds of wild-life, but after saying goodbye to my human friends time seems to slow like it does when you're alone and desperately want company. Oh, and I'm also bored to tears.

All I do is stare at the sky, and look down every now and again to make sure my hatchet's still there. Better safe than sorry, huh?

I jolt up when I hear a cannon boom, ruining Splash's camouflage. Who had died? Splash? Katherine? Katherine...I lay down. I hope Katherine's alright...

My musings are interrupted when I notice a large shadow is covering. I look up just in time to see a cockatoo mutt grab me, and take me to the sky.

Nobody's POV

Katherine stumbles into a clearing with fallen tree laying straight across the middle. Deciding that it would make a good place to rest, she approaches it, but halts when she notices a large beetle scurry across it. The bug's obviously a mutt - it's bigger than her hand. Katherine unsheathes her sword. The bug notices Katherine, opens up it's wings, and rockets for her face. The girl gasps, and chops downward, chopping it in half. It's remains fall to her feet. There's a sharp pain in her arm, and when Katherine looks, she cries out in fear as another bug nibbles on her flesh. A swarm of bugs rushes from the fallen tree, making a bee-line for Katherine. Screaming, she turns and runs. Only when Katherine comes to the Feast table does the chase end, just in time to see a cockatoo mutt drop Waterlily while hovering a foot away from the ground.

Waterlily looks up, and her blue eyes widen as Ruby's whip causes a giant welt on Splash's face. "SPLASH!" she wails.

Splash turns around, mouth agape. "W-...Waterlily!?" Suddenly, Ruby hits Splash's neck with the side of his hand. Splash's eyes dull as his neck snaps in two, and he falls in a heap on the ground.

"SPLASH!" Katherine and Waterlily scream in unison.

Sapphire runs over to Waterlily, grabbing her by the collar. "YOU!" she screeches in Waterlily's face. "YOU KILLED FANG!"

There's a guttural roar from Katherine, who flings herself at Sapphire. She stabs Sapphire in the shoulder, cruelly twists the sword, and rips it out. Sapphire cries out, but her hold on Waterlily remains. She bashes Waterlily skull like she had down with Blaze, drops her, and runs.

Katherine tries to catch Sapphire, but she's faster. Tears streaming down her face, Katherine camps at the table, where she mourns her friends.

Dawn steps into view, showing her palms to prove that she has no weapons on her. Katherine reluctantly lets her sit down. Dawn tries talking with her, but she talks too fast, so Katherine writes in the dirt with her sword to tell the District 7 girl she's deaf. Dawn nods, and uses Blaze's branch as a writing tool.

"We can find the people that killed our allies faster if there's two of us," Dawn writes.

Katherine nods. "Allies?"

"Allies."

They don't talk. Unlike their last alliance, where there was friendliness and happines (unless a tragedy struck) in their conversation before going to bed, the two allies stare in the night with hard determination.

Before she goes to bed, Katherine draws in the dirt, "Justice will prevail."

Day 5: The Feast Deaths

8. Liesel Hammerman

7. Blaze Storm

6. Splash Blue

5. Waterlily Wave

Day 6: The Justice

Dawn's POV

When Katherine and I wake up in the morning, we make a pact. We will not kill to win and live. We kill for our allies. We will avenge them. Their lost lives is all we care about, not losing our own.

Nobody's POV

When the allies look over their new supplies and then break camp to start their hunt for Sapphire and Ruby, the District 6 boy had been slowly waking up from a nightmare. The camera had shown him twisting and turning in his sleep, mumbling "Liesel" and "I'm sorry." By the time he was opening his eyes, Ruby was letting out a scream muffled by his new back-pack that he had acquired from the Feast.

He was not far from where Liesel had died - in fact, all he had to do was hop, skip, and jump in order to gaze upon the palm that ended his beloved's life. Ruby felt it was his duty to protect the area until someone finally killed him. Protect it like he had once protected Liesel.

Ruby crawls from his moss bed between the roots of a giant, moss-covered tree. He's filthy, having not taken a bath in about four days, if you exclude today and having taken a bath before meeting his stylist on the morning of the Bloodbath. His hair has a giant tangle in the back, and is slick with grease and ridden with dirt. His once white shirt, cacki pants, and parts of his body such as his face, arms, and legs are stained with blood, sweat, mud, and plant matter. His body has scars all over from where Splash had sliced him, and Ruby's clothes are ripped. Ruby wonders if the Capitol considers him ugly or rugged.

Turning his back on the dried sea, Ruby opens up his white back-pack with the Red Six on the front. He rummages around, pulling out assorted items, such as water bottles and packages of assorted meat. He even discovers a knife in the back-pack. "Hmm...that's new," he mutters, trying to remember if there was ever Games where the put knives into the Feast's back-packs.

There was a rustle from behind. Ruby looks over his shoulder, slowly reaching for his whip and holding his smaller, newer weapon tighter. Suddenly, Dawn bursts out of the bushes, wielding a knife that she, too, had found in her Feast back-pack. Ruby yelps in surprise, jumping to his feet. Without thinking about, Ruby lashes out with his whip, smacking Dawn's temple. She falls in a heap, having the sense literally knocked out of her.

Again Ruby hears a rustle. He spins around, and his eyes widen as Katherine steps out, eyes blazing with rage, one hand clutching her sword and the other clutching her Feast-knife. Before Ruby can react, Katherine runs over and stabs Ruby in the shoulder. He gasps in pain as she rips it out. She's about to dig the weapon into his chest when Ruby stabs her in the side, reopening the wound that John Gero had given Katherine before Splash killed him. Ignoring the pain, Katherine raises her sword, and chops downward.

A scream that doesn't even sound human echoes through the area. Ruby's arm, the hand still clutching the whip, lays on the ground in a bloody mess. Ruby rips the knife out of Katherine, eyes wide with pain. Katherine looks at Ruby without any emotion.

Ruby turns and runs, jumping over the palm tree that killed Liesel. Katherine is about to give chase when Dawn groans, and out of the corner of her eye Katherine sees her ally push herself up from the ground, but then fall flat on her stomach. Frowning, Katherine sheaths her sword and sticks her knife in her belt. She kneels down beside Dawn, and helps her up. Dawn gives Katherine a dazed look. The girl from 7 wrinkles her nose at the smell of blood. "What happened?" Dawn asks. Katherine doesn't answer at first, but not because she's deaf - Dawn's lips were easy to read, despite her slightly slurred speech. Instead, she keeps her eyes trained on the arm on the ground.

"We've made a strike," Katherine mouths. "But it's not over yet."

Ruby's POV

I scrape some moss from a rotting log and hold it to my arm stub. The pain is unbearable. I'm crying unashamedly. There had been a First Aid kit in my Feast back-pack, but I had left it behind with those homicidal chicks. I look up at the sky, and whisper, "Help me." I feel myself fall, but before I hit the ground darkness takes over me.

Day 6: The Justice Deaths

Nobody died today.

Day 7: The Strike

Ruby wakes up in a pool of blood, more dead than alive. He stumbles to his feet. A silver parachute floats only a few feet ahead of him, and he hurries over. Ruby finds a Medical Kit tied to the parachute, and without another thought attends to his arm-stub.

Dawn's POV

We eat breakfast as we walk. The day's boring - all we do is walk. I stop suddenly, and sigh. My feet are hurting, my legs are aching, and all I wanna do is sit down. I open my mouth to ask if we could rest, but I'm cut off by an all too familiar voice.

"I WAS WRONG! IT WAS YOU WHO KILLED FANG RYUU! WELL, GUESS WHAT...!"

I spin around just in time to see the District 9 girl throw a rock at me. And that's the last thing I'll ever see.

Nobody's POV

Katherine's eyes widen as her ally falls, Dawn's skull crushed by the thrown stone. Sapphire rushes her, thrusting with her knife, but Katherine quickly unsheathes her sword and blocks it. The two lock themselves into a fierce battle, each giving each other fierce wounds, until Sapphire makes a deep gash on Katherine's thigh. Knowing that it was time to run, Katherine stabs Sapphire in the shoulder with her own knife and runs.

The rest of day is uneventful.

Day 7: The Strike Deaths

4. Dawn Woods

Day 8: The Enemy

The day is so humid that Katherine feels like she'll suffocate when she wakes up on her tree branch. She squirms uncomfortably before forcing herself into a sitting position.

It was a weird feeling, waking up to find nothing. No Splash or Waterlily. No Dawn. Katherine grimaces. Dawn. Another ally that deserved justice. And the ally that died before she could even make a strike for the reason the two of them teamed up.

She clumsily climbs down the tree. She is surrounded by enemies now. There were no allies to back her up. Just two killers that deserved what was coming to them. Katherine just hopes that they won't get her first.

Thud.

Katherine turns to see a medical kit attached to a silver parachute fall to the ground with a dull thud. Smiling slightly, Katherine limps over and begins to attend to her wounds.

Ruby's POV

When I saw the face of the District 7 girl in the sky last night, I couldn't help but think of the girl that had sliced off my arm. Was she taking her allies death well? Were they allies at all, and just so happened to be at there at the same time? No, that wouldn't work out. Arm-slicing Chick would've killed her first instead of going for me. I shudder, remembering that face of blood-lust and hard determination when she raised that sword...

I break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.

I've been trekking through the jungle for awhile now, sweating more than usual. The humidity is unbearable. We must be boring the Gamemakers somehow, so they're trying to make us suffer a bit more. I curse them in my mind.

And then Armslicer steps from behind a tree.

She's as surprised as I am, but then her face floods over with rage. I remember that she was one of the two girls that screamed when I had snapped that District 4 boy's neck. My jaw drops as the realization hits me.

Why hadn't I figured that out before!? "Look...about your friend..." I swallow down a lump in my throat. She unsheathes my sword, as if she didn't hear me. "I'M SORRY! OKAY? I'M SORRY!" I shout as loud as I can.

Armslicer ignores me. She points the sword at me, and charges. I try to grip my whip, but then I realize that I left it behind with my arm, so I take out my knife instead.

But it's too late.

Pain blossoms from my stomach. Armslicer's face is only a centimeter away from me - if it wasn't for the situation, we could've kissed, we were that close. I raise my knife, and stab her in the shoulder, as if it would do any good. Still clutching the handle of my weapon, I look down. Her sword is in my stomach. She twists, making pure agony surge through me, then rips her blade out. I release the knife in her shoulder, and stumble backward, and then I collapse.

I think about my life. Meeting Liesel. Teaching her how to read. My friends (except Liesel) and family dying in a bombing. Joining the Peacekeeper reserves. Being reaped. Liesel dying...

Tears swell in my eyes as I remember her loving, gentle face. I can't help but smile. "Liesel," I whisper, before I close my eyes.

Day 8: The Enemy Deaths

3. Ruby Steiner

Day 9: The Mud

Sapphire's POV

It's down to me and the District 11 girl now. I can't wait to stab her face until it's nothing but a bloody mess. I bet she was the one that killed Fang, and those tributes from Four and Seven helped her avoid me so she wouldn't get what she deserves. Well, no one can protect her now. She may have a sword, but I don't care. I'll kill her. Kill her like she killed Fang.

I've been walking since sun-up, looking for Eleven. It began to rain about an hour ago - a hard, brutal downpour. The Gamemakers probably want the last day (at least it feels like the last day) to be dramatic.

The muddy ground goes squilsh squilsh squilsh beneath my feet. I notice the mud begin to swirl quite on their own, and I stop in my tracks.

In the matter of a second, I'm sinking into the mud. I thrash about and scream, but it only becomes worse. Soon, the ground engulfes me.

Nobody's POV


Katherine walks into a clearing that is all too familiar - the clearing in which she had met her first two allies, Waterlily Wave and Splash Blue. Katherine, as if in a depressed trance, wanders around the clearing, and stops to stand in the same place where she had scratched her name into the soil, and had asked the duo for an alliance.

"If I hadn't left Splash, they would still be alive," Katherine mouths to herself, as the audience tries to figure out if the water on her face are tears or rain water.

From behind her, the ground opens up. Katherine turns around, eyes widening at the pool of mud forming, and unsheathes her sword. Sapphire surfaces, so covered with mud that Katherine thinks she's some sort of mutt.

Sapphire struggles to her feet. "You...you killed my brother, didn't you?" Sapphire says in a low growl, and they both draw out their knives.

Katherine charges. Sapphire throws her knife at the District 11 tribute, and it digs only an inch away from her heart. Wincing with pain, Katherine forces herself to keep going, and makes a deep gash in Sapphire's leg. Sapphire grabs her knife (still in Kate's chest), and rips it out, making the other tribute howl in agony. Smirking, Sapphire slashes Katherine's face. Katherine squeezes her eyes tight and thrusts her knife, which goes into Sapphire's side. The girl from 9 kicks Katherine's gut, knocking her down. Katherine drops her knife as she falls.

Without a second thought, Sapphire pounces on Katherine, pinning her down. Sapphire slices Katherine's face again, giving the District 11 female a X-shaped scar with both tips starting at the temple, then ending at the jaw-line, barley missing both eyes. Sapphire leans her face close to Katherine's, and growls, "This is what murderers get."

BONK!

Katherine slams her forehead against Sapphire's, dazing the girl tribute of District 9. Katherine easily shoves her off, and jumps to her feet, not noticing her fallen weapon. But Sapphire, who has quickly come out of her daze, does. She lunges for it, and snatches it with one quick swipe of the hand. Sapphire wheels around, face full of fury.

Katherine stabs at Sapphire's foot, the sword going straight through. As the District 11 girl rips it out, Sapphire cries out in pain, and crumples to her knee. Quickly, Katherine shoves the sword into Sapphire's open mouth. The tip of the blade sticks out at the back of Sapphire's head, and with a grunt Katherine slices to the right, and the sword cruelly tears open Sapphire's mouth.

Katherine doesn't hear the cannon boom. Doesn't hear the announcement that she has won the 4th Annual Hunger Games. She sees a ladder, and stumbles over to it, grasping a rung with bloodied hands. Katherine's world then becomes red with blood, and then as doctors drag her onto an operating table, it plunges into darkness.

Day 9: The Mud Deaths

2. Sapphire Ryuu

Victory Tour

KatherineLeaving

Katherine Storm, victor of the 3rd Hunger Games, departing District 11 to embark on the Victory Tour.

Off Camera

It was strange how slow time was when you are a victor. The only time you work was during the Games - a work that you despised. But as for the other days, you had no purpose. Just a lump waiting to watch two kids die. The only way to avoid this was if you had a talent, but if you were new and was having trouble finding one, you were only on thing.

A lump.

Katherine considered herself a lump. Yes, she was finding floral arrangements interesting, but she was far from discovering her talent. Much to her dislike.

Slowly she awoke, finding herself in lovely, plush room in her home at the Victor Village. Sunlight streamed in from the glass windows, as if the room had just woken up as well. She sat up, looking down at her laced pillow. How long had it been when her pillow was a backpack, and her bed a tree-branch?

She had no covers. She preferred it that way. The room felt like winter, but Katherine did not shiver, even though the pajamas she wore was a tank-top and shorts. Ever since her departure from the hot and humid tropical jungle by the sea, Katherine could only stand cool temperatures, which was quite unfortunate as she lived in District 11. Katherine had also grown a large phobia of rainstorms. It could be just a light rainstorm, the small droplets pattering on the windows, and Katherine would scream in pure terror things relating to her last day in the Games. Things such as, "SHE'S COMING! SHE'S COMING!" Or, "I didn't kill him! I didn't kill your brother!" Or "I'll kill her for you! I will! Just please...GO AWAY! I'm sorry...I'm sorry...!"

Katherine got out of bed, and not bothering to get dressed or brush her hair or teeth lumbered downstairs. There her siblings, James, Rosemarie, and Elienel waited for her in the kitchen. Before Katherine was a tribute, it was usually her and James waiting for Rosemarie and Elienel, but ever since she returned from the Capitol Katherine was the last one up. Always.

The trio wore sweaters and jeans, but despite their attempt at bundling up they still shivered at the cold temperature of the mansion. Elienel had her hand on the thermostat, turning it.

Katherine's eyes bulged. She threw herself at her little sister, gripped her tightly by the shoulders, and wrenched a yelping Elienel away from the thermostat. "DON'T TOUCH THAT!" Katherine screeched at the top of her lungs, scaring Elienal half to death. "I'LL THROTTLE YOU IF YOU TOUCH IT AGAIN!"

"Katherine!" James cried, running over to his sisters. "Let go of her! She was just a little cold."

The young victor was about snap at James when persperation speckled her forehead. She began to pant uncontrollably, and gripped Elienel for support now instead of out of anger. Seeing this, James quickly turned the temperature back to it's original setting, and the Storm children silently settled down for breakfast.

They had just finished when there was a knock at the door. Rosemarie hurried over to open it, and then the voice of a mouse penetrated the silence of the home, "Oh, 'tis lil' Rosie! How are ye, me little maid?"

Katherine flew out of her chair, darting over to the door. "Lyla!?" she cried, and skidded to a halt when a fat woman with a tie-died dress, sparkling red high-heeled shoes, and green hair pulled into a bun stepped past a threshold. It was her escort, the strange-accented Lyla Dinglebottom.

"Oh, dear," Lyla sighed, gesturing to Katherine's hair. "Yer hair be a mess, dearie. And why is it so cold? Ye must be shivering in that get-up!" Lyla raised a brow. "Did ye just wake up?"

Kate scowled.

From behind Lyla came in a trio of multi-colored people, two men and a women, who looked quite similar to plants. The woman looked like she had plucked out her hair and replaced it honey-suckles. One of the men was dyed yellow and had boxes etched into his skin, reminding Katherine of corn. The other man, who was the brother of the corn guy, had real apple cores implanted in his skin. It took Katherine awhile to recognize them as her prep team.

The woman, whose name was Myrtle, shrieked. "Katherine! Your hair!"

The corn man snickered. "Looks like you're gonna have your hands full, Myrtle."

"Shut up, Jerky!" Myrtle spat, and went over to grab a lock of Kate's tangled hair. "Don't you know how long it'll take for me to fix this, Katherine!? Don't you have an responsibility!?" Myrtle sighed and rolled her eye. "Oh, why did I take this job?"

Katherine glared daggers at Myrtle. "You think you're life is so miserable, don't you? Well, guess what Myrtle! You never had to cut a boy's arm off! You never had to kill in order to go home! You never had to watch your best friend and the boy you care about die! So, until you go through all that, I suggest you shut up!" She grimaced at the other Capitolites. "The same goes for the rest of you! Not brushing your hair is far better than what you four do to yourselves."

Everybody in the room stared at her, shocked. Katherine only snorted and spun on her heels, before bounding up a flight of stairs and into her bathroom. Well, they got what was coming to them! she thought as she slumped in her seat.

A few minutes later, Myrtle, Jerky, and Turkey (the apple man and twin brother of Jerky), came in. Myrtle struggled to make Katherine's hair smooth and silky again. Jerky filed and painted her nails, while Turkey applied make-up to Kate's face. They were all silent, which was a shock. Jerky didn't tease or make fun of Myrtle. Myrtle didn't insult Jerky. Turkey didn't defend Myrtle. Jerky didn't say anything about how Turkey loved Myrtle, thus embarrassing him, before they dove into gossip. It was all very unsettling for Katherine, who was quite used to their gabber by now. I guess I really did hurt their feelings, Kate thought.

Lyla came in to read off the schedule as the prep team finished up. "Before we 'ead off, ye get to do a photo-shoot with the glad-rags Mister Marco gives ye. Won't that be excitin'? Then we board yon train, and ye do some speeches at the other districts. We start off at District 10, before we end with Eeleven. Yer to have a party with the other victors, Elexsis Safier and Kai Shivers, after the speeches at Five an' Three. There is to be a party at the Capitol, and a banquet at Eeleven. And ye nary have tah worry about yon speeches, missie. Ol' Lyla Dinglebottom has made some for ye." She gave Katherine an encouraging smile, but Katherine could tell by the way she shuffled side-to-side that her comments had hurt her, too.

At least she's trying to get over it, Katherine thought with a side-ways glance at her prep team, who was happily giving her the cold-shoulder. But, she still felt a stab of guilt for snapping at them. Even to Myrtle and Jerky, her least favorite Capitolites, Kate thought she should apologize to.

Lyla asked if she could see the fashion-tastic trio's now finished work, and they took a step back without speaking. Lyla peered at Kate’s face and smiled. “Ye’re lucky to ‘ave such a good prep team, missie.” The prep team grinned, and without another word Lyla slipped out of the room, followed by the prep team.

Her stylist, a man named Marco who wore an out-fit of real grapes, stepped in. “Hello, Katherine,” he said. “Have you heard the good news? Now that you’ve won, everybody in the Capitol is wearing plants. You and your district have started a fashion trend! Isn’t that great?” He beamed. Katherine politely smiled back.

The dress he helped her into is a green strapless number with a forest green shawl with glitter on it wrapped around her shoulders. Around her neck went a white flower necklace with a black chord. Katherine looked herself over in a tall mirror that leaned against the wall, and twirled.

“Do you like it?” Marco asked eagerly.

Katherine paused for a moment, before nodding. “I do. It’s pretty.”

Marco grinned widely. “Great! Hopefully, every girl in the Capitol will like it too – so much that they’ll be wearing it themselves!”

Katherine frowned. That was all Marco seemed to care about: pleasing the Capitol audience, and setting trends. What about herself? Had he ever considered that she hated starting stupid fads that would only end by the time the 4th Hunger Games were over with? What about the districts? Did he not think about them?

Of course not, grumbled a small voice in her head. He’s a bloody Capitolite.

On Camera

Katherine steps past the front door of her home, appearing in every home and television in Panem. She gives the cameramen and boom operators a tour of her home, showing every room and beckoning at anything with meaning and sentiment. She leads them through the garden, where the pause for a moment to get ready for the photo-shoot.

She returns leaning on a green parasol, the sun just perfectly set on her face, which is sharp with determination. Then, Katherine is shown with her back slightly turned to the camera, the parasol now open and above her head, as if it was raining. The final shot is her crouching with Rosemarie, the parasol lying across her knees, and both of them grinning at the camera.

Then, with laughter and waves, she says goodbye to her family and is driven to the train station, where she quickly boards the locomotive.

District 10

Off Camera

Katherine was up way before her escort ever got to her compartment. Lyla Dinglebottom searched the whole train for her young ward (of sorts). When the strange escort entered the dining car, there sat Katherine Storm in a plush seat, an empty plate on the table in front of her.

"Missie!" Lyla cried out in surprise. "So this where've ye been hidin'! I 'twas lookin' all over for ye, missie, but ye 'twas nowhere to be found!"

Katherine gave her escort a frown. "I wasn't hiding."

"Well, it sure seem liked y'were!"

The latest victor quickly changed the subject. "How far are we from Nine?"

Lyla smiled, and clasped her hands in front of her. "We'll be there in two hours, missie, just ye wait."

Katherine sighed and nodded. "Tell Marco that I'll be in my compartment when the team's ready for me." She got out of her chair and headed for the door.

"Wait, lassie..." Lyla stepped in front of Katherine, a deep frown on the escort's face. "What's been troublin' ye, eh?"

Katherine took a step backward. "Nothing, Lyla."

"It don't sound that way t'me." They held each other's gaze for a long moment, before Lyla ended their silence with a sigh. "Lassie...please...Let me help ye with whatever's ailin' ye."

A new silence was born, brought on by Katherine, who only looked steadily into her escort's eyes. Lyla waited, her only movement was a few uncomfortable fidgets. Finally, Katherine gave in.

"I can't go out there."

Lyla's face was one of pure shock. "But...But why, lassie!?"

"I can't go out there and look at the faces of those kid's friends and family!" Katherine wailed. "And escpecially not that poor little girl's family..." She shuddered, remembering watching the recaps of her own Games on the giant TV screen at the Capitol, how poor Hayley Winters looked with lovely young face dissolved, her back arched in pain, her nails digging into the dirt...

You should've seen how she looked alive and with the strange acid eating her away at her.

Katherine expected to be scoffed or shrugged at. She did not expect, as she stared down at the floor, comfort from this Capitolite. This lady who loved the Games so much she chose two of the twenty-four tributes who would fight in the Hunger Games. But, when something warm and soft came down on her head, Katherine jolted and looked up. Imagine her surprise when she realized that Lyla was lovingly patting her on the head.

"I will not deny that ye've been through a lot - probably more than ye should. I will not deny that. But I fear, missie, that 'tis the way the world works. The Hunger Games is something no one can avoid. I guess ye can say that's why I became an escort. Instead of avoiding it, I embraced it, and now I'm trying to help keep kids alive through their ordeals, don'tcha know." Lyla let out a sigh. "I can't change any of this, lassie. Ye have to go out there. Ye have to...I'm sorry."

And just like that, all anger towards her Capitolite crew had vanished.

On Camera

Katherine goes on stage, wearing a lovely red dress with a rose of the same deep color in her black hair, which is tied in a pony-tail. She goes up to the stand, and gazes down at the crowd with a dutiful look in her eyes. "District 10," she calls, "let this be a rememberance to you: your tributes...Your children...Shall not be forgotten. They may be dead, but I still say they're alive! They are within our hearts and our soulds, and if their faces passes from our minds..." Katherine shuddered. "Then by God, what has happened to our species?"

The crowd mumbles something in surprise and in agreement, but Kate ignores them. Instead she turns to Hayley's family with wide, sad eyes, wondering what would become of them.

District 9

Off Camera

While her prep team applied make-up, brushed her hair, and painted her nails, Katherine recollected on the months after she had returned home.

In an attempt to keep up with whatever was happening in Panem, she had asked Lyla to give her every newspaper that was dated from the day of the reaping to the last day of the Games. The newspapers in District 11 weren’t very good, giving only weather prediction, obituaries, birth announcements, things related to agriculture, and Capitol propaganda.

But apparently, the Capitol didn't have newspapers. But they definetly had magazines. Fashion magazines. Gossip magazines. Oh, and let's not forget the thousands upon thousands Hunger Games magazines.

This is what the Capitol considers news!? Katherine had thought while going through the pile of wasted paper.

According to the fashion magazines, teens all over the Capitol were dressing up to like their favorite tributes. Kids going to school wearing white t-shirts and khaki shorts. One girl had even dyed her blond in honor of her new-found idol, Waterlily Wave. Gossip magazines told Katherine about Head Gamemaker Raeoki's latest break-up with her feline boyfriend. But, the most interesting out of all of them were the Hunger Games magazines, escpecially the articles about the finale.

It was mostly complaints about how the Gamemakers should kill Sapphire off with a flood or something because she too insane to be a good victor. "We don't want another crazy!" one magazine article had whined. "Look at Elexsis Safier, Gamemakers, and ask yourself, 'Do we want this nut case to win?' If you don't end her, then I doubt that Katherine Storm can. She's a strong girl, but she's deaf! Ryuu could scream like a holler monkey only a few feet away from Storm and she wouldn't hear her! No way is Storm going to win."

The other articles and magazines agreed. Katherine Storm, though they "loved her with all their heart," wasn't going to win the 4th Hunger Games.

But yet here she was. About to go out on live television, alive and well...sort of.

On Camera

Katherine's initial reaction is surprise. No one is cheering. All the District 9 residents do is stare at her, eyes blazing with rage. Katherine fidgets slightly. Had she done something wrong.

Oh, no, you only killed someone's friend and daughter, Katherine growls at herself.

Katherine digs her nails into the podium. "Um...hello," she says into the microphone.

No response.

The girl from Eleven gets it. "Look, look...I'm sorry, okay!? I'm sorry that Fang is dead! I'm sorry I killed Sapphire! But what was I to do!? And besides, she killed two of my allies, so maybe you should stop looking at me like I'm the Devil!" she says, now angry.

Cheryl, one of the two friends of the District 9 tributes that had been interviewed and was also prone to theatrics, shouted at her, "You didn't have to stab her in the foot!" she screamed at Katherine. "That was a cheap shot!"

Katherine frowns deeply at her. "She would've done the same to me," she says bluntly, though she knows she shouldn't. She should take pity on the poor girl for losing her friends. But how could she just stand aside and be called a murderer when Sapphire Ryuu had taken away the lives of her own friends?

Cheryl jumps up and down, as if she's having a tantrum. "YOU'RE HEARTLESS!" she barks, before turning on her heel and marching away from the square. Katherine only watches her with disgruntled eyes.

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