Chapter 4 is here! Yay! Sorry for the wait, but I'm afraid that this fic is going to be in for another looooooong wait again. I plan on updating one more chapter for this fic after this one, but I will once again be waiting for the next season of Survivor to start up on CBS. I promise to get a jump on it as soon as it airs. I watched all of the Redemption Island season and feel bad that I didn't get back to this fic quicker... so next season I will definitely step it up! :) So (to make it up for the short chapter i left you all with last time and for the long impending wait ahead) this chapter is very long (longer than 2 i think). I hope you all enjoy this chapter and I will (hopefully) see you all soon with chapter 5!
AUTHOR'S NOTE! Just so we're clear and to serve as a reminder, because there are two Ichigos in this fic, Ichigo Kurosaki (BLEACH) and Ichigo Motomiya (Tokyo Mew Mew), the girl Ichigo on the Hadami tribe was nicknamed "Strawberries" in chapter 2 for when both are present at challenges, but when it's just the Hadami tribe she is still called Ichigo by her teammates.
I also hope to hear your opinions on which characters should align with who and that sort of thing. Feel free to message me anytime with your ideas. Please review and let me know what you think. I'd love to hear your opinions and ideas about what could happen in this story. Enjoy!
I DO NOT OWN ANY OF THESE CHARACTERS OR JEFF PROBST (the best reality TV host ever!)! If I did I'm sure I'd be rich and writing novels on my mansion's terrace at my leisure. XD
Edward frowned as he carved the fourth notch into a tree at the back of camp with one of the tribe's machetes. It was extremely hot out after the freezing rain they'd gotten the day before and he wanted nothing more than to shed his jacket and gloves, but if he did, he'd reveal his prosthetic arm and, as an inevitable result, his prosthetic leg. It could be seen as a weakness, even though his prosthetics were actually automail, which are first class mechanical limb replacements. They were expensive for sure, so he didn't want people to know about them if he could avoid it. Obviously someone who could afford automail limbs didn't need the million-dollar prize money that Survivor had to offer it's winner, but the money he spent on the upkeep, repair, and replacement of his limbs all came from the military that he worked for. Winning the prize money from this game show could aid him in other ventures of his that the military would not pay for, but that's a whole other story.
The point is that Edward was trying to avoid placing an unnecessary target on his back, and his automail limbs made him uncertain. But it was incredibly hot today… Oh why did he have to always wear his black ensemble? The black material soaked heat up like a sponge and any heat that his clothes absorbed went into his automail limbs, and that heat then burned his now aching ports. This game of Survivor might be harder then Edward had originally thought.
Edward turned his piercing golden eyes on the newcomer. It was Naruto.
"Just keeping tally of our days here," Edward shrugged as he looked at the notches he put into the tree. "Four down, thirty-five to go."
Naruto nodded before he paused. "…Aren't you hot?"
Edward glanced over his shoulder at Naruto and frowned, realizing that the boy was standing before him in only his orange pants that were rolled up to his knees. Edward internally fumed, envying the boy.
Edward just snorted and, with a shrug, stalked off back into the main part of camp. He frowned even more when he spotted the girls in his tribe giggling in their shelter stripped down to nothing but their swimsuits and/or underwear. Ash, Kurogane and Goku had also shed their shirts like Naruto had. This didn't help Edward's mood at all.
"Yeesh Ed," Goku laughed, spotting Edward as he re-enter camp with Naruto trailing behind. "Aren't you hot?"
"That what I asked!" Naruto exclaimed rather loudly.
"I'm getting heat stroke just looking at you!" Misa complained, agreements rising up from the other girls.
"Then don't look," he retorted.
Kurogane's only reaction to Edward's attire was a raised eyebrow.
"You're going to bake in that outfit kid," Kaoru frowned. "At least take your gloves and jacket off."
Edward twitched at being called a kid.
"I'm not a kid," he huffed.
"You sure are acting like one," Teah smiled.
Edward crossed his arms, but didn't comment. The sun was beating down hard and he wasn't sure how long he'd be able to take wearing all of his layers of clothing. He thought for a moment before smirking suddenly.
"Why do you want me to remove my jacket?" he asked Kaoru.
"Because by just looking at you I'm suffering from a hot flash," the martial arts instructor groaned.
"Alright then," Edward shrugged. "I admit that I am rather warm, maybe I should take my jacket off, but I'm not sure you can handle it."
"Oh please," Misa huffed. "What? Are you a stud under all that black?"
The girls released a wave of giggles, Ash and Naruto snickered, and Goku chuckled softly while Kurogane simply raised an eyebrow at the antics.
Edward's smirk turned into a grim smile as he shed his jacket and gloves. Screw what the others thought. He was hot damn it all!
Silence descended upon the camp as they took in Edward's automail arm and the scarred tissue around the connecting flesh that they could see under his sleeveless shirt.
"Happy?" Edward said rather cheerfully, but it never reached his eyes. "I told you I was no kid… A kid shouldn't have to bear these scars. I've also got a leg to match," he informed them raising his left pant leg to reveal the metal limb. "Now I'm going fishing. Wanna give me a hand Kurogane?"
The tall dark man nodded, wordlessly getting up and following Edward back out of camp. Out of all the members of the Hadami tribe, Kurogane had been the only one who hadn't looked at Edward's mechanical limbs with pity. Surprise, yes, but there was no pity in the man's gaze and for that Edward had singled him out. He didn't like that the man towered over him, but Kurogane was one of the few, if not the only, member of his tribe that didn't annoy him.
"I think our chances are better upstream," Edward commented. "It's still a little swollen from yesterday's rain.
Kurogane grunted in agreement.
It was quiet between the two of them as they walked along the shore until they settled on a place to fish. Kurogane watched as Edward waded out a quarter of the way across the river that went past their camp. He had to admit that the boy was well adaptive to their situation.
"This survival thing isn't exactly new to you, huh, kid?" Kurogane called out after Edward managed to catch a fish barehanded.
"I'm not a kid," came the grunted reply as Edward used his mechanical hand to literally squeeze the life out of the wiggly fish before tossing the now limp body to Kurogane. "And no, this isn't new to me. My little brother and I once had to survive on our own for a month on a deserted island. It was part of our training to become alchemists."
"So you're a scientist?" Kurogane blinked.
"Yup," Edward nodded, pausing long enough to catch another fish. "I'm actually a State Alchemist, but my brother's not. Both of us didn't need to become dogs of the military."
"Interesting," he mused. "I also work for the government. I train and command a Special Task Force-!"
"You're an assassin and spy in other words," Edward laughed; cutting Kurogane off and making him frown. "Sorry, go on."
"Infiltration and surveillance actually," Kurogane corrected.
"Whatever," Edward shrugged, tossing him his second fish. "Your Special Task Force handles an variety of missions."
Kurogane smirked, not arguing the fact. There were no cameras following them right now.
"My point," Kurogane pressed. "Is that I had heard of a genius brat that managed to pass the state alchemy exam. Impressive. Who knew we'd meet on a game show."
"Small world," Edward muttered.
Kurogane watched as the boy caught another fish when something about Ed struck him.
"Aren't your mechanical limbs going to rust?" he asked.
"Huh?" Edward blinked. "Oh, my automail? Neah, I had them water proofed before coming here. There's no way of sand-proofing them though. My mechanic is going to hate me after this."
Kurogane allowed himself a small smile as he watched the teenager before him scowl at the sandy banks of the river.
"Too bad that the game forbids the use of alchemy," Edward sighed. "If they didn't, I'd have caught eight fish easily by now."
"Have you even tried?" Kurogane asked, curious.
"No," Edward scowled. "I'm not an idiot. Besides, I heard that the show's production staff chose the location for this season of the game special for those of us who have other abilities such as myself. They're probably using an alchemic ruin that cancels out all alchemy and any other abilities that someone else in this game may possess. In this game all of us are meant to have an equal chance at winning after all."
"Makes sense," Kurogane nodded.
The two of them then fished in companionable silence, talking about their work in the military for the most part, but hushed up once a camera crew came by to film their fishing efforts after the ruckus Edward had undoubtedly left back at camp…
Like Edward and Kurogane, back at the Tama Tribe Sakura was out fishing with Train again. Sakura missed her older brother Toya more than she cared to admit, but she'd quickly found temporary replacements in Tai and Train. Both of the older boys looked after her as if she were their own sister. Apparently Tai had his own little sister back at home, so the two of them had grown close, but he spent a lot of time scavenging with Haruhi, so Sakura ended up spending a lot more quality time with Train. They had become the Tama tribe's unofficial fishers. Whenever fish were needed, Train and Sakura would go out and try their luck, which was holding strong so far. They always seemed to catch just enough fish for the tribe to go along with the rice provisions they'd been given and any wild plants that Haruhi and Tai had found and deemed edible.
Sakura had just caught her fifth fish for the day when Train let out a sigh.
"You have got to have the most amazing luck I have ever seen Sakura," her companion chuckled. "That's five for you and I have only caught one!"
Sakura giggled. This was how most of their fishing ventures usually went. She always managed to somehow catch a good number of fish while Train only caught one or two.
"Are we done?" Sakura asked an hour later as she pulled in her seventh fish and Train pulled in his second, looking a little irritable.
"Yeah," Train sighed. "We only need nine anyways."
Sakura nodded, helping Train put away their makeshift fishing gear and picked up today's catch.
"Let's see if we have any tree mail on our way back," she suggested as they left the riverbank.
"Sure," Train shrugged. "Might as well right?"
Sakura grinned as they made their way to the box that served as their treemail container. To Sakura's delight there was a roll of paper inside.
"We have treemail!" Train cheered in unison with Sakura as they were the last ones to return to camp.
"Read it!" Yusuke said enthusiastically as Sakura unrolled the paper.
"Through thick and thin, your tribe must win. In the sun and rain across all terrain, a win can only be a gain. To lose means one of your number will go home and that's a shame, but someone must go if one of you are to win this game," Train recited.
"'A win can only be a gain?' It's a reward challenge then," Yoh yawned, Ichigo and Yusuke nodding.
"I can hardly wait," Train grinned, stretching.
"Come on in guys!" their host, Jeff Probst, called out as the two competing tribes arrived. The Hadami tribe was the first to enter and took their position on their tribe's mat. Jeff couldn't help but notice that Edward had shed his jacket and gloves and was now bearing his prosthetics for all to see as they glinted in the sunlight. He heard the other tribe quickly approaching so he announced the Tama tribe.
"Hadami tribe, getting your first look at the new Tama tribe. Nami voted out at the last tribal council," Jeff informed them.
He saw that many of the Hadami tribe's members looked shocked over Nami's dismissal save for Kurogane and Edward, who were nodded to themselves. When the Tama tribe stood on their mat they began to openly stare at Edward's shining automail arm.
"Alright," Jeff nodded, "You guys ready to get to today's challenge?"
Nods came from all around, but many from the Tama tribe were still stealing distracted sideways glances at Edward.
"First thing's first. Misa, I'll take it back," Jeff announced as he reached for the immunity idol that Misa had been holding in her grasp and placed it on the pedestal beside him. "Once again, immunity is back up for grabs."
Jeff now waved their attention to the area behind them. There was a large pit of mud underneath a raised net before their mats. On the other side of the net covered mud pit were four pairs of haystacks. Beyond the haystacks were another set of mats, three pairs of barrels with platforms in between, and another pair of mats at the end. On the platforms between the barrels were board-like objects that no one could identify due to their distance.
"Here's how it works," Jeff announced. "On my go one person from each tribe will race through the mud into a stack of hay looking for a ball. Once you have the ball drop it on your mat and the next person goes. Once you've collected all four balls, three other tribe members will use wooden shields to bounce one ball from player to player until it lands in your barrel. First tribe to get all four balls in their barrel wins immunity, safe from the vote, losers go to tribal council were someone will be voted out of this game. In addition today," Jeff added, gesturing to and opening the lid of a chest that had been brought in off camera, "you are playing for reward. You have a choice. You can choose between a tarp with rope. I don't care how good your shelter is, a tarp will make a huge difference. You don't want a tarp, your other choice is fishing gear: snorkel, fins, along with a spear. Worth playing for?"
"Yeah," Everyone grinned nodding; the Tama tribe with their eyes on the tarp and the Hadami tribe with their eyes on the fishing gear.
"Hadami tribe, you have one extra member. You're sitting somebody out of this challenge. Who's it going to be?"
The Hadami tribe huddled together and looked around, whispering.
"Do you wanna sit this out Ed?" Misa asked.
Edward shot her a scowl.
"Hell no," he frowned. "I may have mechanical limbs, but I'm not weak, so stop treating me like some damn cripple!"
Misa flinched at his harsh tone, but sighed in relief.
"Alright then," she said brightly. "I'll sit this one out. I don't like the mud anyways."
Edward and Kurogane just snorted and Goku chuckled as Misa raised her hand for Jeff.
"Misa, take a spot on the bench," Jeff gestured to the bench in question that resided with a clear view of the challenge grounds. "I'll give you guys a minute to strategize and we'll get started."
Both tribes now huddled together as they decided who was going where.
"Alright," Jeff called out, for the camera's benefit. "For immunity and reward! Survivors ready… GO!"
At the start, Kaoru and Ichigo dashed forward and dove into the mud under the nets. Kaoru, being smaller, gained a small lead.
"Kaoru through the mud quickly," Jeff called out as Kaoru managed to reach the middle of the mud pit after her take off alone, but Ichigo was right behind her and had the upper body strength to pull himself through first. "Ichigo through the mud!"
Ichigo dived head first into the first haystack and quickly emerged with the first ball.
"Ichigo has the ball for the Tama tribe!" Jeff called out, as Kaoru finally emerged and began to frantically search for her ball. Ichigo turned around and ran back to his tribe, covered from head to toe in mud and hay while Tohru dived into the mud under the net. Kaoru finally found her ball and raced to catch up.
"Kaoru has a ball for the Hadami tribe!" Jeff announced as Kaoru put her ball on the mat and then saw movement at the mud pit. "Tohru in the mud for the Tama tribe! Strawberries (girl Ichigo from Tokyo Mew Mew) now in the mud for the Hadami tribe!"
Tohru, in spite of her fragile appearance, made steady progress while Strawberries seemed to be getting stuck in the thick mud. Tohru was also out quickly and managed to reach her haystack before Strawberries cleared the mud pit and net. Tohru pushed hey aside until she found her ball and nearly tripped over herself in her excitement to put the ball on her tribe's mat. As soon as she did, Sakura was out and diving through the mud just as Strawberries reached her haystack.
"Tama tribe with their second ball!" Jeff announced "Sakura in the mud for the Tama tribe while Strawberries is frantically searching for that elusive ball. …And she's got it!"
The Hadami tribe cheered as Strawberries finally put their second ball down on the mat, but Sakura had found her ball quicker than any of her previous tribe mates and quickly followed her. From his standby position, Train couldn't help but marvel once again at the girl's extraordinary good luck.
"Tama tribe has three of their balls while Hadami only has two! Hadami tribe's got to step it up!" Jeff announced. "Teah now in the mud for Hadami tribe with Haruhi close behind for the Tama tribe face first in the mud!"
Haruhi huffed at her embarrassing face-plant, but, not being one to dwell on such things, she managed to crawl her way alongside Teah who also seemed to have gotten stuck like "Strawberries" had but not for nearly as long. Haruhi took advantage of that and dug through her stack and found her tribe's fourth and final ball just as Teah pulled herself out of the pit covered in mud.
"Haruhi with Tama tribe's fourth and final ball!" Jeff announced as Yoh, Sango and Yusuke picked up their shields. "Train unraveling that ball for the Tama tribe."
The balls were covered in cloth so they needed to be unraveled first before they were passed between players.
"Gotta balance your ball from one shield to another." Jeff commented as Train tossed the ball to Yoh who smoothly used his shield to pass it to Sango. Sango wavered a moment but managed to use her wobble to pass it to Yusuke who used it's momentum to quickly land their first ball into their barrel.
"Tama tribe with their first ball in their barrel! …Teah not messing around!" Jeff commented as he noticed Teah throwing her haystack all over the place while looking for her ball. "She's got the third ball for the Hadami tribe! They're making up time! GO!"
Edward, the last mud crawler for the Hadami tribe, dived into the mud pit before him, metal arm and leg be damned!
"Edward now on the coarse!" Jeff announced, returning his attention to the four Tama tribe members behind him. "Yusuke misses a ball for the Tama tribe, Hadami is still in this! Edward Elric trekking through that mud! Artificial limbs not bothering him at all!"
"Damn straight!" Edward bellowed as he tore through his haystack. From the bench off to the side, Misa cheered him on along with the other waiting Hadami tribe members.
"Edward looking for that fourth and final ball for the Hadami tribe," Jeff informed the cameras just as Edward came bursting forth, covered in mud and hay. "Edward has the ball for the Hadami tribe! Tama tribe already has one ball in their barrel."
Edward gave his ball to Naruto and the other blond immediately set to work unraveling the ball before tossing it to Ash who balled it to Kurogane who passed it to Rachel.
"Rachel has a shot for the Hadami tribe," Jeff commented. "And she scores! Hadami tribe on the board with their first ball. Tama tribe lost their advantage! We're now even!"
While Naruto was unraveling the next ball for the Hadami tribe, Tai, who had been standing by on his tribe's mat on the other side of the scoring barrel, had brought back the missed ball back to Train who tossed it back into play.
"Yoh… Sango… Sango to Yusuke…" Jeff announced as the Tama tribe's ball traveled from player to player. Yusuke caught the ball weird though and it jumped up his arm and fell. Tai raced back out to bring it back to Train.
"If you drop it, it's gotta to go back to the start!" Jeff informed them, looking over to the Hadami tribe as they got their second ball down to the line to Rachel.
"It's all on Rachel right now… and she scores again!" Jeff announced. "Two balls in their barrel. It takes four to win."
Yoh passed the ball to Sango, but she stumbled from her perch. All she could do to recover was to hit it over to Yusuke who amazingly managed to catch it after it bounced off the barrel in between them.
"Nice save by Yusuke," Jeff commented when he saw the near fumble.
Yusuke had a determined look on his face as he tossed the ball and watched it fall.
"Yusuke scores for the Tama tribe!" Jeff cried as the ball landed neatly next to the first. "We are tied two to two!"
Rachel handled the third ball for her tribe but when she tossed it to score it fell short.
"Rachel just short for the Hadami tribe," Jeff noted, as Goku raced forward from his mat beside Tai's to bring the missed ball back to Naruto.
Meanwhile Sango had just been handed her tribe's third ball and lightly tossed it to Yusuke who managed to score once again.
"Yusuke scores again for the Tama tribe!" Jeff announced. "Tama tribe has just one ball left. …Rachel with another shot for the Hadami tribe."
Rachel tossed the ball off her shield toward the barrel, but it listed to the right and bounced off the rim.
"And she misses again."
Rachel groaned, but Goku patted her shoulder as he returned to his position behind the scoring barrel.
"Relax!" the big optimistic man smiled.
Train tossed the Tama tribe's fourth ball to Yoh who caught it awkwardly but recovered enough to toss it to Sango just as Naruto passed his tribe's third ball to Ash who tossed it easily to Kurogane who passed it just as effortlessly back up to Rachel. Rachel took a deep breath as she readied herself. Sango passed her ball to Yusuke and both he and Rachel prepared to attempt to score.
"Rachel gotta get one in for the Hadami tribe," Jeff said. "Yusuke could win it here for the Tama tribe. Immunity and reward."
Rachel tossed the ball, but once again it bounced off the rim of her barrel. Rachel let out a cry of frustration just as Yusuke took and thrust his shield out to toss the ball into the barrel. His heart leapt into his throat as the ball sailed through the air before descending in (to his mind) slow motion before landing into the barrel.
"Yusuke scores and wins!" Jeff called out, raising his hands into the air. "For the Tama tribe, immunity and reward!"
The Tama tribe exploded into screams, cheers, and cries of happiness, as all of them came running forward to hug Yusuke.
"I call that kicking ass!" Ichigo cheered as he clapped Yusuke on the back.
"Tama tribe congratulations," Jeff nodded as he grabbed the immunity idol and handed it to a beaming Yusuke. "No tribal council tonight, nobody going home from the Tama tribe. Now you have a decision. A choice between two rewards. You have the tarp or you have the fishing gear."
"The tarp!" the Tama tribe cheered.
"Come get it," Jeff waved them over. "Your shelter will become a lot drier I'm sure. Grab your stuff and head on back to camp. Enjoy the night off."
The Tama tribe cheered before heading off, away from the muddy and hay strewn challenge grounds. The Hadami tribe watched them go with a sigh.
"Alright guys," Jeff said, facing the loosing tribe. "Grab your stuff and head back to camp. I'll see you tonight at tribal council where you will vote out your first member."
The Hadami tribe nodded and followed the Tama tribe out.
The Hadami tribe trudged into camp in low spirits after their loss in the challenge.
"Well that sucked," Ash sighed.
"You said it," Teah groaned.
"Sorry guys," Rachel sighed.
"It's not your fault, Rach," Goku said brightly, the only one who's cheerfulness hadn't been dampened by their loss. "It could have happened to anyone."
"Yeah!" Misa nodded, instantly regaining her cheerfulness after hearing Goku. "You did better then what I'd ever be able to do! I can be such a butter fingers. And using the board shield thingy looked pretty hard!
"You did fine," Kurogane added softly, patting the girl on her shoulder. "It just wasn't our day."
"Man," Edward groaned as he plopped down onto the edge of their raised shelter.
"What?" Naruto asked, cocking his head to the side as he watched the older blond.
Edward scowled as he ran his living hand over his automail arm.
"I managed to keep my leg from getting muddy, but my arm here is caked with mud now," he sighed. "My mechanic is going to freak on me when this is over. She'll probably hit me over the head with her wrench."
Edward them proceeded to rant about all the ways his mechanic and childhood friend was going to kill him. This quickly dispelled the gloom brought on by their loss and soon everyone was laughing and joking along with Edward about the reactions he'd gotten from the Tama tribe about his arm. Goku smiled, sharing a glance with Kurogane.
"He certainly cheered everyone up," the big man grinned.
Kurogane smirked as he watched Edward scowl and shout verbal abuse at Naruto and Ash for calling him short, barley restrained by the combined strength of Teah, Rachel and Kaoru.
"…At least until it hits everyone that we need to vote someone out," the man in black muttered, his smile fading.
Goku's own smile fell a few degrees, a sad look in his eyes.
"Yeah," he whispered. "Who should we vote out? Edward suggested Misa the other day but…"
"We don't know the extent of her abilities," Kurogane nodded. "I suggest Ichigo. She struggled in the challenge today. She got stuck and lost us precious time. We only caught up because Edward tore his haystack apart like a mad man."
"But Teah also got stuck," Goku pointed out gently. "And Rachel did fall apart in the end."
"Maybe so," Kurogane agreed. "But Teah recovered quicker that Ichigo did and Rachel is stronger in challenges. She's our strongest woman competitor second probably only to Kaoru. We just placed her in the wrong position today. Maybe today's challenge would have gone differently if Ichigo and Rachel had switched places… but it's too late for maybes. Someone's got to go and Ichigo is one of our weaker tribe mates."
"Too bad. I like our little Miss Strawberries," Goku smiled sadly. "She's a ball full of energy. …How are we going to tell the others without her knowing?"
"Leave the girls to me," Kurogane frowned. "You can go take Ash and Naruto on one of your wood gathering trips and tell them. They both look up to you so it shouldn't take much other than your word to get them on board."
"And Edward?" Goku asked.
"He knows," Kurogane replied.
"How?" Goku blinked.
"I just told him," Kurogane muttered, well awear of the cameras that were filming their little side conversation.
"But you've been talking with me!" Goku exclaimed, confused.
Goku then looked up and noticed that Edward was looking their way with his sharp golden eyes, and realized that Kurogane was not speaking verbally with Edward, but with his eyes. Kurogane would hold Edward's calm gaze before glancing at Ichigo. He repeated this action a couple of times before Edward tilted his head up in acknowledgement. Goku shook his head, a wide smile breaking out over his face.
"You continue to surprise me Kuro," Goku laughed.
Kurogane waited until Goku left with Naruto and Ash before dealing with the girls. He made eye contact with Edward again. The perceptive blond got the hint and asked Ichigo if she could help give him a hand in cleaning his muddy automail arm. The cheery redhead agreed instantly and followed him over to the river. Teah and Rachel watched them go from beside the camp's fire while Misa lay back in the shelter with Kaoru.
"Girls," Kurogane said softly as he approached, leaning with his back against one of the supports for their shelter.
"Kurogane," Rachel nodded with a smile.
"Do you girls have an idea of who you're going to vote out tonight?" he asked.
Rachel stared at him, before sharing a nervous glance with Teah. Misa sat up and Kaoru stared down into her lap.
"No…" Rachel sighed.
"Goku and I were talking earlier and we believe that we need to keep this tribe strong if we want to avoid loosing more challenges in the future," Kurogane said reasonably. "Therefore the weakest link has to be cut loose."
Kaoru was nodding while Teah, Rachel and Misa traded nervous glances, knowing full well that the women, more often than not, proved to be the weaker players in Survivor.
"Who did you have in mind?" Kaoru asked, looking over at the river where Ichigo was splashing Edward with water.
"We think Ichigo," Kurogane said grimly. "She really struggled in today's challenge and lost us a lot of time."
"Strawberries?" Rachel said sadly. "She's so sweet."
"Yes," Kurogane nodded slowly, "I don't like it either, but someone's going home tonight and we need our tribe to remain strong."
Teah sighed, nodding.
"So she is who we vote for?" Rachel asked, wanting to clarify.
"Is Goku telling Naruto and Ash it's Ichigo tonight as well?" Kaoru asked.
Again, Kurogane nodded.
"Ed's in on the plan as well," he informed them. "He's probably telling Ichigo that it's either Misa or Rachel."
Misa and Rachel shared a look but nodded nervously. It made sense to tell Ichigo that it was one of them, but it also warned the two girls that the they were seen as weak members within the tribe as well. Kurogane wasn't too good at the whole comforting thing, but he tried his best to assure the two girls that it was Ichigo going home that night. The four girls were in agreement even more so when they saw Goku and his group return with more firewood.
"So is everyone in?" Goku sighed sadly, looking at the six younger members of the tribe.
"Ichigo," Kurogane nodded.
"Ichigo" "Strawberries," came the subdued jumble of voices from the other six. They looked over to where Edward was stretching and testing out his now clean automail arm. Edward noticed his tribe's stares and gave a small nod that only Kurogane, Goku, Kaoru and Naruto noticed, while poor little Ichigo remained blissfully unaware of her situation.
"Behind each of you is a torch. Go ahead and grab a torch and approach the flame, dip it in and get fire," Jeff told the Hadami tribe as they arrived at tribal council. "This is part of the ritual at tribal council because in this game fire will represent your life. As long as you still have fire, you're still in the game. When your fire's gone, so are you."
Everyone did as he said and they each took one of the ten stools.
"Well welcome to tribal council," Jeff smiled. "This is not a place you want to be. Today you lost a challenge and by the end of the night one of you will be going home. Misa, you sat out of today's challenge. What did you observe that you think your tribe could have done differently today?"
Misa shrugged, flipping her long blond hair over her shoulder.
"It doesn't really matter what we could have done better," she stated. "At the end of the day the Tama tribe won and we lost and now someone has to go home."
Goku blinked in open surprise, not used to seeing this serious and subdued side of the model. Jeff missed nothing of course.
"Goku, is it really just a simple fact that you lost?" the host pressed.
"It wasn't our day to win, Jeff," Goku sighed with a smile. "Not one person on their own is to blame for our loss today. We all did the best we could but it just wasn't enough and now, like Misa said, someone has to go home."
"So what is tonight's vote based on?" Jeff asked.
"We need to keep this tribe strong," Goku stated. "Losing isn't fun and if we want to win and stay in it, the best thing we can do right now is vote out our weakest player."
"Is everyone in agreement in that assessment?" Jeff asked looking around, getting nods in return.
"Edward," Jeff nodded, singling out the older blond teenage boy. "Your tribe was behind in the challenge before you tore through the mud and hay, neither your prosthetic arm or leg hindering you at all. Obviously you proved that you are a contender in this game. Safe to say you're not going home?"
"I'd like to think so, but this is Survivor," Edward shrugged. "Nothing is certain. Just look at what happened to Nami from the Tama tribe. She was a strong contending player too. This game is just as social as it is physical. You just have to hope that you didn't piss off the wrong people and maintain a strong allegiance with your tribe mates."
"That is certainly true," Jeff nodded. "And with that said, it is time to vote. Ash, you're up."
Ash nodded nervously as he got up from his stool on the end and proceeded down the walk to the table where the urn, pen, and the voting slips of paper were there waiting. Once everyone had gone and were seated again Jeff rose from his own seat, said, "I'll go tally the votes," and retrieved the urn where the votes had been placed. When he took his place behind the podium again he set the urn down and looked up at them.
"Once the votes are read, the decision is final. The person voted out must leave the tribal council area immediately. I'll read the votes."
Jeff reached into the urn and pulled out a folded sheet of parchment, opened it, and read the name written on it as he turned it to show the cameras and the tribe.
"First vote: Misa. That's one vote Misa."
Misa sucked in a breath and clasped her hands in her lap. Ichigo shifted nervously in her stool as Jeff withdrew the next vote.
"Strawberries. That's one vote Misa, one vote Ichigo."
Ichigo (aka "Strawberries") stiffened in her seat, her eyes widening as Jeff proceeded to read the following votes and her name/nickname continued to be called out.
"…Second person voted out of Survivor. Ichigo," Jeff announced. "That's six votes, that's enough. You need to bring me your torch."
Ichigo smiled sadly as she rose up from her seat and reached behind her for her torch and brought it to Jeff.
"Ichigo," the host said solemnly. "The tribe has spoken."
With that said he snuffed out her torch and gestured to the archway behind him.
"Time for you to go," he said.
Ichigo nodded and turned to face her tribe one last time.
"Good luck guys," she smiled with no trace of anger or hatred in her gaze. "Stay strong!"
Kaoru, Misa, Rachel and Teah gave her teary nods and Ash, Naruto, Goku, and Edward offered her sad smiles while simply Kurogane inclined his head. Ichigo "Strawberries" Motomiya gave them one more of her sunny smiles before descending the steps and out of sight. Jeff turned to them.
"Now both the tribes are even once again. Will tonight's vote help you in future challenges? Only time can tell. Grab your torches, head back to camp. Good night."
The Hadami tribe rose from their seats, grabbed their torches as instructed, and left the tribal council area into the night.
So one more is gone. Ichigo Motomiya has left...
Well now at least I don't have to worry about any mix ups with the two names. Now the only Ichigo left in this game is Ichigo Kurosaki! I really hope I can post another chapter for this story soon, but my other two stories beckon.
Though this story may take a while to finish I WILL see this it to its end. I hate it when writers start a story and don't finish it, leaving their readers hanging. If I were to do the same then I'd be a hypocrite, and that's not acceptable in my opinion. . .
So until next time... PLEASE REVIEW!