A/N: Day Five part Five. Just over forty chapters and we're finally almost done. It's been a joy writing this, even if A Levels are giving me less and less time to actually write chapters.
This chapter I plan to focus a bit more on the survivors of two of the previous big alliances, Kate Ryal and Trent Flee. I'm going to be focusing more on the way that arguably the most intelligent tributes left in the Arena think, since they haven't been focused on much at all in the fic so far, which I think is a shame. It's something I've been planning for a while but couldn't quite find a place to put it, so I hope you guys enjoy it.
For those of you wondering about the next Dead Tributes Society, I plan to put those at the very end, right after the Victor has been declared, so you know what might have been.
The Ninety Fourth Hunger Games
"I know what's going on..."
Trent Flee gasps as he plunges through the tangled mass of fabrics and cloths that fill Colleseum Eight. He gulps for air as another wrack of the stuff is pulled over by his frantic movements, squeezing the oxygen from his lungs as the fabrics spin and twirl, sticking to him like fly paper. Every movement, every frantic attempt to free a limb or escape from the twisting mess simply drags more of the sticky, strangling stuff onto him, pulling him down under the sea of sewing. Colleseum Eight. Made by Sevdad Kerin, the emotionless giant from the weaver's District. It makes sense that he's the one who made his Colleseum a swamp, after all, it was the theme of the Arena the he won. Slightly more unexpected was the fact that the swamp had been made of wrack after wrack of clothing, pile after pile of fabric that had appeared solid until he had burst into the small clearing, at which point they had collapsed and the boy found himself in his current predicement.
The most unexpected part of it though was the fact that Sevdad Kerin had been allowed to make something like this at all. It seems, to Trent at least, pointless for the Mentors to be allowed to make their own little Mini-Arenas. He wouldn't have realised it himself if he hadn't caught sight of the giant figure of Kerin just before the ground gave out beneath him. He hadn't understood at first why the behemoth was there, leaning over the metal railing staring intently down at the scene, but fighting for his life had given Trent a lot of time to mull over the issue, and now he understood exactly what was going on in this hellhole.
"I know what they're planning..." He splutters, as the fabric begins to seal over his mouth, tangling in his matted hair and cutting off his voice. Not that anyone could have heard it before anyway, but, for Trent, that hardly mattered.
The box on the other hand, now that was far more perplexing. The unexplainable item that Georia had returned with after she had snuck away from the group a couple of mornings before. It made no sense, that was why he had taken it. He needed an answer for it. What was it. Had it been a sponsor? Who would sponsor her? Why would they send her something with apparently no use? A music box, at least by the look of it, had no purpose. What was it supposed to do for her, make her feel better about being stuck in the Games by reminding her of home? In practice the only people the box could help would be her enemies. The thing made more than enough noise to draw an enemy to one's position.
So it couldn't have been sent by a sponsor.
Trent rips the chest from his body, raising his arms above his head. More rags pull from the walls and grip his arms, sucking him down. They tangle around and around his arms, pulling him out into the center of the room. The cloth begins to wrap around his hands as he continues to ponder, gripping at the box. Their clockwise motions grind to a halt as his movement ceases, his brain continuing to tick.
Georia Hanel must have found the box.
But where? In the Cornucopia? It had sunk. Sunk and frozen over. There was no way the girl could have retrieved it from there. And there would be no reason for it to be just lying around.
Sure a tribute might have dropped it, before they died or something, but then why would she have picked it up. She would have to be an idiot to just pick up a music box because it looked pretty and, while Georia was many things, a coward and a weak, limping twig included, she was certainly not an idiot. She would never just pick up something that caught her eye.
So she couldn't have just found it.
Trent sighs as he begins to roll himself against the supple fingers of clothing that grip him. The fabric that has begun to claw his hands and throat is pressed back, too weak individually to fight the constant, consistent pressure Trent is applying to them. The weaker binds break, falling back and turning Trent's hunched form towards the exit. He smiles ever so slightly stretching out his freed arms and closing his eyes. Concentrate.
She couldn't have found and she couldn't have been sent it. So, as unlikely as it seems, Ms Hanel must have been given it.
But by who?
Trent gasps, pushing the offending box forwards and stretching out his fingers. The box tumbles across the squirming sea of threads, before coming to rest a mere few inches away from him. Trent's eyes open and his eyebrows raise in surprise. The room, he supposes, really isn't as big as he thought it was. He stretches out his fingers, gripping the solid, pastel coloured ground where the box has come to rest and slowly, ever so slowly so as not to entice more of the threads off of the wall and onto his skin, begins to drag himself out of the mesh.
So, he thinks as he lifts himself, his leg twisting awkwardly in its binds, but pulling through them before anything can be broken, who could have given the box to her?
It would be a token, of course, no one else would have taken such a thing with them.
But it most certainly wasn't one of her allies. From their appearance Kayton had never seen the box before, and Hype hadn't bought a music box, that much was certain. So it wasn't a member of their alliance. Maybe, then, Georia had been in another alliance. It would certainly explain her repeated attempts to ditch them.
"So..." Trent splutters as he drags himself from the fabric and onto the floor of the room, wheezing and gasping for breath, "Who could she be working for..."
'Talking to himself,' Claudius mutters, 'First sign of madness.'
"Careers..." Trent gasps as he drags himself forward, attempting to untangle his leg from the flailing fabrics, "Has to be..." Who else would carry around a token that would draw attention to them? It either had to be a mental patient or a Career. Or both.
Trent nods in agreement with himself as his leg finally lurches out of the dark pool of twisted fabrics. He chuckles, ripping a few pieces of red satin, squirming like leeches, off of him and chucks them back into the marsh of material, which snaps them up before returning to its original form. It flattens again, looking less and less like the deadly trap in which he had been entwined moments before and more and more like a soft, red carpet. A few of the wracks of fabric have toppled over and, above him, he can hear a crowd cheering and Claudius Templesmith's voice shouting his name, but otherwise the scene is exactly as he found it. Quiet, peaceful. He should have guessed something was wrong with it.
He turns and sinks down against the wall, his hair falling in front of his eyes as he does so. He is vaguely aware of the fact that he's bleeding rather heavily as he retrieves his box and rests it on his lap.
Trent sighs deeply. Soon he'll head out. He'll find the original owner of the music box and maybe Georia Hanel, and he'll find out where this fascinating box came from. After that, he can set the mystery aside and win the Games.
But first, a nap would be nice.
Kate Ryal smiles, leaping another spinning axe as, above her, another cannon goes off. Only five tributes left to deal with, and then the Capitol will have it's Victor.
But to make sure she was that Victor, she'd have to work out who she would be facing. And that meant working out who had just died.
To start with there was her, she wasn't dead, so that left seven, Massenhaft, Kaitz, Hanel, Flee, Roys, Ryaov and Carter. She could safely assume that Neither of the Careers were among the dead and that Hanel was, so she crosses those two off the list. Next to be knocked off is Zus Ryaov, who had looked far too muscular and lethal before going into the Arena to be stopped by something like this. That is of course assuming he hadn't just got unlucky and was headless on the ground right now. So that just leaves Trent Flee, Lenox Carter and Kayton Roys. One of whom is dead. Kate assumes she'll find out pretty soon, when she faces and kills the other two.
All she has to do is make it through this arena of swirling death.
Another axe swings down as she steps on another cobblestone, and she twists out the way, wincing as it grazes her arm and accidently stumbling on a few more cobbles. More axes speed down from the walls and up from the floor, but Kate dodges every one, leaping over one axe, bouncing off of its flat and spinning backwards, away from another. More and more axes arc down as she makes her way ever onwards, shredding her clothing and slashing at her, but each one failing to land a decisive blow. She launches herself, eyes screwing up in concentration, for the exit, but gasps in surprise as an accidental trip on another stone sends a huge axe jutting out of the ground right infront of her, causing her to back pedal madly to avoid having her head wrenched from her shoulders.
She pants for breath as the axes withdraw and stands there, breathing heavily, in the middle of the colleseum. 'Which psycho made this thing?' Kate wonders as she prepares for another run for the exit. Whoever it is has certainly done a marvelous job.
'This Colleseum,' Claudius informs the audience, 'was made by the Victors of District Seven. Designed so that the slightest touch to one of the cobbles will trigger a blade of some form to fly from the wall or floor. Took a lot of effort to get all of those axes to flip up like that so that the tributes don't instantly know where they're coming from. Keeps the tributes on their toes. Hope ya appreciate the extra effort folks!'
Kate Ryal most certainly does not appreciate the extra effort. Walking back as slowly as she can, making sure to dodge the cobbles she has already triggered, she waits for the axe in front of her to slip back into the ground. Then, tapping off from the ground with both feet, she throws herself forwards, straight over the offending cobblestone and the axe it was supposed to unleash.
Her knee brushes a single stone and a blade shoots up, slipping across her stomach and slicing it. She gasps in pain, before tumbling painfully to the ground and rolling over and over, finally landing awkwardly on the ground, her legs pushed up against her stomach, her arms spread out, panting heavily. Her eyes fill with tears as she gasps for breath, blood trickles down from the gash on her stomach and pooling on the saw dust strewn ground. The crowd, watching at home or in some expensive viewing box or even around her, having payed through the nose for their seats on the sidelines of the Colleseum, lean forwards, waiting with baited breath to see whether or not Kate has died.
Her body lies still.
Her eyes slowly close.
But she doesn't stop breathing.
After a time the blood stops, the pain diminishes and she pulls herself to her feet, gasping for breath, leaning heavily on the wall.
She's made it through. Just like she's made it through everything they've thrown at her.
Just like she'll make it through the other tributes. For she is going to make it through.
She will end their lives and she will do it so bitterly and so quickly, that they won't even know what hit them.
Kate grins, wobbling off of the wall and beginning to rush down the corridor, in search of her prey. As the boom of the crowd gradually dies away to a quiet murmur she is left with simply the sound of her own heavy breathing and her footfalls on the floor. In time other sounds begin to drift through the walls.
She hears the mad roars of Irre Massenhaft drifting through the walls, followed by the frantic screams of District Eleven's Lenox Carter. She guesses that means that the girl isn't dead, but she sounds like she's on her way out. Further down the corridor a mass of howled swears drift through as Zus Ryaov drags himself to his feet after his drop and begins to make his way to a door, only to be cut of by savage, clockwork creatures. Kate changes her course. As much as she knows she'll have to face him, she wants to leave Zus as long as she can. He gives her the creeps and she doesn't think she'd be able to get close enough to him without becoming a living pin cushion.
She turns down a corridor, listening as the sounds slowly drift away, a cold, dead feeling grips her as she comes to the end of a corridor, standing in a room with three entrances.
The place is clearly a Colleseum, the walls lined with baying crowds, a single man, a massive, gargoyle like figure standing at the top, glaring down, however it is much smaller than the one she had just escaped from. Red cloth clings to everything like spiders web, above her several huge wooden shelves coat the walls, which lead up to a similar red velvet roof, keeping the Colleseum enclosed. Doors lead off to other Colleseums above and every so often a Capitolite will break off, wandering into another one to watch the carnage, or simply grab a bite to eat. She sighs, turning her attention to the other two passageways that aren't the one she has come down. One passage leads back into the caves. A great gate having closed over it, presumably at the moment whoever it was who activated it got through it. She looks around, her eyes resting on an odd, grey and red blob lying near her. At first it looks like part of the fabric, covered in as much red as it is, but in time she realises what, or rather who, the object is.
Trent Flee. He lies there, eyes hidden by his hair, mouth open, as stiff and still as the fabric that clings to him. Cuts and bruises cover his frame, a little blood hangs from his mouth and a box is held tight around his stomach, as though he had been using it to fend something off. He looks as if he's been thrown. His neck is bent oddly and his items are scattered around him. She smiles, at least he will be one less person she has to kill.
She bends down, beginning to gather up the dead boy's scattered items. Her finger brushes against the fabric and it wraps around her, dragging her forwards. She trips, nearly plunging face first into the cloth before her, which begins to part and stir, whipping up at her. With a shout she pulls away, shivering as she clutches her bruised hand. She has to be more careful. She definitely has to be more careful.
A few more seconds pass as she begins to grip more and more of the boy's items. For one of the Games less able competitors, It doesn't seem that Flee was too badly armed. He had a little food, a few bits and bobs she can use as a weapon, it even looks to her like their might be a tent in this pile somewhere. Kate giggles like a schoolgirl, draping his thick coat across her as she finally finds something to cover her body with and begins to stuff the coat's pockets and his backpack with everything she can find. Cans clink and clatter as she searches Flee's things for anything that could be of use to her, pillaging as much as she possibly can.
Then she hears the tap behind her.
She spins around, drawing an arrow as swiftly as she can and loosing the string, it whizzes past the head of the tribute who has been sitting behind her, colliding with the wall behind. Trent Flee straightens, his eyes dark behind his almost black mass of tangled hair, his face unreadable, as set in stone as the District Eight mentor who stares down at them. Kate loads another arrow into her bow but, at such short range, the attempt is useless, and Trent simply knocks the bow away before she can fire, sending the arrow spinning uselessly to the ground. Kate gasps as Trent stops slouching, straightening to his full height and towering above her. Trent grabs for an axe lying near his feet but Kate reaches it first, pulling it upwards and very nearly cutting off Trent's fingers as he pulls his hand back. Kate gives another swing and Trent takes a step backwards. Grinning Kate steps forwards, axe raised, ready to swing down at him, but Trent quickly dodges, stepping back again. Another swing, another step back. Another slash, Trent retreats yet more. Kate snarls, now frustrated, and gives a single sweeping blow at his face. A slight smile tweaks the corners of Trent's lips as he ducks straight under the blade and, gripping it by its shaft, tears it out of Kate's hands. Kate gasps as Trent steps forwards, the axe now his. She grips the bag and holds it in front of her, desperatly looking for any way to defend herself.
"I'm sorry..." Trent mumbles, staring at his feet, "I'd like not to do this but..." His voice dies away as Kate swings the bag, slamming it directly into his head. Trent stumbles back and Kate swings again, but Trent raises his axe just in time, ripping the bag clean in two and scattering its contents across the floor and into the fabric behind them, which twists and flails. The now empty sacking hits Trent's face with little force, but succeeds in ripping the axe from his hands. Trent grips her by the throat, pushing her feet to the edge of the red fabric and leaning her backwards so that he is the only thing keeping her standing.
"You don't understand..." Trent sighs, "They're trying to kill us..."
Kate breaks, a snarl forming on her face as she claws for him.
"You idiot!" She roars, "Of course they're trying to kill us! Their the Gamesmakers! It's! Their! Job!"
Trent regards her with sad eyes and frowns, slapping both her hands out of the way.
"No..." He groans, "You really don't understand..."
With those words he releases her neck and she tumbles backwards into the mass of flailing cloths and fibres. More racks and threads tumble down, wrapping around the shrieking girl as she struggles to escape. Trent shakes his head, tossing her the axe, which just causes the cloth to flail more as it lands next to her hands, setting off another chain reaction. Trent forces as wide a smile as he can.
"I've given a chance..." He says with a shake of his head, "You can still get out if you do the right thing..."
He turns and begins to stalk down the corridor, his face grim. A few agonising minutes later a cannon goes off.
Trent heaves a sigh. He shouldn't have given her the axe. That was just spiteful.
He knew she would try to use it.
A/N: 'Just a quick message from our sponsors to let you know that, pretty soon, the Games will be coming to a close. We at Hunger Games TV would be really interested to know who, if anyone, are you rooting for? Please note that backing an already dead tribute will not be counted and you may still be charged. Thank you and may the odds be forever in your favour.'