So this chapter was supposed to be day nine, but I realized I couldn't just leave it where I had. Ismene hadn't even appeared in the feast and everyone did, so this chapter is day eight part two. The next chapter is the finale where the victors will be revealed!
I know I only updated yesterday but I was too excited so I started writing last night and finished it off today. I hope you enjoy this chapter! :D
Ismene Silas, 16 years old
Her feet pounded against the snow covered flat rocks, the dome only a few metres in front and getting closer and closer with each passing second. Her mind was elsewhere but the cold, focused entirely on the dome. Just thinking about the cold made it more painful, her fingers were blue and numb. The knife was barely staying in her hand, only the thumb and index finger could feel the handle, the other fingers had lost all feeling. Perhaps she would have to lose the fingers all together?
Ismene shook her head, now was not the time to start thinking of losing fingers. The knife she had in her hand as she neared the dome was rusted with the blood of Malachite and Zephyr. She wasn't even sad at having killed her little ally. He had been fun, her way of ensuring her time in the Arena was an even greater experience but Malachite had served his purpose and stolen her rightful kill. Was it childish? Yes. Did she care? No.
Her hands found the door of the dome, it was hard to get a grip to pull with hardly any fingers responding to the touch but before she could even pull down the metal door flew open and Ismene toppled backwards into the snow. Agony flared up her hand and into her wrist, when she looked over her shoulder at her hand a finger was bent upwards completely at an angle that a finger should not be sticking out at.
She bit down hard on her tongue, tasting the metallic flavour of her blood. The pain was like a fire burning away at her hand but she stood back up to find herself face to face with Sterling, a very worn out Iridium in his arms.
His sword was in his sheath by his hip, Iridium was big enough that she required two arms. There was no hope for him. The pile of fur coats were on Iridium's lap. Ismene counted three. Was hers still in the dome? Or had they taken it?
She knew she couldn't take the chance, dying of cold was not the way she wanted to go if she had to. The smile grew on her face at the prospect of taking out the greatest competitor in the Games. Even the giant seemed capable of shock, and Ismene found immediate satisfaction in seeing a little ounce of fear in his eyes. Iridium seemed half asleep and half awake. Her eyes were focused on Ismene but there was nothing but pain in her expression. Ismene noted a small bump in her leg underneath a bandage. So another tribute had a broken bone.
Her finger throbbed with the pain and the snow falling down onto her skin. She stroked the sharpened edge of her knife and stepped forwards.
"Taking out the biggest opponent. This is going to be fun." Ismene grinned and lunged at him. It seemed Sterling had good reflexes, he twisted out of her way and Iridium seemed to fly from his arms and land in a heap on the snow. Ismene heard her cry out with pain and when she spared a glance over at the injured girl Sterling had simply thrown her onto her leg.
When she took another step forward the point of a sword sliced the air in front of her nose, she stepped backwards nearly tripping over her own feet and slammed into the dome's freezing surface. Sterling looked to Iridium who looked as if she was about to pass out, then back to Ismene. His sword was raised ready to kill. Ismene surveyed the area around, now that Sterling could actually fight back maybe it was a good idea to run.
She took a step to the left, the white forest would only take five minutes maximum to sprint to if she really put in the effort. Sterling noticed her movements but Ismene took the first step and was off… until her eyes caught sight of Iridium with the bundle of fur coats.
Ismene snarled at no one in particular. Going back into those trees without a coat would be like walking to her own death. The cold was too much. She darted towards Iridium, when she looked up and saw Ismene coming she scrambled for her bow but before she could get an arrow notched in the string Ismene felt the breath get knocked out of her as Sterling picked her up and threw her against the dome.
It was almost quite fun in the air, until her back smashed into the black surface of the dome and she skidded down into a heap on the snowy floor. When she stood her legs gave out and the knife slipped from her hand. Not only did her broken finger land hard against the rock, her back felt as if it had been snapped in two.
She looked up, Iridium seemed miles away and when she moved her legs to stand up they seemed unresponsive and she remained in a sitting position on the snow. Her legs were slowly going numb, her head pounding as the scene around her split into three and made her feel dizzy. Three Sterlings were walking towards her when she finally gripped hold of her knife, the image merged into one and before he could stab down somehow she mustered all the strength she had to roll away from him.
He grunted with pain when the sword clanged against the dome and his leg pushed into the dull side of the sword. Ismene looked over her shoulder to see Sterling chasing her as she crawled along the snow.
"I can't die… no… no I can't." For the first time the tears started to fall down her cheeks freely, splashing against the snow on the ground. A hand grabbed her by the back of her neck and she was pulled upwards and left to dangle like a helpless doll.
Sterling looked neither happy nor particularly sad when he raised the sword. Iridium was off in the distance with the bundle of fur coats wrapped round her. Both her eyes and Sterling's were stuck on Ismene as the sword plunged into her stomach.
It was instant agony, but when he twisted and her blood flowed to the snow below everything went rather numb like her fingers. She felt the ground reach her when he dropped her and slowly her eyelids fluttered shut.
Maybe Malachite would be wherever she was off to? That would be fun. Ismene smiled, everything including the snow freezing in place as her eyes rolled in the back of her head and her heart came to halt.
Jasper Apatite, 17 years old
His cold hand was wrapped in her own and still her tears dropped endlessly onto his cheeks. Each one landed and trickled down his face as if he was the one who was crying until ending at his bloody throat where the arrow was now lying in a pool of his blood. Jasper's knees were drenched with the red but she didn't care, when she slipped slightly and her hand came up covered in Julius's blood she didn't care either… all that mattered was that he was gone and she was still here.
Every so often her eyes would flicker upwards to the door Sterling and Iridium had left through expecting them to come back, finish her and claim their victory. Jasper had heard fighting almost instantly after the two of them had left the dome and shortly afterwards a cannon had sounded. For some reason she knew it was Ismene's, and now she knew the next cannon would be hers.
Her fingers brushed along his forehead and through his hair and the tears came down faster and harder, splashing like the raindrops had done when the Arena had been beaten under that constant storm. Sterling and Iridium could come and claim their victory right now, but that door never opened and Jasper was left in the faint little flicker of the last light bulb with the dead body of Julius by her lap. If it wasn't for the wound where the arrow had pierced straight through, or the blood that looked black in the darkness Jasper would have thought he was sleeping. With his closed eyes he looked peaceful, but when her hand swept over his chest there was no heartbeat, no rise to his chest that showed he was breathing and no pulse signifying he was alive.
Jasper turned to look at Tyrian's body. From here she could see the gruesome hole in his head that opened up at the underside of his chin. Julius had done that to save her, and then turned and died almost seconds after. If Jasper hadn't have been disarmed then he wouldn't have…. a sob pierced through her lips and she hugged Julius's limp and cold body in her arms.
She didn't care what the Capitol and the Districts were thinking of her right now cradling the body of a man she'd never knew before the Games. Her Aunt must be crying for her but not even the picture of her loving face helped her to stop, Beryl would be either drunk or fuming at the sight of his girlfriend crying over someone else but that didn't bother her at all. Julius was dead… Iridium had killed him.
When the image of the blonde haired girl lying on the ground with the bow in her hands, the arrow releasing from the string and with her deadly aim watching it pierce through Julius's neck made her hand leave Julius's own hand and curl into a fist. Iridium had done this. And if Sterling hadn't have helped her to the dome in her state she wouldn't have even been there to be the one to kill him with that single arrow.
Julius had wanted to win alongside her, entering the dome knowing they were in the final six had been almost like a dream and now, in the space of what only felt like five minutes she was in the final three with Julius lying dead, Tyrian with the hole in his head and Ismene on the outside of the dome having been killed by Sterling or Iridium.
The final three… she should be happy, she should be almost jumping with excitement at the thought of only being one more death away from leaving the Arena and not having to come back for a whole year. But only one look at Julius and feeling his cold body in her arms reminded her that she could win but without him. There was no way of her leaving with someone she'd be able to get along with. It would either be the alliance that had killed Julius, or Jasper and one of them.
Jasper pulled herself away from Julius's body and somehow managed to stand up. Her knees were shaking and when she stepped forwards she stumbled and nearly slipped in Julius's blood and fell onto his body but she carried on walking towards the door with a sword in her hand. She looked over her shoulder at Julius and wiped the last of her tears from her eyes.
She knew she'd never get over him, if she won his face would forever haunt her nightmares like so many other Victors must face every night with their own allies in their Games but if she didn't win then Julius would have died for nothing. He had stepped forward and killed Tyrian to save her, he wouldn't have been in the position of the light for Iridium to see him and shoot that arrow if he had of just stayed there and let Tyrian killed Jasper.
She had to kill one of them. She had to win or otherwise Julius would have died for nothing at all and she couldn't let that happen.
The dome seemed larger than usual and when she made it to the door she could hardly see anything but her hand found the door handle and she pulled it open. The cold hit her instantly even before she crossed over and for the first time since Julius fell the pain exploded in her nose where Tyrian had punched her.
Her face must be a bloody mess but she did her best to ignore the pain and stepped onto the snowy rocks. The fur coat felt good around her shoulders, she knew she would no longer die of the low temperature.
Ismene's dead body was only a few metres away from where Jasper was, the snow was red with her blood but Jasper paid her no more attention and set off across the rocks. They'd be here somewhere, whether it took an hour or a week she'd find them. She was winning for Julius, one of the others would soon be dead.
Iridium Proditae, 17 years old
Iridium could see the strain on Sterling's face as he carried her up the slope of the white trees. The snow was crunching under his feet, but now that she had her own coat wrapped round her body and another coat in her arms she could appreciate the beauty of the entire forest without worrying about the cold and the pain that went alongside it.
Her leg throbbed badly where the snow had gotten through it, she knew Sterling had thrown her to save her but it still hurt so much that at times she felt dizzy as they advanced further and further up the slope. Her bow was wrapped up in the spare fur coat, her last few remaining arrows shoved into the pockets. It was still a wonder to her that she had managed to get one in the string and fire it with accuracy so that it killed Julius, when Sterling had placed her on the ground of the dome everything had gone rather blurry but luckily the arrow found the neck of the career and now with the death of Ismene only Jasper had to die for herself and Sterling to go home. It really could happen.
The only thing that didn't quite make sense was why Sterling hadn't listened to her about going into the dome to finish off Jasper there and then, he had simply looked down at Ismene's dead body before scooping up Iridium in his muscular arms and taking her towards the forest.
They could be on the hovercraft home if they had gone into the dome and if Jasper had have still been there they could have killed her, but the fight had gone out of Iridium for now. She was tired and soon enough they'd settle down to sleep.
Sterling's breath came out in a white mist but he seemed stronger despite how hard it must be carrying Iridium up the slope. She hated that she was a burden, that was one of the many reasons she had started off believing alliances were the wrong way to go but she had to concede and allow him to carry her otherwise there was no hope for her to be able to make it to the trees by herself.
"I know you're in pain, but don't worry we'll be stopping soon."
Sterling looked down at Iridium and smiled despite how red his face was. Iridium managed to muster up a smile to mirror his own but rested her head back against his arms. The cold against her face actually felt good now that the rest of her body was warming up with the fur. She couldn't deny what a good idea it had been on the Gamemaker's part to give them an outfit that gave them little warmth, then freeze the Arena when the final six came about so they needed something to warm them up before they died due to the cold and provide the means to help them survive at the dome where everyone else would be headed.
Iridium hated the Capitol for it, these sort of bloodthirsty events were one of the many reasons the Hunger Games would forever be a blemish on the reputation of a country that used to be so great but perhaps now that she was one of the three survivors of the feast where six had entered she really could win. There was one more career left to kill and Iridium was in the arms of someone who had volunteered. Sterling was so different in some respects yet similar but Iridium had come to like him. She'd lost Caitrin and Sparkle, and although they had not been her allies Alise and Ania had fallen but now her last ally could win and Iridium could be there with him when Hero announced the victors.
The thought of that brought a smile to her face. Only one more career and she could go home. The thought of returning to District One made her feel happy for the first time. She could abandon her parents and live in the Victor's village until it was her time to go back into the Games. The thought of having to go through all this again wiped the smile clean off her face but she'd have a year of her life to spend without her horrible parents and the rest of the district being so close to her.
Finally Sterling came to a halt and placed Iridium gently down on the snow. A small amount of the snow melted into her bandage but the pain couldn't get any worse, she could barely feel the water touching the bone over the agony she was already feeling. Sterling bent down to join her and rested his head against the base of the tree. Iridium snuggled up closer to the tree and did the same thing.
"I'll keep first watch."
Iridium nodded and when she turned her head to the side the anthem blasted out of the speakers and the Capitol's seal filled the sky in electric blue.
The first face was Tyrian's. Iridium had hated everything about him, but still another teenage life had gone out for something Tyrian had not even been alive to be a part of. Julius was next and Iridium had to look away. He was an arrogant career, the type of person she couldn't stand but still she had been the one to kill him, it was hard to look at his face.
Ismene was the last to appear in the sky and she felt Sterling tense up beside her. When her face faded, the seal appeared in the sky before disappearing and Iridium put the other coat behind her head to use as a pillow.
If Jasper came up through these trees surely the two of them combined could take her out. Killing didn't please Iridium, Jasper may be a career but she was still someone who didn't deserve to die even if she had volunteered to be here but it was necessary. The final three… she was so close. She really could win this.
Her eyelids fluttered shut as everything became silent around her. The warmth of the coat was the best feeling she had felt in a long time and it wasn't long before she found herself drifting off to sleep.
Tomorrow two would be going home and one would die. It would be Jasper, it had to be, Jasper would be the one to die.
The final three, it's gone so quick since I had 24 tributes trying to get that victor's spot.
I will try to get the next chapter done tomorrow, if not it will definitely be up Sunday! :D