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Thread: The 74th Annual Hunger Games [M]

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    Default The 74th Annual Hunger Games [M]

    COMPLETE!


    Zuzu's back with more fanfics, ladies and gentlemen. and like all of my other fics, it is also viewable on fanfiction.net under the same name. I even drew a picture for this very occasion. This one is actually older--I started it before the 92nd Hunger Games, and finished it shortly before the 93rd was finished.

    AUTHOR'S NOTES: Welcome to the 74th Annual Hunger Games! Those who have read my other fanfics will know that they are set in an alternate universe, where Katniss did not volunteer for Prim at the reapings. This story intends to relay a more detailed account of what went down that year. Thus, we will see several familiar faces throughout this story, some of which were given surnames at my own creative liberty, since I could not find a consensual/reliable source that gave me information on their actual surnames. Other than that, watch as Zulera301 tries to accurately imitate the characters we all know and love.
    On a similar note, this is not the sequel (or a prequel, per se) to my existing fanfic series. This is more just an explanation of how and why there was no rebellion, why the 91st, 92nd, 93rd, and so on, Hunger Games happened at all, and what the victor of the games ended up doing before, during, and after the arena events. Just some thoughts.
    Happy Reading!


    PART I: THE TRIBUTES

    CHAPTER 1: The 74th Hunger Games


    For the 74th time in Panem's history, the Capitol and the twelve districts of Panem celebrated what was colloquially known as "Reaping Day". Perhaps 'celebrate' might have been too strong of a word in some cases. For 23 boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18, this was essentially a condemnation to death. For districts like 1 and 2, where there were around a dozen victors, the levels of confidence exuded were much higher than in the likes of Districts like 12, 9, or 10, which only had 2 (District 12) or 3 ('9 and '10) victors in these last 73 years. Other districts that fared somewhat better, such as '5 or '11 (both of which had 6 victors thus far) did not share the same enthusiasm of sending their kids to their deaths the way District 1 and District 2 did. But, there was a reason that they were called 'Career Districts". They trained boys and girls for the Hunger Games, essentially making it their careers. While the ethics behind this practice were debatable, even the Capitol turned a blind eye to it; rather enjoying that there were enthusiastic tributes that would keep the games interesting. In almost any of the other districts, volunteering was considered suicide, and thus was very rare in some cases, and virtually nonexistent in others.

    Thus it was, when 18-year-old Thresh Dakara and 12-year-old Rue Keniye were picked as District 11's tributes for the 74th Annual Hunger Games, there was a somber silence that hung over the crowd which was almost enough to create awkward tension. Instead of applauding the way the escorts all customarily requested (this was more protocol rather than anything though; for none in Districts 6-12 would ever cheer the death of their own), many people raised their hands in a 3-fingered salute. It had originated in District 12, but over the last few years, some closeness between tributes from '11 and '12 had allowed the sign to be shared between the two more freely. There was a moment of resounding silence once again as the two tributes were escorted inside the Justice Building. Thresh and Rue were acquainted with each other, both of them working different parts of the fields and orchards around the district, but neither one was very talkative: Rue mostly just sang or whistled, while Thresh was the type to state or answer things in as few word as possible.

    Rue Keniye was not the only 12-year-old with unfortunate luck, however. A district away in the square of District 12, Primrose Everdeen was called to the stage. Her elder sister protested, having just had a reassuring conversation about how unlikely it was that she would get picked, but of course, Reaping Day was the one day out of the year where the District 12 Peacekeepers took their job seriously, and so the rogue Katniss Everdeen was swiftly silenced, where she fell back into line, subdued and upset.

    The boy that year was a strapping young man by the name of Peeta Mellark. Similar to in District 11, there was silence after the names were recited, and most of the crowd raised their hands in a somber salute. Katniss was one of the few who didn't, as she was battling the racking pain in her head from the Peacekeeper's strike to her temple. She was having enough trouble standing up as it was, although the reality of what had happened was also hurting in more ways than one: Her sister was almost certainly going to die.

    Across the country in District 1, virtually the opposite was the case. Instead of people fearing their name would get picked, there were dozens of boys and girls lined up raring to volunteer. There were so many of them that it was basically a scramble for the stage where the potential tributes brawled their way to the front. There were no real rules about this, but few ever spent much time trying to beat someone down, as that was precious time that they could be scrambling for the stage instead. This year's picks were a lanky boy named Marvel and a slender, attractive lady named Glimmer. While both of them almost seemed a bit airheaded like their escort (being an airhead was part of an escort's job description though), they clearly had some ability to back themselves up considering that they had outdone the other boys and girls of District 1.

    District 2 was almost identical to District 1 except perhaps a bit more vicious. From the stage, their bubbly escort Athena was mustering the tributes together in preparation for the race to the stage. The boys and girls were beginning to split up into their respective groups, but that didn't stop a few from passing a few words to each other before the split.

    "If you don't win this year, Cato, I'm going to have no choice but to mock you," a smaller girl teased. "It's your last year, so it's now or never."

    "There'll be more than a few black eyes by the time I reach that stage," Cato insisted, "and what about you, Clove? Are you in it to win it?"

    "If I wasn't," the girl named Clove retorted, "I wouldn't be here." Before she could say much more, the two of them parted ways, although exchanged glances as Clove and the other girls got into position.

    The scramble to the stage was about as chaotic as one might assume, with brawls breaking out between some of Panem's strongest children as they raced and battled to become this year's tributes for the 74th Annual Hunger Games. After a few moments of zigzagging through other girls and striking a few others with alarming precision, Clove flipped up onto the stage and was named the female tribute. She got an approving nod from Elroy and Enobaria, the current pair of mentors for District 2 that year. Technically only one victor was required to mentor tributes, although many from District 2 took pride in having a 2nd victor there to bolster their egos.

    Clove's eyes returned to the group of boys who were now preparing to fight to the stage. Many of them were fairly gigantic, and so singling out Cato was not very easy at first. However, it was clear which one was vicious enough to be Cato once they were in action. He was pushing and shoving and punching his way past the others, before clambering up to the stage, raising his arms triumphantly and giving a battle yell as if to proclaim his victory.

    Athena did not seem to mind any of this, and so once Cato and Clove were perched atop the stage, she made the announcement.

    "Ladies and Gentlemen! Our tributes for the 74th Annual Hunger Games: Cato Salazar and Clove Kazera!"

    In this district there actually was some cheering and chanting. There was a lot of district pride here in '2, and Clove and Cato egged it on by shouting and throwing their hands into the air.

    Even in these districts though, the tributes were allowed to say their final goodbyes, and so they had about 5 or 10 minutes inside the District 2 Justice Building where their parents and siblings would show up (if they wished to) to bid their son, daughter, brother, or sister goodbye. Only two individuals showed up—Cato's mother and father. Clove's parents were alive, but had not chosen to show up. Watching the reaping was mandatory by Capitol Law, but that was what television was for unless you were between the ages of 12 and 18.

    Clove flipped a coin between her fingers as she idled her time while she overheard Cato say his goodbyes. It didn't bother her, per se, that her parents were not even interested in their own daughter to see her realize what was surely her finest achievement, but… okay, maybe it irked her just a little. Cato's parents seemed so affectionate and proud of their young man who was going to bring them and their district honor and glory, and perhaps even fame. Cato Salazar was certainly a valid threat, and would surely have very high odds. Clove sighed softly, making it sound like she was simply disinterested, and waited for the Peacekeepers to escort them to the trains.

    Unlike in other districts, the Peacekeepers were fairly friendly about informing the tributes their time was up, knowing that volunteer tributes were not about to try and make a break for it or cause a scene or anything, and unsurprisingly, Cato and Clove both went with them without any incident.

    They were joined by Athena when they boarded the train, her excited rambling going over their heads as they sat down, still looking a bit roughed up from the brawling they had done on the way to the District Stage. Despite their significant difference in height, both of them were smirking contentedly as they silently got comfortable and the train pulled out of the District 2 station. Cato Salazar and Clove Kazera knew full well what they were getting into, and had no regrets. They had been training their whole lives for this moment, and now it was time to prove their worth, as they entered the 74th Annual Hunger Games in a dangerously high-risk, high-return endeavor for honor and courage, where winning meant fame and fortune; while losing…

    …losing meant certain death.
    Last edited by Zulera301; 06-11-2018 at 12:14 AM.
    'The Crown of Zivia' Word Count: 64319
    'The Crusade of Zulera' Word Count: 52548
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    'The Rebirth of Krippa' Word Count: 51000

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    AUTHOR'S NOTES: This story might move slightly faster than my other ones since I do not have to spend as much time introducing characters that we are all familiar with. They will still see plenty of screen-time before the games as I show off what they do without the iconic "Girl on Fire" in their ranks, and we get to see a bit deeper into their behaviors rather than only focus on District 12. Some of my primary focuses intend to be the relationships between district partners, such as how Cato and Clove work well off of each other, or how Thresh and Rue get along so well even though they have literally not spoken a single word at all since the reaping. Just some things to think about. Happy reading!

    CHAPTER 2: Meeting the Tributes

    Each of the twelve trains that were en route to the Capitol carrying tributes to their almost certain doom almost all had characters reacting in different ways. The quirky and quiet District 5 pair was lost in their own thoughts, musing and mentally strategizing about what they would do when they were tossed into the arena. The pair from District 1 were enthusiastically chatting it up with their bright-eyed and bushy-tailed escort who was probably even more excited about it than they were.

    The District 12 pair were both particularly somber about the experience given their miserable track record. That, and those who knew Primrose knew she was no fighter. At best she was a healer, which meant she could save herself from dying excruciatingly painful, at best. The boy, Peeta, had slightly more of a chance considering that he possessed decent raw strength, although his attitude towards the games might cost him—or rather, what he promised to do.

    "I know that only one of us can come out of this thing alive" he told her, "but I'm going to protect you to my dying breath."

    "That's… thanks… I guess." Prim sighed, resting her head against the table and her arms, almost as if she had accepted that she would probably die a messy and horrible death.
    Thus, Peeta's remark was not much of a comforting gesture for the small girl who was almost certain that she was going to die, but it was better than the alternative of saying nothing at all. If nothing else, Peeta felt morally obligated to protect this girl. Her sister, after all, had been a woman whom Peeta had had his eyes on for years… except now it was too late to tell her personally. If they managed to defy all odds and bring home a District 12 victor… he would try to make sure it was her. If not… he would try to bring himself home, for similarly obvious reasons.

    It took him a while to finally wake up their mentor Haymitch, a lone, drunken man who had won the games nearly some 25 years ago, but he was fairly straightforward about what he wanted. He wanted to free the man from the long, dreary cycle of mentoring that he had been stuck in for more than two decades. That was what he would get out of the situation. Peeta on the other hand, would come out with his life, or would come out of it ensuring that Prim had survived.

    The pair from District 2 were already strategizing with each other, talking something about synergy, and how they were going to dominate the field.

    "Your strength and my speed," Clove twirled a butterknife in her hands as if it was a real throwing knife, "one of us is going home. Any guesses on who?"
    "I'm rooting for myself obviously," Cato laughed, "But you'd be a decent enough 2nd."

    "Oh, I definitely hope that you and I are the final two." Clove smirked, "but come now. I'm totally going to win this thing."

    "Don't push your luck with me," Cato warned, although the attitude and atmosphere of the situation showed that this was, for the most part, in good fun. Elroy and Enobaria, who sat nearby and watched the spectacle as they ate (and drank), found it mildly amusing.

    "See," Elroy spoke up as he watched Cato and Clove playfully bicker among themselves on who would kick whose ass at the end of the games, "What a lot of the others don't realize is that this is totally nothing personal. It's just business."
    "Good business," Enobaria corrected him, "this is not about personal grudges or any other sort of dickery. This is about winning it for the district. Friends come and go, and District 2 understands that. Killing is fine and dandy and all, but shit, it wasn't like I ripped that kid's throat out with my teeth because I wanted to—I did it because it seemed practical at the time."
    "Well look where it got you," Elroy quipped, elbowing her. "The 62nd Victor's throne."

    "That's why I've got no regrets. If Cato and Clove end up having to kill each other to secure the 74th Victor's Crown, that's fine by me. It's just good business."

    Perhaps this was the common misunderstanding of the career tributes. They were passionate and deadly, for sure, but most of them didn't volunteer so they could kill kids; most of them volunteered so that they could bring themselves and their families the fame and glory associated with winning. Even the mighty Cato and the vicious Clove that had won that honor this year, were not so interested in finding new ways to kill people (like some sadistic tributes were some years); they just wanted to carve their way to victory by any means necessary.

    And then there was also District 11. When they had said their goodbyes to their families, they had both spoken somberly and minimally. Now that they were on the train, it was as if they had sewed their lips shut given the silence that resounded in the air.

    Rue drummed her fingers on the table as she sat across from Thresh, her cheek in her other hand and her elbow on the table. Thresh responded by drumming his fingers. Rue repeated the action, and Thresh did as well a second later. After a few moments she began drumming faster, and Thresh kept up, getting faster and faster until they both emitted a chuckle. It was strangely ironic that the two seemed to be fostering a relationship with each other without even saying a word. Perhaps it was a profound understanding that one or both of them would end up dying, or maybe they did not want to get too close for other reasons, but it did seem like the two of them were going to remain on friendly enough terms with each other. When their mentor had offered to show them the reaping footage, they both simply nodded. He didn't seem to mind their silence, and so he put on the footage for them. They both seemed to be mentally evaluating their odds, sometimes exchanging glances with each other on who they might try to target first or who to avoid.

    District 11 was quiet and clever. Years of being surrounded by some of the most brutal and oppressive Peacekeepers in Panem had helped silence them verbally, although they knew other ways to communicate. Despite starvation (an ironic fate given that they were literally surrounded by tons of food that they themselves produced), they knew plenty of clever tricks, and were a notably resilient bunch. Despite what its poverty might have suggested, District 11 usually fared decently in the games.

    Whatever the case though, all dozen of these trains were heading in the same direction: The Capitol. That was where the pre-games ceremonies would take place, and that was where the tributes would make their first impressions. Even as they travelled, the various escorts were planning on how to present the tributes to the stylists that they would each meet, and thus it was a matter of presentation. Besides… there was a short walk from the train station to the Tribute Tower, and so the tributes also needed a way to briefly present themselves at this point. Marvel and Glimmer from District 1 had already decided on a more visually appealing approach; while their career counterparts over in District 2 were going to show off as powerful warriors. Districts 5 and 6 had both decided to take a more mysterious approach, while over in District 3 the tributes were going to portray themselves as rather clever. Thresh and Rue from District 11 had (unsurprisingly wordlessly) agreed on going for an appropriately silent and collected impression, which was a vibe that they had already mastered, it seemed. Even District 12 had come up with a presentation strategy involving courage (admittedly mostly form Peeta's end) and steadfastness.

    Needless to say, the Capitol was practically in a frenzy with excitement as the trains began pulling in. Enthusiastic crowds clamored to see their new tributes for the 74th Annual Hunger Games. Even the District 12 pair got cheers and chants going their way. Before the Capitol could properly know its tributes, most of them expressed excitement at seeing them for the first (and potentially last) time.

    Cato and Clove found themselves sharing an elevator with a dark-skinned pair that were similar to them—District 11. The boy was a large, muscular fellow, while the girl appeared tiny and agile. They were not together very long before Cato and Clove's 2nd-floor stop came up, where they exited the elevator without incident.

    "Think they've got anything on us," Cato chuckled as he sat down in a comfortable seat as Clove joined him. "Or do you give them 38 seconds in the bloodbath?"
    "They've got nothing on us," Clove smirked in agreement, "District 11 might survive the bloodbath, but then that just means it'll be the thrill of the hunt once we track them down. The others though? Like Districts 12, '9, and '10? Totally fodder. We'll be scoring plenty of kills in the opening minutes."
    'The Crown of Zivia' Word Count: 64319
    'The Crusade of Zulera' Word Count: 52548
    'The Shadows of Shinzoka' Word Count: 51000
    'The Rebirth of Krippa' Word Count: 51000

    The Avatar in Chains (fanfic)
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    AUTHOR'S NOTES: Just because Katniss is absent does not necessarily mean that the chariot costume designs were abandoned. Primrose might not be "The Girl on Fire", but at the same time, she's not about to be doomed to die the nameless death of bloodbath fodder. Peeta's got her back.
    In other news, we've got Thresh and Rue who are taking a completely different and more tactical approach this year. The careers aren't about to just bulldoze their way to the top or anything... not that easily at least.
    Happy reading!


    CHAPTER 3: Steel and Fire


    Cato, Clove, and all of the others were simply biding their time until the evening, where they would all be dressed up in fancy and flashy costumes in order to show themselves off to the Capitol. Perhaps this was another lesson about how the teams were just that—teams. Tributes relied on their escort to line up sponsor gifts; their mentor to teach them tips and tricks, as well as when to receive sponsor gifts; and the stylists to make them give a good impression to the Capitol audiences, both during the chariot parade and during the interviews that would happen with Caesar Flickerman at the end of the 7th and final day of training.

    Other than perhaps the notion of allying with District 1, the most commonly spoken about tributes on the 2nd floor were that District 11 pair. Most tributes would say something to the careers, or would shy away from them whenever they crossed paths, even if it was as simple a place as an elevator.

    And yet, Thresh Dakara and Rue Keniye had not stood down, nor had they even opened their mouths. Cato mentioned that he had heard that there was a pair of stylists who were like that—perfectly able to speak, and yet simply choosing not to, but Clove dismissed that as well.

    "It doesn't matter if they don't talk," she reminded him, "they'll be dead soon." Of course, this stroking of Cato's ego helped the boy's thoughts wander elsewhere, while Clove instead focused more on it, unbeknownst to Cato.

    What if they were actually a threat though? As easy as it might be to pick off a dozen or so really weak tributes during the opening minutes, the ones that survived that were usually either clever, lucky, or both. If that massive boy decided to defend that smaller girl, they could potentially be a deadly team.

    Clove's thoughts wandered again, as they often did when she wasn't doing anything. She thought of back home, and of her family. Okay, so perhaps it more than irked her that they had not come to see her finest achievement. She had volunteered for the Hunger Games! She was in the Capitol now, basking in the glory of their benevolent hosts. Soon, she'd be in the arena fighting to the death to win glory for herself, her family, and her district! How could they not be proud of her for that?

    It was certainly not that they were ashamed or anything; they had just seemed disinterested. Sure they were hard on her in the past, but this… this should have made everything better.

    Cato actually noticed it, no less. Clove did not expect much sympathy from him though.

    "You look like you're off in dreamland," he quipped, "you're not scared of District 11, are you?"

    "Of course not" Clove shook her head, "Just thinking about something back home. I'm going to see it in a few weeks, you know."
    Cato smirked. There was the usual arrogant Clove that he knew and loved (so to speak).

    "That's only if you can get through me," he smirked, "Not an easy task."

    "I bet I can still off more tributes than you," she challenged.

    "Oh, you're so on!" Cato shook her hand almost enthusiastically. "May the odds be ever in your favor—you're going to need it!"
    This playful bantering and bickering continued for a while until Athena returned with a pair of stylists in tow. This of course prompted Clove and Cato to follow them to the studios, where they and the others would be cleaned up one final time before getting dressed and adorned in fancy outfits of some sort. Naturally, cleaner-cut and more hygienic tributes like the kids from District 1 and District 2 did not take nearly as long as the rougher and (arguably) somewhat feral kids from the likes of 10, 11, or 12.

    Cato and Clove got along well with their stylists, who were soon adorning the two of them in bronze-colored gladiator-styled outfits, with stylized battle armor and winged helmets. The outfits were somewhat revealing, for they did want to show off Cato's muscular physique, but also Clove's lithe and slender form. After all, they were set to be some of the Capitol's favorites this year, or so they were told. This kind of ego-stroking meant that neither one of them was upset with this notion.

    If there was another (of surely many) things to say about the Capitol, it was that they had some impeccable timing. It would also have explained why the trains from all 12 districts arrived in the Capitol within minutes of each other, and perhaps also why the tributes were done being operated on and dressed up all around the same time as well.

    Clove did hear a delighted squeal a room over or something, and after emerging from the studios herself, noticed that Marvel and Glimmer, that slightly ditzy but otherwise fairly attractive District 1 pair were decked out in rainbow-colored glittery outfits—probably a representation of gems or something.

    "Was that you in there?" Clove turned to the taller, blond-haired girl and stuck her thumb out in the direction of the studio where she had heard that delighted squeal.

    "It was," Glimmer admitted with a grin.

    "It seems fitting," Cato nodded his approval of the girl's outfit as well, although seconds later, exchanged glances with Clove that indicated he was thinking the same thing she was—Glimmer and Marvel had nothing on them.

    One of the most notable subjects that would circulate around the Capitol and the stylist community this year though, was the synergy between the District 11 team. Their stylists, a pair named Zakuya and Misaha, were new this year, and thus had been given one of the outer districts to work with. What made them significant to Thresh and Rue was that they were about as talkative as the tribute pair—which meant they hardly spoke at all.

    Perhaps the most intriguing part about it was that it did not stop communication, and so they were cleaned and outfitted without a hitch. They appeared shortly after the District 12 pair, who were clad in form-fitting black attire, which most people dismissed as simple and ineffective as usual.

    For a moment, Thresh and Rue both glanced towards Glimmer, Marvel, Cato, and Clove, none of which knew what to make of their expressions. A sparkle of interest seemed to flash before their eyes, though their lips remained closed the entire time as if they were silently sizing up their competition. Glimmer smiled and waved coyly at them—a gesture which they did not return. In fact, the only actual movement from them at the moment was the flow of the blue and green fabric that comprised their outfits.

    The tributes began to converge where the chariots would line up before showing themselves off to the Capitol audience as they were paraded down the square. There were hushed whispers among many of them as they heard some of the opening fanfares and boarded their chariots. It was only a matter of minutes before Marvel and Glimmer would start off the show, with Cato and Clove in tow, as well as District 3, then '4, all the way down to Peeta Mellark and Primrose Everdeen in District 12.

    There was never any booing or negative remarks from the Capitol crowds upon seeing their tributes, but instead, the voiced it with silence. However, there was anything but silence as the career chariots made their debuts. Clove and Cato raised their arms into the air, shouting triumphantly, as if to pump up the crowds. They were certainly just as big of hits as they had expected themselves to be.

    However, the thrills of the parade didn't end there. Even the districts in between were fairly memorable for a bit, even if they might not have shone as brightly as District 1 and District 2.

    District 11's costume did not have any explicitly special effects, although their outfits did seem to shimmer under the light of the moon and the Capitol, bringing the symbolism of earth, water, and light into being, reminding the Capitol that those were requisites of making plants grow.

    District 12, however, was an upset this year. Those simple black costumes the tributes were clad in suddenly burst into exotic (albeit fake) flames halfway through the parade, which was a trick one of the stylists had pulled off, to great success.

    Clove actually glanced behind her out of the corner of her eye to see why the crowds had suddenly erupted into cheers behind them.

    "They're on fire," she muttered to Cato as they began to form a semicircle around the President's balcony, "Here's for hoping the flames are real."

    They knew that these flames weren't real, but suddenly they felt like they had just gotten challenged. There would be plenty of time to address that issue tomorrow at training though. Right now, it was time to focus on President Coriolanus Snow, who appeared up on his balcony that the tribute chariots now surrounded. His words were simple but powerful.

    "Welcome to the 74th Annual Hunger Games." He announced in his usual calm but commanding tone. "And may the odds be ever in your favor."
    'The Crown of Zivia' Word Count: 64319
    'The Crusade of Zulera' Word Count: 52548
    'The Shadows of Shinzoka' Word Count: 51000
    'The Rebirth of Krippa' Word Count: 51000

    The Avatar in Chains (fanfic)
    Z. Zu. Zul. Zuzu. Zuly. Zulera. Lulu. 301. Zu-Zu. ZZ-Top. Zuliette. Zuley. Zulz. Zuul. Zubat. 'Lera. Zulianne. Z301. Z-hizzle. Z-dawg. Zulerey. Zully. Zulio. Luz. Ra-ra. Z-swiss. Zulera301.

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    AUTHOR'S NOTES: And here we see some of the post-parade scenes before the training actually starts. The story starts to put more of a focus on Cato and Clove from here, (and there is a little Clove/Cato near the end), although we do get to see some of the others still. Even without Katniss present, Clove still manages to find someone that irks her-two someones that irk her. Time will well what becomes of these feelings though. Happy Reading!

    CHAPTER 4: The Fearless Tributes

    Shortly after the president's short words, the chariots turned and made their way back to the tribute tower. Even the quite District 12 pair seemed a bit more confident, and they elicited stares from some of the others as they strode past in their still flaming outfits. Cato and Clove both glanced after them, only to receive a fixated gaze from little Primrose, which was followed up by a calm stare from Peeta Mellark. Clove and Cato kept their expressions surprisingly neutral, but did exude a bit of confidence that District 12 might have been lacking.

    Peeta took Prim by the hand and led her to the elevator. Marvel and Glimmer were staring after them, although their attention was diverted once they saw Cato and Clove. The two pairs of tributes gazed at each other for a moment before the District 2 pair received a small compliment from Glimmer and Marvel, who went to the elevators to head up to their floor.

    Cato and Clove aimed to do the same thing, but that silent District 11 pair passed them by, with little Rue Keniye and the much larger Thresh Dakara not breaking that eye contact.

    Clove couldn't take it anymore. What was wrong with them, and more importantly, why had they not said a single thing the entire time being here? (at least as far as Clove and Cato knew).

    "Say something!" she barked, though she was not upset. Instead of saying anything, they just folded their arms at the District 2 pair as if challenging them.

    "Can you even talk at all, or did your tongues get cut out?" she continued. Rue responded by opening her mouth and flashing her tongue to show that it was there. A split-second later, Thresh had joined her, though he closed his mouth again before Rue did.

    "We're gonna gut you at the cornucopia if you don't say something," Cato threatened, but all it did was cause Rue to blink a few times and raise her eyebrows.

    Clove shook her head, and Cato led her to the elevators, where they reached the 2nd floor in a few seconds. Here, they were greeted by Athena, who squealed with excitement over how appealing her tributes this year had looked in that parade. Clove and Cato both basked in this caressing of their egos for a moment before they ate a quick dinner, changed into something more appropriate for the evening, and then rewatched some of the footage of the parade.

    Clove's focus was almost entirely on that District 11 pair. They were almost infuriatingly stoic. She could understand how that large young man could be strong and stone-faced, but the girl seemed so small and innocent; almost a bit chipper, even; and yet she was just as unyielding and calm about it all as he was.

    "Having fun?" a voice piped up. Clove and Cato glanced over to their left and saw Enobaria approaching them, dressed in calf-length pants and a tanktop. Her feet were bare.

    "Why wouldn't we be?" Cato retorted, as he noticed a similarly dressed Elroy appear behind Enobaria.

    "Well," Enobaria opened her mouth for a moment, revealing a set of pointed, filed-down teeth, "Death happens, as we like to say. When the Hunger Games are involved, death happens more."
    "What makes you think my death will happen here?" Cato raised an eyebrow.

    "It's either you or Clove," Elroy quipped, "speaking of…"

    Clove was still fixated on the television screen, the reruns of the chariot parade paused at a close-up shot of Thresh and Rue.

    "What makes them tick," she muttered under her breath, which, since everyone had instantly grown quiet, was easily heard. She glanced at them, and then repeated herself. Clove was not exactly shy.

    "These two," she glanced at Enobaria in particular, "District 11. Do you know anything about them?"

    "Why?" the mentor tilted her head, "afraid of some healthy competition?"

    "Marvel and Glimmer are a bit too airheaded." Clove noted aloud, "These two are the only ones I can't make heads or tails of. They haven't said a damn thing at all, as far as anyone knows."

    "District 11 should not be confused with the rest of their outlying brethren," Elroy warned, "they've had a good haul of victors before… ever since that Girl on Fire back in the 44th Hunger Games, anyways."

    "Show her to me," Clove demanded, "there are obviously a story behind that name, and a story behind District 11 with that kind of title."

    Elroy and Enobaria flipped backwards through 30 years of Hunger Games recaps. All of it was available for any citizen of Panem to watch, after all—the games themselves, the chariot parades, the victory tours, and the interviews—both from the tributes before the games, and by the victors afterwards.

    Seeing the girl during her victor's interview explained part of where her nickname had come from. She was clad in a fiery red gown adorned with red and orange rhinestones and comprised of shimmering fabric that changed hues with the movement of her sleeves or legs. Clove had half expected the fire effect from Peeta and Primrose's outfits to be present here, but there was no such thing.

    Seeing the girl speak (to a much younger Caesar Flickerman) though, answered Clove's question about the name in full. This "Sagittaria Svenja" was warm and friendly; but also hot and passionate—a warm but fiery personality. She spoke with such conviction… and with such fondness of her district. Clove couldn't help but respect that, even if she knew that conditions in District 11 were a joke at best.

    It was her remarks about the people though, that had her attention.

    "We've basically seen it all;" the girl explained, answering a question from Caesar about her home district, "we're used to working hard, eating little, and facing adversity head-on. So… we do just that; cover our emotions and face our enemies head-on, never relenting and never wavering. District 11; District 11; who gives us fruits, gives us strength!"

    Clove shut the TV off after that—this was all she had needed to see.

    "They're not all like that, are they?" she turned to them.

    "I think they did about average my year," Enobaria shrugged, seeming unconcerned.

    "A kid from '11 won the games the year after me," Elroy chipped in. "maybe to make up for doing poorly during my year or something. I don't exactly try to remember."
    "Why are you so fixated on them?" Cato tilted his head, "it's a big slow dumb guy and a twerp that I could probably literally rip in two."

    "Hey, I'm not saying we're not gonna be able to kick 'em in the teeth," Clove countered, "just that they're hiding something, and I want to know what."

    Clove took this personally because she felt like it was an attack on her ego. Her pride was hurt from these two fearless tributes who were not reacting to any of their intimidation efforts.

    "Don't get so worked up about it," Cato reassured her, stroking both the girl's ego and her hair, which, oddly, calmed Clove down a bit. She had been getting worked up over this.

    "Cato, I swear if they score higher than us…" she trailed off.

    "Clove, relax." Cato reassured her, still running his hand through her hair, "they were just lucky they got picked. We were chosen from the best of the best. We'll show them who's boss in the training center tomorrow." It was not that Cato was trying to solely comfort Clove; this was also helping his own ego. He honestly did not see why Clove was so worked up about those two though—he personally thought that they'd just be more bloodbath fodder. There had been no demonstrations of their skills so far, and courage only got a tribute so far. Besides… he was the best, and even Clove would have to die for him to be able to prove that point. It would be said, but that was just the name of the game.

    "I need a moment," Clove sighed, sounding suddenly very depressed. She got up and headed out to the balcony. Cato looked equally confused, for this seemed very out of character for her—where had the arrogant, violent, powerful girl he met at the District 2 stage gone?

    He did not take long to find out. A few minutes later, Clove stepped back inside, her knuckles dripping with blood. She looked furious, but apart from her hands, seemed unhurt. Had she just punched the walls or something?

    Cato was this close to opening his mouth to ask her what happened, but she beat him to it.

    "Long story," she was heading for her room, "I'll tell you tomorrow or something."

    Cato shrugged. Perhaps it was best not to get involved, so he put a positive spin on it, as best he could and in one of the only ways he knew how.

    "See ya in the training center tomorrow," he called out, smirking as he decided to get ready for bed as well. "Let's remind Panem who the best tributes this year are."
    While Clove only nodded, it did bring a smile to her face. She disappeared into her room and fell asleep rather quickly, excited for what tomorrow would bring.
    'The Crown of Zivia' Word Count: 64319
    'The Crusade of Zulera' Word Count: 52548
    'The Shadows of Shinzoka' Word Count: 51000
    'The Rebirth of Krippa' Word Count: 51000

    The Avatar in Chains (fanfic)
    Z. Zu. Zul. Zuzu. Zuly. Zulera. Lulu. 301. Zu-Zu. ZZ-Top. Zuliette. Zuley. Zulz. Zuul. Zubat. 'Lera. Zulianne. Z301. Z-hizzle. Z-dawg. Zulerey. Zully. Zulio. Luz. Ra-ra. Z-swiss. Zulera301.

  5. #5
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    AUTHOR'S NOTES: Lo and behold, this fic is not abandoned... it was simply hibernating. Whatever the case, here is another chapter after over a week or two of no updates. I cannot say if I will get back into the habit of regularly updating or not,but whatever the case, here's the 5th chapter. Here we see the tributes in their training atmosphere, and many of them are fairly clever. Don't even count little Primrose out just yet...
    Happy Reading!


    CHAPTER 5: Cunning Mindgames

    Clove had forgotten about (or rather, had stopped worrying about) Thresh and Rue for the time being, and instead became more focused on the purpose of today—training. This was where she and Cato would get to show off their skills and show those little shits who was going to control the arena.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, they were some of the first ones down there, although within an hour, most of the other tributes were also present. Immediately, Clove spotted Rue, and glared daggers at the smaller girl, who once again simply crossed her arms and glared back almost defiantly, not even blinking. Okay, so perhaps she was not quite over this kid and her partner, the latter of which pointed two fingers at his eyes and then turned them to point at Clove's. Clove cocked her head back towards Rue, who simply raised her eyebrows and flicked her head up as if to reaffirm she was not scared of the career girl.

    Either way, Cato and Clove shrugged and headed off to start showing off their skills. Cato went for the swords, and Clove went for the nearby throwing knives, and managed to shrug off the thoughts of Thresh and Rue in that regard.

    Marvel and Glimmer appeared to specialize in ranged weaponry, with the boy throwing spears deftly at his targets, and the girl nocking arrows and doing a fairly good job as well. They did not appear to be as good of fighters as Clove and Cato, but the District 2 pair seemed unconcerned by that. They'd still form the usual career pack.

    That boy Peeta was staying awfully close to his district partner, or so Clove initially observed. It made sense, given that he was a fairly strapping young man while Primrose was a much smaller and more defenseless looking thing. It was almost an ironic contrast to the other 12-year-old—that District 11 girl. She was a fighter, and it was showing. She had fashioned herself a slingshot, and she had some wicked accuracy with her projectiles.

    Knowing that Prim would have no real chance using conventional weapons, she and Peeta made their way to the mostly deserted survival stations, working on tricks like camouflage and trap building. While Peeta's talents with cake decorating had him painting his arm with such precision that it literally matched the imitated surroundings, Prim found herself drawn to a large screen, where she encountered a small, red-haired tribute with a number 5 on her shoulders. For a moment, the younger girl glanced at the redhead and watched what she was doing. The screens appeared to be a sort of memory game, crossed with identifying plants. Perhaps Prim's training as an herbalist would come in handy after all. Before anything else happened though, Prim asked the girl's name out of curiosity.

    "Finch;" the girl responded almost as if the inquiry had been a trigger, "Now don't distract me unless you want to lose to me."

    And so, Prim remained quiet, watching Finch's skills as her hands and fingers darted across the screen and played the game. A shadow that appeared from behind the diminutive District 12 girl turned out to belong to Peeta, who was also watching that small girl.

    "Show her who's boss," he muttered in Prim's ear, "I've seen you back in the Seam. This is your game."

    Hesitantly, Prim glanced up at Peeta, who gave an encouraging smile, and then back at the red-haired girl, who had just chuckled triumphantly as she beat her old score. When Prim sat down next to her, she was on the receiving end of a glare from District 5.

    "you don't seriously expect to win, do you?" the redhead sneered.

    "Let's find out," Prim's face was almost comically stoic. A moment later, the matching game was on, and while Finch was fast, Primrose was faster, and was metaphorically running circles around the older girl like an absolute pro.

    After such an agonizing defeat, Finch simply scowled. "You did well," she snarked, "Let's hope that translates well into the arena." And with that, she got up and disappeared into another corner of the training hall. Not more than 12 seconds after this happened, there was a commotion. Prim and Peeta spun around and saw that gigantic District 2 boy, Cato, shouting threateningly at a boy with a 6 on his shoulders. They cautiously approached the scene but kept their distance, not wanting to get on the bad side of an angry career tribute this early in the games.

    Cato was rambling about how the boy had stolen his knife, which, in the training center, wasn't a big deal, but his pride was injured, and he was about to take it out on this boy. Some of the Capitol supervisors were hovering nearby in case they needed to get involved. Now and again a fight would break out between tributes, and it was up to these folks to stop it from escalating. The fighting and bloodshed was supposed to be for the arena only.

    Prim tapped Peeta on the shoulder a moment later, pointing upward, where, surrounded by netting and in the rafters, was that small girl from District 11, holding a large knife. Upon making eye contact with the District 12 pair, she put a finger to her lips, then she smirked and winked.

    Primrose cracked a smile, watching Rue's antics. She didn't stop there though. Instead of trying to slip the knife somewhere conspicuous, she kept a coil of rope around her left arm as she skillfully maneuvered the nets in the ceiling, before targeting a certain tribute, and dropping down, dangling upside-down with her hands and legs attached to this rope, slipping the sheathed knife into the unsuspecting girl's pocket before springing back up into the rafters once again.

    Clove did not notice the knife in her back pocket till she moved and felt it against her backside. She brandished it, unaware of what it was for a split-second. Luckily, Cato noticed and he suddenly stopped trying to attack that District 6 boy.

    "That was a clever trick," he chuckled, snatching the knife away from his slightly confused partner, who grabbed his shirt and pulled him a few feet away.

    "No, no it wasn't," she shook her head, "someone in this room slipped it to me. You saw how far I was from you when your knife disappeared."

    Glancing upwards, all they saw was an empty ceiling lined with nets. Across the room was the District 12 pair, who had been watching the spectacle with amused interest. They stood there with their arms crossed, and so while Cato and Clove might have cast them a glare, they knew that they were not the culprits. They were much too far away.

    For Clove, it was a process of elimination, and she cornered the tribute in question, actually grabbing Rue's shoulders and pinning her against a wall.

    "I know what you did with that knife," she threatened, "Care to 'fess up?"

    Rue simply shrugged and rolled her eyes, her lips remaining closed.

    It set Clove off much more than it really should have. "I'm going to gut you," she sneered, "in the bloodbath—slowly and painfully." She pushed Rue back against the wall as she stepped back, not wanting any of the supervisors or trainers breathing down her neck, especially not after they just got done doing the same to Cato. Rue stood rooted to the spot where Clove had left her until the knife-thrower joined Marvel, Glimmer, and Cato once again. Shortly after her departure, Thresh stepped up to her, and smirked. Rue's face broke into a grin, and she bumped her fits against Thresh's, before the two of them also went back to training for a while.

    Soon enough, lunchtime came, which was also a nice time for the tributes to mingle and start to form alliances after having seen each other's performances a bit so far. Needless to say, nothing was set in stone when there were still 5 more days of training and then the private sessions and interviews, but the seeds of allegiance had been planted.

    For the most part, the tributes sat based on District with the exception of Districts 1 and 2. Finch from District 5 passed Prim an angry glare, although was almost immediately shut down when Rue glared at her back as if trying to challenge her. Peeta and Prim were unable to get a word out of either one of them, but they did sit fairly close, which alarmed Clove in particular.

    "They're up to something," she pointed, shoving a large slab of meat into her mouth before jabbing her fork towards the District 11 and District 12 tributes.

    "I'm not too worried about '12," Marvel shrugged, "you can only paint yourself or identify plants for so long before it comes to bite you in the arse."

    "District 11 is different this year," Cato warned, "they're quiet and they're cunning. They need to die first, and die soon."

    "I don't think it'll be that easy," Clove shook her head, "they're not just cunning, Cato. They're playing mind games with us—and after the incident with the knife, I think they're onto us. We need to watch them closer. If we don't go after them first… they'll come after us."
    Last edited by Zulera301; 01-07-2016 at 05:50 AM.
    'The Crown of Zivia' Word Count: 64319
    'The Crusade of Zulera' Word Count: 52548
    'The Shadows of Shinzoka' Word Count: 51000
    'The Rebirth of Krippa' Word Count: 51000

    The Avatar in Chains (fanfic)
    Z. Zu. Zul. Zuzu. Zuly. Zulera. Lulu. 301. Zu-Zu. ZZ-Top. Zuliette. Zuley. Zulz. Zuul. Zubat. 'Lera. Zulianne. Z301. Z-hizzle. Z-dawg. Zulerey. Zully. Zulio. Luz. Ra-ra. Z-swiss. Zulera301.

  6. #6
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    AUTHOR'S NOTES: I might start picking this up again, for it is certainly not dead. I was just on a block of sorts, especially while I also struggled with "The 92nd Annual Hunger Games" and "The 93rd Annual Hunger Games". Whatever the case, here is chapter 6. The primary focus is once again on District 2, although we also get to see a lot of District 12, and lo and behold, District 11 finally speaks. The ending kind of hints at what the next chapter might be a lot about.
    Happy Reading!


    CHAPTER 6: Calm and Anger

    The days of training passed quickly, and Clove kept her eyes on Rue almost incessantly. To make matters worse, Rue didn't seem fazed by it. It was clear that Thresh was one of her allies, and even that District 12 pair were eyeing her with interest.

    Apparently Rue was not oblivious to Clove's looming presence though, because during day 4, she ended up doing something that nearly triggered something in the slightly unstable career girl. Their eyes met, and as Clove's eyes narrowed, they widened for a split-second. Rue had brought two of her fingers up to her eyes, pointing at them before turning and pointing them at Clove's eyes.

    Clove lunged, and was only prevented by Cato and then Marvel, who had to restrain her for a moment.

    "Clove, you're walking right into her trap," Marvel warned,

    "He's right," Cato agreed, "you're doing exactly what she wants you to do. Save it for the arena and then gut her in a glorious display in the bloodbath. I can already think of a few people I want to do that to…" he glanced around the training center, where the tributes were mostly minding their own business. Clove took a deep breath before sighing and going back to throwing her knives with vicious aggression, which seemed to further augment her skills. She hit the dead center of every target, and then threw knives that hit the knives already embedded in the target. She was very good at what she did.

    However, she was not the only one skilled at what she was doing. Rue so far had managed to throw the careers off with her antics, and the fact that her partner was the largest tribute in the games this year didn't help. Rue began wandering towards where Peeta and Primrose were, and Clove intended to follow them this time. She was only stopped by Thresh who moved into her way.

    "Touch her and I break you." He warned. Clove's eyes actually shot open from surprise, because these were the first words she had heard from the boy. However, she was not one to cower from a threat.

    "Is that a challenge?" she sneered, leaning her head back a little to glare at Thresh right in the eyes.

    "It's a warning." Thresh responded bluntly, "Mind your business, '2."

    Clove twisted her expression into a rather disgusted look as Thresh walked away. Marvel and Glimmer exchanged glances, and Cato watched his partner without a word. He was not one to admit it, but he liked her more than the others. She was the only one that he felt was worthy to face him in combat and hope to win.

    On the other hand, Rue wasn't left alone either, and soon found herself in front of District 12's Peeta Mellark. However, instead of hostilities, he seemed to want to reaffirm an old question he had.

    "I know we've talked about this before," he began, "but I don't feel like I got a solid answer. Did we want to have each other's backs in the arena? You, me, Prim here, and maybe even Thresh if he's up to it;" Peeta definitely did the talking for District 12.

    Rue glanced around, and noting that Clove was occupied, nodded.

    "I think we can make a deal," she nodded, "just don't go saying too much. I don't want her hearing me talk." She pointed her thumb over her shoulder at Clove and (by extension) Cato.

    "I've gotta admit… I'm curious about that too." Peeta confessed.

    "Have you seen her reactions?" Rue's eyes lit up. "it's driving her *insane*." Clearly Rue was knowingly exploiting this, and hoped to do so in the games.

    "Well, that's… something." Peeta was not sure whether to admire the girl's audacity or fear for her bravado. "Good luck."
    Rue simply smiled and nodded. "Gotch'er back." She reassured the boy before heading over to his much quieter partner. Without saying anything, she simply watched the lighter-skinned girl go about her work, before nodding admirably.

    "I like you." Rue admitted, eliciting Prim's attention.

    "Really? What do you like about me?" Prim tilted her head curiously.

    "you practice what you're good at and don't let anyone else intimidate you," Rue explained, "We should definitely be allies."
    It was slightly sketchy for Prim to want to trust anyone besides Peeta, although she had heard the conversation the two had had, and Rue's offer seemed genuine enough. The odds of her backstabbing them seemed fairly slim.

    "What about Thresh?" Clearly Thresh and Rue were decent friends, and Primrose wanted to know how that translated in a District 11-12 relationship.

    "He seems okay with it," Rue shrugged, "I'll ask him again. We've got one more day of training to finalize this sort of thing anyways…"
    She trailed off, and Prim immediately noticed why. Clove was coming their way again, and so with a silent nod, Rue stood up and migrated towards a different station, acting as if she was not aware of Clove, who did in fact divert her course to the smaller girl. Primrose assessed the situation before tapping Peeta's shoulder to see what he made of it.

    "She'll be a risky ally," he agreed, "because clearly that girl has it out for her." he motioned towards Clove. "That also means I don't think she'll stop at trying to only kill Rue." A moment later, his words were practically proven then and there. Clove shouted death threats at Rue for some reason, and had to be restrained, this time by Peacekeepers, who separated them.

    "So what was that about?" Peeta couldn't help but ask Rue after the incident simmered down.

    "She wanted me to join the careers," Rue shrugged, "I didn't say a word to her, and she flipped out."

    Clove would definitely be trouble, and both District 12 tributes were starting to understand that. However, they also did not overlook her partner Cato, who had glared at them after the Chariot Parade, perhaps feeling like he had been shown up. It was not like that had been Peeta's fault—he and Prim had simply done as their stylists had instructed.

    Prim and Peeta did go to Haymitch that night, however, and ask him about the alliance with Thresh and Rue that they had been forming.

    "It never hurts to have allies that you know aren't gonna stab you in the back," Haymitch took a shot from a small flask that was presumably filled with liquor, "All you need to do is survive till the end."
    "That's easier said than done though," Peeta reminded him.

    "Just make sure to watch your backs," Haymitch warned, "District 11 might seem friendly enough now, but you know as well as anyone that that's going to have to come to an end if you want to crawl out of here alive."
    "I want Prim to come out of this alive," Peeta asserted.

    "The same concept applies though," Haymitch indicated, "Luckily for you… by the way you're putting it to me, it seems that District 2 has its sights on District 11 instead of you, so you can take a breath. In other news, you two are gaining in popularity among the Capitol crowds, and so you might be able to get a few sponsors once you're in the games. I think I've finally gotten me a pair of tributes that'll get past the bloodbath."

    10 floors below them though, Clove was fuming, and actually slammed her fist so hard into one of the walls that she put a hole into it, causing Athena to gasp. Clove brushed her off before she could say anything, however, and stamped out onto the balcony, seething with fury.

    Cato's anger was much more passive, but he had given Thresh and Rue some nasty looks that he had originally only given Prim and Peeta after the chariot parade.

    "I want to tear open that girl's ribcage and gut her," Clove snarled, leaning against the balcony railing, gazing out at the brilliantly lit nighttime Capitol skyline.

    "Whoa," Cato held his hands up, "Keep your shirt on here, Clove."

    While he had originally just said that in a verbal attempt to calm her down, Clove defiantly stripped herself entirely from the waist up (though left the rest on), although her position only gave Cato a view of her athletically toned back.

    "Do you really want me to erupt into a huge-ass hissy-fit about this again, or are you here fixin' to get into the mood to crush things with your bare hands too?"

    "I already plan to crush things with my bare hands," Cato asserted.

    "'11 girl is mine," Clove snapped, still not even turning her head. "You can have District 12."

    There was a split-second pause as if Cato was contemplating this "deal", before he grunted his nod of approval. However, after a moment, there was silence between the two careers.

    "Cato, I've got a question for you," Clove spoke up a moment later, not caring about her half-dressed state, "actually, I've got more than just a question."
    "Mm," Cato grunted as if to show he was listening, though he sat down and got comfortable.

    "I just need to get some things off my chest," Clove shook her head before sitting in front of Cato and looking him in the eyes. "Can you hear me out?"
    "Sure," Cato grunted, "Let's talk."
    'The Crown of Zivia' Word Count: 64319
    'The Crusade of Zulera' Word Count: 52548
    'The Shadows of Shinzoka' Word Count: 51000
    'The Rebirth of Krippa' Word Count: 51000

    The Avatar in Chains (fanfic)
    Z. Zu. Zul. Zuzu. Zuly. Zulera. Lulu. 301. Zu-Zu. ZZ-Top. Zuliette. Zuley. Zulz. Zuul. Zubat. 'Lera. Zulianne. Z301. Z-hizzle. Z-dawg. Zulerey. Zully. Zulio. Luz. Ra-ra. Z-swiss. Zulera301.

  7. #7
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    AUTHOR'S NOTES: This chapter is sort of a large information dump before we hit part 2 next chapter and jump into the games. We get to see what was pissing off Clove in the last chapter, and I briefly skim over the tribute interviews mostly because the characters here behaved mostly as they did in the books. However, the scores that they received are from the films/books in many cases (many of them are much higher), but that just means we'll have a more intense Hunger Games.
    Happy Reading!


    CHAPTER 7: The Scores

    Clove groaned for a moment as she racked her mind with various thoughts.

    "I'm just pissed is all," she admitted after a moment, "I've spent my whole life working to get to where I am right now, and despite being the ones to tell me "train for the Hunger Games; it'll be the best thing you ever do", my folks didn't even have the piss to show up and congratulate me after I reached the stage. They didn't even say goodbye. No one said goodbye to me."

    Cato didn't respond at first, thinking back. Clove had seemed fairly popular back in the academies, but friends were not exactly the ones that came to say goodbye to a tribute.

    "Well how much family do you have?" Cato tilted his head,

    "I've got an older sister and then my useless drunk-ass folks. My sister's a Peacekeeper in District 12, so I doubt she gives much of a shit about anything anyways. '12 is a joke."

    "And so now you're pissed at a girl from '11," Cato raised his eyebrow, "what's that about?"
    "She's showing us up," Clove warned, "she might not score higher than us, but think about it—some preteen from some backwater district showing us up—the careers—the big damn heroes of the games!"

    "Well hey—scores are coming up soon," Cato reminded her, "that's where we'll prove we're superior—and in the games, we kill her. It's as simple as that."

    "Aww Cato, you know just what to say to make even a crazy little shit like me get all warm and fuzzy inside." Clove batted her eyelashes at the boy.

    "Save your sentiments for the games," Cato chuckled, "once we get settled in the arena, then we can start hitting on each other proper."

    Clove laughed it off, but might have also given it some thought if they weren't both about to go to their deaths. Whatever the case, the conversation was short and sweet, but ended on a good note, and thus Clove went to sleep a happy girl.

    Soon enough, private sessions were upon them, and most of the tributes, career or otherwise, demonstrated the skills that they had learned or honed in the training center for the first 6 days. Glimmer practiced with a bow, Marvel showed off his spear skills, and Cato proved that his boasting about his strength was backed by reality as he swung swords and axes with impunity. Clove demonstrated lethal agility and deadly accuracy with her throwing knives, while the boy from District 3, who went after Clove, impressed the gamemakers with the way he rewired and re-armed contraptions.

    Down the list it went, until District 11 was being called in. Thresh, perhaps unsurprisingly, gave a display of brute strength, while little Rue showed off her agility and nimbleness s she flew from one platform to the other, slinging sharp projectiles at targets along the way with her throwing arm, or more often doing so with her trusty slingshot.

    Primrose and Peeta were not to be counted out either. Peeta demonstrated his brute strength with the large medicine balls, as well as a cunning camouflage ability, whilst Prim demonstrated her skills of stealth and silence, as well as numerous ways to make healing remedies out of just about anything. She was much less nervous than she had been at the reaping—not to say the youngster was totally calm, but she was no longer panicked the way she had been in the early phases of the train ride.

    The afternoon was nearing a close by the time District 12's private sessions had come to a close. The careers on the lower floors were rather excited, fairly confident that they had done well. Other tributes were a little more worried that they would have shoddy training scores, and others were neither feeling positive nor negative about the event.

    Clove and Cato's stylists had disappeared by the time the tributes had returned to the apartments—most likely to finish preparing their interview outfits for the evening. In the meantime though, the training scores were going to come up in a few moments, and so Cato and Clove eagerly seated themselves on the couch to watch the names, the faces, and the numbers.

    "Ladies and Gentlemen—the training scores of this year's tributes, for the 74th Annual Hunger Games."

    Clove and Cato were naturally pumped up to see this. Elroy also took a seat, and even Enobaria showed her face to watch her tributes and see how they did.

    "Marvel Kain; District 1, with a score of… 10"

    Clove and Cato smirked at each other. At least one of their allies was going to be strong this year.

    "Glimmer Rambin; District 1, with a score of… 9"
    Enobaria gave an approving nod. "Not too shabby," she shrugged, "but here's what I came here to see." A moment later Glimmer's face disappeared, and was replaced by Cato's.

    "Cato Salazar; District 2, with a score of… 12"

    Cato whooped and threw his arms triumphantly into the air. He had scored perfectly.

    "Clove Kazera; District 2, with a score of… 11"

    Clove was a little miffed that she had not also scored a 12, but she'd take an 11.

    The screen shifted to Franklin Sterling, the boy from District 3 (who scored an 8), before the other tributes started showing up. Clove didn't pay attention to many of them, since they all scored 8s or below. A District 5 girl named Finch Crossley stood out to Clove because of her red hair, but she scored a 5, which was pretty unremarkable, and so Cato and Clove laughed her off as bloodbath fodder. Cato also pointed out how curly a girl from District 8's hair was, but this McKenzie Lintz only scored a 7, and so she was not considered a threat by either of the District 2 tributes.

    Soon after Districts 9 and 10 scored predictably low as usual, Clove sat bolt upright again.

    "This is what I was waiting for," she cracked her knuckles, watching a large boy's face appear on the screen. "How'd they do…"

    "Thresh Dakara; District 11, with a score of… 11"

    "What's he gonna do, smash people's heads in with his fists?" Cato raised an eyebrow, "I suppose he really was dangerous if '12 also wanted to stay on his good side though."
    "He's going down," Clove clenched the arms of her chair. "so is the girl. Speaking of which…"
    Rue Keniye; District 11, with a score of… 9"

    "When the hell has a 12-year-old scored that high?" Clove snarled, "What the hell did she do?"

    "Cool it, Clove," Cato warned, "tributes from the outer districts that score high just get targets painted on them."
    "He's right you know," Elroy quipped, "tomorrow the real fun begins. Tonight, just sit back, flatter the Capitol when Caesar interviews you, and enjoy the ride."

    Of course, District 11 was not the final stop in tribute scores, and given their connections with District 12, the tribute pair and their mentors went back to watching the screen.

    "Peeta Mellark; District 12, with a score of… 10"

    "Well, this was certainly not what I was expecting," Enobaria raised an eyebrow, her arms still crossed over her chest, "seems like '12 got a pair of fighters this year—or at least one."
    "I dunno if that little girl can fight any," Cato shook his head, "Although…"
    "Primrose Everdeen; District 12, with a score of… 8"

    "…clearly she's got something up her sleeve if she can score an 8." Cato finished. "At least I can take a small bit of comfort in knowing that I won't just have to walk around stabbing people cowering in fear of death. It's no fun if it isn't a challenge."

    It was not long after this that the stylists showed up to get Clove and Cato prepped up for the interviews which would be taking place that evening. Clove planned on using this as one last opportunity to learn a thing or two about some of the other tributes. The clothing worn on Caesar's stage was often very symbolic of the nature of either the tribute, his/her home district, or often both.

    Sure enough, even Cato and Clove's outfits told a bit about them—Cato's suit was an almost imposing shade of silver streaked with black while Clove's dress was a fiery thing that dropped past her knees in striking shades of red and orange.

    Naturally, as they lined up behind the stage, Clove's eyes met with Rue's. It was almost as if the stylists had coordinated this rivalry, for Rue's flowing dress was a shade of dark and gentle blue. Behind them, Peeta's suit shone in shades of gold and brown, while Primrose was clad in a little white dress with strong pink highlights, almost like the namesake flower. Clove's focus was on Rue though—she was calm. She was cool and flowing—it was truly a contrast to Clove's harsh and straightforward hotheaded approach. She also realized another prominent thing about Rue.

    "Now you're gonna have to open your mouth," she sneered as she walked past. Rue's response forced Clove's hands into fists, not only because of the point she made, but also because of how swift the younger girl had been in delivery.

    "What of it?" Rue shrugged. Clove simply stayed in silence, devoid of a comeback for that.

    Interviews went somewhat predictably. Marvel and Glimmer were a little airheaded, but proud of their high scores and were confident that they would last a while. Cato talked about how he was a killing machine and that he was willing to go to any end to achieve victory. Clove, despite her remarks about Rue, spoke about how endless ambition would shoot her to the top. Thresh spoke little, mostly answering Caesar's questions with one or two word phrases. Rue was similar except for one line that stood out particularly strongly.

    "There is never a need to outmuscle anything I can outwit."

    It gave Caesar a nice laugh (laughing with Rue), and the crowds loved her. Perhaps that small girl would get sponsors after all.

    Primrose and Peeta both spoke about survival and determination, the former being much shyer than the latter, but before Clove knew it, the interviews had all ended. Within a few hours, these boys and girls would be in an arena trying to rip each other apart…
    'The Crown of Zivia' Word Count: 64319
    'The Crusade of Zulera' Word Count: 52548
    'The Shadows of Shinzoka' Word Count: 51000
    'The Rebirth of Krippa' Word Count: 51000

    The Avatar in Chains (fanfic)
    Z. Zu. Zul. Zuzu. Zuly. Zulera. Lulu. 301. Zu-Zu. ZZ-Top. Zuliette. Zuley. Zulz. Zuul. Zubat. 'Lera. Zulianne. Z301. Z-hizzle. Z-dawg. Zulerey. Zully. Zulio. Luz. Ra-ra. Z-swiss. Zulera301.

  8. #8
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    AUTHOR'S NOTES: Let the 74th Annual Hunger Games begin! The tributes in this game are a bit deadlier than they were originally, and a few tributes do score a decent number of kills. A few of the nameless tributes do escape the bloodbath, so these games aren't going to be over *too* who were worried about Primrose or Peeta dying in the bloodbath... well, your questions get answered. Similarly, Clove means business, Rue and Thresh are a valid threat, and other fun things abound.
    Happy Reading!


    PART II: THE GAMES

    CHAPTER 8: The Bloodbath


    Morning almost came too quickly considering what day it was. This was the last day of several boys' and girls' lives. Now that morning was here and breakfast was on their tables, a decent handful of them only had a few hours to live. Others, such as the confident careers and the elusive outliers, might be able to last a bit longer, but there was always a bloodbath at the cornucopia. Even the very first Hunger Games had had one, even if the circumstances that had triggered it had been much different than simply tradition like it was now.

    Clove and Cato joined the others on a hovercraft that would take them to the arena catacombs, where they would wait until the right moment (within a few minutes) before being "launched" into the arena to start scrambling for the cornucopia to begin the 'games. In the meantime, most of the tributes were fairly silent as they flew to the place where all but one of them would die. A few of the younger ones, including Prim, were a bit nervous, while little Rue was just swinging her feet idly and waiting for the action to start. Marvel, Glimmer, Cato, and Clove were all pumped up and ready for the action.

    Soon enough, the tributes were all in the underground catacombs, awaiting the cue to step into the glass tubes that would launch them into the arena. Clove wasn't sure how the others felt, but she was fairly certain that at least a few of them were counting down the minutes they had left to live.

    As they rose to the surface of the arena surrounding the cornucopia, the tributes all looked around. It seemed that this year the golden cornucopia housed various weapons and crates of food and supplies—standard fare, more or less. They were in a clearing surrounded by mostly forest, although in at least one direction appeared to be a field of some sort—maybe grain? Perhaps District 9 might do okay if they could get that far. Clove's mind shifted to something far more exciting though—the countdown for the games had begun.

    "Sixty… Fifty-Nine… Fifty-Eight…"

    Clove cracked her knuckles, twisting her neck side to side to get the kinks out. She did notice Cato rolling his shoulders and almost jumping up and down with anticipation as he eyed the piles of weapons as well as his neighboring tributes. A few pedestals down, Clove's eyes met Rue's, where the tiny girl raised her eyebrows, drawing a finger across her neck. Clove responded by balling a hand into a fist and striking her other palm.

    "Nineteen… Eighteen… Seventeen…"

    Prim's eyes met Peeta's, and he simply nodded. For them it was a matter of either listening to their mentor Haymitch and hightailing it out of the bloodbath quickly, or risking everything and jumping in. Some of these boys and girls literally only had seconds left to live now. The gunshot would go off, and the bloodbath would ensue.

    "Three… Two… One…"

    The cannon fired and the tributes scrambled. That red-haired girl from District 5 took off in the opposite direction, and Primrose remained frozen on her pedestal for a moment, calculating the situation around her. her neighboring tributes had raced in, overshadowing her completely, and so when they reached the weapons, no one saw Prim trail behind them, snatching up a pack and then disappearing into the forest.

    Her partner Peeta was not so swift, and he was caught up in the fray. He grabbed a mace and swung it with considerable force at a boy from District 10, who barely dodged. The boy from District 9 was not so lucky. Clove had come upon her favorite throwing knives, and had lobbed one at this boy's throat with such force that he was outright decapitated. The first blood had been spilt, and it was on Clove's hands. the adrenaline that surged through the knife-thrower's body kept her in the zone. She was not going to fall easily—and certainly not here in this fight.

    The girl from District 7 was the next casualty, where she was cut down by a sickle belonging to Thresh. It seemed that his high score had not just been for show. He was evading the careers but also holding his ground. Thresh was no pushover.

    Peeta was about to disappear from the mayhem, now equipped with a large pack and a heavy mace, but that boy from District 10 struck him in the back, knocking him forward. He lunged for the kill, plunging his sword into Peeta's skull…

    …or at least, where Peeta's skull had been merely seconds ago. The District 12 boy had rolled to the side, and then sprung up with his mace in a single hand, and struck the boy so hard in the back of the head that he crumpled on the spot. Without even stopping to assess the damage, he took off into the woods after Primrose, disappearing from the fray.

    Clove was swift, but Rue was swifter, and so despite giving direct chase, the girl from '2 could not catch up with her smaller adversary, and so instead they had only run circles around the cornucopia at most, while Rue had armed herself in the meantime. Clove had lobbed a knife at her back, but it had stuck into Rue's backpack instead. She took the knife in one hand, and moments later crossed paths with a small, curly-haired boy from District 4, whose life was ended seconds later. Rue had lunged as if to tackle him to knock him out of the way, but since the knife was in her hand, it plunged through the boy's sternum, killing him in seconds.

    For a split-second, Clove was frozen with surprise. It was rare for 12-year-olds to score high, let alone to actually make direct kills like that. But, it was not like that was a figment of her imagination. Rue was very real, and had very truly killed that other boy.

    Another opportunistic boy, this one from District 5, made an attempt on Clove's life, but the girl was much too fast. She spun around and landed a knife in his forehead without even turning to see who it was. She knew that it had not been Marvel or Cato—both boys were much too large.

    Cato in the meantime, had just finished cutting down a girl from District 6 who had tried to attack Glimmer. Cato had also not forgotten that this girl's partner had been the one he had accused of stealing his knife during the training sessions, and a career tribute with a grudge was basically a death sentence to whoever they targeted. However, that District 6 boy had long since disappeared.

    Since she did not get cut down by the District 6 girl, Glimmer had instead nocked an arrow and let it fly at the girl from District 9, taking that district out of the games since both of their tributes were now dead. District 4 was the next district to lose both its tributes, thanks to Marvel. He had taken the girl's trident and then perhaps ironically, impaled her with it, doing her in quickly.

    By this point, the bloodbath was starting to simmer down. However, Thresh and Rue were still present; and were chasing another pair of tributes attempting to flee. The career pack were gathered too close for them to strike an attack against them, and a 4-on-2 attack would not likely go over well. Instead, Thresh cut down a girl from District 10, and Rue shot the boy from District 7 with a throwing knife, as the two district partners joined back up and disappeared into the trees.

    Glimmer, Marvel, Cato, and Clove all fell back to the cornucopia to recuperate and to amass supplies. They would stick around here late in the evenings, and head out on the prowl in the mornings or during the day. Even Clove didn't seem too keen on doing much else on the first day, figuring that the Capitol wouldn't need a show much bigger than the bloodbath—not on day 1 anyways.

    Soon enough, the sun had gone down and 10 cannons had gone off—10 tributes had died in the opening minutes, and Clove was responsible for two of them.

    "So that just leaves us from '1 and '2," Glimmer began as the faces appeared in the sky one by one, "the girl from '5, and boy from '6, and then both kids from '8, '3, '12, and '11."

    "We'll hunt them down tomorrow," Clove shrugged, "I imagine either Cato's got a plan for us, or he's delegating it to me."
    "Let's see what you've got for us, knives," Cato teased.

    "Tonight? Like hell we're doing anything tonight. We've got our supplies, and so I imagine if we build a fire and stay close to the cornucopia, no one can sneak up on us."

    Within minutes, Clove, Cato, Marvel, and Glimmer had a roaring fire going, and were enjoying the food from the cornucopia. The 74th Annual Hunger Games had begun.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    KILLS THIS CHAPTER:
    Boy, District 9-Killed by Clove
    Girl, District 7-Killed by Thresh
    Boy, District 10-Killed by Peeta
    Boy, District 4-Killed by Rue
    Boy, District 5-Killed by Clove
    Girl, District 6-Killed by Cato
    Girl, District 9-Killed by Glimmer
    Girl, District 4-Killed by Marvel
    Girl, District 10-Killed by Thresh
    Boy, District 7-killed by Rue

    ALIVE:
    Marvel, District 1
    Glimmer, District 1
    Cato, District 2
    Clove, District 2
    Franklin, District 3
    Girl, District 3
    Finch, District 5
    Jason, District 6
    Boy, District 8
    McKenzie, District 8
    Thresh, District 11
    Rue, District 11
    Peeta, District 12
    Primrose, District 12
    'The Crown of Zivia' Word Count: 64319
    'The Crusade of Zulera' Word Count: 52548
    'The Shadows of Shinzoka' Word Count: 51000
    'The Rebirth of Krippa' Word Count: 51000

    The Avatar in Chains (fanfic)
    Z. Zu. Zul. Zuzu. Zuly. Zulera. Lulu. 301. Zu-Zu. ZZ-Top. Zuliette. Zuley. Zulz. Zuul. Zubat. 'Lera. Zulianne. Z301. Z-hizzle. Z-dawg. Zulerey. Zully. Zulio. Luz. Ra-ra. Z-swiss. Zulera301.

  9. #9
    Platinum Star, Yo!
    Zulera301's Avatar
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    AUTHOR'S NOTES: Holy crap, it's been almost a month since I updated this! Well... the good news is that it is not forgotten; I simply had a bit too much on my plate and slacked from RPA a bit, so I'll have to remind myself not to be so dumb. Anyhoo, personal problems aside, here we get to see a bit of the games in action. I plan to keep many of the events the same as they were in the books, but without Katniss there, obviously there will be some significant changes. Some might be starkly different, while others might seem oddly familiar.
    Happy Reading!


    CHAPTER 9: The Games Begin

    It was only after several long, grueling minutes of running that Primrose and Peeta finally settled down, realizing that the career tributes were not in fact giving chase. This relieved them, because they knew that they were fairly vulnerable at the moment.

    "Where do you suppose Rue and Thresh went?" Prim asked softly,

    "I suppose they're around," Peeta shrugged, "but most alliances don't usually meet up on the first day except the career packs. We're on our own for now, I think."
    "As long as you don't get separated from me," Prim put her arms around the larger boy.

    "Don't worry," Peeta assured her, "I won't." He had a promise to keep—or to die trying to keep. He would make sure that she stayed in his eyesight range as much and as long as possible.

    Scoping out their surroundings, the District 12 pair found a nearby stream and some berries which Prim identified as not poisonous. They did look awfully similar to Nightlock, but Peeta boldly sampled them and found that they were delicious. The fact that he had not keeled over on the spot meant that they were not Nightlock berries after all, and so the two ate their fill.

    "I'm starting to think," he suggested as the afternoon blazed on, "that we should rig our campsite up in case anyone tries sneaking up on us in the night. I wouldn't expect you to keep watch, and I don't want to keep watch all night either, because otherwise I'd be useless during the day if anyone came."

    "That seems fair," Primrose agreed, "although I do want to pull my own weight if I can."
    "well… if you can fashion some of those traps that you were building in the training center, I think we might be able to get something started."

    "I can do that," Prim nodded, and almost immediately the two began setting to work on rigging up their campsite, making use of the forest's abundant resources, and using only the minimal light that came from the moon and stars above them. They used tricks like tripwire, noisemakers, and other such tricks along the perimeter of their campsite, which in turn boxed them in. However, since they knew where their traps were, they could disable them and move on if they needed to.

    Prim actually did discover some Nightlock not too far from their camp, and so she went to work making punji sticks—small, spiked sticks coated in the poison. Coupled with the tripwire, and a tribute could very well lose their fotting and fall face first into them. Peeta did not mention that to Prim though. Hopefully if they killed anyone, she wouldn't have to see them die.

    It was deep into the night by the time they finished their camp, and by this point, they settled in for the night, remaining close together in case something happened.

    It was fairly early the next morning that the careers began their hunt. It was also around this time, however, that a cannon went off, startling Peeta awake. Prim was still sleeping, and he decided not to wake her till he found out who had died and where. He checked the traps, only to learn that the boy from District 8 had in fact been tripped by their wire, and had fallen into Prim's punji sticks. He did not dare tell Prim that she had technically just killed a tribute with her traps, and so as the hovercraft came to recover the body, Peeta went back to check on Prim.

    The smaller girl was still asleep, and so the two of them dozed off a little longer before actually waking up for real. They were in for something of a shocker.

    "Kyaaa!" Petta grabbed his mace and was on his feet within seconds, before realizing that the intruder that had skillfully gotten past their traps was none other than little Rue.

    "Don't scare us like that!" he barked. Even Prim was a little defensive.

    "Sorry," Rue chuckled, "but hey… we actually got to meet up at least, right?"

    "Where is Thresh? How is he?"

    "I'm not sure," Rue admitted, "but he's definitely kept the career pack distracted or something. I played a part in that too."

    "Where are they?" Peeta had admittedly been the most worried about them sneaking up on him during the night. He had not actually thought of Rue finding them this early at all, hence his surprise when she appeared right in front of them, as if out of thin air.

    "They were heading north, last I checked," Rue shrugged, "in the meantime, if you two want some water, follow me."
    Prim felt that they could trust Rue, especially with how angry she had made the careers for being so silent around them. Even she knew that Rue was not the type to try and deliberately stir up everyone in the arena—not yet, at least.

    True to her word, Rue led them in a northwest direction towards a rather large lake that was surrounded by trees and flowers, many of which were likely herbs. Rue went to work filtering the water, which had Peeta raising an eyebrow.

    "Where'd you get that?" he couldn't help but ask.

    "Sponsor," Rue replied with a shrug, "we use these things all the time in '11, actually."

    Prim went to work trying to identify the surrounding herbs after drinking her fill. The lake and the surrounding area did seem rather secluded, but none of them were naďve enough to think that they were fully safe. No one was safe in the Hunger Games until they were the last one standing.

    "So what are your plans?" Peeta asked after they had refreshed themselves and filled their bottles, "are you going to stick with us, or…?"

    "I'll probably stick around here," Rue nodded, "the careers are probably still just a little east of here unless they've gone back to the cornucopia, and so if you wanted, I could keep them warded off as you two moved south."

    "What's south of here?" Primrose tilted her head.

    "Safety, I assume," Rue shrugged, "I don't think '5, '6, or '8 are going to be much of a threat, and if the careers are still north of here…"

    "Makes sense," Peeta agreed, turning to Prim. "let's get moving."
    They waved goodbye, although Rue assured them that this was not the last time that they would cross paths, and so the party split on a good note.

    She had been fully correct about the career tributes being to the north, where they had originally been scouting out the arena before it had turned into a chase and hunt against Thresh. However, the large boy seemed a bit too elusive, even for Glimmer and Clove, the fastest of the careers.

    "He's in his element," Marvel pointed out, indicating the large grain field that the boy had disappeared into, "and unless we can find a way to smoke him out or something, he's probably safe there until the Gamemakers decide to draw him out."

    "Then let's fall back," Clove suggested, before pausing. "Get a hang of what the rest of the arena is like. If we find anyone, we kill 'em."

    "Especially that girl from '11…" Clove thought to herself as everyone agreed to her plan. Cato took the forefront, leading the pack eastward and around the wheat field, which appeared to be near the edge of the arena. The career pack had all day to burn, as day 2 was fairly young, although by the end of the evening, they had gone back to the cornucopia without finding a single tribute. Clove was a bit miffed, but after the anthem played, she got her questions answered regarding who had died that day—the boy from District 8.

    "Any bets on who got him?" Cato piped up, laying on his back gazing up at the stars. The careers were safely amidst the boxes and supplies, fairly certain no one would try to attack them.

    "It wasn't '11," Glimmer shrugged, "we were chasing that guy around all day!"

    "Maybe his partner," Marvel shrugged, not noticing as a little red-haired girl darted in, snatched a small outlying bag of food, and darted off, "that kid proved to be a daring little killer during the bloodbath."

    "Hopefully she'll die next," Clove asserted, "but I suppose we've got plenty of time tomorrow to hunt. Who's with me?"
    Naturally there was a unanimous consent between all of the career tributes. While they had not explored the whole arena yet, they had discovered a good half of it, and so knew where tributes might go or where they might not go. The arena quieted down as the 2nd night reigned.

    Thresh had settled in the wheat field, with plenty of food and water all around him; Rue remained at the lake near the fringes of the arena, and Prim and Peeta had settled among some trees and rocks near the central western section of the arena. Not far from them, the District 3 pair was settling down, while a girl from District 8 was in the eastern quadrant, warming up to a fire.

    The silence that stretched over the 74th arena was almost foreboding.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    KILLS THIS CHAPTER:
    Boy, District 8-Killed by Primrose (traps)

    ALIVE:
    Marvel, District 1
    Glimmer, District 1
    Cato, District 2
    Clove, District 2
    Franklin, District 3
    Girl, District 3
    Finch, District 5
    Jason, District 6
    McKenzie, District 8
    Thresh, District 11
    Rue, District 11
    Peeta, District 12
    Primrose, District 12
    Last edited by Zulera301; 02-05-2016 at 07:33 AM.
    'The Crown of Zivia' Word Count: 64319
    'The Crusade of Zulera' Word Count: 52548
    'The Shadows of Shinzoka' Word Count: 51000
    'The Rebirth of Krippa' Word Count: 51000

    The Avatar in Chains (fanfic)
    Z. Zu. Zul. Zuzu. Zuly. Zulera. Lulu. 301. Zu-Zu. ZZ-Top. Zuliette. Zuley. Zulz. Zuul. Zubat. 'Lera. Zulianne. Z301. Z-hizzle. Z-dawg. Zulerey. Zully. Zulio. Luz. Ra-ra. Z-swiss. Zulera301.

  10. #10
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    Zulera301's Avatar
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    AUTHOR'S NOTES: People may find some familiar scenes in this and the next couple of chapters. Rest assured, Katniss has not merely been replaced by Rue, and after a few more deaths, the outcome of the games becomes very different. Rue is far form being Katniss-lite; she's simply a cunning pragmatist that will do what it takes to survive.
    It is because of this that she is, by definition, the primary antagonist of this series.
    Happy Reading!


    CHAPTER 10: A Game of Surprise

    Rue woke up the next morning alone and immersed in silence. There was a fog around her and the lake, and perhaps the arena was overcast. Otherwise, there was not even much of a breeze to rustle the trees and plants around her. She was lying hidden in the wall grass, on her back, gazing up at the foggy, hazy sky. She wondered what her siblings and mother were thinking right now as they watched the games unfold. Sure she had survived the bloodbath, but it was only the 3rd day of the games, and there were still a dozen other tributes out there that would have to die before she would be able to go home.

    A mile or so away at the cornucopia, Clove was wondering the same thing, with only one difference. She only had one family member that she actually cared about—her sister. 4 years Clove's senior, Chive Kazera had gone straightaway to become a Peacekeeper once she was no longer eligible for the games, beginning the first year of her 20-year commitment. Clove was slightly irked by that simply because it meant her sister would not be able to watch her win the games—something she was still fixated on doing, especially when it finally involved killing Rue.

    An overcast morning greeted Glimmer, Marvel, and Cato as they woke up, while Clove remained asleep. She had been deep in thought the previous evening, which was odd even for her. Grunting, Cato plunged his sword into the ground, using it to prop himself up as he stretched and got to his feet.

    "Looks like it's gonna be another day," he grunted, "let's get to it." He used his foot to nudge Clove awake, who groaned and sat up, yawning and smacking her lips.
    "Any deaths," she grunted, taking a few moments to get her focus back on.

    "Of course not," Cato chuckled, grabbing Clove's hand and pulling her to her feet. "We haven't gone on the prowl yet."

    Clove smirked, knowing that Cato had a point—they were the predators, and the others were their prey.

    On the other hand, Glimmer, Marvel, and Cato were not exactly stealth experts, and so perhaps the smaller tributes like those girls from '11 and '12 could hear them coming a mile away. The forest was not exactly quiet, given the amount of sticks and grass that they stomped through.

    "But then again," Cato pointed out as they trekked through the woods after Clove pointed out how loud they were probably being, "what do you expect us to do, Clove? You're the only one small enough to possibly use the trees, and I don't think even you could pull off what that Leto kid did 40 years ago."

    "The Terror of the 35th?" Clove tilted her head, flipping a knife in her hands, "you don't think I could do it? Well… I guess you're right. I'm not turning on you chumps till the others are gone."

    "That's rather reassuring," Marvel riposted.

    "But no—the arena isn't anything like the 35th arena." Clove continued, "We've got daylight, some clearings, a lake, a wheat field, and at least one cornfield. I don't think there will be any Letos this year."

    Clove kind of wished that there would be, given that Leto was a famous District 2 girl who had won her games by using the darkness of the forest that her arena had been, to stalk and assassinate over half a dozen tributes without the help of a single ally. That was the sort of glory Clove hoped to achieve.

    The lake that the career pack had discovered was a smaller one on the near opposite side of the arena from where Rue was resting. It was also much farther from the fringes of the arena, meaning that it was much safer to camp there without fear of respite from the Gamemakers.

    "Let's keep moving," Cato suggested, "the tributes aren't going to walk into our arms and say 'hello please kill me' to up our kill counts."

    There was a nod of acknowledgement before the careers took off again in search of new prey.

    If there was an important lesson to learn about Peeta Mellark, it was that he did not react kindly to being woken up suddenly, or to people standing above him. The fact that a girl with a 3 on her shoulders had a spear raised was one thing, but her brief hesitation—almost as if she couldn't stand the notion of killing another person—was her downfall. Peeta grabbed his mace and struck her hard, knocking her down. Her cries woke Prim up, who got to wake up to the grizzly sight of Peeta murdering that District 3 girl. She cringed, curling up into a ball with her back to him, appearing very distraught as a cannon fired.

    "It was either her or us," he reasoned, "I just did what I had to, Prim."
    "That doesn't make it any better though," she argued, "none of us should even be here!"

    Peeta sat beside the younger girl, putting an arm around her. "I know. I don't think anyone would be here by choice. But, regardless of what we do… just make sure you don't lose sight of yourself. I'm not going to let the Peeta that killed tributes become who I am… it's simply a means to an end—an attempt to survive so that I can go home—or better yet, so I can bring you home."

    "but what if it does come down to just me and you," Prim expressed concern, "I couldn't kill you, Peeta."

    "I'll think of something, if that happens," he reassured her, "don't worry about that yet though. we've still got about a dozen other tributes in the way. We'll find a way out of this." He pulled Primrose into a hug, taking a few moments to try and comfort the frightened youngster. He knew in the back of his mind that if he died, she wouldn't stand a chance, and so he made it his personal duty to ensure her safety as long as he drew breath. If nothing else, it would be for Prim's sister Katniss, a girl he had always admired, but had waited far too long to admit his feelings for. His mind also wandered briefly, thinking about where his allies Thresh and Rue might have been…

    Thresh was still in his wheat field, which also gradually transitioned into a cornfield. So, as long as he had water, he was fine. Rue had spent the day at the lake, finding herbs and plants, and drinking her fill from the lake. Nightfall came, and the District 3 girl's face appeared in the sky, although there was no sign of her partner. The arena fell silent again as Rue hunkered down for another night at the lake, and slowly but surely, the arena went silent again.

    Rue's 4th day was quite the rude awakening. She sat up, only to see a large fireball screaming right towards her face. She ducked in time, but was pretty sure it had just singed her (naturally) frizzy hair. She knew that if the trees were shooting fire at her, that it was time to get going. She sprung to her feet, slinging her backpack over her shoulders and taking off without even bothering to grab her socks or boots. She, like many in the outer districts, was well-accustomed to going without. Some families could barely even afford shoes, after all.

    While the fireballs that were blasting the little tribute from every angle were swift, Rue was all but swifter. She was nimbly able to jump over fallen trees, duck under lower branches and fireballs, and even do some rather stylish flips to evade getting hit a few times. However, all good things had to eventually come to an end, and a fireball struck Rue's lower back, causing her to barrel head over heels down a hill, where she luckily tumbled right into a pond with a small waterfall. The searing pain on her back slowly subsided, and Rue's soaking wet head emerged a moment later, breathing heavily.

    She hoped that she didn't have any perishables in her pack, because it, her clothes, and her body were completely soaked at this point, given that she was floating in the pond.
    There was grass around this pond as well, and Rue used it to hide her backpack to let its contents dry out. Her back was still aching from the burning pain, even if it had not burned all the way through her clothes. Groaning from the pain, she let herself float towards the small waterfall, allowing the water to cascade down her head and back. It wasn't permanent relief, but it felt nice. Besides—it was a nice hiding place for the time being. Her dark skin and black hair blended well against the mud and rocks in the surrounding area.

    Really, Rue could not help but wonder what she had gotten herself into. She made a mental note to stay away from the fringes of the arena as much as she could, but she hoped that the others in her alliance were faring better than she was. She hoped to meet up with Prim again—Rue might have known some herbalist tricks, but she was pretty sure that that District 12 girl would best her if it was a contest.

    Rue eventually pulled herself up onto a flat rock under the waterfall, letting her legs remain submerged, and the cool water splash upon her burn. It too was only temporary relief, but the burn was painful, and really, Rue did not feel like moving much, due to said pain. She would have to wait it out, and hope that Primrose and Peeta found her before the careers did.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    KILLS THIS CHAPTER:
    Girl, District 3-Killed by Peeta

    ALIVE:
    Marvel, District 1
    Glimmer, District 1
    Cato, District 2
    Clove, District 2
    Franklin, District 3
    Finch, District 5
    Jason, District 6
    McKenzie, District 8
    Thresh, District 11
    Rue, District 11
    Peeta, District 12
    Primrose, District 12
    Last edited by Zulera301; 03-23-2016 at 05:21 AM.
    'The Crown of Zivia' Word Count: 64319
    'The Crusade of Zulera' Word Count: 52548
    'The Shadows of Shinzoka' Word Count: 51000
    'The Rebirth of Krippa' Word Count: 51000

    The Avatar in Chains (fanfic)
    Z. Zu. Zul. Zuzu. Zuly. Zulera. Lulu. 301. Zu-Zu. ZZ-Top. Zuliette. Zuley. Zulz. Zuul. Zubat. 'Lera. Zulianne. Z301. Z-hizzle. Z-dawg. Zulerey. Zully. Zulio. Luz. Ra-ra. Z-swiss. Zulera301.

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