Today’s winner is…Jennifer Fu of District 1!
Congrats, Jennifer, your training score is now 9!
I inhale deeply, exhale slowly, and then jump off the cliff.
An exhilarating seconds-long fall ends as my pack’s parachute opens automatically. I glide to a landing on the sky island below me.
I’ve been exploring the arena since the first day, and I’ve made it onto about half of the sky islands. The grappling guns around the arena can help with getting up to the higher islands, but to get back down you need a parachute. And all the sky islands, besides the main one that we all landed on on the first day, all change altitudes.
The islands all have different makeups. Some are all forest, some have lakes in the center. Others, like the one I just jumped from, are barren, rocky outcrops. Someone who knows about minerals and elements might find them useful, but not me.
My parachute retracts back into my pack, and I survey the island that I’ve landed on. Forests, a small pool of water, and no tributes in sight.
I’ll stay here for a while.
The three of us run into each other without any warning. Startled, I shoot off a poorly-aimed arrow from my crossbow that lodges itself into the woman from 7’s leg (Training Point Lost). She cries out in pain, and then suddenly there’s a knife at my throat.
“Tell me why I shouldn’t end your life right now,” my district partner snarls in my ear.
“Because I can help you!” I gasp in fear, feeling the knife’s cool blade press against my jugular.
“Help us? Is that what you call this?” screams the woman from 7, yanking the arrow out of her leg.
“You scared me, I’m sorry!” I react, feeling the blade press even harder against my neck.
“Why aren’t you with the other children?” my district partner asks.
“The girl from 1 and the boy from 4 made a new alliance,” I respond, assuming she’s talking about the other Careers. “They shot at me when I tried to come back from a hunt.
“A new alliance?” The knife comes off of my neck and I scramble away, turning to face my district partner.
“Yes. The boys from 6 and 12, they joined them.”
Dr. Kriner turns to Alison, who’s finishing up wrapping her leg with a bandage from her pack.
“Four against two, not great odds if we want to take over the Cornucopia.”
She turns back to me, staring me down for a few tense seconds. I’m half-tempted to load another arrow, but I know I’d be dead before I could even grab one out of my quiver.
“Fine,” my district partner finally sighs. “You’re with us now.”
I must be the luckiest tribute in the Games.
The yellow parachute is barely visible through the canopy, but I noticed it out of sheer coincidence. A squirrel rustled some branches that caused me to look up and see it.
It takes a while to climb the tree, and even longer to cut the parachute and pack out of the tree branches. This is the girl from 11’s parachute; I remember watching her fall from the sky at the beginning of the Games. Her parachute had continued gliding down until it landed here, undisturbed.
With one final swipe of my knife, the pack falls free of its parachute and drops to the ground. I wait for a moment, making sure that the coast is clear, and then follow suit.
The pack is a literal treasure trove, completely untouched. Two weeks of rations, three full bottles of water, and more iodine tablets for purifying the water from the pond where I’ve made my base. That, combined with the rations and water in my pack, leaves me set for a full month. I could eat double rations now, if I wanted.
There’s a lot to worry about in the Hunger Games. Ironically, hunger is no longer on that list for me.
I sneak closer to the Cornucopia, staying low and using the lack of light from the sunset as cover. Two of the four tributes camped out here are off hunting; they should be back any minute now. The other two are here, keeping watch. Well, at least one of them is. The boy from 6 is fast asleep against the side of the Cornucopia, his ally keeping watch on the other side.
I grip the bottle in my hand, the one I’ve filled with reactive elements and minerals that I found on a sky island. Some of them are artificially generated, potent and powerful reactives that tell me the Gamemakers want me to do what I’m about to do.
Twenty feet ahead of me, the boy from 6 stirs in his sleep. This is it. Now or never.
I unscrew the cap of the bottle, drop the main reactive element into it, close the cap, and then quickly launch it at the boy from 6.
A few inches from his face, the mixture in the bottle reacts and expands, causing the bottle to explode. Acid spews out of the explosion, coating the side of the Cornucopia, as well as the boy’s face.
The reaction is immediate, and I don’t stick around to watch, racing off just as the boy awakes with a horrified and pained cry. His screams are all I need to know that it worked.
As I round the corner of the Cornucopia, heading towards Zack’s screams, I see a girl running away on the border of the lake. I’m about to give chase when I finally look over and see Zack.
And then I can’t do anything but scream.
His face is gone, flesh burnt away and down to ligaments, tendons, and bones. This creature which was once Zack groans and screams, which quickly turns to gagging and croaking as acid burns its way into his vocal chords. Then he slumps against the Cornucopia. His head rolls off onto his right shoulder as the acid disintegrates the skin and muscles on the left side of his neck. A cannon fires.
For a long moment, all I can do is stand in shock.
Zack’s dead. The strongest member of my alliance, dead. Gone. I look back across the lake to see who’s done this.
But the girl is already gone.
Current Training Scores
District 1: Jennifer Fu (9) and Joseph Quiggle (11)
District 2: Dr. Tiffany Kriner (10) and Josh Ryken (10)
District 3: Katherine Braden (10)
District 4: Abigail Black (11) and Edwin Chung (9)
District 5: Maurice Bokanga (10)
District 6: Kasey Send (5)
District 7: Dr. Alison Gibson (7) and Ben Weidemann (6)
District 8: Dr. Heather Whitney (6)
District 9: Christie Taylor (7) and Joseph Abdelmelek (8)
District 10: Ellen Egerton (9) and David Nitchman (9)
District 12: Kayla Roberson (8) and Andrew Wang (5)
Strongest Tributes: District 1’s Joseph Quiggle and District 4’s Abigail Black
Weakest Tributes: District 5’s Kasey Send and District 12’s Andrew Wang
Average Training Score: 8.33
Median Training Score: 9
Score Most Tributes Have: 9, 10
District 2’s Josh Ryken: One kill (District 8’s Abe Nakamura)
District 3’s Katherine Braden: One kill (District 11’s Nico Lasta)
District 4’s Edwin Chung: One kill (District 3’s Dr. Matthew Milliner)
District 9’s Joseph Abdelmelek: One kill (District 5’s Dr. Beth Jones)
District 10’s Ellen Egerton: One kill (District 6’s Zackary Smiley)
The Terrible Three (District 1’s Jennifer Fu, District 4’s Edwin Chung, and District 12’s Andrew Wang)
The Blonde Resistance (District 3’s Katherine Braden and District 9’s Christie Taylor)
The Elites (District 2’s Josh Ryken and Dr. Tiffany Kriner, and District 7’s Dr. Alison Gibson)
Sponsorship is now open!