The Inazuma Games
Chapter One: The Reaping
Once upon a time, when the earth was still a peaceful place, seven continents lived happily together. But a cold-hearted war tore it apart, making many people die and destroying the environment. People began fighting each other for the remaining recourses and the peace was gone. The world turned into one, black place where death and war ruled the grounds. But after all the chaos and pain, a country, that was once called Japan, rose from the ashes. The remaining people in that country, called the land 'Inazuma'. Inazuma was a peaceful place, divided in twelve districts and a mighty capitol, called 'Tokyo', who controlled Inazuma. Each district provided the mighty capitol from necessaries. The twelve districts are divided from rich to poor, district twelve being the poorest. The peace didn't last long. An uprising began quickly against Tokyo, the districts demanding more food and other necessaries that would keep them alive. Tokyo was outraged and began a war against the twelve districts, and with success. Now, as a yearly reminder that an uprising should never happen again, the 'Inazuma Games' were created. Each year, the twelve districts of Inazuma, offer up a young boy and a young girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen. They will be trained in the art of survival and prepared to fight until the death. They will be thrown in an arena to battle for their own surviving. May the odds be ever in your favor.
I wake up by the sound of birds chirping. I slowly open my eyes and sit up straight. I step outside my bed and notice that the bed besides me is empty.
''Miyuki?'' I ask softly.
Then, I see my little sister, curled up in the arms of my sleeping mother. I smile and get dressed into a simple pair of jeans and my white hoodie. Then, I pull on my brown boots and braid my hair in my usual two braids. After taking another glance at my mother and sister, and grabbing my brown backpack, I open the door and leave the house. Today is Sunday, a day where I meet up with my friend to collect food. Actually, that's forbidden, but we don't have a choice. We live in district twelve, the poorest district. We barely have money to buy food and me and my family live in a small house. My father passed away when I was young and ever since then, my mother hasn't been the same. Me, being the eldest sibling, feel the responsibility to take care of the family. But besides all that, I'm happy with my life. I walk towards the edges of district twelve and climb over the fence that separates district twelve from the big forest that's locates beside it. The smell of the trees and the rustle of the leaves instantly make me smile. I love nature. I enter the forest and walk towards the big lake that's centered in the middle of it. When I reach it, I spot a boy with pink hair, skipping stones on the water. When he hears me, he turns around and smiles. His blue eyes sparkle and he seems happy.
''Akane, good morning.''
''Ranmaru, you're early.''
The boy, who goes by the name Kirino Ranmaru, smiles.
''I wasn't able to sleep much this night, so I woke up early.''
After saying that, his smiles fades a little. I sigh.
''Today is the day, huh?''
''Yep.'' Ranmaru replies, throwing another stone in the water.
I sigh and go over to stand next to Ranmaru.
''How many times is your name in the bowl?'' I ask slowly.
''Thirty-two.'' Ranmaru growls.
''My god, Ranmaru. That's a lot.''
''Well, I need to keep my siblings alive,'' He replies with a shrug. ''Who else is going to do it? Not my father.''
I sigh again. Ranmaru always gets irritated when he talks about his father. He left his family for a beautiful young woman that lives in the richer part of district twelve. Ranmaru's mother stayed behind with four kids. Ranmaru is the eldest of them all, being fifteen. He has two younger brothers of twelve and ten and a younger sister of nine years old.
''How many times is your name in the bowl, Akane?''
''Fifteen times.'' I reply.
''That's not good either.''
''Well, nothing's good in Inazuma.'' I sigh.
''Good point.'' Ranmaru replies, while he tries to make another stone skip on the water.
''Anyway, should we start collecting food?'' I ask.
Ranmaru looks at me.
''Okay, let's go.''
Ranmaru and I have a nice agreement. Ranmaru always goes hunting animals, taking care of the meat for our two families, while I will go and collect edible berries and other plants. I don't like killing animals, so I leave that stuff to Ranmaru.
''Meet up in two hours?'' Ranmaru asks me.
''Same place, as always.'' I reply with a smile.
Ranmaru smiles too and turns around.
''Good luck, Akane.''
Then, I'm left on my own in the open clearing in front of the lake, while Ranmaru disappears out of my sight. I walk off too and head towards the bushes besides the lake. When I was younger, my father used to teach me all kinds of stuff about edible plants and the forest. I still remember the plants book he used to show me. Now, after all those years, I memorized all the information and pictures and know very well which berries are poisonous and which not. I pick the red berries that grow on the bushes and go further into the forest. In these two hours, I collect all kinds of berries, mint leaves, mushrooms and I even find chestnuts. When the sun shows me that two hours have passed, I make my way back towards the lake and see that I'm the first one to arrive. Ranmaru must still be on his way. I set down my backpack, packed with the food, and lean forward to splatter my face with some water. I fill the water bottle that I carried along in my backpack and take a few sips of water. Just then, Ranmaru emerges, two rabbits and three squirrels dangling on his belt. My eyes light up by seeing the meat.
''Well done!'' I praise him.
''I guess today was a good day,'' Ranmaru grins back. ''What did you find?''
He walks over to me, while I open my backpack and show him the contents.
''Quite a lot. I even found chestnuts.''
Ranmaru nods in approval.
''This will do.''
I smile, while Ranmaru sits down next to me. We divide the spoils and I receive a rabbit and a squirrel. Ranmaru gets the half of al my berries, five mushrooms, three chestnuts and half of my mint leaves.
''I'm going to save up as much food for tonight, after the reaping.'' Ranmaru says, putting the stuff I collected for him in a small duffel bag.
''For a small feast?'' I reply with a smile.
''It's always a feast when you're not in the Inazuma Games.''
That's right. Later today, it's time for the reaping. On this event, the new tributes for this year's Inazuma Games will be chosen. Your name will be written on a small paper stroke and that stroke will go into a bowl, together will all the other names of all the other tributes. In exchange for extra food over the years, your name has to go in multiple times. That's what Ranmaru and I have. My name is fifteen times in the girls bowl. Ranmaru's name thirty-two times in the boys bowl. I gulp. Luckily, Miyuki is only ten years old, so she isn't allowed to participate in the Inazuma Games yet. Other than that, Ranmaru's sibling, Makoto, will participate in the reaping for the first time this year. Ranmaru has been nervous all about it the past few weeks. And I don't blame him. Luckily, Makoto's name is only one time in the boys bowl. The chance that he gets picked is super small. I look over to Ranmaru and see the frown on his face.
''What's wrong?'' I ask.
''Nothing.'' Ranmaru growls in return.
He stares at the lake, his mouth in a tight line.
''Are you worrying about Makoto?'' I ask.
''Also, but I'm also worried about you, Akane.''
I look a bit startled.
''Yes. If you had to participate in the Inazuma Games, there's no way I'll be able to live on normally. You're very shy, Akane. You don't like hunting on animals. How will it be like when you have to hunt on humans?''
I can't help but laugh, even though I know that I shouldn't.
''You're talking like my name has already been picked. I can't say that I'm not nervous, because I'm terrified. But there's no need to get all worked up. We'll see whose name it is at the reaping this afternoon. It could be me and it could be someone else. We don't know.''
''Even in times like this, you stay optimistic. You're truly special, Akane.''
A blush crept onto my cheeks. W-What's this? Why am I blushing? It's not like I have feelings for Ranmaru... right? When I look over to Ranmaru, I notice he has turned his face away from me. I let out a giggle. Ranmaru and I have been friends for five years now. I met him in the forest, when I went in there by myself for the first time. It was a week after my father passed away and I was only nine years old. Ranmaru was ten back then. I discovered the lake and found some dead game on the ground. By seeing it, I could tell someone had shot them with a bow and arrow. Just when I was admiring that skill, Ranmaru emerged from the trees and started yelling at me, telling me it was his and to back off. After some explaining and talking, he changed his attitude towards me and we slowly became friends. Ever since then, we made the deal that Ranmaru would provide meat for my family and that I would provide berries, mint leaves and that kind of things for his family. Ranmaru's my best friend and we know everything about each other. But I never thought about being… more than friends with him. The idea makes me blush again. The sound of Ranmaru's voice wakes me up from my thoughts.
''Let's go back to district twelve. We have what we needed and we can't stay away too long.''
''Right, let's go back.''
We both stand up and walk side by side towards the fence that protects district twelve. We both climb over it, me with a little bit of help from Ranmaru, and we both land on our feet on the other side. I'm about to walk off, until Ranmaru grabs my hand.
''Don't forget to wear something pretty. It's the reaping after all.''
I smile at him.
''I will. But you also have to dress up nice.''
''Don't worry about that.''
Then, we turn around.
''See you in two hours.''
I make my way back towards our house. More residents of district twelve have woken up and I see the marketing people setting up their booths. I smile and greet some of them. Sometimes, I trade the stuff I find in the forest with them for other things like needle and thread, cotton, bread and that kind of things. We never speak openly about that, because it's strictly forbidden and I could get arrested or even executed if the peacekeepers of district twelve found out that I went behind the fences. The same goes for Ranmaru. We have to be very careful when we transport our found goods back to our houses. But so far, I never have been caught. When I knock on my door, Miyuki happily opens the door.
''Welcome back, Akane!'' She greets with a happy smile.
She looks a lot like me, having the same hair and eye color. Only, Miyuki always wears her hear in a bun on her head.
''Good morning, Miyuki.'' I reply, ruffling her hair.
I step inside and walk towards my mother, kissing her on her cheek.
''Morning. Did you and Kirino have any luck today?''
I nod and show her the contents of her backpack. The eyes of my mother and Miyuki widen.
''Oh my, look at that.'' My mother says shocked.
''So much food.'' Miyuki adds.
''But let's save a bit for tonight, after the reaping.'' I say.
My mother and Miyuki nod. I trade some of my found goods at the market and return home with a warm loaf of bread, which we eat as lunch together with some of the berries and each one mushroom. We save the other berries, the meat and the chestnuts for this evening. Then, the looks on our faces get serious.
''It's time to get you ready.'' My mother says.
I nod. There's already a bit bath basin waiting for me with water. I strip off my clothes and wash myself with a frayed washcloth. I'm abnormally thin and can count all my ribs. But everybody is like that in district twelve. My little sister pours water over my head so I can wash my hair. After washing myself, Miyuki hands me a damaged and old towel with holes in it. The only towel that we have. I dry myself off and pull on my undergarments again.
''Akane, come over here.'' My mother stays.
I walk over to her, standing besides her bed. On the bed lies a beautiful lace dress in the color white. I gasp.
''Mom… it's beautiful.'' I whisper.
''I wore it to my reaping when I was fourteen.'' My mother smiles.
She helps me in the dress. It fits perfectly. My mother pulls up my hair in a nice bun and decorates it with a white hair ribbon. I walk over to the cracked mirror at the wall and gasp again. With all the dirt washed off my body and my hair and clothing like this, I look gorgeous.
''Thank you, mom.'' I say breathless.
Then, I discovered that there are tears in her eyes. I feel my own tears burning and I immediately walk over to my mom to hug her.
''It will be fine.'' I whisper.
''Please, just please… don't let it be you.'' My mother says smothered.
Then, she lets go off me and Miyuki wraps her arms around my waist.
''Stay safe, Akane! When you come back, we'll have a nice dinner.''
''Look forward to it.''
Then, our conversation gets interrupted by the clock tower on the town square. It starts to strike twelve times. The sign to gather.
''It's time.'' I whisper.
Miyuki grabs my hand and my mother grabs Miyuki's other one. Together, we walk towards the town square until we reach the point where we have to part.
''Bye mom, Miyuki.'' I say, kissing them goodbye.
''Good luck!'' Miyuki replies.
My mother gives me a nod. Then, I turn around and walk towards the registration desk for the fourteen year old girls. A peacekeeper sits behind it in its security suit.
''Name.'' He says in a monotone voice.
''Yamana Akane.'' I reply in my shy voice.
Without my family or Kirino, I feel ten times more timid. The peacekeeper glances at his list and puts a tick next to my name.
''Next.'' He says again.
I quickly make way for the girls behind me and walk on towards the section for fourteen-year-old girls. I recognize some girls from my school, Raimon Junior High. They all look just as nervous as me. I take a spot in the section somewhere and try to control my breathing. I look over to the right, where all the boys are positioned. The eldest kids are up front and the youngest kids are at the back, closest to the part where family members can position themselves. I wander over the boys until I find the section for the fifteen-year-old boys. I spot Kirino in a white button-up shirt, dark blue jeans and white sneakers. Somehow, my cheeks fluster and I instantly feel very warm. Kirino spots me too and grins at me, giving me a thumbs up. I smile and also give him a thumbs up. Then, somebody taps on the microphone on the stage.
''Everybody, welcome!'' A female voice says, her voice amplified by the speakers around the town square.
She's wearing a bright blue blouse with puffed-up sleeves, a white pencil skirt and black, high heels. Her brown wavy hair falls over her shoulders. She's wearing super expensive jewelry and looks very wealthy. You can immediately see that it's a woman from the capitol, Tokyo, where everybody is rich and healthy.
''Time to announce the tributes for the 63th annual Inazuma Games!''
A shiver goes up my spine. It has been the same for the past two years ever since I'm standing here. I've managed to stay safe for two years. Let's hope that I will manage to do that again this year. First, the woman, who goes by the name Hoshino Ayaka, tells us the story about the war and the uprising in the past. It's the same story every year. Then, she announces the VIP's. They are always the same two people. The mayor of district twelve and the only previous victor of an Inazuma Games that's still alive: Kidou Yuuto. He will become the tributes their coach and will stay with them in the process before they go in the arena and try to guide them safely through the arena by recruiting sponsors. He's a smart and well-respected man in district twelve. He lives in the victor's section of district twelve, a residential area with expensive houses, designed for victors of the Inazuma Games. You're allowed to live there with your family once you win the Inazuma Games. Kidou Yuuto looks impressive as ever with his black suit, red tie and white-green goggles.
''Okay, ladies first!'' Hoshino announces, and she walks over towards the glass bowl of the girls, filled with straps of paper.
I look around me and strangely, relax. There are so many girls around me. And I bet I'm not the only one who has fifteen entries. Some girls have even more. I managed to escape the games two years. This year will be no different. I let out a shaky sigh and smile. Occupied by my thoughts, I miss the name they call out. I hear relieved sighs everywhere, but some people begin to stare at me. I frown. What's wrong? I look over to the right at Kirino, who has a horrified expression on his face. And then, I realize it. The called out name is mine. I gulp as I step out of my section. I follow down the path towards the stage that has been kept empty. I could feel the eyes of all the girls on me this time and it's so silent, I'm scared that they could hear my heart throb.
''Yamana Akane!'' Hoshino says again, this time me hearing it.
I nod, while I stop in front of the small staircase that leads up the stage. Hoshino holds out her hand and guides me on stage.
''Ladies and gentleman, give her a loud applause.'' Hoshino smiles, which makes me sick.
To my surprise, nobody claps. Instead, they all make a deep bow. At this point, I was on the edge of crying. In the back of the crowd, I could see my mother and little sister. My mother is crying silently and covers her mouth with her hand. Miyuki is sobbing out loud and desperately clings onto my mother's waist. It hurts me to see them like this. I feel the lump in my throat and desperately try to stay strong. I know the camera's are already recording me, so I need to leave a good impression. Hoshino smiles and walks over to the bowl of the boys. I cross my fingers. Please, don't let it be Ranmaru. Please, don't let it be Ranmaru. Please, don't let it be Ranmaru. I silently plead in my head. Hoshino grabbles through the papers and finally grabs a strip. I swear, nobody was breathing. Hoshino folds the strip open and walks back towards the microphone.
''Shindou Takuto.'' She speaks clearly.
I let out a sigh. Ranmaru is save. I hear some of the boys murmuring and clear the way for a boy who walks out of the fifteen-years-old section. He has half-long, wavy, grayish-brown hair and brown eyes with a black touch. While he walks towards the stage, I can't help but wonder why he seems so familiar to me. Then, it hits me. He's the baker's son. I always see him working in the bakery when I trade a squirrel with the baker, his father. We never spoke to each other though. I'm also sure I've seen him in school sometimes. So his name is Shindou Takuto… Shindou gets helped on the stage by Hoshino, while I study his broad figure. He surely has some muscles for a fifteen-year-old. Must be because of all the work he does in the bakery. I feel slightly intimidated. Judging by his looks, he could be a dangerous opponent. The lump in my throat reappeared again and I try to swallow it away. Hoshino places Shindou besides me and it's the first time the boy looks at me. I expect to see determination in his eyes, but instead, I see hurt and fear. My eyes widen. H-He's scared…
''Time for a handshake!'' Hoshino says.
I slowly hold out my hand towards Shindou and he grabs is with his firm hand. His hand feels surprisingly warm and it somehow sooths me.
''Ladies and gentleman. May I present you the tributes of this year's Inazuma Games!'' Hoshino shouts in the microphone.
Again, nobody claps. Instead, they make a deep bow. Then, I feel a hand on my shoulder and I get guided into the town hall of district twelve.
End of Chapter One
Hi everybody! It's Mamera-chan with a Hunger Games inspired fanfic! I'm not trying to copy the original story. I will use some elements, but most of the things, I will make up myself. For a guideline: Akane plays Katniss, Kirino plays Gale and Shindou plays Peeta. Again, they won't be copying those characters, they just share similarities. I hope you will all enjoy this story. In June, I'll continue with Inazuma Eleven Rewritten. See my profile for more information about that. I hope to see you all next chapter. Please leave a review and question can be send via PM. I WON'T be accepting tributes for in the games. So please don't bother asking that. Sorry if I sound mean. I don't mean to. Anyway, goodbye and take care! Lots of love! xoxo Ayasumi Mamera