The Inazuma Games

Chapter Seven: It Has Begun

Akane's P.O.V.

The gong goes off and I immediately dart off my plate. I can see Shindou running in the forest, listening to what Kidou said to him. For a moment, I hesitate if I should do the same. But then I push myself forward, towards the supplies. I have to grab something. Come on, Akane! I run and run until I reach a backpack. Just when I want to grab it, somebody pushes me on the ground and I can see the girl from district five lifting up her arm to cut me with her sword. Before she gets the chance, a knife buries in her back and she falls besides me, dead. I squeal in fear and quickly crawl up. How gross it might be, I pull the knife out of the back of the dead girl and carry it along until I reach a blue backpack. I pick it up and run as fast as I can in the rainforest. Luckily, it's not that humid and warm in the forest, and I feel very home in it. It reminds me of district twelve. I keep running and running until I'm out of breath and really need to rest. I sit down on a rock and try to catch my breath. At that moment, I hear the first canons to signify how many deaths there have been in the bloodbath. One… two… three… four… I keep counting until I reach eleven.

''No way, eleven?'' I whisper towards myself.

That means that there are thirteen tributes left. I can't help but wonder if Aoi, Tenma and Taiyou made it. I knew Shindou is safe, since he left the bloodbath immediately.

''I'll have to wait till tonight.'' I say to myself.

I zip open my backpack and check its contents. There's a slingshot, an empty water bottle, a large rope of twenty meters, a sleeping bag, three apples and a pocky box. A slingshot! I smile happily. I clean the bloody knife with a leave on the ground and slip it behind my belt. That way, I can grab it quickly when there's danger. Overall, I'm very happy with the contents of my backpack. Still, I bet that if Kidou could talk to me right now, he would scold me. It was a close call for me back then. But somebody saved me by throwing a knife in her back. I think about what to do next. I remember Kidou saying that's important to find a source of water.

''Water it is.'' I say with a smile to myself.

I carry the backpack on my back and make my way through the noisy rainforest. I can hear birds, crickets and a monkey every now and then. Good, at least there are animals for me to hunt on. I keep walking through the forest and hear the sound of a waterfall after two hours. I follow the sound and find a small lake with a roaring waterfall. I fill my water bottle and immediately drink it empty. Then, I fill it again and splatter some water in my face. Somehow, I wonder how Shindou is doing. Did he find a water source? Then, I shake my head. I shouldn't be worrying about Shindou. He's my enemy. He needs to die eventually. I try to move on in the arena, not really sure what to do with my time.

Evening comes by quickly. Other than the eleven kills by the bloodbath, there haven't been any other deaths. Since it's getting dark, I decide to climb in a high tree and to prepare myself for the night. But before that, I made a couple of sneers with the rope I have. Maybe there will be some game when I check them in the morning. After preparing the sneers, I climb in a tree op crawl into my sleeping bag. It's comfortable and warm. Just when I'm about to doze off, I see a fire a couple of meters beneath me. You've got to be kidding me! Somebody is making a fire?! How obvious do they want to be traced?! I mentally scold the person and try to stay silent. The careers will find him or her for sure. And I was right. In ten minutes, I hear footsteps close by.

''Look, we're close.'' I can hear the voice of the girl from district two, Seto Midori.

''Why is someone making a fire at this hour? Somebody isn't very smart.'' I can hear the voice of the boy from district one, Yukimura Hyouga.

''Anyway, let's finish that person off.'' I hear the voice of Gouenji Yuuka, the girl from district one.

''I think lover boy should do it.'' I can hear the teasing tone of Tsurugi Kyousuke, the male tribute from district two.

Did he just say… lover boy?

''Where's your precious girl anyway?'' I hear Midori's voice again.

''She must be close. I found some of her sneers.'' I can hear a very familiar voice.

I almost fall out of my tree by shock. That's Shindou's voice! What's he doing with the Careers?! I feel so betrayed. You see, it all was a game for him. He's trying to find you for the Careers. You mean nothing to him. Somehow, those thoughts really hurt me and I wanted to cry out of anger and hurt.

''Let's kill the fire maker first. We can always look later for that Yamana girl.'' I hear Yuuka's voice.

The five of them continue walking and I let out a shaky sigh. I felt really bad and betrayed. Shindou, you dirty traitor! I thought you were a nice boy! I was right all along about you. You ARE my enemy! I want to kick, yell and scream but I know it won't help a thing. Instead, I try to think of a way to escape this place safely. It's too dangerous with the Careers so close by. Suddenly, I hear a high-pitched scream and then, the sound of a canon. They must have found the fire maker. Obviously a girl. I want to find another hide-out but suddenly, sleep envelops me and I just can't make myself move. I crawl into my sleeping bag and tell myself that I'll probably be safe up here. Then, I hear the anthem of Tokyo and the emblem of Tokyo appears in the night sky. I know what's about to come. Every evening, the Gamemakers show the tributes who died everyday. There should be twelve deaths now. Half of the people died on the first day! I stare anxiously in the sky and wonder who are up there. The girl from district three is dead. So is the girl from district four. The girl from district five also died and both the tributes from district six, seven, eight and nine are dead. Also, the girl from district ten died. Then, the emblem of Tokyo appears again and the anthem fades. So, the Careers, the boys from district three, four and five, Taiyou, Aoi, Tenma, me and Shindou are the ones that are still alive. I sigh deeply. Then, I fall into a deep sleep.

The next morning, I wake up due to the sunrays that light up my eyelids. I slowly open my eyes and yawn. Then I discover that I'm in a tree several feet up in the air and should be careful with my movements. That's right. I'm in the Inazuma Games now. I jump out of my tree and check my sneers. Two baby lynx have fallen in my sneer and seeing their cute faces, I just can't kill them. Then, I hear Ranmaru's voice in my head and I know I have to. I walk to one of the lynxes, close my eyes and slit its throat. The sound the animal makes before it dies makes me feel really bad. I walk towards the other lynx and do the same thing. I'm so sorry… Then, I strip off their skin, chop off the good meat, wrap it around the lynxes' fur and put it in my backpack. I feel like a butcher and am disgust of myself. If I'm already having trouble with killing animals, how am I supposed to kill humans here? I sigh deeply. Then, I continue walking. I still couldn't get the image of Shindou with the Careers out of my head. I immediately growl. That bastard! I should probably forget about him. I continue walking, when I suddenly hear a low growl. I slowly turn around and lock eyes with a giant lynx.

''Oh god. Their mother.'' I whisper.

The lynx sees my still bloody hands and the remains of her kids bodies and dashes towards me. I squeal and start to run but am no match for her. In three seconds, I'm on the ground, the lynx on top of me. This is why I don't hunt… I struggle to break free and try to reach the knife in my belt. The lynx bites my leg and I scream in pain. I finally reach the knife in my belt and pull it out. The lynx bites harder in my leg. I try my best to push the giant animal off me. When it doesn't work, I stab my knife in her side and she lets go off my leg for a moment to howl in pain. That's just enough time for me to crawl from underneath her and stab her another time. I keep stabbing and stabbing until the lynx grows weak and fall over. I bend over her throat and slit it. I'm so sorry for killing your kids… Then, the lynx breathes her last breath. The lynx is too dirty and wounded to use her meat, so I leave her behind. When I take my first step again, an intense pain shots through my leg and I immediately crouch down again while tears form in my eyes. I hiss in pain and clench my leg desperately with my hands. It's the first time since the attack that I can take a good look at it. A part of my pants is ripped and blood is seeping out of the big biting wound. It's looks pretty severe and my hopes immediately drop. This wound can be fatal if it won't be treated. I cut off a large piece of the rope with my knife and tie it just above the wound to stop the seeping. Then, I rip another part off my pants and tie it around the wound. It hurts when I touch it and I visibly flinch.

''Oh no…'' I whisper.

Not an injury at such an early stage of the games… I could cry on the spot, but I had to be strong for Miyuki and the sponsors. Otherwise, I won't survive. I decide to walk towards the big lake in the middle of the arena to wash my wound. I take small steps with my leg and it takes me a couple of hours before I'm finally there. I step in the water, until it comes to my middle and waddle around. The water feels nice and cold against my wound and I instantly feel better. Still, I know I need some treatment so it won't get infected and will be my cause of death. Kidou, please help me… I waddle some more in the water, until I hear excited chatter.

''There she is!''

''Hellooooooo? District twelve?''

I see the Careers and Shindou and immediately turn around in the water.

''Come on, don't go away.''

''Right when it's going to be fun.''

I hastily climb out of the water and start to run.

''After her!''

I run in panic through the woods, dodging trees and trying to ignore the immense pain that shoots through my leg.

''Yamana-san! ~ Please wait!''

''We were looking for you!''

I ignore the comments and keep running. I know they'll catch up with me in no time, so I desperately try to think of a plan. A tree! I have to climb! Then, I remember my leg and know I'm in a bad state to climb. There's a chance I fail. Just do it! I see a high tree with a couple of branches and I immediately climb in it, hopping from branch to branch. When I'm twenty meters above the ground, I stop. The Careers plus Shindou stop underneath it.

''No fun.'' Yuuka pouts.

''Come on out, district twelve.'' Yukimura adds.

I desperately keep clinging on to the tree, while sitting down on a branch.

''Otherwise, we'll come to get you.'' Tsurugi adds.

''Can you climb that high?'' Midori asks him.

Tsurugi shrugs.

''I can try.''

He places his foot on the first branch and pulls himself up. I feel my heart beating in my throat and hope that Tsurugi fails to climb higher. When Tsurugi is six meters above the ground, the branch where he's on snaps and he falls on the ground.

''Tsurugi-kun! Are you okay?'' Yuuka asks him.

Tsurugi growls.

''Son of a...'' He murmurs.

I stare at Shindou. He tries his hardest to avoid my gaze.

''Let's just rest here. She has to come out of that tree sometime. She can't stay there forever.'' He says.

The other Careers agree and I mentally scold him. Jerk! The Careers lean back against the tree and start to clean their weapons. Yuuka has a bow and arrows, Yukimura has a spear, Midori has two axes and Tsurugi carries a sword. I see Shindou with two knives in his hands. I need to think of a way to get out of here. Hours and hours pass by and before I know it, evening falls and the arena gets dark. Suddenly, I hear an odd whistle. Not one a bird makes, but a whistle that a human can make. My eyes immediately look up at the tree besides me and I see a pair of big, blue eyes between the leaves. I gasp silently. Sorano Aoi! I see her move her index finger towards her lips as a sign to be silent. I nod. Then, she grabs something out of her backpack and tosses it towards me. I carefully grab it and examine the small, black ball that lies in my hand. I stare back at Aoi with a confused look and she pretends to shoot a slingshot. Then, she makes a big motion with her arms to express an explosion. I finally get what she means. It's a bomb! I need to shoot it down. Then, I look worried. But what about Shindou? I shake my head. He betrayed me. I shouldn't worry about him. Still, I can't help but think about the risk I take to hurt Shindou. I should warn him. I slowly look down onto the ground. I see it's his shift to stay awake. The other four Careers are sleeping silently. I keep staring down at him until he finally notices me staring. His eyes immediately gain that sorrowful look he had on earlier. I motion Shindou to run away. He looks confused at me, and I show him the black ball and mimic an explosion with my arms. Shindou's eyes widen and he shakes his head, as if to tell me not to do what I'm trying to do. I want to scream to him that I have to, because it's partly his fault that I'm up here. But I know that he can't hear me. Shindou shakes his head again.

''Don't, Akane.'' He whispers at me.

My heart drops once I hear him say my name. I lower my slingshot and take on a sorrowful look. I lean back against the tree and sigh frustrated. What do I have to do? Shoot it or listen to Shindou? Can I still trust him?

''Why?'' I whisper back.

At that moment, Tsurugi wakes up and looks at Shindou. I quickly pretend that I'm asleep.

''Something wrong?'' I hear Tsurugi ask Shindou.

''Nothing wrong.'' I hear Shindou reply.

I know Tsurugi is looking at me.

''She's asleep, huh? This is the perfect moment to plan an attack.'' I can hear Tsurugi smirk.

A panicking feeling raises in my chest, but I still keep my face relaxed so that it looks like I'm sleeping.

''What will you do?'' I can hear Shindou ask Tsurugi.

''Cut her tree down.'' I hear Tsurugi smirk.

I can hear some movements and then Midori's voice.

''Hmmm…? What's up?'' I can hear her ask sleepy.

''It's that Yamano-girl. She's asleep. You're good with axes. Let's cut her tree down.'' I hear Tsurugi reply.

''No problem.'' I can hear Midori smirk.

I panic and look to the tree on my left out of my eye corner. Aoi is gone. I have to do something! I open my eyes and look down.

''Ah, you're awake.'' Tsurugi says with a smirk.

''Now, sit still. We don't want you to fall.'' Midori replies.

She raises her axes, grins evil and start to cut in my tree.

''No!'' I shout.

I see if I can make the jump to the tree Aoi was in, but the distance is too big. Besides, I can't move a lot with my leg injury. I look at the black ball in my hand and realize that this is the time to shoot it down. I don't have a lot of time to aim very well, since Midori is already halfway through my tree and its beginning to swing a little. My eyes find Shindou's and I silently mimic the word 'run' with my mouth. Shindou's eyes widen. He shakes his head once again, but I ignore it. I point my slingshot at the ground, pull back the elastic and release the black ball. I can see Shindou and a couple of others jump away and then, there's a big explosion. I squeeze my eyes and cover my ears with my hands to block out the sound. When I open my eyes again and take my hands off my ears, I see Gouenji Yuuka lying silently on the ground, blood everywhere. Midori, Tsurugi, Yukimura and Shindou are a couple of meters on the ground and try their best to slowly crawl up. At that moment, Yuuka's canon goes off and we all know she didn't make it. I quickly crawl out of my tree and decide that this is the best moment for me to run away. I try to ignore the soaring pain in my leg once again, as I start to sprint.

''After her!'' I hear Yukimura's angry voice.

I run with all my might and dodge the trees that doom up in front of me. Suddenly, an arm jerks me to the side and I squeal, but my mouth gets covered by a hand. I stand still behind a tree with this unknown person, when the three Careers pass by. I don't see Shindou anymore. When it's safe again, I turn around towards the person that pulled me away and my eyes widen.

''Aoi!'' I exclaim.

She smiles.

''Akane! You did it!'' She says excited.

I nod and smile. Then, I start to sway on my feet. My head pounds and my leg burns.

''Akane, are you okay?'' I hear Aoi's voice.

The sound of my surroundings get softer and softer and I feel myself falling. Oh no… Then, I smack on the ground and everything turns black.

When I wake up again, I'm lying on a bed made of leaves and there is a roof, made of trees above my head. Slowly, I sit up and grab my head.

''Don't move too much yet.'' I hear a familiar voice.

I look to my right and see Aoi. She smiles at me.

''Welcome back.''

Then, her expression turns serious again.

''You fainted. I think you pushed yourself too far. But you're safe now.''

Then, Aoi holds up a small, silver, round box.

''Look, your mentor send this for you. I did some of it on your leg. Does it feel better?''

I stare at my leg and see to my surprise that the wound doesn't look so bad anymore and that the pain is almost gone. I smile happily.

''It's feeling great.''

''I'm glad. Oh, there was also a note enclosed.''

Aoi hands me a strip of paper and I fold it open.

Close call. Being stubborn isn't good all the time, but you did well, Akane. Yuuto Kidou.

I smile.

''Nice note?'' Aoi asks me.

''Sort of.'' I reply.

She smiles. Then, she sighs and stares into the forest.

''I wonder how Tenma is doing…''

''Matsukaze-san?'' I reply.

Aoi nods and sighs again.

''We're childhood friends. We've been through a lot together. I owe him a lot. I can't believe we both got reaped for this year's games. I can't imagine a life without Tenma. That's why…''

She looks back at me again, her glare all serious.

''That's why I want to help you win. Tenma and I both came to the conclusion that the two of us would never make it out of the arena alive. That's why we accepted that we're both going to die here. And meet up again on the other side.''

She smiles a sad smile.

''Tenma and I both have a liking towards you. That's why we want to help you. Me and Tenma trailed you once the bloodbath was over. But halfway, we got into trouble and Tenma stayed behind to fix the mess. I had to continue follow you. That's the last time I've seen him. I wonder how he's doing…''

''Aoi…'' I manage to bring out.

Then, I lean forwards and hug her.

''The sacrifice you both make for your friendship is beautiful. I promise I'll never forget you.''

Aoi also wraps her arms around me and I feel her tears on my shoulders.

''Thank you… Akane.''

''We have to find Tenma, so the two of you can stick together.'' I say.

Aoi nods.

''Let's look for him right now.''

I nod and the two of us step up from the ground and head further into the rainforest.

~ End of Chapter Seven ~

Author Note:

Hi guys! Again, sorry for the long wait. So much is happening to me lately. I barely have time to write. But here is chapter seven for you. I hope it was worth the wait. What did you guys think of the events? Poor baby lynxes… And I loved writing the sad story about Aoi and Tenma. They'll be friends forever. Even on the other side! ~heart~ And where oh where is Shindou? Please continue reading! Next up: Friends Forever. I'll see you then! Lots of love! xoxo Mamera-chan