A Story by Firey. A Hunger Game and Warriors Crossover.
P r o l o g u e
There was an explosion, and the she-cat screamed, terrfied. She rolled to the side, dodging the next blow. The tom raced after her. "Come back here, you fool!"
The she-cat kept running, her eyes flitting back to the tom chasing her.
With a burst of speed, she rounded the corner, and continued running as she skidded past another tree. "You'll never get out of here alive."
"Maybe I won't, but it doesn't hurt to try." The she-cat snorted as she kept on going.
The tom hissed in frustrations and kept chasing her. "When President Hawk gets her paws on you, you'll be terriblely sorry, Sapphire."
"Yeah, if she gets her paws on me. There's no guarenteed's that she'll get me." Sapphire kept going, her silver paws flashing across the land.
The tom's green eyes tracked her, and he groaned as she crossed into the country. He pushed faster, catching up to her quickly. He overtook her, and grappled with her.
Sapphire hissed in frustration and clawed at him. She kicked him back, then picked herself up and kept on going. The red tom got back up, breathing hard. "Send more cats after her!" He shouted, groaning as he stood up to watch the rest of the chase.
The she-cat smirked as she saw the original tom stand up slowly. I've won for now.. But she saw more cats coming, and she ran faster, desperate to cross the borderline before they caught her. She rounded another sharp corner, but found herself face to face with some guards.
"Nice run, Sapphire, but nobody ever gets past the Capitol." Hawk. The President was standing in front of her. Sapphire gritted her teeth and raised her tail in submission.
"I'll do it again, Hawk. I'll make sure I get out of here, and then you'll be dead." Sapphire's azure eyes glared at the President, and she reluctantly let herself be dragged along.
"Are you sure they got her?" The white she-cat's blue eyes sparked with anger and anxiety.
The black tom nodded. "Yes, I'm sure, Frost, I saw it with my own eyes, the President dragging Sapphire off! She stood no chance, though she gave them quite a chase."
"And you didn't help her?" Frost sighed.
The tom shuffled his paws. "One more cat in the battle wouldn't have made a difference. I would have been caught beside her, and our Rebellion would be one cat short."
Frost nodded. "Night, get the apprentices ready. I need the best one to get in there and wreck havoc on the President's land."
"How do you plan on doing that?"
She smirked. "I'm sending one of them in as the Tribute."
C h a p t e r O n e
I sat quietly, not sure why Frost was calling me over. "Rush! Come over please, you can continue training later." I nodded, and walked over to her side.
"Yes, Frost?" I asked politely.
Frost's sharp blue eyes pierced my fur. "You've heard about the recent news right? Sapphire was caught trying to get out of the Capitol, but was captured. Night and Dew went in to try to save her, not on my orders though, and they both got caught."
My eyes were anguished. Not only were Night and Sapphire one of my best friends, but Dew was my love. I wasn't sure if he liked me, but he was certainly very handsome.
Frost's face was grim. "You need to go in and get them out. They are in danger, and the only way for you to get in, is to participate in the Games. Once you win the Games, you won't be suspected, and we can easily slip you in to save them."
My skin grew cold. "You want me to participate in the Games? Aren't we against this?"
"Yes," Frost mewed, "But I need you to go in and win in the Games to save Sapphire, Night, and Dew. Please, Rush. From this-"
"No!" I screamed. "I can't do this." My voice dropped to a silent whisper.
Frost gazed at me calmly. "Ru-" I turned, and ran. Frost growled softly, then called for her reinforcements. "Storm, take River and try to overrun Rush. I need her for something important."
The gray she-cat nodded, and flew down the hill. Her paws were flashing across the plain, and I was easily caught by the older she-cat.
When I was dragged back, I was panting. "Rush, you need to do this, for Sapphire, for Night, for Dew." Frost's eyes were earnest, and persistent.
"From this moment on, you shall be known as Rushpaw. Not by my will, but because you must be a paw to be in the Games."
I sat down, defeated. I was now Rushpaw, my hidden identity to participate in the Games. I was terrified. I wasn't the best fighter or hunter, so how was I supposed to win the Games?
"Rushpaw, we'll get you in to the Capitol, and then we'll register you in and get you into the Games." Frost started to lead me off.
"Now?" I mewed, desperate to say goodbye to some of my friends.
Frost nodded. "You aren't going to die you know? Just think about your home, your friends waiting for you. You'll survive."
I nodded, trying to be brave. But my heart was melting, and none of my friends were nearby. Sighing in defeat, I padded after Frost, crossing quietly into the Capitol borders.
"Are we really going to sneak a spy in right under the President's nose?"
"Sh, and yes, we are." Frost mewed slyly. "She won't expect it."
She better now... Or we're all dead meat.
"Okay Rushpaw, we're here now, and this is our home for now. I'll stay here when the Games start, and be here for you and the others when the Games end. Let's go register you."
The register place wasn't crowded, and the cat standing there smirked. "Come to register your kit for the Games?"
It was weird being called a "kit" to Frost. My mother was dead, and my father was working in another Rebellion. The Silver Revolution I believe.
"Go ahead and scratch your name on this leaf, kit."
I slid out a claw, and scratched "Rush" on there. Then I added the "paw", remembering that I had to be an apprentice.
"Thank you, and enjoy your day."
We walked away to our new home, and Frost whispered. "The Reaping is tomorrow, be prepared." I nodded, though I didn't know how I was supposed to be prepared.
Let's hope everything goes well...
C h a p t e r T w o
The Reaping was terrifying, but smaller than I expected. There were apprentices scattered all over the area, but the Peacekeepers came in and swept all of the she-cats over to one side, and all of the toms over to one side. The cat standing next to the stack of leaves was smiling. She seemed to enjoy the Reaping, and I shuddered.
"Let us start!" She started to ramble about the Capitol and how it was made, how District 13 was created, and how District 1, my District now, was the best and the strongest fighters in the Games. She talked about how proud she was that we were assembled here, and how she couldn't wait to see our performance in the Games.
She then spoke about the other Districts, telling us about them. "There is one District who knows how to fish, District 4 I believe. Then there is the agriculture District, 8 I believe..."
She kept going, but I tried to concentrate on her drone. She sounded like this was a boring job, and that this was an extra part she was being paid for.
"And finally, we go back to District 13's demise. We sent in armies of Peacekeepers, raiding their walls. They had no hope, but to fight, and the whole District died." But I knew this wasn't the truth. The Silver Revolution themselves was District 13, or the remaining of them. They were hidden underground, and did not do as many missions as we did.
My Rebellion was counting on me, and I tried to think of this Reaping as my chance to complete my mission. But it felt like my last play in the Capitol's horrible game.
There were no cheers after the speech. I was shocked. Isn't this the Capitol? Isn't District One the best of all the Districts? Frost told me that the contestants were always excited to get Reaped, but why...?
Remember to volunteer. Frost's voice echoed in my head. I anxiously waited for the Reaping, knowing it was my chance to save my friends.
"For the toms, the lucky one that shall participate in the Games is... Redpaw! Congratulations!" I felt like she was giving him a death sentence.
The terrified red tom stepped up, his body shaking. "Hm, scrawny." The Reaper frowned a bit. She then shrugged, and slid over to the she-cat's pile. I prayed to the stars that she would pick mine, so I didn't have to bravely volunteer.
I groaned inwardly, and waited for the chance to volunteer. "Is there anyone who wants to volunteer for these poor tributes? I mean you are District 1, the best and most eager of the Districts."
I opened my mouth to volunteer, but someone else beat me to it. Then I realized that something was amiss, and I couldn't be in District 1. The Reaper was staring at us, at me, her brow furrowed. Then I realized that she was the cat who signed me up. Did they figure out that I wasn't really a Capitol kit? Is something terribly wrong here?
The she-cat stood up, and called. "I volunteer as Tribute!"
The voice shocked me the most. I had missed her in the crowd, and she was my real mission. No... it can't be. I was standing in the middle on the prisoners of the many Rebellions out there. They were being Reaped, and sent into the Games.
There aren't 24 this year, there are 26.
I looked back at the volunteer, wanting to make sure I knew who it was. Then I froze. The volunteer was Sapphire.
C h a p t e r T h r e e
The Reaper laughed. "Alright, step up." Sapphire came forward. "What's your name, dear?"
I noticed that she said 'Sapphirepaw', not 'Sapphire'. I wondered if she truly planned on winning the Games. If so, then my job was done here.
But when Sapphirepaw stepped up to the Reaper, who's name was later revealed to be Leafpetal, Leafpetal gestured to the spot next to Flowerpaw. "Stand there please." A confused look crossed Sapphirepaw's face, and Flowerpaw appeared terrified.
"I volunteered for her didn't I?" Sapphirepaw snapped. "Why is she still up here with me?"
Leafpetal laughed. "Oh, the President wants four tributes from you lovely 'District One' groups. In fact, it's the Quarter Quell."
I froze. Quarter Quells were the worst, the Gamemakers added a twist to the Games. Today was the 50th anniversity of the Hunger Games, which meant that something bad was added to the Games. And it was having twice the amount of tributes.
"Let us Reap the second tribute from the toms!" Leafpetal stepped forward, and sunk her claws into the leaf pile. When she drew her paw up, there was a single leaf on her claw. She peered at the name scratched on it and smiled and fool's smile. "And the second tom tribute shall be... Dewpaw!"
No... I wanted to scream, sink to my paws and cry. Dewpaw, otherwise known as Dew to me, was the tom I loved the most. He was in my Rebellion, and was a handsome brown tom that caught my eye. Now he was in the Games.
I had no choice, I had to get in there and find a way to get them all out. There was no way I was going to allow Sapphire and Dew and get themselves killed in the Arena.
Leafpetal ushered the tributes away. "Wait!" I yowled." Leafpetal looked back.
"What is it?"
I hesitated, then rushed on. "I would like to volunteer as tribute in place of Sapphirepaw." Leafpetal stared me straight in the eye, and smirked.
"Then I volunteer in place of Flowerpaw!"
Leafpetal pondered this, then saw the connection between me and Sapphirepaw. She smiled, but it didn't reach her eyes. "Of course." She wasn't doing my a favor, she was most likely sacrificing one of us. Sapphire looked outrageous, and her furious blue eyes tracked me everywhere.
"Rush, what are you doing here?" She growled as we were escorted away.
I lowered my voice and my gaze. "Frost ordered me to come in as a tribute and win the Games, gaining access to the prisoners of the Rebellion groups, and free you and the others."
"But that failed when you realized you were in the wrong group." Sapphire concluded as we trudged on. I nodded, wondering why Sapphire volunteered.
"Why did you do it?"
Sapphire looked over, and she knew what I was asking. She sighed. "I knew Flowerpaw, and I didn't want her to die in the hands of a killer like those District cats. I wanted to save her life, and die as a hero. I didn't know Frost had a plan to save me."
"I was supposed to volunteer, but in the end, Flowerpaw would have been a tribute if I hadn't insisted to become a tribute."
"Yeah..." Sapphire mewed, shuffling her paws. "It's over now. One of has to die for the other to become a victor. I'll die for you, Rush. You deserve more than this. I'm the one who has dragged the Rebellion down all this time."
I bit my lip. "I can't do that, you know it. And Dew's here too. How can I let him die? Or let you die? We have to find a way to escape together. We don't have to be victors, we just need to escape."
"Shut up, you two." A Peacekeeper snapped as she walked by, her white and downy fur fluffed up against the cold.
I shut my mouth, forcing myself to walk silently away. We didn't get time to say goodbye to anyone because there should have been no one for us to say goodbye too. We were prisoners. Sapphire's jaw awas set, and she looked determined. She obviously didn't believe that we could find a way out together and save Night, and escape to the Rebellion camp.
She had tried before, and she failed. Now it was more difficult. We had four cats in total, and we had to escape from the Games first too.
We entered a cave where Leafpetal ordered us to settled in. "Tomorrow you will train alone, I don't care if you work together actually, but that will only bring your downfall in the Games anyways. Just know that if you will probably be the main targets in the Games. May the odds never be in your favor."
Watching her go, I felt disgust clog my throat. Leafpetal was a vile she-cat, and it was true, we would be the targets of the Games, we had no training, and this was pretty much our end. Dew padded over to me. "You shouldn't have volunteered, then you could have lived on."
"I can't live knowing that I did nothing to save you, or Sapphire."
But Dew sighed. "I would die to save you, Rush. There's no way I would allow you to die for me. There's no hope for me anymore. You'll have to live without me."
C h a p t e r F o u r
My heart froze when Dew said that. "No Dew, I need you."
The brown tom shook his head. "I know you're a stronger she-cat than that, Rush." I opened my mouth to stop him, but he lifted his paw and cupped my face. "You'll live on to be a great Rebellion leader. Me? I'll never be as great as you. The best I can do is die for you here."
Sapphire watched us with her sharp eyes. Her eyes were anguished, and I knew she was thinking about Night, the tom she would be leaving just to have me escape. And that was only if I won. I had to win, or their deaths would be in vain. But I didn't want them to die. "Guys, I'm serious. We can escape together. We have to. I can't live without you guys."
My best friend smirked. "You've lived the past few days without us."
"Yes, but, when you die, you'll never come back. It won't be the same." I protested, but Dew silenced me with his tail. He leaned in close, and I breathed in his scent.
I jerked away from the tom as a Peacekeeper walked into our confinement area. "Which one of you is Dewpaw?"
The brown tom padded forward. "I am."
"Come, we shall give you a bit of training." He sounded scornful, and I could tell that Sapphire wanted to claw him for his arrogance.
My eyes followed Dew out, and I noticed that Redpaw was looking uncomfortable. Moments later, a cream colored she-cat was shoved into the cave. "I don't care who volunteered for you, you were Reaped, and you will participate in the Games."
The Peacekeeper stalked away, and Flowerpaw slumped to the ground. "I'm sorry, Rush. I should have ran, but I was too shocked, too scared to do anything, and the Peacekeeper grabbed me and dragged me here. Your efforts are in vain."
I stared at the entrance, my hatred for the Capitol building up. "We'll find a way out of here, together. We all deserve a life, and no one's going to sacrifice their life because they think it will save the others. It won't."
Flowerpaw managed a weak smile, and she slid over to Redpaw, the two of them resting their heads on each other. They seemed like a good couple, and good friends. Such a shame they were going into the Games most likely to be slaughtered.
Redpaw's dull green eyes seemed to brighten a bit when he was near Flowerpaw. The two young apprentices were fragile creatures, and I hated to think of what would happen to them after the Games, whether they live or not.
Soon the Peacekeeper came back with Dew and called for Redpaw. The trembling tom stepped up, and followed hesitantly after the white, bulky tom.
Flowerpaw sighed as the red tom left, and she rested her head on her paws. "So what do we plan on doing? We're most likely about to die."
Sapphire shook her head. "No, we're going to do more than that. This is our chance to shine and show the Capitol that we're not a bunch of wimps."
Flowerpaw looked worried. "I'm not a good fighter. I was the medicine cat's helper in my camp, and when the Capitol found the location and raided us, they just grabbed me and Redpaw. I stayed with him in our cells, and we became good friends."
So that was why there were so attached to each other. I padded over and laid a reasurring tail on Flowerpaw's shoulder. "We'll find a way out."
She smiled. "Thanks, Rush."
It was my turn. What annoyed me the most was that my trainer kept calling me "Rushpaw", instead of "Rush". Why did the participants have to be apprentices? And did it matter for us since we were prisoners? Wouldn't they want to have our names different so the others would target us? Many of these questions were on my tongue, but I couldn't muster the courage to ask them.
"Come on, Rushpaw! Swipe faster. Do you really want to die out there?" The tawny she-cat glared at me, giving me a hard blow to make me work harder. "It's like you freaks don't even care where you end up."
"Don't you want us to be dead?"
Oops. I hadn't meant to say it out loud. The trainer had just driven me beyond my nerves, and I felt the need to blurt that out.
She shrugged. "Yes and no. You prisoners only make the Games more exciting, since you hate the other participants. We don't necessarily want you dead, but we don't allow any prisoners to be victors."
"So they die in the end anyways."
"Yes, but none make it that far, so we haven't had anything like that yet. Maybe you lot can change that." The trainer wasn't some kind of mean, cruel-spirited she-cat. She was just a regular citizen, following and believing what she had believed since she was born.
I watched her as she continued to ramble, and I noticed that she never said much about her hatred towards the prisoners. She called us "freaks" and "vermin", but she treated us as an equal. We were still pawns in their game though.
When I returned to the cave, the tawny she-cat mewed. "It was nice knowing you, I always enjoy socializing with the prisoners. I've always wondered why you would want the Capitol to fall and all that, but after being with groups like you, I think I know why."
I just nodded to her and went inside. Sapphire waited for me impatiently, then dragged me to the far corner of the cave. "Don't say a word to Dew. He's having some kind of fit, and I don't want you to get involved in it. You'll make it worse."
Staring across the cave, I saw Dew scratching at the floor and snarling softly. Then tears began to leak from his eyes and he flopped to the floor. I started to rush over, but Redpaw held me back. I shoved him away, but he held his ground. He may be small, but he still had the power to resist me.
Sapphire was knelt next to Dew and announced. "I think he was dreaming about your death, Rush. He truly cares about you."
That would have been nice to know a few months ago, but now, in a time like this, it would be something I wouldn't want to hear. I didn't want to love somebody just to lose them in the Hunger Games. And I knew they wouldn't want to lose me.
Oh Dew, how can we get out of this alive?
C h a p t e r F i v e
Dew soon woke up, his head aching. "I had some bad dreams." He groaned. "I hope this doesn't happen every night in the Games too, then I'll be crowfood." But we all knew that we were all going to be crowfood when this was done.
We were escorted out the next day to do the Tribute Parade. We were at the very end, with clasps to chain us down to the moving platform. The other tributes would march in, but we would be dragged. This Parade was going to shame us all.
I wasn't looking forward to it. When the Peacekeepers came to retrieve us, I almost wished that I was having a bad nightmare, and I could wake up screaming instead. But the Peacekeepers dragged us out, clasping the iron chains over our paws so we couldn't move.
"And here comes District 1!" I heard the loud voice ring across the clearing. An uproar of cheers erupted and I flattened my ears. District 1 was bound to be popular.
"And District 2!"
Then the roars began to get smaller and smaller until they reached... "District 12!" There was a dull murmur in the crowds. Then it was our turn.
"And of course, our small group of prisoners that shall join us in the Games!" We were pulled out after the other Tributes, and I could hear the sniggers as we were pointed and stared at.
"Look at those scrawny cats! They won't be any fun."
"That red tom and the cream she-cat are so adorable together! I can't wait to see the other's reaction when one of them dies."
"Ha, I think these cats are foolish to stand proudly. They should be cowarding and asking for mercy. Not like I would give them any."
I heard the distant murmurs, and turned away in disgust. Long moments went by as we were paraded around the clearing several times to let the crowd see. The jeers and the comments did not please me, and I just wished that this was over already.
Finally, the announcer flicked his tail to District 1. They headed out the gorse tunnel, and it was finally our turn to be escorted out. The Peacekeepers let us go before we passed through the tunnel, and I was relieved. It wasn't so humilating when you were walking by yourself. Then I heard the roar of laughter as the announcer mewed. "And let this be their only chance to be free!"
I was mistaken. The Capitol was worse than jeering morons. They truly hated us because we resented their way of living. The trainer may have been nice, but I doubted that a fifth of the crowd would support us. As we padded out, I felt the scornful gazes of the Capitol cats burn my back.
The Peacekeepers shoved us out, dragging us back to our cave. I felt the gaze of the Peacekeeper shoo us inside, and then we were confined there for the rest of the day.
I was nervous. The day had come where we would be entering the Arena. Sapphire looked terrified, and Dew was grimacing. Redpaw and Flowerpaw were pressed together, whispering goodbyes to one another. My heart ached for them.
Then the time came, and five Peacekeepers led us away. I mouthed a goodbye to Sapphire and Dew, and they only nodded back at me. It was really time.
"The 50st Annual Hunger Games are about to begin! The Tributes are prepared at their circle, and the countdown is about to start!"
I felt my heart beating hard and fast. I looked around me, trying to soak in the information I could gather.
The other Tributes looked ready, and I was reminded of the fact that I would be targeted, and I had to run as fast as I could away from the center as possible.
On no... the Games were about to start.
I stood there terrified at first, then I charged for the nearest forest land I could find. I was terrified of what might happen to me, and I dove for cover. I shivered in the cover of a bush for the rest of the day, and I heard the names of the cats who died in the bloodbath.
"Smokepaw, Redpaw, Icepaw, Mistpaw, Soakpaw, Riptidepaw..." And so on. Luckily, Dew and Sapphire had made it out alive. Too bad poor Flowerpaw had to live without Redpaw, who must have died in the first part of the bloodbath.
That night my sleep was fitful and I was scared. I didn't know what was going to happen next, and was terrified of what was going to happen.
Please StarClan, let me live...
C h a p t e r S i x
The next day, I found myself face to face with Sapphire. "Hey, Rush. You want to be allies?" I nodded quickly, then buried my head in her soft, downy fur.
"I'm so scared," I whispered. "We could die any second, one night one of us might not wake up!"
Sapphire hushed me. "It's okay, Rush. We'll make it out alive like you said right? Come on, toughen up, Rush. We're doing this for our Rebellion."
"I'm doing this for you, Sapphire."
The day went on as the two of us traveled slowly through the Arena in an attempt to find Flowerpaw and Dew. Flowerpaw was cowarding in a tree when she dropped down on me, hissing defiantly. I groaned in pain and shook her off. "We're here to help!"
"No thank you." Flowerpaw mewed, shaking her head. "I can't have allies because I'll have to kill them afterwards. Redpaw was the only exception, but he died."
I sighed. "If that's what you wish, Flowerpaw."
"It is, now leave before I slit your throat instead."
Sapphire led me away, and I thought about what Flowerpaw had said. She had truly meant it, and she was going to try to win the Games. Flowerpaw was always a kind and caring she-cat, but in vile times like this, she had to harden and kill.
"You're right, Sapphire. I need to toughen up."
It took ages to find Dew, and we found him when some Career tributes were teaming up on him. He was backed up near a pool of water, and he was trapped. I lunged forward, snatching one of the tribues aside. The moment their focus was divided, Dew smacked the other back. Sapphire rounded up the third one and shoved him into the pool of water. "Enjoy that." She spat.
We retreated quickly, knowing that the rest of the pack would be on us soon. Dew smiled at me, but I didn't return it. I had to harden up if I wanted to win. It wasn't just because I might actually have to kill someone I know, but it was also because if Dew or Sapphire died, I couldn't become a wreck. I had to stay strong for them.
"We should have killed them." Dew then reminded us as we were retreating. "This isn't just us going against the Capitol anymore. This is a life or death situation. We have to kill the next tribute we come across."
He was right. There were about 32 other tributes out there and we had to try to win.
Flowerpaw was spotted a few more times, but Sapphire dragged us away. We couldn't risk trying to talk to the brave she-cat, nor could I raise a paw to kill her. I had grown fond of the young she-cat.
Dew hunted for us as Sapphire addressed her wounds that she had gotten in the bloodbath. I had escaped with no wounds, while Dew was covered in scars.
"We have to have a plan if we're to win." Dew pointed out as he came back with a rabbit. "First we need a campsite, so if we get separated, we can group up together there."
I nodded, but I still felt squeamish about killing innocent cats. Sure they were my enemies, but I just didn't want to think about lifting a claw to slice them apart. They had families back in their District waiting for them.
Soon, night fell, and three more tributes died today. That meant there were 29 for us to kill before it would be down to the three of us.
As I watched the night, I prayed to StarClan that we would be safe, and none of us would die some horrible death in the Arena. But my wish went unanswered because before any of us could fall asleep, a fire was raging near our camp.
"Run!" I yowled, and we charged away. Sapphire's eyes were still bleary, and she blinked, confused. "Sapphire! We have to go!"
That registered in her mind and she sprinted after us. We danced away from the flames, but we weren't careful about where we were going. Running off away from the fire was our best option. Then I realized the Gamemakers were trying to mess with us.
"There they are."
We skidded to a halt as four Careers emerged in front of us. "Maybe we're lucky that you saved our lives, but you shouldn't have interferred with our business. Now you'll pay for it."
They lunged forward, and I batted them away with my claws. A brown tom clawed at me, but I quickly pinned him down. Then I gulped, and sunk my claws into his throat.
A gray she-cat's eyes flashed when she saw what happened. "Brownpaw, no!" She lunged for me, and I couldn't move. I was too shocked and still shaking from what I had done. Dew knocked me back, saving me. But it wasn't so great for him.
He was on the floor, his blood leaking from his like a drain. The light in his warm eyes faded out, and his eyes became glassy and worthless. But I heard his last message. "I love you, Rush."
Then he was gone, and I wrestled the gray she-cat to the ground. "You killed him!" Tears sprang in my eyes, and this time, without hesitation, I clawed her until Sapphire pulled me off.
"He's dead, Rush."
My eyes were blood-shot, and I was weeping in grief. "Why him though?"
"Only StarClan knows."
C h a p t e r S e v e n
I didn't answer, I curled up tighter, my tears staining my orange pelt. Sapphire came closer, and she wrapped her tail around me.
"Rush, are you okay?"
She sounded hesitant, and I didn't blame her. I was hurting inside, and I missed him already. Of course she had to kill him, though maybe I should have left that apprentice alive. No, this is the Hunger Games, you have to kill the others to win.
"Rush, for the last time, we have to keep going."
Sapphire sighed and nosed me along. "I know you're thinking and grieving about Dew, but we have to keep going. We can't just stop and mourn him like we would at home. We're in the Games, and we have to survive if our Rebellion stands any chance of beating the Capitol."
I just nodded, and we stumbled to a hideout where nobody could find us. That night, when I heard the names, I started to sob again.
I wanted to kill the Capitol. His name wasn't Dewpaw. He wasn't some witty apprentice thrown into the Arena to die like the others. He was Dew, a proud member of the Rebellion.
Five cats died today, and I didn't know if I was happy or sad that there were only 24 more to kill on the third night. Hopefully Sapphire or I would rise as victor, though I prefered for it to be Sapphire, I was no use.
"Sleep well, Rush. I'll take first watch."
Drifting off into a light sleep, I dreamed of Dew and his death scene. It was repeated over and over until I woke up screaming.
Sapphire covered my mouth with her tail, muffling my scream. I panted, my eyes rolling over. "Rush, you have to let him go. If you go on like this, you'll die!"
That sank in. I didn't want to die in this miserable Arena. "Okay, I'm coming." I collected myself, and tried to let him go. It was hard, but finally, I felt as though his spirit was leaving me. I sighed, then began to weep softly. I swore to myself that this would be the last time I would weep about Dew.
Sapphire let me sleep again, saying that she wasn't tired. I was grateful to her for that, and I fell asleep almost immediately.
When I woke up the next morning, we were surrounded. "Sapphire?" I whispered quietly. She waved me back.
"What do you want?" Sapphire snarled.
The burly orange tom laughed. "I want that petty apprentice back there. The audience isn't happy with the little bloodshed that's been happening, and they certainly don't like having you two running about. I need to make this exciting."
"Why don't you just kill both of us?" Sapphire challenged.
"Because you seem strong enough to join us, but I need to take one, so I'll take her." He pointed at me with his tail. Two of his cronies stepped forward, shouldering Sapphire aside. But the blue-gray she-cat flung them aside.
The tom hissed. "Stay back, pretty. Let me take your grieving friend so I can deliver her to StarClan with Dewpaw."
"It's Dew!" I shrieked, flailing my useful paws against him. My claws slid out, and they sliced across his neck, leaving a deep scar behind. I gulped, and scrambled back. The tom convulsed on the ground, blood seeping out of the wound.
"You fool!" A white she-cat snaked out of the group. "Firepaw!" She screeched. "Stay with me..." She pleaded, even though she knew he was dying.
Sapphire nudged me away. "Let's go."
I dove after her, my heart pounding. That Firepaw was dead. I killed him. The shock left me paralyzed, but I managed to pound after Sapphire. "Coward!" I heard the she-cat scream. "You'll pay for what you've done to Firepaw!"
We pelted away, but not for long. We were confronted by a group of two. "Stay back!" They hissed, their eyes wild.
I was shaking from terror and shock. Firepaw had been my second kill, and I didn't want to take another one. "Get away from us." I croaked.
They shied away, and I limped forward. "We have to go, Sapphire." I mewed, trying to harden my heart, but failed miserably. I fell to the ground, sobbing. We heard the shrieks of the two cats being beaten down, but Sapphire crouched behind me.
"Rush, you're right, we must go."
I tried to get back up, but sobs racked my body. "I'd rather die now." I whispered softly. My eyes drooped, and I lay limp on the ground. "This is all too horrible. I don't want to keep going." I cried.
Sapphire hissed. "Get up."
Shocked by her tone, I pushed myself up and hobbled after her. "Why do you try so hard to keep me alive, Sapphire?"
"Rush." She turned around and cupped my face. "You're my best friend, and like a sister to me. I can't just let you die behind me."
I only nodded, grateful that she cared. We heard the frantic yowls as they pursued us. "We need to turn around and fight them." I panted. "There's no way we can outrun them like this."
"Okay, let's turn around and fight."
I whirled around, almost immediately crashing into the white she-cat. She snarled angrily and clawed at me, "This is for Firepaw!"
"Snowpaw!" Another shouted, her pelt was freckled with spots, and her face was gaunt with horror and pain. "We can't just kill them both for no reason!"
"Of course we can." Snowpaw snarled. "They're prisoners from the Rebellion, and they killed Firepaw, Leopardpaw!" Leopardpaw, the spotted she-cat frowned.
"She killed Firepaw." She mewed, pointing at me. "But not her."
Snowpaw glanced at the two of us thoughtfully. "She won't be much good. Let's kill them both." There's only two of them, and two of us. We can do this.
I lunged for Snowpaw, knocking her off balance. She gurgled and struck me back hard. I clutched my face, the pain paralyzing me for a second. Then I darted in, giving her a good blow. She reeled back, blood on her face, rage plain on her pretty features. "You won't get away with this, scum." She hissed angrily. "What was it, Rubbishpaw?"
"Rush!" I snarled, shoving my claws at her. I caught her near the face, and tore down. She shrieked and fell down, clutching her bleeding face.
"You!" Leopardpaw yowled, her eyes wide with horror. "What have you done to her?"
I trembled with rage and fear, and glanced down at Snowpaw. The white she-cat was shaking, and she let out low moans. Her face was bleeding badly, and she looked half dead. Leopardpaw backed away from us, dragging Snowpaw with her. "Let us go." She mewed quietly. "And leave us alone."
Sapphire stood up straight and glared at her. "You bothered us first, and you shouldn't have."
They disappeared, and I shuddered in horror. "I almost killed her too."
"We have to, Rush. There's no way we can get out of here alive without killing them all. Then we have to fake one of our deaths, or... you have to kill me." Sapphire's voice became a rough whisper.
I glanced at her, astonished. "I would never kill you."
C h a p t e r E i g h t
Sapphire set up a good camp in a cave near running water. She cleaned her wounds, and told me to get into the stream next to her. I obliged, and let her clean the blood off of me. "Do you think we can win?" Sapphire nodded.
"I know we can."
"But it'll cost one of our lives."
Sapphire looked at me. "Not necessarily, but if it comes to that, I'll go easily. You need to pass on the information we picked up and keep the Rebellion going."
I coughed. "I won't let you die. We have to stay together. I don't think I can stand losing anyone else that I love." Sighing, I licked my own wounds.
Sapphire nudged me gently. "You know not everything can end in happy ways. Or else we wouldn't have these terrible Hunger Games, and we wouldn't be in this."
The wind rustled through my fur, and I shivered. Looking up, I noted the clouds crackling above. "It looks like we're due for a storm." I mewed. Just as I spoke, a shower of rain began to fall from the thundering clouds. We quickly took cover in the cave, dripping wet from the river and the rain. I licked my wounds and dried my fur, shaking off the droplets.
Sapphire proceded to watching for any intruders. "I think everyone will be taking cover in this storm. We should be safe. You sleep, I'll take first watch."
Nodding, I stumbled into the back of the cave, curling up on the bare stone. There was nothing to use as bedding, and I was fine with that.
"Mother!" I called back, spotting my mother among the crowd. "What are you doing here?" I stared at her, questioning.
"What do you mean, Rush?" She inquired. "Why shouldn't I be at home?" Then I glanced around my surroundings and saw that I was home and safe. The moss was exactly where it was the day I left for my mission, and it looked as though I never left.
"What happened at the Games?"
My mother stared at me. "What Games?" She tilted her head. "I think we should get you to Spotty, you seem to be having a headache."
"I'm not kidding, mother," I insisted. "I'm in the Hunger Games aren't I? I left a for a mission to save Sapphire and Dew a moon ago."
My mother only shook her head, "You never left, Rush. You've been here the entire time. You declined the mission remember?"
I narrowed my eyes. "No I didn't, mother. I left to fulfill my goal a moon ago, and now I'm in the Hunger Games."
She only sighed. "You really should go see Spotty. You must have been dreaming it all, Rush." She mewed, pushing me towards the entrance. "Plus, Sapphire and Dew are safely back home now. The cat that went on the mission succeeded."
"Yes, Night Owl went. Don't you remember? After you refused, Night Owl volunteered. Good thing too, she managed to beat the Hunger Games and return safely."
I registered that. "You're saying I never left home?" Confusion surrounded my vision and the dream blurred. My mother purred.
"You're safe at hom, Rush, what are you talking about?"
I struggled awake, shaking slightly from my dream. "Sapphire?" I mewed quietly, looking around for my best friend. She lifted her head.
"I had a dream about home." I whispered. "We were all safely home, not in this gruesome place. It was like the dream we could only hope for."
Sapphire stared at me. "Dew was there too?" I knew what she meant. I only shrugged, thinking back to my dream.
"I didn't really see any of you. It was just my mtoher and I, and we were talking about what happened. She mentioned that Night Owl went for you two and won the Hunger Games. Then she said you and Dew were back and safe."
"I wish that was true."
"I do too."
C h a p t e r N i n e
It was my turn for my watch, and as I stared out the window, I saw flashes of lightning and the crackling of thunder. I spotted a few pelts darting through the forest, but that was a good distance between them and our cave.
I spotted an owl soaring through the darkened sky, and I remembered the dream I had. I bit back my tears, not wanting to cry over the fact that Dew was gone. "Rush?" Sapphire had woken up. "Yeah?" I asked. She looked up at the night sky.
"Did you hear any names tonight?"
"But Firepaw and a few others died today didn't they?" Then a cannon fired, and the names of the dead began to spokem. "... Firepaw..." I cringed at the sound of his voice. Four had died today, which meant that 20 cats left in the arena.
"Only 20 left, Sapphire." I whispered. "Twenty until our victory is set."
Sapphire didn't reply, but she soon fell asleep, her breathing soothing my wild beating heart and my panicked breathing. I sighed, thinking about Dew. He had died way to soon to be true. He should be at the back of the cave, sleeping with Sapphire right now. In a dew moments, he would crawl over and purr to me. "Your watch is over, go sleep."
But he never came, and I knew he was dead. Sapphire awoke when dawn came, and she insisted that we headed away from our cave. "I want to find Flowerpaw." I mewed. "She could be in danger or something." Sapphire shook her head.
"Remember? She made her choice, she insisted that she went off on her own. She's right, we can't afford to have any more allies. We'll have to end up killing them."
But a scream split the air, catching our attention. "That's Flowerpaw." I mewed, my blood running cold. "She's somewhere in the forest."
We started to run, the river and the trees flashing past me on the right. I skidded through the forest, not sure how I navigated through there so quickly. Then I halted, Sapphire bumping into me from behind. "Rush? What's going on?"
I was staring at the sight in front of me. I had my tail over my mouth so I wouldn't scream, but my eyes were glued to the clearing. Sapphire saw what happened and gasped, her eyes wide with shock and anguish. "Is... she...?"
Flowerpaw was laying in front of us, her stomach a wipe gaping hole. Her eyes were filled with terror, and her mouth was open in an anguished scream. "She's dead, and whoever killed her is going to pay." I snarled, "Let's go, Sapphire."
"Are you sure we're going the right direction." I asked Sapphire for the millionth time. She groaned in frustration.
"For the last time, Rush," she mewed exasperated. "We're going the right way. The scent of three District 2 people led this way."
I sighed and followed her. Sapphire was the better tracker, so I relied on her to find the mysterious killers. But now I was so unsure, I just doubted every move she made. "Here." She mewed. "They stopped here recently."
"And we decided to come back."
I whirled around, my eyes blazing. "You killed Flowerpaw." I spat, glaring at each and every one of them. Then I registered the looks in their eyes.
"Oh that pitty apprentice was practically begging to be killed!" One laughed. "She stood no chance, she-cat, that one was just useless. She would have died anyways."
"Who are you?" I hissed.
"I'm Tigerpaw, who are you?"
"I'm Rush." I mewed defiantly. Sapphire reluctantly stood by my side, probably noting that there were one more of them then us. We were definitely outnumbered.
"You seem so confident." Tigerpaw laughed. "You think you can really beat us don't you?" His eyes glittered with malice as his other two companions showed their teeth.
Sapphire squared her shoulders. "Well, we don't have another choice, do we?" She snarled. "I doubt you would let us pass by safely."
I bared my teeth. "Then fight."