Marvel knew what he had just gained. He knew what he’d just done, the sound of the canon just made it so much worse. In fact, the pound stung his ears. As he looked down at the girl a sigh exhaled his lungs. And his fingertips grazed her cheek as he brushed the hair from her face, and laid her head softly on the grass beside the lake. He breathed for a moment before beginning to work the backpack off Madessa’s shoulder. After he managed to release it he tossed it over his shoulder.
Next, to find Cassia. He took off in a sprint, his new spear in hand. He lost is other one somewhere inside the fire, he’d need it if he was to survive. As he kept jogging he wondered into the trees where he’d last spoke with Cassia. Marvel froze, taking in his surroundings. If he was to find her, and stay alive he’d have to be slealthy.
His thought process was interrupted by the sound of a cough, Cassia. He spun around, creeping towards the area he heard the noise coming from. As soon as his eyes came in contact with the shine of her axe he knew he got her. Marvel came up behind her, his spear close at hand. “Want your backpack do you?” He spoke, leaning against a tree close to her.
She heard his approach and raised her axe, she could throw it fast enough, and with as much force as he could his spear, which she noticed he had seemed to have acquired since she last saw him, when she turned to face him, if she were lucky they could take each other out at the same time. If it came to that of course.
She stood to her full height, squaring her shoulders. “Yes.” She said the word with a clear certainty. “And you yours?” She let her eyes roam over his body, taking in the faintly healing burn on his arm, it still looked red and sore, possibly on the verge of infection… It needed to be cleaned, and more burn cream, maybe even a good bandaging.
“Hand it over Marvel.” She couldn’t bring herself to letting the word please pass through her lips. She didn’t loosen her grip on either weapon, her spear was of course nothing compared to his steel one, but her axe… yes that could do damage. Her chest rose and fell at a more rapid pace than normal, due to the extra effort it took to breath.
Cassia held herself around her middle, muffling her cough against her shoulder as she walked. She was keeping to the outskirts. She could easily fight off some of the more injured, and sick tributes, but stronger ones like Cato… she wasn’t sure she could keep him at bay, long enough for her to get away anyway, because she was pretty positive she couldn’t kill him. Not unless he was hurt.
The brunette kept to the outskirts on the clearing. She should probably just give Marvel his backpack. She didn’t need burn cream, so there was no chance she’d use it, even the warning to not use another tributes items looming over her head.
Her ribs and lungs were burning, climbing trees at night hurt more than she’d ever thought possible.
She knew Madessa had hers, and she’d heard the girl liked Marvel, so if she’d get Marvel to help her, then she’d get whatever was in that pack, which hopefully would cure this burning in her lungs.
She’d taunted the boy, saying there’d been more than just burn cream in the bag, of course she’d lied, hoping it’d lure him in. Maybe she’d give him a can of soup if he promised not to kill her. Help dress his woulds, something.
Gripping her axe in one hand and a makeshift spear in the other her head shot up at the sound of two cannons. Madessa’s face shown in the sky first and the girls heart dropped, what if someone besides Marvel got to her? Who had her pack now? Dammit!
Cassia’s fist clenched tighter around her weapons, she gritted her teeth as she hiked further into the woods, she had no idea what her plan of action was now.
She had to pause, leaning against a tree, hunching over as she let out another body racking cough. God it hurt to even breath. Her face was still soot stained, clear trails down her cheeks from the tears that escaped her eyes with each excruciatingly painful cough.
Slowly Cassia opened her eyes, she’d drifted off to sleep from pure exhaustion and pain. Luckily none of the tributes had deemed it necessary to follow the girl.
.She knew there was a reason she wanted to stay away from that mountain.
Maya nodded, “At least you inflicted some damage.” she finished clearing her wound, and took another sip of the water, feeling thirsty again already. “Hmm. I don’t know how to either. I can set a trap, though?” she offered weakly, remembering the not very neat but sturdy traps she’d made in training.
Maya glanced up, about to say something about what she had, when she was cut off as an announcement was made. Two winners, both could be from different districts. Maya paused for a moment as the arena was deadly silent, and she wondered if they were going to let out starved tigers, but nothing happened. She glanced up at Cassia. “It’s not true.” she said quickly.
“Yeah, not enough though.” She said with a faint shrug of her shoulders as she began to reline her jacket with her knives, securing them all and folding the blanket, the roots and berries still inside, her axe was re-fixed to her hip and she stood. “I can’t really set a trap for anything, I mean… not good ones, the game normally wiggles out of it.”
Cassia paused in the re-coiling of the rope as she heard the announcement, her heart beats quicked, fearing the absolute worst, her stance became rigged and ready to climb or run, but upon the announcement of the rule change, she relaxed a bit, allowing the words to turn over in her head, she immediately dismissed the idea, but then thought more into it, what if that’s what the game makers wanted, for everyone to dismiss it, she was snapped out of her thoughts, and the sudden bit of hope the announcement provided and turned to Maya as she quickly dismissed the idea.
“Not necessarily.” She said in a slightly clipped, annoyed tone as she took the water canteen from the other girl, to throw it back out into the water to refill it. Her mind still going a mile a minute as she perhaps over analyzed the announcement.
Peeta’s eyes caught the sight of a dagger flying toward him, and he flinched away quickly, throwing himself into a nearby tree. He pressed his back against the tree’s bark as he watched the weapon bury itself in another tree. Peeta waited for a minute before he began speaking, in order to catch his breath and calm himself down. He should have been expecting that, but it was a good thing that Cassia had quick reflexes.
“Ah…I’m sorry I scared you…I didn’t mean to.” He looked at the tree, imagining that was his throat, and shivered. “You’re right. I’m sorry. It’s a good thing you’re faster than me.” He smiled softly and moved toward her a bit further, looking around to make sure they weren’t being watched by another tribute hiding up in the trees or camouflaged into the ground. “I understand being tense…I’m tense too. We have to keep an eye out for Alec now, since he and Katniss got into a little scrap, not to mention Cato and the Careers and…” his voice trailed off as he rubbed his forehead.
“I just wanted to know if our deal was still in order…the more allies I can get for Katniss, the better. I’m kind of worried that I won’t be able to protect her anymore…Sure, we have Gale, but…I just…I don’t know. I’m worried because so many people want all of us dead.”
Cassia admired Peeta, constantly putting his life on the line for Katniss, for caring for her as deeply as he did, and sometimes, she just wanted to strangle him because Katniss appears so ungreatful on occasion. She focused on the boy, and what he was saying.
“Luckily it was a knife and not my axe, the axe is a bit harder to angle away or slow down, once it leaves my hand.” She sighed heavily, pressing her back against a tree and watched him rub his forehead.
“For now it is, but Peeta, if she tries to kill me.. I don’t think I’ll be able to hold that promise, she and I are similar in many ways, and because of that she knows just what buttons to push to really anger me, if an arrow leaves her bow aimed at my head or my hearts, I can not promise you my axe won’t fly towards hers.” She felt bad, she’d promised she wouldn’t harm the other girl, she didn’t want to harm the other girl, but Katniss would do anything to see Peeta or any of her friends safety, even if it meant killing Cassia herself, who had absolutely no intention of hurting the gentle, and kind baker.
She laughed lightly at the mention of Gale. “The two of you would do anything to keep her alive, but she’s as willing to lay her life on the line for you as well.” Cassia shook her head and stepped closer to the boy, her voice quiet and barely heard. “I wish that there was a way we could all get out… if such a thing was even made a possibility I’d go for it, to get you out, her out, myself out, and Maya too.” The girl shook her head and her voice brought back up to her previous speaking level. “Wishing on such impossibilities is foolish. Apparently I’m already an idiot for using the thought of the rule change as a source of hope.” She let her lips quirk up slightly in a small smile, she was babbling now.
Cassia was just the person he needed to speak to. Peeta wasn’t aware of Cassia’s where abouts, and he simply found her by accident when he walked up beside a tree that appeared to have a rather large chip in it. Then, he saw her. She was trotting around. Cassia appeared frustrated, but Peeta only wished to check in. He had to make this visit short and sweet, or Katniss would grow worried.
He approached slowly and carefully, making sure to make a bit of noise so she knew that he was there. When Peeta spoke, his tone was soft and gentle, as if he were talking to a frightened animal, which all tributes appeared to be in the arena, minus the exception of Cato. “Cassia?” he whispered, walking up behind her. Peeta had to be here. He had to speak with her and make sure that she would not break the deal. Cassia, of course, would not be the only one she would talk to. His next conversation would be with Marvel, assuming he could pull the male away from Cato, Glimmer, and Clove long enough to speak with him.
“It’s me. Peeta.”
She heard the crunching of leaves and the foot falls, her hands instinctively went for her axe, forgetting she had left it at the camp and instead she went for her knife, holding the hilt firmly in her hand. She had visibly tensed, but if it were anyone trying to kill her they’d have done it by now, wouldn’t they?
Still the girl turned preparing to launch the blade from her hand till she heard the voice. She couldn’t stop it from flying out of her hand by this time, but she had managed to angle her wrist so that the blade once again found a tree. “Christ Peeta.” She hissed, chest rising and falling swiftly. Thankful that the blade didn’t touch him at all. “That could have been your damn jugular! Don’t just sneak up like that.” She kept her voice to a loud whisper, her eyes wide and alert as she rubbed her sweaty palm against her pant leg. ”I’m sorry. I’m just on edge, you understand right?” Of course he did, he probably was too. Her eyes searched the forest around them, half expecting Katniss hidden in a tree with an arrow directed at her heart.
Slowly the girl approached the tree where her knife was and pulled it out of the bark, it wasn’t embedded nearly as deep as it had been previously, putting it back into her jacket, trying to shake the adrenaline and anxiety she was feeling, she continued to run her hands up and down her thighs, before finally shoving her hands into her pockets.
Cassia sat behind a large tree a few meters away from their current camp. Her hand running one of her knives quickly across a thick branch, trying to take out her frustration. She was so sick the things she was hearing. So what if she wanted to believe the rule change? It gave her hope, a stronger will to survive, it made it seem like a greater possibility.
Maya frowned, and sat down slowly. “I’m surprised he didn’t kill you,” she said as she pulled the can of soup out of the bag she made, and set it inbetween herself and Cassia. She tilted her head to the side as she took the ‘bandage’ off of her arm, and scowled at the cut. It wasn’t actually too bad, and she cleaned the rag carefully, before cleaning her cut. She waited for a few minutes until the rag was at least half dry, and she wrapped her cut up again.
She smiled slightly at Cassia, and shook her head. “It’s fine. I wouldn’t know what to do, but I think you’re doing a pretty okay job right now.” she nodded once, and sat back against the rock. “Am I the only one that thinks it’s been too quiet?”
“He didn’t have his spear, just a knife. I think I messed up his wrist, at least dislocated it breifly, I kicked it and his shoulder to shove him off and took off. If he’d had his spear I’d likely be dead.” She shrugged slightly, watching the girl clean her wound. “Finish up the water, I’ll fill it again. We should save the soup till later, when we really need it, these berries and roots should do for now.” She said as she sat back down, grabbing one of the knives and her spear, to further sharpen the tip of the stick. “When we head to the ocean, I wanna find some shellfish. I don’t know the proper way to skin rabbits or anything, and I haven’t wanted to start a fire to cook anything. But maybe we might be able to spear some fish, before they try and kill us, damn carnivorous fish.” She grumbled the last bit under her breath.
“Thanks, I’m trying to keep a level head, and yeah it has been. But I haven’t wanted to jinx it.” She laughed hollowly and set her knife down. Looking up as Maya. “What else do you have? Minus the crappy spear I gave you?” Cassia herself had at least a dozen throwing knives from the set she received at the cornucopia, the large coil of rope, her blanket, the axe, and makeshift spear, and the various fruits and roots she’d collected. And of course the water canteen.
“Right. That’s good.” she nodded, mostly to herself, and continued following Cassia. When Cassia stopped, Maya did too, lingering a step behind in case of trouble. But when the other girl moved forwards, Maya followed, glancing around every few seconds. She accepted the water gratefully, but only drinking half of what she was given before placing it down beside her. She glanced at Cassia as she began to fix her wound. The one Maya had given her, and she frowned slightly, before finishing the water. Glancing down at the messily wrapped up cut, Maya shrugged carelessly, “It hasn’t killed me, so I assume it’s okay,” she set the bottle down, before untying the bandage and and twisting to look at the injury.
Cassia noticed Maya eye her knee and shrugged. “No hard feelings, Marvel got me too.” She pulled herself up from the floor, taking the bottle from her and tying the rope tightly around it’s neck, throwing it into the stream to fill it up again, holding it out to Maya. “Clean the rag, then the cut. Then wrap it up again, you can’t be too careful.” She let her lips tug up into a small smile before she sunk back to the floor again, digging through her pack and laying down the set of throwing knives that she didn’t have in her tucked into her jacket and the blanket she got. The berries and edible plants she’d collected had been placed into the blanket for safe keeping.
She looked up at Maya again and sighed. “I’m sorry if I’m being so demanding or something right now, I don’t know how to act really.” She pulled her axe from its makeshift sheath and set that down as well, stretching out her sore legs.