Chapter Twenty

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Twigs cracked underneath the weight of my shoes. I was moving through the forest trying to find a safe place to spend the night. Actually, a safe place to spend the rest of the games in.

As I walked I felt all the emotions break over me from what had happened. How Alok never wanted me, how I was going to die in the games, that I would never see my father again, and that I would never see the old me.

I fell to my knees and let all the tears fall from my face. I sat there for what felt like hours and cried until I couldn't anymore.

Then out of nowhere I could hear leaves cracking. I jumped to my feet and pulled out my mace, ready to swing at whoever was there. I spun in a circle unsure of what direction the tribute was in. My eyes scoured the area looking for anyone.

A figure popped their head through the bush. I swung my mace down at it, and just missed the girl. She jumped back in a hurry, "Woah, hang on there. I'm not here to hurt you."

I took a better look at the girl, she was young 14 at the most. She had relatively short blonde hair that hung down by her ears. Her blue eyes were what made her very distinct, they were as bright as the ocean.

"What do you want then?" I hissed at her. A smirk formed across her face, "I'll ask the questions first, then you can ask yours."

I rolled my eyes but agreed. "Why were you crying?" she asked me. I closed my eyes as all the pain of what happened rushed back into me.

"I ask the question and you answer it," she said sternly. I nodded my eyes still closed, "My friends saved me, they protected me. Then I found out one them actually likes the one that tried and killed me. He wanted to ally with her from the beginning, I was useless to him."

"Bummer," she said. I looked up at her, did she seriously call this a bummer. This was worst then a bummer, I lost my best friend today. I lost the twins today. I lost myself today.

"Where are you going?" she asked. I shrugged my shoulders, "I don't know yet, hopefully somewhere safe."

She nodded, "Well, you could come back with me. I am with another tribute; we are working together to survive. You look like you could be a good addition to our team, you're pretty good with that mace."

I looked at her trying to see a sign if she was lying or not, "How do I know you won't just kill me in my sleep. I know nothing about you, I don't even know your name."

"Cora, my name is Cora," she said putting out a hand for me to shake it. I took a moment to think, but decided that it was worth a chance.

She spun around and began walking away, "Are you coming or not?" she asked. I looked behind me to see if the twins were coming to take me back, but no one was there. "Yes," I said and ran after her.

The walk back was quiet. We didn't pass or see a single tribute, not even a crackle of a leaf. It was dead silent.

"So who is this other tribute that you are allied with?" I asked. She was silent a moment trying to figure what to say, "He is strong tribute. He is fit and smart, he is what is keeping me alive. He is like a big brother to me," she said.

I smiled, I never thought about how some tributes will take others under their wings. I wish I could have done that for the twins, but now it is Alok who is in charge of that. Poor boys, they will learn that being a jerk is the way to go.

We walked around a set of trees, I stopped in my tracks. I looked up in the trees and there was a small camouflaged tree fort. Not much bigger than a bathroom, but it was the perfect place for the games.

"How did you build this?" I gasped. Cora laughed a little, "I told you he was smart and strong." The other tribute made this I thought to myself. He must be a genius.

There was a small latter that lead up to the house, Cora climbed up first with me close behind. She knocked on the door three times and it flung open.

I peered up at the figure inside, I couldn't see his face but he had a bigger build. Cora climbed a little bit higher to talk to the boy. I could hear him yelling at her and her responding with yells back, but he finally sighed and let us both get in.

When I finally got into the fort and sat against the wall, I looked at the figure. I gasped, it was the red head who dumped orange juice on Alok. I was going to beat him up afterwards but now I think what he did to Alok was well deserved.

"Ryker Staley," he said putting out my hand. I put my hand out and shook it, "Keegan Caverly." He smiled and nodded, "Nice to meet you Keegan."

"I found her crying in the woods," Cora chipped in. I looked down at the ground embarrassed that she had saw that.

Ryker turned back towards be, "Why were you crying Keegan?" I felt a tear form in my eye as I thought once again about what happened earlier that day.

He moved closer to me and wiped away the tear. "Thanks," I whispered. He wrapped one of arms around my shoulder and pulled me into him. Cora sat down on the other side of him and he did the same for her. Even though I had just met Ryker this felt perfect.

"So why were you crying?" he asked once again. I took a breath in, "I was stabbed in my back, my friends came and saved me. But I later found out that one of my friends didn't even want me, he loved the girl that tried to kill me. So I left, and Cora found me."

"You didn't need them anyways. Who knows how long they will survive. Stick with us and you will make until the end," he said. Cora gave a quick cheer.

"Why don't we get some rest. Tomorrow I will explain what has to be done around here to stay alive," Ryker said to us. I nodded and laid down on the leafy bottom. Ryker laid next to me with Cora on his side. He wrapped his warm body against me and I felt a sense of relief flow over me.


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