23 Cannons: The 69th Annual Hunger Games.

24 tributes are reaped by the Capitol to enter the 69th Hunger Games, marking the end of the sixth decade of Games. And as they all prepare for the fight of their lives, none of them know the true extent of the twists that will face them in the arena. With rebels, liars, and killers thrown into a deadly arena governed by power-mad Gamemaker, who will live to hear every one of the twenty three cannons sound out?

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39. Crushed Dreams

The arena burned. Thick billowing clouds of smoke drifted through the air, threatening to suffocate anything they came in contact with. Higher up, the layer of toxic fumes continued to grow larger and larger, gradually descending towards the arena. Kylee estimated that they had maybe just over half an hour before the red-hot fumes choked them all. However, the good news was that for the most part, the sections of the sky had stopped falling. The onslaught had ceased. But every now and then, she would catch a small piece falling to the ground, exploding somewhere in the distance.

Markus stood beside her as they looked around the burning wasteland that was the arena. The stench of smoke was heavy in the air. She looked at where the houses once stood. All that remained was a thick fog of dust and debris that was slowly beginning to clear. If there were any tributes in there, she would not be able to see them. This thought also bothered Kylee. With the scale of destruction, there surely would have been at least one casualty. Yet no cannon had fired. Kylee turned to Markus, who also seemed perplexed.
"Any ideas on what the hell just happened?" she said, shifting on her feet. The mild cuts sustained from jumping out of the window stung like a bitch, but she did not complain. It was a miracle that they had both escaped with their lives.
"Not a clue," Markus said. "This seems like some crazy endgame stuff, but just after entering the final eight? Something's up."
"Yeah," Kylee said, looking around. In the distance, there was a massive wall of smoke from the centre of the arena that seemed to slowly be spreading outwards. She almost contemplated whether or not the smoke from the woods or the sky would kill them first. It then hit Kylee: they had less than thirty minutes left alive. Half an hour for the victor to emerge, unless the Gamemakers stayed their hand. "I don't think this is the doing of the Gamemakers, though." However, other evidence pointed towards outside interference.
"I have an idea," Markus said.
"What is it?" Kylee said. "I'm all ears. Well, for the half an hour we have left alive anyway."
"I'll be quick then," Markus said. "Basically, Alexis, my district partner, was spewing the biggest pile of anti-Capitol crap before the Games. And she's also smart as hell. If she managed to trick the sponsors, then she may have managed to pull this off."
"That's not good," Kylee said. "If this was caused by another tribute, then there's a chance that the Capitol will leave us to die if a victor doesn't present themselves before the arena kills us all."
"You're right," Markus said. "Then what do you suggest?"
"Isn't it simple?" Kylee said. "Flat-out kill spree. Anything that moves, we kill it. Then, when there's nothing left, we give it our all and one of us gets out alive. Got it?" She could feel the tension and pressure. Every second that passed talking was one less second that one of them would live for. And for the first time, Kylee realised that she could very well be dead within the hour.
"Sounds good," Markus said. "Only thing now is to choose a direction to go."

As Markus said this, however, the dust and smoke from the houses began to clear. Kylee was the first to notice, although this was only by four seconds. Just a little up ahead from the houses, they could make out four figures running: the other tributes. For just a brief moment, Kylee was confused as to why they were running away from everything but the realisation dawned on her immediately.
"Oh my god," she said.
"What?" Markus replied.
"They're going to try breaking out," Kylee said, pointing at the four figures. "They're taking advantage of the chaos, and they're going to try and escape the arena."
"If that happens, then they'll just take all of us from the arena and execute us in the Capitol then and there," Markus said.
"That settles it, then," Kylee said. "Markus, we have to stop them."
"Agreed, Harker," Markus said. Kylee noted that his entire body was tense; he was clearly panicking about the entire situation. And in the back of Kylee's mind, the timer was ticking down to the moment when it would all be too late. How long now? Thirty minutes? Twenty five? Kylee looked up again and saw the swirling cloud. It was even lower than she remembered. She forced herself to take a deep breath; remaining calm was vital if she was to succeed in still managing to survive. "Let's go."

Kylee nodded in response, and wordlessly, the two tributes began to run ahead through the dirt and dust towards the four figures. Kylee held her scythe as if her life depended on it, which at this moment in time it did. Markus clutched his crossbow in the same manner. Both of them knew that within a matter of minutes, at least one of them would be dead. And for the first time, Kylee was not sure that she could manage to get this situation under her control.

Markus was running ahead of Kylee, but unlike the other times when she had ensured Markus was going first, she did not know if having Markus in front would truly save her. The sound of a roaring fire could be heard in the background between the occasional explosive blast of another piece of sky falling. This could be the last thing Kylee would ever hear. The thought distressed her to no end. She was losing focus, too caught up in blind terror to think straight. Had she managed to remain calm from the moment all hell broke loose, then Kylee would have maybe been able to see the throwing knife coming.

The blade struck Kylee in the shoulder, and she let out a groan of pain as she tripped and fell to the ground.
"Harker!" Markus yelled, coming to a halt, rushing up to his ally.
"I'm fine," Kylee said, struggling to her feet. She could feel the blood dripping from the wound, but ignored it, instead pulling the knife out of her body. As she did this, another throwing knife soared through the air, but this time, they were prepared for it. Both of them leaped out of the way as the knife threatened to cause a lethal injury, but instead merely struck the dirt. Kylee whipped her head around to find the source of the knives. She let out a gasp of disbelief as she did so.
"Well, well, well," Kaye Nylon said, grinning widely at the two tributes as he held a throwing knife in one hand, and twirled his rapier in the other. "Bet you didn't see this coming, did you?"
"You little bastard," Markus said. "I'll rip you to pieces!"
"Don't!" Kylee said harshly. She placed a hand on Markus' chest, stopping him from rushing at the District 8 tribute. "We don't have the time. I'll handle this joker, you go after the others!"
"You sure?" Markus said.
"Yes!" Kylee yelled. "Now get your ass in gear if you want to live to see tomorrow!" This was all the incentive he needed. Markus nodded once, and turned away from Kylee, rushing through the dust. She became aware that she may never see him again, but soon shook this thought from her head as she turned to face her new adversary, scythe at the ready.

"I see your knight in shining armour ran off and left you," Kaye said, chuckling. "I guess he thinks his damsel in distress can hold her own, huh?"
"Bullcrap," Kylee said, taking a tentative step forward. "I have that guy under my complete control; he is but another weapon for me to use."
"Too bad he's abandoned you," Kaye said flatly.
"Quite the opposite, actually," Kylee said coyly. Her free hand twitched. This slight movement cause the injury on her shoulder to flare up for the briefest of moments. She did not let this weakness show. "I'm actually using him to take out some more of the competition; in essence I'm fighting two battles at once."
"Then if you're so good, why are you doing the easy work?" Kaye taunted.
"Because when I'm victor I want to sustain absolutely zero permanent injuries," Kylee responded. "I'm not going to be an ugly victor."
"Please, I'd rather your delicious beefcake tool won than you," Kaye said. He tightened his grip on the rapier. 
"Just like a typical man to say that," Kylee said. "And no matter how different you may think you are, Kaye Nylon, I know exactly how to push your buttons; I'm just far superior to you."
"Prove it then," Kaye said. "I'm open; you could easily kill me."
"Like I'm brain-dead enough to fall for something so stupid," Kylee said. "Don't insult my intelligence." She knew that they were stalling for time, waiting for the other to make the first move, but already a couple of minutes had passed since this encounter began. Kylee glanced up for less than a second to see the cloud had lowered even further. How many minutes now? It wasn't worth thinking about.
"So you're so smart, huh?" Kaye said. He chuckled briefly. "Then you shouldn't have been so careless. You made a big mistake, Harker."

Kylee was about to say, "What?" but before she could do anything, Kaye suddenly rushed at her with the rapier, swinging. She ducked out of the way, avoiding the blow, but Kaye was far more nimble than she had anticipated, and was already preparing for his next blow. She lifted her scythe, and swung forwards, blocking the next swing. But as this happened, Kaye lifted his leg, intending to kick Kylee in the stomach, but she intercepted, swinging her own leg out, tripping Kaye up as he fell to the ground with a grunt. The smell of smoke was increasing in strength. Time was running out.

Kaye spun around, and leaped up, launching a throwing knife with impossible speed. Kylee avoided it by pure chance, and rushed up to Kaye, swinging her scythe. He ducked out of the way, but not before she managed to gash his side. Kaye screamed in pain as he doubled over, a dark patch blooming on his shirt.
"Man, that hurts," he huffed. "But you're not taking me down like that, honey." Kaye then stood upright again, and gripped his rapier, running at Kylee. As she side-stepped the blow, Kylee cursed herself inwardly. She was applying outlier rules to a guy who was clearly in a class of his own. He was a wildcard, and that was incredibly dangerous. One tiny mistake, and Kaye would have the upper hand in this fight. And Kylee could not let that happen.

She leaped at Kaye with her scythe, and swung it again, slicing his shoulder. However, at the same time, Kaye swung with his rapier, and skimmed Kylee's thigh. She cursed aloud as tears pricked her eyes. He knew all the right places to strike. Her guard was still lowered far too much. Kylee glanced up at Kaye's face, which was currently plastered with a smug grin. She raised a fist, and delivered a powerful punch. Kaye reeled in pain, blood pouring from his now broken nose. Kylee took advantage of this weakness, and swung her scythe at Kaye's knees. It caught the back of his left knee, and Kaye fell to the ground, blood leaking through his clothes. However, as Kylee walked over to Kaye to deliver the decisive blow, he suddenly jumped up, slicing a throwing knife across Kylee's cheek.

Kylee had no choice but to back off as more of her body began to hurt. She was exerting too much energy, and if the other tributes overpowered Markus, then she wouldn't be able to make it to them in time. Under any other circumstances, Kylee would keep a level head, but the clock was ticking down, and she did not have the time to think her way out of the situation. Not far from the two fighting tributes, a small piece of the sky fell and exploded, sending a rush of wind towards the two tributes, rustling their hair. Kaye was distracted by this for just enough time to allow Kylee to run at him with her scythe, and swing. But Kaye was one step ahead, and blocked Kylee's blow, before raising his own rapier, seeming to be preparing to stab Kylee's heart. She prepared herself to stop the blow, but she had no way of knowing that this was not Kaye's true intention. At the last second, Kaye kicked Kylee in the kneecaps, sending her falling to the ground. He then leaped at her, and tackled Kylee onto her back, almost straddling her.

Kaye looked down at Kylee with a type of bloodthirsty glee. Kylee felt nothing but pure terror as she stared into Kaye's eyes. Even now she could tell he was calculating how to best kill her. But that wasn't what bothered her most. From her vantage point, she could see the rapidly descending cloud of red-hot smoke; they definitely only had about twenty minutes to go until game over. But this also wasn't what was causing Kylee the most distress: what was was how Kaye was behaving. Rapid flashbacks of Kylee's violent abusive father came back and hit her like a trainwreck; she screamed only once before Kaye cut her off.
"What's the matter?" he said, holding a throwing knife in one hand. He began to lower it towards Kylee's throat. "Can't handle defeat?" Kylee was paralysed with fear. Her scythe was still in her hand as Kaye brought the blade closer and closer to her throat. But then she caught a glimpse of the cloud, and saw the burning embers through the smoke. The thought of that enveloping her was enough to spring Kylee into action.

Without warning, Kylee suddenly sprang up, much to Kaye's surprise. As she did so, she raised her scythe, and before Kaye could do so much as blink in disbelief, Kylee brought it to his throat. Once the curved blade wrapped around Kaye's slender neck, Kylee swung with all her strength. Kaye let out one last gasp before a sudden rush of strength on Kylee's behalf sent the scythe cutting through his neck. His head went limp, hanging on by a thread, and Kaye fell backwards to the ground, most certainly dead. But no cannon fired, Kylee noted as she stood up, wiping the blood from her hands. This only helped to confirm her suspicions that the other tributes had done something to the arena.

As Kylee thought all this, she began to walk away from Kaye's body, and towards the cloud of dust where Markus had vanished through. Without so much as looking at anything else, Kylee entered the cloud, clutching her scythe, and began to run despite her injuries. She had to meet up with Markus, and they had to end it soon. Above her, the cloud grew closer. Just under twenty minutes remained until everything was enveloped in a burning, choking death.

--

Markus pushed through the cloud, finally emerging into the clear air. He blinked a few times, and took in his surroundings. In front of him, the figures were moving through the field of rocks. But above him was something far more worrisome: the cloud of burning gas had grown by twice the size in the time it had taken him to push through. Panic was causing every inch of his body to tremble as he held his crossbow. They had mere minutes until they were all dead, unless a victor presented themselves. It was clear who it was going to be, but the only question was this: did he have enough time?

He shook the thought away. There was no point in thinking about it: it only wasted time. And every second counted right now; Markus could not afford to waste even a moment. With this in mind, he began to run ahead, towards the large rocks. The bag was still on his back, albeit horribly burned. Markus quickly discarded it, losing the dead weight. By the time Markus had thought of this, he had already reached the first rock, leaving the bag behind in the dirt. It was only now that Markus thought of Kylee, and whether or not she had survived the fight with that queer guy from 8. 
"Not my problem any more," Markus said as he fingered the end of an arrow, walking past another huge rock. Since after all, once Markus had finished with these tributes, Kylee would be the only object that stood in his way. Victory was so close. He could taste it.

Markus suddenly stopped as he saw the other tributes drawing up closer. He remained behind a rock, watching as they moved. There were four of them, and they were all heavily armed. In no way would it be a good idea to walk into this lightly. One hesitation would kill him.

A hot wind blew across the arena, sending acrid fumes flying into Markus' face. He did not let it bother him, and instead focused on the tributes ahead. All or nothing. Do or die. Now, the only question was making the right move.

--

Dixie had run ahead of the other three members of her alliance, creating a visible gap between Alexis and herself. Alexis was pretty sure that she would be able to catch up to Dixie with ease, but Xander and Rose were lagging behind, occasionally coughing. The fumes from the explosions were clearly creating some negative effects. But they could not afford to completely stop. Alexis looked up to the sky, and saw the swirling cloud of fumes. She estimated fifteen minutes until the smoke came down and choked everything up. They had to be out of the arena by then: judging by their rate of movement, and the size of the arena, they'd be past the forcefield within ten minutes.

Alexis looked back to Rose, who was beginning to catch up to her.
"You okay?" Alexis said. Xander was also holding his own, picking up the pace.
"Yeah," Rose said. "We just needed to take a quick breather. But now we're ready to run for it."
"Good," Alexis said with a nervous smile. "Because we're going to have to run like hell if we want to live."
"Yeah," Rose said. She tried to give off an air of confidence, but instead betrayed the true terror that she felt. "We can do it, though. I'm positive of it."
"Likewise," Alexis said. "We've come too far to fail now. It's maybe ten more minutes until we're out of here. Fifteen until this place burns into nothingness, though, so we don't have much leeway."
"Really?" Rose said. Her eyes went wide as a rush of hot air met them. It blew Rose's hair around for just a moment, before it settled again. Alexis noticed that the lighting was strange; it was clearly muffled by the layer of smoke, painting everything in a dirty dull glow. She once again realised that the other tributes had fifteen minutes left of this light before their lives were over with.
"Really," Alexis said. "I didn't want for the situation to be this dire, but we have no choice. We're going to live, and we're going to get out, that much is certain. And if we were to slip up now... that option can't be thought of." It was true: the clock was ticking down to the end of it all, and if they were to get out of here alive, they couldn't stop for even a second. Alexis glanced back again. Xander had just passed another rock, and was nearly caught up. She silently willed for him to pick up the pace so that they could catch up with Dixie and get out of here in time. And there was no way in hell Alexis was leaving him behind: it would go against everything to let a good friend perish at the hands of the Capitol.

However, as Alexis though all this, she saw something that changed everything. In the distance, towards where the woods once stood, spiral pillars of fire began to shoot down from the cloud, creating a massive wall of flame that was beginning to rush towards them.
"Oh my god," she said, staring in disbelief at it. A sudden violent rush of wind blew towards them, sending a massive cloud of dust soaring over their heads. "We have to move faster."
"What?" Rose said, still looking at Alexis, oblivious to the scene behind her.
"Turn around," Alexis said, her voice trembling with pure terror. "Do it right now." Rose raised an eyebrow in confusion, but looked behind her. Instantly all colour drained from her face as she saw the wall of fire, which happened to be as large as the arena's diameter, rushing towards them.
"No," Rose said, her voice breaking. Tears pricked her eyes. "We have to get out of here!"
"We will," Alexis said, not sure herself. "Don't worry." As she said this, Alexis ran through it in her head. At the rate the wall of fire was travelling, paired with the cloud of smoke, their time had been cut down to maybe ten minutes. If that. Alexis looked ahead at Dixie, who had stopped running, and was staring in horror at the wall of fire.
"What the hell is that?!" she screamed.
"Don't stop!" Alexis yelled, beginning to break out into a full-on sprint. "For the love of all that is holy, don't stop for one damn moment!" Dixie nodded, and turned away from the trio, sprinting for all her life's worth. Alexis then turned around to face Rose and Xander to say, "That applies to you guys as well! Stop and we're all dead!" but instead let out a choked scream.

Xander had fallen behind for just a moment, and had stopped moving to catch his breath. Behind him, the fire drew ever closer. By now, it had nearly eaten through the entirety of the woods. When it would hit the dirt ground, the fire would not stop, but this thought was in no way being thought by Alexis. She was still looking at Xander, who looked up at her. And then, time seemed to slow down. There was nothing anyone could do as Markus leaped out from behind the rock closest to Xander, armed with his sword, and rushed at Xander with unrivalled speed, thrusting the weapon forward. It entered Xander's back, piercing his left lung, before impaling his heart. The bloody edge of the blade then burst out of Xander's chest, and his eyes widened for just a moment, before Markus retracted the weapon. The boy from 3 remained on his feet for three more seconds before toppling over in a pool of blood. He had stopped breathing before he had even hit the ground.

"Hello, ladies," Markus said, holding his sword. Xander's blood dripped from it. Rose and Alexis stared at Markus in pure horror. They had both gone entirely white. Rose was visibly trembling. "Going on a little outing?" Alexis felt a rage like no other building up inside her as she stared at her own district partner. Her fists were clenched as she gripped onto her knife. In no way was the weapon a match for Markus'; Dixie was the only one with decent weaponry. But she was too far ahead to help in time even if Alexis called for her. It was up to Rose and herself to take the psychopath down. They had eight minutes left before the fire took them. Time was almost up.
"Rose, run for it," Alexis said. "Do it!" Rose trembled for a moment, before backing away, tears pouring down her face. Alexis did not look to see where Rose had gone to, but could only hope that she would be able to get out. Right now, Alexis' own life didn't matter; the escape didn't matter. All that mattered was taking the monster in front of her out right now.
"How noble of you," Markus taunted. "Always the selfless one. Sure bet that was your motive behind creating the god damn apocalypse." He gestured to the cloud of smoke, before pointing to Alexis' token. "Didn't know a trinket had that much power." Alexis remained still, eyeing him up carefully. She could not make a single sudden movement, or she'd be dead before she had the chance to even fight. However, at the same time, Markus let out a dry chuckle. It sounded like hell itself to Alexis. "Now, I'll deal with you in a sec; just have to pick off the stragglers, you know?"

Before Alexis could question what Markus meant, he rushed at her, tripping her up. But he did not even bat an eyelid as he ran past Alexis. She looked at him with terror striking her veins as she realised what he was going to do. But before she could even let out a word of warning, Alexis fell to the ground, immediately scrambling to her feet. But she knew that this brief delay was enough to make it too late to do anything. Yet even with this knowledge, Alexis ran after Markus, chasing the fleeting hope that she would be able to take him down.

Rose was crouched behind a rock, trembling in terror. She clutched onto her knife like it was the single most powerful object in the arena. As if it contained some secret power to get her out of this nightmare. She knew deep down that all hope was lost as she looked up to the sky, seeing the lowering cloud of smoke. Behind her, she knew the fire burned on, rushing towards them. Ahead of her, Dixie kept running, oblivious to the massacre Markus had just started. Rose thought of screaming for Dixie for the briefest of moments, but this thought died as soon as she realised it would draw Markus' attention. Instead she buried her face in her hands, and began to sob. She wanted to get out of here. She wanted to go home. She wanted to get back to her parents; to Elektra; to District 3. Anywhere but here. Anywhere but this awful, awful place. Tears dripped onto the ground as Rose shook violently. This was cut off by the sound of laughter. Rose looked up as she sobbed, but went silent, her eyes wide as she saw the figure standing above her.
"Well, hello there," Markus said. "I don't believe we've met before. Anyway, I'm Markus, and these will be the last words you hear." Rose screamed loudly as Markus raised his sword. Her breathing went laboured, and as he swung it down, she shut her eyes. As the blade connected with Rose's temple, her last thought was of Elektra; it was a memory from a couple of years ago, just after Elektra had won, and Rose had gone over to her friend's mansion as a form of moral support. They had ended up talking about their feelings, but it soon descended into silliness when they played around with the temporary Capitol-issue hair dye. The final image was of Elektra grinning with rainbow coloured hair. And then everything went black and Rosaline Weathers thought no more.

Alexis saw the entire scene unfold with tears in her eyes. White-hot rage burned as she stared at Markus. She knew that if she ran, right now, she would still be able to make it out of here alive. But instead, she gripped her knife, and ran at Markus.
"You psychotic bastard!" Alexis yelled as she leaped up, bringing her knife down on Markus' back. He stepped out of the way at the last moment, sending Alexis stumbling against the rock, stepping in Rose's blood.
"Hey there, my Rays of sunshine," Markus said with a loud grin. "Why so upset? It's not like those losers from Three really mattered."
"They could have gotten out," Alexis said. She felt numb, overcome with rage and despair at the same time. "We all could have. But you had to go and fuck that up, didn't you?!"
"What are you talking about?" Markus said. "And mind the language; there might be kids watching."
"You idiot," Alexis said. "You don't get it, do you?"
"Elaborate, please," Markus said. "We have all of seven minutes to talk, so I'm all ears."
"I'd completely shut down the arena," Alexis said. "We could have all made it out alive. We could have started new lives for ourselves, out of the Capitol's reach. Nobody should have died. But yet again, you became a hapless pawn for the Capitol, and ruined everything. Well done, Markus Lucian, you have officially earned the title of the human being I hate the most."
"Enough with the melodrama," Markus said. "You're wasting breath. I'm on a deadline here, you know." He raised his sword, and brought it down. But at the last moment, Alexis moved out of the way, and it struck rock.
"But don't think for one moment I'm gonna stop until you're dead," Alexis said. "Believe me, even if I don't get out of here, it will be my pleasure to see the life drain from you."

At this point, the shouting had attracted the attention of Dixie, who had stopped running, and had turned to face the scene ahead of her. She first saw the corpses of Rose and Xander, and then Alexis avoiding Markus' blows. That was all she needed to see before she started running towards the fight, her spear at the ready.

Likewise, Kylee also saw the same scene unfolding. She too began sprinting towards the rocks, her scythe firmly planted in her hands. Above her, she saw the ever-lowering cloud of smoke. The taste of the fumes was now continually present. They did not have long to end it all.

Alexis leaped against another rock as Markus swung his sword. She was beginning to tire, and it was a miracle that she hadn't been hit yet. But as she stared at his face, all she wanted to do was to stab him again and again until his lifeless blood was spilled everywhere. She looked up at Markus as he swung his sword. Alexis suddenly rushed forwards, and delivered a kick to Markus' groin. He cried in pain, and fell to the ground, dropping his sword. As he remained there, Alexis lifted her knife, and brought it down on Markus' chest. He twitched once before going still. She then looked ahead to see Dixie rushing towards her. 
"He's down!" Alexis yelled, running towards Dixie. "We can get out!" The sharp pain of sadness hit Alexis as she though of Rose and Xander, who had come so close to freedom, but had been taken down at the last minute. But at least they had been avenged. Alexis looked at Dixie again. The concerned worry on her friend's face had changed to one of pure horror.
"Alexis! Move!" Dixie screamed. Alexis felt her body go cold. "Behind you!"

Ever so slowly, Alexis turned around. Standing a few feet from her was Markus. The knife was still lodged in his chest, but no blood poured. She hadn't stabbed deep enough.
"Come on, that was a pathetic attempt," Markus said. He lifted his crossbow. "Let's end this already."
"You are truly on a whole other level of diabolical," Alexis said. "I hope your descent to the lowest reaches of hell is lined with the most agonising forms of torture imaginable." Markus then curled his finger around the trigger of the crossbow, and fired. The arrow struck Alexis' left eye, and drilled into her brain, shutting her brave, brilliant mind down for good. Dixie observed all of this in pure horror, screaming all the while. Alexis then crumpled to the floor, seeming so small and innocent in death. Markus walked up to her corpse, and raised a foot, bringing it down on her token, which was still blinking furiously. The device shattered under Markus' boot, and suddenly, a sound rang out.

BOOM
BOOM
BOOM
BOOM
BOOM

It was the cannons for the those that had died once Alexis had initiated her escape plan. Dixie came to a halt as the cannons rang out. The escape plan had failed. The Capitol was back. It had all been for naught. She then looked over at Markus, and then in the distance towards Kylee, who had also frozen.

There were only three tributes left.

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