The Celebrity Games

"May good fortune follow you wherever you go!" The celebrity games, only one rule: Kill or be killed. When the royal family took over the world, region 13 of England rebelled and in consequence, got nuked within an inch of its life. As payment for this rebellion, the royals instated The celebrity games where each year a celebrity would be chosen and the country that they're from would have to produce two female or male competitors to compete in a chosen arena, fighting to the death. As a prize for surviving, they get to marry the chosen celebrity. But this year is going to be so different...

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9. The ally

"Nope, its not that one. Try another one..." Damien demanded, pacing back and forth. We were trying out different ways to go about the interview. Usually competitors picked a certain personality with the interview, one that they think will gain and keep the most fans. So far we had been through sexy, sweet, cool, funny, excited, determined and were now going to try girly. "So Francesca, how's life back at home?" He asked in a typical game show voice.

"Well, its alright. I guess, you do get the odd cracked nail though." I tried in a little squeaky voice, but it was no use, this just wasn't me. The words were right but the voice just wasn't. "Look Damien, I don't think this one's right either. I feel fake..."

"For bod's sake Francesca! You are impossible to work with!" He yelled, obviously exasperated.

"...I wouldn't say impossible." I defended, sitting down on a plush lime green leather sofa.

"Oh well you're damn improbable, love. You know how many approaches we've looked at in five minutes? Seven. I can't think of any more!"

"Well I could just always be myself, that could work since that's what the people are going to get in the arena. I can't keep up girly or sexy forever. Heck, I'm not even a bit flirtatious!" I shot back at him, making him pause for a while and think.

"You know, love. That might just work. Right, try it again, but be yourself OK?" He suggested, asking me the same question he had asked previously but this time, I responded like I thought I should.

"Well, its OK if you like watching weirdos howling about on bikes. It really sets the mood of the place, y'know?" I answered more comfortably this time, relaxing and feeling slightly more confident. This time Damien let out a slight laugh and his whole aura lifted and became happier.

"I think we've got it, Love. Great job." He said, shooing me away with his hand."Oh and could you send Nicole in now? Its her turn."

Walking out of the door from the smaller living room, I saw Nicole lounging on one of the plum sofas reading a book on how to make friends. I sidled up quietly behind her and jumped over the back of the sofa, landing in front of her triumphantly.

"Good god, Fran. You made me jump!" She cried, picking herself up from the floor which she had just fell onto.

"I made you more than jump, Nics." I laughed, handing her the self-help book she had been reading. "You know, if you just wanted to make friends you just have to act confident. People don't gravitate towards someone who looks awkward. If you pretend to act calm and relaxed, pretty soon you'll actually feel like that."

"Wow... That's actually helpful. Screw this book!" She exclaimed, lobbing the book across the room.

"...You going to pick that up?" I joked, hands on hips and one eyebrow raised. She just looked at it guiltily and I laughed. "No, I'm only kidding. Damien wants you in the small living room by the way."

"Oh, OK. See you in a bit." She mumbled, grabbing the book anyway and waving to me as she sloped in through the door to meet Damien. Meanwhile, I walked into the lift and pressed the button to go down to the training room. I had left a note for Lizzie saying where I was, she was probably preening herself in front of a mirror somewhere. Tapping my foot, it seemed like an eternity before the lift came to a halt and with the doors slid open. When it did, I was greeted with a titanic gymnasium with different stations composing of different skills to learn such as camouflage and identifying edible and poisonous vegetation. There were also weapons stations like knives and axes. I even caught an archery station, but I steered clear of all weaponry. I know how to use it and I don't need the other competitors knowing my strengths and weaknesses until its too late. The only people I will be showing my skills to before the games are the game makers and Damien.

Speaking of the game makers, up in the far left top corner of the gymnasium was a large black tinted window, looking suspiciously like the game maker's spy hole. I'm sure when its time for the evaluation, the glass will become un-tinted and open somehow so they can get a full impression of you under pressure and at your best or possibly your worst.

I wasn't alone in the gymnasium, around eight other competitors were in there along with the people running the necessary stations. Walking over to a fire starting station, I joined a tall thin girl with mousey brown-blond hair. She was rather pretty with slightly tanned skin, brilliant blue eyes and a beauty spot just above the right hand side of her mouth. Her eyes didn't have that spark of lust and frenzy that every single fangirl had, so I sat down next to her and stuck out my hand in friendship.

"Hey, I'm Fran." I introduced, smiling in the friendliest way I could.

"I'm Jasmin..." She replied, shaking my hand gingerly. She seemed to be sizing me up, staring into my eyes for that tell-tale fangirl deadly determination. Deciding I was normal, she relaxed a little and smiled back at me. "I recognise you, you're the girl from region 12 that volunteered, right?" She asked, an impressed look on her face.

"Yeah, did you see that?"

"The whole world did, you bender. I'm from region 10 myself."

"Oh, the textile region? I went there for a holiday when I was seven. I got these really lovely pair of shoes when I went there; they were a brilliant white and no matter how many muddy puddles you jumped in or how many trees you would climb, they would always stay the same colour and never get dirty. I was so excited about them I put them on inside the shop after we had bought them and walked outside with them on." I reminisced wistfully.

"What happened to them?" She enquired, genuinely interested in the story.

"First muddy patch I got to, I jumped in it and dyed them brown!" I laughed, setting Jasmin off too.

"What?" She chuckled, eyebrows raised in disbelief.

"The thing was," I giggled, striking the pieces of flint together, "the shoes actually looked better that colour anyway!"

"Weird child..." She managed in-between laughs.

"Hey, I just go with the flow! So, do you have a favourite guy out of one direction?"

"Well, they're all pretty fit but if I had to choose one, that Liam is bang tidy." She replied jokingly, pouting her lips and nodding her head slowly. "What about you?"

"I don't know really, I don't have a favourite as such. To be completely honest, I hadn't even listened to their music until Sebastian Diamond's show when they said one direction were going to be the 'prize' for this year." I confessed, lowering the tone of my voice in case there were any fangirls about. You never know what they would do out of the arena, let alone in it...

"Yeah, but if you had to pick." She insisted, stressing the word 'had'.

"I dunno, but you can have Liam. He's yours." I giggled, feeling now was the right time to ask. "Urm, so do you wanna be allies in the games?"

"Urm..." She mumbled, looking disconcerted. "Nah, I'm only joking. Sure, we can be allies! What weapon are you best at? I'm probably best with a javelin or spear."

"Aha! You'll just have to wait and see!" I smiled cheekily and winked.

"Have you got any more allies so far?" She asked, casually burning some leaves in the small fire we had going.

"No, but this is why I came down to the training centre. I already know how to use a weapon."

"Oh, alright miss 'I'm awesome at everything'. Let's just hope you can live up to your name in the arena..." She warned jokingly. But I could tell there was a certain worried edge underneath her jokes; after all, our lives depended on each other.

We spent most of the remaining hours left allocated for free time moving around all the different non-weapon stations picking up skills that would probably help us survive in the arena. As the horn sounded for the last five minutes, we gambled across to the lift along with two other competitors who had been on the station next to ours and started chatting with them while we waited for the lift which seemed to be taking eons.

The first girl was a middle sized brunette with light brown skin and piercing green eyes; seeming about my age. When questioned, she was called Maria from region 3 (the food region) and was 17, just a few months older than me. The second girl I didn't like the look of, from first glance she was very stereotypically fangirl. From region 1, she was called Glorie and looked like her name sounded. Beautiful face, long flowing golden blonde hair, baby blue eyes with rosy cheeks and a pouty mouth. She was tall with a perfect figure and looked like an all round female dog (if you catch my drift). I had seen that look in her eyes before, how could I not? It was in nearly every persons eyes when you got into the arena. That sharp determined fury that drove them to kill and kill again until they had won. More often than not one of these girls or boys would win and have to marry the poor celebrity for that year.

Maria was actually quite nice but she already had an alliance with Glorie and some other fangirls; which was quite a shame, really. Saying goodbye to everyone as they hopped out of the lift at each of their floors I got out at mine just as dinner was being served. Smiling brightly, I grabbed a seat and waited for the others to come in from their rooms for the meal.

"So how was the training?" Lizzie asked, sipping delicately at some turtle and pea soup.

"Oh, it was alright. I allied with a girl from region 10, I'm planning on ailing with some more people tomorrow and in the next few days of official training." I answered, promptly popping a dumpling into my mouth straight afterwards.

"Good going, love. Keep it up and you might be able to win this thing." Damien applauded, pointing his silver fork at me proudly. "So what's the training strategy?"

"I'm taking the 'don't let them see anything until its too late and they're dead' approach. I figured if I just stick to learning survival skills instead of weaponry I can save the surprise for the arena. The only people who aren't you guys who can see my stuff before that will be the game makers in the evaluation. They won't know what's hit them." I explained, using another dumpling speared on the end of my fork to express my hand movements. Once I'd finished I took a sneaky bite and carried on, "If I take that approach, no-one will know my strengths and weaknesses and therefore can't use them against me."

"Uh, Fran. So what is your weapon?" Nicole asked, dithering about whether to chose duck pancakes or spicy chicken.

"Well, nicoley moley my weaponry forte is actually the good old bow and arrow with just a hint of knife and sword wielding on the side."

"Where did 'Nicoley moley' come from?"

"My brain..." I replied, zombifying my voice up and sticking my arms out as if I was actually a walking decaying corpse.

A few minutes later, I flopped onto my bed and just stared at the ceiling for a while, begging sleep to come to me but it didn't. Maybe I was haunted by what was to come, what I would have to do. I keep on shoving it to the back of my mind but it just doesn't want to stay cooped up there forever. Obliging to its demands I let it run about my mind and consume my thoughts for a while. Mulling it over I decided I would only kill in defence. That way I would feel better, right? I dunno...

How many people have been in my exact situation? Out of the whole world, probably only a minuscule amount. But what did they do? Did they just sit there and let it happen or what?

As I thought about this my eyelids began to droop and grow heavy, closing them to stop bearing their weight I fell into a dark dreamless sleep, the only thought reverberating around my brain; what should I do?
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