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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3. The hidden cave

We watched in dread as Sebastian interviewed them, asking on how they felt about being married off at such a young age... The cheek! They're all older than any of the competitors will be. Well, at least they'll get to choose out of the five that win who they get to marry. Usually the celebrity just has to marry whoever comes out on top. Mind you, the poor competitor has no say in this whatsoever.

At the end of the interview, Sebastian turned back to the camera, a big smile plastered on his face.

"Right, so that wraps it up folks! Britain, you're up this year! We want two female competitors from each of your 12 regions, the same number as usual and same rules apply! Only one contestant from each region can win! Goodnight empire and let good fortunes follow you wherever you go!"

The screen went black and the room was eerily silent. I knew what they were thinking though, and they were thinking about me. Thinking about how I could be chosen to compete, how I could die...

"Wait, that means that there will be four teams of five and one of four! Four of these poor girls won't stand a chance!" My mum exclaimed, her face wide with the horror of the situation.

"Its totally barbaric..." My dad murmured, grandad tutting in agreement.

That meant that the harvesting would be in two weeks time. Only two weeks to get ready for the prospect that you could be chosen to compete. To get ready for the prospect that you could die. Lets face it, its always the regions that are favored by the royals that win, only a few times someone from an unfavorable region have won! Why? Why is it nearly always Britain and America? Sure, they had that Beiber kid last year and he was Canadian, but Its rarely ever a country that isn't UK or USA. Two years ago, they even had Prince William as a prize for the games. A girl called Kate won it that year, and yes. She wore Nottingham lace on her wedding dress.

I stood up and excused myself from the room. If I was going to be picked, I had to be at the top of my game.

Grabbing my bow and arrows, I headed out to sherwood forest to shoot some wild animals for target practice. It felt good to hunt, to stalk the prey before I let the deadly arrow fly and hear the satisfying thud of the animal falling to the ground, dead as a door nail. So what if you need a licence to hunt? No-one's ever caught me in all the five years I've been doing this.

I picked up a pinch of dry earth and watched it blow away from me in the wind. I had to move down wind or that deer would smell me. Usually when I kill something, I would sell it to Big Baz who runs the local steak house. There, he'll skin it and sell the skin to wealthy customers. Then, he'll either use the meat or sell it on to cheap sausage companies. He'll always give me a free venison steak whenever I feel like it.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a small brown deer prancing off into a clearing. Great, an easy target. Inching closer to a gap in the bushes, I fitted an arrow to the bow, aimed and with a sharp exhale let go of the arrow. I walked over to it, inspecting the still warm carcass. The arrow had gone straight through the eye, exactly as planned; the poor thing didn't have a chance. Heh heh heh.

"That's a nice one you've bagged yourself there, Fran." A familiar voice marvelled. Turning round, I grinned at my friend who was the best man with a blade in the whole of the empire. He was the one who taught me how to wield a sword and to do some serious damage with a knife. The archery came naturally apparently.

"Were you following me, Matisse?" I asked, annoying him by using his full name. Grinning I went over and gave him a hug.

Matisse and I have known each other since he moved here from region 5 after his house was destroyed in a flood. We first met in school, but we never really spoke to each other until one day in the forest when I was just starting to venture out into it. I was sitting on a rock, trying to hit a rat with a knife I had found but I was failing miserably. All of a sudden, a knife came shooting out of no where and beheaded the little creature. When I turned round to see who it was, I saw Matisse standing there, hands on his hips, looking pretty proud of himself. Ever since that day, we would hunt together, I would show him how to use the bow and he would teach me how to use a blade.

He was half Spanish and half English; had dark-almost black brown wavy hair; dark brown eyes; tanned skin that was just a bit darker than olive; lips that weren't big per say but defiantly on the generous side and overall was a relatively good looking guy. Strangely enough, he hadn't had a girlfriend in around five years. Of course, when you were eligible to compete, you weren't allowed to be in a relationship just in case you had to go into the games. But he was 16 too so really, he could have had a full year of the lovey-dovey stuff.

"I might have been, what's it to you?" He replied, raising an eyebrow.

"Well for one, I was the one you were stalking, two you could have scared off game and three how the hell did you find me?"

"I have my ways..."

"Mattie..."

"Fine, I knew you would be here. The announcement on TV? You always come here and hunt when you're upset or confused or angry and just want to kill things."

"How come you always know me better than I know myself?" I asked, helping him haul the carcass to our hiding place in the base of a nearby tree.

"Fran. I've known you for half a decade and we tell each other everything. The fact that you're constantly in daydream land doesn't help either!" He laughed, covering up the hole with spare branches. I stuck my tongue out at him and started walking off to our little alcove.

Its quite small but spacious enough for two people and completely hidden from people that don't know its there. To get there, you have to walk down a labyrinth of ancient passageways left from when the people of Nottingham lived in caves instead buildings or houses. Afterwards it was used by highwaymen as a safe house where they could hide from the law.

I had never really properly explored the caves, when we first discovered them we just followed a path until we came to the alcove. One day, I will find out what's in them. One day... Like today.

"Mattie, have you ever wondered what lies in these caves?" I asked him as we relaxed in our cosy hideout. We were laying on our backs on the warm mossy ground, chatting and eating the raspberries from the surrounding bushes that surprisingly grew inside the cave.

"No, not really. Have you?"

"Yes, ever since we first discovered them." I admitted, sitting up. "Mattie?"

"Yeah?"

"Let's explore them."

"Now?"

"Yes. Now."

He sat up too and looked at me in an incomprehensible expression.

"What brought all this on so suddenly?" He asked, his smooth chocolate eyes boring into my sharp ice blue ones. I had never really noticed how nice his eyes were, how I could just get lost in their warm embrace.

I suddenly snapped out of my disturbing thoughts and realised he had asked a question.

"Well, since the harvesting is in a couple of weeks and I may be chosen and may not ever come back..." I said, trailing off at the expression he gave me. Pulling me into a tight hug he whispered into my ear,

"I wouldn't let them take you." I smiled, hugging him tighter. Damn he smells good...

"Thanks" I replied, pulling away and getting up. "Now, how about exploring these caves?"

A few moments later, weapons in hand, we were creeping cautiously down an unfamiliar passageway. Soon enough we came to a split in the road.

"Which way then?" Matisse asked, raising his eyebrows in questioning.

"I suggest we split. You go left and I go right. If its a dead end and its boring, go back here and signal with our usual owl call. When you hear it, stop and signal back. If you find something worth looking at, do the same but hoot twice instead of once. Ok?"

"Alright, but I really don't like the idea of us splitting up. Surely its safer if we stay together..."

"Yeah, sure there's that. But this way we'll get more ground covered." I explained, pushing him gently on the back. "Mush!"

As I padded off down the corridor, I thought about the games. What if I did get picked? What would I do then? Would I live? Could I kill a person? I don't know if I could...

My thoughts suddenly came to an abrupt stop as I reached yet another divide in the passageway. Carrying on going right, I only had to walk a few more metres until I came to a vast cavern, dimly lit by a few holes in the roof that let in the sunlight so it looked like tiny spotlights in the middle of a stage. As my eyes adjusted to the new lighting, I gazed around in awe. The cavern was decked out like some sort of home that had been long forgotten. Old blankets were strewn across the floor, all rotten and moth-eaten; there were candles still standing on ledges and there were markings on the wall.

Running my finger over the nearest wall, I saw that they were letters and pictures, drawn neatly into the sandstone. I wished that I had brought my torch so I could see them properly. Wait, Matisse usually has one, I'll just go and signal hi-

And that's when I noticed it, a great big pile of weapons. Sure, that was no unusual sight for me, I use them every day. No, what really got me was the fact that I recognised them from somewhere, but just couldn't remember what...

Sifting through the pile I came across a few rusty swords and knives that looked ancient and a great big wooden staff that looked like something Gandelf would use. But as I came to the bottom of the pile I found my kind of weapon. It was wrapped in a faded silk cloth that someone had sewn on words in a strange language; strangely, this cloth had barely been effected by the moths and the damp and still had managed to maintain most of its colour.

Un wrapping it gently, I uncovered a magnificent wooden bow, just the right size for me. It looked like it was made of oak and was beautifully polished. Along the side was carved someone's name, but in this dim light I couldn't make it out at all. Underneath it there was a dozen arrows, sharp and well made with what looked like abnormally large robin feathers on the ends of it or they could have just been the biggest feathers on the bird. All the arrows were in a leather pouch, the strap just big enough so I could sling it over one shoulder and my head to keep it secure.

Somehow, I ended up picking it up so that everything fell out of it and onto the stone floor. Bending down to pick up the arrows, I noticed something else had dropped out of the pouch too. As I picked it up, it glimmered in the sun beams that hit it, sending golden light dancing along the rock walls. It was a solid gold pin of a robin in mid-flight and somehow, I knew that this was meant for me. Pinning the broach onto my hunting jacket, I slung the pouch onto my shoulder to join my sheath of homemade arrows, picked up both the bows and was about to leave when something else caught my eye.

Underneath the place where I had picked up the bow and arrows was a bundle of emerald green material, almost hidden against the dark floor but a shimmer in the material made me turn and look. It was like it wanted to be found. Picking it up, I found it was a massive cloak with a hood. I put it on and pulled the hood up. To be quite honest, I loved it. It would be good to hunt in as the colour is a great camouflage and the hood is so big it covers your face so much that people can't see you but you can see them as clear as day.

Deciding to go and get Matisse, I headed out of the cavern and back to where we first split up. I was quite startled to see him already there and he was looking rather worried. However, as soon as he saw me, his anxious face relaxed then changed to relief then anger.

"Francesca! Where have you been? I've been here about 10 minutes calling you... And where did you get all that stuff?" He snapped, grabbing my shoulders and shaking me a little.

"Matisse, why didn't you just come looking for me? I wasn't that far away. And anyway, I can fend for myself thank you very much." I retorted indignantly, sticking out my chin a little in defiance.

"Well, clearly you can. Where did the second bow come from? And that cloak!"

"Alright, mother. I found this place back there. No-ones been there for a few hundred years by the looks of it and these were in perfect condition."

"So you just took them...?"

"No, well yes but it was like they wanted to be found and taken. Like they were meant for me."

"You do spout some rubbish, Fran." He laughed, pulling me into a hug. "Just don't go running off again, OK?"

"Yeah yeah, I heard you the first time mumsie." I teased, poking my tongue out at him.

"Watch out, or the wind will change and your face will stay that way!" He warned jokingly, his hands still wrapped around me.

"Why not?! My face is uber sexy!" I joked, laughing a little.

Matisse just smiled and brushed a stray strand of hair from my face. But instead of taking the hand away, he just kept it there, caressing my cheek and moving it down to my chin, which he tilted upwards. The next thing I knew was his lips briefly brushing against mine. He paused for a moment and looked deep into my eyes, making me drown in those mahogany coloured orbs he called eyes.

I placed an arm around the back of his neck and pulled him in closer. This time it was me that kissed him, my eyes closed and the world lost. As he kissed back I felt fireworks go off around and inside me. The world dissolved into nothing until it was just us. No royals, no games, no nothing. It was just me, Matisse and the floor we stood on and I wasn't sure that was even there.

"How long have you been wanting to do that?" I asked once I'd pulled away, staring him straight in the eye.

"Ever since I met you." He replied, not a trace of deceit in his eyes.

We walked out of the caves, hand in hand, chatting and laughing about anything and everything. Still holding both bows, I handed my one to Matisse and started to inspect the one I'd found in more detail.

Basically nothing had changed since the first time I had seen it, but now in clearer light I could just make out what it said on the bow. Or I could have if it was in English...

Wait, maybe I could! Names are usually the same in all languages, so I just had to search for something that vaguely resembled a name of some sort. As I looked, however the writing on it started to glimmer and change until I could understand it. Before my eyes, the gobbledegook I had seen before now read:

'Sir Robin of Loxley'

Could it really be? Yet the words were written there in some foreign language that I could strangely understand.

This was the bow that belonged to Robin Hood.
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