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|Previous chapter:||A Horrifying Arrival|
Instant panic broke out over the group. Betty broke into tears. Laurel screamed. Everyone started talking at once. "We should kill ourselves now! Better than suffering here!" Laurel shouted. "We have to try to survive without killing each other! We can't let our families watch us die!" Maximus yelled. "Oh my god! Oh my god! No! We're all going to die!" Betty wailed. "There has to be a way out! A portal, or a tunnel, or a ship or...Something!" Bob said frantically. While they were wrapped up in their fear, unwitting of how it would get under their skin and change them, another ship sailed towards the arena.
"Fat, lazy idiots!" Bart Inkbeard howled. "They said no stops on land, and we're going straight to an island! Stupid sons of--" "Bart, it's okay, maybe we're just stopping for repairs. We'll be okay." Selena said."You, maybe. Me, NO! I could just kick that captain in the stomach!" "Shhh, sh sh sh," Selena soothed, as though he was a toddler in a tantrum. "Why don't we go sit down outside somewhere and you can just vent to me?" Venting didn't help the next day, though, when the ship crashed into the arena.
Fear is more powerful than people give it credit for. In extreme cases, it gets under someone's skin and turns him into a killer in a matter of minutes. No one knew that was what made Max McDermott leave the camp.
"I'm just going to find some food," Max called as he strode away from camp. "In the middle of the night?" Betty asked. "Yeah, before the other boats start to show up. We need all we can get." Max was leaving because he knew his strengths were their strengths. With his athletic skill, they would be less likely to die. Without him, all they would have was Laurel, who was nearly nothing next to his power. Suddenly feeling that they knew what he was doing, he sprinted into the jungle. He broke a long, thin branch off of a tree, and with a few scrapes of a stone at one end, he had created a spear. Ease yourself into it, he thought, laughing quietly in a choking way. Wait for the Hidden Springs kids. Little hippies-- easy. Spending their whole lives in what's practically a resort, they won't know what hit them. Get the other Riverviews later. Let them know that you're different now so they won't try to fix anything. Scrambling up a tree, Max managed to get several hours of a dreamless sleep before the ship carrying residents of Barnacle Bay crashed. Eight contestants, all living. The battle was growing.
Bart, Selena, Jonah and Patty were all standing in shock, watching the wreck of their ship be carried away, when Bart's phone began to ring. "Put me on speakerphone," a refined, self-satisfied voice said. Bart obeyed. "This is Sovereign Alexander the First. Welcome, Patty, Selena, Jonah, and Bart, to the Goth Battles. All bets are off, all friendships dissolved. That goes for between Selena and Bart, and Patty and Selena. Keeping these ties would be worse than futile." There was a collective gasp as what Alexander was saying struck home. "Enjoy the bloodbath if you can! Believe me, I will." Alexander hung up, leaving nothing but a buzz behind.