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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
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((Eiko Haraguchi continued from Amazing Journey/Sparks))

As it turned out, her detour was anything but quick. Peter's instructions to finding the supplies he left for her hadn't been the best. The mansion was a big place, and it would have been far more helpful of him to specify where in the mansion he'd hidden those supplies. So it took a good amount of time for her to find them; it was fortunate that she didn't encounter anyone else in the meantime. Finally, she found in a closet what must have been Peter's gift: a few outfits he'd found for her and two more tins of crackers. He'd been true to his word.

Eiko immediately changed into one of them, finding that it was mostly her size, except for some tightness around the waist. Another victory for small blessings. She'd have to bathe later and maybe wash her dirty clothes in a river or something; she'd do it now, but she didn't know if the mansion had running water and she'd spent enough time there already.

As for the other part of her plan, tracking Chase and Bennett's trail, well, that didn't go as well as she'd planned at all. It was dark when she arrived back at the tunnels, so even if they'd left a trail an untrained tracker like Eiko could follow, she couldn't see any part of it. Defeated, Eiko slumped against a rock, clutching her polearm reflexively.

Well, it was back to square one for her. Did she want to try and find Peter, possibly berate him for leaving her behind? Go in the vague direction she remembered Chase leaving in and hope she stumbled across them or another friendly, instead of a bloodthirsty madman like Lombardi or Hartmann? Try to find someone with a gun and trick them out of it? As much as she hated to admit it, her goals of trying to survive this wretched game and preserving her image as a sane, respectable woman to the audience watching at home looked more mutually exclusive by the sec-

"Hey kids, it's Uncle Danya!"


No honorific could possibly convey the contempt Eiko had for the man who ruined her life. She had a future. She was going to Yale. She was a favorite to become valedictorian, or at least salutatorian. Now she would be a corpse or a pariah, as anathema to the business world as shell-shocked war veterans. And for what? So she and her peers could be used as marketing icons or sacrifices to prove a vague political point?

Every morning, it hurt her to listen to that sneering, ugly voice for even the short time it took to announce deaths and danger zones, but Eiko tried her best to suffer through it. The fact that she could put faces to half the names she heard didn't make it any easier. This corpse was her date for Prom. That corpse was her study partner in statistics. That other corpse was the student body president. So many other futures utterly destroyed. She could barely imagine the shock and despair the other students were feeling, not to mention their families and friends from outside the game, another lifetime ago. She could barely imagine what her own family must be going through.

Then two magical sentences at the end of the announcement gave her a shock to the heart.

"Our last winner made a horrible waste of her reward and left it sitting in the town center. Her loss is somebody else's gain, I suppose!"

She checked her map. The town center was directly north of her, scarcely a third of the map away. She could reach it in one, two hours tops.

With as much haste as she could muster she set her pack on her shoulder and jogged north to where her salvation lay. Doubts and second-guessing sprouted in her mind as she ran, of course. They always did.

There would be others coming, others more savage and desperate and deadly. But she would take that chance; she wasn't the sort to pass up a golden opportunity, even one as risky as this.

She had no idea what weapon awaited her; it could be even more useless than her current one. But that was unlikely, and she'd never know for sure if she didn't go.

What would the home audience think of her craven scavenging and opportunism? They would see it as the actions of a girl driven to desperation; if not, would dying really be a better option?


Eiko came to the town center light-headed from her sleepless night and achy from the exertion of sprinting from the tunnels. Her vision blurred briefly, and she shook her head to clear it. All she needed to do now was find the prize before anyone else did.

Speaking of anyone else, she quickly found three other people in the square. The first she didn't recognize, a girl traveling with a friend, probably one that she depended on for protection. That friend was R.J. Lowe, whom Eiko recognized as the boy who couldn't speak. The third was a little harder to make out; she lied down, staring up at the sky and not caring one whit about her surroundings, it seemed. It wasn't until Eiko was thirty feet away that she saw her face, and recognition made her heart skip a beat.

It was Hartmann, Kris Hartmann. The same Kris Hartmann who'd murdered four or five people already. Discounting the far more dangerous Lombardi, she was a strong candidate for the worst person on the island to run into. Eiko held her polearm in front of her, on edge and ready to bolt as soon as Hartmann noticed and attacked her. She almost considered leaving altogether, and letting Lowe and his friend deal with Hartmann themselves.

But then she saw something next to Hartmann's legs.
WickedIcon: i just launched a baby wearing a denim jacket and a bowler hat across a hospital, through a window, killing several patients, destroying thousands of dollars of equipment, and finally coming to rest on the body of a presumably dead clown
WickedIcon: this is the best dollar i've spent in several years

chitoryu12I have yet to find gay sex that involves the men punching each other. I must not be on the internet enough

Turning Pages: Read some books along with me, why don't you?

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Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
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