Chapter 18: The Finale
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While the two bloodthirsty tributes walk over to where the rest of their companions are, all five of their enemies freeze up in shock for a split second. It isn’t very long, but it is enough for one of their foes to take action. 

Cossus takes aim at the two tributes from District 4, the third district which trains career tributes, and opens his mouth. As he does he utters a devastating shout, one of the ones that’d be more recognizable to people familiar with Skyrim; Unrelenting Force. 

A light blue emanation of force jets out of his mouth when he speaks and crosses the space that separates the two factions of tributes in a flash. When it slams into the pair of tributes that Cossus is targeting it effortlessly sends them flying. They are rapidly pushed back into the walls of the cornucopia, and the raw force behind what sent them flying coupled with the rigidity of the solid barrier they slammed into instantly kills them. 

Cossus turns his dark gaze onto the remaining tributes, Glimmer, Cato, and Clove. At the same time Thresh is now charging at the remaining warriors, his hand empty but his own body a potent weapon nonetheless. 

“Get back Cato!” Clove shouts as she draws a knife from the rows of sheaths that line her pants. The rogueish tribute takes aim at the titan charging towards her and her companion and skillfully throws a knife at the powerful warrior. The knife glints and glimmers as it spins through the air, and for a moment the three career tributes wonder if it’ll strike true. That is until Cossus raises his hand and the knife abruptly stops in mid-air.

The thing floats harmlessly in mid-air, not moving at all, until it begins to turn. It continues to turn until its blade is pointed at Cato. The tribute stares at it even as Thresh continues to close the distance between himself and the three career tributes. Clove pulls out another of her knives and raises it to her face, a grimace on it, as she readies herself to go toe to toe with the final non-career tribute in the 74th Hunger Games. 

Cossus turns to face Glimmer, and she raises her bow and points it at him. The thing she wields is the weapon she was supposed to lose in the wake of a clever attack by Katniss, that leaves her dead. Cossus looks at her and shakes his head. His action is a warning, a kindness he decides to show on a whim. He has committed to the idea that the two of them ought to be the final two tributes.

Glimmer’s eyes fill with uncertainty and her grip on her bow wavers. She lowers the thing and glances at her peers. They are focused on the threats that are either actively aimed at them or are barreling toward them. She glances back at Cossus and nods, a subtle signal that she understands the play, and leaps backward to put some distance between herself and her rivals. She understands that the career alliance has reached the end of its utility and so her only remaining teammate is Cossus. For now. 

Thresh reaches Clove and he tackles her with truly tremendous force. He effortlessly picks up the younger teenager, but to her credit she manages to lash out as a sort of counter-attack and sticks one of her knives into his back. 

Cato cries out as his teammate is picked up, and his attention shifts away from the knife pointed at him. This is a mistake that Cossus makes his fellow career tribute regret, as Cossus immediately uses one of his new perks to hurl the knife that he had telekinetically caught at the male tribute. The knife speeds through the air and impales Cato’s leg, causing him to gasp out in pain and stop moving entirely. 

Cossus smiles amusedly at this, and with a slight glance at the wound flexes further vampiric power by focusing and making the wound bleed more than it should. As painful as the knife impaling itself on Cato’s leg is to the tribute the wound should be a light one but it is bleeding profusely and Cato realizes this as he feels his leg grow heavy. 

“Hey Cato… Sorry, but your final foe is me.” Cossus exclaims as he draws closer to the warrior. There is a confident look on his face, and Cato frowns at him. Cato has been wielding a spear this whole time, one he hasn’t gotten to use much. As his enormous foe advances on him Cato tosses his spear straight into the air and steels himself as the object begins to descend downward. 

He launches his hand upward and catches the object in mid-air before rearing his arm back and then snaking it forward. He releases the spear and chucks it with all of his strength as soon as his arm is extended as far it can be. 

The deadly weapon flies true and speedily advances towards Cossus but the tribute’s facial expression remains unphased. When the weapon reaches a distance of just a few centimeters from his face one of Cossus’s hand's darts forward and catches the weapon, stopping it so close to his head that when he blinks his eyelashes touch it. 

“That was cute, but it won’t work on me.” Cossus warns as he tosses the caught spear into the grass beside his feet. Had he still been a peak human such a response would have been foolhardy at best, but in his beyond peak-human state, it was easy for him to do something like this. 

He subtly lifts a finger and Cato groans when the knife embedded in his leg suddenly frees itself and begins to spin upwards, keeping the tribute from daring to reach out and try to claim the weapon for his own ends. Cato falls to one knee and his blood pours out of his wound faster now, practically flooding out of him. 

Meanwhile, Thresh is dragging Clove to the wall of the cornucopia. He is roaring at her all the while, inarticulately but terrifyingly, so much so that even as he fights her she can’t take a breath to calm down and think. Clove’s true danger was always that she had a plan but as she is hurtling towards her death she can’t think straight. 

Thresh lifts the light teenager and then rams her against the wall of the cornucopia. And then he continues doing that, eventually breaking the youth’s bones. The sounds of her body impacting against the walls of the cornucopia make eerie background music as Cossus and Cato clash. 

“Alright… I’ll go ahead and end this.” Cossus mutters as he begins to mix various powers together to turn himself into a true nightmare on the battlefield. As he begins to mix his powers together more perks roar to life within him, and one special perk contributes to his ability to dominate the battlefield with his supernatural powers: the perk known as “Key of Concentration”. 

This power gave its wielders a secondary, or in the case of Cossus a tertiary stream of consciousness. It was these streams of consciousness working together that allows him to mix and match various powers and thus do things like mentally lift the fallen spear beside him into the air while still messing with the knife with his fierce but amateurish telekinesis. 

The spear chucked at Cossus by Cato frees itself from the ground and is telekinetically handled by Cossus until it points at Thresh and Cato. This process takes several seconds as Cossus is not used to telekinesis. That said with every passing second his skill with the supernatural ability grows in potency, especially now that he can telekinetically handle multiple objects at the same time and has numerous learning and experience boosters bolstering his skill with his powers. 

The very instant that the spear points at Clove and Thresh the spear is unleashed. It is telekinetically lobbed at the two of them and speedily slices through the air that separates it from the two warriors. 

Thresh is still slamming Clove against the walls of the cornucopia when the pitched spear reaches the back of his throat, penetrates his tough skin, sails through his neck, and erupts on the other side of the warrior’s body. It doesn’t stop either, and continues flying forward until it cuts into Clove’s eyeball, and viscerally impales her brain, killing her instantly. 

Thresh is less lucky and is still alive when the light fades out of Clove’s other eye. Nevertheless, he is in immense pain and is painfully spitting out blood when Glimmer points her bow at him and fires a single silver arrow into his chest. 

Glimmer’s skills with the bow and arrow are mediocre compared to Katniss's skills with the same weapon but she is far from a poor archer and her strength gives the arrow the force needed to instantly end the life of the tribute. He dies on his feet, a look of pain and rage on his face as his soul leaves his body and he breathes his last.

Cossus gazes at Cato, who is rapidly weakening before his very eyes. The blood from his wound is staining the grass around his crumpled form a dark shade of scarlet. The look in Cossus’s face is almost one of pity. Almost. The warrior wills the knife that Clove tried to use on Thresh into his hands as Glimmer raises her bow and notches an arrow into it. She points the instrument in Cossus’s direction, even as he ignores her and spins the knife in his hand. He walks over to Cato’s fallen form and kneels beside the fallen fighter. He then silently and brutally impales the knife in the back of Cato’s skull. He then pulls out the blood-soaked weapon and smiles. 

Glimmer gazes at him and keeps her bowstring taut. Cossus gets up and looks at her. The look on his face is a bemused one, and there isn’t an iota of fear on his face. The distance between the two of them is only thirty-five feet. He is easily close enough to kill her in a dozen different ways even without moving toward her. 

Impressively, Glimmer manages to keep the fear she feels towards her fellow tribute hidden. Nevertheless Cossus projects an overwhelming presence and even the act of him getting off of his knees is intimidating. He points the blood-stained knife at Glimmer and frowns. 

“Glimmer… What are you doing?” I ask, feigning confusion even as my eyes dart across the bloodsoaked area surrounding the cornucopia. Glimmer’s eyes fill with uncertainty, and a fair amount of hostility as she keeps her bow trained on me. I allow my eyes to visibly move from her and focus on the knife in my hand before I gasp and hurl the knife away. 

“Gosh! Damnit… Glimmer, I’m sorry, I was still in flight or fight mode.” I say, attempting to explain why I had pointed the knife at her. Her eyes grow colder as she hears me speaking, and she begins to smile cruelly. She is quite pretty, but she is also not quite aware of how much more powerful than her I really am. 

Behind her, a number of weapons and other objects litter the floor. They are poorer in quality than the items in the cornucopia, but really all I need is one decent weapon and I’ll be able to easily end this year’s Games in style. 

“Cossus… We both knew how this was going to end. Don’t try and act like you were being real!” She says, softly at first but the more she speaks the louder her voice grows. I can sense her agitation, even as I see a single thick mace made of copper behind the warrior. 

“I’m going home Cossus. But I have to say… Thank you for making this year’s games short.” She quips, even as she takes careful aim at my chest. My frown grows on my face and I also take aim. 

I focus my telekinetic power on the mace behind the tribute and lift the heavy object into the air. She is oblivious to it rising into the air behind her and she takes a steadying breath, readying herself to fire her arrow at me. I wonder if she realizes how utterly pointless such an attack is and she’s just desperate, or if she truly believes such a method would be sufficient to take me out when she saw me stop knives in mid-air and catch a spear flung at me. 

I hurl the mace towards her with telekinesis at the very same time that she releases the arrow. Both of our attacks fly through the air but when her arrow reaches me I effortlessly dodge out of the way, crouching beneath her blow, and she is struck in the back of her chest by the blunt mace. I had swung it with a supernatural force so the weapon instantly shatters her ribs and pulverizes her heart, sending a signal to the tracker injected into her that she has died. 

She is knocked to the ground by the force of the mace, and at the same time, a number of cannon shots go off in the distance marking the deaths of all of the remaining tributes other than myself. When the last of the canons go off, there is a moment of silence as I peer up at the sky and see the images projected onto it by the arena’s controllers of the fallen tributes. And then there is the loud feedback sound of a microphone sputtering to life before a voice penetrates the gloomy silence of the arena. 

“Ladies and gentlemen… I cannot believe my eyes! Through a series of methods that elude my ability to describe properly, we have our victor! I am pleased to present the victor of the Seventy-Fourth Hunger Games, Cossus Braun! I give you, the tribute of District One!” The voice of Claudius Templesmith declares. And then I feel something strange, a sudden stilling of life around me. 

My supernatural senses alert me to the strangeness of all of this right before a swirling portal leading to the interior of a strange laboratory filled with tanks full to the brim with bright blue fluid opens up in front of me. 

Standing in the middle of the laboratory is none other than Ghriza. She is flanked by a number of metallic entities shaped like humans but lacking anything like human skin or identifiable human-like facial features. She smiles at me, but her first words are addressed to the strange creatures beside her. 

“Go grab the bodies and put them in tanks with the rest of the tributes.” Ghriza tells the robots beside her. They respond by walking towards the bodies. She then waves for me to come and join her. As she does she speaks, this time to me, and her voice is filled with excitement. 

“Congratulations you victor you!” She says, teasingly.

I chuckle and step towards her, walking past the robots and into the portal. As I do I step into the dark laboratory and my senses begin to adjust immediately to the array of new sensory stimuli. Ghriza places a hand on my shoulder and pulls me close to her. 

“You did it!” She says eagerly while doing something akin to giving me a hug. I feel her warm body close to mine, and as I glance at her, her tiger-like eyes fill with powerful darkness. 

“How are you feeling? Did you enjoy it?” She asks, curiously. I chuckle at her questions and her way of speaking and think about her questions for a moment. 

As I ponder her questions I glance around and allow my eyes to explore the laboratory I am now inside. I am loosely aware that I am in my warehouse, though primarily because I was told I’d be brought here when I was declared the victor. I don’t recognize this part of my warehouse, because it is nothing like the portions of the place that I have been permitted to see so far. 

The laboratory I am in is nothing like anything I’ve ever seen. It is a gigantic place and there are countless tanks filled with bright blue liquid, and in several cases bodies that I loosely recognize. Floating in some of the tanks that I couldn’t see from outside of the portal are bodies. 

The bodies are of the tributes that fell over the course of the battles during this year’s Hunger Games! They are wearing the same uniforms they were wearing during the games, but their bodies are totally healed and no visible wounds remain on them. Even in the cases of the tributes who perished in the wildfire I caused, not only are there no burn marks but even their very uniforms have been repaired somehow!

“I… What the-” I utter, as I see even the bodies of Katniss and Peeta floating in tanks next to each other, their eyes shut and not a single wound on either of their bodies. Ghriza giggles lightly and begins to speak. 

“I got them as a present for you! Well… It wasn’t just me. I had to get help, or else I’d have had to use a lot more effort than I really felt like expending on this.” She says to me, filling me with questions, but she isn’t done speaking. 

“But these aren’t the important ones. Or rather… there’s only one important one, and she is still outside,” Ghriza tells me, obviously referring to Glimmer. “You did a really good job not crushing her head, by the way. That makes healing her much easier.” Ghriza says, offhandedly. I look at the figure, an expression of genuine shock on my face as I ask her a single question. 

“You can heal her?” I ask, astounded by the possibility that my self-described “Sponsor” could have so much power that even bringing back the dead is a possibility. She outright laughs at my question and nods but her next remark is what is truly stunning. 

“I mean I can, but I won’t. The one who will heal her, because she is truly special, is not me. It’s you.” Ghriza explains, before she leaps up and taps my head, and awakens the rest of the perks that were lurking within me, just waiting for my final ascension. I take a step back and then fall to my knees as I feel an explosion of power occurring within me. And my mind begins to race, but not before I see the perk that Ghriza no doubt wants me to use. 

The perk belongs to something called “The Essential Body Mod”. And it has an ambitious name. “Healing touch”. As I study its description I hear Ghriza tell me one more thing. 

“If you want to unlock the fullness of ‘The Essential Body Mod’ you’ll have to earn it, but I’ll give you a few of the powers there as a reward for making this year’s Hunger Games the most entertaining I’ve ever seen.” She says, proudly smirking at me all the while. 

One of the metallic creatures that serve Ghriza walks into the laboratory carrying Glimmer’s body. Ghriza glances at it and nods in my direction. The creature does not nod back, but does walk over to me and places Glimmer’s fallen form on the floor next to me, before heading back of the room to go and fetch more of the bodies. 

I turn to face Glimmer’s fallen form and I sigh as I look at her. She has a look of pain on her face and her chest is wrecked, and I study her for a moment longer. And then I begin to decide what to do.