“The Element Test” by Lucy Goldberg

Leaf

Complete rage, anger, fury, the want to completely destroy everyone in Plant Group until I was the only one left, are all understatements of what I feel right now. I was trained, and I was tricked. They said I needed to be stronger, over and over again. I believed them. I was starting to get suspicious when my powers were stronger than my instructors. But I kept going, now I find out what they really wanted. They wanted me to take part in the Element Test. A stupid games between groups with no point but to prove who’s the strongest. I mean WHO CARES? That’s exactly what I asked my mother. She was zero help, as usual.

“Sweety, Plant Group cares,” meowed my mother Ivy.

I ask, “But why?”

“You should think it’s an honor, Leaf. You know only one cat from our entire group gets to compete, if you win you’ll be a hero!” she protested. My pale brown fur bristled and curls of poison ivy sprang from the ground.

“But if I lose, I’ll be hurt, if I win I’ll be hurt! Who would want to do that?” I growled.

“I understand, Leaf, but it’s already been decided, I couldn’t change it or I would,” she says in that babying I’m-talking-to-a-irrational-kitten way.

“No, you wouldn’t! You don’t care about me! You just care about me winning, which I won’t!” I growled and stormed to my nest.

“Leafy, make sure you get a good sleep, tomorrow the Element Test starts,” she said, completely ignoring me, and ending the conversation.

“I’ll surrender first!” I yowl, “I’ll make you wish you picked someone else!”

“That’s nice, Leafy, goodnight to you, too,” she meowed and curls up in her nest beside mine. I lay awake wondering what I’ll actually do.

Flame

Yes! Yes! I’m in the Element Test. It’s going to be awesome! The early light of the thing that isn’t night… oops I forgot what’s it’s called. Anyway, I’m going to win! And if anyone gets in my way I’ll burn them up! Litteringly! That’s the word right? My orange fur is on end with excitement. I jump to my paws and do a backflip! Cause nothing says awesome like a backflip!

“Let’s go, Flame!” meowed my father, Flare.

“Coming!” I yowl doing backflips all the way. When we reached the stadium I see a forest that extends longer than I can see! Which is something, because I am great at everything, and that includes seeing.

“The Fire Group challenger, Flame has arrived!” called the announcer.

“You better believe it losers! Supreme Overlord will win the Element Test!” I called, then I actually saw the competition. The first cat I saw was a pale brown she-cat with flashing green eyes, she was glaring at the audience, and if glares could kill, well, I’m not usually scared of anything and I was scared for the audience. But luckily glares can’t kill… at least I don’t think they can. Carved at her feet was the word “Leaf–her name I think. She was obviously Plant Group. The next word I see in the dirt is “Soil” when I look above it I see a dark brown tom-cat with brown eyes. The cat next to him made me flinch. Stream, the Water Group champion. Her dark, blue-gray pelt was speckled with silver spots like river foam, her pale blue eyes flashed in the sun, she was beautiful, but I didn’t care! Another cat was a glossy silver tom, about half my size with unnaturally long claws, his name was “Steel,” and he was Metal Group. The next cat was a gray tom with a brown tipped tail, he was staring at the cat next him. The name plate read “Rock” probably from Boulder Group. The next cat was surprising, her name was Sky and she was pure white with white wings and cold blue eyes, she was smiling pleasantly, so she must be nice, right? The Poison Group champion is Venom, an oddly colored purple tom-cat with murky green eyes. The last competitor was a bright yellow she-cat with yellow eyes. She was titled “Lightning”. I shivered slightly but held my ground.

“Flame is the last of our challengers. The Element Test will now begin!” called the announcer. I ran out, flames in my paws. Let the games begin!

Stream

I can’t believe I was talked into this. I run into the forest with the rest of the group. Not knowing what I was going to do. Then I heard the flap of wings and shivered.

“Streamy, Stream,” cooed the voice. It was sing-song, but underneath it was as sharp as knives.

“Sky,” I muttered, and tried to dive into a bush where she might not see me.

“I heard my name,” Sky hissed and a gust of wind blew me backwards. That’s when I got a full look of Sky. Her white fur was glossy and well groomed. Her blue eyes flashed with triumph and ferocity. Come closer… I think, and suddenly I have a plan. Not to make her surrender. I could never do that. However, I think I could get her away from me, at least for the moment. She comes closer to me.

“Surrender Streamy-Stream,” she coos.

“You first,” I growl. I summon the powers from a nearby stream and create a tidal wave. It washes over Sky, who clearly was sure I would surrender. She’s wet, probably cold, and was knocked head first into a tree. I run, I don’t make her surrender, because she might be faking, and then I’d be in trouble. I dive into the dark stream and swim to the bottom. Water Group cats can breathe underwater. I need to find a good place, preferably near a stream to make sort of a base. Sky might come back… then it hits me. I survived my first battle in the Element Test! I jump out of the stream and shake myself. I think of the of the competitors, Venom, Flame, Sky, Leaf, Rock… And others I couldn’t remember. I find a small island, surrounded by a semi-deep stream, perfect. I will stay here and wait. I finally am thinking about less important things than not surrendering. Like whether there’s any chance for a half-decent competitor. Or maybe if there’s fish in this stream. I stick my paw in. The silver on my paw blends in right with the water and soon I see a fish. I send a blast of water that pushes it into the air and to my paws. I pick it up in my jaws and bring it to the center of the island. I might stay here for the entire element test, no one could stop me because of the water. I’d also gain strength from the water. I settle down knowing I’d be safe, at least for a little while…

Sky

Soaking wet and blinded by rage. I’d been that way before… No do not think about him! Stay focused! I growled to myself. But still an image of a pale gray tom with pale gray wings and warm blue eyes flashed in my mind. Stay focused! The best way to get revenge would be to win this, and that’s what I plan on doing. I shake myself off and take flight. Okay, strategy, think. Find the biggest idiots and use them as cronies… Okay Flame and Soil, done.

“Die!” I hear a scream from below me. I swoop down and see Rock and Soil fighting. Great, not perfect, it would be best if it was Flame and Soil, but Rock and Soil is still good. I shoot a blast of wind between them.

“Hey, what!” yowled Rock.

“Come here pretty bird,” coos Soil. He’s already figured out who sent the wind, maybe he isn’t so dumb.

“With pleasure,” I meow. They weren’t expecting that, and I almost laugh.

“Ready to surrender?” asked Soil. I am tempted to flinch, but I don’t. The slightest weakness will lead to them trying to attack me.

“You could do that… or you could win,” I say slyly, see now I’ve got their attention, which is only slightly larger than their aggression, but I’ve still got a hold on them.

“How could we win?” asked Rock.

“By following me, together,” I meow.

“Why would we want to do that?” Rock asked. Soil is just nodding.

“Because, I practiced strategy in Air Group, and you practiced fighting, together we’d be unstoppable,” I say. I’ve practiced combat, too. It took up a lot of my time in fact. But at the moment letting them know that doesn’t help me.

“But what happens when we’re in the final three,” Soil sounds excited.

“I’ll surrender, and you and Rock will finish your fight,” I meow.

“Promise?” asked Rock.

“Promise,” I meowed. Of course I’m lying, but who would make that promise? It leaves me with nothing.
Besides it’s all in the name of well-deserved revenge.

“I’m in!” yowls Soil. The fool, he’s literally shaking with excitement.

“Very well…” Rock sounds more hesitant, but I’ve got him.

“Great!” I pretend to be excited, to be the foolish and peaceful Air-Group cat that everyone thinks I am, “We’re going to have so much fun!” Oh yes… they have no idea how much fun I’ll be having anyway.
Leaf

Well, here I am, in the Element Test, running for my life. My paws pound against the soft ground in the deep forest. Well, maybe not deep for long. How did I know this would happen? Oh, I know! Because this always happens!

“Come on Leaf!” Flame yells, “Die!” He’s yelling it like he thinks I’ll do it.

“You’ll have to make me!” I call. He jumps toward me and I hold him off by creating a tree barrier. But I don’t know how long it will hold until he burns it. Sure enough, it turns to ashes.

“Burn goes the tree!” he laughs. I shudder and he laughs with fire at his paws. He walks toward me. He lashes out a paw.

“Hey, be careful, Plant Group cats are flammable you know!” as soon as I said, I know I made a huge mistake.

“I know!” he laughs. He walks toward me he’s getting closer. Note to Plant Group: this is why I didn’t want to go to the Element Test!

“Wait! Wait! I can help you… with . . . um,” What was the Water Champions’ name? I think, Oh wait, Stream! “I can help you with that, Stream!” I blurt out. He stops, the fire dies in his paws.

“What are you suggesting?” he asked.

“I’m suggesting that we make an alliance, you don’t attack me until we’re the final two, and I’ll find Stream and take her down!” I meow.

“Deal!” he says instantly, I can tell he was really worried about Stream.

“Great, I’ll go now!” I meow. He probably thinks I just handed him the game, but I can beat him if I know what to expect. Now to find Stream…. I hop into the trees. This will make it harder for Flame to find me if he changes his mind, also I can travel fast. How do you find a Water Group cat? Easy. Find water and follow it. Soon I find a stream. Ha, I’m trying to find a cat named Stream by following a stream. But soon I see I small island, and a sure enough, a blue-gray and silver she-cat resting in the sun. Wow, she must be really confident no one can get to her. Come to think about it, how am I going to get to her? Then, I see a small branch hanging over the island. No other cat could balance on that, but I can. I jump onto the branch and hop down, for a second I’m scared I’ll come short and drown in the water. But then thankfully, my paws hit land.

“Who’s there?” Stream asked. So she heard me, whatever.

“Leaf, Plant Group champion, yadda yadda yadda,” I meow plainly.

“L-Leaf? How did you get here, it’s surrounded by water!” Stream meows. Her blue eyes are wide with fear. I feel a pang of regret for what I promised Flame, but if I don’t do it I might get seriously hurt. But I would seriously hurt Stream…

“That branch, it overlooks the island, you could do with some good, sheltering pines,” I meow.

“I-I would?” she asked.

“Yes, you’re completely vulnerable to the Air-Group champion here, some trees could protect you, cats could enter through the side, but there’s a lake,” I explain. She freezes in terror, something tells me the two have already met.

“Good point,” she concedes.

“I’ll start now,” I say. This is an alliance I’d prefer, one where I have the advantage, and Flame couldn’t come near here.

“It’s nice,” comments Stream, and I grin, “it just needs to be a little more wet!” Before I can be surprised I see a giant wave of water heading in my direction. I summon a tree and it carries me above the water, which is receding. I jump down, creating log steps.

“So that’s how we’re going to play it!” I growl.

“What?” Stream sounds confused the wave didn’t drown me. I’m tempted to smile. I summon a giant tree under her feet. It lifts her up . . . up . . . up . . . until she’s nothing but a speck of blue-gray. I lay down and create a strawberry bush. I collect strawberries and eat them casually. I can never understand why the other groups don’t eat plants! Bird Brain Sky will be along any minute, and my part of Flame and I’s alliance will be completed.

Flame

That Leaf-cat handed me the game! She doesn’t realize what she’s doing. With the stream gone, I’ll be unstoppable. What was the Water Group cat’s name? Oh yeah, Stream! Getting rid of her would be helpful too! I hear a crackling noise and spin around. A yellow she-cat steps out of some tall bushes. Her name is Lighting, or something….

“Hello Flame,” she says menacingly.

“Who are you?” I ask.

“I am Lightning, champion of Electric Group,” Lightning says.

“Do you want to join our alliance?” I ask. Lightning plus Leaf plus the Supreme Ruler, otherwise known as me, would be unstoppable.

“Your alliance? With whom?” she asks. What would be the harm in telling the dangerous competitor about me and Leaf’s alliance?

“With Leaf!” I say helpfully.

“Thank you!” she says.

“You’re welcome,” as I begin to walk away she shoots a blast of lightning at my face.

“Hey! I helped you!” I say angrily.

“Yes and now I don’t need you!” she says approaching.

“You betraying, annoying cat!” I say.

“Which is why no one will miss her!” I hear the beating of wings and look to the sky. It’s a bird! It’s
a flying blob of white! Oh wait no…. it’s Sky.

“Huh?” I ask intelligently. Sky blows air toward Lightning, and it bowls her over. Lightning tries to hit Sky with lightning but misses.

“Sky sweeps down and claws Lightning in the chest, skillfully avoiding the lightning at Lightning’s claws. They battle on, I hear Sky yowl in pain and then a snarl. I see a tornado for a moment and then it’s gone. Lightning slams into a rock near me. Then I hear one of the loudest growls I’ve ever heard and the announcer’s booming voice. Sky has surrendered?

“Lightning has surrendered at the hands of Sky!” calls the announcer. I watch Sky flying away, cleaning her pelt, which is stained red. She’s heading for water. She’s heading for Stream. I can’t let that happen to Stream, I just can’t.

Stream

Remind me to never mess with Leaf again. I feel the wind in my fur. It’s a beautiful sunny day. I have only one enemy to worry about. I’m on top of one of the most beautiful, most green trees I’ve ever seen. I’m completely absolutely terrified. Number one, I’m afraid of heights. Number two, I see I white splotch on the horizon. That means Sky.

“Leaf! Leaf, let me down!” I beg. She probably can’t hear me. Great. I’m going to die.

“Leaf!” I call again.

“What?” she asks. Her voice is faint, but she’s probably screaming.

“Let me down! I see Sky!” I call.

“Have fun being bird-bait!” she calls. Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t have tried to hit her with a wave, but I panicked! It’s not easy watching someone who could hurt you at any moment be aware of your presence but completely ignore you!

“Leaf I’m sorry! I panicked!” I scream, she has to listen to me, Sky has it in for me!

“Sorry helps no one, eliminating competition helps me!” she calls.

“Leaf, Sky’s getting closer!” I yell.

“Go die in a tree,” she growls. Suddenly I hear Leaf yell. The tree begins to burn. Water forms in my paws to keep me from being burnt as the tree gets shorter. I see a splotch of ginger on the shore. Flame! The Fire Group champion who seemed afraid of me. As my paws hit the ground I feel a rush of relief. I hear Sky’s yowl of annoyance. I can tell she’s considering flying down but she knows Leaf’s with me.

“Thanks!” I call to him. Leaf makes a log bridge to the island and Flame runs across. I must be seeing things because it looks like he’s doing backflips.

“Hi Leaf!” he says cheerily. She takes a step back but doesn’t flee.

“What are you doing? Another five minutes and she would’ve been bird-bait!”

“Maybe’s he’s just nice?” I say quietly.

“Nice? He sent me after you, fish-face!” Leaf growled.

“He did?” I look at Flame, he’s looking at me, he’s grinning stupidly. One look at Leaf and I can tell this is his normal face, but I see something more.

“What’s your name?” I say stupidly, even though I know his name.

“Flame,” he says.

“Stream,” I say quickly. We stare at each other, like there’s a force in each other’s eyes.

“Your face is purple,” he says finally. I break eye contact and run to the lake. I must have been blushing hard, because my fur’s a dark blue, to make it seem purple takes effort.

“Well my face isn’t purple,” I say, returning to the main area of the island.

“Yes miss obvious anything else you’d like to say?” asked Leaf. She clearly has had enough.

“I’d like to join whatever alliance you have!” I say quickly.

“No!” says Leaf quickly.

“Yes!” says Flame at the same time.

“Which is it?” I ask, confused.

“Since I’m the leader, you can stay!” Flame says happily.

“Since you’re the leader?!Let me tell you something you burning log-” Leaf begins.

“Burning log?” asked Flame, he just sounds confused.

“Yes, and you have the brain of one too!” Leaf growls.

“Don’t fight!” I yell.

“Okay, Flame, I’ll make you a deal, Stream can join our alliance, if neither of us is leader,” Leaf negotiates.

“Deal!” Flame says. They shake tails. Above me I hear Sky’s angry yowl. She knows about the alliance, but she can’t do anything….yet.

Sky

So they think they can escape me with an alliance? I thought Leaf and Stream were smarter than that….Flame, I’m surprised he knows what the word alliance means. If only Leaf’s plan had worked, I would have destroyed Stream, and let Leaf stay in the game for, I don’t know, a day? No one else but me will win this, no one else deserves to. With Flame, Leaf and Stream out of the picture, Rock and Soil on my side, and Lightning already surrendered, that leaves Steel, and Venom. I remember the terrified look on Lightning’s face and smile. I remember a cat who looked exactly like Lightning, a cat who I would give anything to see the look on her face.

(flashback)

“Now tell me, why are you in Water group?” the golden she-cat with yellow eyes snarled. The gray tom’s wings tied up in a watery rope. As Sky hid behind her brother she realized something, Fog, her fearless brother was doubting himself for the first time as that terrible yellow she-cat circled around him coming closer and closer to her… I shake myself. Enough of dreamland! I have work to do! I beckon Soil and Rock together.

“We will find Venom,” I told them, “when we find him we will make him an example. We will show all cats what I can do! Rock fidgeted and walked up to Sky.

“Don’t you mean what we can do?” he asked quietly.

“Sure, that’s what I meant,” I growled. If he backed out… let’s just say it’s in his best interests to not back out.

“I’ll get Soil,” he says quickly. Good he’s afraid, that is useful I think. If he does the inevitable and leaves I can use his fear against him easily.

“Do that, quickly, and remember, if you even look like you’re thinking of leaving you’ll suffer the same fate as Lightning!” I growl. That sends him running. Now as he runs I am free to scout ahead and find Venom in peace. He’s not doing anything, the fool. Doesn’t he realize that the more people he takes out the less there are? Sure it sounds dumb but if you think about it, it’s really the point of this whole game. So if he’s doing nothing he’s obviously not ambitious, or is overconfident. Both are traits I can use to my advantage. Rock is returning with Soil.

“Come on! We’re catching Venom!” I yell to them. They follow me, I still can’t believe that I won’t keep my promise. We watch him eat the prey he probably just killed. He has no idea I’m there….

Leaf

I must say Stream’s been more useful than I anticipated, not very useful, but useful enough. I just worry that Flame and Stream will team up on me if we get to the final three. It’s all fun and games until your friends (or at least companions) turn on you. Plus, I’ve been doing all the work lately and Flame and Stream just scout for nonexistent enemies. I can’t say it’s all bad though. I can actually get sleep at night knowing that Stream or Flame’s got night watch. Of course my shift is always at the middle of the night, but it’s better than nothing. Morning is always my favorite time of day. When all the plants are freshest and when Flame and Stream aren’t awake yet. that’s probably how I stay sane, and how I will continue to stay sane this entire Element Test. Not that Stream’s insane, it’s just Flame I can’t stand. Who really can stand Flame? It seems impossible with the way he doesn’t act like he belongs here. Of course Stream likes him. But Stream’s face turned purple when she first saw him so she doesn’t really count. It all comes down to the fact that Flame is dumb. Dumb cats are almost as dangerous as cunning cats because if they just run around using their powers they don’t know they did anything wrong. Flame in a nutshell.

“Leaf!” calls Flame. Oh joy. “Leaf! Where are you? STREAM! Leaf is missing!” Flame is yelling his head off for me. Maybe he won’t kill me, but he probably will.

“I’m coming,” I say, he probably can’t hear me. Am I supposed to care?

“Leaf where were you?” demanded Stream.

“I was taking a walk, it’s not exactly easy to breathe with both of you sleeping in the den with me,” I meow.

“Well I’m sorry but you gave me permission,” fumed Stream.

“I know, I just- sometimes I just need time to myself,” I muttered.

“It’s fine,” smiled Stream.

“No it’s not Leaf!” meowed Flame.

“Too bad Burning Log!” I growl. He looks hurt but I really don’t care.

“Don’t talk to Flame like that!” growled Stream.

“Burning Log is too stupid to process it!” I hiss.

“His name is Flame!”

“Really? I hadn’t noticed!” I leer, Stream’s face is purple again, I can practically see the smoke coming out of her ears. Her claws are unsheathed, who knew Stream was a fighter? Flame, just as I suspected, hasn’t processed this. 3…2..1….

“Stream is right!” he growled.

“What are we talking about?” I asked him.

He muttered,“Um… I…. I don’t know I guess,” See this is what I mean, he doesn’t even know what we’re talking about and he still defends Stream, it’s like I’m as bad as Sky.

“I guess I’m not needed in your stupid alliance then am I?” I ask deadly quiet.

“Leaf, that’s not what I said,” defended Stream.

“It’s what you meant,” I growled.

“We need Leaf cat,” I hear Flame say to Stream. But I can’t tell his heart isn’t in it. That’s it. No more alliance I can survive fine on my own. Then I hear A noise. More accurately I scream. Then a hiss of annoyance.

“What’s wrong with you idiots? Pin him!” Sky. I create a tree that lifts me upward, I see Sky, Rock and Soil pinning down Venom, who’s trying to claw at them but it’s no use.

“I did,” I hear Rock growl, there’s uncertainty in his eyes, but Sky ignores it. With a shutter I realize why. It’s because it doesn’t matter. Even if he is uncertain it won’t make the slightest difference because if he objects he is going to surrender. No matter what most Air Group is like Sky is here to win.

“Great,” Sky meows. Part of me wants Rock to object to her plans, to force Sky to prove what she’s capable of. But I have a sick feeling I’m about to find out. Sky slashes her claws down Venom’s back scoring deep wounds and he screams.

“Surrender,” Sky meows plainy. She shows no enjoyment just the urge to get the job done.

“Never,” growls Venom.

“Very well,” Sky slashes again this time on the side of his face, “how about now?”

“Never,” this time his voice was weaker. I fought the urge to spring into action, but then I knew that his fate would be mine. Rock is flinching with every slash, I can tell he’s fighting the urge to stop it too.

“Very well,” Sky slashes again and again, this time using wind until he can barely breathe.

“I surrender,” he meows, his voice so weak I can barely hear it.

“Great choice,” Sky growls. Venom swipes his claw against a piece of wood that lights a red flame (Fire Group trick) that signals his surrender. Within an instant a watcher cat is there and carries him away. Now I see Sky’s plan. She is stronger than Rock and Soil combined. She makes sure they know it. She will pick off every cat one by one. It’s a flawless strategy that leaves only one path of action for me. I need to rejoin the alliance.

Flame

I always knew Leaf cat would come back. No one can stay away from my awesomeness! Not even a cat as not awesome as Flying Cat. She’s circling us right now! Streamy says she looks like a deranged vulture when she does that. I say she looks like a cat with wings flying in circles. It turns out I’m right, she is a cat with wings flying in circles, so HA! But before long she’s a cat with wings flying down fast. Streamy starts to freak out but I don’t know why after all. Name the last cat with wings who attacked us! No one! Then I remember Flying Cat tried to hurt Streamy, no one would hurt my Streamy!

“Bad flying cat!” I yell putting up a wall of fire between Flying Cat and Streamy.

“Insolent fool!” growls Flying Cat but she stopped.

“Ha ha! I stopped Flying cat! I stopped Flying cat!” I gloated, I had indeed stopped Flying cat. Flying Cat doesn’t look worried that’s weird.

“I wouldn’t be so sure you stupid Burning Log,” she cooed.

“What did you call him?” demanded Streamy.

“A stupid Burning Log, which is what he is,” said Flying Cat. Streamy looks purple again, I wonder why. Water shoots out toward Flying Cat. Sky dodges and the fire wall is completely destroyed.

“Streamy! Why’d you do that?” I demand. Flying Cat smiles wickedly and dives.

“Stream watch out!” Leaf cat barrels into Flying Cat, summoning vines to entangle her.

“Leaf!” Streamy sighs, relieved. Flying Cat growls and slashes through the vines.

“Where are your cronies?” Leaf cat demands to Flying Cat.

“What cronies?” she asks innocently.

“The ones you used to destroy Venom!” Leaf cat hisses. I do remember Venom’s announcement but I just assumed that Flying Cat was doing it because Venom was being a not awesome, he probably didn’t know how to do backflips. Shameful. But I am quickly learning that I am the awesomest cat alive.

“SUPREME OVERLORD WILL NOW SAVE STREAMY!” I yell. I try to burn Flying Cat. I have never seen Flying Cat do a backflip that is enough reason for her to be burned. I chase after Flying Cat. Who flies above a lake.

“SUPREME OVERLORD WILL WALK ON WATER USING FIRE!”

“Good luck with that,” muttered Flying Cat. I guess she thought that the impossible would happen, unfortunately it did happen.

“HELP I’M DROWNING! STREAMY SAVE ME!” I cried. She better save me! I am too awesome to lose! Sure enough Streamy pulls me out of the water.

“Flame, what were you thinking?” demanded Streamy.

“From what we’ve learned from this, probably nothing,” muttered Leaf cat. “What do you see in him Stream?”

“Streamy,” I correct. Leaf cat needs to show Streamy proper respect, everyone knows that her title is
Streamy.

“Right,” Leaf cat meows, “let’s go make a camp.”

Stream

Leaf’s wrong about Flame. He was trying to save me, at least I think. But whatever he was doing it somehow made Sky leave, and that makes at least a good cat. Leaf brings us to a sheltered area. Surrounded by trees.

“I think this place will work,” she says finally stopping.

“You better hope so Leaf cat, or I will take away your power to do backflips!” said Flame. See? Flame is funny! He can’t really be that stupid. Can he? Leaf would probably say yes but when he’s with me he seems smart enough.

“I’m soooo scared,” meowed Leaf.

“BE AFRAID! SUPREME OVERLORD WILL CONTROL BACKFLIPS!” Flame yowled.

“Supreme Overlord?” I ask.

“Well…um… that’s me,” Flame explains. I laugh.

“That’s funny Flame,” I meow. Leaf sighs, for one of my allies she’s awfully mean. That said I’m glad
she came back. Flame can be stupid sometimes and it’s good to have someone to talk to.

“You think he’s being funny, watch. Flame how do you count to ten?” asked Leaf. Flame did a backflip.

“One,” he did another, “two…” This kept going on until he got to ten.

“And you thought he couldn’t count to ten,” I meow. Leaf says she can survive on her
own and comes back within fifteen minutes, maybe she’s not as smart as she thinks. Then I hear a rustling in the bushes. I guess Flame does too because he goes into fire-throwing mode. He burns down the bush and I see a small gray cat.

“Steel,” muttered Leaf.

“Competitors,” greeted Steel, unsheathing his claws. I shivered, they were at least twice as long as mine, and he was a little more than half my size.

“What do you want Steel?” demanded Leaf.

“Yeah Steel,” Flame meowed, “what do you want?”

“What every competitor wants from you of course,” Steel meowed, “your surrender.”

“Because that’s likely,” Leaf fumes, “there are three of us and one of you.”

“But I am more skilled than you, you will know that when you are home after your surrender.”

“Bring it on!” growls Flame. Steel charges at Flame. I blast Steel with water. Leaf flops on her back and Steel falls into her claws. Flame blasts fire at him, Steel is still standing and lunges at Leaf. She tangles him in vines. He struggles against them and in a second he’s broken free. Leaf knocks him into the air and I claw at him. He returns my claw and hits the in the side hard. I fall back and my head hits the ground, everything is fading. The last thing I hear is Flame yelling.

“STREAMY!” and then everything goes black.

Sky

“Steel has surrendered at the paws of Flame!” the announcer calls. Really that burning log can make cats surrender? Strange. Also another thing that’s strange is the looks Rock keeps giving me. If he didn’t like what I was doing he could have objected! Well, not without surrendering, but still! I wonder what inspired Flame to go crazy enough to make Steel surrender?

“Sky,” meowed Rock, he’s approaching me with a guilty look on his face, here comes to inevitable.

“Yes Rock?” I put on my best light-and-fluffy Air Group voice, I think it sounds convincing but Rock sees through it. Maybe he’s not as dumb as I thought.

“Sky I don’t want to do that again,” said Rock. I know exactly what he’s referring to, but I still press him.

“What don’t you want to do again, make a cat surrender? I thought that was what the game was about,” I fume.

“Not like that Sky, it felt like cheating,” muttered Rock.

“Really? How can you cheat in a game that has no rules?” I interrogate. Rock looks uncomfortable, maybe that will push him to stay in the alliance.

“I…I don’t know Sky it seems unfair! Venom probably could have beaten you if we hadn’t been holding him down,” meowed Rock. The fool thinks this about strength! This is about strategy as much as strength! Venom chose strength and I chose strategy look how things ended up!

“Just because I- I mean we have a different strategy than him doesn’t make ours unfair,” I tell Rock, he looks unconvinced.

“I don’t care Sky, I’m not doing that again. If that means I can’t be in your alliance than I don’t want to be in it,” says Rock, he glares at me defiantly. Now is not the time for his surrender, but I can see a brilliant scene unfolding.

“Very well Rock, you are free to go,” I say peacefully. Rock gapes at me, he was clearly preparing for a fight.

“R-really?” he asks.

“Yes of course. I respect your desicion,” I say.

“Great! Thanks Sky!” he runs off, I watch him until I know that he can’t see me. Than I beckon Soil. If Rock thinks he’s going to get away from me unscathed he’s got another thing coming.

“Ok dirt-for-brains this is how we attack,” I tell him and we begin to plan.

Leaf

Stream’s breathing, so she’s not dead, but Flame won’t listen to me when I tell him that.

“Streamy’s going to die!” he wails whenever I try.

“No she’s not Burning Log! She’s unconscious! She’ll wake up!” I growl. But the more time goes on and the more time goes past without Stream waking up the more I think I should light her flare and let the Water Group healer’s help her. Now that I’ve been thinking about this, if she dies because I didn’t light her flare it will be my fault. But whenever I mention my idea to Flame he starts going into ‘Streamy’s going to die’ mode.

“You can’t have her surrender! Please!” he’ll always say at the end of all his wailing.

“Listen Flame! If you want her to not die you’ll let me light her flare!” I try shoving him out of the way but he stands his ground. So I’ve been sitting here thinking most of the time and sending Flame out to hunt. It looks like I’m finally leader. Flame isn’t as dumb as he usually is when matters involve Stream, so he hid her flare. I’ve been turning the camp upside and inside out looking for it. I’m beginning to think Flame takes it everywhere he goes. Which would be Flame-type stupid because if you ignites his fire power while holding it Stream will surrender. I’m sitting in the camp, just waiting for Stream to wake up. I’ve created a nice mango tree and I’m eating some mangoes (Plant Group cats are vegetarians) when I hear a noise in the bushes. I think of Stream and how she doesn’t have her flare. Fierce anger fills my body and I charge at the bush, poison ivy at my claws.

“I come in peace!” a voice yells. Out steps a gray tom-cat eyes filled with fear.

“Rock,” I snarl, “leave now.”

“You don’t understand! I’m not in Sky’s alliance anymore!” he says.

“I don’t believe you, how do I know you’re not you’re not going to report back to Sky?”

“Because I’ll tell you anything about her plans you want to know!” Rock says. This is an interesting turn of events.

“Very well, what’s her strategy? Who’s her next target? How can we stop her?” I ask.

“Ok, her strategy is that she’s going to take down every other cat but Soil, after that she told us she’ll surrender but she’s not going to. Her next target is me, probably because I left her alliance. And your best chance of defeating her is taking out Soil,” he says quickly.

“Well then, you need to leave,” I meow calmly.

“Really? You don’t believe me after all I just told you?” he demands.

“It’s not that, but I need anything that can bring Sky here as far away as possible. Nothing personal,” I hiss. I think of Stream, and of Sky’s evident hatred for Stream and shiver. If Rock leads Sky here
Stream could die.

“Please! Sky will kill me!” begs Rock.

“Why should I care?” I ask, this is about Stream surviving, not about me helping some cat dumb enough to ally themselves with Sky.

“Because I could help you! I could join up with you! It would be us four against Sky’s two!” he insists. That makes sense, but I need to hide Stream.

“Uh give me a moment to…um.. think!” I say quickly and run towards the den area. Stream is still on the nest of soft leaves and feathers, next to Flame’s of just feathers, and mine of just leaves. There’s room for one ore nest, but I’m not sure I want Rock seeing Stream unconscious. Just then I hear a weak voice.

“Leaf?” I turn around and see Stream, her ice-blue eyes half open.

“STREAM! You’re awake! Ok I’ll be right back!” I rush out of the den.

“Ok Rock, you can join the alliance,” I meow.

Flame

Leaf cat saved Streamy! Streamy’s alive! Maybe Leaf cat is almost as awesome as me! But probably not! Because I’m awesomest! And so is Streamy! Who’s alive! Leaf cat did let Rock cat join the alliance, which is bad because Rock cat is working with Flying Cat! But Rock cat can do backflips which makes him good! I told Streamy how I heroically defeated the evil Steel! She was very impressed, until Leaf cat came and told her that Leaf cat helped me. All Leaf cat did was hold him down and tell me what to do! Rock cat seems ok, and he hasn’t gone to Flying Cat! Flying Cat is circling us again! She must really like me, which is normal because I’M AWESOME! Or Streamy, but Streamy’s mine!

“Sky’s circling us again,” muttered Leaf cat grimly. Rock cat looks terrified. But I, the Supreme Overlord fear nothing! NOTHING! Except maybe Streamy dying, but other than that nothing!

“She must like me,” I tell Leaf cat.

“No you imbecile! She’s going to attack! Other than Soil we’re the only cats left!” Leaf cat meows. That doesn’t make any sense, I’m the awesomest cat! Of course Flying Cat is here because she likes me!

“THE SUPREME OVERLORD IS NOT AN IMBECILE!” I roar. Streamy gives me a weird look. I quiet down. Leaf cat looks surprised then nods understandingly.

She says slyly, “Well not to Stream, but you really are,”

“No I’m not! What do you know Leaf cat?” I ask, because Leaf cat doesn’t know anything.

“More than you!” she snarls.

“Guys, hate to break a fight up, but we have more immediate problems,” Streamy meowed gesturing towards Sky.

“Flying Cat just likes me, there’s no need to worry,” I meow smiling at Flying Cat.

“There is need to worry!” meowed Rock cat tensely.

“Rock is right,” murmured Streamy, she could pounce at any moment. Just then in a fury of claws hit my side. I turned around to see Soil, with a snarl he led me and Stream away from Rock and Leaf. Then he began fighting and said the same words I had said to Steel.

“BRING IT ON!”

Stream

I’m not sure what Leaf was thinking when she brought Rock into the alliance. From what I can tell she felt sorry for him. But now I can hear the woosh of air that signifies that Sky is going to be landing soon. What will happen to Leaf? Leaf tried to wake me up! Leaf made sure that I was safe when I was unconscious! Nothing can happen to Leaf without myself being in serious danger. A slash in the chest snaps me out of those worries and into newer ones. Soil. Soil is convinced Sky will let him win, so he’ll do anything to please Sky. Including kill Flame and I.
“Flame!” I call, he turns and slashes with fire at Soil. Isn’t Flame great? He always had my back! He hid my flare so that Leaf couldn’t make me surrender, he always believed I would recover! I join and Soil is pushed backward. Soil growls angrily. I saw a giant tree go up and Sky jumping back. Leaf was fighting Sky. I remember Sky’s murderous glare when she was coming down. Leaf is in trouble. I run towards the bushes but Soil raises the ground in front of me.

“No one interferes!” he growls.

“Let me go!” I spat.

“No one leaves,” repeated Soil.

“No one says no to Streamy!” Flame charges into Soil and tries to get his fire onto Soil’s fur. Soil jumps back.

“That’s the best you got?” growled Soil.

“NO IT’S NOT! SUPREME OVERLORD WILL NOT FAIL!” yowls Flame. It’s amazing how Flame can joke during the middle of battle. Flame shot a huge burst of fire towards Soil.

“Flame! Watch out!” I yowl as his Flame’s almost hit me instead.

“Sorry Streamy!”

“That’s it!” If Soil is going to have Flame hurt me than there is going to be a problem. I prepare to fight.

“Is little Streamy angry?” taunted Soil.

“More than you know!” blasting water at Soil and knocking him into a tree. Then I pounce on him slashing at him hard. Flame joins in laughing yelling something about ‘supreme overlord’ I think that may be his favorite phrase.

“Alright, alright, I surrender!” cried Soil. I light his flare and a tabby cat from Dirt Group leads him out of the forest. The announcer’s booming voice fills the clearing.

“Soil has surrendered at the paws of Stream!” A weird sense of accomplishment fills me. I did it! I made a contestant surrender!
Sky
Great, now my alliance is completely destroyed! No more Rock, and dirt-brain Soil couldn’t take a hit! Leaf’s fighting for dear life, and what bothers me is she’s winning. But she made the mistake of making a thorn bush with tangled vines. A good blast of wind…. The next time Leaf pounces a blast her into the thorn bush and she’s stuck, then I advance on Rock. A blast of wind and he’s on his back.

“S-Sky you said I could leave,” meowed Rock, terrified.

“You did leave, but I never said I’d leave you alone!” I hiss, walking closer. Rock backs away whimpering.

“S-Sky what are you going to do to me?” demanded Rock. As I reach him he shrinks away in fear and I snarl unsympathetically. His eyes light up in terror as he sees me unsheathe my claws. I relish in his fear as I begin flapping wings and he’s pressed against the ground.

“What I do to all competitors except you get a… special prize for deserting me!” I’m holding him down with the wind from beating from my wings. My paws are free to claw him as much as I like. You can hear each of our breathes, it’s surprisingly easy to tell what we’re feeling from them. I can feel my breathes, long and triumphant, Leaf’s are deep, she’s trying to destress. Rock’s are short and terrified, he knows what’s about to happen.

“Sky please let me go,” Rock mewed.

“What’s the word I’m looking for: NEVER!” I claw him in the side. He flinches.

“Sk-Sky don’t kill me…”

“This is your chance I’ll give you three seconds to surrender,” he gets ready to scratch his flare, “oops, did I say three seconds, I meant zero.” With that I slash my claws across his throat. .The blood trickles down to where Leaf is, Leaf lets out a horrified cry. When I’m sure he’s dead I fly away. I can feel Leaf’s glare even when I’m out of her eye-sight. For the first time I begin to doubt. What I’ve been doing before was not killing, well obviously but I mean it in a deeper sort of way. It didn’t seem so…. evil. No! Stop it! What I did was right! I need to get revenge. This. Game. Is. About. Vengeance. Now that I’m almost there I can’t be questioning myself now. The other groups are evil, I know that by now.

“Fog are you sure they’ll like it?” I ask.

“I’m sure Sky, the other cats aren’t as hostile as they seem,” my brother meows.

“If you’re sure…” I fly out with him. We fly over the border of Air group, and we see the giant lake that shows Water Group land. Fog was in training to be a peace-maker then, he was showing me all the groups, the first one he ever actually took me to was Water Group. He was always so laid back, so trusting. He used to play with me all the time and we would pretend we were different Groups.

“Come on, I’ll show you, every group is friendly if you show them the right respect,” He would always win the games, I would play the leader character and he would always convince me to be friends with his character. Then we’d go inside and get a juicy piece of prey to celebrate. He was always amazing at negotiations, just good enough to make me tentatively fly forward. Soon enough we see three Water Group cats. The leader is gray, he looked exactly like Rock. One is yellow, and the final one is black. They don’t look friendly. They instantly tie Fog up with a watery rope. I manage to hide in some reeds.

“Now tell me, why are you in Water group?” the golden she-cat with yellow eyes snarled. The gray tom’s wings tied up in a watery rope. As Sky hid behind her brother she realized something, Fog, her fearless brother was doubting himself for the first time as that terrible yellow she-cat circled around him coming closer and closer to me…. If they find me I will die, they won’t let both of us survive.

“Stay away from my sister!” Fog growls.

“Your sister?” asked the gray cat.

“No! Never mind! My sister isn’t here!” Fog says quickly.

“Sure she’s not…” said the gray cat, “I wonder if she’s in those reeds…” he walks towards me. I am severely tempted to fly but I know I’d never escape.

“No! Stop!” Fog yowled.

“Will you tell us if Air Group isn’t attacking?” asked the gray cat. Air Group had been planning to attack, though Air Group was generally peaceful, Water Group had land before their lake that Air Group thought should be theirs. They were planning to attack and Water Group clearly thought he was a spy.

“Yes! Yes! It is! Now let Sky go!” Fog yowled. The gray cat walked away, and I took to the sky before they could say “go.” The last thing I saw was the ground covered by water and a gray wing sinking below. That’s when I knew, the other groups were evil, especially Water Group and if Air Group didn’t think that they were just pathetic fools.

What I was doing right! Fog would want to be avenged! I had to win this for Fog. I need to avenge Fog.

Leaf

I can’t believe Sky would do that. I always knew she was dangerous but I never thought she would kill. I never thought she would go that far. He was going to surrender! It’s only a matter of time before Sky comes back. But you know what? I’ll be ready for her. So let her hit me with her best shot. No, that’s stupid. Let me hit her with my best shot. Sure enough she comes back, why wouldn’t she? She’s got us all where she wants us. She knows that Stream and Flame are probably exhausted and that I probably am too shaken to fight. I’m not saying that I’m not shaken, but not enough to keep me from fighting her. She had another thing coming if she thought she could win without a fight. Bird-brain came back by the end of the day. I guess Bird-brain couldn’t settle for one kill in one day so she came back. This time I was ready this time I wasn’t going to let her leave without surrendering.

“Bird-brain!” I called to her.

“Bird-brain?” she asked, “now don’t tell me who came up with that: Flame. It was Flame wasn’t it? Really Leaf, using Flame’s nicknames?”

“I actually came up with that one,” I snarl. She knows she’s annoying me, just circling there where I can’t reach her. But maybe I can reach her…. In an instant I shoot a giant tree right for her.

“Woah, no need to be testy,” she fumes dodging, “I just came for a little visit.”

“A visit?” I smirk, “I never knew you were so nice.”

“Leaf I know you don’t approve of methods, but this game isn’t about being nice,” hisses Sky.

“Last I checked it wasn’t about killing either,” I growl.

“Like I said, methods.”

“You’ll be banished from Air Group Sky,” I meow.

“Do you think I care?” this remark catches me by surprise.

“I would have thought you cared about leaving your family,” I snarled. Sky’s eyes darkened.

“No I really don’t. They don’t care if I leave either. My brother was always their favorite ‘Fog,
you’ll finally make peace between the Groups’ ‘Fog, you’re the best son we could ever have!’ ‘Fog you’ll do great things.’ I believed what they said and I loved him too. He showed me all the different groups and finally took me to see Water Group. And those killers,” she gestured to Stream who was joining me with Flame. “Murdered him.”

I demand, “That’s your excuse? Killing a Boulder Group cat because your brother was killed by Water Group?”

Sky seems to be considering my remark before speaking, “You know what, you’re right. I should be focusing more on Water Group. Thanks Leaf.”

Flame

Bad Leaf cat! How could she give Flying Cat the idea to hurt my Streamy! Flying Cat is chasing Streamy and Streamy is running. Why is Streamy running? If I was Streamy I’d stand and fight! Flying Cat is no match for my awesomeness! Leaf cat is running at top speed towards Flying Cat. Leaf cat knocked Flying Cat against a tree with a swift motion of her paw. But Flying Cat wasn’t going to go down without a fight. Flying Cat flew up higher. The clearing was filled with trees that Leaf cat created to stop Flying Cat from leaving. It just shows how less awesome Leaf cat is than me!
Stream screams, “Leaf I’m going to kill you for this!” Leaf cat flinches and shoots vines at Flying Cat. It entangles Flying Cat long enough for Streamy to run away.

“Leaf! You’re surrendering after Stream!” Flying Cat growls.

I am confused so I ask Flying Cat, “Why?” Flying Cat does not respond. She struggles against the vines. Leaf cat smirks.

“Sky, give me your flare,” she demanded.

“Why?” she asked, “you think these vines can hold me?”

“Sky. Give it to me now.” Flying Cat just growls. With a huge flap her white wings break the vines and she’s free. Streamy. Streamy’s in trouble.

“SUPREME OVERLORD WILL SAVE STREAMY AGAIN!” I roar and charge at Flying Cat.

Flying Cat lets out a roar of anger, “Not this time!”

“Flame!” Streamy yells, “Sky your fight is with me!” Flying Cat turns to Streamy.

“I guess you’re right.” With a blast of wind Flying Cat sends Streamy falling backwards.

“STREAMY!” In a rush of motion I’m on top of Flying Cat who snarls with hatred. She throws me off of her and I send a blast of fire straight towards her face. She skillfully dodges and lunges towards Streamy. Streamy flinches as Sky directs a huge gale of wind towards her. I will stop Flying Cat! I will be awesome! I jump in front of the wind.

Stream

Flame can’t have been hurt! I run over to where Sky hit him with the wind. He’s not bleeding but he’s clearly injured.

I can barely talk, “Flame…” It’s my fault it’s all my fault. Sky is after me, Flame shouldn’t have been hurt.

“It’s okay Stream,” Leaf meows walking over. But it’s not ok and I need to make sure that they don’t follow me. If Sky is going to take me down then I need to fight her myself Flame and Leaf can’t be hurt for my fights.

I address Leaf, “No it’s not okay Leaf.”

“Stream this is what alliances are for, we protect each other. Flame would rather be hurt than be in this game without you and we all know how competitive Flame is,” Leaf sympathizes. I don’t pay any attention. What was once a clearing is now filled with trees and vines. Some charred grass on the ground marks where Flame had attacked Sky. Then Flame lying on the ground.

I know what’s required I turn from Leaf and meow, “I need to light his flare.”

“I can heal him,” Leaf mutters. I know what I have to do. I know that in order to get them to leave me alone so Sky can fight me. I have to betray them.

“Why would I care?” The words are forced out of me before I can consider thinking it over. I immediately regret it. But it’s too late to back out now.

“What?”

I take a deep breath, “Why do I care about that imbecile?”

“Don’t you like him? Or at least aren’t you friends? Aren’t we friends?” Leaf asks green eyes lighting up with anger and hurt. I want to yell ‘yes we are friends!’ so bad it makes my throat hurt. But I can’t, they can’t get hurt anymore because of Sky’s hatred for Water Group.

“Is that what you think? Than your more stupid than you look.”

Leaf’s claws are unsheathed, “You’re just like Sky! How could you? Why would you do that to Flame?” I remember when Flame and Leaf were arguing about me first joining the alliance, it seems like they hated each other, they couldn’t agree on anything. Now she’s willing to force me to surrender to protect him. I remember when me and Flame had our first real conversation, I blushed so hard my face turned purple, now I’m claiming to fake that. How could everything change so fast? I’m on the edge of tears but I think of Sky’s calm, cold drawl and do my best to mimic it.

“Whatever it takes to win,” I snarl.

“If that’s how you want to play it then fine,” with a hiss Leaf pounces. I jump back and she creates a bush with thick, knotted roots. I fall to the ground and she’s standing over me green eyes burning into mine, filled with hatred. I feel her claws hard against my fur. I wasn’t expecting her to attack, I was expecting her to turn her back. I’m going to have to surrender to Leaf now. I wonder if Sky will be angry. Leaf is clearly surprised at my lack of defense. I drag my claw against the wood and it lets up that dreadful red flame.

“Leaf, it was fake,” I can’t leave the Element Test with Leaf hating me.

“What?” She looks confused for the second time today.

“I do like Flame, and we are friends. I just thought if you thought I had betrayed you would let me go so I could fight Sky without hurting you or Flame,” it feels so good to tell Leaf I was faking, I can barely feel the pain of the wounds.

“No, no, no,” Leaf tries to quench the flame on flare.

“It’s okay Leaf, make sure Sky loses okay?” I ask.
She meows weakly, “Deal.” The watcher comes in and leads me out of the forest I see Leaf running to a stream to get cold water for Flame. Just before I’m out of sight I see Flame wake up.

Sky

“Stream has surrendered at the paws of Leaf!” The announcer’s voice fills the entire forest. I guess I should be happy that the Water Group champion is gone, but I was looking forward to seeing her eyes widen in terror before I make her surrender. The more I think about it the more I realize I’m not happy. It was my moment, I should have seen the light leave her eyes and feel Fog’s spirit praising me and telling me I did it. I would have killed again, I would have done anything to give Fog’s spirit peace. I have to jab myself with a claw to snap myself out of self pity. It’s time to continue with strategy. There are only Leaf and Flame left. Flame is injured, but probably not for long. Still, it’s pretty obvious who I want in the final two with me. Flame. Leaf is stronger than she looks and I’d like to save energy, so I think I’ll have Flame do the dirty work. Just like old times with Rock and Soil. But how… What could make Flame turn against the cat who was healing him? Wait! What if he thought that cat was healing him for ulterior motives…. Tonight I will find Flame when he’s on watch. Now it’s time for some much deserved rest…

Night comes quickly and I sneak towards the sheltered clearing where Leaf and Flame are making camp. Flame is standing guard in the dim light of a fire.

“Flame,” I hissed, making sure I got his attention, but hiding behind one of the trees that surrounded the clearing.

“Yes strange talking tree?” he asked, the nimrod.

I meow, “Flame, it’s me Sky!”

“Flying Cat?” asked Flame, this is going to be a long night.

“Yes Flying Cat.”

He seems alarmed, “Go away Flying Cat!” Time for stage two of my plan.

“But Flame, I’m here to talk to you about a traitor in your midst!” I whisper.

“A traitor in my mist?”

“No! Midst! Leaf is trying to betray you!”

“Leaf cat is trying to betray me?” he asks, “why?”

“Because she wants to win! She’s using you!” I meow, pretending to sound desperate. He’s trying his best to stick to what Leaf probably told him. Stay away from me at all costs. But I can tell ever since Stream surrendered he’s been doubting Leaf. Also I’m not sure he fully took in what I was doing. This will be as easy as catching a paralyzed mouse.

“How do you know?” he asks.

“She made Stream surrender! She made your beloved Streamy lose!” After I say that fire begins to form in his paws.

He considers before finally yelling, “SUPREME OVERLORD WILL DESTROY LEAF CAT!”

“Quiet!” I hiss, the nimrod. Does he want Leaf to wake up?

“I will destroy Leaf cat, the Streamy hurter!” whispered Flame.

“Wait until morning, and remember, do not stop until she surrenders!” I command.

Leaf

Another day, another opportunity to get killed! I walk out of the den we made and make an apple tree. I wonder if I should try to force Flame to eat apples. I hope Flame is still on watch. It was his turn for the second part of the night. If he fell asleep he better believe I’m not hunting for him, but I wasn’t going to hunt for him anyway so I guess it doesn’t matter.

“Flame!” I call, “Flame!” I hear a growl, Sky but the weird thing is it doesn’t sound like Sky.

“SUPREME OVERLORD WILL DESTROY LEAF CAT!” Yep, it definitely doesn’t sound like Sky.

I yowl, “What are you doing Flame you imbecile!” when jumping back as he pounces.

“You dirty betrayer!” he screams.

“What are you talking about?!”

“You made Streamy surrender!”

I sigh, “Look Flame, if you calm down I can explain it.”

“No explaining! Only surrendering!” he yowls.

“Because that’s not a failed take on life,” I meow sarcastically.

“You’re right Leaf cat! It’s not!”

“Flame I was being sarcastic!” He growls fire forms in his paws. He jumps forward but I’m ready. Sky probably did this. I should never have let him take a watch. She probably thinks I’ll go down easily. For someone with such good strategies I’m surprised she’s that stupid. She thinks elemental advantages are everything, she of all cats should know better. Strategy is just as important, so how do I get a cat who can burn up all my powers to surrender? Wait, Flame can only set his paws on fire so… The next time he leaps I form a vine of poison ivy and curve it around his neck. If he tries to claw it off he’ll claw his neck, and the itching will be excruciating. He tried out scratching it and enduring it before finally caving.

“Flare, light my flare,” he meows. I drag my claws across the piece of wood.

“Flame has surrendered at the paws of Leaf!” And with that my last friend is out of the game. Because of Sky. That’s when it hits me. There are no other cats, it’s just me and Sky.

Sky

One of the lessons I’ve learned from this sounds very cliche ‘you get what you get and you don’t get upset’ it’s happened twice. I wanted Stream gone but I wanted to kill her, I wanted Leaf gone but now Flame’s gone instead. Normally, getting to the final two will mean supreme respect from your group. But not now, because I’ve gone against everything Air Group is about. I’ve seeked revenge when Air Group believes in forgiveness, I murdered a cat, when Air Group believes in healing. And I’ve ruined friendships, when Air Group believes in making friendships. The only way to not get banished is to win. No matter what my reason is all they’ll see is what I did wrong. I can count on no one to understand that I’m doing this for Fog, so I need to win. Which is what I plan on doing. But Leaf has admittedly more skill than any of the cats I’ve managed to manipulate. So I have to beat her with force, well sort of with force. A face-to-face confrontation won’t work. Leaf’s my equal in fighting and I have no idea how long she can fight before getting tired. But I don’t care. I’ll show that Air Group was talking the wrong approach. That the other groups are evil. If I beat Leaf I can show Air Group that I was right. We don’t have to turn into bloodthirsty killers, but this peace stuff is wrong. A scrape my claws into the dirt to resemble Leaf’s camp. I could attack from the air, but Leaf can reach me with her trees and flying higher than the trees would be to high and might hurt me instead of Leaf. I guess if I used the trees to my advantage I could hide behind them, Leaf would never destroy a tree. But then how would I get the wind through the trees and still make it forceful. This is much harder than I thought, mainly because I thought that I would be facing Dimwit the Burning Log. Come to think about it, where was Leaf? I like to think of myself as a hunter, but what if Leaf is hunting me? I’m not used to fear, I used to think I could beat any of these sorry fools but if the Plant Group champion can beat a Fire Group champion in that short time is a serious threat.

“Sky! Here birdy birdy!” I see a light brown shape and instantly a tree right in front of me. Here we go, I guess all this strategy will have to wait.

Leaf

This is it. I guess I never thought that I’d be in the final two. It seems unimaginable that I was planning to surrender first on purpose. Staring at Sky I notice something strange in her cold blue eyes, fear. I have never seen her scared. It’s a good feeling, to see your enemy’s terrified face. But Stream never deserved to be targeted by Sky, and Sky deserves to be targeted by me.

“Yes?” she regains her calm, composed and cold look.

“Here we are Sky, the final two.”

She smirks, “Way to state the obvious.”

“Are you scared Sky?” I ask. She tilts her head to one side.

“Would a cat be scared of a mouse?”

“I don’t know would it?” I am trying to keep her off guard, she clearly had expected me to be silent.
Sky meows, “No.”

“Are you sure? What if that mouse had the power to hurt that cat and rob her of her glory,” I meow, staring at Sky.

“Well than yes,” Sky admits.

“So would a cat be scared of a mouse?” I ask.

“I guess so.”

“So are you scared?”

“LEAF!”

“What?” I ask innocently.

“This,” with a swipe of her claws she sends me backward. With a growl I pounce on Sky clawing at any piece of her fur I can get my claws on. Sky returns, blasting me backward with wind and we stand there breathing heavily both of our pelts. The sun is at it’s highest and the trees are everywhere. This will make it hard for Sky to move without tripping or bumping into a tree. I finally know it feels like to be truly in the zone. It doesn’t feel like you can do everything right, it feels like you have to do everything right. I remember Rock’s terrified face before Sky killed him. I remember Stream’s sad face when Sky drove her to faking. I remember Venom’s pained face when Sky tortured him. That’s when I realize that I have to win.

“Sky!” I scream, “you will pay!” With a yowl I’m on top of her. Sky tries to blow me backward but I move to the side. I jump forward again and I knock Sky into the tree. I can sense I kind of rhythm in this battle. I’m sure it doesn’t actually exist. But I can tell what she’s going to do. Sky slams me against a tree and just like that it’s gone.

“Poor Leafy, she thought she won this battle,” Sky taunts.

I snarl, “Sky I will win, you’re just scared.” The word ‘scared’ catches her off guard. That small opportunity is enough. I slam into Sky and just like that I have my claws to her throat. I press into her neck until she can barely breathe.

“You have 3 seconds to surrender Sky,” I remember her words to Rock, “3..2..” Sky drags her claws against the piece of wood.

“SKY HAS SURRENDERED AT THE PAWS OF LEAF! THE ELEMENT TEST IS OVER!” the announcer booms.

Sky

What choice did I have? I couldn’t have let her kill me. But the disgusted looks of Air Group make me regret something even if I don’t know what. I catch Leaf being led out by the announcer, a black Air Group cat, who turns and glares at me. I sigh, I will probably be banished and who knows where banished cat goes. But I don’t really care. Air Group now means nothing to me. But one thing’s for sure, Air Group will change, whether they like it or not. If I have to force them, than so be it. Because I’ll come back even if they do banish me, and I’ll show them who’s wrong.
Leaf

I did it! I see Flame and Stream from the spectators. Stream seems to have explained to Flame what actually happened with her surrender and they’re both beaming at me. Also I notice that their tails are entwined. So I guess they’re happy even if they didn’t win. I see my mother running toward me.

“Leafy you did it!” she cries.

“You think I didn’t notice?”

“Leafy,” she meows. I remember that I said I would surrender first out of anger. But since no one really knew that except my mother I’m not that worried that any of the Plant Group cats will be angry at me. I will definitely talk with the Plant Group leaders about training me more than other cats, but I’m not that mad anymore. I’m just happy I was never hurt badly and that Sky will face justice. I see my mother waiting for a response.

“Yeah I know. I know I said I’d surrender first but things change,” I look at Flame and Stream who are running towards me, “things definitely changed.”

The End

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