It’s all about strong female characters in this year’s Lit Madness final: Lisbeth Salander and Tiger Lily will battle it out in the arena for the championship.
Lisbeth is struggling. Losing her left hand in the showdown against Little Bee was not part of the plan, and she knows she’ll have to take action quickly to keep the wound from becoming fatal. She knows better than to try to clean the wound with water from inside the arena; her first priority is stopping the bleeding. She unties her sweater from around her waist and fashions (as best as she can) a bulky sort of bandage around the stump. Next, she applies pressure.
Dizzy and weak from blood loss, she now must figure out how to take down Tiger Lily with just one hand and greatly impaired faculties. The good news is that even though she’ll be typing more slowly, she still has access to the Game’s computer system thanks to her hacking skills. She knows the outlook isn’t excellent, but if anyone can win this after such a devastating setback, it’s her.
As Tiger Lily‘s rage recedes, the crows fly back to the trees; she picks up one of the feathers they’ve dropped and adds it to her hair. Turning to the fallen lion’s body with a sharp rock in hand, she begins the painstaking process of taking the animal’s corpse apart, using every part of the animal as is her tribe’s custom. She knows she can survive for weeks off of it, but the Game won’t last that long. Aslan’s skin becomes her quiver and a set of sturdier clothes. Even as she puts them on, she can feel the magic seep into her. She paints her face with his blood, knowing she will need all the help she can get to finish this Game.
Her senses heightened, she sets off in search of Lisbeth. Tiger Lily knows that Lisbeth’s mind is better than any she has faced before in this arena, but Tiger Lily is sharp as well and way more suited to the wilderness, any wilderness. However, despite her confidence, Tiger Lily knows better than to underestimate Lisbeth.
WINNER: Lisbeth musters her remaining strength and decides it’s time to finish this. Inside the Game’s computer system for the last time, she sets to work rewriting huge swaths of code. She knows that in order to take down Tiger Lily, she’ll have to force her opponent out of her element. Lisbeth works methodically, and the complicated task at hand distracts her from the throbbing pain in her arm. She finishes up and hits save, and suddenly everything in the arena changes.
The trees disappear, the ground flattens and hardens, and the afternoon sky darkens to night. Lisbeth has changed the arena: Instead of mimicking a forest, it now most closely resembles her block in Stockholm.
As her surroundings warp and transform, Tiger Lily’s heart hammers in her chest. What is this? Nature doesn’t change like this. She sees a flash in the corner of her eye and spots Lisbeth dashing into one of the metal contraptions that has appeared out of the ground. The terrain may be unfamiliar, but Tiger Lily knows she has to figure out a way to survive in this strange jungle.
Following Lisbeth into the strange metal structure, Tiger Lily finds herself in a large room filled with odd boxes making beeping sounds and flashing with unnatural light. She sees Lisbeth behind a metallic chair and pulls a magic-infused arrow out of the quiver. She lets the arrow fly.
Seeing the movement reflected in a dark screen, Lisbeth rolls out of the arrow’s path easily—but it still strikes the monitor she was working on. Lisbeth’s computer turns to stone.
Tiger Lily lost sight of Lisbeth when she rolled away, but the objects in the room seem to be closing in on her—loud, blinking, too bright and unnatural. She fires another arrow—hoping to quiet the mechanical monsters like she did with the first, and turn them into something familiar.
This is exactly what Lisbeth had counted on. Tiger Lily’s unfamiliar surroundings have distracted her, and while she has been firing arrows at them, Lisbeth has grabbed a lamp. Groaning with pain, she heaves the heavy lamp base over her head with her remaining hand, and brings it down on Tiger Lily’s head with a sickening thud.
Immediately, Lisbeth’s simulated apartment starts to fade around her. A spotlight finds Tiger Lily’s lifeless form, and a loud voice that seems to be coming from everywhere at once booms “Lisbeth Salander has won the first annual Lit Madness Games!” A hovercraft whirs above her, and a single rope drops from the sky. Lisbeth smiles, and grabs hold with her remaining hand.