Just in time for the Final Four, the Gamemakers announce a feast at the Cornucopia: Each of the four remaining tributes has the chance to grab one item she or he desperately needs. And with these penultimate face-offs, we’re one step closer to declaring a winner of this inaugural Lit Madness tournament. Lisbeth Salander ( Mysteries & Thrillers) and Little Bee ( Fiction) have both grabbed weapons that bring back brutal childhood memories—whether each will be able to wield them is another question entirely. And while it’s unclear what Aslan ( Sci-Fi & Fantasy) may have taken from the Cornucopia, Tiger Lily ( YA) grabs her late father’s clock, something she thought was lost forever.
Lisbeth has always thrived under pressure, and is pleased that she’s held it together so well in the Game so far. She’s grabbed a Molotov cocktail from the Cornucopia, and she knows exactly what she needs to do with it.
Looking at the weapon in her hand, however, she can’t help but remember the first time she used one of these. She was 12, and she had thrown it at her father through an open car window while he sat in the driver’s seat. It had been a defining moment for her: A moment that had cost her growing up with her family, and had instead earned her the label “troubled” and resulted in her institutionalization. It isn’t a fond memory, but Lisbeth isn’t sorry about any of it.
Little Bee hefts the machete, ignoring the sour twist of her stomach. What a sick joke that this was waiting for her in the Cornucopia, with a tag displaying her name, as if there were any question about who it was for. Every time the light catches the thick, menacing blade, she flashes back: Sarah laying out her hand on the sand, Sarah raising the machete over her own finger, all the blood.
Little Bee shakes off the memory; it was years ago, and she’s more than repaid that debt. And yet, the thought of spilling more blood still alarms her. How can she pretend she’s any better than the soldiers in Nigeria if she doesn’t? But she has no choice.
WINNER: As they size each other up, Lisbeth makes sure to stay out of the reach of Little Bee and that wicked-looking blade. The other girl seems to know how to wield it, however, and with the way she keeps darting at Lisbeth, the hacker is too busy concentrating to properly light her Molotov cocktail.
She dodges and stumbles, but doesn’t manage to avoid the machete: Little Bee catches Lisbeth’s left forearm squarely. The sensation of blade slicing through human flesh almost makes Little Bee drop the machete; she cries out in horror at the sight of Lisbeth’s hand, severed just below the wrist, falling to the ground.
Lisbeth screams out in shock and horror; though the pain is momentarily blinding, she can feel herself rapidly going into shock. She focuses on one thought: Lighter. She drops to her knees and scrambles through the underbrush, searching madly for the fallen lighter with her remaining hand, the Molotov cocktail in the crook of her shaking left arm. Hearing the whoosh of the blade behind her, she rolls away just as Little Bee strikes again.
Gripping the bottle tighter, Lisbeth realizes that she does still have a weapon of sorts. She springs to her feet and bashes Little Bee over the head; thanks to her wonky angle, the bottle only stuns the other girl, instead of knocking her out.
Lisbeth sweeps her hand through the brush, swearing in relief when her fingers hit metal. Without wasting a moment to think about what she’s doing, she grips the Molotov cocktail between her knees, flips the lighter, lets the flame start eating at the soaked rag, and feebly tosses the blazing bottle at Little Bee’s bowed form. She catches fire almost immediately. Lisbeth forces herself to watch as the flames devour her opponent—the most worthy one she’s faced, through all of these Games.
Though Aslan circles the Cornucopia, it fails to entice him. Magic has been the only weapon he’s ever needed and, with that on his side, he’s confident in his ability to win the Game. As his golden eyes sweep the arena, he sees a flash of dark hair running through the trees. Instead of taking off, he begins a lazy stroll towards Tiger Lily—intentionally avoiding the gory showdown between Lisbeth and Little Bee.
The sounds of the forest are soothing: the rush of water, rustle of leaves, hum of birds. But the King of Beasts is growing weary of a land where the animals are vicious and mute. He supposes he could gift them with the power of speech, but he highly doubts he wants to hear what any of the angrily buzzing tracker jackers have to say. Truthfully, the arena is dreadfully boring after living in a land of mystical creatures such as unicorns and centaurs, and intrepid children constantly passing through.
When he return to Narnia, he may pull Lucy and Edmund along to visit. His kingdom could always use their help, and he never tires of their bright faces and desire for adventure. At this point, he’s lost sight of Tiger Lily, but fails to be concerned. As he walks through the forest, he thinks of Narnia and hums to himself—flowers blooming in his wake.
Tiger Lily can’t understand why anyone would want to leave the arena. It’s far less treacherous than parts of Neverland can be. At least here, you don’t have mermaids lurking and trying to drown you. Sure, the people have the same intent in mind, but with only one opponent at a time you know who to look out for—everyone else is just background noise. The only thing that would make the arena better is if she could bring Pine Sap here. As much as she hates to admit it, he’s the closest she has to a friend.
With the grace of her tribe, named Sky Eaters because they move through the forest like a bird moves through the sky, she’s able to get around quite easily and without making noise. She’s on the hunt, though she’ll admit she’s never hunted anything quite like Aslan. He reminds her of a figure, ethereal but high-and-mighty, the Englishman spoke about when he talked of his God… Jersis Krist… no… Jazzhands Curtsy.
WINNER: As she glimpses Aslan’s shining mane through the trees, rage fills Tiger Lily. No matter what the name is, Tiger Lily hates the Englishman and everything his God represents. He is the reason her tribe began to lose its traditions. He is why her father, Tik Tok, was made to wear a man’s clothes and cut his hair. He is the reason Tik Tok’s heart broke and he ended his life.
No longer able to hold it in, Tiger Lily lets out a scream. As always happens in times of extreme distress, a flock of crows surround her. Aslan turns, slowly at first—believing the sound to be from the fight between Lisbeth and Little Bee. His claws dig into the dirt as the birds hover, poised above the young girl.
Tiger Lily catches his eyes and silently raises her hand. She points to him and the crows obey her command. As they close in, Aslan lets out a deafening roar—hoping to frighten them away—but they continue flying. He’s not in the habit of fleeing, yet this seems to be an exception to his usual rule.
Fueled by the girl’s pent-up (and finally released) rage, the crows catch up to him quicker than he imagined they would. Instinctively he fights back against their claws and beaks, swiping his giant paws through the air. But he knows that whether he wins or loses the match, his destination is the same. He’ll go to his Country and to the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. With a mighty sigh, he allows the crows to overtake him.