I don’t know if I should be excited or worried about Cinna’s idea for mine and Clarice’s costumes for the Tribute Parade. He is right, on some extent, that President Snow can’t really do anything to Clarice and I in the real world since it would all be Cinna’s idea, but he could certainly have the Gamemakers take it out on us during the Games if he really felt the need. I asked Haymitch about it and he told me not to worry, that worse things have happened before; including someone trying to assassinate President Snow when he came on the balcony of the Tribute Parade’s hallway. The results of that were gruesome to say the least.
“Just let Effie and I worry about what Snow does, okay? You two need to mentally prepare for the Tribute Parade, and get your game face on because this is where most of the sponsors choose the tributes that they’re going to help keep alive during the Games.” Haymitch said, giving us walkie talkies. “These are fir emergency use only, got it?”
We both nodded and ate the rest of the fruit that was on the platter that the waiters and waitresses brought out for us. As soon as we had finished the first one, they kept refilling it which gave us the urge to keep eating more. By the time we were done eating the second platter, we told them not to bring out another one and that they could relax for the rest of the night while we were at the parade. They nodded and smiled, then poured each other some drinks and went down to the living room in our penthouse and turned on the TV and watched previous Hunger Games which featured their own favorite tributes. Unfortunately, most of their favorite tributes were killed, some very brutally to where no description of the death could not make anyone want to throw up immediately after hearing it.
Effie walked in with Cinna and told us that the time for the parade was ready, so we got off our seats and brushed our teeth, since our breath probably smelled like a mixture of all the fruits and dips that we just had, and washed down our spit with some cold water. Cinna gave us a mint leaf to suck on while we were walking down our penthouse hallway and to the elevators, which were stainless steel on the outside, but gold on the inside. It also had 12 with a circle around it on the ceiling of the elevator.
“I feel special that everything seems to be dedicated to us.” I said, but was quickly turned down by Haymitch who told me that that’s exactly what the Capitol wants us to think, that they like us and want us to feel like we’re special, which we’re not. Only a piece in their bloody Games, and that was it. If we made it out alive, than we could consider ourselves somewhat special.
We made it to the basement of the Games Penthouse where all the other tributes were being dressed and fitted into their costumes. Some stylists were running around frantically, after just finding out that one of their tributes doesn’t like the way they look in their outfits or if they’re missing a very essential piece for their costume. We walked past District 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and that’s when I saw him. But I thought for sure that I might have heard something about him, or that Arabella would have said something. I saw Peyton and the girl tribute from his District, which was District 10, suited up in their golden metal costumes, which made them look like Spartans from the Middle Ages. When they stood in their chariot together, they were equipped with fake metal golden swords that were linked together to form an X, which showed how they were fighting as one, as a team, in the arena. Can’t say I was impressed, since it was sort of original and mostly every year District 10 does something with golden metal. I just don’t know whether or not I could actually kill the kid in the arena if it ever came down to it, considering Arabella would probably hate me for it. During these thoughts is when Clarice interrupted them and pointed Peyton out, since when I spotted him I didn’t say anything to her.
“Yeah I know, I wonder how Arabella is holding up.”
That’s all I said. I didn’t mention anything about killing him, because I know how much he means to Arabella and how Clarice probably would say the same thing as me. If it came down to it, we would kill him if there was no other way of surviving, but we were hoping someone else or something else would kill him off before that opportunity was handed to us. We didn’t know any of the other names of the tributes, but would find out eventually in a matter of about ten minutes when we all rolled out into the big, wide platinum hallway where citizens of the Capitol and the tributes mentors were sitting in seats on both sides of us. At the end of the hallway, is where the balcony was, which is where President Snow is currently sitting, with the other head members of the Capitol. I hated them so much. If I ever got the chance to kill Snow myself, I would in a heartbeat. An arrow directly in the middle of the face would do great pleasure after everything he is about to put my family through, and many other families as well. Especially if I’m forced to kill Peyton in the arena, my relationship with Arabella would never be the same.
Everyone else’s costumes were pretty cool, and unique. That’s when Cinna handed us our outfits to try on, which were a jet black, made so light could collide with it, giving the jet black a weird, but cool dark glow. The outfits, just like everyone elses, were tight to our bodies. I slid the jet black jacket on my chest and fitted the pants onto my legs. I slipped my feet into the jet black boots as well. When I looked at Clarice’s I saw a design that was engraved into her back, which is when Cinna pushed my face away.
“Don’t look just yet, it’ll be better if it’s a surprise.” Cinna said, almost warningly, as if I would disagree entirely with what he had done to our costumes. This made Clarice look at me weirdly, as if she was worried about our costumes too. What has Cinna done?
“Now, I’m going to turn on your costumes and everyone is going to see it. No matter what you hear, do not look at the back of each other’s costumes. Got it? You’ll see on the TV screens made of cloth hanging from poles as you pass down the Tribute Hallway, okay?” Cinna said, almost excitedly.
We both nodded and climbed into our chariot, and that’s when Cinna turned on our costumes. From looking down at our sleeves, the whole costume was glowing and fading in and out, sort of like embers at the bottom of a fire pit, only more enhanced. That’s when the glares came at us. Some of the stylists covered their mouths and gasped, others laughed and said, “You’re good as dead in the arena, 12!” District 1 had the courtesy of saying that.
We were then all assembled and lined up into positions. Chariots were following each other by district number, so 1 being first, 12 being last. Great, we were going to be the last chariot people would be viewing, which meant that they would remember us the most. Especially since some of the tributes were still giving us glares.
“What is the problem with all of them?” Clarice asked, and I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know,” I said, “but I can’t wait to see Snow’s face when he seems whatever it is Cinna did to our costumes. The sponsors will either love it, or hate it.”
A whistle blew and before we could continue our conversation, we were being hulled out by the horses into the Tribute Hallway. First, District 1 was out.
“And here they come ladies and gents! The Tributes putting their lives into the 74th Annual Hunger Games! Starting with District 1, as always, we have Keaton and Kadence in their stunning turquoise outfits, along with a complimentary silver crown, Keaton having the left side of the crown, and Kadence having the right! Show’s partnership and cockiness, which District 1 has the right to show off!” Caesar Fleckerman, the official spokesperson of the Hunger Games. “Then we have District 2, Grayson and Harper with what seems to be tridents in their hands and a glowing red costume, showing off their fiery and rage! Very cool, next from District 3 are Ashton and Cecilia with a bright yellow and blue ensemble, with wings attached to their backs and feet! Shows endurance and fatigue, very nice!”
So far I could already make out who the good ones are going to be, because after they announce District 4 who are Blaine and Sierra, Caesar doesn’t describe Districts 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9’s costumes very enthusiastically, almost as if they were already chopped meat. I did catch District 7’s names though, Griffin and Ashley. They seemed almost glad to be here, as if they had volunteered for their chance to fight in the arena. They didn’t look the tough type though, but I’m not under estimating them either, because one of them could kill me or Clarice. Peyton’s name was announced as we came closer and closer to appearing out of the tunnel we were in before entering the Tribute Hallway, our embered costume lighting up the whole tunnel around us.
Our hearts began to race and plunge into our stomachs. We were scared for what Cinna had done to our costumes. Soon, District 10 went out and their names were announced, and so was 11’s. That’s when our chariot had appeared out of the tunnel. We felt something hot on our backs, which meant that Cinna was probably lightning up whatever was engraved in our costumes. I was right.
Left and right people were screaming, chanting, smiling, yelling good and bad things, gasping, fainting, drinking more and more as they watched us, and some laughing, but the laughter was overtaken by the amount of fuss that was being spread around by our costumes. Clarice and I looked up with so much anxiety and curiosity that we too almost fainted at what Cinna had done to our costumes. On my jacket, the left side of my broken shield tattoo was lighting up with small flames, and the right side of my tattoo which was on Clarice’s jacket, was doing the same. When it began to fully connect, we saw what else had been added into the tattoo. The Capitol seal was burning in flames as well as the rest of the tattoo. The tattoo on the jackets were divided simply by the lightning bolt crack, which determined which side of the tattoo Clarice and I had. When we stood close together, the tattoo formed as one and on the giant screen ahead of us, hanging below the balcony where President Snow was watching us directly, the tattoo formed to create a burning shield broken in two, by a crack in the shape of a lightning bolt, along with the Capitol seal burning and broken in half by the lightning bolt crack as well. Caesar wouldn’t say this directly to everyone, but my tattoo now officially stood for the breaking of the Capitol and its defense. Ever since the woman from the market held up that flag, I feared that my tattoo would soon become the face of something greater than the Games itself. I feared that it would become the face of a rebellion, which my tattoo had just sparked onto the entire nation of Panem.
Realizing what Cinna had just done, I feared getting assassinated on the spot when we pulled up into the Tribute Circle diagonally below the balcony where President Snow stood, glaring at me with such calm, but growing fury in his eyes. Clarice caught glimpse of his eyes staring at us and looked away immediately, being easily intimidated by his evil glares. I, however, glared back, realizing that what was done was done and there was no backing down now. I wondered if the woman from the market had this all planned out, from the beginning, when she gave me my tattoos. I wondered if she knew that the shield being broken by the lightning bold shaped crack would soon have a Capitol Seal also being cracked down the middle, representing the falling of the Capitol. If she did, she set me up for something I don’t know if I can carry out. Cinna obviously was in on it too, since he had time to make out our costumes. He couldn’t have just done it after seeing the flag on the screen, making those costumes took time and effort to get everything perfect.
Before I could many anymore of the situation at hand with our costumes, President Snow tapped on his old fashioned silver microphone and calmed down the audience from screaming, shouting, laughing, drinking, talking, and any other activities that could take his spotlight away from him. He began with placing both hands in front of him to completely silence the crowds of sponsors, citizens, and mentors, and then began his welcoming speech.
“Welcome, tributes. Happy Hunger Games! And may the odds be, ever in your favor.” He began. When he said that line he glared at me and Clarice again, causing some unresting feeling in my stomach. It’s not even like I had a choice if I wanted to start this rebellion or not, I mean yeah everyone in the Districts, well mostly everyone, were against the Games and would love to see it crumbling down in the Capitol’s face. It’s a matter of finding someone to do it, and acting upon it. Little did I know they had an 18 year old boy and his 17 year old cousin as the leaders in their heads. But as important as it is, it’s not important these next few days. I have to focus, and be ready for the Games in four days, after three days of non stop training, and at the end of the third day, our rankings were to be decided, which meant going in front of the Gamemakers and showing off our “special skills” with our “special weapon”. During training you’re not supposed to show off your real skill with the weapon of your choice, because someone could use that knowledge they know before the arena about your skills and try to adapt to it, knowing how to kill you. Pretty much, if I show my skills with my bow, and Clarice with her knives, someone could purposely take both those weapons in the arena so we can’t use them, or grab them instead of us whether or not they are also trained with those weapons, and use them against us, leaving us with weapons we barely know how to use skillfully.
“Over the course of these next four days, you will be trained in the Training Academy, and then evaluated and given results of your evaluation on live television so people can make bets on which one of you are going to walk out of the Capitol and back to your district alive. Once all of this is completed, you will be given that night to train more, sleep, or think of a plan for whatever is left of your lives. The coming fourth day will be when the Games will officially begin…Thank you, tributes, and costume designers for putting on an…interesting show.” President Snow ended, giving me one last glare and walking out the door up on the balcony, back into the lounge where he awaits the tributes for the Tribute Parade.
We were wheeled back into the room where we first began the parade and hopped off the chariots. We were greeted by Cinna, Effie, Haymitch, Fulvia, and the rest of our prep team. They congratulated us on our performance and had us walk to our penthouse for further planning, considering everyone was giving us glares as well. If looks could kill…
Once we were back in our penthouse, we got washed up and changed into comfortable night clothing and all sat down for dinner. Effie had us toast to a good performance during the parade and Haymitch counter toasted it with Cinna’s “amazing” costume design. I wasn’t all happy with Cinna’s all the sudden choosing of me and Clarice to be rebellion leaders, especially when he knew that we weren’t even in the Games yet. Why would he do all of this, while knowing we might be killed in the arena? What was so important about us being the leaders of the rebellion that me and Clarice weren’t informed about? All of these questions began pouring into my head, and the only thing that sputtered out of my mouth was “Why?”
Everyone looked at me and Cinna jumped the gun before anyone else could comment.
“We have reason to believe that President Snow purposely had the names in the glass bowls rigged so only yours and Clarice’s names would be called. It’s just a theory, because normally, there aren’t two tributes from the same district who are chosen to be tributes in the Games. It’s actually never happened before, which is why people are reacting the way they are when they found out you’re cousins. Citizens in the districts who are old enough to remember Snow’s vicious cycle of killing important members of the Capitol secretly with poison or hit men know how he operates, whether or not it’s broadcasted or not. Some are already convinced with what we believe to be is true, but whether or not they’re going to say anything is unknown to us.” Cinna said.
We’re dead. As soon as me and Clarice enter the Games we’re probably going to be automatically executed before the Games actually start.
“So what happens if we die in the arena? Does the rebellion still live on?” I ask, wondering why I keep asking questions about the rebellion. If I do survive the Games, and there is still a rebellion sparking, that’s the time to worry about it. Until then, I told Haymitch and Cinna that whatever they have to say about the rebellion is to be kept among them. I can’t be over thinking all of this while trying to survive the Games. They agreed and stopped the conversation immediately.
“So tomorrow training begins?” Clarice asked, swallowing the last of her calamari before another plate was brought out to the table. The waiters and waitresses did their rounds and refilled everything that was emptied on the table, including everyone’s water and wine glasses.
Haymitch nodded, “Which is why you both need to hit the sack pretty soon, training begins at 7 in the morning. You’ll have only six hours to rest. Best get going.”
Clarice and I excused ourselves from the table and walked into our separate rooms, not speaking of any rebellion or Games business, just relived we had some alone time to ourselves until training the next morning.
It came quicker than expected and I found myself awakening to the alarm clock, which had a hologram of Snow’s face which muttered the woods, “Training.” I jumped in bed after seeing his face, which was already a terrible way to begin my day. It’s like Snow doesn’t want us to forget who’s in charge, and by placing that hologram in our alarm clocks to wake up to every morning, it sure was going to work.
I got out of bed, showered, and got dressed and made my way into the dining area of our penthouse, where Clarice and Haymitch were sitting at the table eating breakfast. There was a limited choice of foods for the morning, including just fruits and vegetables.
“It’d be better if you ate something healthy and something that’s going to benefit you. You have a long day of training ahead of you, so you need to be full on nutrients and vitamins to put on good performances.” He said, after seeing my facial expression when I noticed all that there was to eat was fruits and veggies.
“Yeah, c’mon code, eat up. He’s got a point you know.” Clarice said as I sat down and forced mouthfuls of fruits and vegetables in my mouth.
After we gulped down some more food and a couple glasses of water and milk, Haymitch took us down to the Training Academy, which was a floor above where the chariots are placed for the Tribute Parade. We saw the other tributes with their mentors, and saw Peyton as well. He tried avoiding our looks and stuck to himself. He didn’t really talk to anyone much, and when we were told to enter the training room, which was very big filled with all sorts of weapons, some of which I’ve heard of or seen, and some of which I never knew existed. On the ceiling there were rows of thing rope crossing each other in all sorts of directions so we could practice surviving in high grounds, there was a station where you could practice camouflaging yourself with paint, a station where you can learn the most important survival skills like learn traps for forest animals to obtain food, a station to create fires, to memorize different leaves and trees, and of course the combat stations which included sword fighting training, archery training, knife training, short sword training, axe training, spear training, fist fight training, and all sorts of other extraordinary weapons which we could train with. The ground of the training arena was black, and so were the walls and the ceiling. There was a red stripe going around the room of the arena in the middle of the wall.
We walked in a line file which was by district number, which meant Clarice and I were last. We were all given suits to wear, which were made of stretchy, tight, thick fabric which adapted to the shape of your body and muscle weight. They were all black suits, with two red stripes going down the short sleeves with our district numbers sewed on top of the two lines on both sleeves for the shirts, while the bottoms were all black. We were then given these uni-sex black leather combat boots which rose about eight inches from our ankles. The boys were then given bandanas to wear, which we had to wrap around our heads and tie the knot, so the front, which each had our district number on it, with a silver circle around it, was showing. The girls got the same outfit and boots, although they were given ribbons which were black, with their district number on both tails of the ribbon.
“Now that we’re all dressed, please form a circle around me as I instruct you on what you will be doing while you’re down here today, and the next two days.” Atala said, the head trainer. She was a black woman in her early thirties, maybe late twenties.
We all formed the circle around her and awaited her to speak. She put her finger on her ear and said, “Okay.” She was communicating with the Gamemakers who were watching us in an open window room, where they had all these refreshments and seats to enjoy while watching us train to kill one another.
“Welcome to the Capitol. I’m Atala, I’ll be your head trainer for the next couple days you’re in here. You may choose not to come, whether or not you do is your decision. So while I have you all here…”
While Atala was speaking, I could see that Keaton, Kadence, Grayson, and Harper all formed their Career alliance, while a second Career alliance was formed by Ashton, Cecilia, Blaine, and Sierra. They were all eighteen, which also means they were deadlier. Now that we could see them closer to us, we noticed things about them. Keaton was a tall, had dark brown hair, and was very built. Kadence was very pretty, in good shape for a girl, and had long blondish hair. Grayson was average height and was thin, but cut. Harper was a short black haired girl, with a few freckles on her face, and always had some sort of intimidating, angry look to her. On another note, Ashton has scruffy dirty blonde hair, and was built, Cecilia was a pretty black girl, long black hair and had a thoroughly toned body, Blaine had dark brown hair and had the biggest built of muscle out of everyone in the arena, and lastly Sierra had short blonde hair and had no muscle showing on her body, but was rumored to be deadly with a short sword. They were all ignoring Atala and peering at all the weapons, hungry to start training and show off their skills to intimidate everyone. Clarice seemed to notice this too and looked at me and laughed, “I think they already know who our alliance consists of.”
The two of us. Against these 22 other tributes? The odds didn’t necessarily look to be in our favor, but I could see that everyone else that wasn’t in an alliance had already formed one with their tribute mate as well. Except the boy and girl from District 5, because the boy was 18 and the girl was 12. He was not really the nicest kid, almost seemed really shady, and told her pretty much that she was on her own. He had a decent muscle tone to him, but wasn’t as big as Blaine or Keaton. We got a glimpse of Griffin and Ashley, the kids from District 7. Griffin had short blonde hair and was average height like me, and had a decent toned body like me as well. Piper was just as tall as me, and had blonde hair that reached down to her shoulders. Clarice wanted to introduce ourselves and have her join our alliance, but that would be unwise. We can’t gain any feelings for any other human in this arena while we’re in the Games, it’ll hold us back. We have to stay an alliance of two, and remain an alliance of two if we’re going to survive. We’ve already adapted to our skills when fighting with each other, which gives us an upper hand like the Careers have. Including someone else would only confuse us and maybe get us killed if the newest member of our two man alliance were to mess up.
“…there is also a fire station, and last but not least all of the weapon training stations. I’d advise you to ignore the weapon training more than you would the survival skills, you’ll have plenty of time to test your skills against each other in the arena. Most of you will die from natural causes such as freezing to death, starvation, dehydration, disease…” Atala continued, and then finished by giving the percentages of who will die of natural causes and from weapons. Once she was done, she showed us physically each station, and then left us to train by ourselves.
“What do you want to do first?” I asked Clarice, as we watched the Career packs immediately go for the weapon training, and everyone else scatter to join the Careers in weapon training or the survival skills. Clarice decides we should learn some survival skills, since we already know how to use our weapon of choice very well, and figured it wouldn’t hurt to learn some of the skills. We walked over to the fire making station, and it took us two hours of scrubbing stones and sticks together until we sparked a fire. We learned how to make deadly traps for animals roaming around in the forest, and then learned traps for humans, which took longer, but had the same idea to them as the animal traps. It was all a matter of just tying knots in designated areas and tightening them.
I heard a faint scream and me and Clarice whipped around and saw that two boys, Keaton from District 1 and Blaine from District 4, were on the ground brawling. The girl who screamed was the 12 year old girl from District 5.
“It’s normal for the two head Career boys to get into heavy arguments the first day, each wanting their Career packs to have this station and that station. Don’t focus too much on them if they intimidate you, learn your skills.” The trainer from the knot tying portion of the survival skills station said.
We both nodded and left the knot tying station. We then moved to the tree climbing station, which we really learned how to climb on a rock wall. We weren’t harnessed by anything, because what would the point be to try and climb with help, when in the Games you’re not going to have any help at all besides the training you learned here. It took me no time at all to learn how to climb masterfully, but Clarice slipped once or twice and was then good to go for tree climbing. By the time we reached the monkey bars, which were to help us train how to keep strength while climbing in between branches or hanging onto a cliff if we were to slip on an edge, the first day of training was already almost over. We had three more hours to finish up at least two more station and then go back to our penthouse to rest and for dinner. While I was waiting in line, I looked down and saw the boy and girl from District 7, Griffin and Piper, training with spears. Griffin took one step back, adjusted the spear in his hand, and threw it so accurately and straight, that it sank right into the target that was 50 feet away from him. He threw a few more and sank them directly in the middle of the targets. Ashton, the Career tribute boy from District 3 and Sierra, the Career tribute girl from District 4, each from the second Career pack, came over and watched Griffin throw his spears. They nodded and muttered to each other, “Not bad.” And walked towards their Career partners, Blaine and Cecilia, whispering something to each other. They all nodded and walked away towards the survival skills training.
The first Career pack watched Griffin too, but didn’t make any comment towards his performance besides a few nods of approval. Next up was Piper, who could wield two axes at the same time and fight with them simultaneously. She grabbed two rubber ones next to the real, but blunted all shiny silver metal ones, and walked over to a weapon training specialist that specializes in axe training. Piper and the trainer got real close, and began fighting. They swung at each other left and right, criss crossing the axes while they swing, ducking and lunging back to avoid slice swings. The trainer used his left hand to swing his left axe at Piper, but stopped during the middle of the swing and instead tripped her when she was unhinged off her feet, focusing on the axes. While she was on her back, the trainer lunged forward and struck an axe down to her face, where Piper criss crossed her axes to form an X, and blocked the death blow. She then twirled her waist around and moved her legs so quick and sharp, that the trainer didn’t see it coming and was tripped to the ground where Piper sprung up and jumped on top of him, putting both rubber axes to his neck. That’s when he smiled, tapped out, and Piper got up off of him and put both axes in her left hand and swung her right arm out to the trainer, who grabbed it and pulled himself up.
“Holy…shit.” Clarice said, which seemed to be many of the same reactions on everyone else’s faces. This time, the first Career pack nodded in agreement and then actually had Keaton, which I guess was now the official leader of the first Career pack, the most deadly out of everyone in here, approach Piper and move her to the side.
“What’s he doing?” I asked Clarice, while we were still waiting in line. The person who was on the monkey bars held the line up for so long because he was watching Piper’s practice fight with the trainer. Everyone did, it was amazing.
When Piper smiled and shook hands with Keaton, who then turned around and put two thumbs up to his Career partners, they smiled and nodded and all left the training arena early to relax.
“Looks like they just added another member to their vicious Career pack.” Clarice said in a sarcastic tone. She’s always thought that the Career packs were stupid, and that everyone involved in them were too full of themselves. “Wait till they see what you can do with a bow, they’ll be asking you to join them next.”
I laughed, “And you’ll be asked once they see your skills with knives.”
It was her turn to do the monkey bars and she went through them swiftly, not missing one. When it was my turn, I was able to do them just as well and we figured we had that skill down already, the rock climbing wall helping us greatly keep our momentum and strength in our arms.
We decided to take a break from training and sit on the benches below the open windowed room where the Gamemakers were watching everyone train, taking brief notes down on everyone. We decided to watch both Career packs train with their specialized weapons, which Haymitch advised us not to do. But since they were all in Career packs, the most deadliest kids in the Games this year, they didn’t care because who was going to try and stop them from getting their weapon of choice? No one. Everyone was too scared.
We watched Keaton, the muscular tall kid from District 1 and leader of Career pack 1, making him the deadliest out of all of us. He picked a long sword out of the sword rack that was hanging from the wall near the station. He picked the real sword, naturally trying to show off his “bravery” and lined up with the special swords trainer who chose a real sword as well. They stood face to face and began during quick and agile movements with the swords, which then became a real fight as Keaton noticed his skills improving. The special swords trainer actually had to tell Keaton to stop, otherwise he feared Keaton would fight him till one of them got hurt. He took the sword from Keaton and told him to leave for the day, and we all watched Keaton storm out of the training room screaming profanities.
Next up was Kadence, the pretty blonde girl from District 1 who specializes with a spiked mace, which was a ball of steel with sharp spikes coming out of it. She swung it from dummy to dummy and knocked heads off, created holes in every dummy body there was, and ended her training with it by throwing it at a target, hitting the target directly in the face. She then dismissed herself, pleased with what she had done, leaving the mace in the target. Next we watched Grayson, the Career boy from District 2, come along side with five placed in front of him. He grabbed a long axe, which was an axe with a bigger, rounded blade and a very long handle, as big as someone’s leg, and watched him swing it many different fluent ways, chopping arms, legs, and heads off of each dummy around him. Once he was done, he pulled over a long axe specialist in the room and went to the back of the training arena to have a quick private lesson to enhance his already very enhanced skills with a long axe. Next was Harper, the black haired girl from District 2, who’s weapon was a dart pole. She stood at the archery range where more targets for her weapon were, and grabbed a dart pole. She took the long silver pole with one opening for the darts and one small hole to blow into, and put a dart in the pole. She raised it to her mouth, aimed, and blew into the pole. The dart was launched from the dart pole and found its way to the center of the target. She did this a few times before she thought she was set, and then did something else. Instead of blowing into the dart pole, she loaded the dart pole with multiple darts, raised the dart pole up and across her body, and swung it diagonally across her body, not letting go of the dart pole. Six darts flew out of the dart pole and all found themselves homes in each target open.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before.” I said to Clarice, who was amazed as well. Only skilled dart pole fighters could master something like that. She must have had to be training since she could walk.
“I’m glad we’re watching all of these, I feel a little more comfortable with knowing how all of them work.” Clarice said, and I nodded. “Where’s that girl from 7? Piper.” I asked her, but she must have left with Griffin because they both were not in the training arena anymore.
We watched a little bit of the 2nd Career group’s training and noted down that Ashton, the scruffy blonde haired boy uses a weapon called a trident, a long pole which has three thick, metal spikes on top of it, Cecilia, the pretty black girl specializes with axes just like Piper, Blaine, the muscle head of the whole arena uses two small warhammers, and Sierra, the girl with short blonde hair, uses a short sword.
“So that covers the fire training station, the traps station, tree climbing, and monkey bars. And we’ve noted down what all the deadlier kids weapons are. Should we call it quits today and leave?” I said, rubbing my hands together under some water near a fountain in the back of the room where all of our normal clothes were in duffle bags. Clarice looked around and we both noticed that both Career packs were gone, including Griffin and Piper, and the only ones left were the 18 year old boy from District 5 who we later found out was named Gunner, the tributes from District 6 and 8, and Peyton, who was at the survival skills training.
“I want to play around with some knives, why don’t you shoot some arrows or something just casually so you don’t really show what you can actually do, and we can call it quits.” Clarice said, walking over to the knife station which was a couple stations down from the archery station.
I walked over to the archery station, picked up a bow, and started messing around with my shots. I didn’t want to make myself look bad while the Gamemakers were looking right at me, of course. So I shot multiple targets one after another pretty quickly, and hit my targets directly in the face or in the center of the target. From the looks they were giving me and each other, they were actually pretty impressed with what I could do with a bow. They haven’t seen nothing yet.
When I was done I walked over to Clarice who put down the knives she was training with, and from the holes in the center of the targets, I could see she was thinking the same thing. What was Haymitch thinking when he said we shouldn’t use our preferred weapons in the training arena until evaluation day? Stupid.
We made our way to our duffles, got changed back into our original clothes, and put our training suits into the duffle’s. We swung the duffle bags over our shoulders and walked out the training arena, hearing shouts of anger from Gunner every time he swung a sword around and saw glimpses of the red and orange sunlight coming into the windows of the training arena from the sunset that was leaving us after our first day of training.
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