Chapter 7: Training

Josh knocks on my door a little while later, and says that everyone is waiting for you. I pull myself up and put on a simple white tunic with pants, but I leave my headband on. When I get into the dining room, there is a gigantic chocolate cake. "Eat up!" Jessie chirps. "We ordered more!" My eyes go wide as I sit down. Man that is one big cake. I wasn't sure we could eat it all. The silent servants cut pieces of the cake and sit them down in front of us. While we eat, Luna and Lawrence congratulate the stylists about our opening chariot rides. Then they turn to us and Luna says, "Great job yout two. You really did make the Capital love you both." I smile and thank her. She takes a look at my headband and asks, "Is that your token?" I nod while I have my cake. She nods in deep thought. "It's already went through the gamemakers. They passed it." Catarina says. My hands go up to the headband at the thought of the gamemakers prodding and poking it. "Did any of the tokens get taken away this year?" Lawrence asks. "The girl from Two had a necklace with a pendant that if you swallowed the pendant, it killed you. Some sort of poison in it. Also the boy from Seven had a locket, that had a tiny needle in it. With a precise pinprick, it could kill you." She said. This came a surprise to me, since usually nobody had a token get taken away. It was bad publicity for the District.

Jessie was sitting by me so I leaned over and asked her why the servants never said anything. She wispered to me, "The are rebels from the districts. Once they are caught, the Capital does something to their tounges so they can't say anything again. They're called Avoxes." She leaned back from me and studied my reaction, but I didn't show one. I was too stunned say or do anything. How could the Capital be SO cruel? I just went on eating the cake, but I couldn't really taste it after that. I knew that it wasn't as good as ours.

After the cake, we all said good-night to each other and went to bed, but I couldn't sleep that well. Tommorow was the first day of training. I remembered Luna and Lawrence's advice. Pick the weapon you want to learn. After you have learned it move on. Stay away from the Careers. Well, I would try all of those plus a little more. After I had taken a shower in the bathroom bigger than my room, I put some comfy satin pajamas, but couldn't sleep. I heard a soft knock at the door, and opened it. Josh was standing in the doorway, with a look I couldn't quite explain. "Um... Hi?" I said. "Listen, Sym. I just wanted to ask you. Is there a problem you have me?" I shook my head. "Listen Josh. I am just going for an image. Ok. And also I didn't like how you were talking with the Careers. Do you want to be one?" I asked. He puzzled this question for a moment and said, "No. I just don't want them to target me in the arena." I nodded my head, and he left. Hmmm.... He was beginning to be harder to figure out than I thought.

When I woke up this morning. I saw the clothes I had threw on the floor weren't there anymore. Probably the Avoxes cleaned 'em up. There was a purple and black matching shirt and shorts. There was also a pair of purple and black tennis shoes laying on my nightstand. I guess those were my training clothes. I put them on and sweep my hair up into my usual ponytail with a curve. I go down for breakfast and find that only Luna is up, and she isn't looking so good. Her eyes are red and under them are huge bags. I order some bacon and eggs and ask Luna what's wrong. She replies, "Oh, just didn't get a lot of sleep last night." "Why?" I ask as my plate is sat down before me. "Worrying about all the sponser requests I'll get for you guys." She teases me. I smile and start eating. A couple of minutes later Lawrence and Josh come down. Josh is dressed idenical to me. His shirt shows his muscles, and I can see why someone would want to sponser him. We eat as Luna and Lawrence talk us through the plan for the one hundreth time. Then Jessie comes and shows the elevator saying, "I am not gonna go down with you two, because I want to make sure they think you are both mature enough to handle things. Just push the T button and it will take you down to the centre. Good luck!" We both look at each other as she pushes the button. The door closes and we whoosh down. I suddenly think of a question I needed to ask Josh. "Josh. How old are you?" I ask. He doesn't respond at first, but then says, "Fourteen." We go down in silence.

As the doors open on the Training center floor, I take in everything. We are the fourth ones to arrive. The gamemakers are on a box looking us over. The Careers are already here. As the other districts arrive, I carefully look them over to see if any of them would make a good ally. The person that stands out the most is the girl from Four. Unlike the other Careers, she doesn't seem to be that evil. She looks nervous, her blue-green eyes dart this way and that as she takes in all the tributes. Her eyes flit over me and I look away. The head-gamemaker calls everyone to attention and explains all the different stations. After he's done talking everyone goes to different stations. I see the Careers go to the sword and knife stations. I decide that for my weapon, I was going to try bows and arrows. I walk over to the station and the trainer's face lights up. Nobody is over here, so I figured I could have some peace and quiet while I tried it. But the thought vanishes when the girl from Four comes over. He decides to work with us together, and I'm actually not bad. We work in silence until it's time for lunch.

At lunchtime, we are herded into a cafeteria that has 24 different tables, so we don't have to sit with each other. The Careers move some of the tables together, so they can scope us out. There's a buffet on the other side, with Avoxes. I go over and heap my plate full of my usual stuff. Breaded shrimp, crab meat, and those fluffy rolls. I go over and sit at one of the empty tables, and start eating. Someone comes over and sits across from me. I look up and see it's the girl from Four. "Um. Can I help you?" I ask her. She gets up and says, "I want to be your ally in the Games." I was a bit surprised. A Career wanted me? "Um... I'll think about it." I replied. She nods and goes and sits with the Careers. I stare after her. Why me?

After we eat, we are herded back into the Training Centre. I go back to the archery station and start up again. This time the girl from One is here along with the girl from Two. I raise my bow and prepare to let go of the arrow, when on of the girls distracts me, and my arrow goes flying into the dummy's arm. They both fall over laughing, and I glare at them. "What do you want?" I ask them. "To see you mess up." The girl from One says. I narrow my eyes and she glares at me, "What's your name?" They look at each other like I just insulted them. "My name is Shine and this is Shelby. You are such an idiot." The girl from One says while pointing to the girl from Two. I shrug saying, "Don't matter. I'm not the only idiot here." Shine and Shelby let out a huff and walk away. I glare after them. I've already made enemies in the Games.

Read Chapter 8!

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