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Once we got on the train, my partner and I watched the recaps of the reapings with our mentors. Our mentors, Crab and Oyster were the siblings who won the 100th Quarter Quell, when siblings were reaped together. Oyster seemed very nice, but Crab was, well, crabby. There was no better word to describe him.
As we watched the reapings, I made sure to look for noteworthy things about the competition, and store them in my head.
First came the District 1 reapings. Clearly the girl volunteered to humiliate the 18 year-old that was reaped. I could see the look of pure satisfaction on her face, the same kind that was on Hayner's whenever he pulled a prank. The boy also looked menacing and even fought off the Peacekeepers. I'd have to keep my eyes on those two.
District 2 came next. The girl was clearly beautiful, and carried herself with an air of superiority, which in my book means BITCH ALERT. Undoubtedly, she volunteered because she was a Career. The confidence gave it away. The boy was more quiet and cold, but it was clear he was a Career, as well.
Next came District 3. The boy was extremely overconfident, but he looked strong. The girl was a bit more quiet, but she looked inventive. Another pair to keep my eyes on.
I was on next. I really hoped that people didn't think I wasn't menacing because of my dress. Stupid dress, making me look like a Cornucopia kill right off the bat. However, I did volunteer, so hopefully people will think I'm not totally hopeless. I was just about to see the boy's reaping, but the server came with lavish blue drinks that are called blue raspberry daiquiris, or so I hear, on a tray, so I missed his name again.
While I was sipping my drink, District 5 came up on the screen. Both of them looked quiet, and completely unthreatening, but you never know.
On to District 6. The boy had big muscles, like the boy from 3, but unlike the boy from 3, he didn't have the overconfidence. The girl looked small and frail, and looked like she wouldn't go anywhere.
The District 7 boy looked like he'd be dead early, but I knew I shouldn't make assumptions. The girl looked like she could last a while. She looked agile, like she could swing from tree to tree very quickly.
District 8 looked like nothing special. This is typical for District 8. The girl, once again, looked like she could outlast the boy. Looks like we have a lot of good girl tributes this year so far. I'm a natural feminist, so I couldn't help a small smile when nobody was looking.
Districts 9's and District 10's tributes both looked like they could be very weak, but you shouldn't judge by appearance.
District 11's boy didn't look so great, but the girl looked stronger. Again, she looked very agile, and a little sly.
District 12's girl was, in one word, menacing-looking. The boy on the other hand was quieter, but he looked like one of those sly ones again.
After the reapings finished with the Panem national anthem, I went to dinner with my fellow tribute, whose name I now learned was Thane Spaze. I had actually heard of him before: he once caught a great white shark in his net and wrestled with it.
I made a mental note to watch out for this guy. If you can wrestle a great white shark, then you can do just about anything when it comes to hand to hand combat, or at least that's what I assumed. He was also excellent with a trident, according to word on the street.
When I got to dinner with Thane, Crab and Oyster were waiting with Gretel down in the dining car. The dinner looked amazing: chilled jumbo shrimp with some sort of somewhat lumpy red sauce (Gretel later told me it was called cocktail sauce), broiled slipper lobster tails with rich butter sauce, and for dessert, a delicious mango sorbet. Again, I didn't know what it was, so I hoped that Gretel was right about what all these foods were called. She probably was, though.
To drink, we had more of those blue raspberry daiquiris. I definitely didn't mind that we were having the same drink twice. It was delicious, as was all food in the Capitol. I don't like their government system or the Hunger Games at all, but they're darn good cooks.
After dinner, our mentors gave us our first few pointers.
"You'll be going into the Remake Center soon. You may not like what they do to you, but just deal with it. Then comes the tribute parade. After that, we'll focus more on coaching you two so at least one of you will make it home alive," Oyster said.
Sure enough, our train reached the Capitol the next day. I felt well refreshed after taking a shower and using a razor to shave. Might as well save the prep team some trouble. I shaved my underarms, arms (for fuzz) and legs. I was kind of worried about the Remake Center. Dad said it's painful, but it's worth it. Good looks are one way to earn sponsors. I didn't think I would go down that route though. I'm pretty, but not totally sexy.
After a delicious breakfast, Thane and I were greeted loudly by Capitol people clearly anxious for the Games. They were waving and shouting at our train as we passed. I couldn't help but smile and wave back at them. I guess good moods are contagious.
Finally, we reached the Remake Center. Thane and I were escorted into separate rooms and were greeted by our prep teams. My prep team seemed very happy to be working with me, and I hoped I had done almost all the work by myself. As soon as they said hello, they ripped off my robe (thank God they were all girls), and were muttering things under their breath. Unfortunately, I couldn't hear them.
A few minutes later, the head of the prep team walked over to where I was lying, preparing myself for what they would do to me.
"Well, Katar, that is your name, right?" she asked me. I nodded in response and she continued, "it seems that you're doing a great job keeping up with your personal hygiene!" Here she gave me a wide smile that made it impossible for me not to smile back. "We won't have to pull out any teeth, but we will have to do a little bit of shaving and whitening. We'll also have to do your makeup, so it'll still be a little while."
"Okay," I responded. To be honest, I was a little excited. I don't like the Capitol for what they do, but I loved their food, and the chariot rides are always the part of the Games that I like, besides the interviews.
Once the prep team has finished with me, I tried to look in a mirror so I could see what they'd done. However, the prep team told me to wait for the stylist. I didn't know what to do for the interminable wait for my stylist to get in here, so I just took a nap. I realized I hadn't gotten much sleep ever since I was reaped. The reaping! My promise to Olette! I decided to take out the photo that is my token…oh crap, where the hell was it? Great, now I had lost what could be the only way I would ever see my friends again.
Just as I was at the height of my panicking, my stylist walked in. Finally! I think in my head.
"Hello, Katar. I'm your stylist, Sari. Would you take off your robe? I'm going to give you your dress now," she explains.
I reluctantly take off my robe. I really feel like this is an invasion of my privacy. Maybe it's just me, but I really don't like people seeing me naked!
"Close your eyes," Sari directs me. I do so reluctantly. A few seconds later, something smooth is put over my body. After that, I hear her unwrapping something else.
"Lift your left foot, please." I do so, and a shoe is slipped on.
"Now, please lift your right foot." Again, I obey, and another shoe is put on.
"You can open your eyes now," she tells me.
I am blown away.
The girl in the mirror looks like a human pearl. My face is all lightly glowing with makeup. Pale pink shimmery eyeshadow dusts over my eyes. Shimmery pale gloss coats my lips. My hair is just curled more so the waves really stand out. However, my dress is the best part. It is made entirely of pearls. I can't believe District 4 fished out all of these! I lift up my dress to find another lovely surprise: white shoes that also have pearls on them, and their heels, thank god, are short, so I can stand in them easily.
Right now, I feel like the most beautiful person in the whole world. Then, I reminded myself to enjoy the moment while I could.
When I walked out to our chariot, I notice that Thane is already standing there, in a blue cape that shimmers like water when he moves. The cape is pinned to his body with two oysters on both shoulders. I guess it's because pearls come out of oysters. He's also wearing nothing else, except a seaweed wrap over his…you know what? Never mind.
I hop into the chariot and we're off. I look at the chariots in front of us.
The duo from 1 are wearing regal clothes. The girl is wearing a purple gown decorated and dripping with amethysts. The boy is wearing a silver lame shirt that must be showing off his chest. He's wearing matching pants also.
District 2 is going for a more medieval theme. The boy is wearing an outfit that looks kingly, with a golden crown. The girl has a smaller crown, and a long red dress with gold trim. She definitely carries herself like a queen.
District 3 is going for a more futuristic theme. They've been spray painted silver and have black slanted things over their eyes. I really don't understand it until someone in the crowd yells out, "Sci-fi. Very creative!"
Of course, we're next. I make sure to smile and wave at the crowd. In this moment, I feel invincible. Hopefully, that feeling will last. I hear people calling my name, whistling, probably at Thane, and they threw roses at us.
District 5 is after us, and they're matching also, except that the girl is wearing a dress and the boy is wearing pants. The clothes are black, but when light hits them, they look like something else. Something that must provide power in some way. Then I hear, "solar panels" being mentioned.
After them comes District 6. The boy is wearing a dark green jacket, with matching pants, and weird goggles, while the girl is wearing a white top with a pin, and a short navy skirt. I hear, "pilot and flight attendant" being said, so now I think I get it.
District 7 is more ethereal. The girl looks like some sort of tree nymph, spray painted green, with gold tattoos, and a silky, flowy, dress. On the other hand, the boy is just dressed up like a tree again.
As we pull into the City Circle, I see the remaining chariots. District 8's outfits look pretty cool, with the girl wearing a dress made entirely of ribbons, while the boy is wearing all denim with patches.
District 9, ugh! They're wearing EDIBLE COSTUMES! Now, they're eating the corn on the costumes. Ick!
District 10 are cowboys again. Nothing special.
District 11, well, the girl looks nice. She's wearing a dress that, when it shimmers, looks like a beautiful bouquet. The boy, again, nothing special.
District 12 is just plain menacing. The girl is wearing a dress that looks like coal that's just stopped burning. The boy is just wearing a typical coal miner's uniform.
We're all pulled into the City Circle, and President Snow makes his speech, as usual. Then, we go into the building that will be our home until the Games.