If there's anything to be learned from the world that I live in, it's that appearances are everything. Everyone says that the Hunger Games are not a beauty pageant. This is true, to an extent. Beauty will only get you so far, but it will get you sponsors. And, nobody gets anywhere without sponsors. The Gamemakers make sure of that. It's a very simple way of making sure that this story ends the way the audience wants it to. It's a gruesome, bloody fairy tale, and every fairy tale needs a princess. The people of the Capitol have everything. They spend all of their considerable free time preserving and enhancing their own aesthetic appeal. My job is to make them preserve mine as well. I am that lovely little reprieve from the horrific images that fill their screens. I am a bubbly laugh, a gleaming smile, a soft curl escaping a braid. I am something they want to save, because to them, what I represent is the only thing that truly matters to these people. I have to be the girl every teenager wants to be, and that every clownish Capitol mother wants her son to bring home for dinner. And I have to maintain this level of likability while slicing out the hearts of other kids. Younger, cuter, more innocent kids.

I know that this is my biggest problem. I look around the Training Center, trying to decide who my competition will really be. The obvious answer is the little girl from Eleven. She's adorable, and she's impish, with large doe eyes that sparkle and shine with emotion. I hate her so much that it's a wonder I don't tear her hair out. I can't hurt her, though. Not here, not anywhere, if I hope to keep viewer support. Not unless we're the final two. I can't allow myself to hope it will be that easy. I know I should be concerned about my allies. I think Clove is a little jealous of me, and that makes her dangerous. There's something murderous that flashes behind her eyes when I flirt with her hulky blonde counterpart, not that she doesn't always look murderous. If she lives, she's going to have terrible frown lines someday. What I'm not sure either of them knows is that none of this is real for me. I'd kill him as soon as kiss him, and will do both if given the chance. Nothing brings in sponsorships like ill-fated attraction…especially when it turns violent.

I should also keep an eye on Marvel, I realize after a day in the Arena. He's largely immune to my charms, having known me his whole life. We've never been close, and the reason is simple. I think he's a psychotic, socially awkward whack-job with a disgusting complexion, and he thinks I'm a shallow, vapid, bimbo with no skills. He's wrong, of course. Even if I did take the bow because it adds character (everyone else has a knife), I can defend myself. I'm quite good with a dagger, and I'm downright deadly in hand-to hand combat. I could take him out completely with three quick jabs of my fingers while he's sleeping. I'd rather not, though. His mother owns my favorite dress shop back in One, and it would be really uncomfortable to shop there if I killed him in cold blood. Still, I've gotten him to smile a few times. That might earn me some sympathy. I doubt it, though. We have too much history together. Probably, I'll have to plant something to provoke Cato into killing him. It doesn't take much to send him into a rage, so it wouldn't be difficult.

I fell asleep. None of this would have happened if my stupid District partner had just taken my watch like I asked him to. What is it that that wench from Twelve did to make her partner fawn over like an idiot, to the point of muttering her name in his sleep? It wasn't her hygiene, that's for sure. Now we're running, and my skin is exploding with bursts of pain. I see the backs of the others ahead of me, but their forms are misshapen and warped, the colors wrong. I can hear myself screaming, but I don't remember when I started. The girl next to me, the one from Four, might already be dead. Her face is swollen and distorted and…frighteningly hideous. Is that how I look? It's then that I realize I'm on the ground. I see Marvel stop and turn. He yells something back, something about some cream clearing it up. He's laughing through the pain, and I know where he's going with this. I spent years tormenting him about his looks, and now I'm going to die uglier than he's ever been. No glass coffin for this Sleeping Beauty. It figures, doesn't it? I can't see him anymore. I really hope one of those jackers flew down his throat.