Chapter Two

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** Celestia **

Fear floods through my bones. I simply cannot, will not, believe it. How dare they make me, the granddaughter of the most powerful president Panem has ever had, go into the Hunger Games? I have seen them so many times on my TV at home, watching with Grandpa, and now I am going to be in them.

I am going to be in a battle to the death. I am probably going to die.

Bryony - my best friend. She is going into the Games too. Only one of us, if any, can come out alive. So she is probably going to die too.

Bryony and I have known each other for practically forever. I think we came out of the hospital holding hands. And now, because of one simple decision, our relationship will never be the same.

Thanks to Katniss Everdeen. I hate her. What right does she have to come in here, strip away everything we live for, and build a whole new country? No right at all.

This is the one thing me and Bryony disagree on. While she idolizes Katniss, I...let's just say, I don't.

I get that the Hunger Games are cruel. I understand. But I don't see what Bryony was so bothered about - we were perfectly safe, so why worry? If we caused trouble, we would probably just ruin the system that was working so well, as Katniss and her rebels clearly showed - because now this is happening. I am being punished, for something my grandfather started years ago. And the very thing the rebellion tried to stop is being used to settle another rebellion.

Oh, the irony.

~~~~~

After my grandfather was assassinated, I had been living with Bryony and her parents. Her mother is lovely, and treats me like a second daughter. I don't see her father much, but when I do he is always exhausted from work and very easily annoyed, so I've learnt to stay away.

I sit down on Bryony's huge bed and stare at the bright morning outside her window. After the announcement last night, we didn't talk much, lost in our own thoughts as we got ready for bed. This morning, I've decided I don't want to sulk around, complaining about how unfair things are. I want to live, and show Katniss and her stupid victors that they can't just destroy my life. Not yet, anyway.

"Look, can we do something?" I stand up, and point out the window vaguely. "In a week, training, interviews, and all the rest of it is will start. We have a week, one week, to live our lives to the full, before they are going to be taken away. I want to make the most of it."

Bryony nods. "I agree. Let's enjoy ourselves whilst we still can. What first?" she says.

"Shopping trip?" I offer.

She smiles. "Just what I was thinking. Let's splash some cash!"

Before it's taken away from us, along with the rest of our lives, I think grimly.

~~~~~

The rest of the week is a blur of visiting relations, shopping, dancing, and everything in between, in an attempt to take our minds off the looming prospect of the upcoming Games.  We talk about everything, but for some reason this is always the topic our conversations come back to. It's hard to think about anything else when death is so close.

We both agree the Games are a terrible idea, but for different reasons. I believe that forcing innocent citizens to kill each other is insane, when it wasn't even us that started the Games. We're only fourteen, for heaven's sake.

Bryony has a completely different way of looking at it, though; she always thinks about the big picture. She says that twenty-three children will die, and that might just cause another rebellion, and then the whole thing will start again. More and more people will die, and the country will just be a wreck. When she puts it like that, it is hard to imagine us being a part of the country's total and utter destruction, and yet I see where she is coming from.

This whole cycle will just keep on going round and round in circles, either until someone compromises (which I don't see happening anytime soon) or we just become a mess, with no order or laws. It would be chaos everywhere.

~~~~~

The night before we start training, we sit on Bryony's roof. Her house is big, and although it isn't as large as the mansion I used to share with my grandfather, it is still has a little platform on the roof, perfect for dangling our feet and talking underneath the stars.

"Cee?" Bryony begins.

"Yeah?"

"Can you promise me something? If one of us survives the arena?"

"Of course," I say.

"Whatever happens, can we still be friends? Forever?"

"Of course. Forever," I reply without hesitation.

I hold out my hand and she clasps it tightly. I try not to think about how soon my best friend might be gone forever. The unfairness of it all makes me want to be sick. But I suppose life is unfair. I'm learning that the hard way.

We stay on the roof for a while, lost in our own thoughts. I stare at the stars above and wonder whether they will look the same inside the arena. It seems impossible that they could.

I notice Bryony has fallen asleep, leaning against my shoulder. I can feel her hair gently tickling my skin. I leave her be - tonight is the last night of our freedom, and we are going to need all the sleep we can get.

Author's note:

So now you've met Bryony's best friend, Celestia. What do you think of her? I'd love to have all your opinions!

This chapter is dedicated to thatblondegirl2003 , one of my best friends IRL.

Please vote and comment if you enjoyed the chapter, and once again thanks for reading!

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