Training Day Three

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Dagan Saga, District 9

 

I felt sick to my stomach as I walked down toward training, Emily close by my side. After watching the people who were going to try to kill me train for two days I was dreading the final day. My chest felt like it was going to explode from the stress that was mounting in me. I’d already volunteered myself to die for Emily. It shouldn’t matter how the other tributes were doing, my death was inevitable. Maybe the long talks with my mentor, Ray, about how I’d sacrifice myself to Emily were finally taking a toll on my sanity. I was scared to die, but Emily had more to live for than me, and I loved her like my sister.

 

Emily took a few extra strides to get ahead of me, her strawberry blonde hair bouncing as she went. She threw her weight against the heavy metal door of the facility and pushed it open. “Thanks.” I breathed, thought I wasn’t sure if she’d heard me because her eyes had settled on something in the room.

 

I took a few steps forward and peered into the room, following her gaze to the group of tributes murmuring nervously as they eyed each apprehensively. It reminded me of the meeting on the first day. From the center of the group I made out a familiar flaxen ponytail aside the slightly elevated head of Daryel.  We were having another meeting…. I wondered why.

 

I paced myself with Emily as we approached the group, our feet padding on the matted floor of the facility. Cornelia Vestro’s cold blue eyes locked on us, “Okay is that everyone? I’m only going to say this once so listen closely.” She shifted her feet and pinched her shoulders back raising herself to her full height. “Due to the fact we only had one duel over the three days we’ve been training, we will be forcing you to battle each other, this will help determine your rankings and provide a little interest for your capital viewers, perhaps even snagging you a sponsor.”

 

Once again I felt a sickening wave rush over me. How could people find this fun to watch? Why were the districts going along with it? Why hadn’t someone done something? I shook my head realizing how immature my thoughts had become. The people of the capital had been brainwashed and the districts were too scared to do anything. Besides, even if we were brave enough to make a move, then what? We had nothing to arm ourselves with to fight.

 

Cornelia Vestro’s smirked at the distressed whimpers of a few of the tributes as she continued with a smug expression on her face. “The pairs were determined randomly, so don’t be insulted if you are with someone above or below your skill level.”

 

Daryle held up a long piece of paper, “The pairs are as follows. Emily and  Marvin, Jin and Willow, Axel and Karen, Kaiden and Paisley, Malcolm and Acadia, Celeste and Dagan, Braven and Holly, Joshua and Stag, Mark and Jack, Fawn and Runa, Zeria and Robin. Because Georgette won yesterday’s battle and we have an odd number due to Cheshire Hydra’s solitary confinement, she is excused from today’s duels.” The girl from seven, Holly, let out a loud snort. Daryle ignored her and folded the list and placed it in his pocket. “First pairing to the ring.”

 

Emily sent me a grave look before striding toward the arena. A small boy with freckles and hair like a carrot also moved forward with much more hesitation than Emily. The way he wrung his black shirt in his hands showed he already knew the outcome of the battle.

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