0.07 ; the warrior girl in gold | ✔

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0.07 ; the warrior girl in gold

The stands are filled to the brim with people, dressed in colours so bright that they almost hurt my eyes. I try to concentrate on projecting my image to the Capitol, waving and smiling when they cheer my name. It's all I can do.

When I look up at the huge screens projecting close-ups of the scene, Glimmer, the girl from district 1, has got most of the attention. No wonder! She's a perfect, pretty blonde, brimming with ethereal beauty. She has the crowd hooked.

And then the screen changes, and I'm looking straight into the eyes of a warrior girl. Her raven hair braided, hanging almost to her waist. Huge green eyes showered with golden glitter, framed by a mass of thick black lashes. Shrouded in golden armour. The warrior girl on the screen is me.

And just for a minute, I am no longer Clove Carrow, I am a warrior, a fighter, a girl with no name, yet with everything focused on her. And I feel great.

I wave and gesture to the crowd, and they cheer eagerly, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the warrior girl in gold. I catch a red rose in my left hand and blow a kiss in the general direction of where it came from. Everyone cheers wildly.

The screen alternates between all the tributes and their costumes. It shifts from 1 to 2, then to 3 and 4, 5 and 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. 11 wear silver crowns of plaited leaves upon their heads and denim dungarees. And then the cheers begin.

The whole crowd erupts into screams, and I know why. Up on the screen, are the district 12 tributes. And they are on fire. Literally.

The girl, Katniss, has her hair braided intricately around her head, with a flowing cape made of flames billowing out behind her, the flames illuminating her face and turning her into some kind of human torch. A very popular human torch by the sound of things. Her fellow tribute looks pretty much the same. The Capitol citizens are screaming the 12 tribute's names, and they both return the thanks, waving graciously and catching kisses blown by the crowd.

It disgusts me to even think of her. She and she alone has stolen Cato and I's spotlight. We were the favourites to win! And now. Well, now, it looks like we're not. And it scares me to think of it. They're your only hope now , Clove. You have to make them like you.

We reach the city centre as the Capitol anthem ends, and President Snow looks out over the balcony, scouring the crowd, his eyes creeping across each pair of tributes, their chariots stopped in front of his mansion. The crowd falls silent as he steps up to his podium, and begins his address.

"Welcome. Tributes, we welcome you. We salute you, your courage, and your sacrifice. We wish you all, Happy Hunger Games. And may the odds, be ever in your favour!"

The noise from the stands is deafening, the roars of appreciation pouring down on us from every level, as the huge doors open above us, and our horse automatically pull us forward into the room.

We arrive in a cavernous space, all grey and white, with angular shapes and high, towering ceilings: The Training Centre.  

Tallulah bustles forward to meet us, followed by Cecilia and Cordelia, who cheer and whoop, causing all the other tributes to turn towards us. Behind them, are Crystalline and Brutus, both beaming.

"That was brilliant!" shouts Tallulah over the hubbub of voices. I try my best to smile as Cecilia and Crystalline help me down from the chariot and Cecilia circles around me, checking my hair and my costume and everything.

"You two looked amazing!" shouts Crystalline, and I laugh in response. Cato simply smirks. God, he's arrogant! I really need to make him less egoistic.