We were lead to a separate room for our final “goodbye” to our families. As I enter the room, I saw Phoebe and our parents. She ran towards me and hugged me tightly.
“Thea! Try your best! Please win the Games! Don’t die!” she shouted as she started to cry.
“Phoebe, calm down.” I said as I wipe the tears falling on her pinkish cheeks. My mother is starting to cry but my dad stared at me.
“You have trained well Althea, you know what to do out there.” My dad said.
I have trained for this but I don’t want this. I don’t want to kill.
“Yes dad.” I answered then looked at my mom who is crying too much.
“Take care out there.” She said. I smiled and hugged my mom and dad and saved my last hug for Phoebe.
“I will try my best to win. I promise.” I said to them and gave them my most reassuring smile.
Phoebe pulled my hand and placed two necklaces, one has a sword and one has a hammer pendant.
“What is this for?” I asked.
“Yours is the one with a sword pendant. I have seen you train using a sword and you are very good at it. Keep it to remember everything you learned in training.” Said Phoebe and we all shared one last hug.
The Peacekeepers entered the room and said that the time to bid our goodbyes is over. Tricia entered the room with Isaiah.
“It’s time for us to leave and go to the Capitol.” She said to both of us.
“You’ll be meeting your mentor once were in the train.” She added.
“Who will be our mentor?” I asked.
“You’ll know it later.” Tricia said to me then winked.
Isaiah glared at me. I have seen him train once when I passed by them and he is extremely great. I have seen him around our District a lot of times but he looks like someone no one wants to mess with. For his age, he is well-built as for me, I am like a stick.
I still can’t believe that I am the tribute for the Games. No one even volunteered for me. Tricia lead us to the train, it was wonderful. Crystal chandeliers, table full of food, it’s fantastic.
“Welcome!” a lady shouted.
I turned to see who the girl is and to my surprise, it’s Ashley Wu.
“Ashley.” I muttered.
“Yes, it’s me dear.” She said then smiled.
“You will be our mentor?” I asked, resisting not smiling too much.
“Yes.” She said, nodding slightly.
“May I know your names?” she asked then looked at me.
“I am Althea Haversham.” I answered.
“What a wonderful name, you won’t mind if I call you Thea, right?” she asked.
I nodded in reply, thinking of Phoebe who usually calls me Thea.
“How about you?” she asked as she looked at Isaiah.
“My name is Isaiah Jett.” He said then managed a friendly smile.
“Well, I am Ashley Wu and I will be your mentor.” She said.
“Let’s sit for a while and discuss the Games, shall we?” she said and lead us to sit.
I looked around and I feel my heart pounding so much because I feel like my days of living is so short.
“So, Althea, tell me about yourself.” She said.
What should I tell about myself? There’s nothing interesting about me. No one likes me. I am totally unlikable. “Try your best!” Phoebe said to me back home. I need Ashley’s help and to be able to be helped, I have to tell her something about me.
“There’s nothing to tell.” I said, not knowing what to say.
“Family?” she asked.
Then it hit me that I miss my family already. I looked at the necklace that I am wearing and then I remembered what it feels like to be just back in District 1 with my family.
“My mother’s ill, I still have my father, I have a little sister, Phoebe.” I said.
“Did all of them go to say goodbye to you?” she asked, and I nodded.
“How about you Isaiah?” she asked.
“I only have my mother who is a little weak now. My brother died during the 21st Couple Games.” He said.
Now I remember, Purge. He is about to win the Games when his partner turned to his enemy and helped to kill him. It was so tragic.
“I remember him.” Ashley said then patted Isaiah’s knee.
“Here’s what I want you to do.” She said then composed herself.
I and Isaiah looked at her and paid attention to what she said.
“You don’t know what the other tributes might do. Their mind doesn’t focus on something too complicated. Let’s go on the easy way. Get to know each other. Don’t think that once you got there, you could leave each other and be with the other tributes. You came from the same District and I want the two of you to be in each others’ sides no matter what.” She said.
I can’t imagine myself inside that arena with Isaiah Jett. That is too impossible. I know he’ll leave me. He might team up with the other Career tributes and kill me.
“Okay.” Isaiah said.
I looked at him skeptically, “Are you sure?” I asked.
“She’s right. We don’t know how the others’ brain works. They might lure us in and then kill us. If the two of us remain as a pair, then we can win.” He said.
It’s the very first time that we ever talked this long.
“See the point?” Ashley asked.
I nodded, “Yes”
“Okay, so for the Tribute Parade. You will meet your stylist once we got there.” Ashley said then left me and Isaiah.
The tension in the room suddenly rises. We are on our way to the Capitol and I am more nervous, because I am near to death.
“Don’t be nervous.” Isaiah said. I looked at him and our eyes met, his eyes are warm and calming.
“How can’t I be? I am about to be killed in that arena.” I said with a slight anger in my voice.
“You won’t get killed. I will be with you. We will survive.” He said. I don’t think he is kidding because he looks extremely serious and there’s no point in joking about that matter.
“You don’t have to.” I said. It’s true; he doesn’t have to protect me if it is against his will.
“I don’t have to but I want to.” He said.
I was shocked about what he said. He wants to? That’s really shocking for me.
“Okay.” I said then stood up and immediately went to where Ashley is.
“Ashley.” I said as I walk towards her. Her black hair is tied up in a ponytail and she is wearing a very sad expression.
“Is there something you need?” she asked.
“Nothing really. I just want to ask about how you survived the Couple Games.” I said, thinking that she might reject telling it.
“I was fearful. I wasn’t like the other tributes of the Games from District 1. I was afraid to kill. I ran away from the other tributes just to save myself. I concealed myself deep in the woods, afraid to fight. I was afraid to die because I made a promise to my brother that I would live. I feel so unprotected until James Kyll came. He saved me and together we survived. He was strong. He wasn’t a Career but he was strong, stronger than me and for a Career tribute, I was weak. He wasn’t afraid to kill.” She said as tears started to form at the corner of her eyes and as I imagine everything that I have watched when she was there.
“I know the feeling. I made the same promise to my little sister. I am from District 1 like you. I am considered as a Career tribute. I am just like you, I am afraid to kill. Probably, once I step into that arena, I will do the same—conceal myself.” I said.
I and Ashley are somehow connected. Being a Career tribute is not easy. Everyone expects you to be really good and a total fighter. I am a total opposite of what they expect me to be.
“I was left by my own partner. He left me to be with the other tributes. You don’t have to worry. Isaiah looks like a nice guy. He will probably stay with you.” She said.
Then I remembered how Isaiah reacted a while ago—about how he wanted to protect me.
“Thanks.” I said.
Someone cleared his throat. We both turned and saw him.
“Talking about me?” he asked.
~End of Chapter 2~