A Game of Chance [A Hunger Games Fanfiction]
Author: Phoenix Summers

Chapter 9
The Chariots

I smooth down my outfit as I walk along beside Hunter and Damon through the Capitol backstreets, as to avoid attention. I wonder, curiousity aroused, why nobody uses these alleys, but before I can ask our escort answers for us. "These streets are forbidden to all but the tributes, and a few select important people running the games. I believe the current penalty for walking here without permission is death by torture, ordered by the President" he says. I shudder, grateful that I happen to fall into the 'tributes' category.


He motions to a large door with a '1' painted on it in red spray paint. Nodding at us, he hustles us inside and we stop, gazing around. I can't help but have to contain my amazement at the scenery surrounding us.


There are twenty-four chariots; one for each tribute. The quarter quell means we each get our own chariot this year instead of having to share with our district partners. This means that Hunter, Damon and I have different styles. Angles, as it would be.


Hunter is looking fairly pretty in a greek goddess gettup, white tunic and gold leather sandals included. I think she is supposed to be Aphrodite, the goddess of love, but by her bored expression she doesn't look too loving. I hide a smirk with the back of my hand and she shoots a dagger glare at me. Tugging uncomfortabally at her neckline she scratches her head with vigour. I look away hurriedly.


Damon is just in front of me, and of course he looks stunning. To the Capitol at least. With his pink fluffy hairdo and glittering outfit. I laughed outright when I first saw it. He hissed at me to be quiet but has remained interestingly subdued ever since. I suppose he doesn't want me making fun of his outfit in training with the careers watching. Too bad, he already has. I can see districts 2 and 4 smirking as they survey him. He clenches his fists angrily. As the career districts' attention turns to me, they look with astonishment that I return only with indifference, remembering how Karl instructed me to behave.


I am wearing a long flowing gown in cream which billows out behind me. A necklace of fine pearls sits in the nape of my neck and on my feet are delicate clear heels. My previously dark hair is now permanently blonde, and it falls in soft curls down my back. The makeup my stylist- whom I eventually found out was called Stee- used makes the purple contacts in my eyes stand out. I inwardly grin, knowing that while I may look like an angel now... the best is still to come.


A five minute warning sounds and I jumps slightly. I look quickly around at the other tributes' outfits, and see that many are doing the same. The only interesting ones that I can see are 2, with their gladiator costumes, and 4, with their sea like eyes and rippling ocean costumes. The rest are around average, apart from districts 8 and 12. 8 are all dressed the same. Very stupid of their stylist; no-one can tell them apart. As for 12... Naked and covered with sparkly black power is not a good look. I giggle slightly at their horrendous outfits.


An mute avox beckons at us, and we get into the first three chariots. As luck has it, I'm the last from district 1. I can hear the rest of the districts scrambling to get into position behind us. What a bunch of losers. They can't even organise themselves.


Stee sidles up to me and I refuse to look in his face, not wanting my breakfast to come back up. He whispers "when you are ready, start to lift up your arms slowly." I give a jerky nod to indicate that I have heard, and, sighing with relief, he moves away. Just as Hunter's chariot rolls out, wobbles, and falls almost gracefully to the side.


The Capitol sits in stunned silence for a moment, then starts to complain vigorously. The entire place is in turmoil. Hunter's face is splashed up on the huge T.Vs at the front of the parade. She is obviously trying to maintain some dignity, but her bright read face tells it all. She really is embarrassing herself. Some escorts hurriedly run to her and escort her off. The head gamemaker is now on screen. He looks agitated as he motions for the rest of the chariots to continue. The Capitol quiets down instantly, looking expectantly at our entrance.


Damon's horses trot out, and the Capitol murmurs, looking at his pink outfit with shock. They can't believe that a tribute would actually wear their fashions, and I am inclined to agree with them, it looks ridiculous. Until they applaud, at least.


My chariot jolts and surges forwards. I grin, whispering to the horses to go faster. It overtakes Damon's, and my dress billows out behind me. I can see close ups of my face with the purple eyes on the screen; I am an angel. The Capitol applauds with vigour and I get more than a few wolf whistles. I passively keep my face blank of emotion.


The other chariots file out one by one, until all twenty-four are following me. This happens halfway down the track. I nod my head, realising that this is the right time. I raise my arms up gently, and close my eyes.


My entire body glows with a red light, and a plate attached to the chariot lifts out from below me, suspending me in mid-air while the other chariots pass below. The camera is fixated on me. I feel triumphant that I am grabbing so much attention, as the audience gasp and stare.


When the red light has completely hidden me from view, it fades away. My clothes cause the Capitol equal astonishment. The once white long dress is now a black and red mottled colour, but longer. My hair has gone a fiery red, making my skin look pale. My shoes and red, and when I open my eyes, the audience sits in stunned silence. As they take in the red eye contacts I am wearing, they roar loudly and chant my name. I grin inside, while making my face still expressionless as the disc I am standing on moves back down to my chariot, my hair and dress streaming out behind me.


This is what I need... Sponsors. From the Capitol audience. And... to make a good impression I incline my head slighly, setting them applauding again. The Chariot pulls up at the front and I can see the other tributes looking at me with fear, with the exception of the career districts. They are looking as if I am a leader, who should lead them.


The President drones on about the rebellion in a speech, blah blah blah. I don't see why we have to listen to this, it's not like we're in a History lesson? I smirk over at Damon, who has caught my eye. He jerks his head slightly at the President, and rolls his eyes. I have to stifle a snigger, thinking that maybe he isn't so bad after all.


Finally the 'lesson' finishes, and our Chariots pull out. I catch sight of myself on the big screen replaying the chariots, and gasp. I look completely different from before the parade, when I looked like an angel. Now I look like... a demon. I smile as the chariot grinds to a halt and I step out. I like it. It show that I am a born killer and will kill like a demon, letting nothing stand in my way. Not even my alliance.


Joe and Stee come up beaming and start praising me, oblivious to Damon, and Hunter, who are standing in the background. I accept their thanks with good grace, and compliment Stee on his abilites. He tries to pretend that he doesn't know what I mean, put I can see the pride on his face. He deserves that pride, I suppose, but he could try a bit harder to mask it, couldn't he?


I then stroll out of the building, Hunter, Damon and the rest of the team following me. Hunter and Damon look annoyed at their performance, particually Hunter who is obviously upset. My head is held high. Nothing will stop me from winning this game.


Even if I have to play dirty to win it. I smile, remembering Hunter's chariot. Too easy, too easy. She should have checked. Of course, it had nothing to do with me, even though she had the best entrance planned of all of us...


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