Frozen: The 21st Hunger Games

Chariots & Training

I look in the mirror and still can't believe that the reflection staring back at me is mine.

I wear a big pink top hat that hugs my head tightly. My collar spikes up in the back, around the back of my head, and merges into two sharp shoulder decoration. I have thick sleeves that end in cuffs; a suit that's very heavy and huge. The suit is pink with gold tassels hanging off and other gold accents. The coat goes all the way to my ankles! Underneath I wear a pink, button-up shirt, but it's completely covered up. On my feet is a pair of golden boots with pointed toes.

I can barely move in this outfit, let alone bending my arms or legs!

I put up an arm. The Os reflection puts up an arm, as well. That really is me.

God, that's a hideous outfit. But, it feels surprisingly good to wear it. I feel superior when I'm in such a tall outfit, and I like that feeling. Respectable. Sophisticated. All-powerful.

I smile largely, and the Os in the mirror grins back at me. You know, I sometimes don't give myself enough credit. I'm actually cuter than I always say I am. I have to have some kind of confidence in this Game, or else I'll never win.

I keep studying myself in the mirror. Seeing myself in and wearing this ridiculous outfit, I actually feel fantabulous. And also I feel like leaning toward the homosexual side.

See, I know that I can't hold back tonight. I have to be confident and theatrical, and I can't let anything stop me. I need sponsors.

So, I decide to embrace the weirdness of all this and walk out to the main floor with a big, goofy grin on my face. Pleasure looks a lot less ridiculous than I do, but I'm alright with that.

"Hey!" I greet her pleasantly. She immediately bursts out laughing at me, "Ah, you look like even more of a dork than you already are!" I just ignore this.

From across chariots, I catch Pomponius's eye and smile at him. He winks back at me before he and his partner find their mentors and strike up conversation.

When I look over, I see our mentors coming to joins us, as well. I wave to them, and Dutch nods back before he notices what I'm wearing. He grins and starts to laugh a little: a real laugh, and a real smile: and that makes me happier than anything else could have in the moment. Pleasure goes aside with her mentor and Dutch doesn't stop grinning.

"Os, you look-"

"This outfit is outrageous, isn't it!?" I squeak at him, grinning. He doesn't stop smiling like an idiot and nods.

"You pull it off, though," he remarks.

A pink as light as my undershirt brushes across my cheeks and I smile. "Thanks. Isn't it just fantabulous?"

His smile becomes sadder. "Yeah," he says quietly.

I smile just as Pleasure climbs up on the chariot. Dutch adjusts my collar and straightens my top-hat. He smiles and whispers, "Rock 'em, Ossy."

"How could I not?" I tease, and he laughs slightly. I get up on my chariot, next to Pleasure. It makes me happy that I'm taller than her, especially taller in this outfit.

The white horses carrying our chariot whinny quietly and then start to trot through the large doors.

The sound of the crowd almost literally blows me away.

I smile and decide to enjoy the fame while the fame is still enjoyable.

Training is the first time I get to officially talk to my alliance and figure out where they belong. We plan to meet up in a group after the rules lady is done with her speech.

Pomponius, who's hair is shagging in his eyes as opposed to yesterday, when it was spiked up, catches up to me before I can join the others.

"Top of the morning to you," he says, grinning.

"And the rest of the day to you," I offer with a kind smile.

"The name's Pomponius," he says, grinning broadly, "But you can call me Pomp." He winks a green eye at me and I don't have time to mention that he can call me Os before we join the other.

The alliance stands in a circle and I examine the faces around me. They all look insane and bloodthirsty.

Marcella, the girl from 2, smiles at us and teases, "About time you dorks got here." I'm not sure if she's teasing or serious, but I decide to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Pomp just shrugs, and I decide to speak up first. "Well, let's not delay any longer. Let's get this thing started."

"This is a nice group we've got here this year," says the girl from Four. "I trust you'll all be hard to kill. But I'll do it, you bet your asses I'll do it. Besides, competition's just what makes this game more fun, right?"

Everyone around me enthusiastically agrees, so I give a small nod, trying not to look nervous.

"What's your name?" I ask her.

She smiles wickedly at me. "The name you'll be hearing announced as the Victor? Lucy Galvan. What the hell is your-" she stops abruptly. "Oh."

She must've remembered who I am. That's a pretty awesome feeling, and I think it shows on my face.

"I'm Osmium," and decide to add, "To all of you," for good measure.

I hear Pleasure whisper to Lucy, "Oh, he's nothing special, he's weak!" I ignore the comment, though the girl pales when she notices that I heard her.

"I'm, uh, Marcella," the 2 girl says, trying to break the awkward silence, "Marcella Addington."

"Pleasure Easton," she says, "Nice to meet you all." She doesn't seem herself.

"Kiefer." We all look over to the towering boy from 4, who hasn't said a word since we got here. "Sampson Kiefer." The rest of us blink at him, except Lucy, who scowls before looking back at all of us.

Finally, the last one up introduces himself. "And finally, I'm Pomponius Hilton. My friends call me Pomp, in fact. I have a feeling we'll all be acquaintances until I go on my killing spree."

He slaps me on the back so hard the wind is knocked out of me. I don't show the weakness, though.

Pomp continues, "And, since Osmium is, of course, a Krietzer, I propose that he becomes the leader of this alliance."

I blink. I was expecting to be rendered weak, kicked out, and have to find my own alliance. But… All these people… they actually respect me. Wow.

"Uh, no way!" Pleasure suddenly protests, scowling.

"So, we'll take a vote! Pomp says. "All in favor of Os being our leader?"

I don't want to be the leader. I want to get away from all these people: they're insane. I can't trust them at all, not even a little, no matter how nice they seem. I have to get out of here. Unfortunately for me, everyone raises their hands except for Pleasure. Lucy looks reluctant, but still ends up raising her hand, as well.

Pomp narrows his eyes at Pleasure.

"All opposed?" he asks in a voice that makes me want to throw up.

Pleasure protests, "Os only got to volunteer because of his family! I'll bet his brother bumped him up on the roster!" She says it even though she knows that it's not true: she knows exactly how Dutch reacted to my going into the Games.

"Shut up, Pleasure," I growl, "You know it's not true."

She scowls, then turns to Pomp and sneers: "Fine! You'll all die under his leadership! I'll be the one laughing in the end!"

"Are you leaving, then?" asks Lucy in a sweet-coated but really sinister tone, "Not like your presence will be missed."

Pleasure swallows hard and then shakes her head.

"Good," I say, taking the conversation back again. I want to get it done fast so I can get away from these people. "What are all your special skills? In the Arena, I'll be claiming any spears we find."

"Wonderful," says Pomp, "Because I call dibs on any scythes."

Marcella waves an arm, bouncing on her toes, "I'll be taking the maces."

Lucy grins arrogantly. "Don't any of you touch my knives. You simpletons couldn't use them like I do, anyways." We all exchange an annoyed look.

"Tridents," the boy from 4 says. He doesn't say anything else.

"Uh, okay, I guess I'll take swords, then," Pleasure says. I smile and nod.

"Good. Let's split up and show off skills in every weapon to boost our scores. Because I'm the leader of the alliance, I'll study up on survival skills, as well."

Lucy scoffs. "Pff, wait, you want to waste your time on stupid shit like the berry station? The fire station? Sure. Why don't you just prance out there and beg the Gamemakers for a score of 6?"

"Hey, what Osmium says goes!" Pomp says defensively. I like having this respect thing.

But, the real reason I have to go to the survival stations is to find someone, anyone else to ally with. The Careers freak me out, and they're all rude and loud and bloodthirsty. Plus, they're all going to be out to kill me. I can't trust them. I couldn't sleep with Lucy on watch!

I need to ally with someone I can trust, which means I need to find an ally from one of the poorer districts.

The Careers all separate, and each of them goes to find a weapon except for me.

Now's the time I have to go make the first friends I've ever made in my life. Hopefully I'll get better results here than I do back home.

I walk to the knot-tying station first. I've spent many nights awake with Dutch, him teaching me how to tie knots, so this isn't all too hard for me.

I look at the other tributes that are tying knots. The boy from 3 looks unwilling to talk, and a little weird. The girl from Six stares at me.

12-year-olds can sometimes have a lot to offer, so I decide to talk to her. I smile as kindly as I've ever smiled before in her direction. She fumbles with a knot in her fingers.

I sit next to her. "Hi there," I whisper quietly. She jumps and looks up, rosy cheeks quickly turning even rosier. She waves but seems agitated.

"Hi," she quietly whispers back.

"What's your name? I'm Os."

"Raleigh," she says quietly.

"Nice to meet you." I smile at her. She glances around at the other training tributes and says, "Whoops, I, uh, have to go." She gets up and scurries away. I frown.

Then, I get up and go to the fish hook station to talk to the volunteer from District Seven. He's not as strong-built as most of the tributes from his District.

"Hey," I greet casually. He looks up, then back at his project. Either he's ignoring me or he thinks I'm talking to someone else. I take a pause before adding, "That's a very nice fish hook you're making.

He looks up, his eyes studying me critically. I keep on talking. "Volunteeering was courageous of you. What's your name, again?" He looks up and says, "Reuben."

I smile, "I'm Os. Nice to meet you."

He scowls at me. "Look, I don't want to join you filthy Careers! I know you'll just exploit me and then kill me later when you're done with my services!"

I frown at him, "That's my problem, too. I don't want to be with them, either."

His expression softens for a second, but hardens up again soon. "Yeah, right." He scowls again, "Besides, I already have the perfect alliance of my own, and we're not accepting anyone else."

He walks off, abandoning the hook he was making. I sigh quietly, not sure where to go next. Lucy scowls at me so I decide to go to the spear station and show off a little. While standing in line, I decide to try talking to the boy from District Six.

"Uh, hey there." I tap his shoulder, trying not to be timid.

He whirls around, hands clenched in tight fists and held up. He calms down quickly, though.

"Sorry," he says, "But around here, you always have to be ready for a fight."

I nod, "I understand. What's your name, again?"

"Lanchester Schuster."

Something about him is very familiar to me, but I can't put my finger on it.

He does it for me. "Your father was in the Games with my uncle."

I just blink in response. "Your uncle was Henry Bell?"

He nods. "My mom's still livid about the whole situation."

I frown, feeling awkward. "Oh."

He shrugs. "I don't get it, personally. Your family doesn't actually seem too bad. Probably because I didn't know Uncle Henry at all, other than what I saw of him in the Games. That wasn't a very good sight to see, either."

He and I are both up to the spears by this time, and I take a spear for myself. He hesitates, then takes one for himself.

"You're the nicest person I've talked to today," I confess.

He shrugs. "I don't want to make any enemies."

I give a light warm-up toss of the spear and it hits almost the very center of the Bull's-Eye.

Lanchester's chocolate brown eyes look at me nervously and he swallows hard. "I…I d-don't even know how to hold it," he mumbles, embarrassed.

"Want me to show you?" I ask. "It's not hard."

He blinks and shrugs, so I adjust his grip on the spear. "Now throw it by extending your arm straight forward. Like this." I take another and throw it.

Then he copies me. It was a very weak throw, but close.

I take another spear and whisper, "Listen: I don't like my alliance."

He shrugs and replies without missing a beat, "Neither do I."

I throw another spear and this one doesn't hit the target. "Maybe we could meet up?" I ask. He stares at me as I throw another spear.

"I'm a boy from Six," he says. "I'm no match for you, or any of the other Careers. Besides, I don't want an alliance."

This time when he throws it, the spear actually hits the dummy and stays there. The instructor who collects and restocks the spears looks surprised.

"But would you make one?" I ask Lanchester. He shrugs, "If it were the difference between life and death."

He throws another spear and this time it misses completely.

I respond with, "Hm."

I throw another and it lands on the Bull's-Eye. Lanchester awkwardly clears his throat. "Thanks for the offer, though," he says.

I shrug, but swear loudly on the inside.

Back to Square One, just when I thought I was getting somewhere. I eventually leave Lanchester to it, going to the other weapon stations and giving up for today on making an alliance.

The next day, I decide to try to make friends once again.

I go again to the knots station, the instructor watching intently as I tie a noose that I guess he's never heard of before.

The 12 girl keeps following his glance, and I decide to talk to her next. She has short, straight, dark hair and dark gray eyes that focus on her tying.

"Hey," I greet.

She looks up, a conflicted expression on her face. "What do you want?" she asks, not smiling but also not scowling.

"To talk," I say quietly, "Is that so wrong?"

She shrugs. "In a fight to the death, it can be."

I frown. "Yeah, I guess…. So, uh, what's your name?"

"Carrie Caldwell. Why the hell are you talking to me? I'm from District 12."

"I know, but that doesn't mean-"

She looks over at me and interrupts me mid-sentence. "If you're going to give me hell like the other goddamn Careers, do it right now. Then stop talking to me and leave me alone."

I blink. "The other have given you trouble?" She nods.

"Why?"

She scowls, "You should know. You're a Krietzer, you're one of them." She glares at me, practically burning a hole right through me.

Then she says, "I'm done talking," and abandons her knot, storming off. So they've been teasing people… I sigh to myself.

This is going to be exponentially harder than I expected.

I go to the fish hook station and learn to make one of the most complex designs. I look over and see the boy from 9. He brushes the bangs out of his eyes and goes back to looking at the simple hook that he adjusts with shaking hands.

"Hi," I try.

His head snaps up, eyes wide with fear. "H-hello," he stammers out.

"Please," I beg, "Please don't be scared!"

"I can't help it," he says, trying not to be as scared as he is, "You're a Krietzer."

He looks back down at his fish hook, frowning. I sigh sadly.

"You look down," I say quietly.

He shrugs, frowning.

"Want to hear a joke?" I ask him.

He looks up, debating this. I might be getting somewhere!

"Why do haunted houses hate it when it rains?"

He blinks.

"Because it dampens their spirits!" I look at him for any sign of a reaction.

He smiles ever-so-slightly for a fraction of a second. This is working, so I keep on going.

"Uh, a man walks into a bar. Ouch."

He doesn't get it at first but soon he does smile.

This is great!

"Two cookies are baking in the oven. One says, 'boy, it's hot in here.' The other says, 'Oh my God! A talking cookie!'"

I smile hopefully, and he laughs. "You're funny," he remarks.

"Thanks!" I smile as brightly as I can manage. He looks down at his hook and then looks over at mine.

"Wow," he mumbles, impressed, "That's good."

"Thanks. Yours is coming along nicely, as well."

He blushes bright red and covers it with his fingers. After a pause, he mutters, "Thanks."

His color doesn't go back to normal for a long while after that. Then I get back to work, determined to finish my hook.

I feel his eyes on me but decide to not look up for a little while, then trying to ease into an alliance.

But, when I finally do look up, Chase is gone.

This is getting exhausting.

I see a green screen over at the edible berries station, signaling that whoever took the test over there got a perfect on it. So, that's where I decide to go next. When I look at the testing stations, I can see the boy from District 5.

He definitely looks a lot better than he did on his reaping day. He has real glasses now, which makes it easier to see his silver eyes. His hair only sticks up slightly today (and it works for him). The dirt smudges that were once scattered around on his face and neck are gone, and his injuries are all cared for.

Upon seeing his green screen, he smiles ever-so-slightly and starts the test again. I watch him, interested, as his fingers easily press the correct buttons, and how his eyes light up every time he selects correctly.

He gets another perfect before I take the station next to his and smile at him.

When he sees me, his whole demeanor changes. His body gets stiffer, his eyes get wider, and he focuses even more on the screens in front of him. I start the test and decide to ease slowly into conversation, only looking over periodically.

After a while, I decide to risk it.

"Hi there," I whisper.

He looks up at me, his small body shaking like a small dog. I try to make my voice much gentler the next time I talk to him. "I'm Os. What's your name again-" Suddenly I'm interrupted by him bursting into tears.

"I'm sorry!" he shouts at me, "I dunno what I did, but please, don't hurt me! I promise I won't do it again! I won't even look at you again! Please!"

The entire room goes silent and looks over at me. This sucks.

Now what do I do!? I want to calm him down, but then, what would my alliance do!?

Before I can react, he runs away. Out of the room, toward the bathrooms. Then, I hear Lucy giggling maliciously, and the whole room goes back to whatever conversations they were having before. I decide that I have to wait until after lunch to try and make an ally again.

Later, I walk over to the fire-building station and plop down next to the girl who has smoke flying. I recognize her to be the girl from District 7, with her wavy hair tied up in the same two pigtails that they were during her reaping.

When she notices me sit next to her, she looks up and stops short. All the heat she originally generated cools down immediately.

Her dark eyes narrow upon seeing me.

"What do you want, One?" she asks with a scowl.

"I'm, uh, Os," I introduce.

Of all times to be awkward… Now!?

"Yeah, I don't live under a rock. I know exactly who you are, and I know everything about your family, too. Everyone in this room does." She scowls and stares at her would've-been fire. "The name's Marlowe Glaiser, by the way."

I decide that I shouldn't try to mess around this time. I have to find someone trust-worthy, and this girl is probably going to be my last shot at making plans in advance. "Look, I, uh, really don't like my alliance," I stammer out awkwardly.

She scowls at me, "Really?" She sounds like she doesn't believe it. I probably wouldn't believe it, either, if I was in her shoes.

"They're… A little t-too blood, uh, too bloodthirsty for my taste…" I smile at her, silently begging her to listen to me.

She hints at a smile with a small scoff. "Yeah? Well, me too."

She turns back to her fire, but I's obvious that she's waiting for me to say something. I watch as her fire starts to smoke again.

"What?" she asks, looking amused. "Did you want to ask me something?"

She gets little embers before I ask, "Do you want to maybe meet up with me? In the Arena?"

She gets a full-out burning fire before she looks over at me. "Listen, Krietzer. I already have an ally, and he already told me about your pitch to him." She looks over at her District partner, and he waves at her. She waves back, then faces me. "His name is Reuben Booker, if you didn't know. I'll convince him to let you join us. But how're you going to get away from the others?"

"Well… I am their leader… but it won't be hard. Those guys are strong, but dumb. I'm weak, but smart!" I smile brightly.

"I wouldn't consider you weak," she says, "You're still lethal with a spear from who-knows-how-many feet away." She squeezes my arm hard.

"Ow!" I squeak. Marlowe swallows laughter, "So maybe you're not a macho man after all," she jokes. I laugh at myself, "I told you so. Just proves how intellectually sexy I am!"

She laughs and rolls her eyes, "Careful. Your head might get so big it explodes!"

I laugh. "Then you'd be without a sexy, smart, wonderful ally," I tease. She rolls her eyes and says qflatly, but with a grin, "Oh. Woe is me. How ever will we survive without you?"

I laugh, "You still have Reuben! Besides, you're Marlowe! I'm sure you'll find a way."

I'm in particularly good mood the entire rest of the training day and for private sessions. In the Arena, I can finally get away from the Careers and have a good alliance.

And hey, maybe, if things don't go as we've planned and I don't make it, Dutch can get that Marlowe Glaiser's phone number.

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