Chapter 6

The Parade

"Myself and my friend Tusand have decided to go for a warrior look." Linani says.

Linani has long, green hair that runs all the way down to her knees. The longest hair I've ever seen. Her nails also seem to be long enough that she can scratch her face without the need to move her hand. The Capitol citizens are a bunch of nut jobs.

"You'll be dressed like a Roman Gladiator." Linani says.

"Seems awesome!" I reply.

Even though the idea of being a gladiator seems awesome, I can still tell this outfit's still going to be embarrassing as hell and I'm going to risk getting heat exhausted to death just by wearing it.

"So, you've already had nails, hair, what-not done? Correct?" Linani asks me.

I reply by turning my head round to reveal my hair in a sort of bun, then I show Linani my golden nails.

"Stunning." Linani replies, "You know my daughter, Linini, loves the colour gold."

"Oh. Is that what made you decide on gold?" I ask Linani.

"No." She replies.

Ok than.

"Now, if you follow me, I'll show you the outfit!" She says.

Linani. Linini. So Linani named her daughter after herself but one letter different. The Capitol.

"Follow!" Linani sings.

I get up and follow Linani. She walks through a door. There seem to be doors everywhere in the Capitol. Seriously, just everywhere. I walk through the same door to see a glimmering golden stature.

"Hey Clove."

And it's Cato.

"I know the monsieur would love the outfit!" Another blonde guy in the corner of the room says.

"Clove, meet Tusand." Linani says, grabbing the blonde guy and shoving him in front of me.

"Nice to meet you mademoiselle Clove!" Tusand says, taking my hand.

"Nice…to meet you too?" I reply, not really sure what to do here.

Cato then grabs Tusand's hand and shoves it away, then turns to me. His outfit…It's a golden chest plate, with golden pants and sandals. But what's got my attention is the helmet, golden and shining, with transparent wings on either side.

"The wings are made of pearl!" Linani says, grabbing Cato's helmet and twisting it to get a better view.

"Where's mine?" I ask, my eyes still set on Cato.

"Over here!" Linani says.

Cato points at Linani, who I proceed to look at.

"Here!" Linani says, as I walk towards the outfit.

The outfit itself though…It's stunning. It's a golden chest plate and shorts, sandals and everything. It's a feminine version of Cato's.

"There's a room in there." Linani says, opening one of many doors, "Go in and get the outfit on."

After I get dressed, I stop for a moment. There's a mirror in this room. I look at my warrior outfit. I look stunning. The gold chest plate almost touches the golden shorts. I look like I'm locked in armor. And the helmet's an awesome touch. I then look at the door and walk through, back to the room where Cato and Linani and Tusand are.

"Hey Clove." Linani says.

But before I can reply, something's tugging on me.

"Hey Cloooove!" The annoyingly familiar voice of Tamalia echoes into my ear.

Damn it.

"Heyyyy." I awkwardly reply.

"I love your outfit." Tamalia says.

"Thank you." I say.

"This will top it off." Linani says.

Linani approaches me with a golden band.

"What is it?" I ask.

"It goes around your arm. The more golden you are the more the Capitol love you." Linani replies.

Linani has a good point. The Capitol love glitter and shine. Anything colorful or bright will attract their attention. It's the God damn Capitol. Linani clamps the golden wristband on my arm and then clamps a second one on the other arm. Ferona approaches with a pair of copper-colored sandals.

"Put these on sweetie." Ferona says.

"Sandals? We've never agreed on those before!" Tusand says.

"Yes, but we agree on everything else!" Linani replies.

"C'mon Clove, just put your foot in!" Ferona says, laying the sandals on the floor.

I put my feet into the sandals and Ferona does the weird lace-like straps. This reminds me of the time I had to help Iris with her school shoes.

"There! The outfit's complete!" Ferona says cheerfully.

"Alright, now get out there and make us proud!" Linani shouts.

After we leave the room, we approach the Chariot and we both step on.

"Don't get scared of the speed Clove!" Cato says.

"Never said I would!" I reply.

The TV screen above us shows the duo from District 1. They're wearing pink and purple feather outfits. I feel bad for the guy. He has to wear pink in front of the entire nation. Poor guy.

"Get ready." Cato says.

"I was born ready." I reply.

Cato looks at me with determination is his face, "Heh. You may be alright." He says.

"May?!" I shout, top voice.

How on Earth am I 'may be alright'? I am ready for the Parade, the Training, the Games! I'm ready for everything!

"Heh, three…two…" Cato starts saying.

But before he reaches one, the Chariot zips off at full speed and I can see myself on the screen, in golden chest plates and shorts, with my golden helmet and the pearl wings glistening in the light of the night stars.

"Whoa, crazy!" I yell from the speed of the Chariots.

I look at Cato for a split second and see the determination and courage in his eyes. His face, body, everything. He's determined, as am I.

"Heh, the others are so weak." I hear Cato say, not sure whether he is talking to himself or me.

I simply nod and face the screen. There's the two tributes from District 3. They are wearing coats that look like wires, and he's wearing a grey shirt, she's wearing a grey dress. They seem to be wearing protractors on their head…Either that or electrical equipment…Could be either. I look at Cato, who's just facing forwards with determination on his face. When I look back to the screen, District 4's duo are onscreen. They are wearing blue robes and massive, blue crowns decorated with pearls. The girl has chains of pearl decoration in her hair, and the boy, with massive, curly hair, has pearls dotted all around his massive hairdo. I think their outfits are impressive, but obviously not as good as ours.

"Cato!" I yell.

"What?" He yells back.

"How long will this last?" I yell.

"Wait. There's only 8 more Districts." He yells to me.

"8?" I yell, "I don't want to sit through 8!"

"Tough luck Princess." Cato says.

And then the duo from District 5 pops up on the screen, and I've got no clue what they're supposed to be wearing. They're wearing weird silver outfits and silver dishes around their heads…No idea.

"What are they supposed to be?" I ask Cato, still yelling.

"Freaks." Cato replies.

And then the District 6 duo roll out, wearing outfits of gold. I look closer to the screen and see that it actually starts out as gold, then goes orange near the waist, and then at the bottom it's ruby red. The cape is the same color-wise, and they are wearing golden moon-shaped hats. Oh I get it, they're rockets traveling to the moon. Damn it, they look so cool!

I look at Cato, who's still looking determined. Then the District 7 duo appear, wearing the outfits that finally aren't trees. But they're still retarded, she's wearing a dress of paper fans and he's wearing paper all over his body. He looks like he should be in a ballet. Swan Lake perhaps?

"Just when I though they weren't gay enough…" Cato says bitterly.

I simply make a tutting noise at Cato and look to the screen. District 8 is up, and they're wearing outfits that are blue and pink and look more like pajamas. They're wearing hats of the same style, and the entire outfit is covered in blue, pink and purple feathers.

"What on Earth…?" I ask.

"More stupidity…" Cato pants.

Then District 9. They're…wearing weird outfits that are silver with golden beads. Their hair…There's grey half-circles in their hair. How on Earth is this representing the grain and corn and things of District 9!?

District 10 appear next, wearing plain, golden cowboy/cowgirl outfits. At least they're not dressed as cows. Then it's District 11 in farmer outfits, wearing what looks like tin foil on their heads. The girl is throwing petals in the air like a flower girl at a District 1 wedding, but the boy doesn't care much, he won't wave or chant or throw petals or anything. He's probably accepting the fact he'll die in the Games.

"Clove, here comes my favorite part!" Cato squeals.

"What?" I ask.

"District 12! They always get the most humiliating outfits, even worse than District 7!" He says.

I snicker and look at the screen to see a burning horror. The District 12 pairing are wearing black jumpsuits and are on fire!

"Pffft, they're burning!" I laugh.

Cato doesn't respond. I look at him and he is frozen. I return my view to the screen and see that though they're on fire, the District 12 couple seems to be enjoying it, holding hands even. They're stealing the thunder!

"What?!" I yell, from the sheer anger building in me.

They're seeking attention. Attention gets you sponsors. Sponsors keep you alive. If you're alive you can win the Games. If you win the Games you return home. Damn, they've got this sorted.

"Cato!" I yell, "Lift me up!"

"What?" He asks.

"Get attention! Sponsors!"

Cato groans and grabs me, and lifts me up, I start punching the air. I hear one or two voices yell "Clove!" but everyone else is yelling "Girl on fire!"

Clearly that bitch has made District 2 second best.

District 2 is never second best.