Today was the day when Antiope would claim the spot that had been stolen from her due to the betrayal of the man she loved. Today was the beginning of her revenge, when she would be able to finally show the world that there was no reason for anyone to even consider messing with Antiope Damu-Almasi. Phaedra would see her dreams crushed, and Theseus would realize he had chosen to downgrade for absolutely no reason. He could have had the Victor right by his side, instead the trainer had picked to bet on a horse who would never have a chance to even become a Victor.
A huge smile appeared on her face as she realized how close she was to executing her revenge. Dressed in an incredibly tight dress adorned with feather she chose to skip breakfast. The skinnier she looked the more the whole situation would sting for Pheadra. She would have plenty of time to eat in the Capitol where the food was at the standards of her delicate palate. The food that a queen like herself deserved.
Antiope looked at herself in the mirror and considered shaving her head again, but she liked the small fuzz that had started to grow on her once naked scalp. And either way, while the lack of hair was practical for the Games, as a Victor she would want to have her beautiful dark locks once again so she might as well start growing it back. She kissed the mirror and smiled before heading out towards the square, towards her destiny.
She arrived at the district square and got her blood taken. Without speaking to any of the others in her age group who greeted her politely she chose to instead walk to where the eighteen-year-olds were. Her eyes spotted a sequin golden dress worn by a light skinned girl with a golden feather going through her perfectly groomed hair: Phaedra. And as the other turned to look at her with a smirk, Antiope recognized the pendant hanging from her chest, it was Theseus. It was difficult to keep the smile on her face, and stop herself from slapping the peasant who dared taunt her like that. She had done it on purpose, Antiope could tell.
"Annie!" the condescending nickname had earned Phaedra an elbow to the face last time she had used it, but this time she was protected by the Reaping, she was untouchable. Antiope clenched her fists and smiled brightly, as if she had not noticed the way the other had addressed her. A pair of slender arms wrapped around her like vice grips, she wanted to shove the other away, to beat her to a pulp, but Antiope knew how to play the game.
”You look so glamorous, perfect outfit to volunteer with,” Antiope said with no emotion on her voice, she knew the words would sound odd coming from her but it didn’t matter because Phaedra was so self-centered she would not notice the undertone.
”Awww, thanks Annie! You look great too! Almost wish you had saved that dress for next year when I can mentor you,” she said before giving Antiope’s shoulder a small condescending pat. Without bothering to say much more she spun around to face the stage, the ceremony had started.
Antiope made her way back to the other seventeen year olds and paid attention to the ceremony ahead of them. The same speech, the same mannerisms, the escort being overly excited for the Games, something that she shared with the majority of the District. Suddenly the escort smiled, as it was time for her to grab the ceremonial name out of the urn, Antiope did too. It was time. "Lyrica Splendor!" the woman announced, there was a pause as everyone knew the name was simply a formality, One was one of the Career districts and the Chosen One would step up. Antiope had known Phaedra too well to know she wouldn’t hurry to volunteer, she wanted the spotlight, the drama, the ‘what if she doesn’t volunteer?’ moment. The pause was enough for Lyrica Splendor, a girl from the class below her, to start making her way to the stairs, she looked strong and confident as if this was her destiny. Clearly a Career.
Through the side of her eye she watched as Phaedra started to move. It was time. ”I volunteer as a tribute!” her voice echoed through the entire area, murmurs beginning immediately, they all knew she wasn’t supposed to be the volunteer, it was Phaedra’s spot, they had all known it. She had just violated the sanctity of the Choosing ceremony.
”You can’t do that!” Phaedra shrieked, she launched herself at Antiope who was expecting her, a swift punch to the face made the other lose her balance, seconds before a claw-like hand pulled her by her perfectly groomed hair to the ground.
”First one to volunteer gets the spot, no peasant will ever take the spot reserved for royalty,” she grunted in a voice far more primal than her own. With a swift sweep she let go of Phaedra and started walking to the stage, behind her she could hear the other girl shrieking and screaming in humiliation. She had lost the spot that had been assigned to her, and even though Antiope had broken every single rule in the book, what she had said was true, the first to volunteer was the one to get it. Up until then, however, no one had grown the balls to steal the spot from a Chosen one. Not until now.
Antiope reached the stage and looked at the clearly bewildered escort, the blue-skinned woman had never seen a fight break out during the Reaping, and she was both excited for the ratings and attention District One will get, and terrified of the girl towering over her. She offered the microphone to Antiope and she looked down at the crowd, without a smile, ”My name is Antiope Damu-Almasi, and I am happy to represent District One in the 122nd Hunger Games,” her eyes pierced through the crowd until they found the man she was looking for: Theseus, who had broken her heart, leaning over a screaming and crying Phaedra; he looked up and noticed the fear in his eyes, he had never thought she would do something like what she had. He had picked the wrong girl. He had misinterpreted her passion.
And when she came back a Victor, he was going to wish he had chosen her.