Rebirth: A New Era of the Hunger Games- Palmer Willows' Story

In an alternate universe, where the assault on the Capitol failed, and District 12 was blown to smithereens, the Hunger Games restart. Only this time, they'll be more brutal than ever before.

Follow the journey of 16 year old Palmer Willows from District 7 as he fights for his life to return home in this deadly competition, but in an arena like this, who, and what, can be trusted?

(Weekly updates, as it is a write up of an RP tournament I'm part of on deviantArt- Fingers crossed that Palmer makes it through alive!)

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3. Training Day Two

Sunlight filtered through the large window, cutting past the jewel encrusted curtain, and across the room, to Palmer's eyes. In response, he shut his eyes tighter as he fought to stay asleep. If there was one thing he didn't want at that exact moment, it was to get up; the blankets were so warm and comfortable. But he had to if he wanted any hope of living longer than another three days.

Releasing a disgruntled sigh, Palmer pulled back the covers. He blinked several times, before climbing out of the bed, his feet landing on the plush carpet below him. The rich fabric was soft, and even more comforting than his bed. It was so comforting that for a moment, Palmer almost decided on staying here all day. But he couldn't. Today was the second day of training, which meant that this was his last day before the private training sessions with the Gamemakers, in which they would rate his survival on a score from one to twelve. And judging from the way yesterday was set out, today was probably going to involve weapons of some sort.

Returning his focus to the large Capitol bedroom, Palmer walked across the luxurious red carpet, and instead of stopping at his bed, he continued to a white door on the left hand side of the room, which reminded him of the horrible place that was the remake centre. As soon as he thought of that place, Palmer's hand flew to his hair. It was still green, and Sunshine Rainbow Love Moonbeam Twinkle O'Fabulous the Fifth had yet to tell him if Venus, his stylist, had found any brown dye. They now only had three days to do it, and Palmer hoped that they found it before he was sent into the arena.

Palmer pushed a hand forwards, and the white door opened, revealing the bathroom. It was a fairly large white room, with a large sink with a mirror, covered in various products that the Capitol citizens would use in the morning to prepare themselves for the day ahead; the only thing Palmer was interested in was the toothbrush and toothpaste, which strangely enough had the face of the current face of Capitol television, Jerith Moon, on it, smiling widely. Palmer had no way of telling if the shining teeth that Jerith presented were added onto the packaging, or if Jerith actually looked like that. Because if he did, the interviews would certainly be an interesting affair indeed.

Looking past the sink and toothpaste, Palmer saw the massive shower in the corner of the room. It was also white, but with a stained glass door to it that slid open, obscuring whoever was in there from view, thankfully. It probably took up as much space as the bed did in the main room, and Palmer imagined it was most likely due to some Capitol citizens having really odd alterations, like that stylist for the late District 12 in the old Games; she had an extremely enlarged behind that rivalled Venus' breast implants. It was all very disgusting.

Palmer walked up to the shower, and took of what little clothing he was already wearing. He then pulled the shower door open, and stepped inside, closing it once again. Once it was securely shut, Palmer took in the shower. It was about the size of his bedroom back in District 7, except with a massive shower head, and a wall full of colour coded buttons. There seemed to be three colour coded sections; one column red; one blue; one green. Kind of like his prep team, and with just about as much personality. No, that wasn't entirely true, though. Red was different; she felt human, and almost relatable. But it was probably due to Palmer making some odd connection between Larch and Red.

Stepping forward, Palmer walked across the massive expanse of the shower room, and to the wall of buttons. Upon closer inspection, they each had a small symbol engraved onto the ceramic wall above them. The blue one had a crude depiction of a thermometer, which Palmer guessed probably controlled the temperature; he had heard several times during interviews of past Games that quite a few tributes had problems with the shower, simultaneously freezing and scalding themselves. Looking at it, the hotter temperatures would probably be higher up on the column of buttons, whilst the colder temperatures would be closer to the bottom, with the ideal temperature being roughly somewhere in the middle. Or so he hoped.

Tentatively, Palmer pressed a button slightly above the middle of the blue column, and a soft hum emanated from the piping. Then, without warning, a jet of luke-warm water burst from the shower head, assaulting Palmer's naked body. He flinched at the sudden contact, falling right into the blue column of buttons. He barely had time to grimace as he saw that his arm had stuck out onto the top of the column, before steam filled the small room. He was now blind, with a dangerously hot jet of water within inches of him.

Palmer blindly fumbled for the lower blue button, the sound of the burning water splashing on the floor reaching his ears, the steam rendering it impossible to see. It was terrifying, to say the least. Trapped in a small space, blind, and only the sound of scalding water proof that you could still hear. Palmer imagined that this was probably akin to the horrors that awaited him in the arena. He wasn't aware of it before, but Palmer now knew that he was on the verge of hyperventilation, the sound of the shower making it so that he couldn't even hear his own breathing. He mentally added virtual deafness to the list of horrors that this shower presented to him.

Palmer tried to calm himself down as his hands lowered down the column of buttons, trying to guess where the middle was. However, he suddenly let out a sneeze, which the sound was lost to the roar of the shower, and lost his footing, slipping.
"Oh god, no!" He cried out as he began to fall forwards. It seemed to happen in slow motion, almost. Palmer's feet slid backwards, causing his upper body to fall forwards, the air seeming to suddenly become thicker. He stuck his hands out in a vain attempt to stop himself falling, but both his hands and the wall were too moist for him to get a grip on. Instead, they simply slid down the wall, a high pitched squeaking reaching Palmer's ears. Sure, it meant that he was going to fall, but at least some sound was getting through to him. 

Palmer's hands continued to slip, until they suddenly dropped, and Palmer fell on his front, sliding into the scalding jet of water. He cried out in agony as the searing heat raced up his legs momentarily, before he stopped sliding, and it cascaded onto his back, sending an intense pain throughout. Tears pricked his eyes as he wailed out obscenities, squirming in agony. He had to get up, but the pain was too strong. But he couldn't remain on the floor either. Taking as deep a breath as possible, Palmer placed his hands on the ground, and began to push himself up. He started to slip again, but remained strong, and finally managed to get onto his feet again, escaping the torturous grasp of the shower. He had only been under there for about seven seconds, but to Palmer it felt like hours. His back throbbed with agony, and he didn't need to look to know that it was red and scalded. Just what he needed. He had to face day one of training with bad hair, and now he would have to deal with today with that, and now an agonising back. How very wonderful.

Grimacing, Palmer placed his hand on one of the buttons lower down on the column of blue buttons. Straight away, the steam dissipated, and it became easier to breathe. It was almost like magic, how quick it happened. He then felt the cool stream of water running down his leg, relaxing the mild burns, but it would be extreme agony if he put his back right under. But at least it was at a decent temperature right now. Done with the temperature setting, Palmer moved on to the next column; the red one.

Being extremely tentative, Palmer gingerly touched the middle button of the column of red buttons. For a moment, nothing happened, before a metallic whirring sound reached his ears. He looked down, and saw several of the tiles sliding under each other, and before he could do anything, several jets of a deep blue foam erupted, covering his body in the sweet smelling soapy substance. Luckily, this wasn't as deadly, and Palmer sighed in relief, before the foam rolled onto his blistering back.

Palmer let out a cry of sheer agony as the soapy foam rolled over the burned skin. It hurt even more than the boiling hot water, and that was saying something, since Palmer thought that water at boiling point pouring all over you was the most excruciating a shower could ever get. He had to get it off of him, and fast. But there was only one way to do it; he had to go under the stream of water.

Taking a deep breath, and clenching his fists and teeth, Palmer slowly inched under the shower. The warm water caused searing pain to course throughout his body, but it was removing the intense stinging of the soap. This was enough cause to let out a sigh of relief, and Palmer visibly relaxed as the intense sharp stinging dulled down to a throbbing sensation.

Once the soap was off of him completely, Palmer stood out from the water, and walked over to the green column of buttons. This one had a crude depiction of what appeared to be a round shape with holes in it, that looked nothing like anything Palmer had seen before. At least the red and blue ones had recognisable shapes; a stereotypical bar of soap, and a thermometer, respectively. But he had no idea with this one. Still, Palmer's hand moved towards it, and pressed a button in the middle. Before he had time to react, several tiles on the walls slid open, like with the soap, and metallic limbs with a strange object attached to them went for him.

Palmer let out a cry of terror as the objects began to vigorously rub every inch of his body, his burned back included. It was this new intense pain, oddly enough, that made him remember just what they were. Sponges. He had once owned one back home in District 7, but it ended up falling apart over time, and his family couldn't really afford to waste money on something so trivial as a sponge. But these sponges felt different from the one he was once familiar with; it felt like they were taking layers of skin off of him.

As Palmer's body began to grow numb from the sponges, he realised that he had to make it stop, before it caused major damage. His eyes frantically searched the wall of buttons for some way to switch it off. Maybe one of the buttons did it? No, he couldn't risk harming himself even further in an attempt to get it to stop.

Suddenly, something on the wall to his right caught his eye, and Palmer turned to look at it. There was a black button, about the size of his hand, directly within reach, with the word 'STOP' engraved into it with elegant lettering. Without hesitation, Palmer stuck his hand towards it, and the button pressed down with what could be the most satisfying click he had ever heard in his life.

Right away, the humming stopped, and the stream of water slowed down, before stopping entirely. The tiles on the floor slid shut, and the sponges stopped assaulting his body, like the prep team did, only more intensely, and slid back into the wall, vanishing from sight
 
"Thank god," Palmer exclaimed out loud, now that he knew that he was safe from the shower. That was perhaps the most traumatic experience of his time in the Capitol so far, and Palmer was surprised that the tributes never developed hydrophobia. After all, that was pretty horrifying.

Palmer turned around, and walked across the sleek floor of the shower, water dripping from his body. His back still throbbed, but he felt much better than he did before. Hopefully it would be better by the time he was thrown into the arena. He reached the door of the shower, and with some effort, managed to open it once more.

The instant that Palmer was out of the torture chamber that was the shower, the door shut behind him, and he noticed that his clothing was gone from where he put it. Perhaps someone had come in? Well, they would be able to do so without being noticed, since that shower made enough noise to raise the 1743 tributes that had fallen over the course of the history of the Hunger Games from the dead. But the thought that someone had come in sent a shiver up Palmer's spine. Who would be able to get in here?

However, before he could dwell on the thought for long, the tiles on the wall slid open. Palmer's eyes grew wide as the low hum started up once more, and hot air blasted at him from all angles, causing his hair to fly around like a tree in heavy winds. The small droplets of water that were on him quickly vanished from sight, and less than thirty seconds later, it all stopped, and a metallic limb came out, wrapping a towel around him. He now felt warm and dry, and clean. Glad that this new horror was over, Palmer began to walk towards the door of the room.

But this bathroom had one more trick up its sleeve.

A metallic limb shot out from the ground, armed with a toothbrush, and shoved itself inside Palmer's mouth, bringing the sink around the room to him. It furiously brushed the insides of his mouth for what felt like forever, before pulling out. Palmer spat out the disgusting tasting toothpaste with Jerith Moon's face on the packaging, and wiped his mouth, dazed. That was rather odd, and he began to think that this torture wouldn't end.

Another limb came out from the wall, and shoved a strong minty liquid into Palmer's mouth. It was like the sponge in the sense that it once had a place in Palmer's home, until it ran out, and wasn't worth being bought again. He recalled its name being mouthwash, and remembered why as the liquid pounded throughout his mouth, until he spat it out. A small towel was brought to his face, and wiped his mouth, before it all reverted back to the way that it was before he entered. Palmer glanced around once more, before quickly making his way to the door, opening it.

He rushed out of the bathroom, and back into the bedroom, shutting the bathroom door behind him. If there was one thing that Palmer was one hundred percent sure of, it was that he would never enter that room again. Hygiene could be compromised in this case; that bathroom was lethal.

Palmer walked across the bedroom, and to his bed, which was now made perfectly, with the training uniform neatly folded at the foot of the bed. He dropped his towel, and walked towards the bed. He grabbed the training suit, and slid into it, the fabric contorting comfortably to his skin. Palmer reached down below his bed, and pulled out the two black boots. He slid them onto his feet, and fastened them on. Once he was fully dressed, Palmer stood up from his sitting position on the bed, and walked across the soft carpet, the boots preventing him from feeling the true comforts, reaching the large door at the end of his room.

However, as he opened the door, Palmer came face to face with a small girl. She had pale skin, wiry blonde hair, and wide brown eyes that were constantly alert. She looked no older than fourteen.
"Uh, hello?" Palmer asked awkwardly to this girl. But in response, her eyes widened even further, and she furiously shook her head. Palmer shot her a quizzical look, before she brought her finger to her lips, the universal gesture for silence. Silence. Fear. No communication. She was an Avox. If they communicated with a tribute in any way, they would be severely tortured, or executed straight away if they were lucky.

Palmer mouthed an apology to the girl, and she nodded her head slightly, before walking into his room, probably to clean it. The poor thing looked terrified, and Palmer felt a sting of remorse for her. Avoxes had their tongues removed as a punishment, and if Palmer recalled correctly, some still had their tongues, but were psychologically tortured into never speaking again. He found himself wondering if the girl still had her tongue or not. But it wasn't important; as selfish as it sounded, Palmer's survival in the Games came first.

Palmer walked down the hallway, past the same white walls and elegant lamps, and turned at the end of the hallway, walking down into the main room. For some reason, it felt somewhat monotonous, but he didn't know why. He made his way down the stairs, and to the kitchen area, where his district partner, Ella, and escort, Sunshine Rainbow Love Moonbeam Twinkle O'Fabulous the Fifth, sat, eating breakfast. Straight away, Sunshine noticed Palmer, and it cried out to him, its face elated.
"Palmer, there you are!" It exclaimed, before looking at the clock. Palmer did too, and saw that they only had ten minutes before they had to get down to training. Had he really been that long in the bathroom? Then again, it was a nightmarish experience, and Palmer wondered if Ella had a similar experience. "Oh, you keep rising late! We should really get you an alarm or something." Sunshine then shot Palmer an enraged glare as he reached the large table, sitting next to Ella. Her brown hair seemed softer than yesterday; she had managed to use the shower. But whether or not she had been scalded was not Palmer's business. 
"So," He began to Ella as he slid into the chair, wincing as his back caught the hard wood of the seat, "What're we doing today?"
"It's probably weapons' training," Ella replied, handing him some grapes with a sly smirk. Of course, how could anyone forget the way he gorged himself on them yesterday?, "Here."
"Thanks," Palmer said gratefully, putting one of the sweet fruits into his mouth, "But what about our allies?"
"As far as I'm aware, it's a pretty loose alliance," Ella explained, "We might stay together for maybe a day or two, before dispersing. But there is a chance we may help one another even after splitting, since something could pop up in the arena that requires us to work together once more." That was a possibility, but it was more likely that Jenn didn't quite trust them enough to stay with them in an arena where it was confirmed that at most one of them would live to see the end of the Games, and Palmer and Ella weren't exactly powerful tributes.

Suddenly, Sunshine leapt from its seat, and dramatically pointed to the clock on the wall.
"Goodness! We only have two minutes until training begins!" It announced, before running over to the two tributes, lifting them out of their seats. "Come on! We cannot be late!"
"Calm down," Ella muttered as she was dragged along the hall, along with Palmer. Palmer was actually surprised at Sunshine's strength; it could carry both of them, only using one hand to drag them down a long hallway. Perhaps it had received muscle implants or something during a make over session? There were so many mysteries as to how the person known as Sunshine Rainbow Love Moonbeam Twinkle O'Fabulous the Fifth came into being; probably even more than the mystery surrounding how the Hunger Games were thought of. The only thing Palmer knew of that was in a book he had once glanced at, which was to be immediately shipped to the Gamemakers about six months ago. Apparently, the Hunger Games had taken inspiration from another event similar to it on another continent in the old world, the key difference being that that continent was suffering from extreme over-population, and a massive increase in crime levels, and worked to purge the continent of these people. It was still immoral and shocking, but at least it had a more practical purpose than simply punishing the citizens for rebellion.

They reached the end of the hallway, and Sunshine opened the elevator door, before throwing Palmer and Ella inside. Sunshine's face was plastered with horror as a chiming sound echoed throughout the hallway.
"Oh, no!" It cried out, breathing heavily, "You're late!"
"It's only one minute," Palmer mused flatly, his expression dripping with irritation. Sunshine was now beginning to get on his nerves, and part of him couldn't wait until he was in the Games, and rid of it for at least several days. "Not the end of the world."
"He's right." Ella chimed in, and Sunshine sighed.
"Well, I suppose it could be worse," It began, but was cut off as the elevator door slid shut.

"Going down to: Training Centre, base floor." The recorded woman sounded out, like yesterday, the voice still sounding metallic and nasally. "Enjoy your ride." The elevator once more shot downwards, and Palmer and Ella grabbed onto the wall as it increased in speed. And then, all at once, it stopped, causing them to be thrown about. 
"This will be one thing I won't miss." Palmer complained as he regained his balance. He looked forward, and saw as the door slid open. It once more revealed the Training Centre, only this time, the layout was different.

It still had the rainbow theme of stations, but they were different. Instead of survival stations, it had changed overnight to accommodate weapon stations. On the far left hand side of the arch, on the red floor, was the Axe station, followed by Daggers; Maces; Staffs; Sickles; Clubs; Snares; Swords; Throwing Axes; Throwing Knives; Spears; Tridents; Whips; Whip Swords; Throwing Stars; Blowguns; Crossbows; Archery; Wires; Hand to Hand Combat; Slingshots, and Batons. It was a much larger range of stations than before; there were twenty two stations, the same as the amount of tributes. That meant that there was the possibility that no two tributes would be at the same station at the same time.

"You can only choose three weapons, remember this." Palmer turned his attention to the crowd of tributes that was being addressed by the head Trainer. They had missed the briefing for today, but he guessed that the fact that only three weapons were allowed to be chosen was enough. "Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour." The crowd dispersed, and the tributes moved off to each station.
"So, what are you going for today?" Ella asked, eyeing up the stations.
"I think that learning how to use a dagger will be pretty useful," Palmer commented, also looking over the stations, "Oh, the blowgun will also come in handy. And..." He trailed off, looking over the stations again. "I think the staff. Yeah, it seems easy enough to grasp."
"Pretty good choices." Ella replied, smiling, "Well, let's begin training!"

But before they could move off to their stations, Palmer saw someone approaching them. It was Jenn, only this time she had someone else with her. He was tall, with tanned skin and brown hair, and a cold, calculating expression. It put Palmer on edge.
"C'mon, Stephen..." Palmer heard Jenn hiss to the taller boy, who he guessed was called Stephen. He seemed to whisper something back, before she walked towards the two tributes from 7.
"Hey," Ella said to Jenn as she walked up.
"Hey, Ella," Jenn replied coldly, continually glancing at Stephen. She seemed more agitated than yesterday; had something happened between the two tributes from 11?
"Uh, I'm sorry I sprang our alliance on you." Ella said curtly, a nervous grin on her face.
"It's fine," Jenn said back, trying to focus on Ella, "It's not like we're gonna stay together for long anyway..."
"Alliance?" Stephen spoke up. It was the first time Palmer had heard the guy speak, "Jenn, what is this about?" For a moment, Palmer thought that he saw Jenn tense up, but it passed as quickly as it came.
"We agreed to be a loose alliance," Jenn began, glancing at Stephen, "Not really that dependent on each other, but if needed, we'll help each other out." She seemed really tense, and Palmer decided to help her out.
"Yeah," He began lightly, "We agreed on it before." His tone came off as slightly humourous, but he felt nervous. Something about Stephen was intimidating to Palmer, and he didn't know what.

However, Stephen then began to chuckle, and looked right at Palmer.
"Dude," He began, barely containing a laugh, "What the hell happened to your hair?" How could Palmer have forgotten about his odd hair.
"Stylist mishap." Palmer snapped back, his face flushing red. He felt humiliated once more. Sunshine had better get the dye soon, or Palmer wouldn't be able to be taken seriously by anyone.

"Hey, are you four actually going to get anything done today?" All four of them slowly turned around, to see the Head Trainer standing over them, giving them a disapproving glare.
"Uh, yeah," Ella nervously responded, "Come on, Palmer, we'd best be going."
"Okay then." Palmer replied, and gave a slight wave to Jenn, before following Ella to the stations.

Ella ran off to the station with the light blue floor; the Wires station, and left Palmer alone, in the middle of the stations. Jenn and Stephen had also gone off to their respective stations, and Palmer looked over the stations once more, spotting the one with the red floor. The Daggers station was up first.

Palmer quickly walked across the room, passing another tribute, before stopping at the red ground. Almost straight away, a balding man with light purple hair and orange skin appeared. He had a soft expression, but sharp eyes that seemed to be looking everywhere at once.
"Can I help you?" He asked, in an easier to understand accent than the survival station trainers had. It was probably so that injuries due to a lack of understanding were reduced to a minimum.
"Yes," Palmer said politely, "I would like to know how to use the dagger, if that's alright with you." Palmer's use of manners seemed to spark joy in the man's eyes, and a broad smile grew on his face.
"Well, aren't you just a perfect tribute," He said, patting Palmer's shoulder, "Come on. I'll give you a lesson on the basics of the dagger."

Palmer followed the man deeper into the station, and saw daggers of various sizes hanging neatly on shelves. The trainer looked over each one, before finally settling on one. He reached up to a high shelf, and grabbed a silver dagger, handing it to Palmer. It was about eleven inches in lengths, with a handle that allowed for a firm grip. Palmer held it in his hand, before the trainer shook his head.
"No, no, no. That isn't the correct position to hold it." He said firmly, but warmly, placing his hand on Palmer's, adjusting the boy from District 7's grip on it.
"How about now?" Palmer questioned.
"Yes, much better." The trainer said with a smile, before taking Palmer across to the dummies.

They were about six foot tall each, made of a flesh-like white fabric, filled with fake blood.
"Now," The trainer began, pulling out his own dagger, "The key is that with the dagger, you can mortally wound someone without a major conflict, if you're fast enough." He held his dagger close, before running at one of the dummies. He slashed the wrist of the dummy, and fake blood spurted out, and the dummy went limp, collapsing to the ground. It seemed easy enough, as long as Palmer could get a decent running speed.
"Can I go now?" He asked, and the trainer nodded, pointing to another dummy. Palmer nodded, and gripped his knife firmly, running at the dummy. He brought the dagger down, but missed the hand, instead getting the thigh of the dummy. But fake blood still flowed from the dummy, and it slumped to the ground.

Palmer shot the trainer a confused glance, and the man simply chuckled in response.
"I see you're confused." He said, walking over to Palmer, patting his shoulder once more, "You see, if you slash a major artery, chances are the foe'll bleed out before they can bandage the wound up. That way, you can kill with very little effort." This fact sent a chill down Palmer's spine. Was killing this easy? But he hoped that he would be able to avoid killing as much as possible in the arena. "Other places to strike are the inner thighs, the jugular, and of course the temple. Try experimenting with various places, and see which kill quickest." He smiled once more, before leaving Palmer to his devices. Gripping the dagger once more, Palmer ran at another dummy, plunging it into the dummy's chest. The dummy quickly went limp, and Palmer realised that piercing major organs worked as well.

After about two hours of experimenting with the dagger, Palmer returned the fake blood stained dagger to the trainer, who gave him a weary smile.
"Leaving so soon?" He asked, somewhat disappointed.
"Yeah," Palmer replied, "Sorry, but I have other stations to try out as well, in case they don't have daggers in the arena." 
"You're right, young man," The trainer responded, "Still, good luck with your other weapons!" Palmer smiled at the man, before walking away from the station, and towards the next one on his list; the Blowgun station.

Palmer walked across the sleek floor, and to the station with the green floor, the shade looking exactly like the leaves of the trees back home. Once again, Palmer found himself thinking about Oak and Larch. How were they dealing with him not being there? No, now wasn't the time or place, and Palmer pushed the thought aside, focusing on his training. He felt bad about it, but his survival came first, unfortunately.

Stepping onto the green floor, Palmer looked around. There was no sign of a trainer anywhere.
"Uh, hello?" Palmer called out, looking around. the station had several dummies, some blowguns on shelves, and countless darts laying about. There were also some tubs of some jelly like substance, with the label 'POISON. HIGHLY TOXIC.' on them. He guessed that it was for the darts; a tribute did win one year by using a poisoned dart to take out the last tribute. But no sign of a trainer.

Suddenly, someone touched Palmer on the back, and he turned around, startled and terrified. He came face to face with a pair of orange eyes, and backed off as he saw the trainer, a small, thin woman with pale skin and golden hair, glaring at him with thin eyes.
"You wish to learn about the blowgun, don't you?" She asked harshly.
"Uh, yeah." Palmer said nervously, still getting over the initial shock, "But there was no need to terrify me like that."
"Actually, there was every need." She snapped. "The blowgun is a silent killer, and so you must behave like your weapon." She was a rather odd woman, but she was the best the Capitol had to offer, so Palmer just went with it.
"Alright then," Palmer replied, "So, can we begin."
"I see you're somewhat impatient." She said, sighing, "But, you tributes do have a strict schedule to adhere to. Come on, then."

Palmer followed her through the station, and watched as she grabbed a blowgun, handing it to him. It was quite long, but surprisingly light. She then crossed the station, and grabbed a small burlap bag of darts, and a tub of poison.
"A blowgun is quite easy to use," She began, loading her own blowgun with a dart. She dipped it in poison, and blew hard into the weapon. The dart flew out, and pierced a dummy in the chest, causing it to fall to the ground. "Of course, that would have been fatal without the poison, but that just adds extra insurance in case you don't hit right on target." Palmer nodded in response, before she handed the darts and poison to Palmer. "Here you are. Try half without poison, and half with."
"Okay then." Palmer said confidently, grabbing a dart. He loaded the blowgun, and pointed at the dummy. He took a deep breath, and blew hard, causing the dart to shoot out. His aim was slightly off, but he caught the dummy in the stomach.

"Pretty good for a first shot." The trainer said, nodding in approval.
"Thanks." Palmer replied, before loading once more, this time dipping the dart in poison. He took aim at the dummy, steadied himself, and fired. It still wasn't perfect, but he hit the shoulder this time, the poison causing the veins to turn dark. The dummy went limp, and collapsed dead on the floor.
"See? The blowgun is rather easy to use." The trainer said, motioning to the dead dummy, "And extremely lethal." She was right. It was just like the dagger, only quicker. Once again, Palmer felt uncomfortable at how easy it was to kill.

He spent another hour and a half at the station, alternating between normal and poisoned darts, until he was confident with his skill and aim. In no way was he a professional, but this skill would be enough to save him in the arena.
"Thanks for this." Palmer said politely, handing the blowgun back. The trainer nodded, before clearing her throat.
"I see you're hasty to move on." She said sharply. "I understand. You only get one day to learn the basics of a weapon. Good luck with the rest of your training." Palmer smiled and nodded, before leaving the station.

There was only one station left on the list; Staff training. Palmer looked around the Training Centre. He found the staff station to be the one with the yellow floor, and walked over to it, noticing the trainer. It was a tall, lanky young man, with tanned skin, and long dark hair. The only real odd thing about him was his eyes, which were actually multicoloured.
"Hello there." He said as Palmer approached him.
"Hello," Palmer replied, smiling politely, "I would like you to teach me how to properly use the staff, please." The man nodded in response, before motioning to the rest of the station.

He led Palmer through the station, passing by staffs of various lengths and materials, before the trainer finally settled on one. It was made of a shining metal, and was as long as Palmer, with the thickness of a small branch.
"Is this it?" Palmer asked, holding it in his hands. The trainer nodded, before taking a golden staff for himself, and motioning for Palmer to follow him. The green haired boy did so, and they moved out to the dummy section.
"Now, the staff is all about pressure points," The man said in a wise tone, pointing at one of the dummies. "Watch." Palmer nodded, and watched as the trainer ran forwards, driving the staff into the dummy's shoulder. It fell to the floor, and the trainer drove the staff into the dummy's throat. Palmer's eyes widened. Yet again, it looked too easy.
"That was surprisingly quick." Palmer said as the trainer wiped the fake blood from the end of his staff.
"Indeed it was," The trainer replied, "Although, to the opponent, it would be excruciating. Now, I'd advise you look this over." He added, and handed Palmer a piece of paper. It had a diagram of the human body, with certain parts circled. The pressure points. After memorising it to the best of his ability, Palmer ran forwards with the staff, and drove it into the knee of the dummy. It fell to the floor, and he slammed the end of the staff into the dummy's throat. Fake blood spurted out, and the dummy was very much dead.

"Very good." The trainer said, clapping. Palmer smiled bashfully, and pulled the staff from the throat, before walking away from it. "Your execution was a little clumsy, but you seem to suit the staff."
"Thank you." Palmer said, before facing the next dummy, and making quick work of it. 

Seven dummies later, and a bell rang out, and the Head Trainer spoke up.
"Attention, tributes," She said, "The training is over for today. The private sessions are tomorrow, and I hope that you've all trained to the best of your abilities. Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour." Almost straight away, the tributes moved to the elevators, and Palmer turned to hand the staff trainer the weapon, but found he had gone.
"Oh..." Palmer said, placing the staff on a shelf, before crossing the Training Centre to the elevator, meeting up with Ella.

"Hey," She said as she pressed a button, and the elevator door opened, "How'd training go?"
"Fine," Palmer replied as they stepped inside, "Which weapons did you go for?"
"Well, I first went for the Wire station," Ella began, running over it in her head, "And then archery. It took some practice, but I'm now a pretty good shot, and then the Dagger station. I think I'm good enough to do well in the training sessions tomorrow."
"Same," Palmer replied, as the elevator announced that it was going up, "But I'm a little nervous about it, to be honest."
"So am I," Ella said softly, "I just hope that I get a good enough score to get some sponsors in the arena, since we'll be pretty much dead without them."
"You're right." Palmer replied, suddenly realising how important the private sessions were going to be. He only hoped that his training over the past two days would be good enough to impress the Gamemakers.

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