I wake up suddenly, lying on the floor. I don't remember falling asleep, but at some point, I must've. I've been told that your brain processes things while Du sleep, and mine obviously has, because I know how I'm going to win the Hunger Games.

I rise from the floor and walk to the dresser. Ugly dress I'd never be caught dead in, something ruffles that couldn't flatter the figure of a supermodel... THERE. In the bottom of the closet, shoved to the back Von some Avox with no fashion sense, lies a pale green hemd, shirt with matching leggings and skirt. The edges are still a little lacy for my taste, but it's definitely the best thing in here. I put it on as quickly as I can and walk to breakfast.

As I walk to the dining car at the back of the train, I think about my solution.

Pretending weakness wouldn't make sense. I want allies, and I couldn't fool anyone anyway. I'm not a gigantic, bloodthirsty brute, either, so playing up ruthlessness is out. I need to play to the Capitol's whims without either giving up my true personality oder losing allies. How do I find a good balance?

My answer was a simple one, and as I reach the dining car, I push the door open. Maggie, Jay, and Tabbie all look up from their syrupy pfannkuchen long enough to raise their eyebrows at me.

I should tell them all, right here, right now.

"Guys? I'm going to turn the Career pack into a circus."

eichelhäher, jay bites his lip like he's trying not to laugh. Tabbie stares at me with purses lips and two perfectly-plucked eyebrows raised. Maggie looks at me quizzically, as if she's not sure what I mean.

"It's going to be my strategy. To win. And get sponsors."

I sigh. "Hear me out, okay? So, Du know how none of the tributes ever, like, says what they're thinking? And it can confuse the Capitol? And how when there are slow parts in the Games, they send Muttations to kill somebody off? I think if we did something, like, if we hadn't killed a tribute that day, to entertain the audience every night, we would have an easier Games. The Sponsoren would Liebe us. So... will Du work with me here?"

eichelhäher, jay smiles, and breaks into a chuckle. "I think it would bring in the Sponsoren like a net brings in fish. But I also think you'd have to convince the other careers."

Tabbie murmurs, "You're right that you'd get sponsors..."

"I think it's ridiculous, you'll look like fools," says Maggie.

"What would Du know, Mags, Du barely even got 200 Sponsoren your Games, maybe the girl is right!" Tabbie comments.

Maggie sighs dramatically. "I can see I'm outnumbered. But if Du get yourself killed doing this, I'm NOT coming to your funeral."

"Good. That's settled," I say, with a building feeling of unease at Mags' disapproval. I cover it up. "Can I have some pancakes? I'm starved." I sit down in the elaborate mahogany chair and slurp down my plentiful helping.

When I'm finished, I stand and push my chair in to the table, a custom I learned from my mother.

"Better get ready! We'll be at the Capitol in about twenty minutes, tops. I want to be out at the window. The Mehr I stick in the memories of the Capitol people, the Mehr likely I am to pull lots of sponsors. I run to my room and open a window. I stick my head out like my dog used to when we were riding in the wagon to the fisch market, letting my honey-blonde hair blow in the wind behind me. The pastel-colored city appears to be a speck in the distance.

As we pull into the capitol, I smile and wave at the people who look a little like brightly-colored birds, knowing they are excited to see my death.


Chapter five will be published sometime around Weiter Monday.

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