The assembly hall was completely silent. The students were still sitting in shock, thinking about Dante's speech.
Director Diez's voice projected across the room, "Let's give the captain another round of applause."
Still stunned, the room began to fill up with the sound of clapping. Thalia looks over and mouths, "What was that?".
Theo shrugs, shaking his head, indicating he is just as confused as her.
"Now, the moment everyone has been waiting for has arrived. It is time for everyone to read their assignment letters." Director Diez says enthusiastically.
Everyone instantly snapped out of confusion and perked up at the thought of receiving their assignments. Nervous and excited looks were exchanged throughout the assembly hall. Theo grabs his arm in an attempt to prevent shaking out of anxiety. Thalia couldn't lie to herself. She definitely was feeling anxiety, just like Theo. She is too stubborn to show or admit it, especially to herself. Tyler yawns, unaffected. His arrogant demeanor was really starting to irritate Thalia. We get it. You already know where exactly you're going after graduation, Thalia thought. She glances over at Keelan, sitting with his hands behind the back of his head, relaxing. He must figure that no matter what his assignment is, he will just default skip the assignment and go home. On the other hand, Thalia would be crushed if she were not selected for the Expedition Corps.
"Okay, loves, open your hands and close your eyes."The director begins to demonstrate her instructions.
Everyone quickly closed their eyes and held out their hands. Director Diez's eyes begin to glow, and the aura around her body forms a thin white layer. She snaps her fingers with a small bright white flash. Each of the student's hands was suddenly filled with identical white envelopes.
"Okay, now open them, my lovelies," the director's aura fades.
Thalia opens her eyes and sees a white envelope with her name handwritten in cursive with green pen ink. Thalia recognizes the handwriting. It is identical to the handwritten notes and instructions her Tia leaves on the fridge at home. She looks over at Theo, who is mystified and staring down at his letter. He is no longer shaking. Instead, he is deadly still, almost afraid to move. The thing about Theo is that he suffers from severe anxiety and panic attacks that cause his body to tense up and freeze. Thalia turns and points her finger toward Theo and concentrates her power on the tip of her finger. She feels a small surge rise up in her chest. She quickly releases a jolt of electricity through the tip of her finger, sending a small electric current hurtling toward Theo's arm.
"Ow! Shit, that hurt," Theo yelps out.
Theo's arm was still ringing from the pain. He quickly looks over at his sister, who is looking in the other direction and whistling. As Theo rubs his sore arm, he notices a small burn mark on his black dress shirt. Thalia gives Theo an awkward smile and thumbs-up gesture. Mouthing the words "you're welcome" before turning her attention back to her letter. Thalia's hands sweating from excitement. It is a surprise she still needs to rip the letter open, considering she was definitely not known for her patience. She Turns the letter around, breaks the seal, and pulls the green slip of paper from the envelope.
At this point, her heart is beating clear out of her chest. She flips the paper and reads her assignment. It was written in her Tia's excellent cursive calligraphy. "I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected to join the Retrieval Corps elite Assult Squad." Excitement and relief well up in her chest as she keeps reading. "Due to your excellent aptitude and performance in combat simulations. We think you are uniquely qualified to join the Retrieval Unit. Report to your new commanding office tomorrow morning at 0800 hours."
Thalia was so happy she could cry. She spent the last four years working and training with this single goal in mind. She can finally realize her dream of being a hero and is one step closer to her goals. Everyone around her seemed to either be celebrating or crying. At the peak of her happiness, she almost forgot about Theo.
Looking back over, she sees her brother with his hands on the top of his head, rubbing back and forth. Thalia's heart drops, and her brother only rubs his head to self-soothe after receiving bad news. She jumps out of her seat and bends down beside her little brother. Thalia picks up the letter that Theo must have dropped after reading it.
"It's going to be okay little bro. Cheer up! It can't be that bad. You placed second in our class. Tia would be a fool not to assign you to the Expedition Corp." Thalia said reassuringly.
"Read it," Theo whispers in a shaky tone.
Thalia reads the assignment. "I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected to join the Retrieval Corps elite Assult Squad." Thalia almost dropped the letter and thought she must have read it wrong.
However, there was no doubt Theo was to be assigned to an assault squad.
"This can't be right. This has to be some kind of mistake," Thalia mumbles under her breath. "What was Tia thinking? She has to know how much you want to be placed in the expedition corp so that you could go to that fancy engineering school in District Eleven." Thalia stood up and turned to look at her Tia.
The director was still smiling out into the crowd of students. Finally, Thalia's eyes met hers, and the director flashed a reassuring smile and nodded. Well, that's what Thalia thought. Her Tia basically confirmed there was no mistake, and that was her decision with that little nod; she was sure of it. Although what Thalia can't seem to wrap her head around is the reason for her Tia's decision. She never does anything without a good reason, so she is sure she will be able to ask her to explain her decision later, but right now was not the time. Tyler opens his letter and smiles, which puts Thalia off guard. She very rarely sees him make any expressions. It is usually disappointment or contempt but never a smile when she does. He must have been placed precisely where he wanted to go because he places the letter in his front suit vest pocket and turns to leave.