My eyes didn't open when I heard the door to my dorm first open, then slam shut. Robyn was unusually quiet as she walked across the room towards her bed.
'What are you planning Robyn?' I asked, sitting up in bed and looking at my roommate as she hid something carefully under her mattress. She jumped when I spoke, spinning round and jumping again when she saw me already sitting upright.
'You really need to stop doing that Koemi. You're going to scare me to death one day.'
'And you need to stop sneaking around. What is it you're hiding?'
'Nothing,' Robyn said, trying to look as innocent as possible.
'I saw you put something under your mattress, something you clearly didn't want me to see. Now tell me what it is!'
'You won't like it.'
'I don't care tell me what it is.' I jumped up from my bed and was standing in front of Robyn before she knew I'd moved. 'Or I'll have to fight you for it.' I calmly prevented a smile from spreading across my usually serious face when Robyn's eyes widened, thinking I was being serious.
'OK just let me get it,' she said hastily, turning and lifting up the corner of her mattress. 'But you have to promise not to get mad at me, I had nothing to do with it.' She gingerly held out a piece of paper folded down the centre, which I took without a second thought.
'What is it that's so bad?' I asked as I unfolded the paper and fell silent. 'Is this it?'
'Look I know you said you didn't want to go but you're one of the competitors in the competition, you have to go.'
'I don't have to do anything, especially go to some stupid party when I could be resting.'
'I knew you would react like this,' Robyn said exasperatedly. 'That's why I didn't want to show you the personal invitation Candravar sent you.'
'It's only because he knows I won't go. I've never been to any of the parties or celebrations here and I'm not about to start now. I should be focusing on training, not dancing. And besides, I would be the saddest person there because I don't know anyone.'
'But people like you Koemi. You'll make friends.'
'In my last year? I don't think so.' I turned away from her and lay down on my bed. 'I'm not going and that decision is final.'
'Please come. If you don't go then who will I go with?' Robyn jumped onto the end of my bed, pleading with me with every fibre of her being. 'I promise it will be fun.'
'I don't need fun. It will only be a distraction from training and I can't let that happen. I'm here to become a Hunter, that's all.'
'Just show your face for five minutes. They'll expect to see you there and if they don't then they'll think you're not taking the competition seriously.'
'That is such a bad lie Robyn!'
'Well it was worth a try,' she said, her face looking crestfallen as she slumped against the wall. 'So I guess we're not going.'
'I just said I wasn't going. You can still go if you want to.'
'Nah, there's not much point going if you're not going to be there. Who else will I have to laugh at everyone with.' I knew exactly what she was doing; playing the guilt card so I would give in and go, and being the fool that I was, I gave in.
'Just five minutes. I'll go so that Candravar can see I've made the effort and then I'm leaving. Happy now?'
'Ecstatic,' Robyn said with a broad grin on her face.
'Well then let's get this over with,' I said walking towards the door. 'Well? I thought you said you wanted to go.'
'I am not going with you dressed like that,' she said, her eyes sweeping up and down my body.
'What's wrong with this?' I looked down at my torn jeans and warm purple jumper and back at Robyn.
'Oh dear, I've got a lot to teach you.' She went to her wardrobe and threw open the doors. 'I think I'll have something in here that will fit you,' she mumbled as she flicked hangers across the metal rail. 'Ah, perfect.' She pulled a dark purple dress from the wardrobe and held it out to me. 'Put this one on.'
'No way!' I said backing away. 'I am not wearing a dress!'
Half an hour later I was standing feeling like a total idiot in Robyn's strapless purple dress, dark hair hanging loose to my hips, watching my fellow students dancing. I was very aware of how I looked. I wasn't really the kind of girl who went to parties in sparkly dresses, yet here I was, standing in a corner of the dance floor in a dress decorated with sequins.
'You so owe me for this one,' I said in Robyn's ear, making sure she knew how unhappy I was about this.
'I know, but it's so worth it.' She laughed and I hit her, playfully, knowing she knew how much trouble she was in. 'Seeing as we're here,' Robyn said confidently, 'dance with me.'
'I can't dance,' I said firmly.
'You're one of the most agile people I know, surely you must be able to dance.'
'Agile does not mean graceful,' I protested as I was dragged into the middle of the dance floor.
'Well now you're here you might as well have some fun,' Robyn said beginning to dance. And once more I gave in and began to dance, and although I didn't want to admit it, I actually enjoyed it.