The people applauded, especially that they heard about me having a victor blood. Before Valerie uttered some words to introduce my counterpart, a tall-built boy with bright blond hair and dark blue eyes walked through the aisle. He suddenly took the scene.

“I volunteer as tribute, my name is Ethan Baywater,” the boys sheers.

“Not him,” I thought. He is my crush since third-grade but never spoke to him personally. He’s the best among. I found him very strong and smart, and cute. Not him, please.

The guests and the people were speechless. Valerie grabbed the microphone and invited “Oh, what a courageous young man, come here on stage for the people to see your braveness.”

He walked through the pathway and climbed the stairs of the stage. When he arrived, he stared at me, like he’s gonna finish me off first when the Games could actually begins.

“Ladies and gentlemen, our boy tribute, Ethan Baywater,” she proudly says.

The people applauded, with some cheers, to hear Ethan volunteered is the best thing they have heard after a decade, and of course, knowing that they still have the year to breathe.

After the reaping, I packed my things, everything. I even grabbed the fabric boho dress my dad gave me. My mom entered my room and hugged me so tight.

“Win this, like I did 20 years ago,” she says, fixing my hair.

I nodded. Then, Delia came after, with her brown eyes, still fresh from the cry. She hugged me tautly that I can’t almost breathe.

“Take care, Blissy. Promise me you’ll be back after this. Make sure this is my last cry,” she says, still tries to give me some smile.

“I will,” I say determinedly. That moment came into my mind. I will win this, for my mom, for Delia and for District 5.

After I and Ethan bid good to our families, we started the journey on the train. Not really excited to go there. While I and Ethan seated on separate tables, our mentor Fray Delacour, who also mentored my mom approach us.

“Bliss, Ethan, have a sit here with me,” he says.

I immediately sat opposite to Fray, while Ethan walked slowly and landed beside me. This is the first time to sit with him.

“You too, before you have your interviews, you must know how to act without saying anything bad against the Capitol,” he says clearly from his worrying mouth.

“Now I know. You’re on the same boat I’m riding, I hate the Games, but I hate them more, I don’t think Bliss disagrees with me,” Ethan utters, thinking me and my mom as the Capitol’s puppets.

“I am against them. Although we’re supported by them, it means we absolutely love them, because we absolutely not,” I explain.

Fray and Ethan stared at me then they gave me a smile. Bad, I’m not joking. I hate the Capitol. I swear. Then I looked at Ethan, wondering what he said earlier.

“You, Ethan, you said you hate the Games, but why did you volunteer?” I ask without a single pause.

He was silent, but he didn’t ignore the question.

“I was forced to,” he answers.

I wasn’t shocked because his answer was expected. He’s my crush, so I know what’s his view and anything (but I’m not a stalker.) His parents were both wrestling teachers at school and apparently, he was trained, like a Career, for this deadly fight.

“Stop this thing now. Remember, you too are already known before anything else. You, Bliss, you are the victor’s daughter so they expect much from you, and you Ethan, you volunteered, so they want to see some skills from you, do your best, and... and never try to kill each other no matter what,” Fray elucidates as he resumed his giving of advices to us.

“But what if, I and Bliss are left? What if the Capitol would ask us to kill, because only one can be declared the winner” Ethan asks.

I swallowed my saliva upon hearing the question. Fray ignored it but he bestowed his attention to me.

“Bliss, you use your mom’s strategy,” Fray adds.

“What was it?” I ask curiously.

“The massive-killer technique, for your information, your mom got one of the highest kill counts in the Games history. She killed 13 tributes,” Fray answers.

“WHAT? Wait, wait! I... I don’t think my mom could kill such, she can’t do it!” I mutter.

“But, she did. Listen, even she didn’t have a choice, but to play the Games, really,” Fray raised his voice slightly.

“No... No! She’s not as brutal as what you think! You’re saying that because... because you’re setting my mind up to kill people,” I raised my voice too.

“But this is Hunger Games. You have no choice, but to do... but to do something unlawful to your conscience, that is to kill other tributes for you to survive, and... and go home alive!” Fray explains while his tone higher than the expected.

I stood up, and went straight to my room, without looking back at them. I’m in the room, but still, I hear them talking, and Valerie’s footsteps towards their table.

“What’s the commotion all about?” Valerie asks.

Fray told Valerie about my hysterical act.

“Where’s the remote?” she asks.

“Why?” Ethan wonders.

“She should see her mom,” she answers calmly.

Then they went to my room and knocked. I opened it, seeing them is still hard for me. I shouldn’t have shouted at Fray. I should apologize.

“Bliss, can we open your TV?” Valerie asks.

“Sure,” I say with a poker face.

They sat on my bed, and then Valerie pressed the ‘on’ button. The Capitol logo flashed first, then the Hunger Games’ then my mom, who was 17 at the time, seeking for food. When I read the subtitle, they were five left.

“She looks exactly like you,” Valerie says.

“Except the eyes. Blane’s was deep blue, yours was green and wolf-like,” Fray adds.

I didn’t answer them, instead, I watched closely. She actually killed 2 Careers until she, and a girl from District 2 named Eloisa left. Eloisa looked fierce; her evil eyes were the evidence. She was skilled with everything, from knives to swords, what my mom only have was her axe.

When Eloisa attempts to cut off my mom’s neck, my mom protected herself by her axe. Then my mom hits Eloisa’s arms without ease, it was a challenge. After their long fight for dead, my mom was visibly wounded with her left leg sprained and her left arm cut off.

Eloisa looked good still, but she made a wrong move. When she was walking to punish my mom her last hit, she accidentally stepped on a loose soil that caused her to stumble down. The edge rock bumped to her spine. That thing gave my mom a chance to end the battle mayhem. She gets her axe, then she walked slowly then she hits Eloisa’s head. Eloisa’s skull literally came out. The blood splattered to my mom’s face. I can see her inner fear.

It was brutal, but my mom didn’t have any options. The last cannon ball fired, and the people declared Blane Stefara the winner of the 17th Annual Hunger Games.

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