Bad Blood Part One.

So be cool and believe, in the things you haven't learned.

Fight For Your Life - The 125th Hunger Games.

Son of the President, Theodore Snow.

I take the prized seat, glancing around at my friends. I know what the question will be. It's always the same, every precious year that nobody understands. With the Quarter Quell coming up next, I can imagine the anticipation has set their tiny brains abuzz.

"Theodore," Ruben Crook smiles, watching me pick up the piece of fine china. "Do you have anything to share for us?"

"Not that you shouldn't already know," I mumble against the porcelain. "You could always ask your parents, just like I did mine."

"You know that's impossible when it comes to Quarter Quells, Teddy," Castella Valentine - daughter of Hugo Valentine, Head of Weapons - winks. "Our parents are not allowed to tell us. But, you can. I doubt your Mother will behead you if you spill just the slight details."

"Indeed," Ruben finishes. "A little tip for sponsor benefits wouldn't go amiss."

"Why would you need to think about sponsors now?" I deadpan. "You haven't even met the tributes."

"But the Quarter Quell rules affect tribute selection, does it or does it not?" Castella knows the answer, so I have no idea why she's playing dumb, unless she truly is. When I don't answer, she smirks. "Precisely. I think it's important, as friends, that we all share our knowledge, otherwise this secret society is pointless."

I supress a laugh. "Secret society? Really, Castella?"

She glares. Of course, Castella would be stupid enough to name us that. We're no society nor in secret, though the others need to be more careful than I. We are, in fact, just a club. Like a book club or even sporting. We gather, drink tea and coffee, eat cakes and cookies and share the detail and sordid secrets we've learned about the hierachy of important, Capitol figures. Castella was always dramatic... and an idiot. That's why she wasn't selected President of the club.

"Theodore," Ruben says again. "Don't aggrivate her. She's learned some very stunning news."

"Oh yes?" I look at her. "Have you finally realised that your father adopted you?"

"No," she hisses, and Lumara Merwin giggles against her cookie. "But yes, we're already established that my father used a sperm donor to get me, yes yes, highly amusing," she rolls her eyes. "No, I found out that Braquen Fienze has just been arrested by Capitol officials."

Really? Braquen Fienze is as corrupt as they come, selling his sordid medicine underneath the noses of the smartest people in Panem, all the while acting famously as part of my Mother's workers. "And?" I deadpan again. "Braquen is of no relation to you. I can't see how this information has turned your stomach, Castella."

Her eyes dart at me. "Braquen was apparently having an affair with my father, if you must know."

I can barely contain my laughter, even almost choking on a butternut cookie. "Well," I try and breathe carefully. "It's not like I didn't see that coming whatsoever. Everyone knows your father is gay."

"But his... "boyfriend"..." she struggles to continue. "Is a well-known drug dealer. It's going to break my father when he finds out."

And, that's our purpose. To talk and discuss the current going-ons within the Capitol. Sometimes, we discuss politics, such as how Pomfrey Patter was planning to run for presidency before mysteriously disappearing. I, of course, heard the screams coming from the basement but chose to ignore them. He had, after all, slandered my Mother into a corner. Sometimes, we even discuss the districts, like how District One is clearly the best district ever, and how District Twelve should've been bombed alongside their Thirteen counterpart.

But, when the Games happen, our favourite discussion is the tributes. It can get a little out-of-hand - one day, Castella wore a shirt that had Oxford Altai's picture on it, just before he was crowned Victor four years ago - and sometimes, the debate is endless. We've been doing this since we were younger, so we know the score pretty well.

"I have nothing of importance," Ruben shares with us again, his burgundy hair being a constant distraction. His mother, Lenore Crook, constantly dyes it ridiculously colours. "Lumara and Leonard?"

Both of the twins shake their head, one after the other, proving their inability of being anything but useless. Honestly, I don't know why they're here. Their father might be the Head of Muttations, but his genius has lacked in recent years, so in all honesty, Mother should just fire him. Then we can rid Lumara and Leonard from the group. I glance at Castella as she tries to daintily nibble on an oatmeal cookie. She's next, the wretched girl.

"Right," Ruben sighs. "What about you, Jensen?"

Jensen Arkham smirks. "My father and uncle would murder me if I told anything, so my lips are sealed."

I sit up straighter. "What do you know?" I say accusingly, glaring at the shorter boy. Compared to the others, me and Jensen are the same age, with Ruben and Castella as older, and Lumara and Leonard being younger. "You're bluffing." I declare.

"Hardly," he scoffs. "My father is Head Gamemaker, genius. I've seen them in his study."

"So he hasn't indirectly told you," I decide. "So, tell us what you know. I'm practically shaking with anticipation," I'm not really. "Come on."

Jensen stands, clearing his throat dramatically. I roll my eyes; he's worse than Castella, and I didn't think that was possible. He smirks and straightens out his bowtie. "On the one-hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that their soldiers were but children, all tributes will reaped from pools of eighteen-year-olds only." he recites, and my mouth drops.

"Wh..." Castella goes to ask, but instantly stops.

"I read the slip," Jensen rolls his eyes. "Honestly, I thought you'd all be more wiser than this. Well, there you go," he sits down. "The pointless Quell rules. Absolute nonsense."

"Hardly." I defend my Mother's choice, knowing the whole reasoning behind it. I place the china cup onto the table, carefully watching Jensen's face for a reply.

"Why would you think that?" Lumara speaks up, pink hair cascading over her face. "I mean, Jensen says it and it doesn't sound all too interest..." she trails off, before Leonard nudges her. "I mean, I just think that it's... lacklustre."

"I guess this means a debate, does it not?" Ruben grins wickedly. "I mean, Theodore can argue his point and Jensen can defend is. Besides," he looks at me and then the twins. "I believe that Lumara might have a point. It does seem very flat compared to other years."

They're all moronic if they haven't understood it. Back during the Dark Days, the districts were that desperate and pushed into a corner, that many children took hold of the guns and made up the firing squad. The districts wanted freedom and many innocent children paid the tough price. This... this is poetic justice, as my Mother called it. Besides, I am still above them all, and like with every debate before, I'll win it.

"So who will begin?" Castella claps.

I raise my hand. "Allow me to cleanse your tiny minds."

This is the fifth instalment to the EsmeraldaVerse. If you are unfamiliar as to why we are at this stage, please look on my profile at the EsmeraldaVerse prologue to understand. If you want, there's a blog for the EsmeraldaVerse Victors called Collection of the Damned, also on my profile (as well as a one-shot series for the Victors).

All deaths will be based on realism, story arcs and whether or not the submitter is reading the story. Obviously, reviews let me know this, and if said submitter chooses to not review, I have no idea if they're reading the story, and therefore, am more inclined to keep other tributes over said submitter's tribute. Each decision is painstakingly hard but must be done. Everyone knew the odds when they created a character. I would hope you stick around, but if not, I understand.

Thank you to the great Teddy for being the inspiration to Esmeralda's megalomaniac child.

Don't worry if you don't understand their conversation, you aren't really meant to... it's many upon many hints to what will happen over the next few SYOTs and this arena I have planned for this Quell xD

The rule this year is simple: all tributes must be 18 years old. Nothing fancy, because my arena plays the greatest part, like with Blood Thicker Than Water.

If you haven't sent your form in early for queries or whatnot, then please, do so now. The collection of them all will begin! All the spots have been filled for quite some time now, so please, don't send in characters. You'll have to wait until next time! If you could drop me a review on this chapter, I'll love you forever.