Now, as I mentioned earlier in this story, I have glossed over a great majority of the rules because they simply aren’t important, but they were actually fairly nuanced and complex in some respects. Therefore, it wasn’t uncommon for an event or even a casual interaction between players to pause while someone texted Garrett for an answer. Even Victoria and the other moderators did this from time to time. The revelation that Bethany and the Red Rippers weren’t doing this was, I had to admit, somewhat odd. Still though, I couldn’t really grasp why this was eating at Garrett so heavily.
Garrett continued to rant off and on as we played more games and drank as many cheap beers as he felt comfortable stealing from his dad’s supply before crashing out some time in the wee hours of the morning. Nothing else he said made it any clearer what it was that bothered him so much about the Blood Game as to want to quit it, but I also had the feeling he wasn’t telling me everything.
In the morning, when I got up from a pile of blankets on his floor and gathered myself up to leave, he did say one more thing that got my attention. He asked if I was going to the big event next weekend. I replied I was — of course — going. It was supposed to be the biggest event of the year so far. Supposedly every player would be there, and there were going to be some major rewards given out to players who had amassed sufficient Power. I had been looking forward to it since I’d heard about it, and not just as yet another excuse to see Adelaide, but because I had been legitimately hooked by the Blood Game.
“Look man, I know I can’t stop you from going, but just be careful, okay? Keep your eyes open at the big event.” Those were his parting words to me.
There was a small Owl Eye event going on mid-week before the big event that weekend. It was a minor affair where we were effectively recruiting a demon player through a roleplayed scenario that involved us binding the demon to another member of our faction. The event itself was not terribly interesting, but what was interesting was that Adelaide wasn’t there. Furthermore, I realized I hadn’t seen her at school all week. After the event was over, I sent Adelaide a text asking where she’d been.
In response, I received this:
“She’s a Ripper now.”
The use of “she” rather than “I” in that text sent a shudder down my spine. The word choice made no sense if she was the one sending the message, but if she wasn’t sending the message, who was? I tried to rationalize it by thinking that maybe she was using the third person to differentiate between Adelaide the person and Adelaide the Blood Game character, but I didn’t really buy it. Some nagging voice in the back of my mind kept telling me that Sarah was the one who had sent that message.