Finally the big event arrived. Bethany’s parents were somewhat wealthy and apparently must have condoned the Blood Game because she had rented a fairly nice hotel conference room. It had been decorated with yards of dark fabric, hundreds of black candles, and other items to set the mood.
The crowd was unbelievable. I tried several times to count how many people were at the tables, but I kept losing track. I had heard there were kids from other schools playing now and this confirmed it, as I saw players and moderators there I had never seen before in my life. At the front of the room was a podium in front of which sat the Red Rippers, who, in spite of all previous protests that we not dress up for events, were all clad in identical red robes and hoods. The only people who seemed to be absent were Adelaide and Garrett, who apparently kept good on his promise to quit.
I sat at a table with other members of Owl Eye, including Victoria, who immediately beamed upon seeing me.
“Daniel,” she whispered excitedly, “I’m not supposed to tell you this, but I just can’t resist. You’re going to be rising in rank tonight! Owl Eye will miss you, buddy.”
Before I could comprehend the full meaning of her words, Bethany appeared at the podium and called the room to order. She explained in her usual manner of speaking filled with “like”s and “oh my god”s that tonight was going to be a night of great ceremony for those who had grown in Power over the last few months. She would have seemed completely ridiculous if she were not, like the Rippers who sat silently in front of her like sentinels, clad in an intimidating red robe and hood.
For the first time I truly began to wonder who Bethany was, and where the Blood Game had come from anyway. Even more troubling to me was that I had never thought to ask this question before. My broodings didn’t last long however, as soon I heard Bethany call my name.
“…and from Owl Eye we have Daniel, who has amassed an incredible 47 Power in just over two months!”
I looked up to see that there were already some other people standing by the podium with Bethany and that they were donning red robes. Bethany was holding up a red robe that was apparently for me. The room full of high school students pretending they were vampires and the like were all applauding and smiling at me. Nervously I made my way to the front and accepted the robe. As soon as I looked at the robe closely I could not help but marvel at how expensive it clearly was. My name had even been sewn onto the inside of it. Though the idea of putting the robe on filled me with an intense feeling of revulsion I felt that I had no choice, and soon I was wearing the strangely horrible thing, as Bethany called out a few more names of people who had also attained the status of Ripper. There were five of us newbies total, all looking excited, except for me.