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75 Dodgeball and Cages

    Still in the lobby, Kardama continued to press his advances and ended up trying to pull a fast one by 'accidentally' falling forward into my chest like some kind of cliche harem anime protagonist. Kardama's left hand, along with both of his feet, are chained to a support beam via blood chains. Meanwhile, I stand on the wrist of his right hand with the scythe against his fingers.

    "I'll do it! I swear I'll do it! I'll cut off all of them, right now." I shout at Kardama.

    "No! No! Don't!" he screams.

    I grit my teeth and look at him with smoldering eyes, "Then don't you dare try to 'accidentally' touch me again!"

    "I won't, and I swear it was an accident!"

    "Eira, I think that's probably enough," Eden says.

    "Ehhh. I don't know."

    Kardama nods profusely, "It's enough!"

    I sigh and roll my eyes, "I guess, but next time."

    As I shake my head, 'Why did I send Terry away? He and Jimmy are normal, but Sam and now Kardama are wannabe players... Well, I can't be as sure about Kardama.'

    Transforming the chain around his left hand into a choker around his neck and the chains around his ankles into anklets, he exhales in relief.

    "I'm leaving that choker and those anklets on you just in case I need them."

    "...I really did just trip." I hear him whisper.

    Sam reaches down and puts his hand on his shoulder, "It's okay, buddy. I believe you."

    "T-Thanks. I'm Kardama, what's your name?"

    "Sam. I think we'll get along great."

    The two shake hands and nod at one another.

    I massage my temples, "Anyway! Since we're already here, we might as well use this place to our benefit," I announce to the group.

    "W-Wait? I'm just here because I wanted some answers!?" Kardama shouts.

    I shrug, "Well, now you're a captive and I'm not taking any more questions today. But stick around for a while, and I'll make sure you get your answers eventually."

    He shakes his head in frustration, "Damn... how did this even happen? Why won't you just give me an explanation?"

    "As to why that blood magic residue made you feel nostalgic? Seems rather obvious to me, it's simply your ancestral blood responding to the familiar stimuli and magic. As for any other questions you may have, I'm unwilling to answer them, because I don't know your motivations, and even if you told me I wouldn't know if it was the truth. So like I've already said, stick around and I'll let you ask whatever you want... eventually."

    "You've been planning to do this the whole time, haven't you? Make me come with you or kidnap me or whatever you're doing?" he asks.

    "Nah, not at first, but after having heard about your personality from Eden I have been. Anyway, any questions unrelated to demonic history, blood magic, or motivations?"

    "Uh, yeah. How are we going to use a trampoline park to our benefit?" Aponi asks.

    "Everyone here went through the tutorial, so I assume you all know the basics of stats. So as you may or may not know, when you level half of your points will be placed based on the things you did during that level. For future levels, when it requires lots of essence it isn't as practical as you have no idea when you might achieve your next level, but for early levels, you can spend your time doing things to ensure your points go into particular areas."

    Sam looks at me confused, "So? What does that have to do with the trampoline park?"

    "Well, Aponi, Eden, and Kardama would probably want agility and endurance, and Sam, you probably want strength and constitution, I guess? As for Jimmy, I don't actually know what you want..."

    I look at Jimmy who's the most normal person within the group; personality and dress wise that is. Jimmy typically wears a baseball cap, graphic tee, and jeans when not in his army uniform, at least that's what Sam tells me as lately he just wears whatever we have. As for his body, it's average in height and in top shape; however, it's not big and muscular like Terry and Sam but is more of a lean build.

    Jimmy scratches his head, "It all kinda reminds me of video games, and when I used to play games when I was young, I'd always play a paladin, so I guess, I'll train my strength like Sam?"

    "Hmm, well, being a normal paladin is out of the question... y'know what it doesn't matter. Just train your strength, things like that aren't relevant right now. For the first while, you'll just be using guns for the most part."

    I motion for everyone to follow, and we enter a big room full of trampolines that line parts of the walls, and floor. To the left and right there are other rooms that contain the facility's other attractions such as rock climbing, 3D Laser Maze, basketball, etc.

    I point to one of the doors, "For Aponi, Eden, and Kardama it's pretty simple you guys just need to do the 'Ninja Course', or the 'Climbing Wall'. As for Sam and Jimmy" I smile and walk over to pick up a dodgeball from the floor, "We'll play dodgeball for a while to raise your strength and constitution."

    "...How does dodgeball raise our constitution?" Jimmy asks.

    "I'm glad you asked! Taking damage can help your constitution, and I want to work on my aim as well as my endurance.

    Sam's face turns pale, "Wait, can you hit someone hard enough with a dodgeball to cause that much damage?"

    "If it's thrown hard enough, I don't see why not! Anyhow, meet back here when the sun goes down because we'll be going hunting tonight as well."

    "Wait, what do you mean? Those Crawler things?" Kardama asks. "Because I'd rather not."

    I raise an eyebrow, "Any particular reason?"

    "Yeah, cause Phil **ed with them," he says as if obvious.

    "What do you mean? Do you know what he did to them?"

    "I don't know what he did exactly, but I was able to find out it was done for the purpose of making them more 'distracting' and 'threatening'," Kardama says with air quotes.

    "Who are you quoting?"

    'Hmm? Oh, a friend of mine, but he didn't really know much either. No one tells Shadow Demons anything, because of the Great Betrayal of the past."

    "The Great Betrayal? Do you mean when the Shadow Demons swore their loyalty to a deity outside of the hell dimension? They still care about something so far in the past?"

    Kardama looks confused, "Uh, yeah? How did you know about that? Actually, you seem to know more than just that."

    "Yeah, I know some things about it."

    "Then, you know how that Goddess tricked us?"

    For a moment, I'm confused as my memories of how the Shadow Demons joined the blood race is still partially there. Although I don't have the exact memories of the day, I still have the knowledge of how it happened. Anyway, from what I can remember, the Shadow Demons were being hunted down as they were a native race of the Hell dimension. While, the vast majority of other demons are basically refuges, invaders, or what have you. This all goes back a very long time ago before the Hell dimension was, well, the Hell dimension and was more akin to Earth.

    "I'm confused about what you mean by "tricked" you? Don't you mean saved you from extermination?"

    "That's all bull**. Lies told to us to make sure the Shadow Demons can't reclaim their proper place in Hell." he asserts confidently.

    "Oh? Is that so? I think it's more like your ancestors were desperate and weak, so they screamed into the void for help, and a Goddess graciously responded despite not having any real incentive to do so."

    "Nah, like I said bull**. Shadow Demons would never sink so low to seek help from a Goddess of another dimension. She probably just wanted to use us for herself."

    My eye twitches, "Hmmmm. I don't think that's correct; I'm pretty sure Shadow Demons were near extinction from the invading races, and the Goddess very, VERY generously gave them an edge to reclaim much of their lost lands."

    "No need to sound like I'm personally attacking you, and even if that was true, we would have figured it out in the end," Kardama says dismissively.

    I purse my lips and bite my tongue, "...You know what? You're going to be joining our dodgeball game. I think you could actually use an increase in your constitution."

    "Really? Well, that's fine," he says.

    Gripping a dodgeball to the point of it almost exploding, we enter the dodgeball room, which is designed like an indoor soccer room except where the goals would be are foam pits. Sam and Jimmy walk to one side of the room to look into the foam pit curiously.

    "Okay, let's jump right into it," I say, but Kadamana ignores me and instead picks up a ball from the ground, and walks toward Sam and Jimmy.

    'Just going to ignore me, that's fine. You'll learn real quick.'

    Bending my arm back, I grip the formed ball and prepare to launch it toward the UNGRATEFUL Shadow Demon.

    'Time to pay the piper you poor deluded young demon!'

    "So, how does this game work anyway?" Kardama asks Sam and Jimmy.

    With perfect form, I release the dodgeball causing the air around it to warp as dust from the ground flies into the air under the wind pressure of the ball. Seeing what's happening, Sam and Jimmy's eyes go wide as Kardama stands with his back to me, holding a dodgeball confusedly.

    Seeing the two's shocked expressions, Kardama turns his head to look behind him, "Wha...!"

    **Bang!**

    The dodgeball slams into his cheek, and pops under the force while sending Kardama into a partial backflip. He topples backward before tumbling into the foam pit behind him. Jimmy and Sam stare at the dumbstruck Kardama before Sam starts walking in my direction.

    "I'm on Eira's team," He says.

    "...Wasn't that a medicine ball?" Jimmy whispers to himself.

    ...

    ...

    ...

    I throw my arms into the air and laugh, "Huzzah! Zero losses out of forty games. I win again!"

    "Eira, can I be on your team again," Sam asks.

    Shaking my head, "We've already talked about this; it wasn't fair."

    "Yeah, but... we were one hell of a team, weren't we? The best even!" he says, pounding his chest.

    "No! I'll be on her team! I'll fight you to be on her team!" Kardama shouts.

    "H-Hey. I haven't gotten to be on her team at all." Jimmy responds.

    I wave my hands casually, "Nah, I'm done anyway. Kardama, you can probably join Eden and Aponi. Sam and Jimmy, you guys, just find something to lift, I guess."

    """Okay!""" the three respond excitedly.

    I laugh and walk back toward the lobby to find the daylight will soon be waning.

    Clapping my hands together, "Okay, let's see."

    Cutting my wrist, I allow a pool of blood to settle on the tile floor. Using my blood magic, I flatten it and form two quarter-inch rectangular plates that are approximately ten-feet long by five-feet wide apiece.

    Removing a snack from the storage ring I munch on a strawberry crêpe while picking up and grasping my scythe in my other hand. Breaking the scythe I seal my wound and allow some of the scythes blood to stain the ground giving myself more to work from.

    'I'd just use blood bags, but the blood from them wouldn't be as strong since it's just the red blood cells... it might still work or maybe I could mix it or something, but better safe than sorry.'

    Continuing with the blood now on the floor, I form twenty-nine five-foot-high bars and place one of the plates to the side. Using twenty-four of the bars, I place them along each of the longer ten-foot sides, fusing them together with blood magic. Then I take the remaining five bars and fuse them along one of the shorter five-foot sides of the plate. As for the last remaining five-foot-wide side, I leave it untouched for now. Grabbing a chair to stand on, I float the second plate to the top of the bars and lower it, making adjustments with my hands before fusing all the bars to this plate just as I did the bottom plate.

    "Now, just need a door. Actually, it'll be easier if I just do this."

    This time I form a smaller plate of one-foot by five-feet, but make it thicker than the other two plates. Pulling the chair over and raising it, I fuse the plate into the upper top plate giving the upper plate a bit of a flange. The flange is basically just a stockpile of blood that'll be available for when I need to seal the cage.

    "Now I can just cover the entrance in a layer of blood when the time comes. Otherwise, I'd have to go through the process of trying to make some kind of mechanism when I can just do it manually."

    Suddenly, I hear Eden's voice and find her along with the others entering the lobby, "Eira, what's that?" she asks.

    I smack the top of my creation like a used car salesman, "Isn't it obvious? It's a cage!"

    "Yeah, but why? Is it for Kardama?"

    "If you try to make me get in that, you might as well kill me now," Kardama says.

    "Nah, that's not why. It��s because I want a live Crawler test subject, so along with hunting, I want one to keep... Actually, I want two to keep, but I don't feel like making a second one, so together with the others, you're all going to make a second one."

    "With what blood?" Sam asks.

    I smile and laugh, "I think you all know where you'll get it from."
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