With the game over, the exhausted regulars were given three days of break. During those three days, Khun was the one who watched over Evolet and Bam, switching rooms every few hours to take care of them. Evolet was the first to awaken. She regained her consciousness on the second day; instantly greeted by Khun who was glad at the sight. Khun explained what had happened after the game briefly before asking if she was still hurting anywhere. Evolet, being the high pain resistant girl she is, didn't even hesitate to answer with a no. Although in reality the bruises from the staff's impacts were still there and probably aren't disappearing anytime soon, not that it will bother her. With that out of the way, Evolet quickly inquired about Bam's condition.
Hearing that Bam was still unconscious, Evolet requested Khun to take her to where he is. At first Khun was reluctant, but he eventually caved in since Evolet's room wasn't that far from Bam's. Evolet looked at Bam who was lying on his bed, head bandaged. She bit her lip, feeling guilty that she couldn't protect him; that is was her fault he ended up like this, because she was still too incompetent. Khun sighed seeing the look on Evolet's face, telling her not to blame herself and that Bam wouldn't blame her either. Doubt was clear on her face, but she nodded anyway. What kind of person would she be if she made Khun worry too.
Evolet stood beside the bed, her hands grasping Bam's. Then suddenly she told Khun that she was the reason Bam hasn't woken up yet; because she placed a temporary seal on Bam's Shinsu to lessen the damage. "I'm going to lift the seal now. The Shinsu overflow also needs to be dealt with… I'll make something out of it."
Khun nodded and watched in interest. He didn't know that someone's Shinsu could be sealed even if only temporarily. He'll have to ask further about this later. Evolet had closed her eyes in concentration, slowly lifting the seal she had placed on Bam and at the same time drawing his Shinsu overflow to her instead so he wouldn't be overwhelmed later. When she opened her eyes, the blue-violet color seemed glazed; out of focus from the amount of Shinsu inside her that she's restraining. Evolet snapped back to focus when Khun called her name. She gave him a reassuring smile before getting to work with the large quantity Shinsu and starting a light conversation with Khun.
"Khun-san, you're curious about the Shinsu seal aren't you?" She asked with a knowing childish smile.
Khun replied with a smirk, getting to the point. "Yeah. I never knew that was possible."
A giggle from Evolet. "It isn't the easiest thing to do so I doubt a lot of people know it."
It’s not a lie, but it’s not the truth either.
A Baang was steadily forming in Evolet's hand as she threw a gaze at Khun who was waiting for her to continue. "While making a Shinsu seal does require expertise in the field; it's rather the condition needed to do so that people typically cannot fulfill."
"Trust, or connection if you would."
She’s making this up at the spot. It’s true that there’s a certain condition that needs to be fulfilled. And a connection is no doubt similar to it, but not in the way she was explaining it. Seeing that Khun had gone silent, Evolet just continued. "Shinsu is… essentially life. So if I were to manipulate someone's Shinsu to that extent without causing everlasting damage on both sides, they would need to trust me with their life."
"Isn't that similar to permission?" Khun narrowed his eyes.
Evolet shook her head, the Baang in her hands compressing itself as it changed its Shinsu quality. "I don't need their permission to manipulate their Shinsu as long as the trust is established beforehand. Permission can be tricky to get in spontaneous situations like… what happened in the Crown Game."
She paused for a moment before adding. "Ah, but it's rare in the Tower itself. Trust isn't exactly something common around here. Not to mention there aren't that many people that have the capability to control Shinsu in such a complicated way."
Khun stared at her silently. "Then you're saying that Bam trusts his life to you?"
Evolet seemed to falter a bit before she answered hesitantly. "I… think so?"
But then her expression changed into that of a cheerful smile. "But I trust my life with him too. And with you too Khun-san."
Khun wasn't expecting that. He felt his mouth dry out, how could she abruptly say she trusts him so easily when they haven't even known each other for long? And that time with that door test. He found himself asking, "Why?"
Evolet didn't hesitate with her answer, letting out a gentle smile with dazed eyes. "Because Khun-san is kind."
And it was true, she mused as she glanced at the Shinsu strings around him. His Shinsu felt kind, calming, strong and reliable, once broken but fixed. Khun's eyes were wide open from disbelief. Kind wasn't a word that he would associate with himself or anyone from his family. But she had said that before. For a moment instead of Evolet, he saw Maria instead in front of him. He froze before he shook his head. It was only that one time that…
His train of thoughts cut off. He didn't need another flashback. He stared at Evolet who was inspecting the Baang she just made. She appeared to be happy with the result, nodding on satisfaction at the white reflective Baang she just made. Unaware of Khun's inner turmoil, Evolet turned to him to show the Baang she just made.
"Look, Khun-san! The Baang looks nice doesn't it? It's made from a combination of Bam's Shinsu and mine. Although since I was the one who made it, it took on my Shinsu quality which is… more focused on defense. I still don't know the reason why it's white or why it looks reflective, but maybe I'll figure it out someday!"
Khun thought back to the few days he spent with Evolet. She had shown many contradictory characteristics; bloodlust, childish, serious, knowing, dense, gentle, caring, random, etc. Right now the girl was showcasing her childish qualities, blabbering about the Baang with childish wonder in her eyes. He sighed. What was he thinking about? Evolet and Maria are two different people. Khun wasn't aware that Evolet had stopped speaking and was instead watching Khun with a worried gaze since he seemed to be out of it. Evolet had to call Khun several times before he finally snapped out of it and… promptly blushed from Evolet's close proximity. At least she immediately pulled back when she saw that he was back to normal.
Relieved, Khun let out a sigh again. But as he slowly regained his focus, it clicked in his mind. Evolet just made a Baang. And she used Shinsu during the Crown Game.
When did she make the contract with the administrator?
He voiced the question. Eve froze. She certainly didn't make any contract with the administrator, nor does she have any intention to do so. But she can't possibly say that to Khun, that would be the same as screaming out the fact that she's not a regular. Almost conveniently, there was a knock on the door. Both Khun and Evolet's attention switched to it, eyeing the monitor to see who knocked at the door. The monitor flashed on, showing Rachel's face. Evolet's pose stiffened, taking a deep breath and putting the Baang she made earlier on the table. She let an impassive look take over her before she went to open the door.
That was when Evolet and Rachel first met each other officially. Standing in the doorway with Evolet staring down at Rachel, Evolet wearing a blank look on her face with disdain carefully concealed beneath a mask. Before Rachel got a chance to say anything, Evolet had spoken first.
Surprised, Rachel could only nod. Evolet's expression remained the same. "Please do come in."
Evolet was standing near the edge of the bed, leaning against the wall. She was avoiding to meet eyes with Rachel, looking anywhere but her who was standing beside Bam while caressing his cheek with concern in her eyes. Evolet inwardly let out a scoff. And so just like that, Rachel started telling her story. Evolet didn't listen; she already knew. Rachel was stating about how she can't stay beside Bam, how they'll only be a burden to each other. While Evolet was willing to pay any price to stay beside Bam and protect him; but she just couldn't. For once, or rather as always; she wishes she was the one who found Bam first.
Not soon enough, Rachel finally finished talking. Rachel's gaze travelled to the table, hand reaching out to the Baang Evolet had made; drawn by the power it radiated. Evolet's voice thundered, a silent threat of or else lingering. "Don't touch it."
Rachel's hand withdrew, but her gaze was still fixated at the sphere.
Don’t be greedy for power that isn't yours.
"Please refrain from touching it. Or asking about it for that matter. I was the one who made it and I don't appreciate anyone else except for the intended recipient to prod about it."
Rachel was about to ask something, clearly unaware of her boundaries. Evolet gave her a glare that shut her up before she could say anything. Instead, Rachel turned to Khun and asked if she could have the chocolate bars that were beside the Baang. Khun's mind was wondering why Evolet seemed to be unfriendly, perhaps more toward Rachel; but he allowed Rachel to take the chocolate bars nonetheless since it would be rude to refuse. When Rachel was about to exit the room, Evolet said; "I hope whatever is on top of the Tower is much more worthy than Bam."
It will never be. Not for me at least. Let's see how long your patience can hold on before your jealousy and greed takes over.
The door closed without a reply from Rachel. Evolet's posture relaxed a bit although her expression clearly says she didn't enjoy the visit. Khun eyed Evolet. "You don't seem to like Rachel, Eve."
That would be an understatement.
Evolet looked at Khun in the eye, blue-violet orbs showing a storm of emotions that he couldn't quite grasp. "Do you still remember what Hansung-san said to me that time, Khun-san?"
Half of him was wondering where she was taking this conversation, since he had indirectly asked Rachel. But he wasn't going to complain. He was also curious about what Hansung had said before. " 'Please enjoy your remaining time' was it?"
She nodded, pausing to take the Baang from earlier and holding it close to her chest with both hands. "Long ago, Bam asked me whether I wanted to climb the Tower or not. … I answered no."
Khun couldn't hide the surprise in his eyes. It wasn't every day that you hear someone doesn't want to climb the Tower. "Don't you have anything that you wish for on top of the Tower?"
Evolet shook her head with a fond smile. "At that time, staying by Bam's side was more than enough for me. Although now… I suppose that has changed a bit." she chuckled as a certain blue-head and crocodile popped into her mind.
He was tempted to ask what had changed, but he pushed it down and instead said, "You started climbing the Tower because of Bam didn't you?"
"... Yes. Bam wanted to follow Rachel so… I don't really have any other choice than to follow him. I can't really let him go alone when I've decided to be his shield. …"
Evolet started hesitating near the end, as if she wanted to say something more. And Khun wasn't about to let it slide, not when he could sense there was still something lingering behind those sentences. "That's not all isn't it, Eve?"
"The reason that I didn't want to climb the Tower is because I'll have to leave him if I do."
There was something amiss in her tone and body language as she said that. It clicked in Khun's head. "You haven't told Bam about it have you?"
Evolet stiffened, Khun's answer had hit the nail. But contrary to what Khun thought Evolet would do, she only sighed. "I don't think it would change a thing… He puts Rachel first and foremost so I doubt he'll mind about my reason or me disappearing."
Did she seriously just- Does she actually think that???
Unaware of Khun's perplexion, Evolet continued. "I made a promise with someone, that when I enter the Tower I would assist that person with something. In truth I should've gone immediately to them but… I suppose they already discovered me first."
"And… you're just going to go like that?"
"Yes… I did make the promise to do so. They've been kind enough to not pick me up immediately too so I can't ask for much more. Otherwise Bam would be in danger… Not to mention they've taken care of me and been a great help."
"You're not going to tell Bam about this?"
Evolet shook her head. "No. I don't need to burden him further. Besides… Rachel wants to go up the Tower. Bam will find out the truth sooner or later even if she tells us to lie to him. He'll take her to the top no matter what it takes. … And perhaps that's also the reason I'm jealous of her. Bam treasures her so much, she's his priority and yet she would rather choose to leave him rather than staying by his side…"
Letting out a resigned smile, she continued. "Oftentimes, I wish that I met him first. It makes me wonder if anything would change if I did. I'm sorry, Khun-san… It's cruel of me to ask you to keep another secret from everyone else."
Khun just stared at her. He can't grasp what's going through her mind and yet at the same time he understands, it's so confusing. "Hey, Eve…"
"What is it, Khun-san?" Evolet asks, puzzled.
"How do you feel about Bam? What is he to you?"
Evolet was taken by surprise for a moment. Her mind wandered to the memories she made with Bam throughout the years, a smile evident on her face. As she opened her mouth, about to answer; her breath hitched.
A mere item shouldn't have emotions. More so a cursed one.
She felt like choking. Khun noticed that she had gone pale, her hands trembling. He asked what was wrong, only to be replied with a shaky "A-ah, I'm sorry Khun-san; I need to go-" while Evolet was rushing to the door, banging it open and rushing to who knows where; unaware of Rak who shouted in surprise when she did so.
Evolet kept walking in the empty hallway. Voices ringing in her head as she did so, repeating the same word over and over again.
Evolet breathed in heavily, pupils dilated. She stilled in the hallway, taking deep breaths as she calmed down slowly. Letting out a wry laugh, she thought 'how pathetic' as she stood in the silence.
Khun took slow strides to the door after Evolet left. She didn't answer two of his questions, but he doubts she's capable of answering it in her state. Worry was clouding his mind, unknowing of what had caused her to go into a panic mode. He found Rak standing in front of the door, staring at the direction where Evolet took off with a confused expression. Rak's piercing red eyes met Khun's and the first sentence he said was "Blue turtle, what did you do to the Purple turtle?"
Khun sighed. He'd answer Rak's question if he knew the answer. "Just get in, Gator."
The Baang from earlier was left forgotten on the table. Rak was screaming profanities, shouting at Bam in hopes he will wake up; threats mixed in his shouts. His attention didn't last long enough as soon as he noticed his chocolate bars were gone. Khun could only pinch the bridge of his nose in an attempt to lessen the headache from Rak's shouts. "What's this? Is this food?"
Khun snapped his head to Rak's direction, eyes widening in horror when he saw Eve's Baang in Rak's hands. "Don't, Gator!!!"
Khun tackled Rak to stop him. Hell broke loose.