The white Lighthouse was floating, giving out a dim light in the dark room Khun was residing in. A memory was playing in his mind as he stared at the unique Lighthouse Evolet made.
"This Lighthouse has a few unique functions other than your typical Lighthouse uses. The first one is it can be upgraded. I guess you could say the rank of the Lighthouse is unknown, but it can withstand technique upgrades for any rank. There should be a few shops that sell Lighthouse techniques, legal or illegally. Secondly, this Lighthouse is more suitable for defensive and support purposes. Most likely because it took on my defensive Shinsu quality since it's my custom Lighthouse... And lastly the third one is-"
"I'll track you down, Eve. For sure." Khun lifted his hand, reaching toward the Lighthouse and fisting it.
"The Lighthouse is connected to me with a Shinsu string. The Lighthouse won't break down from any attack unless I die, think of it as a lifesign . As long as I'm still alive this Lighthouse is practically invincible. And if you find a Guide or a Shinsu string user, you'll be able to track me down with this Lighthouse. Though... I doubt you'll be able to find any Shinsu string user."
After the somewhat bittersweet reunion with Bam, Evolet retreated to her own room. As soon as the door was closed, she leaned against it and eventually slid down to the floor. Her legs didn't have the strength to hold her up. No tears streamed down this time, unlike the time she left him- them on Evankhell's floor. It hurts in a different way that she couldn't explain. She doesn't know why it hurts when she's not supposed to have these feelings. Hugging her knees, she curled into herself and closed her eyes.
When she opened her eyes again, the previous striking blue-violet orbs had lost a bit of its luster and looked dimmer than usual. She didn't waste any time to figure out her feelings from earlier. Her feelings shouldn't matter, it doesn't. Evolet took a deep breath and proceeded to think up her next moves. She just needs to keep moving on forward. Protecting Bam is her priority, no matter what it always comes first... That was her sole purpose created, nothing else.
When Evolet went out of her room to find Yunuen, he informed her that Luslec agreed to her request quite readily. Although he did also warn that there might be some or many elders that opposed the decision. Evolet only gave a slight nod of affirmation, this was included in her calculations. She doesn't notice how Yunuen looked at her with a mix of worry and pity. He didn't say anything and acted as if everything was normal.
"Tell the elders that I'm willing to cooperate with the other slayers if needed. However, under no circumstances should they mess with Bam- I mean Viole, or anything that he's related to. If they do... Don't say I didn't warn them beforehand."
Yunuen gave her an awkward laugh in resignation. Evolet was a bit tense, there's a mountain of stuff that she needs to so if she's dealing with FUG. But first-
"Yunuen-san, which of the remaining 8 is sealed here?"
Yunuen didn't answer immediately, serving a plate of creme brulee for Evolet instead. She stiffened for a moment before going lax, offering him a sincere grateful smile and a thank you as she ate the delicious treat slowly. Yunuen looked at her, a fond smile on his face. "Urania's item is sealed nearby, in the Temple of Beginning."
Evolet slowed down her bites as she recalled the information about Urania's item. "Urania... Which means it should be the Guiding Lantern. I can use it to locate the other items. Okay, Yunuen-san; please take me to the Temple of Beginning."
Yunuen could only give an overly fond, exasperated smile as he agreed. She was his responsibility after all. He has his job as her Guardian. In a few hours, they arrived at the Greek-style temple. They stood in front of the temple, sizing it up.
"I can only accompany you until here. Good luck, little one." Yunuen said, ruffling Evolet's hair to encourage her. The hand was gently swatted away by Evolet who flashed him a smile before going into the temple. The cella of the temple housed a lone stone chest. Evolet eyed the rune circle carved on the floor as she stepped into it.
"Welcome, pitiful child."
Evolet lifted her head up, making eye contact with the spirit hovering over the stone box. She stared at the spirit with waryness. She had the characteristics of someone from the Khun lineage, except she's wearing a Greek goddess attire. Evolet was momentarily reminded of Khun, but quickly shook the image out of her mind. The spirit strided closer to her, eyes observing Evolet. "You look similar to her. Lavender strands, piercing blue-violet orbs, the swirling Shinsu all around joyful of your presence."
"I'm not her." Evolet said with disdain, bitterness in her tone. The spirit was merely amused by the answer, backing off from Evolet.
"I never said you were. But it's an undeniable fact that your root originated from her."
Pursing her lips, Evolet stood her ground and asked the spirit, "Do you... bear a grudge against her?"
Shock was evident in the spirit's eyes. It only lasted for a moment before she laughed at the sheer absurdity of the question. "Don't worry, I don't hate her for what she did."
The sentence was said lightly, but soon enough her eyes took a sharp glint as she continued. "Who knows what the other spirits might feel though. I have no doubt some of them will hold grudges, misdirected at you instead of her. Pitiful child indeed."
Evolet's stance relaxed a little, eyes contradictory to it. The spirit lifted an eyebrow, arrogance and amusement apparent on her expression. "All misdirected animosity aside, you seem to be faring well with the curse. As I would expect from someone blessed by the Tower. Although you did have that breakdown during the talk with that blue-head."
"It won't happen again. That breakdown was... just a little unprecedented. It was a mistake on my part, I'll make sure to suppress my... feelings."
The spirit scoffed, hovering near Evolet and casually draped herself over Evolet from the back. "I'm sure you have no reason to come here except for my Lantern, so I'm not going to ask about that. But I can't deny I'm curious... Why that boy?"
"Bam is... The first one that asked me to stay."
The memory of their reunion was still fresh in her mind, the invisible scars remaining as it is. But she couldn't shake off that image when Bam gripped her sleeves in the cave, asking her to not leave with pleading eyes. To be quite frank, she didn't expect to meet him again this soon. Though silently she wished that he went up the Tower with the others instead of getting involved with FUG. But now that he's here, she'll make sure to protect him no matter what. She couldn't suppress the crooked smile as she thought how foolish all of this may seem. The spirit suddenly lost interest, hovering back to the stone chest as she checked her nails. "You seem very easy to please. And what about the other boy? The Khun family kid."
"Khun-san is... different." Evolet paused for a moment. For once she looks troubled, pursing her lips as she struggles to find the right words.
"For me... If Bam is the sunshine then Khun would be the moonlight. Bam just radiates this... happy, joyful aura that makes you feel all warm and giddy inside. While Khun-san... He gives off this calm confidence that makes me feel protected when I'm near him... And I feel safe enough that I don't hesitate to speak to him."
The spirit watched Evolet as she uttered those sentences, observing the changes in her eyes. If her eyes were any indication to go with, she is willing to bet everything that Evolet fell for those two boys. Though the girl doesn't seem like she realizes it. Or to be exact, she doesn't acknowledge it. The poor child probably thinks she doesn't deserve to feel such things. While the spirit doesn't know if the other 7 also observes Evolet or no, she can make a few points from her observation. And one of them was, for some u̶n̶k̶n̶o̶w̶n̶ reason the girl seems to think she's not supposed to have those kinds of feelings. Yet at the same time she moves because of those feelings. "Child, who would you choose out of the two?"
The questioned girl didn't hesitate to answer, "I won't. I'll protect the both of them."
The spirit went silent, giving an unimpressed look at her which Evolet doesn't perceive. Within a moment, she wasn't hovering anymore and instead was standing on the floor. She stumbled to the nearest pillar, a dark cloud looming over her. Evolet's hopelessly dense, the spirit thought. She asked the question in a different context and Evolet didn't catch up to it at all. She laughed maniacally in her mind and she would've banged her head against the wall if only she didn't have the dignity of a goddess, or rather former goddess.
Hundreds of thoughts were running through her mind. One thing she's sure of, Evolet is never going to confess first. NEVER. She furrowed her eyebrows as her mind conjured up various scenes of this Bam kid.
In the same instant, she decided the boy doesn't look like the type to confess first, judging from how he can't figure out his own feelings. He seems too busy chasing whoever that girl called Rachel was. The spirit silently sneered, deciding the boy was blind if he couldn't see little Evolet. She snapped her head to Evolet's direction, eyes scanning her appearance briefly before nodding in approval. There's no way a sane, not blind person would choose that Rachel girl over Evolet. Hence the Bam boy is blind, such was her conclusion. The Khun kid looks slightly more reliable, but he's not here... Hm? Wait- "How are you going to protect the Khun boy anyway? He doesn't seem to be affiliated with FUG."
A broad playful smile took over Evolet's face as she stepped up to open up the stone chest. She leaned down to grab the staff lantern that laid dormant within the chest before straightening up. With the same playful grin, Evolet replied to the spirit. "Maybe not now, but there will be a time we meet Khun-san again. Without a doubt."
F̶a̶t̶e̶ I will ensure that we meet again.
Evolet's playful grin looked highly similar to the Cheshire cat's, sobering the spirit immediately. She doesn't know which is the real Evolet. "I'm looking forward to the fate you're weaving."
A polite smile was all she got for a response. Done with her business there, Evolet headed back to the only entrance and exit. As she stared at Evolet's departing back, the spirit decided to give a warning. "Be careful. The Svalinn burnt out in the end."
Evolet stopped in her tracks for a moment, turning back to the spirit's floating form as she retorted with stifled laughter. "Please don't worry, I know that fact better than anyone. Burning out another once or twice won't matter for me. If I break, I'll just fix myself. Over and over again. As it's always been."
With a deep sigh, the spirit started fading away as Evolet exits the temple. "Just call my name should you need help."
She doesn't miss how Evolet stopped for a moment, an appreciative smile etched on her face. "Thank you, Urania-san."
"Little one, while you are mainly a support type Wave Controller; you can consider yourself as a Defender. Now here's a question. What is important for a Defender?" Yunuen asked in their lesson.
Evolet listed off the things that came into her mind. "Uhm... Abilities, fast reflexes, fearlessness, preparation, attentiveness, and... I don't know anymore...?"
"Hm, none of them are wrong. But in your case it's a bit different."
She thought of the difference he was speaking about. "Because I'm defending a Wave Controller?"
Yunuen nodded in agreement. "Exactly. You'll be right in the heart of the battle, which means some people will see you as a weak link to shatter the defense."
"So I'll have to fend them off somehow."
"No, just pummel whoever dares to try it to the ground. Here's a task for you. Think of a weapon that suits you." Evolet awkwardly laughed at the first sentence.
Evolet sighed at the memory, even if Yunuen said to pick a weapon... What kind of weapon would suit her? She was made to be centered around defense, not offense after all. Evolet's chin was resting on her hand as she stared at the paper, scribbling away on a paper. Only the sound of Evolet writing was heard in the otherwise silent room.
She stared at the paper after writing it, tapping on the table with a pen. A sigh escaped Evolet's lips as an overly familiar topic ran through her mind.
Muse Series... Nine items that carry the weight of the Tower's forgotten legend. Slumbering in wait for their rightful owner to claim them and crown the fated king.
Evolet was too absorbed in her thoughts that she didn't notice Yunuen entering the room. Yunuen approached Evolet who was sitting, leaning in from the back and rested his weight on her as he propped his head on top of hers. Effectively snapping Evolet out of it.
When she saw that it was Yunuen, she smiled at his impeccable timing. "Great timing, Yunuen-san. How long will it take for Bam to finish his basic training?"
"From what I can see it'll take about one year." Yunuen answered nonchalantly, still leaning on Evolet.
Evolet didn't utter any words of protest, used to his presence. "In the span of one year... No, 10 months. In ten months, how many floors can I climb?"
Upon hearing that, Yunuen's attitude became serious as he took a seat in front of Evolet insead of casually leaning on her. "For a normal F rank regular... I'd assume about 4 floors. But-"
Yunuen paused, giving a confident smirk as the tension built up. "If it's you, 8 floors isn't an impossible feat. Maximum 10 floors if you want to cut it close."
Evolet hummed as she considered it. Euterpe and Urania's items were both with her. The remaining seven items were scattered throughout the Tower. What she's currently aiming for is Terpsichore's Folding Fan. Out of the nine, it was the only one that somewhat can be considered as an offense item. And that's what she needs desperately at this moment, just like what Yunuen said. While she knows that her offensive powers have a limit that she's bound to, but she needs to at least try. There must be a reason why there's a lone offense item out of the nine when the rest are either support or defense items. "Yunuen-san... What are the chances that I'll actually find Terpsichore's Folding Fans by the 10th floor?"
A smirk was apparent on his expression, exuding confidence. "Have you forgotten Little One? The Tower's blessings are with you, whatever it is you want then you'll find."
Evolet showed him a smile, but it was full of doubt, guilt, and sadness. As if she was thinking it wasn't true, that she doesn't deserve his words. She stands up anyway, telling Yunuen to pack up immediately and accompany her through the floors as her Guardian and surveillance from FUG. Yunuen agreed to it without a fuss, but he asked her. "Are you going to leave now? Without saying anything to that Bam kid?"
Those two sentences were familiar. Almost no difference to what Khun had asked her before she left. Her mouth felt dry, but her mind kept rewinding her reunion with Bam not long ago. She could only let out a soft "I'll leave a letter..." as she avoided Yunuen's stare. She thinks all her courage accumulated from a lifetime won't be enough to face Bam again anytime soon anyway.
Urania's Guiding Lantern was held gingerly in Evolet's hands as she looked at it with inhibition. Surely she can't bring it around in this form? The length of the staff lantern wasn't that long, only about the length of a hook. But there was no way she could carry it in broad daylight without people thinking she was scheming something or about to attack someone. She pondered over it, trying to devise a solution. Her mind wandered off to the Lighthouse she made for Khun. Looks like she'll have no choice but to make more of those, this time for herself.
She'll have to ask Yunuen to teach her how to use a Lighthouse later. And for the Suspendium stones she needs to craft them... Maybe some more cakes too while she's at it. She smiled softly, already searching for Yunuen.