Sinking into the lukewarm water, Yihwa let out a pleased sigh as she felt the fatigue from the test melting away. Temporarily closing her eyes and relaxing. She relished in the silence, being the only one in the large bath. The sound of footsteps could be heard and Yihwa opened her eyes to catch a glimpse of the new presence.
She hadn’t meant to blush, but her face was flushed in hues of red anyway as she involuntarily stared at Evolet who just walked in clad in only a towel and hair secured in a bun. Evolet took notice of her quickly, offering a polite smile and a greeting before she proceeded to wash herself before relaxing in the bath not too far away from YIhwa herself. Yihwa found herself couldn't help but stare at Evolet who was slightly dozing off, clearly enjoying the relaxing occasion. Her eyes were trailing all over Evolet, admiring the girl with a slight blush still apparent on YIhwa’s face. Of course, her stare didn't go unnoticed soon enough.
"Uhm… Are you okay, Yeon-san? You seem to be overheating a little."
Evolet had no hidden intention when she asked the question, simply worried for the raven haired girl. Leaning in to check her temperature. Though that just made things worse for Yeon who tried to sink farther out of mortification. Her blush intensified, stutters accompanying her words as she spoke up.
“It-s… nothing. I just thought that you had a very good figure build...”
“I think that Yeon-san is more beautiful though.” Evolet said sincerely, a kind gaze accompanying the sentence that made Yihwa’s face steam as it heated up and dyed in red. Already in the process of drowning herself, Yihwa let out a huff that just came out as bubbles since her face was already half submerged in the water.
Evolet backed down after that, sitting considerably closer to Yihwa now. Yihwa glanced at Evolet discreetly again, thinking that what she said wasn’t exactly untrue. While she does believe that she also had an exceptional figure and looks, she would admit that Evolet was just as attractive or more than her. She was just watching Evolet, blowing bubbles in the water as she did.
“Uhm… Would you like me to wash your hair, Yeon-san?”
The offer was quite sudden, but Yihwa accepted anyway. Soon enough, she decided that she made the right decision as Evolet massaged her scalp with care and she was already dozing off from the action. Although she can’t help but think how could such a person be affiliated with FUG. Personality wise, Yihwa didn’t notice anything off for now. Though that kind of power was to be expected of FUG. What kind of relation does she have with Viole? They’d have to be close to be partners right?
“Yvette, if you don’t mind me asking… What kind of person is Viole?”
Evolet hummed softly, fingers not stopping their movements as she questioned Yihwa back. "What kind of person do you think he is, Yeon-san?"
The question got her thinking for a moment. Face scrunching up as she tried to make out his personality from what she had seen earlier. The unpleasant memory soured her expression and the next thing she knew, words were out her lips before she could stop them. "He looks like a jerk."
Immediately noticing her mistake, Yihwa froze up and awaited Evolet's response. She tensed up, expecting a bad reaction coming from the girl. Evolet bursted out in laughter hearing it, trying to suppress the giggles miserably. She managed to do so eventually, a soft grin on her expression.
"It's his looks isn't it? I told him the bangs weren't a good idea but he kept it anyway. Despite how he looks, Viole is actually very kind though. He's one of the most caring people I've met in my life. His… loyalty and dedication is also second to none. Always so reckless and never able to take care of himself properly… Putting others before him. Stubborn at times, and desperate to protect everything dear to him. A lonely boy who just wants to climb with his friends without hurting others. If you get to know him… You'll see the brightest golden hued eyes that radiate warmth like the sun."
Staring at the mirror, Yihwa was completely taken aback by Evolet's small speech. One thing was for sure, and that was Viole did not sound like anything she just heard. It just made her more skeptical. There were a few possibilities that would make what she said seem plausible though.
"If you don't mind me asking… Are you in a relationship with Viole?"
Evolet's hands stilled, freezing for a moment before turning on the shower and washing Yihwa’s hair as she spoke up with a soft tone. "I'm merely his partner, nothing more. He– Viole is… already climbing to chase his most precious person after all."
As dense as she could be, Yihwa could clearly read the mood Evolet was in after she inquired that question earlier. Turning off the shower, Evolet got up and went back to the bath, completely submerging herself and staying under for as long as her breath would let her. Yihwa wisely chose to stay silent after that.
It wasn't long after the bath that Yeon met Evolet again. She had knocked on Yihwa's room, taking her completely by surprise while Bam seemed to be expecting it.
"Then, we'll meet again later, Yeon-san."
"This is what you meant by that earlier???" Yihwa asked Evolet as the girl blinked confusedly. Evolet nodded with an uncertain smile before going back to brushing Bam's hair. Yihwa didn't understand a thing of what's happening. Why was Yvette here and brushing Viole's hair? … And she brought dinner too, which Yihwa was grateful for. That Naengmyeon was to die for. But as she watched Viole just lying down on Yvette's lap casually while she read a book and ran her fingers through his hair, Yeon can't help but get perplexed. There was definitely no way Yvette wasn't in a relationship with Viole, she was dead sure of it. That must've been why Viole rejected her offer earlier. Nodding confidently, she approved of her own conclusion.
The game's start was announced out of the blue, taking the sleeping regulars by surprise including Evolet. The only thing that differentiated Evolet's current situation from the others was the absence of the remote and connector in her room. Nearly everything was ransacked, but she still couldn't see any signs of the two items. Frustration clear on her face, Evolet considered to just break down the door for convenience's sake. She couldn't let Bam wait all night long when he's in the game while she's just stuck here. A Baang was already swirling in her hand, Shinsu eager to lash out at the door. The Shinsu thinned out, compressing itself before sending a few large slashes at the door. It did nothing, the door still as sturdy as it was.
She let out a sigh, already preparing to summon a few more Baangs. Evolet stopped abruptly, the Shinsu dispersing as she schooled her expression. The presence behind her made itself known, revealing an extremely pale-skinned man with curly white hair and strange coloured eyes, his sclera mostly red and his irises an eerie shade of yellow.
"You could've just invited me to have a talk like a proper civilized person, Augusgus. No wonder the room felt off. All regulars' rooms should've had a twin bed with basic needs only instead of this Shinsu proofed luxury room."
"I couldn't afford to treat a business partner like that. Not to mention Yunuen will murder me if I dared to how less hospitality for the Goddess."
"Though… I certainly didn't expect the hospitality to be unable to participate in the game." Evolet stared at him with cold and calculating eyes, implying her dissatisfaction with the current predicament.
"Please rest assured, this is merely a little test for our God. Some of the elders were getting… impatient with your interference."
“I bet all of this was Hansung’s scheme all over again… The Red District Prince would’ve gone up just well even if he didn’t do this.”
Augusgus stood silent at the claim, keeping his mouth zipped for confidentiality though Evolet was the least amused about it. Eventually a smirk took over Evolet’s expression as a mischievous idea popped in her mind. “Don’t hold this against me Augusgus… Perhaps Hansung will cover the expenses if he’s kind enough. I'm not quite patient enough to stick to the rules if this is how you want to play it.”
The summoned Raijuu made its entrance with an explosion of thunder, destroying the door and chunks of wall surrounding it. Evolet's lips curled up into a confident smirk as she cocked her eyebrows, standing in the midst of rubble and smoke. She was clearly entertained by the turn of situation, beaming at the costs of reparations that Augusgus would have to cover later on.
"What can I say? I prefer my King to be himself rather than a wish granting God for FUG."
Augusgus was unperturbed, simply relenting the room's connector with a passive face as he backed away. Still with a smirk, Evolet raised her hand and Raiden reacted to it without delay. Snatching Evolet and throwing her on his back then dashing as soon as Evolet gripped his fur firmly. Augusgus was left standing in the room alone, mulling over the cost of damage Evolet deliberately caused after he uttered out that sentence. Maybe intentionally trying to provoke her wasn't the best idea he had, even if Hansung was the one who planned it. His pocket was in visible mode, connecting Augusgus to the “Deep-Sea Fish”.
“Try to ask Yunuen instead.” The other side just cut off their connection, leaving Augusgus hanging as the beeping sound filled the otherwise silent room full of rubble. Looks like it’s decided that he’ll pay the expenses by himself. After all, reporting this incident to Yunuen when it involved Evolet would be the same as signing up a death wish.
"Say, Little Eve… Why did you join FUG even after all those… things that they did to you?"
Yunuen had asked that question during their training. Eyebrows furrowed, Evolet parried his attacks while trying to focus on the matter of hands. It was probably one of Yunuen's attempts to catch her off guard, but she answered anyway.
"I made a promise to you didn't I? That I would join whatever side you were on since you've already helped me out a lot. And I wasn't in the shape to take on the whole Tower either. I needed to get stronger to protect him, as simple as that."
"That was before, wasn't it? Don't you have another reason to remain here now that he's joined?"
Evolet only showed the slightest hesitation when he prodded the topic. Yunuen swiftly sent her crashing to the wall with a kick when he saw the opening. Already deep in thought, she didn't bother to get up and just laid down amidst the debris. "FUG wants him to be one of their Gods."
"Of course, he's the only shot they've got to defeat the King. A little unsuspecting irregular who entered the Tower to blindly chase the brightest star in his life, a moldable masterpiece."
"If I had known things would've turned out like this, would I have prevented him from entering the Tower? Forbid him to chase her, who shone the brightest in his life? Obstruct him from his destiny, even if it came at the cost of him hating me? Becoming a God just for others' selfish wishes… Bam shouldn't bear that kind of burden. That's why–"
She'll ensure he doesn't become one, no matter what it takes. Destiny and people's wishes be damned, Evolet will even overthrow Jahad by herself if that's what it takes for Bam to keep being himself. If FUG wants to eliminate her from the scenario, then she'll just have to play along and pull some strings behind the screen.
With the connector safely plugged in Miseng and Goseng's remote, Evolet breathed in a sigh of relief. With this she should be safe for the time being. The occupants of the room stared at her with suspicions.
"Still though, you would've expected the partner to be exempted from the game."
Evolet glanced at Arkraptor who brought on the topic. What he said wasn't wrong, and Evolet knows that fact. The other regulars seemed to have caught up with the situation too. "What can I say, FUG also has their internal affair problems. Don't tell Viole about a thing that happened here. He already has enough on his plate."
"One more thing, why did you choose us?" It was Goseng who spoke up this time.
Picking up the remote and pressing the button to open the door, Evolet threw the remote to Arkraptor who caught it swiftly. "Because I know that all of you will be Viole's new teammates."
As soon as Evolet went out and headed towards Bam, Arkraptor pushed the button to close the door. All three of them stared at the door for a while, slightly miffed by the turns of situations.
"Goseng, how do you think Yvette knew?" Miseng asked her out of curiosity.
"Who knows… She seemed confident about it though."
"It's fine for now. She said she'll help us anyway." The two girls could only nod dumbfounded at Arkraptor's words.
When she finally arrived on the scene, Yihwa was coughing on the floor while Prince’s former subordinate named Lurker was shouting at Rapdevil to steal the remote now. Evolet’s eyes darted to the room he shouted at, noting how Horyang was standing in front of said room. Horyang caught sight of her, instantly realizing her plan as he backed away from the door and shouted at Prince, “Hey brat! Get away from the door if you don’t wanna die!!”
Utilizing the speed she built up from running since earlier, Evolet focused her Shinsu strengthening on her leg before kicking the door with full force. Even when the door was strengthened by Shinsu beforehand by the Administrators, it unhinged completely upon impact. Tearing parts of the wall along with it as the door went crashing to the other side of the wall. “Take it away, Horyang-san.”
That was the least she could do for Augusgus in return for the little stunt he pulled earlier. Breaking doors down was much easier than waiting for someone to open it with a remote. It wasn't as if there was any rule stating about breaking down doors. Horyang took care of Rapdevil and saved Prince while he’s at it. Bam and Wangnan were wrapping up loose ends with Lurker in Yihwa’s room. Exhaling a sigh, Evolet carried Yihwa who had passed out earlier and headed to Yihwa’s room.
‘’The exam is now over. The winner of the exam is Jue Viole Grace, Yvette, Wangnan Ja, Goseng Yeo, Miseng Yeo, Horyang Kang, Arkraptor Hon, Prince, and Yihwa Yeon. Nine people passed the exam. Congratulations.”
Lips quirked up into a relieved smile, Evolet exhaled a sigh as things settled down. It seems like the days ahead will be hectic with such a boisterous team. But maybe it’ll bring back some fond reminiscence for Bam, tending to the spirited team doesn’t seem like a bad deal for Bam’s happiness. Surely with a bit of training and patching up everything should be fine… right?
Bam and Evolet were standing on the balcony, enjoying the night view of the fake Shinsu sky. The rest of the newfound team were partying inside the room, celebrating their success in the game. Evolet sighed fondly at the sight, it reminded her of the time she spent on the Floor of Tests.
"Eve… you knew about it right?"
"Would you be mad if I said yes?"
He went silent at the question, both of them already know the answer to that. As if reading his mind, Evolet smiled tenderly and leaned on the railing. "It's fine isn't it? There are some floors that have minimal teammates quota, and they're much better than whoever FUG might send. Besides… you deserve at least this much."
They stayed quiet after that, simply taking the time to relax. Wangnan, who had come out to take a breather, quickly realized they were both on the balcony too and greeted them. He was probably still nervous from the game earlier, stuttering as he apologized for tricking Bam.
"Why… did you forgive him?" Bam asked him, curious and hopeful.
"Because I also want to be forgiven by others. To go up the Tower, I ignored people in need, tricked others, and killed some of them. I realized I wasn't so different from him. I may end up killing more people than he does. Who knows? So… well–" He bowed, asking Bam to consider taking him up as his new team.
"What do you want to change about the Tower so desperately?"
"Well, nothing that great. It's just so frustrating. This Tower creates walls between people. I just want to make a place where everybody can smile under the same roof. I want a wider sky."
Yeah… She picked the right teammates for Bam.
Somewhere on the 25th Floor, Khun was having a conversation with Shibisu through his pocket. The news of the new slayer nominee defeating a ranker have spread out to the upper floors.
"Apparently the slayer nominee has a partner. A girl with light lavender hair and blue-violet eyes."
Just like her.
The tea was long forgotten, an image of the girl he met on the Floor of Test replaying in his mind. "I see… I'll look into it later then."
She's not involved with FUG, is she?