Another not so peaceful day has started in the residence of Sweet and Sour team. The next floor test was nearing and Evolet decided it was time for them to step up their gear. Which is why all of the members of Sweet and Sour are lined up in the backyard first thing in the morning after breakfast. A few of them were still yawning, wanting to go back inside and just relax some more. Evolet didn't seem to notice their actions though, solely focused on the oversized Baang in her outstretched hands.
It took a while before she stopped, hands now motioning the Baang to spread out into a vast sphere and maintaining its shape instead of bursting since they didn't have a room to contain the Shinsu in, like they did during the Crown Game. She nodded in approval, thinking the size of the Shinsu sphere would be enough now. Turning back facing the other team members, she flashed them a smile and said, "You know what to do."
The team members sighed mournfully for the lack of a peaceful morning, but headed inside the condensed Shinsu sphere with difficulties nonetheless. Evolet took note of the order they went in, discerning how Yihwa was the first to enter with Horyang following a close second. While Miseng was the last with Wangnan going in shortly before she did.
Her gaze wandered over to the kitchen's window, knowing that Bam was probably in the middle of making some refreshments for post-training. The others were trying their best to move as fast as they could in the Shinsu sphere, preparing themselves for what’s about to come. Evolet also went into the sphere soon enough, moving with particular ease compared to the others. They were all on full caution, ready to bolt at the first sight of that thing. With a crescent smirk on her face, Evolet hummed lightly as she spoke.
「It’s time to play, Amos.」
The downsized White Armored Eel opened his eyes, turning to Evolet who lightly patted his head tenderly with a fond smile. As soon as she stopped the action, Amos showed a sinister toothy grin before flexing his tail in one smooth motion and swam towards the Sweet and Sour team members with full speed. Evolet was floating calmly near the edge of the sphere, taking in the sight of the others either running or swimming away from Amos. Screams and gurgles could be heard all over the place as the little “Game of Tag” Evolet devised with Amos took place. Yep, it was a rather soothing day for Evolet.
It wasn’t until a few hours later that Evolet finally released her summon and let them out of the Shinsu sphere. All of the members laid on the ground panting, exhausted out of their mind from the constant run lest they wanted to be manhandled by Amos. Shaking her head fondly at them, Evolet went to the kitchen for some refreshments while they rested. As to be expected by the team, Bam also went out this time and helped Evolet bring some cold juice. Now that the tag game was over, all of them looked expectantly at Evolet, wondering who will be called first for the one on one training.
“Yeon-san!” Said girl smirked smugly at the others when her name was called first. Wangnan and Prince glared at her, fully knowing how the orders were decided. Depending on the type of training, Evolet would silently assess their performance and rank them in her head. The one on one training that followed right after was decided by the ranking that Evolet d̶i̶d̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ make, and whoever was called first was the one who showed the best result of the day. Or at least, that was the theory made by the team’s self-proclaimed genius, Wangnan. Up till this date, there was still no one who could prove the credibility of said theory. They play along with it anyway and now it's become a competition between them of some sort.
While they waited for their turn to be called, the members would typically just doze off while watching the one on one training. Though some of them did opt for doing something else to pass the time. Take Prince and Miseng for example, they were playing games in the house while waiting. Goseng was also inside, presumably to accompany Miseng or just taking a break. The remaining members, Wangnan, Horyang, Arkraptor, and Bam were outside watching Evolet guiding Yihwa through her flames. Their eyes were peeled on both girls, finding it fascinating how Evolet was rather guiding Yihwa something along the lines of dancing but noted how it seemed to be quite effective since she was able to hit quite a few targets compared to her usual self.
Evolet had said something about sole focus and awareness during dancing, implementing bits and parts of it to Yihwa’s regimen to help with her aim. The fireballs that missed their target were swiftly put out with Evolet’s Shinsu before it could do any damage. And she also put up a barrier during their practice, just in case anything happened.
Unconsciously, Wangnan's gaze trailed over to Bam who was watching Evolet intently. Bam never trained together with them, and neither did Evolet. The most she'll do is train them, but never a full on training session together. Although Wangnan doubted it would affect their performance either way. No matter how many times he saw them on the mock event battles, he would still be awestruck by their trust display. Wangnan doubts there was any other pair that could trust themselves completely with the other like they did. Was there anyone who would utterly ignore any incoming attacks, believing that their partner would never fail protecting them?
Even when the team has seen Evolet's defense first hand, they would flinch or be surprised whenever an attack hits the shield. Granted, the shield never broke but it was in their instinct to try to dodge or cower away from an attack. Bam would never show any reaction, simply forging his way forward and putting all of his trust in Evolet.
He recognized how each time a Regular dared to try their luck and break their core defense by attacking Evolet, she would let them be and concentrated on the shields knowing that Bam would always get there to eliminate them. Though then again Wangnan couldn't help but shudder at the attacks Bam would send to those Regulars. Trying to attack Evolet in their tests was a foolproof way to get an enraged FUG Slayer Nominee hot on their heels.
Though, he had to admit there was something more unsettling from Evolet when provoked compared to Bam. He was sure that Evolet's offensive capabilities should be rather low from Bam's level, although higher than theirs. It wasn't anything concrete to be honest, since they rarely see Evolet properly fighting. But there was one time when he had seen her… provoked, to put it mildly. The cause was a group of Regulars who mocked Bam in the middle of their battle.
He still remembers that incident vividly. The chilling glare from the overshadowed blue-violet eyes. Slow deliberate steps that spoke of dominance. The rampant Shinsu trailing everywhere around her. And most importantly, something that he can't quite wrap around his head. He knew that was what differentiated Evolet between Bam when angered. Something so feral, as if a dangerous beast was slumbering inside Evolet and should never be woken up.
His instincts had told him to run as far as he could at the time, but he couldn't even move from the fear despite being her ally. It applied all the same to the opposing Regulars who were pummeled one sidedly by Evolet within seconds. While he couldn't pinpoint what that something was, he knew he needed to avoid at all costs.
Evolet declared training to be over two days before the floor test started, instructing the team to get proper rest so as to be in their best condition for the floor test. It was a much appreciated rest after the rigorous training. And they were completely banned from training until the test, since Evolet wanted them well rested. As for Evolet herself, there was a particular activity that she will always do before floor tests. After lunch, Evolet was already outside with all the things she needed and dressed in casual clothes.
「Come out, Raiden.」
Crackles of lightning vanished as soon as it appeared, in place of it was Raiden who was wagging his tail excitedly. It brought about a round of laughter from Evolet when he nuzzled against her with some occasional licks to the face. The Raijuu purred contentedly when Evolet scratched under his chin, gradually relaxing as she coaxed him to lay down on the grassy field.
Tail swishing relaxedly behind, the beast closed his eyes and dozed off while Evolet brushed the Raijuu's fur gently. It was one of the activities that she enjoyed the most, a calming way to spend her day and deepening her bond with her Shinheuhs. The small breeze from the wind and rustling of grass created a peaceful atmosphere. There were some noises from the house, most likely her teammates doing something ridiculous again. It was a reassuring sound, though mostly covered by Evolet's humming as she continued to brush away.
Most of the time, stray animals would huddle around her as she was brushing Raiden's fur. Though it usually only happened when they rented a house near the forest. This floor was one of said occasions. Her lips would curl up into a soft smile as she took a small break to pet the animals before going back to brushing Raiden's fur. Somewhere along the lines, she would start yawning and rubbing her eyes. Trying her best to not fall asleep, though by the end of it she was already half dozing off.
By now there were already a group of stray animals around her, ranging from chipmunks, squirrels, foxes, rabbits, and other small animals. Evolet stood up wobbly, brush put aside after she finished grooming Raiden. Just as she was about to take a step forward, Raiden's tail wrapped around her and pulled Evolet down. She landed on Raiden's stomach, eyes too sleepy to do anything. So instead she curled up against Raiden, his large fluffy tail covering Evolet as her breath evened out and slowly drifted to sleep. The other small animals didn't pass up the chance, some of them perching on Raiden while a few attempted to squeeze in beneath his tail to get to Evolet. The beast let out an indignant huff, but didn't do anything to the animals.
Later on in the evening, Bam would come out from the house while bringing a blanket. Smiling fondly at the sight of Evolet asleep while curled up with many animals. He already expected this to happen again since there was already an incident akin to this before. These weren’t the only times when animals would approach Evolet voluntarily. Oftentimes when they were walking, there would be stray cats or dogs walking up to her and nuzzled against her leg. Whenever it happened Evolet would lean down to pet them, offering some treats that she always brought around.
There were also times when they would find injured animals, and Evolet would always bring them home to treat them lovingly. She would reluctantly pass them on to either the vet or an animal shelter when it was time to take the floor test, though Bam could see she didn’t want to part with them at all and it never failed to bring a fond smile to his expression. He completely adored that side of Evolet. Though… it certainly wasn't limited to only animals that she brought back, Bam thought back sourly.
The other animals scurried away back to the forest when he appeared, Raiden opening his cobalt blue eyes in recognition as Bam covered Evolet in the blanket and carrying her back to the house in a bridal style carry. She only gave out a small mumble, shifting in his hold to lean her head on his chest before she sighed contentedly as she fell asleep once more. Her actions elicited soft laughter from Bam, holding her a little tighter with a tender smile before he headed back with Raiden following close behind.
All the while fuming, Yihwa walked down the regulars residential area under the guidance of her pocket. She still couldn’t believe how the others seemed to trust Viole, letting him go out on his own without supervision. With gritted teeth, she silently admitted that it might be true that Viole’s cooking was far better than hers. That still didn’t mean the others should side with him. The other regulars beside her tried to scoot away as far as possible from the flaring girl. Her pocket whirred in visible mode beside her, the tracking device she planted in Viole’s pocket working perfectly. Though she couldn’t plant one in Yvette’s pocket, the girl was too adamant on not having it. She had to relent under her glare and threats in the end.
A part of her was wondering where the lavender haired girl was, since she didn’t see her with Viole currently. She would’ve thought they went out together when the team said both of them were out. She shrugged it off momentarily, tailing Viole to a karaoke place. Staying hidden while observing his movements. Just as he was going down the stairs, a scream rang out from the staircase and he speeded up inside. Yihwa stopped for a moment, wondering what that was all about and contemplating whether she should go in or not. Her line of thought was suddenly broken by screams far louder than before, a few people running up the stairs in panic and screaming their heads off in a hurry to get away. Brows furrowed in anger, Yihwa didn’t wait a moment longer before rushing into the karaoke place.
“Viole!! What have you done?!”
He glanced her way with surprise written on his face, clearly not expecting her to follow him. Yihwa’s gaze wandered over to the red haired girl who didn’t seem to be shaken up by her arrival, instead greeted her expectantly. Pink eyes narrowing the slightest bit as Yihwa pondered who the girl was. Just as she was thinking, she felt another presence behind her. Turning around quickly, there was a tall brunette man standing before her. Jinsung examined her carefully before he whipped his head towards Bam, a scandalous look on his face.
“Are you cheating on Eve, Viole?”
Bam spluttered indignantly at the implication, choking on thin air. His teacher just arrived and that was the first question he asked?!! The Slayer Nominee was flustered, waving his hands around frantically while denying Jinsung’s thoughts. Yihwa didn’t seem to mind a thing, still in detective mode as she suddenly exclaimed that they were FUG. That got Jinsung’s attention on her as his gaze turned into something more dangerous. He was staring intently at the hairpin she was wearing currently, black eyes showing a glint of red momentarily. “By the way, lady… I’ve seen that hairpin before. Isn’t that the crest of the Yeon family? Are you their spy?”
He stepped closer to her, full of animosity and ready to strike despite his relaxed posture. Bam immediately took notice of that, telling him to stop before anything happened. Yihwa was staring at him warily, body rigid in anticipation for a sudden attack. Once Bam had revealed she was his teammate, Jinsung’s pointed glare turned to a beaming smile as he apologized profusely at his accusation. It would’ve ended there if only Yihwa didn’t let her pride get the best of her and protested fervently.
“Who’s your teammate? Don’t lie! You fooled your teammates by coming here secretly to meet with the FUG! What are you planning with then, huh??? You trick us like this and you call us teammates?! How ridiculous!!! You’re worse than dirt! You pretended you were so nice and…!!!”
Bam could only watch on as she continued her ramble. She didn't notice how Jinsung’s eyes darkened more with each word she uttered out. While Bam didn’t mind any of her insults, Jinsung wasn’t about to take it lying down. After all, she was insulting his precious pupil. The jacket on his shoulder flapped down to the ground as a glare showed on his expression.
“Hey, girl. Isn’t that enough?”
She didn’t back down, standing tall as she stated that it was none of his business. Bam told her to stop, revealing to her that Jinsung was a High Ranker and she shouldn’t incur his anger any further. Almost stubbornly, she stepped up with a shaky voice as she shouted that she wouldn’t be afraid just because of a mere High Ranker. Worried for her recklessness, Bam’s palm was enveloped in Shinsu as he delivered a light chop to Yihwa’s neck. She plopped to the ground gracelessly without another word, consciousness lost as she laid on the ceramic floor. Bam went silent before directing his attention to Jinsung who was staring at Yihwa on the ground pitifully.
“That’s enough. I knocked her out.”
“You’re harsh with girls...”
“That’s not true. I’m gentle with Eve.” Jinsung stared at him unimpressed with Bam's reply.
"Eve is the only exception, so she doesn’t count. But what will you do with her? You can't just leave her here."
With that cue, Hwaryun suddenly spoke up. "How about we go to Viole's house together? It's quiet there and we can take her home."
Jinsung immediately perked up at the suggestion, looking like a child as he raised a hand up in approval and spoke up with a monotonous cheerful tone. "Oh! I'm in! Good idea!"
"Now, now, it's fine isn't it? I haven't seen Eve in a while anyway. Can't leave without seeing her can I? You shouldn't keep her all to yourself, even if she is your partner. Let this old man see his future daughter-in-law every once in a while. She should be with Yunuen about now, we can just wait at your house until they come back!"
Bam's face flushed in a shade of red, dumbfounded and embarrassed by his teacher's words. He was clearly still hesitant, but the other two didn't seem to mind as they made their way out and chatted about what they should bring as a housewarming gift. Glancing at Yihwa who was still passed out on the floor, Bam exhaled a resigned sigh before picking her up with one hand and catched up with the two. Jinsung shook his head exasperatedly at the way Bam carried the girl, shrugging his shoulder but not saying a thing.