Evolet let out a heavy sigh at her team members sitting in front of her with expectant stares directed at her. Now that it’s come to this, she had some things to explain to them about the situation. Only Wangnan and Yihwa were absent to take care of Khun in a guestroom.
FUG was making everything difficult for her and she still had too many things to deal with added with what just happened at the Hand of Arlene which resulted in a mountain of work for her to take care of. She hasn't even taken care of the previous paperworks that were piling up because of the wager they suggested. Truth to be told, she just wanted to take a short nap before dealing with the turn of events since she could already feel her eyes drooping. Though she doubted the team would even let her do that. So she kept things short and explained it briefly.
Viole was going to participate in the Workshop Battle with the team FUG made for him and Evolet had let Horyang be taken since she couldn’t guarantee proper treatment for him compared to the Workshop. They learnt that the bluenette she brought back was Khun and he was her old teammate along with Viole’s, though she didn’t explain it fully in detail. Before this Wangnan already told them about the Workshop Battle, which was the reason why they kept pushing until the 29th floor without much of a break.
“But… aren’t you also going to participate in the Workshop Battle, Eve?”
“No… To be exact, I can’t.”
“Why?!” Surprise was evident on their expressions, they could see the displeasure she expressed. But they couldn’t back down without a proper reason from her.
“It’s not as if I won’t be on the Archimedes, I’ll just be there for different reasons and I can’t take part in the competition.”
They had a sullen look on their face, knowing that three of their most reliable forces on the team won’t be able to help them in the battle. Evolet shook her head fondly at them as she exhaled a small sigh. “Don’t worry so much. Both Viole and Horyang-san will be just fine. I’ll make sure everything goes well, I promise. I’m sure you’re all tired after today’s events. Worrying won’t be any of use anyway so go take proper rest okay? I’ll check on Khun-san first now.”
That’s what she said, but the team wasn’t insensitive enough to notice that she was the most worried out of all of them. She was after all the team’s Defender, and took it upon herself to ensure the team’s safety in many aspects and prided herself on it. They all nodded to each other, knowing they had to help her if Viole wasn’t here.
Khun was lost in his thoughts while drifting between his consciousness, trying to find a connection between all the things he discovered about Bam's death. The gears in his brain turned to a particular memory of how Emily told him that the 25th Bam was alive. Just as he was about to grasp the answer, his concentration was shattered by a scream as he was pulled back to the land of the living.
Cobalt blue eyes opened abruptly, greeted by the sight of a certain blond Regular in a panicked screaming match against a brunette. His eyes drifted down to the flaming acupuncture needle on him, hand reaching out subtly to put the fire out so the bickering duo wouldn't notice his movements just yet. Khun’s never been the one to waste opportunities, especially when he's in full caution against people who he had no clue of. The acupuncture needle was more than enough as an emergency makeshift weapon for him. He quickly jolted up, grabbing the nearest blond and pressing the needle to his neck with a threatening glare.
"Who are you?"
Both Wangnan and Yihwa screamed at the sudden threat, flustered by Khun's sudden wake and his apprehension against them. With a sharp needle held against his neck, Wangnan had all the right to be alarmed.
"Eve! Do something about your friend and his threat?!" Yihwa shouted out.
Khun was suddenly much aware of something– someone shifting at the other side of the bed, sleepy mumbles as the light lavender hair that was splayed on the bed cascaded down as the owner sat up properly while rubbing her eyes sleepily.
"He's not a threat, Yeon-san...." It was clear that she was still disoriented from sleep if her dazed tone was anything to go by. She only asked for a few hours of sleep, how hard was that?
Uncertainty and disbelief laced his husky tone as he called out her name, slightly hoarse from when he passed out. He froze, taking in the sight of the light lavender haired girl. Khun was sure that he already prepared various speeches beforehand just in case he met her again in an unexpected place, but it seems like his brain finally decided to take a break in said unexpected situation. Was she even the same girl he met on the Floor of Test then disappeared? The events from the Hand of Arlene came rushing back in his mind. A glance of the same shade of blue-violet eyes that he was familiar with. If she was the Slayer Nominee's partner, then was she with FUG? Was his theory about the Slayer Nominee and Bam correct?
Concerned that Khun spent the past few minutes only staring without a word, Evolet stood up from her chair as she leaned closer to him. Her hand was warm against his forehead, a gentle gesture to check his temperature. The needle clattered to the floor as he moved to grab the hand on his forehead, giving her wrist tug as he pulled her close and looped his free arm around her waist just like their little first encounter.
Cobalt blue eyes peered into blue-violet ones with an observant gaze. They still shone like polished jewels, Khun thought. Almost the exact shade as a purple labradorite that was polished flawlessly and angled with light through its many layers to perfection, an ethereal flash of violet and cobalt blue. Khun saw the exact same gaze from the Floor of Tests. Eyes that radiated nothing but kindness and warmth, but as he ventured deeper he could see the various emotions she held back to refrain from showing her weaknesses. As if Evolet was barely holding herself together by pretending everything was fine, to stand strong so she could protect others. It was still the look he found so mesmerizing and wanted to protect. Khun could never mistake those eyes.
Evolet's posture was still relaxed in his hold despite how his sudden action might have come off as odd. She showed no signs of caution to him, on the contrary of how anyone else would've reacted in her position. She acted as if her trust in him and the way she was in his hold right now was perfectly natural. Even though they were just a breadth apart and he could just lean in to–
"Are you okay, Khun-san…?"
Khun was promptly cut off from his musings when she asked that with a worried look. It was only then that he noticed the awkward position Evolet was in. She was half leaning on the bed with one knee while one foot was lightly hovering off the floor uncomfortably, one hand held by Khun while the other supporting her weight on the bed. His arm gripped tighter around her waist, exerting little strength to pull her up to his lap fully while his other hand that held her wrist was lowered. She settled nicely on his lap, not a single word of protest as she tilted her head slightly in curiosity.
Staring at the wrist that was still in his hand, he loosened his hold before pressing his lips tenderly to her wrist. Evolet’s blue-violet eyes widened at that, but she made no move to take her hand away as she remained still on his lap. With a child-like curiosity, his hand moved from her wrist to intertwine their fingers instead. He could feel the reassuring squeeze from her smaller hand. Shinsu coursing from her palm to his, still so protective and gentle in nature as it brought about the pleasant feeling in his chest that he felt when she did this before her disappearance. He still had a stack of questions in his mind, lining up and waiting to be asked to the girl in his hold. But just this once–
“Eve.” He called out her name more confidently now, mouthing it glazed eyes as if he couldn’t believe the sight in front of him now. He just needed some sort of confirmation from her, that she was truly Evolet. And he got it. His eyes widened dumbfounded as she smiled lovingly, all too warm and gentle just like how he first met her in that grassy field. Voice still sweet and alluring as before, only a sense of kindness and care in its fullness that soothed him as she spoke out.
“I’m back, Khun-san.”
It finally struck Khun, the realization that she was truly real instead of the ghosting illusion that haunted him for the past few years. Head buried on her shoulder, he closed his eyes as he inhaled the sweet intoxicating scent of lavender. Khun’s arms snaked around Evolet, embracing her in a firm hold as he sunk deeper to her shoulder and let go of his worries momentarily. Evolet didn’t comment how he was slightly trembling, instead wrapping an arm around his bare shoulders while a hand ran her fingers through his sky blue hair soothingly.
Her fingers brushed his back in a way that sent pleasant shivers down his spine, all the while doing it unknowingly. It felt so right to Khun as if she was meant to be by his side, in his hold and it low-key terrified him because she didn’t even need to try to get through the walls he's built up. There was still the same sensation he felt during their hug before the Hide-and-Seek test that made him just want to melt into her comforting hold. He felt as if he was being spoiled and he didn’t want to let go at all.
It’s true that he still had too many questions left unanswered, and all the answers might be in the hand of Evolet whom he was still hugging desperately. But he’s been searching her for years with every possible method he could think of to no avail, as if she vanished into thin air and never existed in the first place. Yet that very same girl he’s been looking for was in his arms now. So he pushed away all the questions to the back of his mind with a sigh of relief, simply savoring the moment he felt.
The jewel he lost was back and he’ll be damned if he ever lost her again. He wanted to hide her away just like he did to all the jewels he treasured. So that the others couldn’t get to her, even if it meant the same to him. Except he couldn’t do it. Hiding her was impossible because he knew she could disappear at any given time like before, she might not come back the next time. And her presence was all too addicting to him and he couldn’t let her go at all. He was playing a dangerous game with her, and he was determined to win this at all costs. He’ll never let her go.
Wangnan and Yihwa were standing on the sidelines, trying to figure out what exactly they are currently witnessing. They were sure Evolet said the blue-haired man was her friend. Although they were starting to doubt that with the scene that just unfolded in front of them. Evolet was the first one who separated the hug, releasing Khun reluctantly although the bluenette himself didn’t let go. There was a slight flush on her face, painting it a soft pink as she looked away from Khun.
Still, Khun didn’t take notice of that and remained comfortably in her shoulder with closed eyes as he let out a small hum of confirmation to her words. She shifted uncomfortably in his hold, trying to get out which only resulted in Khun tightening the hug even more. As if it was possible, Evolet blushed furiously in a deep red from the embarrassment. She started stammering as she hid her beet red face in Khun’s silky hair.
“K-Khun-san, please wear some clothes first...”
It was only then that Khun understood why she was stuttering. He tilted his head lazily, cobalt blue eyes fluttering open and meeting the sight of Evolet’s adorably flustered expression. The poor girl averted her gaze, looking everywhere but Khun who smirked teasingly at the display. He was going to enjoy this so much. He started loosening his hold on her, lifting his head up halfway to her ear before he blew on it softly.
As he expected, Evolet reacted to the action. She let out a small yelp, startled by Khun’s playful move. He didn’t miss the opportune moment, using the chance to swiftly secure her in another embrace and plant a brief kiss on her exposed neck. As he did that, Evolet promptly froze up before her whole face heated up and she mumbled incoherently while covering her blushing face in her hands. Khun could see that the tip of her ears and her neck were red to the tips along the slight steam coming from her ears. It didn’t take any longer before she overheated, going lax on Khun’s lap as her eyes turned into spiral from the dizziness.
Both members from Sweet and Sour looked as if they were thunderstruck from the sheer horror, before snapping their gaze to each other. Never during their climb have they seen the Defender blush even the slightest bit during the time she spent with Viole. Both of them came to the same exact conclusion. Whoever this bluenette was must be Viole’s love rival. And they had no intentions of making it easy for him.
After all that time they spent trying to get Viole and Yvette together, they weren’t having him stopping the ship from sailing. Though… Wangnan glanced at Khun who was smirking smugly at Evolet who already long collapsed on the bluenette’s lap and Yihwa who was trying to carry her away. His mind recalled the glare and threat directed at him, the chill of the needle’s cold metal lingering in his mind. How were they even supposed to stop someone like that?
His eyebrows scrunched up at the thought of Viole and the bluenette, remembering how Viole would react whenever he was jealous. They had the same exact glare, although Khun's was rather more suppressed and cold while Viole's was more intense and threatening. Wangnan slightly wondered why it was that Yvette seemed to attract more dangerous men rather than anything.