Before Bam opened the door, he was already aware of the new presence in his waiting room. And it was one he was unfamiliar with. So he was on full caution as the door slid open, revealing a male wearing a red baseball hat sitting on his bed. At first Bam had only exerted caution, but his golden eyes quickly swirled into a chilling glare fitting of a Slayer Nominee.
"You– where did you get that." Bam was focused on the small glass flask in the stranger– Beta’s hold, he’d recognize it anywhere.
Beta raised an eyebrow at the menacing tone, briefly reminded of the bluenette he met yesterday. His gaze switching between the sweet treats in his hands and the Slayer Nominee before he broke out into a taunting grin.
“What does it have to do with you? Even if I killed someone and took this from them, what are you gonna do about it?”
His grin only widened as the brunette lunged at him, golden orbs burning with bloodlust as Beta narrowly dodged his punch packed with raging Shinsu. The blond laughed, dangling the small glass flask from the purple ribbon in front of the silently seething Bam.
“You don’t need to react like that. I got this from someone I helped yesterday. They seemed to be in trouble and gave me this in return for helping them, that’s all.” While that did lessen Bam’s hostility towards him somewhat, it didn’t stop him from narrowing his eyes.
Eve… in trouble?
It’s a possibility that he didn’t exactly want to consider, but they were dealing with FUG so he couldn’t rule it out either. He wanted to trust her that she’ll be able to take care of… whatever was happening without a hitch, but he couldn’t help but worry about her. He didn’t want to see her hurt, or worse. Not that he had any idea how much of a headache she was to the FUG elders on a near daily basis. But she told him to not contact her until the Workshop Battle ends… Too long, far too long, his mind supplied. What if something happened to her during that time and he didn’t know?
“But that aside, don’t you want to know who… or what I am?”
Then there was this blond in front of him, he wondered what kind of trouble Evolet was in that she needed this guy to help. He hasn’t been liking this whole Workshop Battle fiasco so far. Beta didn’t even wait for him to reply before continuing.
“I am– a Living Ignition Weapon.”
“A Living Ignition Weapon…? You...?” And he felt shock overcome him briefly as the new information settled in, feeling his throat drying out and his eyes widening. To be fair he'd briefly heard about it once from Evolet, when she talked with Horyang before he left. But that didn't make him any less surprised, especially when one of said experimentations was right in front of him now.
A storm of emotions swirling in him, Bam could only stay silent while observing Beta. The blond took his silence as a sign of cluelessness, seemingly lacking knowledge about it. “What? You really don’t know anything? It’s kinda disappointing to see The Completed being like this.”
“The Completed…?” Bam frowned at the term he never heard of before.
“Well, you don’t seem to know how to wake the devil yet. But think carefully, why would have FUG brought you here? And why would they try to win this battle? The winning prize of the Workshop Battle is so special because it will belong to the winner forever. So what could this prize that they want to keep forever be?”
The taunting grin never left his face as he handed Bam an Emily device, relishing in the astonishment in those golden eyes as he left the room with an air of finality in his words. “Ask her… and she’ll tell you about it. Although you’ll also learn about the sin you’ll have to make up to us for. Then I’ll see you at the party… The Completed One.”
Left alone to his thoughts in the silent room, Bam clutched the device in his hands and stared at it for a while before typing in the dreaded question.
'The winning prize of this Workshop Battle is?'
'The winning prize of this Workshop Battle is the Ignition Weapon, "Jue Viole Grace".'
The resounding cheers and screams from the battle's finale were clear as day, but all he could hear was the clattering of the device as it fell to the ground. The answer was ringing in his mind, a heavy feeling settling in along with the chill of realization. In a moment of panic and lost, he did what seemed to be the most natural in his mind. His hands were already moving on autopilot, putting his Pocket in visible mode and calling Evolet.
Evolet went rigid as she felt the Pocket's notification, still in invisible mode. It was her usual Pocket, not the one specialized for her jobs which meant the one calling her was Bam. She had purposefully told him that they couldn't contact each other until the whole Workshop Battle was over so that they wouldn't get found out. If he called then there must be some reason behind it and she was tempted to answer but Gustang was still beside her.
"You're not going to answer the call? It's the Slayer Nominee, isn't it?"
Of course Gustang would figure it out from the Shinsu vibrations, just her luck to be in the same room with him when Bam called. She sighed, putting her Pocket in visible mode and giving Gustang a pointed look as she answered the call.
"What's wrong, Bam?" She didn't even care that Gustang was listening in by now. Her expression swiftly turned more caring as her tone softened when she answered the call. Gustang could tell it was a tone reserved for her precious ones. It felt somewhat ironic, considering that back then she used to speak like that all the time to them and now she was wary against them. Though it was better than seeing hate directed at them after all that's happened.
Bam heaved a sigh of relief once he heard her soothing voice, calming down as he gingerly held his Pocket. It's always a wonder how Evolet always managed to do that to him within a heartbeat without any effort. His lips parted, questions he wanted to ask but his voice just wouldn't come out.
"Bam…?" He could clearly imagine Evolet's worried look in front of him and a smile curved up on his lips.
His own thoughts were raging inside his mind, yet instead what he muttered out was something completely different. "I miss you, Eve…"
For a moment it went silent on Evolet's side and Bam wondered if he should've just said something else. He was rewarded with the melodious laughter that he missed dearly, already forgetting most of the stuff he wanted to speak about.
"Hn, I miss you too, Bam." If she was right in front of him then he would've pulled her into a hug and never let go, it felt like there were butterflies fluttering about in his stomach and wished she was by his side.
"...Eve, did you run into any troubles?" He didn't have the courage to ask it uprightly despite the lingering anxiousness. He was no doubt worried, for himself, for the 'viole'tte who was too reckless for her own good, for his friends' lives that were on the line, and other possible issues he had.
"Bam, what did I promise you?" There was a soft sigh accompanying that sentence and Bam felt like a child being scolded for some reason.
He scrambled to get his answer, telling whatever was on top of his head automatically. "To stay by my side…?"
The soft stifled laughter was crystal clear to his ears and he blushed a pretty shade of red, flustered at his own answer that he didn't think through. Evolet would've gladly made him even more embarrassed by peppering kisses all over his reddening face. He could almost hear Evolet's smile as she replied to him.
"Yes, I promised that too. And I also promised you that everything will be okay. And if it isn’t, then I’ll always make sure everything will work out. That's why, trust me on this. I'll come back to you safe and sound without a single wound on me, m'kay?"
He couldn't stop himself from letting out a small whine, displeased by the fact that she was still going to be away for him for a while. But he couldn't bring himself to say no either. She's asking him to trust her, and who was he to deny her of his full trust? So he nodded and let out a low hum to show his reluctant agreement despite how badly he wanted to ask where she was so that he could just whisk her away and never let her leave his side anymore.
"Wait for me, Bam. I'll be back soon." And the line simply cut off like that, her gentle tone lingering in his mind and repeating over and over.
Always, he wanted to answer. He'd say he'll always wait for her, but that would be a lie because he'd chase her first rather than waiting. "Soon" isn't fast enough for him. He's running far too low on his Eve reserves and he needed to recharge. It's been too long since he saw her, too long of not having her warmth in his hold, too long of being deprived from her loving smiles and touches.
But at least she promised to return, that she wasn't going to leave him and instead was doing this for his sake. He laid down on his bed, staring at the ceiling and slowly drifting to a dreamless sleep all the while hoping she'll be right by his side again once he woke up.
The soft smile lingered around even after she closed the call, turning her Pocket into invisible mode again. Without wasting any time, she stood up and politely told Gustang that she had to prepare for the Winners' Party before exiting the room. And he simply let her go, saying that he's looking forward to her performance. He didn't miss the calm confidence oozing from her tone as she replied "of course" before the door shuts. Some things never change no matter how much time passes.
Music was booming throughout the party room, the party going on full throttle. A certain Khun was leaning against the bar counter, seemingly disinterested at whatever was going on. He was too absorbed in his own thoughts, racking up ways he could fix the situation that's gone awry from the competition.
Winning the Workshop Battle was a must for this team, and it was his job as their leader to figure out how. The gamblers were ordered to go to the living room later for further discussions, so most likely his only choice was to reason the hosts to deviate the rules slightly. They can't hold the second round with only two teams either way, so he'll take advantage of that opening.
Khun scoffed as he heard the commotion of the awed Regulars around him, their gaze focused on Endorsi who was finally entering the party. Though he supposed it was to be expected, she was a Jahad princess after all. There were various shouts as men asked her to dance with them, or some reporters asking for interviews, none which she replied to. He'd bet what was going through her mind as she ignored them was 'you losers' or something along that line.
Just when it finally quieted down and he thought the racket was over, the lights suddenly dimmed. Quite a few Regulars noticed this and a fuss was starting to kick up again. With a sigh, Khun glanced at the stage, waiting for some sort of sign that this was indeed a part of the entertainment.
"Ladies and gentlemen! Are you enjoying the party?!"
Just on cue, several spotlights centered on the stage lit up. He might as well observe what was going on, since he hasn't been called for the meeting yet. It was bound to be at least somewhat interesting, considering how the Regulars were whispering in excitement at the turn of events.
Maybe it was that idol that Dan had mentioned not long ago. If it was then maybe he'll stick around a bit longer and see what kind of Khun she was to have the courage to actually do this kind of thing. It'll do well to get to know her, more connections is never a bad thing for him. The prospect of being an idol simply seemed somewhat unexpected and… tame for someone from the Khun family.
"In this year's Workshop Battle… We have one more grand surprise for all of you!" That certainly caught everyone's attention, their eyes full of anticipation for whatever the Workshop has prepared for them.
Come to think of it, wasn't he about to notice something when Evolet showed him that profile?
"You may have heard rumors and such about this… So we officially present our highly renowned and beloved special guest– Top E-rank idol– MUSE!!!"