Khun heaved a sigh of relief once he saw Bam was properly summoned, a gaping wound on his side but ready to fight. Beta gritted his teeth at the sight of the brunette, who was already asking Rak to take Wangnan to a safe area.
“You’re not going to run away this time, are you?” Rak asked as he picked up Wangnan.
The golden-eyed Wave Controller smiled as he answered Rak’s question, his tone unwavering and confident. “I won’t. See you later.”
Satisfied with the answer, Rak swiftly jumped away from the scene. Khun’s eyebrows were furrowed, noting that they managed to block the attack somehow but the Lighthouse is slightly damaged so it would be hard to hold on for long.
“Why did you... do such a thing?” Bam asked, standing firm as he faced Beta.
“I told you. It’s because I hate you. Anyway, did you crawl out of there to have a chat with me? Huh?” The brunette only stayed silent at Beta’s taunting grin, opting to take a battle stance with eyes blazing with an intensity to protect what was his. Bam’s answer was clear as day.
Beta grinned wildly at the response he got, Shinsu wings from his Partial Ignition flaring about as he dashed forward with crazed laughter. “That’s more like it!!”
The fight had started with both sides exchanging blows, but it was evident that Bam still had hesitation to attack full force on the other. Beta took notice of that, his kick laced with Shinsu connecting soundly as Bam was blown away to the wall. Khun and Yihwa didn’t stay still either at the action. Yihwa was quite literally living up her title as the human flamethrower as her flames bursted as a momentary boundary between Bam and Beta while Khun also jumped down from the Observer Monitor.
The bluenette was rather pissed at the turn of events, his sharp cobalt blue orbs glaring coldly at their enemy. “hey, the game is over now. So why don’t you stop fooling around and go back home? Thanks to you, our long-awaited reunion turned into a mess… and I’m starting to get irritated.”
Beta only scoffed in response, uncaring of Khun’s opinion. “Stop acting cocky. Good for you, Viole. Although their lives are in danger because of you… your friends are still trying to protect you. I’ve lost everything because of you.
Bam had a questioning look, clueless at what the blond was saying but on caution regardless. “After enduring a series of experiments, only the five of us had survived. Should I call them friends… or family? And one day.. a researcher at the Workshop gathered us all together in one place and said…
‘Kill each other. Only the ones who survive will become the complete Living Ignition Weapon. The last survivor… will be granted freedom.’
“That one word, drove us crazy. Kill. Kill. KiLL. KILL!! ...In the end, I killed everyone. And I was the only survivor. But eventually my body became unable to survive a single day without the Workshop’s medicine. Yes. Everything was a lie. A lie made up just for the experiment. I wasn’t allowed to make any friends or have freedom from the beginning. But you want to have everything? CUT THE CRAP-!!” His anger only fueled his power, swallowed by rage.
Bam was fast to act on that, leaping on the Blue Oar and telling Khun to take care of Yihwa. Which the Lightbearer responded to by putting up a barrier with his Lighthouses. Dust and debris flew everywhere as the battle unfolded. Both of them immersed in battle as Bam thought up various methods to counter Beta’s ferocious Shinsu attacks, dashing out moves after moves to break through the blond’s defenses.
“Why are you trying to put all the blame on me? You also know that it’s not true.”
That only made Beta even more frustrated, lashing out violently against the brunette. “What are you talking about?! Everything was done just to create you…!!”
But Bam wasn’t willing to back down either this time. He understood why Beta was thinking that, but he couldn’t accept it either. “I’m not a part of this. The whole thing was organized by FUG Slayers and the Workshop!! You also know that!! The real enemy is someone else.”
“So are you saying that you have nothing to do with this?!” He was losing whatever was left of his small rationality, faced with Bam’s calm and resolute words.
“Then, why did you attack my friends? They have nothing to do with you. You’re just a… cynical person.” And at that moment, the result of the battle was obvious.
「Floral Butterfly Piercing Technique」
Beta coughed up blood as the technique landed fairly on him, collapsing to the floor. Bam stared down at him, looking rather infuriated by all the things Beta had done. “You didn’t hate me because you wanted revenge. You just needed someone to hate.”
“...did you say… I just needed... someone to hate? Stop being so arrogant… Don’t talk down to me!!”
His Partial Ignition lit up again, fists clenched tightly with hatred and denial. “I’ll kill you!! The completed one!!”
Bam stood still, not reacting as Khun’s Lighthouse barrier conjured up in front of him. Khun himself seemed to be tired of this too, seeing how it was futile. “Why don’t you just stop now?”
“Let’s stop here. Your body has already reached its limit. Continuing this fight will only bring misfortune to the both of us.”
“Misfortune? Misfortune?! I don’t care!! As long as you experience the same misfortune!!” His powers spiked up in a fit of instantaneous anger even as Bam told him to stop. The brunette's eyebrows furrowed deeply, frustrated that his words hadn't gotten through. As he lifted a hand up to strike back and defend, the Thorn behind him responded to his will and the wrappings loosened slightly to enhance his Shinsu output. The Shinsu blast he put out was stronger than before. Beta grinned, laughed at the anger he was feeling and his powerlessness to get his revenge properly.
"Congratulations, Viole! Now you have it all! Friends! Strength! Freedom! Women! You are the best!! Congratulations!! You–!!" Beta had shouted everything in contempt, his tone one of that of resentment as he leaned forward to punch Bam straight on his cheek before grabbing his collar.
"What's so bad about me hating you? You have everything. And I had everything taken away by you!! You took it all!! My friends, strength, and freedom!! Everything you have was supposed to belong to us!!"
Bam who was silent up until this point closed his eyes, speaking with a calm rationality. "No. They are mine."
"All the people that I met, the memories I shared with them, they are precious to me. I've tried so hard to protect them. They are mine. That's why, I will go home. Back to where my precious p̶e̶r̶s̶o̶n̶ people are waiting."
This time Sophia hurriedly stepped in, explaining that it wasn't Bam's fault and how Beta's experiment had nothing to do with the brunette. Disbelief and shock was painted across his face. That couldn't be true, he thought. It couldn't be that Emily had lied to him in order to use him, right…? He crumpled again to the floor, body long reaching its limit as he coughed up blood again.
The Workshop guards who accompanied her also stepped in, seeing how the battle was over. The audacity of them to point their guns at us once the danger passed, Khun thought. They only watched during the fight and only decided to step in now to get rid of Beta. Of course, there was no way Bam would stand down at that.
He was about to rush forward when the two guards pointing their guns at Beta were suddenly shot down, one with Shinsu and the other with fire. It turns out Arkraptor and Quaetro were the ones to do so, and the others also flooded in to help them. Rak, Shibisu, Hatz. The system had malfunctioned and they weren't eliminated because of that. Lero Ro was also unexpectedly there, saying he was here to help his students.
If Bam's death was something akin to a dream or a nightmare. This must be the moment they've woken up. It wasn't a perfect reunion, given the current situation and all. But all of them were alive and well, that was enough. Hatz and Shibisu had content smiles, happy that the strongest team was now reunited again. Yihwa sighed lightly as she watched them from a distance away. Arkraptor raised an eyebrow at that.
"Why are you sighing?"
"No, I just didn't know he could smile like that around others too. I thought he would only smile like that at Eve."
"I don't think it's quite the same. If you compare the look in his eyes, I mean." What he was implying to was the look of love, admiration, bliss and awe that Bam would always have whenever he looked at Evolet. There was no doubt the brunette was utterly smitten with her. His gaze now may have joy in it, but it was different from the mellow blissful look that he reserved solely for her. It was that obvious to Arkraptor.
"...come to think of it, where is Eve? She did say she was on the Archimedes, but we haven't actually seen her at all."
"If you're talking about Eve then I've seen her." Khun said as he approached them along with Bam.
Rak didn't waste time to follow suit, all the while shouting, "Leader Rak has also seen the purple blue turtle too!"
"Purple… blue turtle???"
Shibisu and Hatz overheard that, heading over with confused looks. "Wait, you mean Eve was with you guys the whole time?"
Bam nodded happily with a soft look, eyes slightly dazed as he did. Both Yihwa and Arkraptor stared at him blankly, knowing he's already lost in thought. Khun raised an eyebrow at Shibisu and Hatz, as if asking them "You didn't know?"
A vein bulged on Hatz's forehead as he stepped forward and glared at Khun. "How were we supposed to know that, ugly earrings?!"
Irritated by the insult, Khun snapped as always and was just about to retort back– until he remembered. Only Ran, Novick, Dan, and himself knew that Evolet had been sending him gifts. And that time when Shibisu informed him about Yvette, Khun didn't exactly respond back to him afterwards about the info he got… In conclusion, no one in Shibisu's team knows that Evolet was alive after her sudden disappearance.
Hatz seemed to have read his mind, the look in his eyes darkening. “Oi–”
The others wisely ignored the crackles of lightning as Khun and Hatz quarreled in the background. Bam was talking about Horyang and Wangnan's conditions with Arkraptor before he moved on to see Beta who collapsed. Yihwa went to speak with Rak about buying a new spear. As Shibisu approached Khun, he could see that the bluenette was deep in thoughts.
They weren't quite out of the woods yet. By the end of the day they were still Regulars and FUG’s Rankers were all over the ship. Not to mention they’ve made the Workshop into their enemy. Just about Shibisu was wondering about the tournament and the hosts who’ve gone back into the Archimedes, Lero Ro entered the Calling Center again and told them the tournament was postponed for the time being. He began explaining their plan to escape, how his “colleague” was reversing the summoning system to summon transport the others here. They were going to escape before the final began. He told them of the Wolhaiksong and how Urek wanted to meet Bam again.
Then Reflejo called and everything went down the drain. Hwaryun, Novick, and Horyang failed to escape and were taken as hostages. Of course, Bam being the person he is, decided he would go get them despite the others trying to convince him to escape. It was risky after all, no doubt a trap. Khun sighed, knowing there was no talking him out of this. The bluenette smiled internally, grateful that the brunette hadn’t changed since back then.
“The three of us are going to rescue Hwaryun. You guys go get the other two.”
Disregarding the others’ protests, he turned to Lero Ro. “Mr. Ro, how much time do we have at the most?”
"I can't say for sure. You may have a 30 minute window at the most. It’s too dangerous if you stay longer."
“30 minutes… It’s a narrow window.” All the while completely disregarding their protests, Khun began to split the teams to search for all three hostages. Just in case, he also told Lero Ro to leave with the ones who made it in time if they didn’t arrive in 30 minutes. Shutting down Bam’s insistence on him going alone, he could hear the Calling Center become rowdy as a certain Jahad Princess was summoned. She’s as noisy as always, but he supposed it’ll up their fire power. Now, let’s start the rescue operation.
Evolet's eyebrows furrowed lightly, feeling a somewhat familiar presence lurking around. Though it went away soon enough that she briefly wondered if she was imagining things. She’ll have to look through it later, but right now she has something else to do. The bluenette hummed thoughtfully as she sent Horyang and Novick’s locations to Xiaxia, telling her to take care of things there.
“You are aware that you’re jumping right into wildfire, FUG won’t take your actions lightly.” Gustang pointed out, watching calmly as the Workshop hosts ran around like headless chickens to fix the chaos.
“I don't mind. It's bound to happen one way or another. There was no way they'll let me off even if I stayed silent.” Evolet answered back without much thought, knowing it was the truth as she fiddled with her earring. Gustang glanced at her for a split second, noting that she still didn't care much for the consequences that might endanger her life. Though he supposed at this point it didn't mean much to her. Nor could he include it as arrogance from her, since she was aware of how it would turn out at the end.
"Then, Gustang-san… I'll leave that side up to you." The brunette didn't say a word as he walked away towards Madoraco's room while Evolet opened the nearest emergency door and quite literally jumped off the Archimedes. Summoning a single white Lighthouse, she stepped on it and steadied herself. Gaze locked afar on the Underwater Arena where the others were and invisible Shinsu strings spread around the area.
As she connected the Shinsu strings to her other two Lighthouses, Evolet could see what's going on in the arena. Just like what Yunuen informed her, a Wolhaiksong floating ship was on standby nearby them. Disregarding the fact that Endorsi just threw the Mad Dog to the ground along with herself, Evolet could clearly see a FUG Ranker was preparing to pour down the Solution. Rather bold of them to make a move in public, but she supposed they’d be too antsy now that their plan's went down the drain.
Well, they were in for a surprise then. The bluenette took off her earring and it glowed softly and enlarged to the size of a rubix cube. There was a small static sound as the Shinsu in the cavern spiked up drastically. Her lips curled up into a smile, bordering a smirk as a giant transparent shield formed inside the cavern and contained the pouring solution as if it was a bowl. They were in for a surprise indeed.
“Wha-?!” It wasn’t only Reflejo that was surprised, but also the trio fighting against him. Khun was no less shocked when the necklace Evolet gave him practically shot out of his shirt forcibly and unfolded to an extra large Shinsu shield. Bam’s eyes were wide open as he stared up at it, recognizing Evolet’s handiwork.
Khun himself was also confused. While she did say that it’ll be useful, he did not expect the function to be like this. In the first place, how did she know they were in a dire situation? Evolet herself was maintaining her Shinsu output from the compact Lighthouse, all the while keeping a content devilish smile at a certain someone's arrival.
Just on time.
Thick mist started seeping in from the top of the cavern. The solution slowly started dissipating once it came to contact with the abundance of mist. There was also a loud boom as the cavern shook hard when the mist poured down. Rak fell from Khun's Lighthouse to the floor, taken aback by the sudden sound. Bam almost tripped on his own feet and Khun tried to balance himself in the middle of the tremors.
The surveillance cameras were blindsided with the thick mist surrounding the area. In the midst of it was a teal eyed man, his hair a shade darker than Khun's. He was hovering calmly in the midst of the foggy terrain, wearing a simple russian blue yukata with his long hair swaying gently.
"Mr. Yunuen?! What are you doing here!" The FUG Ranker was rigid at the unexpected new presence. Lero Ro shared the same sentiment, skeptical at the man who barged in during their fight and covered the area in mist with a single snap that shook the whole terrain. Though the bluenette himself didn't seem like he had any intention of attacking him either, Lero Ro thought.
"What else other than carrying out the Little One's order? But still… Poken is shortsighted as always. Only focused on his own plan and thinking everything will go smoothly without any interruption." Yunuen said, donning a somewhat pitying yet bored look that clearly thought of them as pathetic.
His Pocket rang, going into visible mode as Yunuen answered the call immediately when he saw it was Evolet calling him. His attitude turned 180 degrees, perking up like a child with an overly fond smile. "What is it, Little One? Did you need anything else? I'm almost done taking care of things here, just like you said!"
He could hear the soft laughter in her tone as she praised him, just like he wanted. "No, I'm just checking up on you, Yunuen-san. Though it seems like that wasn't needed. You're doing a great job, Yunuen-san. As expected, I can always rely on you."
"Of course, anything for my Little One."
"Endorsi-san will be there soon, so I'm hoping you can wrap things up? I'll catch up after I take care of the loose ends over here. Then, I'll leave the rest to you, Yunuen-san."
"Roger that~" No sooner when the call cut off, the FUG Ranker froze up with a terrified expression. Yunuen was wearing an ominous smirk, his teal eyes sharp and clearly without any intention to let him go.
"That being said, you caused a lot of troubles for the Little One didn't you…? You'll need to pay a fair price for that." A violent shiver ran down the Ranker's spine, his legs stiff but his mind screaming at him to run. Before he could though, Yunuen lifted a single finger up and the man was engulfed in a sphere of condensed fog. The bluenette watched blankly as he heard the resounding screams of the Ranker, full of terror and desperation as he begged for mercy to which Yunuen ignored completely.
It was when the screams completely died out that he dissipated the condensated fog. There was only a dehydrated corpse of the FUG Ranker, both his eyes and mouth agape as if he’d been screaming till his last moment. Which Yunuen was sure he did, but he could care less about that. With nothing to support him in air, the corpse rapidly fell down towards the ground and never to be seen again.
High Ranker #Blue Hole
Sobriquet: Ghastly Fog; Anubis
Main Position: Wave Controller
“Thank her for letting you off so easily with death, troublesome lots. Now…” His words trailed off as he turned back to Lero Ro who had been silently observing the bluenette and ready to attack at any time. After all, who wouldn’t be on edge to suddenly see a Ranker killed without any effort? Especially when said killer was saying something about letting them off easily with death.
“There’s no need to be that cautious. Grab the kids and get ready to leave, Eve will take care of the rest. She just sent me here as an urgent backup. You plan to escape before the final begins, don’t you? We’re running out of time.” At that, Lero Ro seemed to be taken aback slightly before he firmly nodded. Questions could wait. He wondered who Evolet really was, remembering when she hid her capabilities during the culling test.
Disappearing in the middle of a test and Hansung suddenly declaring that she’s already passed the whole Floor Advancement test but nowhere to be seen and most certainly not on the next Floor either. Then showing up as the Slayer Candidate’s partner, though thanks to that he discovered both of them were alive despite not knowing the reasons behind it. To order a person of such caliber and him saying that Evolet will take care of the rest. Which meant she was somewhere on the Archimedes, not as a tournament participant but instead lurking behind the scenes. And no doubt it was either she was powerful enough to pull the cards or someone was backing her up.
As he looked at his ‘students’ who were reunited safe and sound, particularly at Bam who looked cluelessly happy with his reunion, he couldn’t help but think that the brunette was in the dark as to what his partner was pulling. There were no FUG Rankers pursuing them, having long backed off at the upper ones’ order. At least she was adamant to support Bam it seems.
Now that the battle was over, Lero Ro thought that what they did was most definitely risky all the way through and he had no idea how they pulled it off either. Quant’s idiocy must’ve been influencing him. He blames Hachuling for coming up with that outrageous plan.