A few hours later, Yuki exited the lab, his face sweaty. He stretched his arms for a bit before heading to the lounge. When he arrived, he noticed that Yuna has already left, leaving Akira and Erica by themselves.
“Done?” Erica asked. “What were you doing?”
“Some experiments,” Yuki replied. “Got some results. I need to work on it some more before I can finalize anything.”
“Mhm. Some weapons and materials. I’ll be using them for a variety of things.”
“Are you done for the day?” Akira asked.
“Yes. We can go back home if you two want,” he said. He glanced at the screen they were watching. “Is that the tournament from today?”
“Yup,” Erica said. “I got Uriel to hook us up an hour ago. Before that Akira and I just messed around for a bit with some games.”
“I see. Did you find anything interesting?”
“They didn’t really show you and Yuna,” Akira replied. “The few times they did, the announcer only made passing remarks mainly about how you’re a human and Yuna is a bright prospect.”
“That’s good. Are you two planning to finish it? I can wait.”
“No, it’s fine. We should get going.”
“Are you planning to cook?” Erica asked.
“If you want, I don’t mind. We can also swing by someplace and eat there. Whatever you guys want.”
“Let’s go home,” Akira said.
“Alright. I should have some things I can put together,” Yuki said. “You’re fine with that, right Erica?”
“Yeah. I don’t mind,” she smiled.
“Let’s go then.”
The three of them walked to the transportation room where they were promptly transported back to their bar in Junction.
“Let me get a drink real quick before we go back,” Yuki said as they walked into the main room.
Akira nodded and Erica followed him as he made his way to the bar. He signaled to the barkeep who smiled at him.
“Hey, boss. What can I get you today?” the barkeep asked.
“Hmm. Erica, you want something?” Yuki asked, turning to her.
“I was going to get some wine or something like that,” she said.
“Then we can split that. I’ll take a bottle of Duskdrought,” Yuki said to the barkeeper.
“Alright.” She walked to the back wall and scanned the shelves before withdrawing a bottle. “That’ll be twenty bronze.”
Yuki slid over the payment and took the bottle, storing it within his ring. He gestured to Akira before heading out of the bar. Akira caught up with him and Erica as he opened the door. Together, they walked to the transportation center in Junction, chatting with one another. A few minutes later, they arrived in Fenrir and after a short walk, their apartment.
“Oh, so that’s what you were busy with,” Yuki said as he walked into the apartment.
It was clean and spotless with the dishes washed and based on the baskets, the clothes washed as well.
“Yes,” Akira nodding, blushing a little. “I thought that since I never really do anything around the house, I could help out since you were busy today.”
“I see. Thanks, then,” Yuki said. “But leave some for me sometimes. I want something to do around the house at times.”
“I helped,” Erica piped up. “I folded the clothes.”
“Mmm. Thank you as well then. I’ll get started cooking then. You two can do whatever until I finish,” Yuki said. He placed the bottle of wine onto the kitchen counter. “You can split that if you want, as well. Just leave some for me later.”
“Alrighty,” she said, gabbing the bottle. She went to the cabinet and grabbed two glasses. “Akira, you want some?”
“A glass is fine,” Akira replied from the living room.
Yuki turned on the stove and started cooking while Erica poured out the wine into the glasses. She pointed to one and told Yuki that it was his before walking over to where Akira was, handing her one of the glasses that was in her hands. Around thirty minutes later, Yuki finished the final touches to their dinner and walked over to the living room to hand the two plates, taking his empty glass with him.
“Thanks,” Akira smiled.
“Nice,” Erica said, smelling the dish. “Didn’t think we’ll be eating beef today.”
“I saw and thought that it would be nice to eat,” Yuki said. “It’ll go well with the drinks. I think. We still have some right?”
“Mhm. We didn’t drink that much. There’s still enough for a few glasses, I’m sure,” Erica replied.
She poured out some more wine and the three of them started on their dinner. They ate in silence for the most part, Yuki thinking mainly about his experiments earlier in the day and bit about the tournament. There was still a small thing that he wasn’t too sure on. A little statement in the description of the next round that was cause for consideration.
‘A surprise,’ he thought. ‘A surprise during the second round of the tournament. I wonder what that could be. They didn’t say other than there was a surprise planned. At least I know there is one now. It won’t be that much of a surprise now.’
“Yuki,” Akira said suddenly. He looked up from his dish. “What were you doing in the lab today?”
“I thought I already answered that,” he said, tilting his head.
“You did but I wanted to know if you could tell me the specifics. I’m curious.”
“Just some materials,” Yuki shrugged. “That’s it. I’m basing off of a reward I got from the tournament earlier today. Self repairing cloth.”
“Really? That’s interesting,” she said, her eyes lighting up. “Do you have the glove with you?”
“Ah, no, sorry. I left it in the lab with Damian. We’re working together on this little project,” he said. “But it’s a pair of black gloves that seem slightly armored, nothing particularly strong. When ripped or cut, nanites or something of that nature repair the glove. I forgot that such things existed.”
“And you want to recreate it for materials that could repair themselves?”
“Basically. It’ll prove very useful as a material in a lot of things. Maybe not so much in weaponry because it might prove to be more harmful than helpful, but for other things like clothing and building, it should be very nice.”
“I see. Do you need help with it?” she asked.
“With the project?”
“What kind of help?”
“I can do research,” she offered. “I’m good at that. Or maybe some advice. If the material is going to be metal or earth based, I can offer some guidance.”
“Guidance? Like what to be exact?” Yuki said.
“Metallurgy or alchemy. I’m fairly good at that.”
“Metallurgy. With earth magic?”
“I didn’t consider that,” he mumbled to himself. “I should learn that. Akira, maybe you can teach me that. I know crafting but I haven’t tried metallurgy or alchemy before.”
“I’ll gladly teach you,” she smiled.
“After the tournament,” he nodded. “Show me after the tournament. I think if I learn it, I can accomplish what I’m trying to do.”
“You’ll need materials, no?” Erica piped up. Yuki turned his attention to her. “For metallurgy.”
“I would assume.”
“I knew a few people that were metallurgists. You’re going to need a lot of different types of materials if you want to start dabbling in that subject,” she said. “One guy I knew had an entire floor dedicated to supplies. There were like rows upon rows of neatly labeled boxes and such of metals and ores. It was pretty impressive.”
“Yeah. I guessed as much,” Yuki said, rubbing his eyes. “I have materials but I’ll probably need more. Sometimes, odd combinations can create some surprising outcomes.”
“Yes,” Erica said, giving him a finger gun. “And I can help with that. I think.”
“You know suppliers?”
“For metals, yeah. If you want drugs, not so much,” she grinned. “Though I haven’t had contact with them in a while so I don’t know if they’ll help me. They should have good memory though. They are demons after all.”
“I see. That would be very helpful then,” Yuki nodded. “If you can do that for me, that’ll be great. I’ll compile a list you can bring to those people of all of the things I already have. Or really, Uriel can.”
“I heard that,” Uriel’s voice said.
“You know it’s true,” Yuki replied. She laughed a bit before going quiet again. “Anyway, she’ll be doing that after the tournament.”
“Can I go with you when you do that?” Akira asked Erica. “I’m curious about what a professional metallurgist does. What I know is really informal and what I learned from books and trial and error.”
“Sure, I don’t mind. They would probably be really happy about an earth elementalist coming into their workshop.”
The three of them chatted a bit longer as they finished their meal and the bottle of wine. Yuki collected their dishes and placed them in the sink, rinsing them a bit.
“You know, tomorrow, if you two want, you can go to the tournament,” Yuki said as he walked back to the couch. “To watch.”
“Wouldn’t we need a ticket? Those are sold out aren’t they? There weren’t many to begin with,” Akira said. “I checked.”
“Well, yes. But the ticket isn’t a physical object. It’s digital. And if it’s digital, I can do something about it.”
“You’re going to fake a ticket?”
“Two tickets. And it won’t be faking,” he corrected. “I’ll be adding two more tickets to the list for the tournament. Then I’ll be giving you two one of them each. I’ll even throw in the money if that makes you feel better.”
“Oh, I wasn’t worried about the legal side. I just wanted to know how you were going to do it.”
“You can put in money for mine,” Erica said.
“So you’re going?” Yuki asked.
“I mean, I don’t have much else to do until after the tournament anyway. The most I can do is train,” she shrugged. “Plus, I want to cheer you on.”
“I see. Akira?”
“Of course I’m going,” she smiled. “You don’t need to ask me that. I wanted to go before, but the tickets ran out.”
“Alright then. I’ll tell Uriel to do that,” he nodded. He glanced at his watch to check the time. “It’s not that late yet. Do you two want to do something? I have nothing I need to do right now because of the tournament. And I don’t feel like doing much.”
“We don’t really have anything around here,” Erica replied, scratching her cheek. “Do you like games?”
“I guess. Why not,” he shrugged. “Let’s play.”
“That’s the visitor entrance,” Yuki said, pointing toward an archway that led into the tournament arena. “You two are going to enter through there. I’ll be going in through the participants entrance.”
“Okay,” Akira nodded. “Good luck today.”
“Thanks. But I hope I won’t need it.”
“See you later and I want a rematch from last night,” Erica said, waving as she grabbed Akira’s hand and began walking toward the entrance.
“Fine with me,” Yuki replied. He watched them for a bit before turning.
He made his way to the restricted entrance and saw Yuna standing outside, waiting. Her eyes met his and she waved to him.
“Hello, Yuki,” she said as he got closer. “Ready?”
“We’ve been ready for almost a week,” Yuki said. “We’ll be fine.”
“We should,” she agreed. “There’s nothing that I need to know, correct? No new updates?”
“Nothing terribly important. Just prepare yourself for any surprises,” he replied. “They might throw something our way.”
“Alright then. Let’s go.”
Yuna nodded and they walked together through the imposing doors of the arena as they prepared for what was to come that day.