Chapter 1:

So it Begins

The Last to Fall: First Drop

“Byeol~” a sweet voice called out as the door came open.

“What is it Hina?” A boy responded. His head that had been buried in his work coming up to meet her as she walked in.

“Ania and I are stepping out for a grocery run.” The black haired girl said as she came to stand before him. Her green eyes shielded behind a pair of round eye glasses scanning the table between them to check what he had been doing, “I came to see if you needed anything.”

“I’m out of spaxflod so that would be useful.” He answered, “Some rumin essence as well, I’m pretty much out of it too.”

“Yes captain.” She grinned bringing a hand up to her forehead in a salute that earned a smirk from the brown haired boy before her. “What are you doing to your Exsil?” She directed her attention to the white suit that lay between them.

The exsil was one of the empire’s armoured body suits. Made of pure volisin to ensure its durability against most elements and infused with Enro core technology which allowed a neuro link between the armour and the wearer for better control. A state of the art bodysuit worn by all members of the Zenith military who possessed elemental abilities and lightweight replicas of which were sold for wear by non-military elemental users.

“I pushed it a little too far during my last mission and wound up charring the sleeves.” Byeol began, “Thankfully the material is regenerative.” He picked up a sleeve indicating to the black marks on the forearm and splitting cuff, “It has already started to self-repair but I want the rumin to accelerate the process by reinvigorating the core.”

“Wah!” Hina stood mouth wide and eyebrows raised as she took the sleeve from him for a better look, “You managed to damage volisin! Just how much power did you use in your fight?”

“I-It’s not like I did it on purpose.” His ears flushed, “I only meant to ignite my sword but I lost my focus when I saw Max was in trouble.”

“It’s still impressive that you managed to damage it. This stuff is marketed as indestructible.”

“Military grade exsil are near indestructible. This is a replica.” He half pouted adding, “I had my doubts when we saw them but Mingi was insistent they were real.”

“The rest of them seem to be working fine though. Simon pushed his to max output when testing them and it was alright.”

“I still think there’s something wrong with this one. Even when I try to hold back the interface shows it at almost 50% usage." He insisted. Unlike his comrades who had experienced no problems with the quality of their armor. Byeol found himself making repairs to his for a third time in the six months since he had acquired it.

A pure exsil, such as those used by the empire's defence force, had a higher output limit than the ones commonly sold for non-military uses. They allowed the wearer to use large amounts of power without heavy damage to the suit. They stretched to the requirements of body shifters, endured temperatures lower than -2000°C for cryo users and higher than 2000°C for pyro users. As well as had enhanced durability for aero-kinetics and much more.

The first time a wearer put their suit on, it established a neuro link with thee body to read their DNA. The suit was then set to optimal limits according to their power level. No matter how he looked at it, for this suit to be melting at 50% of his power should not be possible. He had definitely been ripped off.

“I guess you got the dud of the batch.” Hina giggled and stuck her cherry red tongue out at him

“It’s funny until you realize we spent 500 kwa on a dud.” He took the sleeve from her laying it back down.

“It’s a test of your skills as an engineer then.” She cocked her head to the side. Her glee barely hidden behind the smirk she tried to put on.

“Ha ha.” Byeol said with a roll of his brown eyes, unamused by how Hina tried to make the best of his predicament.

“Well I saw some spaxflod at Dani’s store the other day so we’ll start there.” Hina diverted the topic not wanting to tease him any longer, “But we’ll have to look around for the rumin. Maybe one of the mecha shops might -”

“Hina!!” a loud call came from outside to interrupt their conversation, “Where are you?!”

“Ania must be ready.” Hina said, leaving their conversation with a turn as the smile on her face grew wider. Byeol watched her checked red skirt swaying in tune with her hips as she skipped to the door. The curls of her black hair gave their final bounce before resting on her shoulders when she turned back to him. “See you later.” She waved with a shining grin and squinted eyes as the door slide open.

“mmm” Byeol sounded dropping back into his seat.

“Ah!” Hina exclaimed calling Byeol's attention back to her. She had hurriedly swung herself through the door only to be met by an opposing force. A tall woman with long golden hair tied up in a ponytail stood in the doorway with Hina now pressed against her chest.

“Are you okay?” the woman asked holding Hina by the shoulders as she took a step back.

“I’m alright Rikka.” Hina replied giving a thumbs up as she fixed her glasses, “Sorry for bumping into you.”

“Don’t worry about it. Just try to be careful next time.” Rikka gave a gentle smile as she patted the side of Hina’s head as if caressing a kitten.

“Did you come all the way here to do that?” Byeol’s monotone voice asked interrupting their sweet moment.

“I came to see you.” Rikka answered stepping past Hina to come into the chrome box that served as Byeol’s workshop, “I have something I need to talk to you about.”

“I’ll leave the two of you to it.” Hina hurried out to find Ania, leaving the two of them alone as the door slide closed behind her.

“What is it?” Byeol asked indicating for her to come closer.

“The Euth project.” Rikka began, walking forwards to stand in front of his table. Byeol’s ears perked up at the mention of that name and he glanced up to meet her sunny eyes as she added “I think I found it.”