Leifang was heading to Taylor’s Bar to hang out with Hitomi and Hayate. Hitomi had phoned her, and it had been a while since they’d gone to Taylor’s Bar together. Leifang stopped at the door and picked up her phone after she got a text notification from Hitomi.
‘You know who’ is also here!!!!!
Leifang gulped, flushed and turned her phone to silent. She knew who Hitomi was referring to. Who else could it be? She couldn’t stand idle at that door. She opened it and walked past Jann Lee sitting at a table alone. As she walked by said-table, she tripped over nothing.
Jann Lee stood up instantly from his table and lent out a hand to Leifang.
Leifang tried to say something, but it ended up all being…babble.
What is wrong with me today, she thought?
“It happens,” Jann Lee nodded, “I smashed a vase once.”
“Oh,” Leifang’s face was as red as a tomato, “well…thank you. Ha-ha…”
“No problem,” Jann Lee sat back down, continuing his glass and barely making eye-contact, “good to see you, Leifang.”
Leifang murmured something that resembled a ‘yeah’ and headed to the table where Hitomi and Hayate were sitting.
“Everything okay, Leifang?” Hitomi asked, “I was going to go help, but Jann Lee already”-
“I’m fine,” Leifang covered her face with her hands, “It was just a little embarrassing, that’s all.”
“Don’t worry about it, Leifang,” Hayate said, “I’ll pay for the drinks”-
“Hayate, I’m under 21,” Hitomi sighed.
“Oh,” Hayate paused for a second, “ well, there’s plenty of alcohol-free drinks at the bar, right?”
“Of course! I forgot this was your first time at Taylor’s,” Hitomi said, “you coming, Leifang?”
“I’ll…keep the table for you guys,” Leifang said, still blushing. She closed her eyes and took a deep, long breath, but then when she opened her eyes, Jann Lee was sitting at the table with her.
“I couldn’t help but notice,” Jann Lee said, “I hope they’re okay with me sitting here.”
“Y-yeah,” Leifang gulped.
“If this is about the train incident, you need to get over it already,” Jann Lee shook his head, “the sixth tournament is coming in a couple of months and you need to raise your confidence. Your awkwardness caused your downfall.”
“No, it isn’t that,” Leifang let out some nervous laughter, “just having an off-day. Social stuff makes me…exhausted in a way.”
“So you’re introverted, like me,” Jann Lee did a slight smile, something Leifang barely saw, “interesting.”
“I guess,” Leifang couldn’t make eye-contact.
“What is actually wrong with you?” Jann Lee asked, tilting his head slightly, “are you ill?”
Before Leifang could answer, Hayate and Hitomi had returned to the table with drinks.
“Oh, Jann Lee is sitting with us?” Hitomi winked at Leifang.
“Don’t you dare!” Leifang murmured, but Jann Lee clearly heard.
“So that’s why you’re acting strange,” Jann Lee raised an eyebrow, “it makes a lot of sense now that I think about it…”
Leifang was this close to breaking down in embarrassment, but Jann Lee seemed relaxed, resting his posture on his seat.
“So is it officially a double-date?” Hitomi asked.
“Hitomi, that’s enough,” Hayate placed the drinks down, “sorry.”
“Don’t be,” Jann Lee took a sip of his drink that he’d brought with him to the table, “we’re adults, this teenage crush nonsense is foolish.” Around this point, Leifang was starting to realise Jann Lee had a few drinks in him. She remembered Zack telling her on Zack Island that Jann Lee could be a very honest drunk.
“You’re right,” Hitomi sighed, “I did get a bit excited.”
Jann Lee was about to reply but he noticed someone walk in the bar. A man in construction gear with lots of tattoos on his arms. Jann Lee took a deep breath and sighed.
“You okay?” Hayate asked.
“I’m fine,” Jann Lee downed his possibly third or fourth drink after saying that, “I just…I know how Leifang feels when I look at him.”
“Oh,” Leifang awkwardly looked away.
“No, not that,” Jann Lee rolled his eyes, “I mean, when I fought him in the bar, and lost. I wanted to defeat him. It’s almost…ironic, because I thought you were being silly, Leifang.”
“Maybe we’re both silly,” Leifang giggled slightly.
Jann Lee also chuckled back, which is something Leifang also never saw before. Maybe he just felt more comfortable now he knew why Leifang had been acting quite strange around him recently. Heck, maybe it was the drink, or both at the same time.
“I’m going back up to the bar to get another drink,” Jann Lee said, “does anyone want me to get something for them?”
“Hm, black coffee will be fine,” Leifang placed her elbow on the table, resting the palm of her hand on her jaw.
“Oh yeah, they serve coffee now,” Hitomi scratched her head, “I’ll stick to my juice. How’s the beer, Hayate?”
“It’s, well, not my taste,” Hayate placed the bottle on the table, “you can have it.”
“You have a responsible adult with you, so it should be fine,” Leifang tried not to laugh as she said that.
The three had a nice chat as Jann Lee headed to the bar.
He ordered a fifth beer and a black coffee. He waited for it to arrive. Whilst he was waiting, he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around to see a man with - no, this had to be the drink – glowing red eyes grinning at him.
“Hey, buddy,” he smiled, “you remember me right?”
Jann Lee felt uncomfortable and left as soon as he got the drinks to the table.
“I’ve…I’ve got to go,” Jann Lee ran out of the bar.
“Wait!” Leifang stood up and followed him.
Hitomi was about to follow her, but Hayate told her to ‘leave them to it’. She sighed and sat back down, hoping everything would be okay.
“What’s wrong?” Leifang asked.
“Nothing,” Jann Lee sighed, “I just saw someone, and…”
“The man in the sleeveless hoodie with the tattoos?” Leifang tilted her head, “do you know him from somewhere?”
“Yes…I aspire to beat him in a match one day, but, there was something off about him.”
“Does…does drinking make you more honest?” Leifang asked.
“I’ve been told that by others, but I don’t know,” Jann Lee said, “I’m not drunk. I only had two”-
“I saw way more than two,” Leifang raised an eyebrow, handing Jann Lee some cash, “get a taxi, okay?”
“…thank you, Leifang,” he smiled.
A taxi arrived, and before Jann Lee could get in, a large group of people (maybe around 20 people all wearing lab-coats and surgical masks) arrived. They shoved Leifang to the ground and grabbed Jann Lee.
Leifang stood up quickly and ran after the group. She followed them into an alleyway, where they were all standing around Jann Lee.
One of the freaks in the lab coats (a blue-haired girl with glasses and a very small stature) was holding a serum of some sort.
“Just as planned,” she said and threw the serum on the floor. It summoned some sort of…portal. Leifang could feel herself falling, what the hell had she gotten into?
Leifang woke up next to Jann Lee in some sort of…cell. She attempted to grab the bars of the cell but it gave her a little shock.
“Ow!” Leifang moved back, “what the hell? Where are we?”
Jann Lee was already awake but he was just sitting against the wall in this empty, cold cell, “you fell for such an obvious trap,” he sighed, “you should’ve just let me go.”
“I know,” Leifang placed both hands on her face, “I was stupid.”
“So was I,” he took a deep breath, “I shouldn’t have ordered another drink when I saw that guy with the…red eyes. Ever since I fought that…jelly monster during the fourth tournament, this stuff doesn’t even phase me anymore.”
“Tell me about it,” Leifang sat next to Jann Lee, resting her head on his shoulder, “and that woman did look like she was made of jelly.”
“That ‘jelly monster’ was Alpha-152, for your information,” a familiar British accent said. She approached the cell, “oh yeah, don’t touch those bars.”
“I met you on Zack Island!” Leifang stood up, “you’re…um, what was your name again? Christie?”
“Correct,” she smiled, “we just need you and your heart’s desire for a little experiment, then we’ll let you go.”
“N-not on my watch!” Jann Lee shouted, “we didn’t consent to any of this, and we won’t, no matter what!”
Christie tried to refrain herself from laughing and walked off.
“How do we get out of here?” Leifang clung onto Jann’s arm, “an even better question would be ‘how long have we been locked up for?’”
“True, it feels like hours,” Jann Lee said, “I guess we’ll have to…wait.” He sighed.
A couple of awkward minutes passed, and tears fell from Leifang’s eyes.
“Jann Lee,” Leifang sobbed, “if we don’t make it through this alive, can I ask you to do something for me?”
“Stop being ridiculous,” Jann Lee scoffed, “we’ll be fine.” He crossed his arms, not one-hundred per cent believing his own words.
A group of scientists in the same scary masks and coats arrived at the cell. The same short, blue-haired scientist with glasses pointed her finger at them, “we shall experiment on these two.”
“No!” Leifang held Jann Lee close to her, “you won’t take us!”
Jann Lee stayed silent but calm.
One of the scientists opened the cell with some sort of remote control and the blue-haired scientist walked in, holding some sort of odd gadget. She shocked them both with it. The girl had some awfully fast reflexes. The reflexes felt almost inhuman…
The rest of what happened was just a blur… the two remembered seeing needles, and people in test-tubes, but that’s all they could remember.
Leifang woke up on a comfortable bed. Was this all a dream?
She got out of the bed, wearing the same clothes minus the shoes she wore. This wasn’t her room. She looked at her inner elbow and noticed a plaster. A needle had been injected into it as if she had a blood test.
She ran out of the room into a spacious corridor, standing in her fighting stance.
“Who’s there?! Come out!” she yelled, “I want to know where I am!”
“Lady Helena, I can hear her! She’s awake!” a high-pitched voice shouted from another room.
From one of the doors, Helena Douglas ran into the corridor, “Leifang! Are you okay?”
“I’m…ugh…” Leifang yawned, “what happened and where am I? Is Jann Lee here?”
“Jann Lee is in another room,” Helena placed both of her hands on Leifang’s shoulders, “he’s still asleep. And you are on the Freedom Survivor, which is my ship. Hayabusa and Ayane were scouting the new MIST lab, and…they found you. That’s all I know.”
“I just remember being shocked, and injected with a needle, and”- Leifang started to hyperventilate. The more she talked about it, the more she remembered what happened in that lab. The fading in-and-out consciousness, the maniacal laughter, and the people…the people in the test tubes…
“Oh dear,” Helena slowly reached out for a hug and Leifang squeezed her, “you and Jann Lee can stay on here for a few days if you’d wish.”
“I want to see Jann Lee,” Leifang murmured after the hyperventilating stopped, “I need to see him.”
“He’s in the room at the very end,” Helena lightly let go of Leifang, “I assume you want to be alone?”
“Yes, thank you, Helena,” Leifang took a deep breath before heading to Jann’s room.
She slowly opened the door to see that Jann Lee was sitting on his bed, scratching his head.
“Jann Lee, you’re okay!” Leifang hugged him. Surprisingly, he didn’t throw her across the room for doing that.
“Do you also have a plaster on your inner elbow?” Jann Lee got out of the hug and stood up from the bed, holding his head.
“Yes,” she replied, “I know you’re a bit hungover, but…do you remember a lot from last night?”
“I remember Taylor’s Bar, where I was talking with you, Hitomi and Hayate, the lab was as clear as day. And I don’t feel hungover, I was more hungover when we were in the lab.”
“So we must have been taken there overnight, and then rescued,” she sighed, “just, thank goodness ninjas were scouting the area, god knows what might’ve happened.”
“I don’t want to think about it anymore,” he insisted, “it’s done. I…”
“What were you going to say?” Leifang asked.
“I…want to know if I was remembering things right, I couldn’t tell if it was the drink.”
Oh no, here it comes, Leifang thought.
“Do you have feelings for me?”
OH GOODNESS, HE REMEMBERED THAT, Leifang thought, shaking. “I…uh…yeah…?”
Jann Lee flushed slightly, a stern expression, “I’m glad. I like you too.”
“Oh…that’s good.” IT’S HAPPENING, IT’S HAPPENING, Leifang thought, “I’m going to…uh…I think Helena’s servant is cooking breakfast, I’ll meet you there once you’ve freshened up.”
“See you there,” Jann Lee watched Leifang leave the room.
Just as Leifang left the room, Jann Lee heard a “YES! YOU GO GIRL!” followed by loud, happy laughter. Jann Lee snickered a bit and picked up the new change of clothes that were lying on an end table near the bed.