Near the end of his days, Yagi Toshinori revealed to Izuku Midoriya that he was All Might. The great and invincible warrior from the infamously bloodthirsty kingdom of Ganbatthar. As most great warriors of legend he came from humble origins. He was a commoner who made a lot of bad decisions and when he found himself at the very bottom someone gave him a chance. All it took was one person seeing the good in him, seeing his potential, for the greatest warrior of all time to be born.
Toshinori believes this is also Midoriya’s destiny which is why he passed on part of his legacy and half of his sword to him. When informing his protégé on his destiny, should he choose to take it on, the young man questioned him regarding inheriting only half of his sword and part of his legacy. Not that Midoriya was complaining, this was already way more than he thought he deserved, but he wondered why his mentor was passing on only part of it. The man explained the other half of the sword and his legacy was meant for another person, and Midoriya wondered how that would work.
With a breathless chuckle, the haggard looking older man smiled fondly and explained, “there is another man that shares your destiny.” Green eyes widened and his mind filled with thoughts of who this other man might be, Toshinori did not miss the glint in those eyes, his thirst for knowledge and burning curiosity are two of his best and worst traits.
“I realized later that he alone would not carry my legacy, this caused a rift in our relationship. He rejected his share of my legacy and I had no choice but to accept his decision.”
“How could he reject it? Is he insane?!”
“I do not blame him and you shouldn’t either young Midoriya, it was within his rights to reject it. I’ll never forget his last words before I departed, ‘I don’t need your shitty legacy, I’ll make my own.’ As his mentor I was saddened by his rejection, but overall I was - still am - proud.”
“If he rejected your legacy, why are you still handing it down to him? Shouldn’t you find someone else?”
Pale, dry skin stretched into a solemn smile. Formerly stony eyes now shone brightly, and with a soft voice he declared, "there is no one else."
The retired warrior told him that he should find the other man, because even if he rejected his legacy their destinies were still entwined.
"How do I find him?"
"That's not the problem," he looked tired again and rubbed a hand against his face, "the problem will be getting to him in the first place, you see..."
The young man's eyes became impossibly wide and for a second the older man thought he saw his soul begin to ascend. Thankfully that was just a vision, how would he explain to young Midoriya's mother that her son died of shock?
"Th-Th-The KING?! KING KATSUKI BAKUGO?! Th-th-that's a joke, right?" Toshinori looks away while rubbing the back of his neck, "I can't – no this is – this can't – first you tell me you're All Might, a-and that I'm supposed to inherit part of your legacy, which apparently I'm supposed to be sharing with THE KING OF GANBATTHAR?!" As Toshinori has come to expect, the young man starts ranting to no one in particular trying to make sense of the situation.
No one could blame him, if Toshinori hadn't lived as All Might for the last couple of decades he would've thought all of this was ridiculous. Once upon a time he was a common young man just like Midoriya, although he was in a worse position than the young man beside him. The late Great Knight of the Kagutsuchi Kingdom Nana Shimura saw something in him and to this day he doesn't know what she saw, but he will continue to repay the debt forever. Both of his students had a better start than he had, he's completely certain that they will be greater than him individually and even greater together.
Notwithstanding his highness rejection of his legacy all their destinies are entwined. As young Midoriya continues to make sense of where his destiny will take him, Toshinori feels at peace.
"It's been a great honor," Toshinori's words interrupt Midoriya's rant, and the young man looks to his side eyebrows raised in question and expectation, "to live this great life I believed I did not deserve the honor of knowing the people I've met along the way, the opportunity to train two remarkable young men. I will continue to repay this debt for the rest of my lives."
Young Midoriya felt a candlelight flicker inside him, the invisible connecting thread dimmed in intensity and he knew what it meant. He'd been feeling the thread gradually dull over the last three years, ever since Toshinori passed on his power unto him. At the time he did not know this was the magical source known as One For All, but even then he understood there was a great responsibility being passed on to him. It established a magical connection between the mentor and student, he understands that soon the older man will no longer sit by his side.
In the coming weeks Toshinori would sit under the shade next to young Midoriya's mother and watch as her son trained. No longer having the strength to guide him personally he took to shouting pointers and advice from a distance, not that he had much to worry about. Although the young man was not a fast learner he had enough willpower and cunning to overcome many challenges on his own.
One morning the two person family and the mentor discussed young Midoriya's travel plans. They spent the last two weeks planning his journey to the kingdom of Ganbatthar, and the small family was so grateful they had the security of All Might's connections to get him into the kingdom. However, it was up to young Midoriya to get an audience with the king and somehow not get kicked out before he even gets to smell pleasant smoky atmosphere of the capital city Tariat.
The next morning he was on his way, of course it was not an easy departure. Their calm village experienced a minor mudslide from the torrential river that appeared out of nowhere. In reality it emerged from the abnormal rain of tears shed by the two person Midoriya family. If Toshinori contributed a few tears then no one could say anything about it. He knew, and young Midoriya knew as well, this would be the last time they would see each other in the flesh.
Young Midoriya never traveled so far from his village, he'd never traveled outside of the Kagutsuchi Kingdom at all. Leaving home was hard, leaving his mother was harder, but the uncertainty of his future was exciting and very scary.
Heart beating out of his throat, after half a week of travelling, his eyes attempted to take in the entirety of the majestic architecture of the city gates.
If this is just the entrance, an awestruck Midoriya thought, how amazing will everything past those gates be?
The walls were so high that Midoriya felt he would fall back just attempting to take it all in. The stone was so polished it looked almost white, the gates were steel but with a gold trim, the young man wondered if it was real gold. The flags hung high, the flag of the city, the flag of the country, and the crest of the royal Bakugo family.
The city of Tariat had a deep maroon flag that looked almost like dried blood, it was triangular in shape with black edges. It depicted a proud black dragon in the center surrounded by laurels. This flag was relatively new in Ganbatthar's history, it was created to represent the first city to fully integrate dragons into human society. Dragons and humans have a long, tumultuous history which often involved the enslavement or destruction of either species. Within the last century after the royal Bakugo family usurped the throne they claimed to see to the end of this bloody history with Dragon-kind, an end that did not involve more bloodshed and suffering. The last three generations of the royal Bakugo family have worked towards this goal and within the last decade solidified their relationship and integrated their new allies into human society within their capital city. Dragon-kind did a similar thing with their main village Sihai up in the Well and Spring mountain range around 100 miles northwest of the capital of Tariat. Sihai has become a merchant hotspot within this last decade, facilitating the goods exchange between the western and eastern kingdoms, where the Well and Spring mountain range lies in between.
The other flag of note was the flag of Ganbatthar, a mahogany red flag with short silver fringe surrounding its rectangular shape. The flag was great in size, easily dwarfing the other two flags as it flies in the center. It depicts a black bear standing tall on its hind legs, arms wide and intimidating with a high silver shield to its right and a silver greatsword to its left.
In comparison, the flag depicting the royal Bakugo family crest was less to look at. Simple and to the point. A light-absorbing black squared flag, with two burnt orange cutlass crossing in the very center. Straightforward and clear. Midoriya gulped when he saw it, recalling the rumors he's heard of the young king, his family, and the country he has already stepped foot into.
The three flags and the high walls with fully decked out guards sent the message across pretty clearly. Midoriya would be a fool to not feel slightly intimidated, but he was not scared, not in the slightest. If this was his destiny he would ride on it and chase it to the end of his life, no king on earth or in heaven could stand as an obstacle in his way for too long.
When his cart tentatively approached the gate, the driver handed over their papers and clearance to travel within Ganbatthian territory. The guard looked over the papers in disinterest until she came upon a sealed letter with a recognizable imprint. Her eyes widened and she gaped at the seal, peering quickly into the cart and deflating slightly when she saw only a bright-eyed young man.
"Move ahead, remember to stop by the stall with the tall purple flag to have your cart checked over and you should be cleared to enter Tariat. Welcome to our capital. Have a pleasant day."
As the cart moved away the guard turned to one of her companions and asked for clarification on the seal she saw. The other guard gasped and told her that if what she described is accurate then she was correct in her observation.
A midnight blue wax seal with the stamp of what appears to be a pair of bunny ears, there was no mistaking it, it was the official seal of the great warrior All Might.
The guards talked amongst themselves, a few civilians overheard and gossiped about the news. Some tried to find the cart with the passenger holding All Might's seal but the cart was so plain and inconspicuous that no one thought to check. News made it back to the castle fast, especially when a young simple bard with a love of gossip happened to overhear the news. With a speed reminiscent of the black bolt in his bright yellow hair, he made it into the castle and let himself into the study of a frustrated royal.
"I swear to Erlik, if you ask me about the 'purple-haired hottie' one more time," a pair of fierce red eyes glared at the intruder, "I will shove horseshit down your throat."
"Aw, don't be like that you know you love me."
"Don't test me dumbass, now what do you want?"
"Actually, you will want to hear this," at the change of tone the royal cocked an eyebrow at his subject and reluctant friend. The red-eyed man leaned back in his seat and crossed his arms waiting for the news, the bard started to sweat a little but spoke in a steady voice.
"Someone just entered the city, and they brought a letter with All Might's seal."
The young bright eyed man hauled a massive wrapped up package strapped to his back into the inn. The inn did not look like much, it was not the fanciest inn in the city, but Toshinori had recommended it. All he had to do was ask for "Old Man Torino" and hand him the sealed letter addressed to him.
A short but rough looking old man approached the odd looking boy, obviously a tourist, and asked if he needed help with anything.
"Uh, yeah sir, I'm looking for 'Old Man Torino'? I have a letter for him."
The old man looked up curiously, there's only been a handful of people that referred to him as such. He told him that it was he and he was promptly handed a letter, and when his eyes landed on the seal they widened and quickly ushered the young man into his office behind the check-in table.
Inside his office he closed the door behind the young man who was now carrying far more than just the wrapped up package on his back, but he paid it no mind when he quickly opened the letter and read its contents.
With a grin and a humorless laugh he slams the letter on his desk startling the young man, "so that's how it is Toshinori."
"Uh, you okay, sir?"
"Yeah, kid I'm fine. Let me take you to your room."
On the second floor at the very end of the western hall of the inn, Midoriya put down his luggage and breathed a sigh of relief. He still held on to the package strapped to his back.
A young boy knocked on his door and informed him that if he desired his lunch could be brought up to his room and he thanked him profusely. Blushing and grinning saying it was no big deal the young boy skipped away to bring him his meal as soon as he got it. Midoriya smiled softly as he closed the door.
"So, the old man's back, huh?" The red eyed royal huffed and ran a hand through his spiky hair, closing his eyes briefly while the bard shook his head.
"It doesn't seem like it. The guard that let them in said she only saw a young man in the cart, no sign of anyone else, much less All Might."
"Hmm," he hummed as he considered what this meant, it didn't take him too long before he came to a conclusion and he smirked deviously, "let's invite him in, I have a feeling he wants to see me too."
Finishing his lunch, he moaned at the taste of Ganbatthian cuisine. It was hot and flavorful, this country was known for its spices, but with the recent integration of Dragon culture the food evolved to include more avian meat into its meals. The soaring pigeon meat, a species of pigeon only found on the tallest mountains, coated in probably six different types of spices was heavenly. Nothing was bland, even the roasted vegetables seemed to have marinated in some sort of godly hot mixture that caused his eyes to water but his tongue relished the burn and flavor too much to complain.
Red faced and bleary eyed he finished his meal, and right then there was another knock on his door. Wiping his face with his sleeves and downing the rest of his water he opened the door and was shocked to see a couple of guards and a tall lanky man with a wide grin.
"Good afternoon! We hope we're not interrupting your meal," the grinning man greeted politely and Midoriya shook his head.
"I just finished my meal, what can I do for you?"
"Nice! I'm here to inform you that his highness King Katsuki Bakugo welcomes you to our country and the great city of Tariat. He would also like to extend a formal invitation to meet with him in an hour, and to bring everything you need with you."
The man's grin turned into a calm smile as the young man's eyes widened and he stuttered, "Oh! Uh, ye-yes of course! I'll definitely be there! Thank his highness for his welcome and invitation." Bowing deeply and almost comically the young man tried to calm his racing heart as he thought this was definitely much easier than he had expected.
After the tall man and guards departed with a courtesy bow of their own, Midoriya closed the door and thought about the words carefully.
Bring everything you need with you.
Midoriya realized that his highness was not playing around, he probably had an idea of what he was doing in the city and what he was carrying. He needed to be careful with him, he's heard the king was short-tempered and violent, but he was also strategic. A cunning rival is the most difficult to overcome, but Midoriya hoped it wouldn't come to that. He believed in his mentor, and if he had chosen his highness that means there was something about him that made him worthy. If their destinies were truly entwined then this was the first step into their futures, he hoped he wouldn't have to fight for his life against his highness.
Back in his study the young king discussed the imminent arrival of their guest. The king was not worried for his safety, but the same could not be said about his head of security.
“We have no idea who this man is or what his intentions are for coming here,” stressed the royal head guard Shouta Aizawa, although he did not look like much of a leader at first glance, the man has single handedly trained some of the fiercest and strongest warriors within the castle.
The king furrowed his brow and said, “I know what he’s here for and I doubt he’s a threat,” the young king offered a cocky grin, “either way even if he came with the intention of hurting me he wouldn’t get too far, or are you suggesting you and your students are not equipped to handle one lone man?”
Rolling his eyes Aizawa sighed, “remind me why I agreed to be your babysitter.” King Bakugo growled, “eh?! Who the fuck are you babysitting? Just take care of your side of things and I’ll take care of myself.” The older man shrugged and waved a hand over his shoulder as he stepped out of the study, the young king sitting behind the desk huffed and flipped off the closing door. His friend and foreign emissary chuckled as he glanced at the human king sitting all too casually and unlike royalty on his plush chair.
“You’re not invincible, you know,” the sharp-toothed redhead commented and the king grunted in response.
“I know shitty-hair,” he grumbled reluctantly, “but I’m not stupid or weak either. I can take care of one man, even if he was trained by All Might.”
“How are you so sure he was trained by All Might?”
“I know why he’s here, it’s the whole ‘destiny’ bullshit All Might spouted all the time. Apparently our ‘destinies’ are entwined, and I’m interested in meeting who I was supposed to share his legacy with.”
“Okay bro, whatever you say.” The redhead raised two fingers to his forehead in a mock salute as he departed.
“What have you figured out, raccoon-eyes?” out of the shadows a young demihuman woman materialized with a wide smile, she bowed respectfully and then easily approached the king. She half sat on his desk and he looked up at her with narrowed eyes.
“Well first thing’s first he’s adorable,” King Bakugo rolled his eyes and waved his hand as a command to continue, “he’s barely an adult, he appears to be naïve but don’t let it fool you, my eyes perceived an unfathomable depth within him and a nine-colored flame. He’s not simple, and I agree that we should be careful with how we handle him, even though I perceived no malice or ill-will towards you or the kingdom. But I trust you, blasty- sorry, your highness.”
Nodding in understanding the king pondered over her words, some in particular jumped out at him.
Nine-colored flame, King Bakugo thought, seems things will finally get interesting around here.
Midoriya walked over to the castle in awe of the activity and diversity of Tariat’s merchant square. Seeing all kinds of creatures, from humans to camouflaged dragons, demihumans and so much more. He was aware that Tariat was more than just a human and dragon city, but he did not expect this level of variety.
This was no time to get distracted, he’s on his way to see the king! He shook his head and power walked straight towards the sun-kissed towers that marked the entrance of the Ganbatthian castle, the home of the royal Bakugo family. As he approached he felt his heart beating harder and harder inside him, the significance of this event was not lost on him and he was starting to really feel the pressure. Somehow, the king quickly learned of his arrival and what it meant, instead of kicking him out he was invited into the castle. Midoriya tried to figure out what the king wanted from him, he wasn’t given a robust character profile from Toshinori so the only other things he had to go by was the rumors and his understanding of his mentor.
Taking all these things into consideration, Midoriya had come up with some potential reasons.
King Bakugo wanted to accept the legacy now. Midoriya was not super confident about this one, but he considered it anyway.
King Bakugo wanted to meet him before he killed him. He also doubted this one simply because he trusts Toshinori’s judgment, but he would be too naïve to not keep that possibility in mind.
King Bakugo simply wanted to meet him and figure out if he was friend or foe. This was very likely, only because this would be the most obvious assumption if one had at least half a brain.
King Bakugo wanted to meet him and then throw him out. This was also likely, why would he want to entertain the person that by all intents and purposes he could consider a rival?
There were other thoughts for sure, but these were the main ones Midoriya entertained on his way. Now, in front of the gates he met with the same grinning man that delivered the message an hour ago. As polite as earlier he was greeted and escorted inside the castle.
It was incredibly hard to not marvel, slack jawed and wide-eyed at the beauty of the castle. The castle’s stone was not nearly as polished as the stone of the outer walls, however it did not detract in the slightest from the majesty. Five spires that seemed to touch the sky, Midoriya could see a couple of enormous shadows gliding amongst the clouds, un-camouflaged dragons. The stone was dark, light seemed to bounce off it giving the castle an ethereal glow. There were four shorter spires and one great one ascending from the center. From where Midoriya approached it was an optical illusion, the spire gave the impression that it was still growing reaching far beyond the soft blue sky.
The landscaping was impeccable, well-cared for grass, trees and some flowers that Midoriya was not knowledgeable enough to identify. They were beautiful, five petal orange sizable flowers with dark brown pistils emerging from the center and pitch black pollen. One flower was probably bigger than his face, he wondered if these flowers were native or brought over from some distant land.
When they reached the main castle doors his mind and body were assaulted by many different sensations.
The most shocking was the smell, the doors opened and his nose inhaled a sweet smoky scent, it was pleasant and strange. Next was temperature, his body sagged from the soothing heat emanating from the main hall. His eyes identified the sources of the heat, the hall was lined with tame orange-hued flames, they seem to barely flicker against the wind tunneling in from the open doors. Those very flames seemed to hum as he stepped into the hall and cautiously walked forward beside his escort. Although his heart drummed up his throat his back was straight and his shoulders were pushed back, green eyes facing forward and toward the still empty throne at the very end of the hall. Behind the throne on a tall wall was the royal Bakugo family crest. Colossal as it stared down the young man with a ferocity he'd only encountered among wild beasts.
"First we kneel in wait," the formerly grinning - now simply smiling, raven-haired guard spoke reverently, "then his highness should arrive."
Following the guard's movements he let his right knee touch the ground and kept the other up, his right arm parallel to the ground with his wrist touching his left knee, fist closed, forehead pressed against his raised arm.
Barely a minute passed when the calm was interrupted, a man announced, "His Highness King Katsuki Bakugo, Lord of Destruction and Ally of Dragon-kind, Leader of the Free and the Fiercest Warrior of Ganbatthar." Midoriya wasn't sure if he was hearing things, but he could've sworn he heard the guard next to him snort. It was brief and when he glanced at the guard he sported had a stony expression, he did not miss the awkward twitch of his pursed lips.
His thoughts were interrupted by the thundering steps that came closer, he saw the swish of a blood red cape and the thuds of heavy black boots. The steps got closer and then turned to move farther away, he knew those steps were heading up to sit upon the throne.
Cautiously and respectfully Midoriya lowered his right arm, still keeping his eyes on the ground he slowly started to rise up to his full height and as he did his vision scanned the area in front of him.
Long legs clad in dark fitting slacks were spread wide open, taking up so much space Midoriya wondered if it was appropriate for a ruler. The cape was long and draped over the throne like waves of blood. On one of the armrests laid a hand adorned with lavish jewels, he also peeked some dark red ink decorating the skin of the back of his hand. Torso covered by a simple white tunic loosely tucked into the trousers, as if an afterthought. The tunic was not tied and revealed more decorated skin, although the long neck was bare of any art. The other decorated hand was tucked under a strong chin, finally Midoriya saw his face.
It was no wonder people feared and admired this young king, if not for the obvious youthfulness of his appearance Midoriya would have presumed he stood in the presence of a veteran warrior. The sharp red eyes were the most striking feature, priding himself on being someone who can read others easily, Midoriya was overwhelmed by the amount of information he acquired from those eyes. There was intrigue, pride, disdain, ferocity, challenge, and intelligence. Too many things were jumping out to him at once that he couldn't get a true read on the king. The shock of pale blond hair was both a marvel of nature and a thing of beauty, and this young warrior in training felt that when paired with those eyes it was the most accurate read he would get on the man.
Untamable, fierce, bold.
The king waved a hand and Midoriya's eyebrows quirked, the guard next to him whispered to him, "introduce yourself." Swallowing, he calmed his nerves and urged his voice to not crack under the pressure of the king's gaze.
"Your Highness, introducing himself is Izuku Midoriya, from the village of Tsurara in the Kagutsuchi Kingdom. Warrior in training, mentored by the mighty warrior from your great Ganbatthar Kingdom, All Might."
A faint gasp was briefly heard from the eastern corner where the royal announcer stood, quickly stifling the sound he clasped a hand over his mouth and bowed deeply in repentance toward the monarch. The king did not react, he simply let his eyes trail over the young man in search of something, and Midoriya waited patiently for whatever the king decided to do or say in response.
Whatever the king was searching for it appeared he had found, his lips spread into a wide grin reminiscent of a beast baring its teeth. Standing up from his throne he approaches Midoriya in long, easy strides that seemed to thunder and echo in Midoriya's head.
The king was barely half a head taller than Midoriya, slightly shorter than the guard beside him, but it felt like he towered over them all. With the grin still in place he stared straight into Midoriya's eyes and those green eyes stared back unflinching, bearing the full weight of the king's presence.
"Come." It was a simple command, hearing the king's voice for the first time as he was led by the monarch to leave the main hall, he did not have time to linger over the vibrating bass of the voice. A simple word was the crashing of waves and an eruption. Following closely behind the trail of blood the cape resembled he noted how the beating of his heart no longer echoed in his ears, it was replaced by the sound of solid footfalls.
Everything within the castle was too quiet, every sound was heightened to the point his soft breaths sounded like desperate puffs of air. The high ceilings and open walls felt claustrophobic, Midoriya started to wonder if it was all his head or if his senses were truly being monopolized by the castle and his highness.
From a window high up the head guard observed the guest with a critical eye, and he was not the only one. Midoriya felt like he was under intense scrutiny, even though he was simply trailing behind the king.
"Warrior in training," the king's words broke through Midorirya's thoughts, "will you demonstrate exactly how much All Might managed to teach you?" Before Midoriya knew it they stood in the middle of a vast training ground, presumably military considering the space, the variety of weapons, and the number of training dummies scattered. Led into an open field farther ahead, as the king walked he fiddled with the collar of his cape until it dropped heavily to the ground. Next, to Midoriya's shock, the tunic came off and his eyes took in the twisting red flames that adorned the scarred and muscular back. When they approached a weapon's rack the king twisted off the jewels on his fingers and placed them on the side table.
"I appreciate your consideration," the king spoke again, "not bringing a weapon into my home. However, even holding All Might's greatsword you would not stand a chance." Voice dripped with confidence and Midoriya caught a glimpse of white teeth as his mouth stretched into a wide grin.
Turning around his eyes took note of the feral smile, wide red eyes, and the fire that spread from his shoulder blades to his collar bones and down toward his hands. Covering the entirety of his strong arms and stretching over the back of his hands.
This was everything and nothing of the man Toshinori described and Midoriya imagined. He did not cower in his presence, no matter how overbearing it became Midoriya endured it with a straightforward gaze. Eyes bright but hard-set. If a fight is what the king wanted, it was a fight he was going to get.
"I don't really feel comfortable dueling against the ruler of a kingdom," Midoriya's voice sounded easy, inside he was burdened with uncertainty, "but I will hope his highness will go easy on me, I'm just a commoner after all."
The king's grin did not falter as he picked up twin cutlass from the weapon's rack beside him. Midoriya's eyes turn towards the weapons and picked up a straight, double-edged sword, then a small circular shield that he strapped it to his left arm.
"Does your highness wish to add any conditions to this duel?" Red eyes pierced through him and Midoriya would be a fool to not acknowledge how small he felt under the harsh gaze.
Huffing the king approached Midoriya and in a low voice said, "I'll try not to kill you."
A man with long, shaggy black hair and tired eyes stepped into the field and announced, "His Highness King Katsuki Bakugo challenges warrior in training Izuku Midoriya to an official Ganbatthian duel. Warriors, ready!"
The king walked backwards over ten feet never taking his eyes off his opponent, Midoriya widened his stance slightly and held the sword vertically, green eyes narrowing and lips parted to take in deep, calming breaths. The king held a sword in each hand and extended his arms to the side, he bent his knees and slouched forward, but his head was still raised, red eyes calm.
Swiftly the king's feet pounded the ground and sped towards Midoriya, the latter's eyes widened a fraction but brought his shielded arm upwards to block if the king struck him with one of the swords, he tilted his own sword to parry the other one. He moved fast and would have succeeded if he had not misread his opponent. Still grinning the king crossed his arms over his chest and jumped up, kicking against the shield and flipped over Midoriya. Turning his body around midair he landed behind his opponent with one knee on the ground, Midoriya barely dodged the king's cutlass as he uncrossed his arms and sliced through the air. Midoriya leapt forward and rolled on the ground. His execution was not so graceful since he panicked, the king was very fast and he couldn't get an accurate read on him yet.
Turning around the king was hot on his trail and Midoriya decided he needed to go on the offensive if he was going to stand a chance. Keeping his shielded arm lowered was a risk but one he was going to have to take. He observed as the king swung his right arm wide picking up considerable momentum so he turned to the king's right to avoid the downward diagonal slash, keeping his sword horizontal now to slice through his abdomen. The king did not miss this and used his other cutlass to halt the movement and push it back.
This is what Midoriya wanted, just one block and the king would have to go on the defense if he could manage to keep up with his highness speed and agility. With their backs towards each other, Midoriya turned first, when his sword was pushed back he adjusted his grip to facilitate a twisting horizontal hack headed for the king's legs. The king had no choice but to jump away to avoid the hit which gave Midoriya the chance to spin around to move toward the king.
The king did not waste a second even in the air, he changed his grip on the cutlass to deliver devastating stabs to Midoriya's shoulders, and he realized that as he stepped into the king's range he was going to have to take a hit just to get the chance to land anything on his highness.
Feet touched the ground and the cutlass were mere inches away from making contact, the king's eyes widened and quickly flipped his wrists so instead the hilt of his swords made heavy impact. Midoriya took the entire hit with a visible cringe, but he gritted his teeth and used both hands to lift his sword, which now felt way heavier, to slice the king.
With clear shock coloring his features, the king fell back but the tip of the sword still sliced open his skin. A long diagonal cut through from his left ribs up his chest and right under his right shoulder. It was not deep enough to incapacitate him, it definitely looked worse than it felt, but the true reason the king was struck speechless was because of the reckless decisions this young warrior made just to cut him once.
Midoriya was on his knees attempting to steady his breathing, the blows to his shoulders wrecked his arms and he thinks he might have dislocated something when pulling his sword up after taking those hits. The king stepped forward and took note of the man on his knees, arms hanging limply, the sword on the ground off to the side, the pained but still determined look in the young man's eyes.
With one of his swords he points the tip towards Midoriya's face with an expectant look, the younger man squinted his eyes as he looked up, the sun was shining from behind the king and it hurt his eyes.
"Surrender," was all the king said and Midoriya couldn't hold his head up any longer, the cool metal of the sword touched his forehead and in a clear but ragged voice he repeated the word.
Seemingly satisfied with this the king let his weapons fall out of his hands and he started to walk away. A small group of men and women approached him with the intention of taking care of his wounds, he waved at them dismissively and said, "Take care of him, I'll go to old lady Chiyo."
The small group of healers coaxed the young man into standing up and gently guiding him back into the castle, the head guard and the young raven-haired guard shared a look.
"That's a nasty cut you got there, young man, who did you piss off this time?" The older woman tutted in disappointment and the king scowled.
"I didn't piss anyone off, it was an official duel," he gritted his teeth as she cleaned him, due to his rising irritation rather than the pain, "he's All Might's new pet project, whatever the hell his name was... Soku, Iku, Deku? I don't give a shit but he did piss me off."
"Did he beat you?"
"Ha! Of-fucking-course he didn't, but that's why I'm pissed!" She asked him if he wanted it to scar and he nodded, she's a brilliant healer but every so often the king likes to leave some scars on his body.
"All Might expected me to share his legacy with this bitch? Yeah he knows his way around a sword, but what the fuck was that in the end? He let me hit him! For what? So he could get ONE hit on me! In the battlefield he would be long-dead, fuck I should've killed him and gotten it over with."
The old woman hummed and now the king had a long scar across his torso - another reminder, another lesson.
“His highness used sparring swords, didn’t he?” Midoriya asked the healers and they nodded.
“When dueling, his highness rarely uses his real cutlass.”
“But he let me use a real sword?”
“Indeed his highness did, that’s also common.”
Midoriya wasn’t sure if he felt insulted or grateful. Coming into the Ganbatthar kingdom he was aware he didn’t stand a chance against the king, his meager three years of training cannot compared to a man who was trained to kill since birth. A man with experience in war, fighting for his life and leading armies, even if the king was young he had already accomplished so much.
When he thought back to their short fight he recalled his fear at seeing those twin blades coming down to tear at his shoulders. He was more than relieved when the king flipped his wrists last minute to strike him with the hilts, if he hadn’t he’d have more to worry about than just dislocated shoulders.
One thing he understood now after dueling with the king is that he’s definitely more man than beast. His fighting style and his appearance gave a beastial impression, but he was not a merciless, bloodthirsty killer. Even if taking on the dull blades full force wouldn’t have killed him it would’ve thoroughly wrecked his arms, probably made him incapable of ever raising a sword again if he didn’t have One For All. Midoriya couldn’t blame him even if he had struck him with sharpened blades, Midoriya was the one who took the risk under the assumption the king was wielding real swords, but his highness still decided to switch and cause less damage.
Groaning he closed his eyes and laid down on the bed. The healers were all done setting him back in place and treating the bruises, they said he could rest there until he felt fit to leave. Midoriya felt like he wouldn’t be standing back up ever again, but that was probably because this bed was surprisingly comfortable even for an infirmary mattress.
The exhaustion got to him, he had just arrived into the city and almost immediately after stepping into the capital he was invited to meet the king. To duel his highness no less, now he was left to heal from his injuries on a comfortable bed, his mind relaxed and he fell into a dreamless sleep.
"He's sleeping, your highness, let's cut him some slack - his shoulders are fucked," the raven-haired guard blocked the doors, not letting the snarling royal even peek inside, said royal fumed and glared up at the snarky guard.
"You really got a fucking death wish, soy-sauce face."
"Eh, I like to live but it can get pretty boring around here," grinning mischievously he continued, "a little danger here and there wouldn't hurt."
"Fine, fuckface, I'll leave the dork alone!" Huffing the king stomps off towards his study, "Let me know when he wakes up."
Mock saluting the departing monarch the guard leans back casually against the wall beside the doors, just then a demihuman woman walked up to the guard and waved.
"Hey Hanta, he in there?" The pink-skin woman smiled and he pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Mina, please not him too," he pleads with the smiling woman who shrugs innocently, "you saw him, right? He's probably a virgin don't corrupt him yet."
"He is a virgin."
"How would you know?!"
"My eyes see all," she fiddled with one of her long curls and the guard groaned. "Don't you have a girlfriend anyway?" Shaking her head, the smile never fading, she stated, "Not really, we just hook up every once in a while," she shrugged.
With a pained look in his eye, the guard looked up pleadingly toward the high ceilings, "oh gods I envy you, Mina... Well, at least one of us is out there having fun." With a fond glint in his eyes he smiled at his friend.
"I'm still not letting you in though."
The king was not surprised to find the head guard Aizawa already waiting for him in his study. Rolling his eyes he walks right past him and slumps on his chair.
“What?” the head guard shrugs his arms still crossed, the young king glares at him as he let his head fall back.
“Well, I told you he wasn’t a threat to me,” the king grumbled and the head guard sighed.
“Yeah, I got that,” he looked like he aged ten years after watching the duel, he wondered if All Might had a talent for finding the most troublesome kids and then making them worse.
“What the fuck was that shit he pulled out there?” the king’s jaw clenched and he brought his eyes back to Aizawa who stared at him with no discernible emotion.
“I swear, All Might is still a shitty teacher ain’t he.”
“He was never particularly good at teaching, he was more of the lead by example type.”
“No kidding…” his mind couldn’t help but think back to his teenage years, training with the great warrior All Might. He was mystified by the man, even if he tried his best to hide it, he was so excited to have this opportunity. Especially because the great warrior appeared to see something special in him, something he wanted to cultivate.
When he learned he was meant to share the legacy his rose-tinted glasses shattered.
At the time, the prince thought he must have been lacking something for All Might to believe he needed to have a partner just to be enough to inherit the legacy. Later the great warrior sat him down and explained the nature of his legacy, how it wasn’t simply his decision but something determined by destiny. His power was inherited and cultivated, and it is a power - a legacy - meant to be passed on.
All Might was never the best at explaining things, but even in his teens the soon-to-be king was clever. This legacy was now too great to be handled alone by one individual, so Bakugo could not carry it alone.
This was not enough for him, even though he understood, he was not the type of person to share greatness with anyone. If this power was supposedly too great to be carried alone, then he didn’t want it. On his own he will surpass even the great warrior All Might, his own accomplishments will be enough to overtake whoever ends up with All Might’s legacy - the so-called One For All.
The king does not regret his decision to reject All Might’s legacy, but he does feel a little insulted that he was meant to wait for this dweeb. A lack of experience is just that, that can be remedied easily. However that level of reckless abandon, this self-destructive path is not something anyone can just fix. He wondered if All Might was aware of the true extent of this young man’s drive. Passion is one thing. But that, that was a whole other thing that neither of them are truly prepared to deal with.
“What are you planning on doing with him, your highness?”
Grunting, the king rolled his head and cracked his neck, “I’ll figure it out, first I have to see what All Might had him deliver to me.”
“I’m sorry, deliver what?”
“That man did not come here empty handed, I’m sure All Might left him something to give me,” he waved his hand dismissively and the head guard sighed, thinking that of course this kid would be so self-centered to believe that.
Somehow, Aizawa did not doubt that the young king was correct in his assumption. As the head guard stepped out of the study he wondered if All Might’s talk of destiny was onto something.
It had been awhile since someone riled up the king in such a way, and the head guard hoped that this would be for the best.
CW: implied/referenced torture, blood and mild gore
There’s no description of the torture or the method, just implied.
Within the last year, the Kagutsuchi Kingdom experienced major turmoil, it was felt most strongly among the nobility and farmers. Nearly a year ago their ruler died, he burned to death when assassins managed to sneak into the castle. The untimely death of King Enji Todoroki unraveled the kingdom, civil war threatened to break out among the noble factions.
Some nobles took advantage of the chaos to pressure the farmers within their territories to sell their harvest for a heavily discounted price only to a number of chosen merchants. The merchants and traders that built close relationships with those corrupt nobles over the years facilitated the exchange of goods out of the kingdom, allowing these nobles to strengthen their relationships with neighboring nations. Having a little extra money in your pocket is always good, but having the backing of powerful foreign families will guarantee the survival of their lineage.
Other less traitorous, although still conniving, nobles used the unrest to put their people in places of power and influence. By having their people coming in with sudden and impressive solutions to the greatest difficulties the kingdom was facing. One would be a half-wit to not see through their schemes, creating these problems and then conveniently producing a solution just as things were set to take a turn for the worst.
The nobles were not worried, for the one to inherit the throne was the eldest son Prince Touya Todoroki. The true crown prince rejected the crown a couple of years ago, and at that time there was no crown prince. However, with the sudden death of the king and patriarch of the noble Todoroki family, the noble Todoroki faction once again implored the crown prince to take on the throne, for it to once again be rejected.
"I refuse to be consumed by the same evil forces as my late father," the crown prince declared among the political unrest within the royal counsel's chambers, "there are others as worthy, if not more so, of the crown than this lowly prince. I'll take my leave."
The crown was then passed down to the eldest son. The eldest prince was a kind, free-spirited, and charming man. Notwithstanding his sickly disposition, he grew up living free and unburdened by his royal duties, his father wanting nothing to do with his weak firstborn and his mother becoming bedridden due to her debilitating health.
As a ruler, no one expected much from the eldest prince, whom immediately after ascending the throne built a harem of beautiful men and women for himself. A harem before being officially married was a scandal all on its own, but this was not a simple harem.
Unburdened by royal duties, prince Touya Todoroki made real connections. None among the self-interested noble factions desired to build connections with him because he had nothing to offer. Therefore, in his youth he forged genuine friendships with many different types of people. Intelligent, capable, and humble people that wanted nothing more than for their kingdom to prosper.
They were more of a cabinet of royal advisors than a harem, since they were a bunch of nobodies with no strong political ties they could not be offered official positions. While the noble factions were too busy worrying about each other and furthering their own agendas, the new king's harem got to work with gradually exposing and punishing these nobles.
The punishments were fair and just harsh enough to discourage further corruption without pushing too far and forcing the factions to retaliate. Only one family head was killed, when they were found exchanging correspondence with hostile foreign powers, the rest were either imprisoned or charged very hefty fines.
Of course, no one outside of the royal family knew it was the harem doing all this work. Who would suspect a group of young, beautiful people meant to pleasure the monarch would be the deadly efficient force exposing the corruption within the noble factions?
In such a short time, the new king and his harem managed to nearly stabilize the kingdom after everyone started to believe a civil war was imminent. The former crown prince, and youngest son, Shoto Todoroki was grateful and proud. Having always seen the potential in his brother, he knew that if anyone could sit on the throne and not become consumed by greed and power – it would be Touya.
There was still so much work to be done, but the youngest prince believed he had nothing to worry about.
"My prince," the young, beautiful noblewoman called to him from her horse, "is everything all right?"
The former crown prince looked up and his eyebrows rose, quickly he approached her horse and held out a hand to her. She took it and gracefully dismounted, "forgive me lady, I was lost in thought. Come, this way."
With her hand in his he guided her through the lush green maze, his steps were quick but she could keep up with no problem. They moved in comfortable silence for a couple of minutes and they reached the center.
There was a small but attractive gazebo, dark green vines enveloped the white wood and the noble woman let out a soft gasp. Inside the gazebo there was a tea cart with a gorgeous tea set and a tower of pastries and snacks.
"Is this?" Her eyes were wide and glittering, they looked up at the prince and back down at the tea set in awe. The prince smiled fondly, enjoying the sight of the lady forgetting herself and openly expressing her feelings.
"I thought the thunder-kissed jade tea set was lost at sea, h-how?"
"Turns out my asshole dearly departed father hid it away," taking a deep breath he continues with a genuine smile, "regardless, even if it was lost at sea, I would find it for you."
Chuckling she rolls her eyes and glances at the prince, "spare me the saccharine words, my prince." Back up to her full height she stands in front of him and places a hand on his cheek, he allows himself to fall into her touch. Her eyebrows furrowed and her smile faltered, "I will miss you, Shoto."
"My lady," she raises an eyebrow at him and he corrects himself, "Momo." She smiles and he continues, "I won't be gone for too long, let's enjoy this pleasant spring afternoon with your new precious tea set."
They did enjoy their time together, even after trying their best to keep their mind off political matters and abandoning that goal after not too long. They discussed the lofty fines the noble Kentaro faction has to pay by the end of the month if they want to keep their patriarch out of prison, afterwards debating about the state of affairs in the southeastern district of Yukifuri. They couldn’t help it, they could only ever discuss their true thoughts with each other. This is what they would consider as “fun”.
The afternoon progressed slowly, as if the universe was giving the young lovers as much time as possible in each other’s presence before they had to part ways. While the young prince insisted that they wouldn’t be apart for too long there was no real time frame for his trip, it would last as long as it needed. Lady Yaoyorozu was not privy to the details, but there were few things in the kingdom she was in the dark about. She did not pressure the prince for details, she had an understanding of what he needed to do and she trusted him. However, trust was not enough to ease her nerves due to the dangers he will face. She wished to accompany him and protect him, but she was needed in the kingdom. Above all else, including their lives, the kingdom came first.
The sound of hooves abruptly ended their discussion, the young lady finished the last of their afternoon tea as the prince got to his feet with a hand extended to her. Taking his hand she stands up and allows him to lead her out of the gazebo to wait for their visitors.
Entering the center of the maze are a group of six people clothed in black, their faces obscured by black veils. The horses halted and the group started to dismount.
"Perfect, we got him," a masculine voice called to the others they reached for something on their side, "if you come with us voluntarily prince, then no one has to get hurt."
Prince Shoto and the lady shared a look, while the prince's brows were pinched together the lady kept a calm, almost disinterested expression.
"Listen," the same voice called to the couple as the rest of the group slowly approached, all of them now brandishing daggers, "you can either come with us or we'll-"
"Excuse us, sir," lady Yaoyorozu looked in their direction and clasped her hands behind her back, she had a small smile, "we were discussing some important matters, couldn't you have come at another time?" Her voice was steady, she sighed and continued, "Honestly why come all the way into the castle, and looking like that. It would've made more sense if you ambushed him on his way out of the capital not in the middle of our afternoon tea."
"My lady," the prince looked at her like a wounded animal, "please don't make it sound as if you would like for me to be ambushed."
"I jest my prince, I was merely in awe of the lack of rationale and careful plotting. One might think this was their first abduction attempt," she glanced at the group of people and noted their sudden rigidity, she gasped and covered her mouth, "oh dear this is your first attempt! I apologize for my thoughtless comment."
"Forget about her, she's stalling!" A female voice exclaimed, "Let's do what we came here for."
The prince pulled out his katana and held it low with both hands on the tsuka, the sharpened edge facing the ground, legs spread and knees slightly bent. His body was relaxed, limbs loose and ready to strike. Both of the lady's hands were behind her back once again, her polite smile unwavering and her posture regal. The villains noted their stances and concluded she must have extreme confidence in the prince's skills, seeing her so relaxed at the prospect of her significant other taking on six people on his own. They thought to themselves they should not underestimate the prince, but as long as one of them got past him and took her hostage they would have the upper hand.
They all moved in at once, not allowing the prince to take them on one by one. His face did not betray a hint of worry as two of the assailants raised their daggers high taking advantage of his lowered stance, while another two went around his back with their daggers low in case he managed to block or parry the daggers coming down.
"Don't kill all of them, my prince," her gentle voice sounded like it spoke right into his ear, even though she was not immediately beside him, "I'll need to interrogate them later."
"Understood, my lady."
In the blink of an eye he lifted his blade with such devastating force that it knocked the daggers out of their hands with the back of his sword. Just as quickly Prince Shoto adjusted his grip and turned the blade to strike diagonally back down towards the other two coming from behind. Twisting his hips and changing his stance, by the time his left foot touched the ground again, they were not only missing their daggers but also their hands. The formerly pristine landscape was now tinted red, and the air was filled with their screams.
It didn't last long, soon their screams were silenced and their numbers went from six to four.
The other two unaccounted for so far approached the lady slowly, the one from behind noted her hands clenched into fists and they figured she was sparing the prince her concern. The villain coming from behind then froze when their partner got close enough to grab her, but their hand was swiftly maneuvered away.
The lady turned to them, her right hand steering them away, her left fist pounded the hand holding the dagger and they yelled in pain as they dropped it. The lady swiped their legs and they were slammed back on the ground, right before they could make any attempts at getting back up she wacked them behind their ear and their body slumped.
Her eyes turned to the assailant frozen behind her, the smile never left her face. Unnerved by the uncanny expression they couldn't react in time to her assault.
One powerful hook kick and a blow to the head later, their numbers were down to two.
The ones who lost their daggers first now recovered them, but they had already lost. The lady and her prince towered in front of them, one of them covered in blood and the other looking as if she didn't do a single thing.
The fight was over before it even really started, the villains were utterly overwhelmed in the time it would've taken the lady to take a single sip of her tea. Just then the sound of hooves could be heard from the distance and they knew it was all over.
"I know I said not to kill all of them," the lady sighed, her smile finally gone now seemingly pensive, "but keeping four alive is a little too much."
Before they could begin to plead for their lives the prince moved to stand in front of the lady and stabbed one of the assailants through the chest. The other could only stare as their partner died right next to them, feeling a mixture of relief and guilt.
"How does three sound, my lady?" He asked, his eyes betrayed not even a hint of remorse.
"Better. Thank you, my prince, for sparing my dress from the blood."
"Not that it would've detracted from your beauty in the slightest," he turned to offer her a soft smile his blade dripping scarlet, "but that dress is too lovely, I dare not ruin it."
"You flatter me, highness." Her eyes shone with admiration, her lips spread into a genuine smile. The horses were here now and this time carried the palace guard. The one conscious villain deflated, there was nothing they could do now.
"Your highness! My lady!" A tall, bespectacled man called them his voice heavy with worry. Dismounting he quickly and stiffly bowed to them as some guards took care of the intruders, the others scouting the area to make sure there weren't more about.
"Sir Iida, please rise," the prince commanded and the knight did as told.
"I know you two can take care of yourselves," the knight started, taking off his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose, "but you have to let someone else accompany the two of you when you go off on your own. At the very least to ease my nerves!"
When his glasses came back on he noted the apparently empty-handed lady and he paled, "Momo- I'm sorry - my lady. You didn't even have your naginata with you? You know better than to go out unarmed."
"I am not unarmed, cousin," rolling her eyes she opens her hands showing her iron yawaras, "Never mind your misplaced concern, we were never entirely alone. Prince Shoto arranged for Hagakure's secret guard to hide amongst the maze. If things somehow progressed beyond our control they would take care of the threat."
The prince glanced at Lady Yaoyorozu but quickly recovered his disinterested expression. He never arranged for that, they had planned to spend the afternoon completely alone. Of course, he realized she was trying to lessen the knight's worries and hopefully get him to stop admonishing them.
The knight eyed her suspiciously and then deflated, even if he tried to catch her in a lie it was of no use. No one could read these two except each other, as well in a battle of wits no one stood a chance against Lady Yaoyorozu. His body sagged and then rolled his shoulders back.
"Very well, my lady," the knight looked them over and was relieved to see there was nothing more than some grass stains on the hem of Yaoyorozu's dress, and the blood on Prince Todoroki was not his own.
"I hope you enjoyed your afternoon together, I'm very sorry it was interrupted by these villains."
"It was not too much of an interruption, I am wondering how they managed to get passed your guards, sir Iida."
The prince's eyes sharply turned to the knight, but the latter was not intimidated and instead reported robotically, "Reporting to your highness, they were not the only intruders we've dealt with today."
Their eyebrows rose in mild surprise, it was not uncommon to have assassins come in to the palace, especially ever since his Royal Majesty the Elder Todoroki sat upon the throne. However, to have so many come in at once, enough to occupy the palace guards allowing a small group to slip by was unheard of.
It didn't make sense to the lady. To acquire information on the prince's mission abroad was difficult but not impossible, it would be stupid to come in to catch the prince while he was still in the palace, she said as much earlier.
Their attackers were also not very skilled. Not because they were going against them but in general, they froze when intimidated and their movements were stiff. No self-respecting assassin company would allow such an ill-trained and inexperienced team undertake an attempt at kidnapping the prince.
"It's not the prince," Lady Yaoyorozu stated, their eyes turned to her and she continued, "they didn't come here for the prince, this was something else..."
"My lady," the knight's jaw tensed, "we'll investigate this, let's take things one step at a time. We cannot stall the prince's departure much longer." Sighing she nodded and turned to look at her prince, her features softened.
"I'll escort you, my prince," he scoffed good-naturedly and did not contradict her, they got on their horses and left. The knight clenched his fists and turned back to glare darkly at the surviving intruders, swearing that he will get to the bottom of this.
Their sacred palace walls were tainted with the dirty blood of these villains, and he'd make sure they all pay for their transgression.
"I trust you can take care of yourself, my prince," the lady gazed up at him and her dark eyes shone with feeling, "but for my sake please be careful. You won't be alone on this trip and that eases my heart, but promise you'll keep me updated every step of the way."
Standing by the palace gates, the prince held on to his lady's hand and gave her a reassuring squeeze. "The road to Sihai is protected, especially in these recent years. There's nothing to worry about," with a small smirk he adds, "although, even if I don't contact you myself I'm sure you'll know exactly where I am at all times."
With a small smile she said nothing, neither contradicting nor confirming his theory. Lady Yaoyorozu was not only one of the most intelligent people in the kingdom, she was one of the most well-informed. Having taken advantage of her family's influence and connections from a young age, she could boast about possessing one of the largest information networks this side of the Well and Spring range.
Lightly kissing her knuckles he enters the carriage once again sporting his usual empty look. It was known that the lady and prince were betrothed, although not officially engaged, but very few people were aware they truly cared for each other. During these turbulent times young Prince Todoroki could not afford to have any easily exploitable weaknesses, so in public they acted as expected for a noble couple set to marry from a young age. They interacted formally and respectfully, but never overly sentimental.
As the prince's entourage left the palace the lady's gentle smile remained, her movements purposeful and the very picture of grace. Some palace guards escorted her back inside where she met with her cousin, seeing his set and determined look she nodded and he excused her escorts in favor of having the senior knight guide her.
"I know you like dealing with these kind of people yourself, Momo," he spoke in a low voice, "I'll take you right to them, but you know the drill, we have to take the long way." Nodding her smile never faltered, her posture and features depicted a steady calm all the while her mind worked through all the possible reasons for this attack. Keeping them in mind for when they descended to the dungeons and she questioned them herself.
“This was not a real attack,” the lady declared softly, the knight beside her did not visibly react to her comment, “I would’ve heard something, or sensed something stirring if there was going to be a true attempt against the palace or anyone in it.”
“I understand Momo,” her cousin’s voice was low and dark, and it was not just because they were trying to be discreet, they were finally nearing their destination.
The humidity down there was always a nightmare for Lady Yaoyorozu’s hair, thankfully her prince was gone and would not bear witness to its unfortunate state. Pulling something from her sleeve she grabbed and twisted her hair, putting it up in a wild ponytail. Her smile disappeared and her stony eyes took in the sight of two women and one man clad in black, bound and staring up at her in defiance. By the sound of heavy breathing and whimpering coming from further down the dark hall, the other intruders, those who attacked the palace guard, were in the process of being interrogated. She’d deal with them later, right now all she cared about was making the lowlives who dared raise a finger against her prince pay.
“I know the three of you don’t have any crucial information to offer,” her voice was like steel, “you’re the small fry meant to distract us, you three probably don’t even know why you were really sent here.” The lady kept fiddling with her dress sleeves, searching, but her eyes stared down the three people gagged and kneeling on the ground.
“Even if you were no real threat to us, you still had the gall to attempt to hurt his highness.” Finally from her sleeve she pulled out a handful of very thin, sharp, bamboo sticks. At the sight of them the three intruders started to struggle and cry against their gags.
Her cousin was a man of duty and honor. A knight through and through. He comes from a family of knights and he acquired his current position after his brother, the former Knight Commander, was forced to retire after sustaining life-altering injuries months ago during one of the many assassination attempts against the current king. That one event changed something in him, still a man that values order above all, ever since his honorable brother’s life was permanently disrupted by cowardly villains he can no longer see them as people.
The three currently screaming their throats hoarse against their gags are nothing than monsters in his eyes. He stared down at them without an ounce of sympathy. He almost lost his brother, today his cousin’s life was threatened, his prince and close friend was assaulted. These subhuman creatures are suffering now as they deserve, as one of them faints from the pain and the other two await their own fates he feels nothing.
Tensei Iida wouldn’t approve, but what he doesn’t know won’t kill him.
The fog in Midoriya's mind slowly dissipated as his eyes opened finding himself in an unfamiliar room. Spacious, bright, and full of beds just like the one he was on. Groaning softly he wanted to rub his eyes but found he couldn’t move his arms. Just like that he remembered where he was and why he was there. An infirmary, in the castle, King Bakugo’s castle. The same king that thoroughly defeated him in a duel, and for some reason he was allowed to nap comfortably instead of being immediately thrown out.
This meant there was something the king wanted from him, again he doubted the king wanted his share of the legacy, but what else could he want from him?
It could be curiosity, or he could want some sort of information from him. He wasn’t sure what kind of information he could have to offer the king, unless he wanted to inquire about All Might? He doubted that as well because he could’ve contacted the man himself at any moment, he had no doubt his highness had the means to search for Mr. Toshinori anytime he wanted.
Midoriya didn’t know the king well enough, even with all the information he acquired on the man from their duel it still didn’t provide him with any viable clues. All that he learned were things he already suspected.
The king was prideful and strong.
Not using his real cutlass in a duel proved as much to him. It wasn’t until the sparring swords touched his skin at the end that he realized the king gave himself a handicap while dueling him. If that didn’t prove the king was cocky as all hell then he didn’t know what would. However, it also proved he was incredibly strong, because according to what he heard from the healers this was common practice for his highness, and it was seemingly also just as common that he succeeded with that handicap.
“Oh gods, he’s pretty amazing,” with a soft laugh he struggles to sit up, and after a lot of grunting and wincing he manages to push himself up halfway before the infirmary door opened and the raven-haired guard checked on him.
“Oh, hey man take it easy,” with a smile he half-jogs over to Midoriya and helps him up, grabbing a pillow from one of the neighboring beds and setting it on top of the one on his own bed. With a grateful smile he thanks the guard and leans back against the pillows.
“No problem, how’re you feeling?”
“Well, I can’t really move my arms, but overall I’m not doing too bad.”
“Good to hear!,” the guard grins and Midoriya began to wonder if the man ever stopped grinning, the guard continued, “you better steel your heart though, I promised his highness I’d let him know when you woke up. Are you ready to face him again?”
He only took a second to think it over before nodding, whatever the king wanted from him there was no better way of figuring it out than from the king himself. Midoriya had his own business with him, and no matter how much the king intimidated him he wasn’t going to leave without seeing it through.
The guard left and Midoriya sighed, somehow the guard made him feel at ease about seeing the king even though he didn’t offer any comforting words. Something about the way he spoke of the monarch gave him the impression he was not afraid of his highness. If a guard was not afraid of his highness, then he shouldn’t be either, right?
He really hoped he was right.
“Hellooo,” a feminine voice startled Midoriya and he cringed when it caused his shoulders to ache. A pretty demihuman woman appeared out of nowhere, dark eyes and pink skin, she was smiling sweetly at him and approached the bed.
“I’m glad you’re feeling a little better, my name’s Mina Ashido, and you’re Izuku Midoriya, right?” Something about the way she spoke his name, with no hesitation and ease led him to believe she didn’t need any confirmation.
Regardless, he nodded and said, “Nice to meet you, Ms. Ashido, um-”
“Please, call me Mina, I'd like to get to know you better Izuku.” Half sitting on the bed she leaned forward and continued to smile at him as if this was all normal. This was far from normal for Midoriya, he’d never had a girl this close to him, much less such an attractive one, and it was starting to show by his fierce blushing and stuttering that his mind had shut down. Apparently, the woman found this charming and giggled, “you’re adorable, I like you Izuku.” One of her hands softly patted his cheek and softly said, “our time is up for now, but I hope to see more of you in the future!”
Standing up daintily she waved at him and stepped out of the infirmary, his heart was beating out of his chest and he shook his head to turn his brain on again. He could hear the thundering footsteps getting closer and he wondered how the woman sensed the king’s presence so early. Midoriya wondered if it had something to do with her race? It was obvious enough she was a demihuman but he couldn’t easily identify what she was mixed with. Now he was hoping to see her again just to question her, Midoriya loved learning about all the different races and their history, he was starting to wish he brought his notebook to take notes on her appearance and personality before he heard the door opening again.
Now his heart started to beat quickly again, but not for the same reason as before. His highness entered the room and once again Midoriya felt like gravity shifted around the king. Everything felt so much heavier, and when their eyes met again he felt suffocated.
“About time,” the king scoffed and approached the bed Midoriya was on, he stood by the foot of the bed and stared down the injured man with his arms crossed. Midoriya noted that the tunic and jewelry were back on, however he did not have his cape draped over his shoulders. Even without the imposing cape his mere presence was formidable on its own.
“You have something for me, don’t you?”
For a second Midoriya was confused, only because he doesn’t remember mentioning the letter he brought over. However, he recalls.
Bring everything you need with you.
Somehow, he knew. The king really wasn’t someone to be underestimated, even though his highness was barely four years older than him he could feel the years of experience separating them. Although, now was not the time to think about that.
“Yes I do, but…” he looks down toward his arms and the king snarls but doesn’t say anything else, instead cocks his head towards the guard. Nodding the guard approaches Midoriya, who pushes his hips upwards to gesture where he kept the letter. Reaching into the right-side pocket he pulls out a small letter with a familiar seal.
Midoriya was not aware of what was in these letters, the one he gave to the old man running the inn, or the one that’s now in the king’s hands. He simply hoped that whatever was in that letter wouldn’t anger the king, much less cause that anger to turn on him. As much as he was not truly scared of the king, he did not want to deal with this imposing man’s rage anytime soon.
Thankfully, it appears he did not have to worry about that, because the king finished reading through the letter quickly and stashed it away. He did not look angry, so that was good.
“Leave us,” the king commanded the guard, Midoriya did not miss the look the guard gave the king and wondered what kind of guard gives a pointed warning look to their own monarch. The king snarled at the guard before he left the room, shutting the door behind him.
The king sat down on the bed to Midoriya’s left, his left boot pressed against the injured man’s mattress and the king draped his left arm over the raised knee. He stared down at the young man with a critical eye, taking note of the tense jaw and unwavering eye contact. The king had to give the man props for holding his stare head-on, he had balls of steel for a commoner.
“How’s your wound, your highness?”
The king’s eyes widened a fraction before they settled down into a glare. Was this commoner really inquiring about his health? Did he really think he caused him so much damage as to warrant worry? He was about to bite the man’s head off but he spoke again.
“I mean, I barely scratched you, so I guess it’s silly of me to ask… But would it be more impolite for me not to ask? Your royal healers are amazing so I'm sure it didn’t even leave a scar, they did a great job with my shoulders even if I can't move them yet, I expected worse. Anyway, your wound, is it appropriate for me to ask? I'm worried, not that you can't take care of yourself! But-”
“For Erlik’s sake, do you always talk this much?” the king snapped and the young man had the audacity to look sheepish instead of cowering at the king’s tone.
“Oh, uh, yeah sorry. I’ve been told I have a muttering problem.”
At that Midoriya startled, he could tell from the beginning that the king was not a man preoccupied by things like elegance and decorum. However, hearing a monarch speak so casually and rudely was disorienting.
“Now, tell me er…”
“Deku,” just as Midoriya was about to tell him his name the king decided he remembered it, even though it was completely wrong. Midoriya felt he’d be pushing the luck he’s had so far if he tried to correct the king now.
“What is it about you that made All Might believe you’re supposed to inherit his legacy?”
The young man furrowed his brow at the king, the young royal stared down impassively waiting for an explanation. One that the warrior in training did not have.
“Um, well, I don’t have the whole legacy-”
“But you have One For All, don’t you?”
Again, Midoriya's thought process stuttered. Mr. Toshinori forgot to mention that he told the king about One For All, he opened his mouth to speak but couldn’t come up with any words, so he nodded meekly.
“Figured,” the king scoffed and looked away with a scowl, his red eyes found green ones again and continued, “so who has the rest of the legacy now?”
“No one else, I just have that part of it,” Midoriya looks down at his lap and then looks up at the king with a conflicted look, “the other half of the legacy can’t go to anyone else but you… according to Mr. Toshinori.”
Now it was the king’s turn to be shocked, he snarls and glares at the ground. He thought that his half of the legacy would move on to someone else by now, but it seems All Might is intent on the whole “destiny” shtick. Nothing ties Katsuki Bakugo down, his life is not determined by no shitty destiny, just because All Might insists it’s meant to be his doesn’t mean he has to take it.
“You can take the whole thing for all I care,” the king stood up and moved to leave, but before he could move too far the young man’s voice called to him.
“Your highness,” his voice was firm and red eyes found the green ones now piercing through him, not unlike the way he’d been staring down the young man this entire time.
“We both know that no one alone can take on the weight of this legacy,” the young man’s hands twitched into loosely clenched his fists, his mouth set in a determined frown, “I can understand your reasons for rejecting it, even if I don’t agree, but I can’t tolerate making light of All Might’s legacy.”
Their eyes did not stray from each other, even as Bakugo turned back around and crossed his arms, even as Midoriya took steady breaths to calm his heart. They barely blinked during the exchange.
“Even if you reject his legacy forever, our destinies are still entwined. I don’t know what is in store for us but apparently we’re meant to work together in some capacity. I have no idea what a lowly commoner like me has to offer your majesty, but please do not cast me aside for the time being. Allow me to remain in your presence for just a little longer.”
The king was stupefied by the end of that little speech. The young man really had the biggest set of balls, to ask something of a king, especially of King Bakugo. Few people would dare attempt what this commoner just did.
For some reason the king was starting to feel a strange pressure coming from the young man. It was overbearing, but not threatening. Something about the young man’s gaze kept him grounded on the spot, the silence of the room was intense, the white noise a ringing in his ears. The whole room seemed to dissolve and cave in around this man, it was a feeling the king had never experienced. He felt no fear, no threat, no instinct to attack. It was a pull.
An invisible thread stretched taut, ready to either snap in two or pull forwards.
Snarling, the king muttered a quick “fine” and stomped out of the infirmary. Even though the feeling did not trigger his fight response it made him uncomfortable. For a solid minute the king was not in control, and that was unacceptable.
Ignoring the calls of his guard he continued to stomp his way to his study, his anger steadily boiling over. The king needed to regulate his emotions, this was not the time to lose his temper. One commoner cannot push him over the edge like this, he wasn’t a kid anymore, he had some goddamn self-control.
In his study he took his time to breathe and think things through. The king couldn’t deny that he was curious about the warrior in training, the commoner who could push back against a king with a fierce look of his own. As much as he rejected All Might’s talk of destiny he never completely discounted the great warrior’s intuition. There must be something All Might sees in the young man that prompted him to hand over part of his legacy. If a legendary warrior felt strongly enough about this commoner then he couldn’t dismiss him so easily.
The young king was determined to surpass All Might, and if he had any chance of doing so he needed to figure out first what exactly this commoner possessed that he didn’t. What is it that King Bakugo lacked that he required not just a partner but this specific man by his side to inherit the legacy.
The king shook his head, it wasn’t that he wanted the legacy, but he knew he wasn’t anywhere near as strong as All Might was. He needed to know, that was the only reason he wasn’t kicking that man out of his castle.
The hard-set green eyes popped into his head, the king frowned at being reminded that a simple commoner could look at him like that. The king reluctantly admitted he was impressed, he respected strong people and while the young man still didn’t stand a chance against him in a duel his moves were not too bad. Good for a commoner, especially if you forget the bullshit reckless move at the end.
Sure, he’d keep the dork around for a while, but no one said he had to make his life any easier.
Immediately after the king stormed out of the infirmary, Midoriya’s face fell and he paled.
Oh my gods, Midoriya wanted to pull his hair, and he groaned in frustration when he could barely bring his hands up, did I really just talk to the king like that? I’m fucked, this is it - I should’ve written my mom before I left the inn. Mom’s going to be all alone, with me gone and Mr. Toshinori doesn’t have much time left. No, I need to live for my mom-
Midoriya’s internal struggle was interrupted by the guard coming back in, smiling apologetically at him.
“Sorry about him, man. I know he can be a little... intense,” Midoriya gave him a look and the guard rubbed the back of his neck, “okay, very intense, I get it man. Anyway, he didn’t treat you too bad, did he?”
The question made Midoriya put things into perspective. The king did say it was “fine” before he left, even if he didn’t look too happy saying it. Taking a long breath to calm his nerves he smiled meekly at the guard.
“No, he wasn’t bad at all, he just wanted to confirm some things about me that’s all.”
“Cool, I’m glad he didn’t give you a hard time.”
“Um,” Midoriya was afraid to ask, but he couldn’t help being curious, “is it… normal for a guard to talk about their ruler so casually?”
The guard’s eyes blanked as if he’d been caught doing something he wasn’t supposed to, he laughs awkwardly. “Uh, I guess I messed up…”
Green eyes shone with barely contained curiosity and guard Sero sighed.
“No, it’s not really normal…” the guard took his time to think over his words, “some of us in the castle have known each other since we were kids, so we’re a little more familiar with his highness.”
Midoriya nodded eagerly, he felt he was getting good hints into who the king is as a person. So far he can already tell he’s different from his own current king and the former.
The late ruler of the Kagutsuchi Kingdom was a deadly efficient and strict man. Mr. Toshinori told him stories of some of his years as All Might, and before the sudden death of his mentor he spent a lot of time in the palace. Mr. Toshinori and the king were roughly the same age, the late King Enji Todoroki had just taken over the throne when the Great Knight Nana Shimura took Toshinori under her wing and started to train him. The young king was initially opposed to having a foreigner in his palace. However, after losing a duel against a young All Might he reluctantly allowed the foreigner to remain for the foreseeable future. Of course, this was also because he had a lot of trust in the Great Knight’s judgment, if he didn’t he wouldn’t have even entertained the thought of letting a duel dictate the foreigner’s stay.
Midoriya never thought much about his own nation’s rulers, he didn’t care for politics and his nation was a human-majority society. The Kagutsuchi Kingdom was not a human supremacist nation like the Republic of Amrech on the other side of the Well and Spring Mountain-range, but the fact that it is human-majority kept Midoriya’s interest in his own kingdom very low. He knows more about the kingdom of Ganbatthar than his own because of this country’s history with other non-human creatures and demihumans, especially it’s recent alliance with dragon-kind. However, even of this kingdom he doesn’t know as much compared to non-human and human-minority nations he has studied.
“Hm, I think I understand.” Midoriya had so many questions popping into his head at once, while he’s confident that the guard was a laid-back guy he still had to think things through to make sure he wouldn’t offend anyone - especially the king.
“Yeah, uh, take it easy then man,” the guard smiled, “take your time and heal up, since his highness hasn’t ordered me to throw you out I say make yourself at home!” Midoriya grinned as the guard stepped back outside. When the door closed, he could hear muffled voices right outside the door, maybe that’s why the guard stepped out so abruptly?
A journey begins with a single step. In this young mage’s case she has taken a considerable number of steps and feels she still hasn’t gone anywhere. Moving was the only thing on her mind, if she kept moving then she’s bound to get somewhere, right?
It’s been a couple of weeks since she left her home and started her journey, but she still has nothing to show for it. Traveling across the continent was no small feat but to prove her worth as a mage Ochaco Uraraka had no problem with doing whatever it took.
Just a short distance away Uraraka heard the sounds of a struggle, she was just a couple of miles from the steep incline up toward Sihai but if people were being attacked, how could she turn her back to them?
The hand holding her staff shot upwards and light shone from the magical core in her staff. Pulling the staff back down she pointed the light at the carriage surrounded by ruffians and shielded it in golden light. Their weapons bounced back from the wood and their eyes turned to the source.
There were armored people fighting around her, thwarting the attacks of their own fair share of bandits, so no one was paying the mage much attention. Something stirred inside the carriage but just before she could get a clear look at the new pair of eyes watching her, the bandits rushed toward her.
Bringing the staff close to her body she turned it parallel to the ground with her other hand hovering over the core. The core glowed a murky green and twisting roots unraveled from the ground and gradually wrapped around the bodies of the people approaching her. They hurled curses at her as she looked around and noticed the armored people - she assumed they were guards, had stopped fighting for the most part. The roots that twisted around their bodies were not gentle, bringing the ruffians into the soil as they bodies slowly broke under the pressure.
Some dead and some unconscious bodies littered the floor, she couldn’t avoid inhaling the harsh metallic stench of blood and body parts that were scattered about. Uraraka took note of the small number of guards protecting the carriage. Few but heavily armored security usually meant a relatively wealthy merchant. Clearly these guards were capable as she did not note a single heavily injured or even limping armored person.
Stepping up toward the carriage she poked the golden cage with her staff and it dissolved, the guards eyed her warily but without hostility, some went to check on the undoubtedly deceased root-bound bandits.
“A mage.” A clear voice spoke from the carriage, Uraraka looked up at the curtained opening but there was no one looking down at her.
“Interesting, I haven’t seen a mage in a long time, are you traveling up to Sihai?” A different voice spoke, so far all she could discern is that the voices sounded masculine, but she couldn’t safely assume that yet.
“Yes, I am, and you?” Her voice carried with confidence, the only people that traveled this particular road where people traveling to the Well and Spring capital, so of course she knew where this group was headed.
“Indeed,” Uraraka gave a little self-satisfied smile even though no one was looking to receive it, “the least I could offer for protecting us is a ride, would you like to accompany us to the capital?” She also expected this, so she acted as if she was really considering it before she verbally agreed and the carriage door was opened for her.
Inside the carriage she saw a very big demihuman strong looking man with six arms and a mask over his mouth. The demihuman nodded to her and she returned the greeting, then her eyes turned to the man next to him. A human male with very expensive looking attire, a sheathed sword next to him, and the most striking thing was his strange hair. The man’s hair was perfectly half red and half white, and when his gaze turned to her she noted the different colored eyes as well.
When she sat down across the two men her mind couldn’t help but marvel at how she hit the jackpot, these two men were beautiful. She was expecting an old rich creature, or a noble couple, but instead she’s in a carriage with two hot rich young guys!
“Mage,” her reverie was interrupted by a deep voice, she looked for the source and found one of the man’s hands was now a mouth. Her eyes widened for a second before she composed herself, “please, call me Ochaco!”
“Very well, Ochaco,” the carriage started to move and she was struggling whether to look at the mouth or the man’s face, she finally settled for his face before he continued to speak. “You shielded us when we were attacked, you chose to protect strangers when you could have simply moved on, we are grateful for your assistance.” The man’s head and mouth-hand, hand-mouth? Regardless they bowed slightly in gratitude and she scratched the back of her head sheepishly.
“I couldn’t just ignore the sounds of a struggle when I was so close by, it could have been a family or children could’ve been in danger I had no way of knowing.”
“This is true. We still want to express our gratitude, please tell us what you desire.”
“Oh no! I can’t, I didn’t do anything special, a ride to Sihai is good enough.”
“We insist, please name your price.”
Pressing her lips closed she looked off to the side to think about it, one of her fingers lightly tapped against her staff and then stopped. Both men kept their eyes on her and she met their eyes before bowing her head low.
“I-if it’s not too much, I need 500 terrogins! If that’s too much I’m okay with an-anything…” her voice drifted off and she shut her eyes in a self-conscious manner. The royal man smirked and nodded his head once at the man next to him.
“That’s not too much at all. We’ll give you exactly that much when we arrive at Sihai.” Releasing the breath she was holding and smiled up at the two men with tears in her eyes.
“Thank you so much!” Smiling brightly she leaned her back against the carriage and felt the movement over the uneven terrain. It soothed her, she rarely gets to ride on anything so whenever she gets the chance she likes to relax. Although Uraraka doubted the men had any ill intentions, she still cast a protection shroud around her person before entering the carriage, and she tied an enhancement amulet around her staff arm inside her sleeve. The protection shroud should be more powerful than usual, at least until the amulet runs out of energy.
The mage tried to ask questions, nothing too invasive but she couldn’t hold back her curiosity. The demihuman answered her questions in few words and never revealing anything significant. Uraraka expected to be questioned in return, mages were not so prominent in this day and age, they tend to come from wealthy families with excellent bloodlines so a mage traveling on foot like her was extremely rare. There was also her shabby attire as another indicator, and finally the way she nearly cried at the promise of 500 terrogins. Uraraka wondered if they weren’t curious about her because it was obvious she had no wealth or influence.
Even though the mage population was dwindling and they were in higher demand than ever, it seems that money and connections were still the most worthwhile attributes a living being could have.
The rest of the ride was quiet, but Uraraka wasn’t perturbed by the silence. Still a little disappointed now she was feeling more relieved, talking to people was hard, and talking to rich people was even harder. Without the obligation to make and maintain conversation the mage sighed contently and closed her eyes.
The mage couldn’t allow her mind to drift to sleep, but she rested well enough to recover a lot of mana spent. There was still a steady drainage of mana for the shroud of protection, but not enough to leave her unable to defend herself further if the need arose.
The road up to Sihai felt so short now that she was not walking, now feeling the distinct pressure of ascending up the mountain. The capital was the ideal place for the goods exchange because it was not so high up the mountain. The capital was just in-between the two tallest peaks referred to as the Twins, the altitude just tolerable enough for the earth-bound creatures that came to Sihai.
They made it to the entrance and they were let in quickly. When coming into Sihai people were allowed through in varying degrees of haste according to their rank. It could take many hours for commoners to enter the city, merchants had a separate entrance so that their merchandise could be checked over. Nobility of any kind also had to go through a process to enter, lower rank nobles were personally guided into the city and they had their own waiting room. Higher ranked nobles would be allowed through and led to their own waiting room where attending them would be prioritized over the lower-ranked nobles. Usually they are attended by the captain of the gate.
Finally, there was royalty. Depending on the country you’re from royalty would either be allowed through immediately into the city without being met or attended by anyone (unless they requested it), or a government representative would be alerted to their arrival and led to a meeting room. As a mage, Uraraka only knew this much about the process, she could only wonder what was discussed in those meetings.
Waiting to be stopped and let out of the carriage to go into a waiting room, she realized that never came. The carriage continued to move, whenever it stopped it did so briefly and no one came to escort them anywhere.
This meant that Uraraka was in the presence of royalty.
Now, she was sweating. Trying to not let her nerves show she started to fidget with her staff. Rich people were a nightmare but she could deal with them. Nobility tend to be entitled and pompous, again she has learned how to deal with them as well.
In all her years studying magic at the only mage school this side of the mountain-range, she’s met many people of wealth and influence. However, royalty, she’s never even come close to breathing the same air as them.
She’s sitting in a carriage with royalty.
It made sense why her questions were never truly answered, either one of both of the young men sitting across her were of royal blood. Uraraka tried very hard to hide her realization, who knows what they may do to her if she made it obvious that she recognized them as royalty. They’ll probably think she knows exactly who they are, but unfortunately she doesn’t. If she did she could figure out how to best interact with them, but having no clue as to where they’re from leaves her with too many possibilities and no real way of narrowing them down.
The carriage was nice but not nearly as nice as one would expect for a royal. There were no distinctive markings or designs, no banner or crest, it was a normal carriage.
Before she could freak out even more the carriage stopped and finally someone approached the door. It was one of the guards and the mage was escorted off the carriage, she smiled politely and thanked the guard. The door remained open as the demihuman handed her a small envelope with what she could assume held 500 terrogins.
“We thank you again, kind mage. We wish you luck in all your future endeavors.” With a small bow from the mouth-hand it retreated back into the carriage as Uraraka bowed dramatically expressing her own gratitude at their generosity.
In a small room in a nondescript inn within Sihai, a siren laid on the bed waiting. Their voluminous green hair spread over the pillow, a long tongue poking out of their mouth as the beautiful creature read through a random magic textbook. It all sounded like gibberish to them, but they weren’t the one who had to learn all of that crazy shit.
There was a knock and the creature leapt from the bed and hastily opened the door. A smile spread over their face when they were met with the sight of a pretty little mage smirking.
“I’m back, Tsu.” The siren named Tsuyu Asui pulled the mage into the room and hugged her tightly as they shut the door behind them.
“Finally, I missed you,” the mage giggled and wrapped her arms around them, inhaling their familiar sweet-salty scent.
“It’s only been a couple of days, babe.” Pulling apart enough to look at each other the siren placed a finger against their cheek.
“Too long, I don’t like it when you leave.”
“I know, but can you think of a faster way to make money?”
“Well, I’m a siren, so…” Rolling her eyes good-naturedly at the siren she patted their head and moved to lay on the bed. Sighing contently when her body hit the mattress, Uraraka shrugged off her bag and dumped out the contents on the bed.
Small broken puppets fell out of her bag, along with some small bags full of nuts and berries, two amulets and one small book.
“Yeah, that’s all of them,” Asui quickly counted the puppets and moved all of the junk off the bed so they could lay next to Uraraka.
“We got 500 terrogins for this one alone,” the mage grinned as the siren softly gasped, “I thought the carriage had some nobles but apparently the passengers were royal! So they offered me a ride along with letting me name my price. If I had known they were royal I would’ve asked for more…”
“That’s still amazing, Ochaco!”
“Yeah!” the young woman giggled, “I got to use the super cool earth binding spell that Professor Woods taught us last semester, made sure to crush the puppets so no one bothered to check on them. By then most of the other ones were destroyed as well! The illusion magic that my last roommate Camie used to prank Awase, because he hates the smell of blood, worked super well. I don’t think anyone suspected anything so now we got the mooonnneeeyyy!”
The mage tossed the wallet in the air cut the gravity off its contents, letting the money float around them. This type of magic was natural to her so she didn’t need the staff to perform it, the siren didn’t pay attention to the money. As little as they cared about magic the look of joy and the sparkle in the woman’s eyes was enough to keep her interest alive. As long as the mage continued to smile that was all that mattered.
To keep that spark, they would do whatever it takes.