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Dragon Prince

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This story started a long, long time ago in the kingdom of Edgewater. Long before Myungjun was even thought of but somehow he'd been dragged into it's mess regardless, and it wasn't even his kingdom, Edgewood. But as a minstrel he knew the story by heart before he even realized he would ever become involved. The story he had learned started like most stories about kingdoms, with a love story.

The story went that the kingdom of Edgewater was once a very peaceful kingdom ruled by very in love young rulers.

The very young King had been enamored with his young Queen from the first moment he had set eyes on her. Doting on her just as much as the loyal and loving subjects did. Together they did great things for their own kingdom and the surrounding kingdoms. Including the kingdom of Edgewood.

Starting trade and promoting peaceful ends to conflicts. War was unheard of with Edgewater. As everyone adored them. And their reign seemed to be destined to last forever in peace as they ruled gracefully at a young age even without the magics of the kingdom of Edgewood. Though as all good things it was never destined to last.

The young Queen became pregnant as most Queens did. However the birth of an heir cost the King, for when the baby was born the Queen was unable to be saved neither by magic nor medicine. She died after naming their son, Prince Jinwoo.

Though the birth of the Prince was celebrated and the people mourned while rejoicing only the King did not join in the festivities. Instead a darkness was born in his heart and he pushed his young son and heir into the arms of the Queen's sister.

Soon after the Queen's death war planning started as the once kind King grew bitter and filled with anger and hatred towards everyone else. Refusing to even see his son as he grew up raised under the tender care of the Queen's sister. Who raised him to be kind, as kind if not kinder than the Queen herself was. And so the years passed peacefully for Prince Jinwoo even as the kingdom fell further to anger. The planning the King had been doing taking shape in the ways of armies being created and treaties broken.

It was on the eve of Prince Jinwoo's sixteenth birthday, the birthday of his crowning as Prince that the Queen's sister passed away. The kingdom once more was thrown into celebrating while mourning as the King then took the Prince under his wing. And for awhile the King was gentle again as the Prince greatly resembled his mother.

The kingdom rejoiced at the peace that seemed to return. For a week the kingdom was peaceful as the King came to know his son again. Though just as the Queen's life the peace was short, too short. The King came to wish for a new wife to help him raise his rediscovered son.

In order to find the perfect wife and in the name of peace he called upon the witch women of Edgewood. They came relucently sending a small party of expendables in case anything were to go wrong. Though the King was pleased with their beauty and entertained them before they gave counsel. In this way the most powerful and cunning among them fell for the King. So she looked into the future to see what would become of her love.

What she saw were two paths the King could take. One path that would lead him away from her to peace and also lead to an early grave for the King where he did not remarry. The second path was a path of conquest but it was a path with her by his side. It required the use of magic and would require the Prince to be removed, both from the King's side and the people's memory.

It only took the witch woman an hour to decide and in that hour she had woven her curses. The curses she would cast upon the Prince, the people, and her own beloved. For if it meant having the King she was willing to do it.

And so on the eve of her departure she cast her curses upon the King and his people. She saved her curse for the Prince for last knowing it would take the most out of her and for that she would need the King on her side. And so it was told that on the night of the fullest moon the kingdom of Edgewater had ever seen the witch woman cast her curse upon the sleeping Prince. After which he was never seen again and was soon forgotten by not only the people but the King as well. And in his place grew rumors of a dragon.

A dragon that raided the castle and stole what would have been the treasures of the next Prince if the New Queen bore a son. The same dragon that brought Myungjun to Edgewater.

For this is where he knew he came in on the story he was using to sing his way through the streets of Edgewood and would eventually sing in Edgewater. Making enough money to buy the supplies he needed to keep traveling for the mission that had been thrust upon him. He wasn't really looking forward to completing the mission. He'd been told though that he was the only one who could accomplish it and end the many wars that Edgewater had started since the late Queen's death and the New Queen's crowning.

Looking at the long road ahead of him Myungjun couldn't help but wonder what his chances of survival were as he made his way into the first town across the tree addled border between the two kingdoms. The border that served to, for the most part, keep Edgewater magic free unless the one crossing possessed very controlled magic or very, very little magic.

The small town was known as Astro for the stones that they mined from the nearby mountain that looked like the night sky. They had many magical properties like many of the stones in Edgewater, which was why he'd even been called on this mission. Edgewood wanted the wars to end so trade could prosper again. And their kingdom could get the resources they needed for their magic once more.

Myungjun only hoped that they really had made the right decision in choosing him. A minstrel. Who was armed only with his lyre, a boot knife, and the mission they'd given him of facing a dragon. But they'd already told him unless he was successful there was no coming back.

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Myungjun hadn't been to Edgewater in years and he hadn't actually wanted to return. But he did have his mission to carry out and his mission required that he be in Edgewater to find the dragon, that he was pretty sure would try to eat him. But he tried not to think about it as he entered the small town. It was still relatively well off since it did a lot of illegal trading with Edgewood through the forest and he was supposed to meet someone to get legitimate papers from so he could venture further into the kingdom.

Instead what he found was a string of excuses and no documentation when he met up with the designated informant. Who proved entirely useless in both papers and information and left Myungjun wondering who had set him up with such a failure. Or if maybe the whole mission was a means to get rid of him since it was his much older half sister who was now ruling over Edgewater, not that he cared much for her either. She had after all caused a whole bunch of wars and she used to dip him in weird potions when he was too young to fight back. Once it had left him green for a weak with horrible bright orange spots that itched like no other. And now that both of his parents had passed on there was no one back home who was going to miss him too much. Save his old sooth saying Grandmother who had sent him on this mission. She'd been telling him he'd go on it practically since the day he was born and she had one foot in the door when he left.

But like he always did he pushed those bad thoughts away and pulled out his lyre to sing. If there was nothing else he could do for awhile he could at least earn enough money to buy official papers and maybe gather some Intel of his own. It wasn't like a dragon was going to come waltzing up to him of it's own accord. Nor was the top secret, only he and his Grandmother knew the details of, part of the mission going to carry itself out either.

He'd been playing for awhile when he finally heard something useful a passing rumor, likely a falsehood but also just as likely legitimate. So he played softer straining his ears to overhear what was being said in the bar under whose window he'd made himself at home. They were talking about a knight that had passed through town a day or so ago armed to the teeth with an official scroll and on a dragon hunt. Which of course brought peels of laughter from the netizens who obviously didn't think that dragons existed. Which he didn't actually blame him for because until news of this dragon had started circulating they had all been thought extinct from being hunted down hundreds of years ago.

But this information wasn't that useful since following a knight would also be just as suicidal as looking for a dragon. Or so he thought until he listened longer and the one telling the story said that the knight was like a stick and they weren't sure why they sent someone so tiny after a dragon to begin with. Myunjun pretended not hear that part though because it only reminded him that he himself was shorter than average and extremely wimpy looking. He was only a minstrel what need did he have for muscles.

Once he'd heard enough to at least attempt to follow the path the knight had taken, a trip to a place three towns over and at least a ten day journey from the border, he went about making money. It wasn't like supplies were going to buy themselves either.

In all it took him sixteen days to reach the town of Tuila the place the knight was rumored to be heading towards. It had taken him far longer to get official documents that looked real than he had expected. It had also not been fun trekking through the tough terrain of Edgewater or trying to find supplies in the towns leading this one. The further from the border he got the smaller and more measly the towns had become. Even earning enough for food in the last town had been trying. He didn't think he was going to have that problem here.

Tuila was a far bigger town than he had thought. Thriving off the ores and minerals that came from the nearby lake. But he found that the people there and the way they lived didn't suit him quite as well as the smaller towns had. There was a minstrel for every corner and the stories they sang were of war. The people of this town were big, muscly, and war hungry. Which didn't suit him at all. Instead he decided to camp in the small woods near the lake away from everyone and only go into the town to gather information.

It turned out to be the right move for on his second day in the woods he was captured by the very knight he had been looking for. Which was both good and bad. It was good because it meant he didn't have to look for him to ask him about this supposed dragon. It was bad because he was captured and this knight Rocky had very scary eyes and didn't seem like he was going to be an easy one to crack.

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Myungjun took one look at his foot, which was currently hanging from a tree, before looking back down at the knight whose name he knew to be Rocky from the descriptions of the Tuila townsfolk. So far the knight had poked him with a stick at least three times and was now glaring at him angrily with his arms crossed. He allowed himself to at be thankful it had been a stick not the sword that was by the younger man's side and took that thought into mind before opening his overly large mouth.

"Would you mind letting me down. I haven't done anything wrong." He did his best to sound his most convincing because it technically wasn't true at all. He was here in Edgewater illegally and while he'd gotten his hands on the 'correct' paperwork he wasn't wanting to test it so soon and not in a one on one situation. It was easier to pass a forgery at gates where the guards were only skimming them and testing for magic. This knight was more likely to notice it's obvious fakeness if he were asked to hand it over.

"Nothing wrong?" The knight's voice was almost as rigid as his face. "I don't call stealing my food nothing wrong." The glare that followed those words was heated and stony.

Myungjun could only blink at the accusation for a few seconds glancing around the camp he'd wandered into. It was in the perfect position to be close to the lake for necessities while far enough away to remain out of sight. Though when he'd walked between the two trees he hadn't expected to spring a trap and be captured. Let alone be accused of stealing, something he'd never done in his entire life even when times were hard in his line of work. "You're quite mistaken. For one," He finally spoke as he pulled himself upright getting immensely tired of the feeling of blood rushing to his head. "I've never stolen anything ever." He accented that statement by pulling the small knife from boot and cutting himself down. Landing was going to hurt but it was obvious that his captor wasn't going to let him down anytime soon. "For two," He picked himself up from his rolled landing looking at the contents of his pack that were strewn about before pulling out his instrument inspecting it for any harm. "I only just got to Tuila."

The knight was now in a defensive position and Myungjun could only sigh to himself. While taking care of one lone knight would be easy enough, if it weren't he would have zero hopes with a dragon after all, he just didn't feel like wasting the energy. "Do you have any proof that I was the thief?" He finally asked once he saw that his instrument wasn't damaged and the knight wasn't going to attack him for getting down.

"Who else could it be?" The knight countered with another glare but he made no move and Myungjun studied the camp a little closer taking note of the dried meat that was strewn about. It hadn't been touched and he could feel residual magic coming from it. Magic that did not belong in the kingdom of Edgewater, not that he actually had any room to speak on that one. "I caught a look at the thief last time and it was definitely a fairy and you're the only fairy I see around here."

Myungjun was both insulted while flattered and not sure what to do with that combination. He found himself blinking rapidly trying to make sense of why someone from Edgewater would think he was a fairy. "While flattering I'm not a fairy." Was the intelligent answer he came up with before sighing into his hand holding the other one up in a stopping gesture. The knight didn't move for which he found himself grateful but he supposed that was probably because the knight thought he possessed different magic than he actually did.

"If you're not a fairy then you're just a thief." The knight countered this time taking a firmer grip on his sword and shifting his feet. Myungjun knew that this time the knight was serious and he meant business if he didn't answer the way he wanted.

Of course he knew the truth was the best option he just wasn't sure that the knight was going to buy it. After all he had been correct in part of his accusations, it had definitely been a fairy. Instead of saying that though he looked around for the evidence that would have been left behind, a rare substance that few in the magical community could get their hands on, fairy dust. Often times fairies would leave it as a 'trade' for the items that they took. "Do you know what a fairy looks like?" Myungjun raised an eyebrow making eye contact with the knight, which wasn't hard considering he wasn't much taller than himself.

"They are short, pretty, and small." The knight answered without hesitation or breaking off their eye contact.

Myungjun resisted the use of magic again and sighed internally this kingdom was vastly under educated in magical matters. "You aren't wrong but you aren't right," He moved and he saw the knight's eyes move with him cautiously. "By short they mean ye high." He demonstrated with his hands holding them parallel at about two hands high. "And while I'm honored you think I'm pretty I'm no where near as pretty as a fairy is. They have wings too. And just as I'm not a thief or a fairy you're not a knight are you?" He hadn't meant to say that last part out loud but by this point it was obvious the younger had no experience wielding a blade against a person and it showed in the firm movements but lack of follow through. Not to mention the fact he was going after a dragon, alone and completely under equipped if he didn't even know what a fairy looked like.

The knight stiffened and Myungjun wondered if his blunder was going to cost him his life. He was ready to get down and praise every star when the knight lowered his blade just a little at that. "How did you know?" The brown eyes that were still staring into his were wavering and unsure.

"You look like someone whose never killed a man. That's required to become a knight." Myungjun shrugged there were many laws his half sister had put into place and many of them were thrown in his face back in Edgewood. "And the fairy paid you," He pointed a substantial pile of glittery looking substance to the right of the rifled through bag. "Fairies are not thieves, however they only take from humans if they are starving or have taken a liking to the human. From the amount it left you it was the latter."

Myungjun noticed when the knight's eyes widened when he looked back at this bag seeing the oak leaf full of the glittery substance. "Why would a fairy take a liking to a human? And what am I supposed to do with a pile of dust? That's not payment." The knight's voice was firm but the rigidness was dissipating and Myungjun could see that he was weighing his options. There was obviously a reason he was parading around as a knight. Instead of commenting on the accusation though the even tempered knight tightened his grip again. "And why do you know that if you're not a fairy? If you're not a fairy and you're not a thief who and what are you?"

Myungjun blinked again and looked down at his instrument he had thought it was self explanatory. Not that many minstrels in Edgewood knew much about magic on a deeper level unless they possessed some themselves, yet they still constantly sang about it. He figured it was the same in Edgewater as stories couldn't be held at bay by a mere line of trees. And apparently neither could fairies though he'd never heard anything about them in Edgewater before, their magic was weak enough it wouldn't be kept out. "I'm a minstrel of course I know about fairies. As to why one would like you? That's up the fairy you know they have free will you'd have to ask it if you catch it. They'll probably come back from the amount of dust it gave you. Before you call it just dust again you should know that even half the amount that fairy paid you would buy a house in any of the kingdoms with magic." He shook his head this fairy was either smitten or paying for all the food it had taken without notice. While they weren't thieves they didn't always pay up front either.

Myungjun could see the knight weighing his words carefully. He knew the moment a decision had been made before the knight sheathed his sword. "Fair enough." The younger looked back at the dust and shook his head. "I'm Rocky, and you're wrong I'm a knight...technically I just haven't been knighted yet." He sighed and Myungjun nodded slowly this meant they would at least be moving in the right direction from now on. "How did you know? And what are you doing out here? The woods is no place for a musician."

"As a 'musician' I'm aware of a lot of things. I'm not a musician though I'm a minstrel I go around singing stories, true stories mind you. And I know about your 'mission'." He paused watching the knight's reaction to his words. If the mission was a secret then he might just get stabbed after all and if not a secret maybe they could do this together. Going against a dragon was dumb to begin with but going against a dragon with just his boot knife and music was dumber than going in with a knight.

"And what of it?" Rocky's voice was crude as he spoke crossing his arms again this time looking him up and down and Myuungjun felt like maybe he wouldn't gain an advantage after all. This one was clearly wet behind the ears. Though he'd still be more use to him alive and working together rather than dying alone against a dragon.

"It's my mission too." Myungjun answered simply.

"Your mission is to slay a dragon?" Rocky was looking up him and down seriously now as he took in his words. "With what your music and that boot knife?" Myungjun could hear that he was a few seconds from laughing and if he were in anyone else' shoes he'd probably be laughing along with him.

"Yeah you got a problem with that?" Myungjun crossed his own arms and watched as the knight, Rocky who'd seemed so similar to his name collapsed in laughter. By the time Rocky had picked himself up off the floor they'd already managed a truce and Myungjun hoped this was the beginning of a good alliance as he offered an empty bottle for the fairy dust and they collected both his items and the knight's before trading information.

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The alliance Myungjun had been hoping for also turned out to be an alliance with problems he hadn't expected once he came on board. For some reason that he couldn't fathom the fairy that had been raiding Rocky's pack was following them. Which left him scratching his head about it because to his knowledge fairies did not deal with humans quite as often as they were turning up missing fruits. Nor did a fairy offer that much fairy dust for what little bit it was taking. Either this fairy was indeed smitten or very grateful.

It wasn't until they'd been traveling together for roughly ten days and three fruit raids later that he even realized that they were no longer on course. Something that they hadn't noticed in their search for food to replace what had been taken from them. It wasn't until then that he realized the fairy was not working alone. Which was not unusal of itself as most fairy disliked being alone. Myungjun could have cursed himself for his folly, if you know he weren't entirely capable of acutally casting a curse on himself on accident.

It took no less than thrity minutes, with a dirt drawing, to explain to the knight he found as his companion that they were being tricked and that they should give up on fruits. Or if they were going to eat fruit they should just eat what they could find on the way or else they would never reach the dragon. It then took another six days to get back on course and once they were undeterred by the fairy dust and missing fruits both stopped happening.

"I don't know Myungjun the caves I know about are in this direction." Rocky had been pestering him for the last hour about the course he'd been taking. Admittedly he was inclined to listen to the knight who knew the terrain better than he did. However this time there was a niggling sense of magic that was telling him not to go the way he was going. It was already affecting the knight and if his magic was any weaker he'd be determined not to go this way either. It was another of the fairy tricks though and he wasn't about to fall for another one.

"I know where we are going don't worry." Myungjun assured him with a grimace because that statement was only half true and he knew it. But better half true than entirely false. He did however know when they had finally gotten within distance of the dragon's cave when he saw the smoke, whether Rocky believed him about it was a different matter enitrely.

"I don't see any smoke Myungjun." Rocky reiterated for the fifth time as they set up camp just a little down hill and maybe a mile or so from where Myungjun was sure the cave was. He only rolled his eyes again and went about setting up camp. It wasn't until he heard a scream that he gave the knight anymore attention. And even then it was only a quick glance back as the knight screamed about a lot of things that he didn't quite find important. Such as his blade banging into trees, mud in his shoes, or the like. Things that Myungjun had long gotten accustomed to while traveling alone for so long not to mention for a living. This time though what Myungjun saw was not that the knight had found a rust spot on his sword, he hadn't inadvertently stepped in something disgusting while they walked, nor had anything minor happened. Instead what Myungjun saw was a fairy settled upon Rocky's knee looking up at him with a smile.

Myungjun only thought about it for a second and then he was casting a stun spell causing the fairy to collapse backwards into Rocky's awaiting hands. "Well that was unexpected." He looked at the tiny creature in Rocky's palms and sighed. It was a young male fairy. It had likely been the one stealing fruit and as he'd suspected it had actually been enamoured with the knight for some reason he couldn't fathom. Around it's waist was leaf made clothing and Rocky was looking at the poor thing with entirely too much interest. Particularly on the wings and face. Though Myungjun would admit that fairy had always been known to be beautiful creatures and this one was no exception with it's blonde curls and iridescent wings.

"What did you do to it?" The knight's voice held more awe in it than when he'd discovered Myungjun was gifted with fire magic. Which was quite a feat as he'd gone on about that for days. Though this time Rocky was reaching out to touch the fraigle creature in his hands, mesmerized.

"Don't poke it." Myungjun grabbed his thumb stopping the knight. "I only put him to sleep he'll wake up soon and we can get information out of him. Fairies don't normally behave like this. We need to know what's up with him and the dragon so we can figure out how to slay it." He sighed looking over in the direction of the cave, the magic there had gotten weaker when the fairy was knocked out but it hadn't disappeared. He had to wonder how many more fairy there were because anymore than three and they weren't going to fare very well.

"Do you speak fairy?" Rocky's question was sincere and his face open for once, so open that Myungjun began to wonder who might end up more smitten the fairy or the knight. He pushed the thought away instead studying the fairy a little more taking it from Rocky he knew would be pushing his luck. So instead he leaned closer and the knight sat surprisingly still.

"The magic of this fairy doesn't feel right..." He finally concluded with another sigh he was only a minstrel with a little bit of magic ability, mostly enough to make life easier. And the knowledge he had was limited as well after all it was only what his grandmother had taught him and what he'd learned from his profession. Musical magic was something he could explain and showcase for hours not creature magic. "We'll just have to wait until he wakes up. It would be best if you had some fruit to offer him. I'll go get some you stay here and make sure that if he wakes up he doesn't run away. Even if we can't understand him I'm sure he'll be able to understand us."

With that said Myungjun took off in the direction of the closest fruit tree. And in true Myungjun style got himself lost much like he had the first time he'd come to Edgewater. Only last time he'd come to Edgewater he hadn't gotten lost to end up in front of a dragon's cave where said dragon was staring out at him from the dark blowing smoke rings.

Nope last time he'd just gotten separated and ran into a cute boy who from the look of his clothing shouldn't have been out on the street anyway. Things were a whole lot different this time but he certainly hoped the outcome would be much the same. Him keeping his head and his cool.

He wasn't going to hold his breath about it though as the dragon stepped further out of the cave and night began to set around them. Recruiting Rocky was certainly a big help now as in the end he'd still ended up facing a dragon with only his boot knife, his lyre, and his wits.

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Myungjun really hoped that this wasn't going to end in the worst case scenario he'd dreamt up, only like sixty five billion times ever since he'd been told by his grandma that he'd go on this mission. Each time the scenario had a little bit like eating fried chicken only the chicken was him and his blood was the dipping sauce. He shoved those thoughts aside though to deal with the situation at hand. Which was that the dragon was emerging from it's cave and he didn't read dragon expressions well but he expected it probably wouldn't be happy. He allowed himself to look for an escape plan. He was definitely smaller and those trees might stop the dragon for a minute.

However he stayed rooted realizing something else. He'd expected bones, shields, and maybe a sword or two to be laying around. They always were in fairy tales. The defeated knights that highlighted the skills or cunning of the knight in the story. They were distinctly absent. And he couldn't quite put his finger on why that was important, or more like wasn't given the chance to as two fairies flew at him from out of nowhere chittering at him. He couldn't quite make out what they were saying but when he turned the dragon was completely out of the cave now. He felt a sharp tug of oxygen entering his lungs as he'd inhaled too hard.

He wasn't sure what he'd been expecting. But he was certain that he hadn't been expecting to find the dragon breathtakingly beautiful. Yet he did. So much so that he almost forgot why he was there. Instead standing there slack jawed staring at the silver white scales that were glittering in the setting sun, visible in the clearing the cave was situated in. This dragon didn't look anything like what he had been told excpet maybe by his grandma but that was too far back to remember in the presence of this ethereal beauty.

It was thrice his size towering over him. A gleaming silver white that he knew would shine brightly in any sort of light, there were also tufts of silver furry looking areas around the dragon's ears and at the tip of it's lashing tail. He couldn't be sure but he thought he saw some on the ridges of it's back trailing down to the large wings that took up half of it's body size as they sat folded against it. The snout that he knew housed sharp and deadly teeth was sleek and attractive just like the white eyes that shone from above it. They gleamed with an intelligence that humans weren't sure that dragons had but were suspected of. Not that many humans had encountered dragons in eons.

"They'd like to know what you've done with their companion." There was a voice that sounded, it rumbled through the clearing slow and steady in it's timbre. Myungjun found himself looking around for the source only to find the dragon staring back him, still standing on it's front haunches glaring down at him. He felt like it wasn't just the fairies that were asking. "Speak human." This time he knew for sure it was the dragon that was speaking.

Myungjun blinked once then twice and then backed up a litlte as one of the fairy started pulling his hair as he'd hadn't answered yet. He couldn't explain it but there as a compulsion growing within him to blurt out what he knew. "Look I didn't do anything to your fairy friend." He started with a grimace that didn't sound right at all. "The fairy was following us and last I saw it was trying to flirt with my companion." He found the words tumbling from his mouth in an order he wouldn't have normally used. Not quite lies but distorted truths he hadn't even meant to reveal.

The dragon nodded at this, it's scales catching more of the light. "God you're beautiful." The words had come out in a sigh. A sigh he'd been planning to hold back along with his thoughts. He found himself covering his mouth quickly as the dragon adjusted it's stance from one paw to the other, the claws digging into the earth as he placed them down a little on the heavy handed side.

"Why are you here human?" The dragon's eyes were slitted further as he looked down at him over his snout presing closer with it's long neck, wings rustling. It's voice was deep and appealing as the fairies flew back to it's side still disgruntled as if they had been called back rather than wished to return.

Myungjun swallowed at the compulsion that was pressuring him again and he wondered if he'd be able to hold anything back against it. "I was sent here," He started with the decision he'd just stick the basics. "I was sent here to find you." He swallowed drily his hands fiddling with his lyre in the way he did whenever he found himself in a sticky situation. Though in hindsight all those situations could be resolved with the little magic he possessed and weren't the size of a small hill.

"And what business do you have with me?" Myungjun blinked if he didn't know any better he would have said that the dragon's expression looked human. With a raised eyebrow like hood that protected it's eyes and a glimpse of fang like a grimace.

"I uh.." He found himself stuttering as the privated details of his mission threatened to come tumbling from his mouth. The parts he wasn't supoosed to tell anyone. He looked at the fairies resting on the dragon, clinging to it's ears even as it flicked them, but not quite in annoyance as amusement. "You're not supposed to be attractive." He covered his mouth instantly again and wondered why he couldn't stop blurting out his inner thoughts.

"Fairy magic." The dragon supplied helpfully and Myungjun found himself red to his ears as he'd hadn't meant to say that aloud either. "It compels you to speak your mind and only the truth. It's useful." The dragon's voice was filled with mirth and deeply attractive Myungjun bit his cheek to keep from saying so out loud. He'd already made enough of a fool of himself as it was and he still hadn't done anything for his mission.

"I'll keep that in mind." He finally said as he nodded there was no getting around letting out his mission now. It shouldn't matter much he knew as the dragon was the one he was meant to seek out to ask these questions. And if the dragon didn't know then slay it. "As to my business I'm looking for Prince Jinwoo I have matters to discuss with him and him alone." It was admittedly very hard not blurting all the matters out right then.

"What sort of matters would you have to discuss with a prince that hasn't been seen in years. And thought to be dead." The dragon's voice was tight and the fairies were now flying away at the agitation hiding underneath the careful tone. Myungjun wondered if the dragon was affected by their magic as well.

"You're the only one in Edgewater that would have said that." Myungjun smiled triumphantly. "Everyone else doesn't even know the prince exists. And my mission is to gain your aid in findiing him. I have order to restore and for that I'll need Prince Jinwoo." He paused hoping he hadn't said to much. There was more but that was all he was allowed to tell anyone that was not the prince.

"Is that how it is?" The dragon's voice was low, soft and full of emotions Myungjun wasn't able to put a name too. If he weren't mistaken he would have said the dragon was saddened by this information. After a moment the dragon shifted again the fairies now dancing around Myungjun as it looked down at him. "What do you want with the prince?"

Myungjun swallowed nervously the feeling of compulsion stronger than before and the words bubbling up. "I..." He shook his head forcefully as night settled in around them. He knew the moon would be raising soon and it was probably his only hope to getting back to camp. If he was going to make it back to camp. But he couldn't lie and he couldn't hold back anymore so he only hoped his answer did not anger the dragon.

"I have been given the mission to help Prince Jinwoo overthrow my half sister and relcaim the kingdom." He looked down at his lyre as he spoke not wanting to give away how impossible he felt the mission was. "I first need to find Prince Jinwoo and convince him to help me. She's my half sister and his step mother. Which according to my Grandmother makes her our problem." It felt dumb saying it out loud but it also felt more real. The responsibility that was bestowed upon him just because of a marriage he'd never really approved of to begin with. And Prince Jinwoo was in the same boat.

At his words the dragon nodded sagely and lowered itself so that it was now resting it's head on it's paws. Myungjun found it cute and cursed himself for it as now was not the time, had never been the time and not a with a dragon for sure. But there wasn't much he could do about it so instead he waited for a reply watching the moonlight as it started to cast over the land.

"The words you speak are true." The dragon let out a smoke ring looking up at the sky. "You don't need to look further for the Prince Jinwoo either." The moonlight landed on the dragon as it spoke and Myungjun felt magic stir in the air, his sister's magic. The dragon was now being wrapped in moonlight, blindingly bright.

Myungjun held his breath. If his sister had meant to killl Prince Jinwoo, which knowing her she did, she must have failed. There as a loophole in magic that would have saved him and he was looking at it. A pure soul was only able to be changed by magic it could not be destoryed or killed by it. Magic wasn't strong enough. Suddenly the fairies made sense, the appearance of a dragon that was supposed to be extinct made sense, and why Prince JInwoo was forgotten. There was one revealer of all magic, moonlight with it's pure and untainted inentions was able to reveal curses. Prince Jinwoo was under one and was now standing before him.

"You don't have to look any further." The dragon's voice was smaller now and didn't rumble but it was the same even when it came from human lips. "I am Prince Jinwoo."

Chapter Text

Myungjun knew that it was rude to stare with your jaw open and flapping but he couldn't help it. One minute he'd been staring at a very large and very beautiful, ethereal dragon. Now he was staring at a somewhat short but equally beautiful and ethereal, and also very naked, Prince Jinwoo in it's place. But the dragon, well Prince Jinwoo didn't seem to notice as he went on as if nothing major had happened.

"So do you have proof of your mission?" The lips were moving and he knew words were coming out but it took the dragon Prince repeating them at least once for Myungjun to actually catch on to what he was saying. And even then he still found himself staring with a slack jaw because he hadn't really thought of that.

"Grandma didn't mention you'd be wanting proof." He finally said and instantly regretted opening his big mouth at the raised eyebrow and glare that got him. It had him lowering the lyre he hadn't realized he had raised. "Why are you asking now that you've already shown yourself anyway? It would be easier to kill you now you know." And Myungjun was cursing at himself again his eyes trying to stay pinned to the fairies as the dragon Prince crossed his arms obviously displeased with his answer. He knew it had been a dumb mission for a minstrel from the start.

"As you'd know being you are from Edgewood and possess magic if I were to leave the moonlight I'd turn back into a dragon soon enough." To his surprise Myungjun heard amusement in the voice instead of anger and he hazarded a look only to see bare shoulders shrugging and he found himself swallowing hard. This Prince Jinwoo was very handsome and it was obvious from the size of his shoulders that his arms were nothing to scoff at. "So what proof do you have?"

Myungjun swallowed drumming his fingers on the lyre it was certainly distracting to have Prince Jinwoo naked as he kept squeezing his arms together. And it was already hard enough to think with how other worldly handsome he was to begin with. "I didn't realize I'd need any." He admitted finally after his eyes wandered further down than he wanted them to. He wasn't interested in men but magical beauty was enchanting to all genders. "Were you always this handsome?" He found the words slipping from his tongue just as he thought them and he glared at the fairies responsible before glancing back at the Prince who seemed unaffected save the shift of his feet. "Either way I don't have any proof."

"If you don't have proof why should I believe you aren't here to kill me?" The question was reasonable and Myungjun thought about it a moment following the movement of Prince Jinwoo's arm. It was distracting because of the magic he told himself dropping the lyre completely this time letting it rest against his neck before unclasping his cloak.

"Look before we talk business wear this. It's distracting with you standing there all naked. Don't you own any clothes?" He sighed stepping forward wrapping the cloak around the shorter male clasping it before stepping back happy to see that it covered everything. He smiled at his handiwork even though the fairies chittered at him pulling at the material of the hood in the back.

"I spend most of my time as a dragon what do you think?" The amusement was back in his voice and Myungjun grimaced at the facts. It might be a little weird for him to have clothes when he had to be literally bathed in moonlight to even appear human again. "Now as to your mission, our supposed mission of stopping my step mother, your half sister what proof do you have?"

Myungjun wanted to sigh even though he'd put the cloak on him the Prince's beauty was still distracting but he let it go. There was no proof, he'd only grown up hearing about it as his mission. That it would be their mission as her family to stop her. As they were the only ones that knew her. It was then that he remembered the details of the curse and his salvation. And why his Grandma had told him that only he should know this detail of the mission. "The fact I know of Prince Jinwoo after crossing the border should be proof enough. Everyone who steps foot in Edgewater forgets you, and everyone who already lived here has forgotten you."

The Prince was silent for a moment rubbing his chin in thought and Myungjun had to look away again. At this point he was questioning if it was the magic or if it was the fact he'd grown up hearing about the Prince. He looked oddly familiar as well. He shoved all thoughts aside though trying to focus only on the thoughts at hand as it seemed the fairies were going to start picking and choosing what would slip out without his consent now instead of just all the truths. Or he wondered if it worked like that. It was his first time hearing of or running into a fairy with this ability.

"I suppose that is proof enough." The dragon Prince finally spoke and Myungjun nodded slowly this was progress now the next step was to talk the knight out of his mission and to get them to all join forces to overthrow the Queen. However they were going to do that, because as it stood right now moonlight was fading and this meant that he was going to have to find a work around. "So do you have a plan?" The Prince finally asked after a long moment of silence in which he'd studied him closely. "From the looks of it you weren't even equipped for taking on a dragon."

"Well no not really." Myungjun admitted readily knowing he couldn't really deny it. "I am trying form a plan, I hadn't really expected you to be a dragon...have you ever been near a moonstone?" He asked aloud staring at the shorter male the pieces falling into place. He knew that if this idea paid off then he wouldn't have to tell Rocky they were traveling with the dragon he was supposed to slay for whatever reason.

"What's a moonstone?" The dragon Prince's tone was serious and Myungjun had to keep himself from sighing and breaking down at that. Edgewater was certainly a different place if they didn't even know about moonstones even though they were mined in Astro.

"A moonstone is a stone that stores the power of the moon. Theoretically if we had one big enough we might be able to keep you human and then my companion probably won't try to kill you." Myungjun was really starting to hate fairy magic as he held up his hands before the dragon Prince could be angered. "Ok, so I'm traveling with a knight who is out to slay the dragon, well you. But before you freak even if the moonstone doesn't work I'm sure he can be reasoned with."

The Prince's eyebrow was raised again but his lips were pursed. Pinched in a way that told Myungjun he didn't believe him. Not that he could blame him this whole situation was pretty unbelievable. "Surely you had a plan to dissuade him from killing me when you found me." Myungjun nodded slowly it wasn't like he couldn't see that point of view.

"I did...but I hadn't been expecting this order of events. I mean he is currently flirting with one of the fairies as we speak." That at least deflated the Prince some and he thought for a moment. Things were suddenly moving fast. He thought that finding the dragon was step one but suddenly he was on step eight with no preparation for it. And a very beautiful dragon Prince Jinwoo staring him down expecting one.

Chapter Text

Myungjun wasn't sure how Prince Jinwoo had managed to convince him this was a good idea, because he knew it surely wasn't. But here he was doing it anyway. Which when he really stopped to think about it leaning against a tree almost out of breath, instead of following the fairy Moonbin who was guiding him, that was the story of the whole mission to begin with. He didn't get to think about it much more as before he could even take a third breath the fairy was flying back to him crossing it's arms exaggeratedly and giving him a glare. It was obvious that the fairy was not a big fan of his at the moment. Which was understandable as it had been forced to leave the cave and guide him back to the fairy that was flirting with the knight.

It took an exorbitant amount of time, or what at least felt like it to reach the place where Rocky had sworn up and down was the best to make camp. Where it turned out Rocky was finally busy at work setting up camp while the fairy chittered and attempted to help how it could. The look Moonbin was giving him the moment they passed the trees had Myungjun almost cackling, but only almost. Because he wasn't sure who he was more upset with the fairy for obviously being smitten with a human, or the human for obviously being smitten by the fairy. It didn't take even more than a glance to see it on either of their faces.

Myungjun stopped the fairy he was with putting up a hand blocking him. He had a mission after all and having it out with the fairy or the knight was just a waste of precious moonlight. Moonlight they needed to make this ludicrous plan Prince Jinwoo had plausible. Even if it meant letting this inter species love fest go on, it wasn't hurting anyone. Instead he stepped through the trees slowly announcing his presence in the way he'd arranged with Rocky that wouldn't get a sword to his throat.

He was greeted with a fairy to the face for his troubles and a dying of laughter knight. Which was all well and good but Moonbin needed to calm down before he no longer had the chance to explain. Which when he was finally able to took roughly forty-five minutes and then another chunk of equal time to pack up camp. Which he was already surprised happened that quickly.

Luckily for all of them the trip back to the cave didn't include finding it by the feel of magic. Or any really fast pacing because Moonbin was incessantly worried about the other fairy. Whose name he'd been informed was Sanha by Rocky who had found that fairy was really easy to pick up on. Myungjun begged to differ but kept that opinion to himself because it kept Moonbin off his back. Which was nice. Because the not so short stint over didn't endear him to the fairy. Or maybe it had something to do with calling Prince Jinwoo beautiful but not the fairy.

Either way Myungjun was saved from having to explain anything himself as they walked. The cave was just up ahead though and there was a warning he did need to give. "Before we enter the clearing you need to know the Prince is very handsome and very naked under my cloak." The knight was giving him a funny look and Myungjun wondered how much the fairy explained. Either way it was important information he was handing out.

"The important thing is that the fairy we're about to meet has an ability to make you honest. And to blurt out what you're honestly thinking. So I'm just warning you." The knight nodded but he no longer felt like it was important. It wasn't like Rocky couldn't save his own skin. "Just keep it in mind." Myungjun then allowed them to cross the tree line and found himself instantly wondering why he'd wasted his breath.

"He's not as handsome as you said he is." Those were the first words out of the knight's mouth when they stepped up to the Prince. Myungjun could only run a hand over his face. This was a great start.

Chapter Text

Much to Myungjun's relief it was not Prince Jinwoo that responded to the knight's less than polite greeting instead it was the fairy that had stayed behind. He'd been told his name was Eunwoo and it was his magic that set up the truth field as the Prince called it. He responded by flying over to the knight's face, crossing his arms, and chittering at him. Myungjun found himself watching through his fingers as it looked like the fairy was giving him a real stern talking to.

"Sorry," Was all the knight said when the fairy finally stopped and to almost everyone's present surprise the knight then bowed low to the ground, knee bent and head down. "That was disrespectful of me.” To which the fairy Eunwoo nodded his head slowly in approval and Sanha the fairy Rocky had for better or worse been flirting with chittered at him petulantly. “I am Rocky a knight of the kingdom of Edgewater.” The look said that Rocky wasn’t nearly as apologetic as his tone but that wasn’t quite surprising as no one in Edgewater had heard of Prince Jinwoo in at least a few years now.

“It’s fine.” The Prince’s eyes were calculating and Myungjun couldn’t help feeling maybe he was out of the loop with this one. If there was a loop to be in outside of the ‘I can talk to fairies like it’s the easiest thing in the world’ loop he wanted to be in it. But he didn’t ask because posing his question right now wasn’t going to do anything for the Prince’s plan. Because the moonlight was only going to last so long and he already thought it was a weak plan to begin with. “So what has you going after a dragon by yourself?”

Myungjun found himself staring open mouthed at the Prince then he glanced at Eunwoo and remembered his magic. There really wasn’t a way for Prince Jinwoo to avoid it either it seemed, or at least not while he was human. He couldn’t speak for the dragon form as while dragons didn’t exist anymore, at least not publically they did have magic. Much stronger magic than fairies which was probably what drew the fairies to him in the first place.

“I have someone to avenge. I…” Rocky paused and glanced at Myungjun and for once it felt like maybe the knight was about to open up about things he’d refused to share so far. Instead the knight scratched the back of his neck looking away from both of them as he got to his feet. “It’s going to sound a little crazy.” He admitted and Myungjun wondered which part of their adventure so far hadn’t been crazy. But they both nodded anyway when he glanced back at them. “I knew the prince before, I’m not sure which kingdom you’re from but the dragon attacked the castle, killing the Prince of this kingdom and taking all his gold. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t been close friends with the Prince and been there that night.”

Myungjun looked at the young knight again and blinked. He shouldn’t be able to remember that, he glanced at the fairy Sanha and the sympathetic look on his face. Eunwoo was also looking sorrowful while Moonbin had flown off checking the parameter. Suddenly Rocky didn’t make as much sense as he should have since it was very uncommon for fairy to find interest in a human, let alone his emotions. He shoved those thoughts aside for now. He could figure out what was up with Rocky later.

“You’re wrong.” Prince Jinwoo started trying to keep his words in check as well as his emotions as he spoke. “The dragon never attacked anyone and neither did he steal the Prince’s inheritance. That has been squandered away on wars. I am the Prince of this kingdom, I’ve been cursed to appear as a dragon except in the moonlight. My own people have forgotten me. I’m surprised you still remember me Rocky.”

“Remember you?” The knight’s face was etched with confusion and Myungjun resisted running his hand over his face. If he’d known this was part of the Prince’s plan he’d have explained that the knight was occasionally really dense. Though they hadn’t really discussed more of the plan than bring the knight over while he was still in human form.

“I’m the Prince of this kingdom. Prince Jinwoo. You were my best friend growing up from the house of Faye, one of the only magically inclined houses in all of Edgewater. You wouldn’t remember me well because of the curse. But I believe that your magical heritage allowed you to retain some of your memories.” Myungjun found himself nodding along to that logic it made perfect sense. Magic wasn’t as easily cast over those that possessed magic and his half sister’s spell probably hadn’t taken into account any magic users in the castle. Edgewater wasn’t known for having very many magic users to begin with.

“I don’t think I can believe you on that.” The knight’s voice wasn’t firm and Eunwoo chittered at him only making the frown on his face grow more. Though he couldn’t understand what the fairy was saying it was obvious from Rocky’s reaction it was backing up the Prince’s words. Myungjun tried not to blink too much when Rocky began chittering back in a way that sounded like heavily accented fairy but accurate nonetheless. The Prince however did not blink or even react.

Myungjun couldn’t take not being in the fairy speaking club anymore as the conversation continued with the Prince jumping in at some point all three of them making hand gestures he couldn’t help but think were about him. “Okay look I don’t speak fairy here.” He cut in and to his surprise all eyes turned him. He cleared his throat forcefully and continued. “But considering the fairy magic that Eunwoo possesses wouldn’t it be logical to say that Prince Jinwoo here is telling the truth and that so is Rocky?”

“The magic only works if one isn’t so convinced that their version of the truth is correct.” Myungjun took a step back at the knowledge in Rocky’s tone and wondered when the younger had learned more about fairy magic than him. “Sanha warned me before we came here.” That earned both the knight and blonde fairy a dirty look from Eunwoo. “The problem is that I can’t remember enough very well and while Eunwoo might be able to say the Prince is telling the truth I can’t say he is.”

“Well...I don’t see why not.” Myungjun shook his head the knight was finally using his head but for the wrong reasons. And on the wrong issues. “He’s telling the truth. I wasn’t supposed to share this with anyone else but since it seems we’re all in this together now there’s no reason to hold back.” He sighed at the headache he already had from thinking too hard about why this would even be an issue with truth magic. Though considering Rocky was missing memories it did make a little sense. “Prince Jinwoo here is my step-brother-in-law technically as my half sister is the Queen. I’ve been tasked with a mission, not to kill the dragon but to join forces with Prince Jinwoo here and take down my sister. I was sent out by my grandmother who's been telling me this would be my mission in life since forever now.”

Rocky blinked at this and the Prince stood with a straight line where his mouth had been. It was probably not how he wanted to go about bringing in his old best friend but it wasn’t like Myungjun could lift the curse on him. No that would require breaking the entire curse. Something that Myungjun wasn’t capable of from here. For that there were conditions to be met that he’d have to discover while working his way through it. His grandmother hadn’t a clue and the only clues so far were Prince Jinwoo’s pure soul and the dragon bit.

“I still don’t know that I can trust this fairy magic.” Rocky was looking between him and the Prince and Myungjun sighed again. This wasn’t going any better than he thought it would. As the knight was stubborn, more stubborn about things he shouldn’t worry about than the things that mattered. A problem of youth he knew, but still a problem.

“Well it’s not like you’ll remember if he told you things you did together. You can already barely recall what happened right?” Myungjun sighed this called for his own brand of magic which was going to be draining he was sure but he could get it done and then they could figure out a plan in the morning. When Rocky nodded he pulled up his lyre. “Since that’s the case I’ll use the magic I have to show you what happened okay. For this I need both of you to think only of that night.”

“Why both of us?” Prince Jinwoo was giving him an appraising look but he ignored it and the tongue that licked lips that were entirely too distracting to the concentration level this magic required. It was normally only used on one not two.

“Look if you both think about that night I’ll play the melody of it and the events will play out before us.” He sighed this was going to be exhausting just trying to tap into the memories they both held since neither possessed enough magic for him to tap into. But it would probably help shape up the events of that night and if he were extremely lucky, like really, really lucky it might help Rocky break his curse on his own.

They both frowned at him but did as he said for which he was grateful at least when he picked up on the two tunes that came from them. When his fingers found the first chord he allowed himself to float away with the magic. This was highly illegal in Edgewater, which was why he didn’t care for the kingdom much but he paid it no mind as the images started to spring to life. The fairies danced through them as they built a castle, the Queen and King, Prince Jinwoo when he was younger by a few years. Rocky was there as well the dischord finding it’s way into the music the less their memories matched but he found the proper order as he played. He could hear the two gasping at the ethereal magic that displayed what they had seen. He didn’t need to open his eyes to know what was there.

When he finally stopped playing the scene played out he felt the sweat on his brow and saw that both of them were seated, the light of the moon was now fading. The night was wearing on and he felt weaker than he ever had before. He wasn’t sure who caught him when he nearly fell to the side when his lyre fell around his neck. The voice in his ear was soothing though and the smell of whoever it was pleasant. They felt safer than they probably should have considering he’d known neither of the two long. Still though he couldn’t resist the pull of rest that had his eyes closing and the magic taking it’s toll on his limbs. He was sure anything that wasn’t settled was now. It had to be after his performance. But he wasn’t going to be able to stay awake to find out and gentle hands laid him to rest somewhere nice as the exhaustion took him under.

Chapter Text

When Myungjun woke up he half expected to be propped up against a tree, sore, and still feeling pretty drained. A very common way to wake up after using his magic if he were honest, though he was usually the one that put himself there. There had only been one time he’d ever used his magic to the point of exhaustion in front of another person, that had been his Grandmother. It had also been before he knew his limits.

As it were whatever he was up against this morning was not a tree. It was entirely too warm, too cool, and too smooth. He would be lying to himself if he were to think it wasn’t oddly comfortable anyway. But he couldn’t stay like this, with the sun beating into face from wherever it was hanging in the sky. From the amount of warmth it was trying to shine right into his eyes he’d say it was approaching midday.

“Finally awake?” The knight’s voice was easily recognizable and Myungjun resisted the urge to groan about it. No matter what time of day it was the knight’s voice wouldn’t change, deep and mellow steadfast like the rocks he got his name from. Myungjun resisted cursing at him that he could sound a little more chipper and instead sat up a little more. He could feel the weariness in his bones as he shifted, pulling his knees up towards and removing his cloak from his lap. He wasn’t prepared for when whatever he’d been leaning against pulled away.

“OH shi…” He stopped himself just in time at the glare that Eunwoo was shooting his way. Wings beating a mile a minute in front of his face as he began chittering at him. Myungjun resisted another curse and instead got up to stretch not really surprised to see that he’d been leaned up against the Prince. Though it didn’t stop the heat from raising on his cheeks or the nervous laughter that escaped his lips when said Prince looked back at him. Long neck gleaming in the sunlight and white kind eyes inspecting him.

Eunwoo was chittering again but Myungjun looked at Rocky who shrugged back at him. Which was entirely helpful rolling his eyes he wrapped himself in his cloak moving towards Prince Jinwoo’s head, still a few feet from him. “Thank you. You could have leaned me against the cave.” His voice had cracked somewhere in the middle and he knew it was because even in the mostly dim light of the cave, save where sunlight fell on his neck, Prince Jinwoo’s dragon form was breathtaking.

“It’s not a problem. Being near me should have helped with the magical fatigue. Which is what Eunwoo is trying to ask you about.” Prince Jinwoo’s smile was no less charming in dragon form, even if it was full of teeth, than it was in human form. Myungjun had to pause for a moment to even comprehend what had been said to him he was so distracted by it. The Prince only smiled wider while Eunwoo crossed his arms waiting.

“Oh uh...Now that you mention it.” He paused thinking about how he felt, which besides wanting to sleep a little bit longer and soreness was decent. Much better than when he’d been younger and woken up with magic fatigue back then he’d wanted to be sick for hours after waking up. And spent at least a day doing nothing but sleeping. “I feel pretty good actually considering I definitely hit my limit there.” He felt like his smile might be a little too wide when Prince Jinwoo’s eyes grinned back at him and Eunwoo flew back a pace.

“That’s good. Thank you for showing us.” Rocky was stepping back inside the cave now, sword ready at his side and a look in his eyes Myungjun recognized. It was aimed at the dragon who returned it. Apparently they’d talked and made up while he was out cold and dead to the world. Which was nice because he wasn’t sure he wanted to sit through reunion stories. Which were probably just as awkward as Rocky’s thanks had been. It was understandable though considering what the knight training would have put him through under his half sister.

Somehow a stilted conversation started as Myungjun devoured the fruits and dried meat that the knight offered him. The Prince disclosing that he and that fairy alike did not particularly care for meat in general. Which then led to the discovery, for Rocky and himself at least what dragons ate. Which was a surprising let down watching the giant dragon feast on fruits and talk about magic conversion and that being the reason that dragons were extinct to begin with. If they truly were.

While enlightening as the day approached evening Myungjun knew that it was more important to come up with a plan than to become familiar. As all the soreness had drained from his body as the hours passed and the food did it’s job. “You asked me if I had a plan.” He started even though it was little awkward and out of the blue in the silence that had fallen over them. The Prince nodded at him slowly, white eyes staring at him. It felt a little bit like they were seeing into his soul from this vantage point but he ignored it. Who knew what being a dragon did for the Prince?

“I don’t have one but I have an idea for the start of one.” Which he was willing to admit to himself was more than he ever thought he’d have. This was after all a very stupid mission from the beginning. He realized two seconds later that all eyes were on him, including the three fairies who had otherwise spent all their time chatting with the knight. Sighing to himself he looked down at the bag he brought with him at his feet. The cave was easily big enough for all of them to sit with a small fire at the entryway which was where they were now. “It might be better to show you an example.”

Rummaging through his bag he pulled out a small vial of pixie dust he’d collected on his journey and held up a stone next to it without them touching. It wasn’t the type of stone he wanted to use but the example of stone magic was really all he needed. “This stone is obsidian.” He shook the stone in his hand. “This,” He shook the vial which glittered in the firelight.”Is pixie dust. Neither of which are very rare back in my hometown but when you put them together,” He and the fairies were the only ones not to gasp when the pixie dust, originally a deep black changed colors to a deep violet. “You get a reaction. This is called stone magic.”

“Stone magic?” It was Prince Jinwoo who spoke tilting his head closer for a better look. Myungjun forcefully reminded himself to breathe as he held the vial closer showcasing the change. “What does it mean?”

Rocky was beside him now staring at the vial as well and one look told him he was wondering about the fairy dust. Myungjun sighed this explanation might take some time but if they agreed to his idea it just might work out in the end. “Stone magic,” He started pulling the stone away from the pixie dust which reverted back to it’s original color. “Is a type of magic that causes changes in other items as long as the stone is touching it. Like the color of this pixie dust changed while the obsidian was touching the glass. However if you pour the pixie dust on the stone directly it would fuse to the stone creating art. Or depending on your brand of magic a better ingredient.”

One glance told Myungjun that Rocky was already gone but the fairies around him were paying more attention. He didn’t dare glance at the Prince for fear of losing his train of thought. Instead he opened the pixie dust, he didn’t need much for this example anyway. “See if I pour just a little,” He sprinkled a little on the edge of the large stone he carried and it fused instantly creating a spiral of violet that seemed to be spouting from the rock. “It ends up like this. Which can be used in many potions by witches or just looks neat. That’s the basics of stone magic.” He shrugged. There were other uses of the items separately as well but together they were a stronger magic.

Rocky was nodding now and Myungjun could make out Sanha’s chittering into his ear. Fairies didn’t often use stone magic but it would be logical for them to know of it, at least the uses of their own fairy dust and stones. Those reactions were a lot more volatile and sought after. “Okay...I think I get it.” Myungjun wasn’t sure if Rocky was talking to the fairy or him but he nodded anyway hazarding a glance at Prince Jinwoo. He was flapping a wing restlessly as he thought causing small dust eddies on the other side of the cave.

“What does this have to do with your plan?” The Prince asked after a long pause in which Myungjun put away the supplies cutting the spiral off and stowing it away in a free pouch. The spiral itself might prove useful later. Though most of whatever his grandmother insisted he bring had only so far been a bigger weight in his pack than useful.

“That’s stone magic at it’s core.” Myungjun shook his head he doubted they would have seen the importance right away. It was an easy concept to grasp until you actually started applying it to things. “From there it gets more complicated and complex depending on what stone you use and what you use it on. Do you remember me mentioning moonstone?” The knight was giving him a funny look now but he paid it no mind as the Prince nodded at him. “A moonstone is a special type of stone that when left in the moonlight stores the magic of the moon.” He smiled widely as Eunwoo began to chitter rapidly at him and not for the first time since they’d met did he wish he could understand them.

“I don’t get it.” Myungjun might have slapped the knight but he wasn’t talking to him he was talking to Eunwoo. So was the Prince when he glanced at him all of the ones able to speak fairy chittering wildly. He found himself remembering the only things he’d been warned about on his journey by his grandmother. It hadn’t been the dragon, it had been fairies. She’d warned him time and time again that there was no way to learn fairy unless you’re born with the gift. That he should under no circumstances attempt any magic that tempted him to try. He understood why now.

“ANYWAY.” He cleared his throat. “I don’t understand fairy.” All of their eyes were on him again this time in sympathy. He paid it no mind instead getting to his point. “Now that we’re on the same page this means that if we can find a moonstone big enough, or one that can hold enough moonlight, we can make you wear it. And as long as it’s touching you while charged with moonlight you should be able to go around as human.” He looked at the Prince now who was smiling widely then to the knight who was nodding his own smile forming.

“This plan just might work.” The two said together and Myungjun beamed. Of course there were a lot of variables in how they were going to acquire a moonstone that large or that powered up but those could wait until they actually got near moonstones. After all not all magic was compatible with stone magic and curses were fickle. The likelihood of it working was high though because of the curse his half sister had cast. It was a failed curse which meant it was more susceptible to loopholes.

Chapter Text

A plan was born within hours of talking about moonstones. It wasn't a perfect plan or maybe even a good one all things considered but it was a plan. Myungjun knew they could information about magical stones in Astro they were after all known for stones in Edgewood. They would travel by day through the forest, because having a dragon was only useful then. Prince Jinwoo wasn't better than another target. While he'd once been trained in swords that knowledge and skill was gone from lack of practice.

Myungjun sighed settling down for the night had taken longer than he thought. Prince Jinwoo insisted on staying up in the moonlight again. Which Myungjun didn't really think was an advisable course of action. It might have had something to do with knowing he'd be naked and nearby and entirely too beautiful to look away from. Rocky thought he was crazy, and he was inclined to for once agree with the knight. It was crazy to care. It was also crazy to find the Prince so insanely attractive but he wasn't about to go into that.

Instead he argued the point that they had a long way to go in the morning. Because travelling at night was not safer. Not with the route they would be taking which avoided any towns until they reached the town of Astro. Which was at least twenty days of travel at this point but it was likely to end being considerably more. Rocky also helpfully pointed out that his mission wasn't entirely unofficial just that he hadn't been assigned to the hunting party. Though the hunting party was travelling much slower as there were at least fifteen soldiers and three knights in the party.

In the end he consented to an hour of moonlight and forced the Prince to use his cloak so that he didn’t have to worry about getting flashed. Which didn’t actually prevent anything as Prince Jinwoo had apparently let go of any decency he’d had as a prince and the inhibitions that came with while living alone. And the only thing that saved Myungjun from having to answer unavoidable questions or even blurting out his thoughts and feelings in the moment was his decision to reorganize his pack.Otherwise the flashes of bare thigh and a smile too sincere and wide might have gotten him different kinds of trouble than the mission warranted.

The knight on the other hand went about collecting as much food stores as they could carry, they’d bind them to Prince Jinwoo’s back in the morning. It would make it that much easier to travel at least with the amount of supplies they would be needing. There was at least an abundance of vegetation on the route they were planning to take. Though Myungjun knew that there was also a higher risk of wild animals, knights, and his sister sensing them once they left the cave. He hadn’t noticed it earlier but the cave was in a perfect position to set up fairy traps. Traveling wouldn’t give them the luxury.

When the hour finally ended there was another problem at hand. Sleeping arrangements and setting up guards. It wasn’t something they needed to worry about yet but having it discussed and decided upon was a better idea than waiting until the moment it was needed. After a short discussion they decided upon the guard duty order with Prince Jinwoo taking first shift so they could protect his human form. And one of the first orders of business was going to be getting clothes for him Myungjun decided the more they discussed the issue. He couldn’t help thinking to himself that this meant the night before he’d been laid up against a very naked Prince Jinwoo for at least twenty minutes before he’d reverted back into a dragon.

Pushing any untoward thoughts aside he made them all settle in. The fairies with the Prince, himself and knight in their usual arrangement of backs facing each other at least three feet away. It was an alright set up as it allowed the dragon plenty of room and fairies would be able to protect the dragon at night if anything were to happen. It wouldn’t while they were at the cave but that wasn’t what they were preparing for.

Even with everything planned out Myungjun found it hard to sleep, a niggling sense of he’d forgotten something attacking him everytime he closed his eyes. He felt like it was something important that his grandmother had warned him about. Which really in the long run hadn’t been much of anything. She’d given him a lot of advice, a lot of items to take with him, and very few warnings. The only one he could remember clearly was about learning fairy, which if he were honest with himself he didn’t even really want to know. It would be nice to join into the conversations that they consistently kept having over his head but at the same time he wasn’t sure he wanted to know what Moonbin was always whispering to Eunwoo.

Eventually he did drift off into a fitful sleep that left him sore in the morning when he woke up against Prince Jinwoo with no recollection how he’d gotten there. It wasn’t until then the warning he’d forgotten drifted back to him. The image of his grandmother’s wizened face and her shaking finger in his face. The wide eyes she had and the soft smile that had him forgetting it had even been a warning. She’d told him he’d fall in love on this mission, it was a love that was going to walk through several trails but he was going to risk it all anyway. The warning only came back as he stared up at Prince Jinwoo’s white gleaming neck, turning towards him as it had the morning before. The morning greeting was returned and Myungjun found himself running out of the cave into the sunlight with the excuse he needed to use the latrine.

It hit him full force when he broke the treeline that his grandmother had been warning him about falling in love because it was going to happen quickly. As if it was love at first sight, a type of rare love that in magic circles was known to be a curse as much as a blessing. Because love at first sight between magic users was a love that usually defied all odds by being true love. Which unlike in the fairy tales of the non-magic users true love did not break curses it generally had the opposite effect of keeping them in place. Which meant his plan for the moonstone was the only one they could actually count on working unless he could get his half sister to reverse the curse on her own.

It took him a whole thirty minutes to return to the cave his mind weighed down with this knowledge, not to mention his feelings. Feelings he wasn’t sure he could express as he looked up at the dragon who was smiling down at him. The dragon who had the same kind of feelings for him blooming somewhere within he was sure, as that’s how true loved worked with magic users. It was nice knowing that his feelings would be returned if they weren’t yet, but it also formed a lump in his throat about how to break the news to Prince Jinwoo in the distant future.

For now he wasn’t going to do anything. They had a mission to accomplish and it was important. More important than the way his heart swelled at the sight of the Prince walking through the trees, graceful and adapt despite his size. Rocky on the other hand was surrounded by the fairies watching them carefully as they took the quickest path to the town of Tulia to acquire clothing and a few extra supplies. They’d already decided to wait until moon rise to bring Jinwoo with them into town wearing one of the few extra sets of pants that Myungjun owned. Of course when they’d made the plan and set out they hadn’t anyway of knowing that nothing was going to go to plan.

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Myungjun found himself hanging upside down for the second time since he'd began his journey. This time he wasn't alone though. No somehow both him and Prince Jinwoo had both been captured by bandits no less. The knight having been instructed to stay behind at camp with the fairies, because there was no way they could bring them into town. It was already risky enough bringing the Prince, who it turned out was not so stealthy in human form. Which Myungjun should have known honestly, and he might have thought about it if he weren't so concerned with not staring. Really it was entirely the Prince’s fault for being so distracting.

He wasn't about to say that out loud though and there were no fairies around to make him. For which he was thankful because then maybe he could lie his way out of this one. Because he was certain that his boot knife would be no more effective against the twenty bandits around them than it would have been against Dragon Jinwoo. Who was currently not much help as he was even more stunned than Myungjun had been the first time he'd sprung such a trap when he was ten and attempted to find his half sister's spellbook. Making him fairly useless as well as distracting. He just hoped the bandits realized they were poor, the only currency on them enough for a few shabby clothes. It wasn't like they needed anything fancy for the Prince or particularly heavy for this season. There was a high probability of it being ripped anyway.

Unfortunately Myungjun got the feeling it wasn’t going to be that simple when the biggest, tallest, and ugliest of the bunch stepped forward. He stepped towards the Prince first and Myungjun knew he didn’t have much time to work with when the only sliver of moonlight that had been on Prince Jinwoo moments before was blocked leaving him in darkness. They’d already took the time to find out exactly how long it took before Prince Jinwoo was reverting back to a dragon. It was in the end a hit or miss of the time game but on average the transformation lasted longer the longer he’d been exposed to moonlight. So far today it had been about an hour which Myungjun knew gave him roughly ten minutes.

For while it would be nice, simple, and much easier to scare these bandits off with Dragon Jinwoo that wouldn’t lead to good consequences either. They didn’t know that dragons don’t eat people, they didn’t need to know that. It was however something they would figure out if Prince Jinwoo were to suddenly change back among other things. And as he knew his sister probably wouldn’t be happy to find out that Prince Jinwoo had discovered the secret of the curse. If she hadn’t already assumed as much after all she had been looking for him not so secretly for a while now. Rocky had already told them he was not the only knight that had been after him as a dragon, and Myungjun would rather not alert the hunting party and have them after them so soon.

However this knowledge didn’t help them now as the bandit pinned his eyes on Prince Jinwoo scanning him up and down. Myungjun knew why, if he were to see someone like Prince Jinwoo out in the woods he would have stared at him in the same way too. It wasn’t everyday that a traveler was out in the woods without boots, a shirt, or at least a cloak. Currently Prince Jinwoo was only wearing a pair of pants that were a little tighter than they needed to be, of course they belonged to Myungjun who didn’t have quite as thick thighs. When the bandit finally spoke his voice thick and deep, layered with ill intent. “What do we have here?” His words weren’t aimed at them or his men, Myungjun could tell from the quirked eyebrow and the side glance thrown his own way afterwards. The bandit was gauging their worth.

"We don’t have any gold." Myungjun made himself sound as convincing as possible, even though he knew the bandits wouldn’t believe him for a moment. It did however draw the leader’s attention his way if not his body along with it. Their eyes locking as the other men chuckled darkly. He could tell from the look alone that this statement wasn’t going to deter any of them.

“Gold isn’t the only thing of value.” It was another bandit that spoke this time, their voice softer and not quite as deep. It sounded like a slap to the face and the feeling of it had Myungjun squirming as it felt like ice against the back of his neck. He knew exactly what he meant and it made his skin crawl thinking about it. Of course he wasn’t about to go down without a fight. However now really wasn’t the time to fight a losing battle, he needed to get Prince Jinwoo back in the moonlight and soon.

“He’s right you know.” The leader answered absentmindedly as he turned to look back at the Prince again and Myungjun wanted to gouge his eyes out for the thoughts he saw written on his face. He couldn’t exactly blame the bandit for thinking about such things, Prince Jinwoo was definitely godlike in human form. But he wasn’t meant for those kind of looks. “What do you have if not gold?”

Myungjun knew this was a long shot, it’d been a long, long time since he’d attempted this without his lyre but it was the best course of action. “Magic.” He held up one of his hands showcasing a tiny bit of light, it wouldn’t hold out for long. That wasn’t how his magic worked. It seemed to stun the bandits though the others gathering around him while the leader’s feet remained planted where he was. Which wasn’t good there was maybe seven minutes left of the ten he’d started with. Prince Jinwoo for his part was looking at him as if he’d grown a second head being as useful as he was before. Myungjun resisted the urge to sigh he probably didn’t think it was a big deal that he transformed. Of course he knew that Prince Jinwoo didn’t know his half sister like he did.

“Magic isn’t that rare.” The leader insisted though his men didn’t look as convinced as he was at his statement. But their eyes weren’t glued to toned abs or to a handsome face that screamed of ethereal beauty. “Nor will it fetch as much.” He quirked his head and Myungjun knew that if he didn’t think fast he’d be dead long before the Prince even got a chance to transform. So he took a deep breath and started humming.

Everyone froze as the first note hit their ears and he hoped they stayed stunned for the next five minutes caught in the images he wove for them. He hoped he could last that long as he motioned to Prince Jinwoo then to his boot knife as he retrieved it cutting himself down first. The bandits stayed frozen as he worked the Prince down as well struggling to remain humming as he tried to work the shorter into the moonlight.

It was too late though the moment Prince Jinwoo’s feet hit the ground he was pushing Myungjun away and stripping out of his pants. Forcing the hum to end abruptly and the bandits to come around just in time to see the flash of light before they were greeted with a dragon. Myungjun could only bury his head in his hands as the bandits ran screaming. At least they were gone and hopefully they thought it was part of the magic he’d used on them. Maybe that way it wouldn’t be reported.

“That could have gone a lot better.” Myungjun looked through his hands up at Prince Jinwoo who was giving him a lopsided grin. He prepared himself for the lecture he was going to have to give on why this hadn’t been a good solution as he picked up his spare pants and they proceeded on their way to the city. It was going to a be a long trip to the city after all.

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Altogether it took the rest of the trip to Tulia for Myungjun to explain why being caught was a bad thing. He wasn’t sure why he had to spell it out to Prince Jinwoo that it wasn’t going to deter anyone in the future. That actually it really wouldn’t stop the hunting party that was already, according to Rocky, on it’s way to find the Dragon Prince. They were after all quite aware and well equipped to handle a dragon, if anything it was going to urge them on. And unlike before when Prince Jinwoo had been hiding from them they were bereft of the benefits of fairy magic to deter anyone that was heading in their direction. As fairy magic required time, an adequate location, and more magic than they currently had on hand.

The cave they’d resided in before had kept not only the Prince well fed on magic it also supplied the fairies allowing for more fairy dust. That wasn’t a luxury they were afforded on the road. As it stood they were limited to three fairy spells a day, one from each of them and their latent abilities such as Eunwoo’s truth field. Myungjun honestly wasn’t sure how he felt about that part of the magic staying as it had him on his toes constantly as they traveled trying not to slip up. It wasn’t like he was thinking anything bad but commenting on how nice Prince Jinwoo’s ass looked in his pants was not something he wanted to say aloud anytime soon, or ever if he could help it. Not to mention the whole true love spiel he was actively trying to avoid thinking about much less talking about.

While Eunwoo’s ability was useful in most hostile situations it also made things a little awkward as it wasn’t something the fairy chose to turn on and off. It required magic to control, magic they didn’t currently have the luxury of using constantly. Making it a double edged sword, one that Myungjun felt he was the only one facing as he seemed to be the only one biting his tongue since they’d set out from the cave. Prince Jinwoo simply wasn’t affected as a dragon and in human form he’d yet to say something regretful either from immunity or he had that kind of control effortlessly. While Rocky for his part was affected the only one he even remotely held back his mind from was Sanha. And Myungjun didn’t want to touch that relationship with a nine foot pole if it could be avoided. He couldn’t understand Sanha any better now than he had before.

Which initially hadn’t really helped him in communicating with the others when they all insisted on speaking fairy around him. Or just plain staying silent after one of the fairy had said something. It was rare for either the Prince or the knight to translate for him. And in those moments he struggled to keep his eyes on the path ahead, away from Prince Jinwoo, and concentrated his thoughts on the mission at hand. Thankfully the longer they traveled together the fewer instances of this there were. But now there were no fairy distractions and no focusing on the mission as he talked with Prince Jinwoo the rest of the way to the square, where the night market was taking over.

The air between them was still comfortable despite the previous lecture and Myungjun resisted saying something stupid as they entered the city. Prince Jinwoo didn’t have papers either, something else that Myungjun knew they’d need to acquire for their travel to the capital of Edgewater, Fantisa. But those could be obtained in Astro as well as the moonstone. That didn’t help them now as they charmed their way past the guard trying not to garner too much attention for the time of night that it was. Myungjun had suggested that they sneak in, it wasn’t hard after all he’d snuck out so easily the last time. But Prince Jinwoo had insisted because it had been so long since he’d interacted with humans that weren’t Rocky or himself. It had been a request he’d been unable to deny.

One he knew he probably should have from the guard’s examination of Prince Jinwoo, but somehow he’d bought that they’d been robbed. Myungjun didn’t think their story had anything to do with it and more pity for the state in which Prince Jinwoo was dressed. That however did not deter onlookers or gawkers once they entered the city proper. It was only after the first girl sized the Prince up though that he wished the other had taken him up on his offer of his cloak. It wasn’t like Myungjun could blame the girls after all he was seeing what they were seeing. He’d only been trying not to stare at it all day, if he were being honest he’d been trying to stare since he met him honestly. No matter what form he was in Prince Jinwoo was breathtakingly beautiful.

Though in the torch lights he was also devastatingly handsome. With the way the flames caught in shadows on the plains of his chest, highlighting abs that were soft but still present. His white eyes, still transferred over as a sign of the curse, unique and standing out against the tan of his skin that seemed to glow under the fire’s admiration. His hair that was unnaturally light catching different shades of the fire’s light and show casing his strong jawline. No Myungjun knew exactly what they were looking at when they looked at Prince Jinwoo. He just found himself wishing that it also had a large sign that read ‘this one is Myungjun’s’ attached to it. Even if it weren’t true yet, even if it may never be exactly true as he’d still yet to tell Prince Jinwoo anything about his feelings and he wasn’t sure he’d ever get up the courage for that talk.

As it stood though despite their being very few people about at this time of night on the regular streets the Prince walked close. Closer than was necessary, asking questions about the town, the people, everything that he could think of. The questions painting a smile on Myungjun’s lips despite his jealous undertones whenever a pretty woman walked by and Prince Jinwoo looked. If things had been different he might have looked too, but the Prince was someone that was hard to look away from. Though he did note his own share of admirers forming as they walked, which made him feel a little better. As he knew that he was far from hideous and in most circles considered handsome even if his traveling companions often made him wonder.

It wasn’t something he had to wonder about tonight, instead enjoying Prince Jinwoo’s company as well as he could. Laughing about the little things as they took in the sights, the only money in their pocket enough for the clothes they were buying. Thankfully one of the first stalls they came to was for clothing. The merchant’s wears cheap and reasonable in their pricing as well as durability. The woman merchant also took pity on the Prince and directed him to cheap and durable shoes for which they thanked her kindly and were on their way. The shopping was done quickly but still Myungjun found it hard to pull the Prince away from the people, his people.

People that Myungjun wasn’t sure the Prince had seen since the curse. People he might not see again if this didn’t work. Because there was one thing Myungjun was certain of and that was that his half sister wouldn’t be as easily swayed as he previously thought. Whispers of her and her armies reaching his sensitive ears all night. Each new story more terrifying than the last, though he knew most weren’t anywhere the the truth. He knew that her magic rarely called for blood and it never called for sacrifice. And it wasn’t until he found himself defending her in his mind that he wondered how he’d ever be able to do this if she refused to listen to reason. He wasn’t fond of her, he didn’t like who she’d become, and he didn’t approve of her methods but she was still his sister.

These thoughts weighed on him as they ambled around the market just a little bit longer. Prince Jinwoo taking in the wonders while he watched him, what he knew was a telling smile taking over his face. The same smile that he found lingering on Prince Jinwoo’s lips when he wasn’t looking. A smile he wasn’t sure what to do with as they snuck their way out of the city. The conversations of before dying down as they worked themself away in the small pockets of moonlight left. Sneaking back into the forest to never be seen in Tulia again.

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Once they reached camp Myungjun found that Rocky and the fairies were settled in and for the most part were impressed with the results of their shopping. Not that they’d been able to see them on the Prince as they had taken the whole night to shop. Prince Jinwoo was already back in his dragon form, the packages of his clothes on his back. And from there they were settling in themselves and the watches established. Despite the fact they were day sleeping today there wasn’t much of a change in it except for the order starting with Rocky, then himself, and Prince Jinwoo.

Myungjun found himself staying up even though there was no need for him to so through Rocky’s watch. Prince Jinwoo was curled up to a tree, hidden away from the sunlight with the fairies already fast asleep within minutes. Myungjun found himself too full of heavy thoughts to even think about resting. He might regret later when they started traveling that night just long enough to get them to a new camp site. A bit further from Tulia and further from where they’d run into bandits. Which is what Myungjun told Rocky about as they sat there keeping an eye on the others. Though it seemed Rocky understood this better than he would have given him credit for. The reason he was almost a knight showing now more than ever.

“So we should start hiding our camps.” Rocky’s eyes scanned over where they had started a small fire that they had used to cook with last night. It had been very small, only big enough to cook a few fish and warm up enough water to make a base soup. But the traces it would leave were unmistakable to the trained eye. The kind of eyes that would be following them a lot sooner than any of them had been hoping for.

Myungjun nodded but didn’t say anything in reply. Those were just some of the thoughts weighing on his mind. Rocky went on for a moment but Myungjun wasn’t really listening, from the look on his face the knight already knew that. Yet he kept talking anyway his thoughts working themselves out while Myungjun nodded along or added a small noise here or there. This was how many nights had passed, the roles reversing at points and the worries different but it helped them work out their problems.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Rocky’s voice cut through his thoughts and he turned to look at him surprised. Rocky had been talking about the methods they could use to hide their trail as they made their way to Astro. After Astro there were more options to be had but he’d stopped and it took Myungjun a second to catch up. When he looked at him Rocky was wearing a lopsided grin, his eyes were darting between him and the Prince.

“Wha!?” Myungjun kept his voice from squawking but just barely as he got the insinuation of his tone. He wasn’t able to keep the color from his cheeks though as stole a glance at Prince Jinwoo as well. The dragon was already asleep and the fairies around him were working some magic or another. Maybe just squabbling over who would sleep where. It wasn’t like he understood what they said anyway. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He knew his voice was lower than it should have been, softer. A dead giveaway that he did know.

“I have eyes you know. I see how you look at him.” Rocky rolled his eyes and Myungjun knew he couldn’t pretend anymore. But he didn’t say anything instead averting his eyes to the treeline where the blue sky was peeking through. They’d have to move out in a few hours to at least from the looks of it. “He has eyes too.” Rocky’s voice was low too, all knowing and amused.

At that Myungjun sighed and finally looked at the knight again seeing the lopsided grin hadn’t left his face. “Is it that obvious?” He asked the heat on his cheeks rising again. He’d at least hoped that his growing feelings hadn’t shown yet. Though he knew he should have known better than to think that. They’d been traveling together for awhile now even if they hadn’t gone that far yet since it was slow going traveling with a dragon.

“Not as obvious as it could be.” Rocky admitted with a shrug his grin fading. “I caught on pretty quick as did Eunwoo and Moonbin but Sanha,” At this point there was red on Rocky’s cheeks that had Myungjun giving him a lopsided grin. Even if he didn’t really want to know how they were going to make that work it was obvious they were going to try. “Sanha isn’t the brightest sword in the armory, but he’s starting to catch on.” Rocky glanced at the fairies and dragon a soft smile over taking his face. “So do you want to talk about it?”

“I…” Myungjun hesitated wondering what he could say about his feelings. It was fairly obvious that Rocky knew, knew exactly what he was feeling because he saw the same look on his face when he looked at Sanha. “I guess. It’s pretty complicated,” He finally gave in sighing his thoughts a little more jumbled than they had been when he’d been thinking about it by himself. “What do you know about true love and magic users?” He asked but he didn’t actually expect Rocky to know anything. Edgewater knew next to nothing about magic to begin with. Rocky’s family might have ties to magic but he doubted that any of their knowledge had been passed down.

“No. I heard about true love but isn’t it the same for magic users?” Rocky’s eyebrow was quirked and he wasn’t looking at Myungjun anymore. His eyes had drifted to the sky now and he a thoughtful look had overtaken his face. “I thought true love was just a fairy tale to begin with, same for love at first sight.” Myungjun nodded at that most non-magic users were the same when it came to those thoughts. Though they were more likely to find it than magic users, though the odds weren’t high for either of them to find it. “I changed my mind after seeing you with Jinwoo. But seeing him like this has changed my mind about a lot of things.”

“It’s not common.” Myungjun admitted softly the red on his cheeks hadn’t faded any. “But unlike the tales they tell about true love it won’t cure anything. Actually it will keep his curse in place.” He sighed it was more than a little weird admitting it aloud but it also felt a little relieving. “I didn’t realize it had happened until…” He felt more heat on his cheeks as he continued. “Either way I figured out that, well that I’ve fallen in love with the Prince.” Myungjun sighed he wasn’t sure what to say anymore even though he knew he could trust Rocky with the information.

Myungjun knew he was over simplifying things even as he felt like his face might be on fire as he glanced over at Prince Jinwoo and the fairies who’d finally settled down. “It’s a bit more complicated than that.” He admitted softly thinking of how his half sister, the Queen was Prince Jinwoo’s step mother. Not to mention the titles involved or the curse that he may or may not be able to lift. He was grateful they were at least far enough away their whispering couldn’t be heard even if the others were awake. “What about you and Sanha?” He found turning this around on the knight was a little easier than going into the details of all the complications.

“It's a bit complicated.” Rocky admitted with a shrug that told Myungjun that he'd already thought it through. Relations with fairy were not entirely unheard of, though they were rare and not recorded. It was either frowned upon by humans or toted as a story to tell. By the fairy though it was an offense punishable by banishment or death. Whichever came first. Though Myungjun figured that explained why Rocky’s family who had the lineage was exiled to Edgewater to begin with. They certainly weren’t going to let them live in Edgewood.

“It is.” Myungjun agreed with a nod. And silence fell between them for a moment both of them studying their companions. Thoughts similar, he knew without the words to accompany them but still found themselves talking about them. Their loves were complicated, he knew, they both knew. But they were not impossible. At least Myungjun wanted to believe they weren’t impossible. Even if he really didn’t want to think about how Rocky and Sanha were going to work that out. He barely wanted to think about their relationship at all if he were honest. It was sickeningly sweet, it was almost jealousy inducing to watch them skirt around each other. If not nauseating at the same time. He certainly hoped he didn’t actually look that love sick.

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Myungjun hadn’t thought talking about his feelings with Rocky would make traveling any easier. For the most part he’d found himself right as the days wore on and the distance between them and their destination shortened. But there were little moments when their eyes met, after he’d been lost in thought his eyes likely glued to the dragon in front of him, that he felt the difference. It was a little odd knowing the fairy knew as well. Though it was becoming harder and harder to hide how he was feeling.

Traveling for the most part was tedious but not quite grueling. At least he didn’t find it so as he was accustomed to traveling to make ends meet and Rocky was an almost knight. Traveling was what they were good at. Though Prince Jinwoo and the fairies didn’t complain he noticed the way traveling wore them down. The chatter that had highlighted the first part of their journey subtly fading away. They hadn’t seen a town or another living being that wasn’t a woodland creature in two weeks.

While Myungjun knew the Prince was unaccustomed to seeing others he could also tell he was unaccustomed to long distance traveling. The last time he’d probably done so having been before he found his cave. It could be seen in the way his wings fluttered softly as they traveled, keeping his body cool in the heat of spring. While his neck drooped more and more as he carried the fairies, sometimes for whole days. The magic available for them to feed off just enough to keep them from starving. Which caused them to eat more of the fruit they found meaning they were left foraging for days sometimes to have enough supplies to move on.
“I think we should stop by a village.” The announcement was sudden, Myungjun knew but the way that Prince Jinwoo’s face brightened and the fairies perked up was worth it. He knew of a little village ahead, maybe the rest of the day’s travel if they hurried, that was remote and friendly. A village known for its spring festivals that lasted well into the night and more importantly when he’d passed through it he’d felt magic there. Not quite as strong as the cave’s magic connection but they were approaching the border and magic was more abundant.

“Why?” The knight’s eyebrows were lifted and Myungjun understood why he would be questioning the decision. They had picked this route to avoid people, to hopefully fulfill their mission without detection. They hadn’t seen any signs of being followed or seen anything alarming around them to show they’d been caught. Even after the bandit situation. Though the knight had been on guard since then. Eunwoo was bristling over the idea as well from his perch on the knight’s shoulder. They’d been discussing something in low whispers since the morning. Sanha though looked intrigued from the other shoulder.

“We need information from people to know what’s going on in the kingdom.” Myungjun reasoned looking at the Prince and not the knight as he spoke. “Plus when I passed through this village before I noticed it had a small bit of magic.” He knew his eyes were soft and he could feel the smile on his face twitching as the dragon smiled down at him grateful. “It would be a good idea.” He asserted when he finally looked back at Rocky, he knew his cheeks were slightly pink from the prolonged look between himself and the Prince. It couldn’t be helped. For the first time since they’d started traveling he’d woken up in the middle of the night. And he’d awoken to find himself wrapped up in the Prince’s arms.

There had only been a sliver of moonlight that drifted through the trees, just a small patch. It had landed across Prince Jinwoo’s face, highlighting his handsome features. Features Myungjun had been close enough to admire in detail. For somehow no matter where he slept, away from the Prince, near the Prince, accidently on guard duty, wherever he always awoke the next morning by the dragon. As if he’d walked there in his sleep or the Prince had. Though Rocky always gave them an exasperated but amused smile on the days he’d tried not to end up there. Today was no exception. The only exception being that Myungjun had been sleeping next to the Prince’s human form. The same Prince who must have moved to be by him and held him while he’d been asleep.

“It’s a good idea to stop at as many magic hot spots as we can as well.” Prince Jinwoo’s voice was quiet but the rumble of it shot right through Myungjun. It had been awhile since the dragon had actually spoken, it had been awhile since any of them had spoken really. Too focused on the task at hand. “The fairies and I could use the break.” The Prince didn’t expand on what he was talking about but the knowing look on Rocky’s face told Myungjun it was a fairy thing. One of the things they’d probably discussed and not translated for him. After a moment of staring at the dragon it seemed the knight relented.

With a heavy sigh Rocky looked at him again this time his shoulders drooping. “Do you have a plan?” The question was met with five pairs of wide eyes staring at him and Myungjun had to swallow. This whole mission he hadn’t had a plan, not a concrete one at least that was further along than ‘don’t let the dragon eat you’. So he paused a moment, the look on Rocky’s face as exasperated as it was this morning. As if he couldn’t be more obvious, which Myungjun would beg to differ because he was a man of plans. Coming up with plans on the fly had somehow become his forte as they traveled.

“Well if we travel for the rest of the day we’ll reach there by night fall. If we take our time foraging we can sleep during the day tomorrow and attend their night festivals. The full moon should be out by then so it shouldn’t be a problem keeping the Prince in human form.” Myungjun voiced his thoughts refusing to look at anyone as he calculated how much time they could spend there to gather information. One night may not be enough depending on what had been going on. Soon they were going to have to expedite their leisurely pace. His half sister couldn’t be left to start more wars for much longer. There was also the little matter of the weather and traveling during the winter wouldn’t be practical.

“It sounds doable.” The knight agreed as the Prince nodded. Myungjun smiled at them the fairies also nodding to the idea. He could understand why, they would probably like to be able to do as they wished with their magic. Though thankfully they hadn’t needed to use any as of late. “The only issue is the fairies then because if you hadn’t noticed fairies are not common here.” Rocky ignored the tittering chorus that followed his words though he did cross his arms awaiting a good answer. The knight was against leaving them alone in the woods, even though Myungjun knew they quite capable magic or not.

“If I’m not mistaken there’s a mushroom we can use to fix this problem.” At this statement he suddenly found his face full of fairy. The camp around them they’d built for their lunch stop suddenly covered by Moonbin’s intrigued face and Sanha’s wide eyes. “I’m sure you’ve heard of Alice’s mushroom.” Both the Prince and knight were looking at him as if he’d grown a second head while the fairies were nodding enthusiastically. He smiled at them because he understood their enthusiasm, but he also wondered just how long his Grandmother had known he’d meet fairies. She’d taught him about this plant long before she’d started talking about his mission. Granted plants and magic were intertwined so knowing them was important.

“What’s an Alice mushroom?” The rumble of Prince Jinwoo’s question had him fighting back the flutter of his heart beat. Hearing the Prince’s voice was nice after so many days of silence. “What does it do?” The curiosity in the question was echoed by the knight’s wide eyes and tilted head. Myungjun not for the first time wondered how Edgewater even functioned without basic knowledge of the world around them. Be it magic or magical plants that were indeed in abundance in certain areas. Why a particular lily grew near the cave that was known for its magical properties when paired with any potion that required toads. He knew because it had been his half sister’s favorite flower to use when making potions to tease him.

“An Alice mushroom allows the one who eats it to either shrink or grow. Depending on how you brew it in the tea.” The fairies were nodding again and Rocky’s eyes were wide as if he’d heard the best news there was. “It’s not a rare mushroom but there are conditions to using it.” Myungjun went on glancing at the knight trying to tell him to memorize this. Because it would help him with Sanha, if only a little. “The conditions,” He continued before anyone got the chance to ask. “Are the tea must be brewed on a full moon and there are two other ingredients that must be present. Ingredients that aren’t as easy to come by.” Myungjun dug around in his pack for a second pulling out a small caterpillar in a jar, it was still moving. “This is a caterpillar, a very rare one that produces smoke when scared.”

Myungjun didn’t blame the disbelieving eyes that met his. He hadn’t really believed they existed until he’d found one back home when he was nine. They ate very little and took years not weeks or months to form their cocoon before turning into willo the wisps. They fed off of magic and fire ants. He’d been more than a little shocked to find one here and had been keeping it with him for a such an occasion. To prove his point though he tapped the glass and smoke filled it filtering out the holes he used to feed it. “The second ingredient we need is a little easier to come by since our fairies can grab it and that’s the leaves to make the tea. Ash leaves from the tallest ash around.”

“How long does the brewing take?” Prince Jinwoo’s voice wavered just a little and Myungjun wondered if it was because he was worried. He wasn’t wrong to be most potions took hours to days to complete time they didn’t have if they were going to make the full moon. Yet the Prince was looking at Eunwoo, Moonbin, and Sanha with more compassion than most had when it came to their race. Myungjun was glad they had been together really. They were good for each other.

“About as long as pot of tea. It’s not the making that’s the hard part. It’s finding this little girl here.” Myungjun smiled at the caterpillar. He’d let her go once she made her cocoon but he wondered if he’d find himself followed by a willo the wisp afterwards. It wasn’t uncommon for them to form bonds with the one that caught them and he had found himself quite attached to the little thing already. He shook those thoughts away storing the caterpillar back into his bag safely. “So do we agree that this is a good idea?” He looked around the camp, the food they’d been eating still sitting there half eaten. The conversation important enough they’d stopped to talk.

“It’s a good plan.” The knight shrugged and Myungjun noticed his eyes lingering on Sanha, who for his part was looking at his brothers. Myungjun almost felt bad for keeping this from him, but not quite. He’d only found the caterpillar a few days ago and working out a truce with her had taken time. A few hours of watch spent singing to her and wooing her to his cause. He hoped the knight understood for it was hinged on the importance of Rocky’s next question. “How long do the effects of the tea last?”

Myungjun looked, glanced between the fairy and knight again hoping they realized what he was giving them. It wasn’t quite hope but it wasn’t quite not hope either. “Roughly four to six hours if the drinker has more than two cups within a twenty four hour period the effects can be dangerous.” He tried to look as serious as he could when the dragon leaned down over him looking at him closer for some reason. The breath from his nostrils ruffling his hair and he found it just that little bit harder to breathe. “It’s long enough.” He swallowed at the thought that four to six hours would ever be enough with the one you’re in love with. “It won’t allow them to do more than change their size the rest they can do with magic right?” He redirected conversation to the fairies who still looked eager as they nodded. This wasn’t new them he was certain.

“I think is a good idea.” Prince Jinwoo pulled back with a nod and like that made it seem like everything was settled as they went back to eating. In the back of his mind though Myungjun wondered what the Prince had been looking at with such a soft look. He wondered if his support of the human and fairy had been obvious. It was a question he’d wanted to ask the dragon for awhile, but it felt like it would just open a gate he wasn’t ready to walk through. That it would only lead to questions about them. If the looks he caught Prince Jinwoo giving him sometimes or the cuddling at night meant what he wanted them to mean. That maybe it really was okay to talk about his feelings with the person he had them towards. That maybe Prince Jinwoo was feeling them too.

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Myungjun took a deep whiff of the tea he was making while doing his best to ignore the three hovering fairies. Sanha was wide eyed and chatty, not that Myungjun had the foggiest what he was trying to say while Eunwoo and Moonbin were both studious and serious. Their expressions giving away how interested they actually were. It was tempting to ask Rocky to translate for him as he added in the mushrooms he’d chopped earlier, their aroma making his nose twitch. All that was needed now was to get the timing right for the smoke. The caterpillar, that Rocky had affectionately started calling ‘Catty’, after realizing she could communicate, was held securely in his hand.

It was more than a little disconcerting to be concentrating with so many eyes on him as he stared up at the moon. It’s pale light falling over the pot he was using as night began to fall. The timing just right for the smoke to be added. Yet even as the tea was finished, the smell pungent but not grotesque like he’d thought it would be, he found himself giving more warnings. The important ones all over again though he couldn’t be quite sure how much they would be heeded as the fairies took the tea, in small leaves towards some farther trees. To change in private and work what magic they needed to hopefully pass as normal humans. Myungjun sincerely doubted they would look normal as he thought of how handsome their group actually was as a whole.

“What you're doing is sweet.” Myungjun found himself startled from his thoughts as he put out the fire, the tea was cooling in the pot to be left there in case it was needed again. It was Prince Jinwoo’s deep rumble that had brought him about face, the dragon Prince’s smile melting his heart just a little bit. Human or dragon form he decided the Prince was still breathtaking. “Sanha is the most excited,” The smile was a touch softer and Myungjun no longer wondered if Prince Jinwoo supported the human and fairy’s affections it was obvious now. Almost as obvious as Rocky and Sanha’s affections for each other. Yet they’d never said anything about it, often it was treated as the elephant in the room. One day Myungjun knew he might ask, while there was still a point in asking. One day when it wouldn’t bring him to where he was standing now.

Asking about the Prince’s thoughts on a human and fairy relationship wasn’t a path he was willing to walk down. Not when that path could potentially and most likely would lead to discussing their own relationship. Or maybe just the legality of what he was doing. There were several reasons the tea he’d made wasn’t legal, not that making potions illegal had ever stopped anyone from making them or passing them on. He knew quite a few spells that were labeled dangerous and a handful of potions that his grandmother had taught him with the strictest of warnings. Though he’d sworn to himself that he’d never use any of them unless he could help it. They were powerful magic and the price for their use was much higher than the price of pain the fairies were paying now. He hadn’t heard them screaming though so he took it as a good sign. Even so he smiled at the dragon Prince and changed the subject to how they were going to clothe themselves.

The Prince was convinced the leaves they wore would be their clothing of choice while Myungjun had only indulged him. Smiling at the very human face that was looking back at him. In the end the point was moot when the fairies emerged from the trees fully dressed. The clothes they were wearing resembling the clothes Myungjun himself was wearing. He smiled at them seeing the magic for what it was. He hadn’t been sure what magic the fairy knew but he had suspected they were capable of making clothing, or the likeness of clothing appear for the sake of others. An illusion that if one chose to they could see through but he wasn’t about to do that no matter how handsome they all looked. Their ethereal quality remained as it did for most magical creatures that took human form. Myungjun pretended not to hear the gasp from Rocky’s general victincy when Sanha bounced over to him chittering away. Language wasn’t affected by the tea and it wasn’t something magic could fix either.

With a sigh Myungjun gathered them all around and told them about the layout of the village on his last visit. As well as telling them the kind of information they were after. Mostly if they were indeed being hunted by a party of knights, where they might be, and what the state the kingdom itself was in. The kinds of things they were cut off from in traveling by the roads less taken. They hadn’t interacted with another creature that wasn’t used for a meal in what felt like months. Yet Myungjun still had faith in them, well in Prince Jinwoo and Rocky at least. The fairies he reminded separately that the tea they were using was not to be disclosed as it had been illegal the last time he checked, and likely still was. Not to humans of course but word travels fast among fairies he knew. Though he’d had his suspicions about the three already being outcasts to begin with it wasn’t polite to ask. And even if he did he wasn’t sure he would able to understand the answer without translation.

It didn’t take very long before they were all ready, or as close to ready as they could be he supposed. He wasn’t sure if the fairies had ever stepped foot in a human village. Rocky was still technically a knight in training, even if he’d never see full knighthood under Myungjun’s half sister. And Myungjun himself might be a wanted criminal along with the Prince. Though hopefully that wasn’t the case or if it was it was so hush hush that no would care enough to try and capture them. With one last sigh to himself he lead the way to the village making sure to stay within in the moonlight. Allowing himself to think it really couldn’t be that bad.

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Myungjun knew he shouldn't have allowed himself to think things would go smoothly, they never did. Within fifteen minutes of entering the village Rocky and the fairies had disappeared, worse yet the knight had winked at him when doing so. He wasn’t sure what it meant, but when he’d suggested they try to find them Prince Jinwoo had only told him that the fairies were completely capable of taking care of themselves. While also pointing out that Rocky being almost knighted spoke for itself. Despite the reassurance it still took him another ten minutes to relax about the issue and focus on the task at hand. The task being gathering information without alerting anyone that they really were possibly fugitives of the kingdom. While of course doing his best not to stare at how good the Prince’s ass looked in pants. It was taking a lot more effort on the second task than the first one as they leisurely strolled around the streets leading to the festivities.

The festival wouldn’t really start until the dancing started, until then it was all about shops and feasting until the moon’s light captivated the night. Then the dancers would perform, singing and frolicking at the height of the moon. Until then Myungjun knew they could enjoy themselves easily, no one would be too drunk or too over excited to bother them for the most part. But it also meant no would be loose lipped enough to give away anything they weren’t supposed to, at least not without a little help. He wasn’t concerned about it as he led Prince Jinwoo and himself towards the village’s center and most likely hanging place of wanted posters. He knew it was going to be full of many names, his half sister wasn’t petty but she wasn’t one to let things slide, and he was certain any decrees she passed would also be there under the King’s name. He found he wasn’t wrong when they reached it, a long list of regulations that were printed in red accompanied by the pictures of a least five wanted criminals ten others crossed out with large messy red x’s.

It had only been in passing, as Prince Jinwoo was talking about their good fortune for not being on the board, when he heard it. The whispers of what his half sister was like. The talk of how she was evil, a baby killer, a monster, a petty woman who only cared for gold, and more. Whispers of her love of war, of how she couldn’t have children because of her crimes, whispers of what her magic could do, had done. It was the talk of the villagers headed away from the feast, sleepy children in their arms or others leaving to join the others different foods in their arms. He hadn’t meant to but he couldn’t stop himself from clenching his fist, the urge to correct them boiling up inside him even though he knew not all of it was wrong. He tried to not let him get to him as more people passed by still talking about the Queen a hot topic is seemed as the decrees had been posted recently. At least that’s what he gathered from the talk of the villagers who glanced them over it was within the last few days. It was almost impossible to focus though with all the whispers around them. Most of them wrong.

“Does it bother you?” Prince Jinwoo’s voice snapped him from his thoughts and he found himself meeting concerned eyes when he looked over at the other, who he’d almost forgotten was there. He had to swallow away his initial thoughts most of them clouded by places darker than he wanted to be in at the moment. Instead he gave the Prince a confused look because he wasn’t quite sure what the other had meant. “What they say about my step mother, your half sister.” The Prince clarified and Myungjun almost wished he hadn’t as he moved them away from the postings board, the whispers about her fading away and into the roar of a fire nearby and the voices of many gathered.

He sighed thinking of the answer. The relationship of his half sister and the Prince, his relationship to the Prince, and the connection it gave them ran through his mind as he thought about it. It was just as complicated he supposed as he unclenched his fists another sigh escaping his lips. “It’s not all wrong.” He finally admitted with a half hearted smile, fingers flexing as he thought about growing up with her. The things she did weren’t always nice but they were never as bad as what he’d heard, what he’d constantly been told about her. He knew what her magic was and what it wasn’t. He knew about her goals more than he wanted to admit, the only letter he’d ever received from her when she’d left the country still with him. A letter he’d received before her marriage to the King, before the wars started.

It wasn’t something he wanted to elaborate on, though he knew he was going to have to from the look he was getting. They’d still have to gather information, it was essential after all if they were going to keep going the way they were going. Though he was secretly hoping that they wouldn’t have to return all the way to Astro to find a moonstone, as while the country didn’t appreciate it’s magical uses they did appreciate its beauty. Though he knew that it was not likely to happen. But just as essential as getting a moonstone and information was telling the Prince about his step mother. The Queen, the reason they’d even met in the first place. There was only so far they could go on the little bit they knew about her, save the knight who probably knew more about the current her than he did. Despite the obvious desire to know Prince Jinwoo didn’t ask anymore questions as Myungjun steered them towards the shop stalls lining a side street. Their wears varying from clothing to festive wear and other rarities that were only brought out at festivals, when visitors would be more likely to travel through the village.

“She wasn’t a bad sister.” Myungjun found his voice as he glanced through the offerings of small combs, ribbons, and hair pieces, his own hair was getting rather long while the knight’s was mostly unmanageable without something to help it along. A deficit he supposed in the knight program was a lack of concern or knowledge of some rather basic skills. He remembered the first time Rocky had tried to tie his hair back with a small flexible twig, he’d almost cried from laughing so hard. The small ribbon he’d been using had been lost awhile back and since the knight had been suffering silently. “She played pranks like all sister’s do, or I think most older sisters do.” Myungjun didn’t look at the Prince who was picking up a ribbon himself, it was pale gray and reminded him of Rocky’s name. He knew the other was listening though. “She wasn’t violent, not really. Though her pranks weren’t always as harmless as I’d like and were borderline bullying.”

Prince Jinwoo was nodding as they paid for ribbon and comb with the small amount of money they had. Moving on to the next shop which sold jewelry silently. Myungjun couldn’t help but notice the way eyes lingered on them, mostly on the Prince, women’s eyes that felt hungry. He stifled his feelings on the matter though as he ran a check list of the stones, expecting a question from the Prince about what he’d said. None was forthcoming and he wondered what the Prince might be curious about considering the curse his step mother had placed on him. If he wondered why or if he’d heard the same tales that Myungjun had growing up, with their age gap he’d heard them all. He found the question slipping away though when his eyes landed on the exact thing they needed, the moonstone wasn’t large, not really. Maybe just a little longer than his thumb, cut in a slender but thick chunk and polished out to look like something different. There was no power to it, not yet anyway as it didn’t shine under the shadows it was bathed in.

When he picked it up it was cool to the touch, the leather strap it was secured to soft on his fingers. The shopkeeper eyed him warily as he held it up the to moon. It’s translucent quality showing through it’s milky white color as the moonlight filtered through it. Myungjun could feel Prince Jinwoo’s eyes on him, an unasked question he was sure. Though this wasn’t the only test that the stone would need to pass, he side eyed the shopkeeper as he allowed his magic to reach out and touch the stone. He wasn’t able to stop his smile at the reaction the stone had to it, sucking at the magic hungrily as if it was starved. A good sign. The only problem was going to be price he knew from the greedy look of the shopkeeper, her small eyes insincere and her customer service face slipping in the knowledge he wanted this necklace. He was too certain she could tell how badly he wanted it and not a single price was listed on her goods. Yet the question was smooth when he asked. “How much?”

The shopkeeper’s voice was low when she answered, almost as if she didn’t anyone to hear. Myungjun understood though she was asking a hefty price like he’d feared, a price he wasn’t sure they could afford so easily. Any thought of moving on, going to Astro and digging for their own was rendered obsolete as he heard passers by discussing the dragon hunting party having taken up residence there. And he knew without a doubt that the Queen knew what they were after and knew that he was here. It made his blood cold at the thought of what it might mean in the long run but he pushed those thoughts aside after one look at Prince Jinwoo’s wide terrified eyes. This might be their only hope. Price aside they were just going to have to afford it.

Three haggle attempts, two bickering sessions, and one soulful look from the Prince later and they’d walked away from the shop with the necklace in hand. Myungjun’s bag much lighter than it had been before. It was worth it though he knew as he watched the Prince from the corner of his eye, watched him enjoying interacting with other people. Dancing and singing as they broke away from gathering information, they had what they needed anyway, and enjoyed themselves. It wasn’t until it was growing late, the five hour mark having passed that they slipped away from the people. The Prince pulling him by his hand away from the girl he’d been discussing current war topics with and back towards their camp. He couldn’t say he was disappointed, not really. He’d had a little to drink and his mind was fuzzy as the other tugged on him, his hand warm and wonderful in his own.

When they got back to the camp Myungjun wasn’t surprised to see that Moonbin, Eunwoo, and Sanha had taken another dose of the tea. He suspected they wouldn’t be back until morning. The thought had him blushing as he glanced down at the hand still in his own then back up to the wide smile on Prince Jinwoo’s face. He resisted the urge to kiss him, instead positioning them in the moonlight against a tree trunk, the moonstone nestled between them. He didn’t think one night would be enough to power if fully from the hungry way it had sucked up his own magic but it would be enough to know if it worked. It was silent as they sat there a moment. The idle conversations they’d had flowing through his mind, stalling on the few things he’d said about their shared relative. Their relationship still weighing heavily on his mind as he generally tried to avoid thinking about it altogether.

It wasn’t a heavy silence or even uncomfortable as their group often traveled quietly these days. Yet Myungjun still found himself wanting to fill it, even if it was only to keep his thoughts occupied on something not related to his half sister or kissing the man whose hand he was still holding. In the back of his mind, the part that wasn’t quite lacking sobriety he wondered why they were still holding hands while the intoxicated part felt now would be a really, really great time to tell Prince Jinwoo about his love for him. He didn’t instead he focused on the moonstone and wondered what Prince Jinwoo might be thinking when he squeezed his hand. The silence went on though, even when their hands disconnected and a head found its way onto his shoulder.

“Tell me about her.” The demand would have been out of place, unexpected, and sudden if Myungjun hadn’t spent the last month or so expecting it as they traveled. Yet this was the first time Prince Jinwoo had shown interest in knowing about his step mother, well beyond what he needed to know. Any conversation before that had involved her being dropped or interrupted by Rocky or one of the fairies who were concerned. Myungjun couldn’t say he blamed them. Not with the path she’d taken, the path she’d warned Myungjun himself against taking when they were younger. A path he wondered if she always knew she was going to walk. Yet even though he’d expected the question he hadn’t expected the moment it was asked. With the Prince snuggled up him, arm around his waist as if he were a personal teddy bear, the other hand drawing circles on his thigh, while both of their eyes stared at their hope laid bare before them on the woodland floor.

Myungjun thought about it for a moment, he’d always known where to begin really. She was his sister, half or not she’d been there since the day he was born their good memories weighing on his mind lately. The options of what he had to do weighing on him heavily the closer they got to Astro. For as often as he thought about his mission, coming here and finding Prince Jinwoo and saving the kingdoms from war, he often didn’t think about who it was he was fighting against. Who it was that had started the wars and had caused his life to change this much. It was difficult to think about having seen her softer sides, having had her love before but the more they traveled the closer she came the more the reality of it hit him. The more the way people saw her angered him, even if it was in some ways still true he knew that in there somewhere lived his half sister who loved him.

“Her name is Myunsong. She helped my mother name me…” Myungjun started with a small voice as he looked up at the sky stilling Prince Jinwoo’s hand on his thigh. The moon was still shining brightly and he wondered how many hours of moonlight were left as he went on. Starting with the stories of the early years, the years she cared for him most as his mother was ill often and it was before their grandmother had come to live with them. Before their parents had died. Before the teenage years when her spells more important than taking care of a needy child and the pranks that soon followed his seventh birthday. By that time she’d been stronger than most of the witches in their tiny village. He told the Prince of the actual magic that she knew, following more in line with their grandmother as a soothsayer and potion expert than their father. Prince Jinwoo listened with very few questions as he explained what her magic required and what was just rumor. Rumors that started when their parents died, there had been magic involved. It hadn’t been her like the rumors speculated and those rumors were put to rest until she became Queen and they started up again. Their parents had died from a magic fire caused by a little boy down the street who lost control.

After which they’d been raised by their grandmother who had stopped the fire from harming them. He’d only been ten then and that was when Myunsong had started using magic heavily, under the tutelage of their grandmother until she’d surpassed her. He froze though when it came to the moment she left. She’d been selected for a coven, the one that dealt directly with Edgewater the same one that allowed her to meet the King. He’d been fifteen then and he knew that Prince Jinwoo would have been fourteen. Yet it was easier to talk about than he expected when the Prince nudged him, squeezing his hand as he listened not judging. So he told him about the letter he received, the last time he’d truly heard from his half sister though it had been even longer since he’d seen her. He told the Prince about what she’d written him. How in love with the King she was, he hadn’t realized then about her plans or what she’d need to do to win her love over. In hindsight he felt like he should have known, should have predicted the lengths she’d go to. The lengths she advised him to go to when he found his own love, and he supposed in a way she’d been foretelling the future with the way she’d written about his own love. Though it was impossible for her to know, a soothsayer could see many things her own future wasn’t among them. It was one of the many lessons his grandmother had taught them on the matter.

When he finally wound down, his thoughts drifting to who his half sister had become he found himself asking what Prince Jinwoo thought of her. Because it mattered, even though the rest of the world hated her and he himself wasn’t that fond of her after all these wars he wanted to know. They were family now, even if it was complicated. Even if they were eventually going to have to confront her for trying to kill him, cause or desire aside her hands were stained red that much true. The desire for perfection and higher standards than most was true. That her knights were murders by her laws was true. And he wondered what had changed her from the caring and loving sister she’d been when they were younger into the cold and uncaring Queen everyone saw today. He wondered what might have happened if he had asked her not to join the coven. What might have happened if he’d tried to contact her more. He squeezed the Prince’s hand stilling his thoughts knowing the what ifs wouldn’t get him any further now than they had before.

“I think maybe she had a reason to change.” Was all that Prince Jinwoo said before they fell silent again Rocky and fairies returning through the trees. Large smiles on their faces, Sanha and the knight grinning ear to ear while the other two fairies were red in the face. Myungjun laughed and pushed away all thoughts of his half sister instead focusing on the very interesting story Rocky began to tell about how he just saved Sanha from a horde of women by kissing him in the middle of the village. Myungjun could only smile, even as the other two fairy looked unamused, still human sized as they settled against a different tree arms crossed and eyes crosser. He was happy though, happy they’d finally taken that step. And he wondered if this counted as a step too as Prince Jinwoo hadn’t shifted away at raised eyebrows or even lifted his head when the others arrived. Instead he’d squeezed his hand again supportively and given him leave to move. He hadn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t move unless the world was shaking them apart and even then it would be moving right back into Prince Jinwoo’s arms. But he wasn’t going to tell him that, not yet.

Maybe next time they were alone. Or when the whole business with Myunsong was settled. Or maybe when the kingdom had a King who cared about them again. Or maybe never. He was really inclined to never even though he knew one day he’d have to admit to his own feelings, to admit that it was pretty obvious that Prince Jinwoo felt the same way. And that one day soon he’d have to explain that if Myunsong didn’t break the curse his love wouldn’t, couldn’t break it either. It hurt his heart to think about the look that would cross the Prince’s face then so he didn’t. Forcing himself to focus on the love story hand. The love story that was just as forbidden and treacherous as their own outside their little group. Yet he’d keep cheering for them anyway.

Chapter Text

Figuring out if the moonstone worked was going to be a little more taxing and a lot more up close and personal than Myungjun had been counting on. Not that anyone was complaining except himself. Though he wasn’t going to do that too loudly either as it wasn’t going to do him any good. It had been a week since they’d left the last village and they were now several miles away from it and on their way to the capital. He’d at least tried the moonstone before, to vague results before it was fully charged. Now as he held it he could feel the stored energy inside, no more attempts on it’s part to feed on his little bit of magic. Yet even as he looked up at the dragon Prince before him he faltered.

A few days ago when he’d tried this it had been one of Prince Jinwoo’s legs, then his arm, then finally his side. All of which had disappeared under the moonstone meaning it worked, theoretically at least. But the only way to know if it were going to turn him human and not just reveal that he wasn’t quite all dragon was to find the right spot. Rocky had insisted on finding it before they moved any further away from Astro.

Of course Myungjun agreed with him, as did the fairies. That however didn’t make him feel more comfortable once he realized exactly where the spot the moonstone needed to go was. He’d spent at least two days figuring that out, sensing the magic flow coursing through Prince Jinwoo’s body. Which really left him red in the face several times as they walked towards their goal. Despite the steps they'd taken when they'd talked about Myungsong a week ago they hadn't, he hadn't allowed them to move further. Because the closer they got the closer he was to dashing apart the moment with reality.

It left him having to bite his tongue on his commentary about though thankfully it was much easier now that he'd traveled so long with the fairies. Much easier than it might have been a month ago, but he didn’t want the Prince to know that he basically felt like he was checking him out the whole time. Which had caused him to walk behind the knight and the fairies and he insisted on taking most of the watch shifts, much to Prince Jinwoo’s chagrin. Neither solution was going to help him in the end he realized as they set up camp in the middle of the day.

They had found a perfect clearing for experimenting with the moonstone, a break in the trees free of most of the roots they had to avoid while walking. There were a few stones the knight and fairies could rest on while there was plenty of clear space for the dragon Prince. Just in case the magic of the stone was a bit strong for Prince Jinwoo. Myungjun knew it likely wasn’t, a piece this size was probably only enough to keep the Prince human three days, maybe six at best before needing to charge fully again. Meaning they would only use it sparingly or continue to travel at night so the stone could charge while in use.

He hadn’t said any of that aloud yet though. They still needed to find out if the stone would turn Prince Jinwoo fully human after all. It was one thing for the illusion, the curse to be seen through and another for the curse to be visually dispelled. Still though he didn’t want to get into long talks about magic use that he was certain only the fairies could understand.

Myungjun sighed to himself as he forced himself to relax and look away from said fairies. He’d heed his grandma’s warning about speaking their language, even if sometimes like now he wished for their opinions. Rocky wasn’t much help in the moment having settled in against a tree, watching and waiting. Sanha perched on his knee talking softly with him. Moonbin and Eunwoo for their own parts were keeping a close eye on both him and the fairy human couple.

It didn’t settle his nerves any when he looked at Prince Jinwoo, who was flashing him a smile the best a dragon could. It made his heart melt a little inside. So he steeled his breath and prepared himself for what he was about to do. The center of the magic was the dead center of Prince Jinwoo’s chest, meaning he’d have to stand between the Prince’s front legs to reach. He swallowed stiffly at the thought that it put him at the base of Prince Jinwoo’s long, beautiful sleek neck. And if the stone worked it would put him right up against a very naked Prince’s body.

He had to force those thoughts away instead emptying his mind when he finally stepped forward. Prince Jinwoo was at least good natured about how close they'd be. Myungjun had his own thoughts as to why that was and he really didn't want to think about those either. Or the way the Prince had been not so subtly crossing the line Myungjun was desperately trying to draw again. Had been trying to convince himself to redraw, after they had talked a little more about Myungsong and the kingdom at large.

It had really only sunk into him then that the Prince would to return to the people's memories once the curse was lifted. That he would then be forced to take his place as rightful ruler. Myungjun knew what that meant. Had known what it meant all along but hadn't wanted to really think about it either.

Stepping towards Prince Jinwoo he swallowed thickly all thoughts fleeing before how beautiful he was. Dragon form or not it was always hard for him to keep his eyes away from the Prince. He was ethereal and Myungjun had been forcefully reminded of it the last few days. Even more so now as he stepped closer towards him, the heat from his limbs surrounding him almost like a hug.

As he moved closer, he found himself swallowing again at how tempting the other was up close. He resisted the urge to do or say something stupid by instead focusing on the moonstone, in his hand its energy was cool to the touch. A contrast to Prince Jinwoo’s scales when he held it up to them, the feeling of their smoothness brushing against his fingers coloring his cheeks pink. He pretended not to notice focusing intently on the stone.

A lot of things happened at once after the initial contact. There was the bright light of transformation happening, a good sign. Though Myungjun couldn’t actually see it more than a brightness attacking his closed eyes. He could feel it, the magic of the transformation playing against his skin. A feeling of flesh replacing the feeling of smooth scales against his fingers, a tingle of something down his spine he didn’t want to put a name to.

Then he felt something he hadn’t been expecting, a soft press of lips against his own, that had him shooting his eyes open. Thankfully the flash was over allowing him to see, his vision filled with the Prince’s face. Flushed cheeks and a cheeky smile, all he ever wanted in life. He could feel a warm hand over his keeping his own in place, the stone trapped between them.

He admitted, at least to himself that he’d loved to stay trapped in this moment forever. Prince Jinwoo in front of him, shy and open at the same time. Their bodies pressed together, maybe a bit more than entirely necessary and a warmth around them that was disippatiating magic. The tingle of the Prince’s lips and that same magic playing along his lips, teasing him to chase after it.

He couldn’t. They couldn’t. And now he finally understood it when he’d spent their few months of traveling together avoiding it. They couldn’t be. They couldn’t be anything more than they were now. Jinwoo was a prince, a ruler destined to take over the kingdom.

Myungjun smiled as happily as he could force himself to do so and pulled his hand away with a blush that he would never admit to. He looked at Rocky and fairies who were looking at them with limp jaws. Then he pointed to the clothes the Prince should put on. Excusing himself to think about the conclusion he’d just come to. It was going to be hard to defeat his sister alone. But it was really the only option so that he wouldn’t have to fall more madly in love with someone he couldn’t actually have.

There were a lot of things that were acceptable in Edgewood, his own kingdom being very tolerant and understanding with its many uses of magic. Edgewater on the other hand could not boast the same. While it was a bit on the controversial side to love a different species or someone that transformed it wasn’t unheard of in Edgewood. In Edgewater there were still laws against marrying other men. Laws that had nothing to do with the current king and everything to do with the current mindset.

Those were the laws he reminded himself of when he subtly grabbed his pack and walked away. The others wouldn’t notice until nightfall he was sure. Too elated with the news that Prince Jinwoo could be human in the days again. He also reminded himself of his Grandmother’s warnings and why she might have given them to him. She’d told him he’d find his true love, but she’d also warned him that he didn’t have the to power to keep them. Not on his own anyway.

That had been long before she’d told him of this journey, long before Myungsong ever left. But it was only years and years after that he realized his Grandmother was never wrong. And she’d given him this mission alone. It didn’t really make him feel better as he slipped through the trees undetected. But it was enough.

Chapter Text

Myungjun had to admit that travelling alone was a lot more taxing now that he'd traveled in a group. It was lonely too. But he had to also admit it was faster. He'd already reached one of the bigger cities only a few days travel from the capital. A few days away from confronting his half sister. Though he was still trying his hardest not to think about that even if it was the thing he’d set out to do it. It was no easier to think about than the group he’d left behind.

He never thought that he’d reach the point where he’d miss the chatter of fairies around him or the smile of a dragon. He did though and there wasn’t much he could do about it. There was no going back, he’d left them because he was never meant to be with them to begin with. Or so he kept telling himself. Even though it was becoming harder and harder to believe.

So instead of thinking about it, any of it, he went about finding out everything he could about the castle. Because no matter how he approached the idea of confronting his sister, he had to actually get in first. Which was turning out to be a difficult task despite the sheer amount of knights and other castle workers that visited this town. Their information was limited and what they did have was the news of another war. Yet another treaty being broken that would put them at odds with another country. The news only served to remind him of his mission. To end the wars.

Days passed quickly in the town while he kept himself busy. Busy actually following leads, avoiding the guards with his forged paperwork, and trying not to think about the traveling companions he’d left behind. Yet after four days it felt like he’d come up with nothing. His usual methods of information gathering, lulling his into a trance with his music and watching their memories, weren’t working. And he wasn’t sure if it was because of his own mind being in disarray or he hadn’t found anyone close enough to his goal.

The few knights he’d been able to call out were useful in how to get around his forged paperwork but that was about it. Any details about the castle itself were either unknown to them or wiped from their mind when they left it. Something his sister was capable of doing. Though it left him with the question of why she would that. There were very few magic users that would be able to glean the information out of them. And the spellwork he suspected was in use wasn’t going to stop the knight from revealing anything if questioned.

Myungjun had to admit that the more he found dead ends the more it felt like his sister was blocking him. That she had gone out of her way to block his path to her. As if she’d known all along that he would come here. Which he supposed she could have. The only future she couldn’t see was her own unless it was related to someone else’s. And even then it would be snippets. It left him up at night wondering what he was going to do. There was only so much time before the kingdom whose treaties were being broken began to move.

With that thought in mind he did his best to gather more information. He lost track of how long it had been. Until he caught sight of someone breathtakingly beautiful from the corner of his eye. His heart stopped at the thought it could be Prince Jinwoo, but he had to know so he turned in their direction. From there everything was a blur.

A blur of it indeed being the Prince who had run to him wrapping him in his arms. Then there were knights, a bunch of shouting, and maybe more than a little chaos around them. The next thing Myungjun knew he was sitting in a jail cell looking up through the only window in the tiny room. Across from him Prince Jinwoo was giving him a sheepish, albeit apologetic smile. If it weren’t for the cuffs still digging into his wrists he might have thought it was a very intricate dream. Instead it was reality and he was going to have to do something about it.

“Why are you here?” His voice was a lot lower than he’d intended when he finally found the words to confront the Prince. He’d left them for a reason and there was no reason for the Prince to be here. He should be hiding somewhere so he wouldn’t get caught by the hunting party.

“Is there a reason you don’t want me here?” Prince Jinwoo’s voice was everything Myungjun had been longing to hear. In the time spent apart it had been one of the few things he’d allowed himself to miss completely. Prince Jinwoo didn’t let him answer though instead continuing on. “You left us without any explanation Myungjun. And I need one. What are you running from? Is it because I kissed you?” The Prince’s cheeks were red but his eyes were serious when Myungjun finally looked at him.

He didn’t look like the well put together Prince of before, he looked haggard and weary. As if he’d been traveling far too long on his own. Myungjun supposed that was true. But he didn’t really want to answer the question posed to him. So he asked his own instead staring at the moonstone around the other’s neck. How long its charge would last was questionable at best. “Where’s Rocky and the fairies?”

“I left them outside the city.” Prince Jinwoo sighed rubbing his hands against his face. Myungjun felt his heart clench at the look of pain on his face. “You didn’t answer my question.”

“I don’t think you’ll like the answer.” Myungjun sighed looking down at the cuffs on his hands. He shrugged under the weight of Prince Jinwoo’s eyes. Even if the other might not like the answer he deserved one. It was after all a conversation a long time coming. He wasn’t sure where to start though and the silence grew thicker the longer he held in his words. He told himself to jump in at the middle then. It wasn’t like there was anything he could do now that he’d made his decision.

“Do you know anything about true love?” Myungjun started looking over at Prince Jinwoo who only nodded in response. Myungjun sighed and wondered if this was truly the best place to start. “I am in love with you.” He felt his cheeks heat up and he saw the look of understanding on the Prince’s face. It wasn’t like he really did good job hiding his feelings so far. “And because I’m in love with you I want you to take back your kingdom. I want to help you get it back. But I can’t do anything more than that.” Myungjun sighed at the look of confusion on the other’s face. “We are a true love pair.” He grimaced saying it outloud made it sound cheesier than it truly was.

“But since I am a magic user true love’s kiss won’t break your curse. It will keep it in place. I can’t hold on to you like I want to.” Myungjun couldn’t meet his eyes anymore but he heard shuffling as he looked down at his cuffs. Wondering if they were a symbol for his love too.

“Myungjun I didn’t kiss you because I wanted you to break the curse.” The words sounded closer than Prince Jinwoo had been a moment ago. Though Myungjun didn’t dare to look yet, didn’t dare to hope. “I didn’t ask you to help me reclaim my kingdom either.” There was a hand on his cheek pulling his eyes towards the other, Prince Jinwoo’s eyes were soft, softer than Myungjun felt he deserved for having run away. “I kissed you because I love you.”

When their lips met, a soft press of chapped lips to chapped lips, Myungjun felt stupid. And he realized that he hadn’t run away because of the reasons he thought he had. He had run because he was scared. Scared that Prince Jinwoo was going to chose the kingdom, was going to leave him. And he’d rather leave than be left. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” It felt like a mantra as he pulled away only to press kisses along Prince Jinwoo’s face. Apologies whispered between them. The moment was short lived as a noise broke them apart, reminding them of their situation.

“So how did you get here?” Myungjun looked at the cuffs on Prince Jinwoo’s wrists and his own. He had an idea, when he’d been caught they hadn’t found his belongings after all. They were outside town located in a secure tree. The tree he’d been staying in for his duration of his visit.

“We flew.” Prince Jinwoo blushed and Myungjun noticed the enchantment on the leather that allowed it to stretch. “I followed your scent here. It took awhile since we were caught by the hunting party a few times.” Myungjun was about to voice his concern when Prince Jinwoo just smiled and told him it wasn’t anything to be concerned about. “We’re safe. Well minus this…” Prince Jinwoo motioned around the cell and Myungjun wondered if he had a plan. “Our rescue will be here any time now.”

Myungjun decided not to question that instead playing catch up. It had been too long since he’d seen the other and there had been a lot he’d missed. Including riding on the Prince’s dragon form’s back. Which he suspected one day he’d do just for fun. Though it was nice to know that the others were safe. That Rocky and Sanha were working out a way to be the couple they wanted to be. Best of all was that Rocky had a plan to get them into the castle.

It wasn’t until then that Myungjun wondered why it had been so easy. His grandmother had told him it would be hard, and it was in ways. But as they broke free from the jail, Rocky and the fairies showing up with his bag and winning grins, he had to wonder. Everything had seemed to lead them here. To his half sister Myungsong, and he wondered if maybe she’d known of his coming too. If she’d planned on it from long ago. But only allowed him to move forward when he wasn't alone.

Chapter Text

Getting into the castle was easier than Myungjun had thought it was going to be. And a hell of a lot easier than he thought it should be. As while his own research hadn't gotten him anywhere Rocky’s inner knowledge and contacts had. In a only a matter of hours no less. And if Myungjun were being honest with himself it only furthered his suspicions about the Queen’s, his half sister's involvement with it all. But it was a little late to voice that out loud. They were after all in the castle at this point.

Not a guard in sight or even a mere servant. Though Rocky assured them this was normal at this time of day, approximately three in the morning. Myungjun still wasn’t sure how he felt about that considering they were using the servant tunnels. He was convinced there was always movement at the castle, and Prince Jinwoo was of no help. He couldn’t recall anything about his time at the castle. Which was, he supposed, to be expected after so many years and barely being allowed in the main parts.

That wasn’t a place Myungjun wanted his thoughts to go though, at least not while they were sleuthing. He wasn’t keen on the idea of thinking about his new...whatever the Prince was now that they’d kissed. It wasn’t going to get them any closer to breaking the curse on him or restoring the kingdom in a way that stopped the wars. The tensions had been running high in the towns they’d crossed through just a few days ago. The bubbling up of the people’s discontent. And if Myungjun didn’t know any better he’d have thought they might stage their own revolt.

They wouldn’t. If the people of the kingdom were going to do so they would have already started one over one of the at least seven wars that were started previously. But Edgewater was a peaceful kingdom, a complaint kingdom. One that listened well to those in power, as long as they feared that power. And they feared his half sister, the witch, the magic user, and the curse bringer. All of the rumors about her floated to his mind as they worked their way into the inner castle. Rocky’s idea of where to stake out being an abandoned wing of the castle from which they could get to the throne room once the Queen and King were seeing people. It was once Prince Jinwoo's wing.

Over all it wasn’t a bad plan. Mix themselves in with the common folk and ensure they were last in the long line of those seeking aid from the crown for various reasons. A ritual the King had put in place years before Prince Jinwoo had been born. A practice that was still in place if only a few commoners from the city proper gained audience these days. As they still wished for the approval of the crown. Or to gawk at the rumored witch by bringing whatever land problem they had with them. As the ritual was now run the by the Queen, the King far too busy with his war plans.

Myungjun wasn’t sure that he would stick with the plan though when all was said and done. After all he didn’t want anyone else involved in the mess they were about to leave the kingdom with. The loss of it’s Queen and the memory of a Prince long forgotten. Not to mention they were recovering from the last war and gearing up for another. He would be surprised if after all this the monarchy survived much longer.

Though the ruling of the kingdom was the least of his concerns. He was here to stop the wars, and ultimately allow trade between Edgewood and Edgewater again. So he could return home. Though the thought didn't feel as comforting as it once had. He would be losing everything for his kingdom, the same kingdom who'd practically kicked him out to begin with over his relations.

Finding the abandoned wing of the castle took a lot longer than any of them had expected. It was nearing six in the morning when finally found a place suitable. The fairies could stay hidden there while the dirty work was done and easily be retrieved if need be. It didn't really help that they were exhausted now either, the plan that would have been set in motion in an hour now set back to the next day. Honestly it made him more nervous as they settled down around the room they'd found, dusty and dank. Almost uninhabitable.

It was nearing seven when he was awoken, the sound of trumpets loud and alarming in his ears. Echoing around the room, but he noticed he was the only one to wake Rocky still standing guard smiled at him. Prince Jinwoo was pressed against his side, cloak thrown around his body. Myungjun almost felt guilty when he de-tangled himself from the other's limbs.

Rocky was grateful to switch, even if it wasn't quite Myungjun's turn. He waited until the knight was asleep before he reached for his bag. The last few items his grandmother had given him residing at the bottom. He wondered how she knew he would need them. They were dangerous.

He knew he didn't have the time to dwell on it though. Rocky had given them a run down of the royal schedule and he could not allow this to take place around the general public. With a deep breath he set the caterpillar with the fairies, they would need it most. With a kiss to Prince Jinwoo's cheek he left before he could change his mind.

The conviction he'd come upon reminding him that this wasn't the same as running away, not like before. This was protection, just like the spell he laid over the room using what little bit of defensive magic he knew. It wouldn't stop his half sister but it would certainly stop anyone else.

With everything in order he made his way to the throne room. The simple hiding charm his grandmother had sent with him hiding him from sight, there had only been. She'd known there only needed to be one. While his half sister was plotting for him to have company their grandmother had known all along that he couldn't keep them. At least not with them but she'd sent what he'd need to keep them safe. And that was enough.

The throne room was nearly empty when he reached it. A few low level guards milling about and the Queen, settling onto the throne as if it had always belonged to her. He noticed her smile when her eyes landed on him, the charm useless before one with more power than the caster. He didn't let it phase him as he walked up to her, and she didn't stop him even though the guards were unaware. He'd taken out his small boot knife and shoved it in his belt, at the ready. He was close enough and he knew it was the answer. But he couldn't do it. Not like this.

Her eyes didn’t widen when he took off the spell, she didn’t even blink. As if she’d always been expecting this, she shouldn’t have been he knew. The guards though did react in the most predictable of ways, freezing in shock for a moment. Long enough for the Queen to speak.

"I knew you'd reveal yourself." His half sister's voice was melodic as it had always been, perfect for chants and casting of long spells. He tried not to let it remind him of the good times. The memories refused to listen playing out for him in small snatches of time. The times before things had become so complicated.

Her smile was sad when the guards surrounded him, sadder than he'd seen it in a very long time. "Leave us." She didn't look away from him as she barked her order, her voice commanding but not overly so. The guards looked as if they wanted to resist, but he knew she wasn't the type to repeat herself. Instead sending a ripple of her power out into the air. They were gone in minutes.

"You know why I'm here. Why are you sending away your protection?" Even though he'd been sure of himself before stepping into the throne room his certainties were gone now. Replaced by the face of his older sister, half or not they were blood. They were family. And for a long time they were all each other had. Yet things had come to this. He didn't pull out his knife though, more than he wanted to have to kill her he wanted to reason with her.

"Myungjun," Myungsong's hand was soft on his cheek, her smile still sad, and her eyes almost teary. "This isn't how I wanted things to be either. There were no other paths, no other choices, I'd seen them all and none of them led to your happiness. None of them led to an outcome you would have wanted." He knew the look in her eye, it was same one she wore when she talked about her visions.

The same visions she'd always claimed she couldn't see of him. Even though he knew the only one that her magic truly stopped her from seeing was her own. And she had long ago mastered work arounds for that problem. Before she'd become Queen, it was why she'd been sent here. He wondered if that was part of this as well. "What do you mean?" He knew his voice wasn't as steady as it was before, unnerved by her calm.

“You know what I mean Myungjun. You know I'm not a war hungry Queen. Just as you know I'd never have let you get this far unless I wanted it that way.” Myungsong’s eyes twinkled and she looked more like herself to him than she had before. The fine clothes, the crown, and the mantle of Queen had fit her perfectly but the image of the people never had. But she wore it, she had taken up the mantle she'd been given and ran with it. Leaving everything he knew about her behind.

“That's not what the people say.” His voice was more solid than he felt it should be. Not with barely a step between them, her on the throne with him below her. The same way people had treated them when it came to their powers. She'd never been among them though. And he knew what the people said was wrong. He knew what she was implying was his happiness was also tied up in these wars, in the curse she cast, and the death toll. He didn’t want to believe it, but he couldn’t get the image of his new comrades. Of Prince Jinwoo, his true love.

“If I were what the people say would you still be alive right now?” Myungjun sighed and allowed himself to lower his defense, maybe a little more than he should have. But he knew his half sister, he knew her better than that. “You aren’t going to like my answer in the end.” He nodded because he knew it was true but he still had to ask, to pursue what he thought Prince Jinwoo wanted, what he thought was right.

“Will you lift the curse?” He gave her his biggest and widest puppy eyes, the ones she used to be unable to resist before the call of magic. They didn’t seem to have any sway on her now as she rubbed her thumb across his cheek. It was soft, reminding him of times long past. Her eyes were sad again, tears threatening to fall from her long lashes.

“I can’t or you’ll never be happy. I’ve led my perfect life, my love for the King was, is real. However this is all I can do for you. All I can do for this doomed kingdom. The songs you sing about me are wrong. I fell in love with the King but I didn’t curse this kingdom to ruin them and wage war. War was the only way for your happiness, my happiness, and the lives of the people. It ends now.” Myungjun had been so caught up in her words he didn’t realize she’d stolen his boot knife, until he was pressed against her skin. A small cut over her neck. “This kingdom won’t last Myungjun.”

“You don’t have to do this.” He wasn’t sure what to say. It was what he’d thought of doing, what he’d been told to do in order to return. Without fixing the problem he had nowhere to return to. At least not the only two kingdom’s he’d ever known. “I don’t want this to be the answer. This won’t make me happy.”

“It will. Not right now but it will in the future. Return to the cave you’ll be happier there with him. With them.” She smiled at him and he felt everything wrong with the world was warpped around her sadness. It wasn’t right, she hadn’t lived for this. She had done everything for him that she could to make him happy and all he had done was come here to stop her. “I know Myungjun, you don’t need to carry this around. I choose this path for you. I choose this path for myself. I knew what awaited me. The King will die in a few days and I can not witness it. The kingdom will fall, would have fallen sooner if not for me. Please just heed my last request.”

Myungjun swallowed thickly. He would have given anything to deny her, to tell her no and stop her. But he knew the power of her visions. She wasn’t ever one to choose the wrong branch of truth. Though he was the only one to ever believe her completely in that. He would do it one more time. “I did love you sister.” He wiped away her tears and did as she asked, walking away to a soft reply of the same. There wasn’t any blood on his hands, but it didn’t feel that way as he reactivated the charm.

Explaining everything was harder than Myungjun wanted it to be. It should have been easy. It should have solved everything and maybe one day he’d look back and feel that way. For now though he took his took his loved ones and left. Doing exactly as she said. He knew one day it would all make sense. It almost made sense when Jinwoo’s hand slipped into his as they fled the castle. Wiping away the feelings of sorrow that resided there. The last tidbit of his grandmother’s wisdom returning to him.