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The Warrior's Ignited, Broken Heart

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Yuuei kingdom, two years ago

King Enji of the kingdom of Endeavor struck at Yuuei’s most vulnerable time, only two months’ time after All Might had eliminated its biggest threat; the League of Villains.

The League Of Villains were a wandering people at first, merely adding soldiers, bandits, and outlaws to their ranks. In the past years, however, they had grown formidably, even joining forces with an ancient, downfallen tyrant, All For One.

All Might had bravely led the Yuueian army to battle, emerging victorious, yet at a most costly price. His injury was so grave, he nearly left his last breath on the battlefield, and stayed permanently emaciated after. As a result, he lost an important portion of his power, and because the news of the battle spread like wildfire, the citizens of Yuuei, despite their unyielding loyalty, grew concerned, some even starting to doubt his strength and ability to protect the kingdom.

Even worse, while the League Of Villains was gone, All For One wasn’t. The Yuueian forces captured him after his terrifying duel with All Might, yet he’d managed to escape, slipping away like a snake. Of course, he’d need time to regain his strength, as well as gain powerful supporters, so even if he wasn’t completely gone, things appeared safe.

Until King Enji invaded.

It was something no one —perhaps foolishly so— had seen coming. The Yuueian kingdom had been an annexation of Endeavor, only having gained its independence a little less than a century ago, and King Enji’s father had held onto a life-long resentment over the successful revolution, effectively passing it down to his son. Yuueians came to realize soon enough, that the resentment was not the only thing that was passed down from father to son, the other thing being an aching wish to reclaim and fully incorporate Yuuei into Endeavor. So, he'd taken advantage of the public’s restlessness, the army’s weakness, the king’s condition, and attacked.


 

Midoriya Izuku is sixteen years old, and desperately tugging his king.

“Your Majesty, you can't. We can't win this fight.” He hates what he's suggesting, hates it more than King Toshinori does.

“Midoriya, my boy, I cannot abandon Yuueians in such a grave time.”

“You won't. Your Majesty, I'm begging you. The enemy has passed our front door, and he's coming for us. Please, it's not about running away,” he pleads, tears of distress, of anger, welling up in his eyes. “But if we stay here, if we fight him in our current situation, you and I will die. Yuuei cannot lose its King, not now. We have to retreat.”

King Toshinori opens his mouth to reply, but a choked yell from the Great Hall that lies just before the throne room cuts him off. Midoriya recognizes the —now dead— owner of the voice as Ishiyama Ken, one of the King’s best guards, bestowed the nickname “Cementoss” for his excellent ability to block off enemies in and out of the battlefield. A shock, then Midoriya’s blood starts boiling, but he shoves those thoughts to the side.

They have to leave. It’s the only way.

“Your Majesty, please listen to me! We retreat now, and we hide, until you grow stronger. We cannot stop him, not now. The harder it is for him to take over the throne, the more Yuueian soldiers die. Hell,” he curses, because he hates this, but there’s no other way, dammit, “the more civilians will die, because after his army is done, they’ll take to the streets.”

King Toshinori’s expression is pained as he looks at the chain-sealed doors, more so than it was when he had been nigh fatally wounded by All For One, yet his eyes recognize the truth in Midoriya’s words.

“And what do we do after we run, young Midoriya?” he asks.

“We hide. We can hide in the woods, and wait until you’re strong again, or until you’ve picked a powerful successor. Then, we’ll take back Yuuei,” he says. It’s a very loose plan, with so, so many things that could go wrong, but at this point, it’s the best there is, and it’s what has to be done. They both know it.

“My King,” Midoriya addresses, bowing down, “I swear, Endeavor will not shackle Yuuei again. I will die before I let that happen,” he says, and perhaps it’s arrogant, yet he’d go to the end of the world for his King, for his kingdom. The gilded handle of the ceiling-to-floor double doors stares at him.

“I know you would, young Midoriya. I would too,” King Toshinori says. Metal scraping against metal, the clang of an iron spear falling on the floor, a guttural groan from Snipe, the royal guard’s head.

“I just pray you won’t.”

Heavy footsteps thud against the surely bloodstained by now carpet, and Midoriya and his King turn on the opposite direction and run.


They avoid the main streets while running, using cut strips from their clothes to hide their faces, but just as they reach the outskirts of the capital, King Toshinori pulls Midoriya in a narrow alley that’s crawling with rats. Midoriya doesn’t mind. They’ve both been in much worse places, but they can’t afford to stop now, if King Toshinori cannot run anymore, he’ll gladly carry him to his back, they’re nearly at the forest—

“Midoriya, my boy,” King Toshinori says, and Midoriya stops his compulsive mumbling. “I’m sure King Enji is already looking for us, so we don’t have much time. I need you to listen to me carefully.” Midoriya nods, then muffles a gasp as King Toshinori unclasps the necklace wrapping around his throat, emeralds and sapphires glinting even as the sun’s setting.

“Your Majesty—”

King Toshinori silences him with a look akin to a father’s.

“Midoriya, my boy. You know of the tradition of this necklace being passed down to the Kings and Queens of Yuuei, centuries before Endeavor annexed our kingdom. The previous Queen of Yuuei, as well as my mentor, Shimura Nana, gave it to me forty years ago. You and the rest of the kingdom believe that I have not chosen my heir, yet my choice, for a few years now, has been set in stone.” King Toshinori’s eyes are a piercing blue, sharper than the sapphires’, when they meet Midoriya’s gaze. “I despise that you’ll have to bear such a burden while still so young, yet I’m afraid we might be separated soon, and I cannot leave Yuuei without a ruler. That would be our downfall.”

Midoriya does not dare speak, barely even breathing.

“Midoriya Izuku, I’ve chosen you as my heir.”

He inclines his head, lowering his gaze, as if bowing, and Midoriya’s knees nearly buckle.

“Your Majesty, I—I can’t— you’re still…”

King Toshinori holds out the necklace in his palm, offering it like a sacrifice.

“Will you accept this burden?”

Midoriya’s mouth dries. Him, becoming king, ruling Yuuei… Even with the King practically raising him for the past eight years, he’s still woefully inadequate.

But hard times are coming —in fact, they’ve already arrived— and hard times bring hard decisions.

So he nods, and says, “I will.”

After his King has fastened the —legendary— necklace around his throat, Midoriya’s heart beats, even minutely so, louder, steadier.

They hide in the shadows of the forest for the night, wary of even the omnipresent owls watching them.


Yuuei kingdom, present day

 

“You filthy thieves!”

Midoriya grimaces as a knife whistles past his right ear, thrown by the noble he and Uraraka just stole from. He rushes past the civilians in the streets, following Uraraka, who’s shoving people left and right.

“Excuse me!”

“Passing through!”

“Sorry, we’re in a rush!”

A few heads turn to stare incredulously, especially when people register the incensed nobleman running behind them while yelling profanities, but most of them just continue what they were doing. This isn’t a rare occurrence for them, and in fact, rumours have spread about a benevolent gang’s existence, making people more curious than wary. No one is opposed to an unknown force helping the poor —especially as, under King Enji’s rule, the vast majority of the simple citizens now constitute the poor— except maybe for the King himself, as well as his cronies, such as this recently-robbed nobleman.

The amount of money Midoriya and Uraraka took would probably be enough to last the orphanage for an entire month, and Midoriya tries not to bristle at that, because if he does, he’ll turn on his heel and fight that man, something which will not end well for either of them. Still, he can’t help but grind his teeth, rolling his eyes as the nobleman pants for breath, falling behind.

He and Uraraka wind the city, turning in corners and narrow streets, just in case anyone else is pursuing them. His breathing is unsteady, heart pumping wildly both from running and the momentary panic that seized it when he saw —or rather, heard— the knife.

Still, when they reach the forest he can’t help but burst out laughing as he meets Uraraka’s gaze. She does the same and the cloths they’re both wearing that cover everything below their eyes do nothing to muffle the sound.

Apart from Midoriya’s “gang” and King Toshinori, no one knows he's the true heir to the throne, but as their charities happen quite often, Midoriya doesn’t want people recognizing him or the others in plain sight, even if his true identity remains hidden.

“Whew,” Midoriya says, walking towards their camp.

“That was a good one,” Uraraka says, the golden coins clinking inside the two sacks she’s holding. The forest is quiet, a stark contrast to the bustling of the capital. The only sounds are the leaves crunching below their feet and the low whistle of the wind as they delve deeper in the woods.

Bakugou greets them in their hideout, a small camp they finalized a little less than a year and a half ago. He snatches one of the sacks from Uraraka’s hands and peers inside.

“Fuck, that’s a lot. Good job, nerds,” he growls appreciatively. Midoriya settles down on his mattress, a dirty, old, not to mention beat-up thing, but at least it doesn’t creak. From the corner of his eye, Uraraka does the same, sitting next to Tsuyu and giving her a quick kiss on the top of her head.

“How’s King Toshinori?” he asks Tsuyu. He used to live with them, but since a few weeks, he moved a few miles up north, still in the forest. Everyone had agreed it’d be better to split up, in case someone discovered their hideout. Still, few times a week, one of them will go check on King Toshinori, and today it had been Tsuyu’s turn.

“He’s fine, Midoriya,” she answers. “He heard about the tax raises, and didn’t seem very happy about it.”

Midoriya’s huff complements Bakugou’s scoff.

“No one fucking is, except for the fucker on the throne and his rich buddies,” Bakugou spits out, and everyone agrees.

When King Enji invaded, his army clashed with the Yuueian one, and was subsequently left weakened, so he raised taxes to cover his losses, taxes the rich were, of course, exempted from, because he wanted —needed— their political and economical support. In retaliation, after they settled in the forest, Midoriya and everyone else save for King Toshinori began robbing the rich and giving the money to the poor, only keeping a tiny amount to sustain themselves.

Of course, their actions soon were caught by the King’s radar, and in a twisted game of cat-and-mouse, he raised taxes on the poor again, which of course meant them stealing more and more.

Despite that, Midoriya thinks, they’ve managed quite well so far. The rumours about a band of outlaws are gossip for the capital, but very few citizens have caught sight of their actual faces, and even then, they take shifts. That means it’s usually different people, and with the cloths covering their faces thrown in the mix, no one really knows.

They’re safe for now, though that might change in the very near future.

“Hey, nerd,” Bakugou says, and Midoriya hears footsteps approaching him. “Remember how we were saying we should go big, move on from the nobles? Take a look at this sucker.” He waves a piece of paper with cursive writing on it across Midoriya’s face. Midoriya squints.

“Masquerade Ball?” he asks, the smudged ink making it harder to decipher the words.

“Yep,” Bakugou says, stressing the p. “Was out in the capital when I found this. Apparently, it’s in three days, to find the asshole’s son a bride or some shit.”

They’ve been thinking about it for a while now, hitting the palace. Taxes have been raised sky-high, and they’re itching to show King Enji their teeth. Still, they’ve had some setbacks, like the year-old palace renovations, the guards’ replacements, and the general shift from the palace being Midoriya’s home since he was eight to enemy ground.

A Royal Masquerade Ball for potential brides to Prince Shouto?

“It’s perfect,” Midoriya says. “Everyone will be in the Grand Hall, and even the guards will have something to drink. We can get in, memorize the renovations he has made to the palace, and strike a few days later.”

Uraraka’s got a wicked grin on her face, one that Midoriya has learned to fear.

“Excuse me, but I think we need to start preparing,” Iida says, abandoning the soup sitting in the pot. “Three days are not much, and as much as I hate to say this, I think we’ll need to keep more money this time. We need costumes for the ball.”

Tsuyu nods. “He’s right. We’ll definitely be suspected if we show up in our normal clothes.”

“Alright,” Izuku says. “First of all, who’s sitting back that day? I doubt it will be dangerous enough to require everyone.”

“I can do it,” Tsuyu shrugs. “My ankle still hasn’t healed completely.”

“Everyone fine with that?” Midoriya asks, waiting for their collective nod before continuing. “So, I’m thinking; two of us mingle with the royals, dance, and gather information, as well as look for possible entrances and exits; another one keeps watch should anything go wrong; the last one explores the palace and memorizes the layout.”

Iida pales. “Midoriya, I’m afraid you are familiar with my inability to dance.”

“I know, Iida, don’t worry,” Midoriya laughs. “I was thinking you could keep watch.”

He exhales a sigh of relief as Bakugou says, “I wanna see how much the asshole has fucked up the palace.”

Midoriya nods. “So, that leaves me and Uraraka to mingle.”

Uraraka waggles her eyebrows. “We’re gonna have lots of fun.”

Midoriya snorts. He can only hope they won’t be chased out by the end of the night.

“Well, that means that while Bakugou and I should be in formal dress, only you two need masks,” Iida notes.

“Mhm,” Uraraka says, then addresses Midoriya. “Open market’s tomorrow. Wanna go then?”

“Yeah. Oh, and Bakugou,” Midoriya remembers, “apart from the layout, you have to memorize where the guards are stationed. Last time Aizawa left me a message, he told me the King was breathing down his neck about King Toshinori and the heir. He can’t give us any more information without losing his head.”

Bakugou grumbles. “Yeah, yeah, I will. So many changes, and the asshole’s guard is seriously fucked up.” He grimaces. “God, it must suck to be in the advisor’s position.”

Before the invasion, Aizawa had been King Toshinori’s royal consort, as well as responsible for Midoriya’s education. When King Enji took over, Aizawa managed to convince him he’d be useful, so he’d kept him alive. Of course, Aizawa’s ulterior plan was for King Toshinori —or Midoriya— to take back the throne, so he’s been playing the role of a double agent ever since, feeding Midoriya secrets and misleading King Enji.

“Yeah,” Midoriya agrees. “It must be very hard for him.”


He wakes up the next day before the sun rises, and nudges Uraraka awake too. Open market starts early, and he doesn’t want to be trampled to death because he’d decided to buy a mask. They get dressed in silence, as Tsuyu and Iida are still sleeping peacefully next to them, while Bakugou blearily keeps watch. After Midoriya's put on a once white but now grey-brown blouse with black pants and his hunting boots, Uraraka's outfit matching, he pulls on the dark green cloth over his mouth.

“Let’s go,” he whispers to her.


The capital’s buzzing, the news of the masquerade ball having spread overnight. Despite the early hour, people are already queuing in the market, eager to spend any meager amount of extra money they have left to attend the ball. Midoriya doesn’t blame them. Everyone needs an escape from reality every now and then.

The various counters lining up the streets bring over an assemblage of smells, mostly spices and flowers mixing in with each other. Market day has always been something Midoriya liked, and being secluded in the forest, no matter how beautiful all the greenery might be, has made him long for this even more.

He picks out a green mask with intricate gold lines swirling across, and Uraraka goes for the same in pink, red and silver. They bargain for their price, as well as the costumes’, and eventually reach an agreement. Midoriya grimaces inwardly, and he can feel Uraraka cringing next to him —she did grow up in extreme poverty, after all— but he knows this is the best he’s gonna get, so he just sighs through the cloth covering half his face.


Time passes in a blur, and the night before the ball, Midoriya’s blood’s thrumming too loudly in his veins to allow him any sleep. He kicks the moth-eaten blanket off his legs and walks away from their hideaway. He finds a tree with its branches situated low enough and scales it, nearly reaching the top. Its leafage has dispersed, leaving the view to the north clear. Even though it’s well past midnight, the capital still illuminates a bright, yet soft, yellow light, and Midoriya can practically hear its citizens going about their business.

“Can’t sleep either, Deku?”

His head snaps up and he sees Bakugou sitting comfortably on the highest branch, red eyes wide awake. He’s looking at the city while his fingers tap absentmindedly on the branch. Midoriya thinks that maybe Bakugou took the invasion worse than him, worse than King Toshinori even.

“Yeah. I’m just...agitated, I guess,” he answers.

“Afraid?” Bakugou asks. His tone shows he doesn’t believe Midoriya’s answer will be yes, but he’s not mocking him.

“No, it’s not fear. Most of it is just plain old anxiety, and not necessarily the bad kind, just the anticipation building up,” he says. Bakugou nods in understanding, still gazing at the capital in a way that Midoriya can’t decipher. It’s like the capital is something he despises yet simultaneously wants to protect the most. “And, I guess I’m kind of worried?” It comes out more as a question, and Bakugou frowns.

“Why? We’re gonna be fine, even if this is the most daring thing we’ve done in a while.”

“No, yeah, I know.” Midoriya runs a hand through his hair. “I’m just worried he will take it out on the citizens. I’m afraid he’ll raise taxes even more, and if that happens, people will start dropping dead.”

Bakugou tchs. “Fucking asshole. I want him dead. He’s caused nothing but suffering for us.”

Midoriya knows he’s referring to the entire nation, not just their group. Bakugou turns to look at him. “Stop worrying, nerd. We’ll take care of the poor as we usually do.”

Midoriya hums. “Yeah. Thanks, Kacchan. I think I’m gonna try to sleep again. You should do the same,” he suggests, carefully maneuvering to start his descent to the ground. “We have a long day tomorrow.”

“Hm,” Bakugou says. His gaze is back on the capital again, this time wistful.


“Are you sure I look like a noble?” Midoriya grimaces. Even if it’s necessary, he knows, the words leave a bitter tasty in his mouth. He wants nothing to do with them, but unfortunately today both he and Uraraka will have to play nice.

“You look like a shitty nerd as always,” Bakugou replies, tch ing as he ties his shirt, though it’s less tying and more tangling the strings together until the shirt isn’t hanging loosely from his body.

Midoriya rolls his eyes, tucking his own shirt in the itchy, uncomfortable, but formal-looking pants. “Thanks, Kacchan.”

At least the pants are easy to move in, he supposes. Better than having to walk like a duck and rendered unable to dance.

Uraraka scoffs and slaps away Bakugou’s hands, untangling his mess. “Don’t be a sourpuss, Katsuki.” In a matter of seconds, she’s tied his shirt properly. It makes him look only marginally more proper.

“Ugh.”

Iida has passed the usual fretting phase before a dangerous mission —well, that was every mission for them, really— and has allowed a calm to wash over him, rational thought back in order.

“Well, if we wish to arrive on time, I believe we should be leaving,” he announces, while a grumbling Bakugou swats Uraraka’s hands away.

“Yeah, yeah, I hear you,” he says, but the smile he curls after that is one that lets everyone know he’s not meant to be played with; he means business. “Let’s go.”


 

Before the entrance to the Grand Hall, directly outside of the palace, Midoriya notices three guards outside the window of the southwest wing, three gargoyles standing on the tiny veranda. It’s high, at least twenty meters from the ground, and with three guards stationed outside the window, let alone the actual door... the treasury must be there, Midoriya concludes, cataloguing the location for later.

Getting in is easier than expected, though the guards still shoot them a dirty look; especially at Bakugou, who just throws one with thrice the contempt in it back.

The Grand Hall, Midoriya notices, is the same, as well as vastly different.

Technically, King Enji hasn’t made any radical changes. No old walls have been demolished, no new walls have been built. The room is still the same size, it appears, though now there’s an added depth to it. Midoriya doesn’t know if that’s because of the burgundy enclosing them or because it’s foreign, mysterious to him. The tiles match the wall, though the golden colour is in intricate lines, looping around the wine red of the marble. Midoriya would be walking on blood if the white lines of the marble didn’t ground him. The columns are dressed in velvet, along with the chaise longues, and the throne. The throne, tainted with more velvet and cushions, undoubtedly there to ensure the King’s comfort.

“You seeing this shit?” Bakugou whispers. His voice drips with the anger in Midoriya’s heart.

“Yeah,” he rasps. Before King Enji invaded, the throne was a simple thing, meant to be uncomfortable. It signified that the King or Queen could never rest, for there was always something to do to improve citizens’ lives. “Yeah, I see it.”

“This place has changed for good,” Iida says. He didn’t live in the palace like Midoriya did, nor were his parents the King’s tailors like in Bakugou’s case, yet he’d visited often, as his brother had been a part of the royal guard.

“The Yuueian style is completely gone,” Midoriya says. Even to himself, it sounds like a lament. This place screams of riches, of arrogance. It makes his ears bleed.

Bakugou growls. “Not for long. In a few years, this place will be back to normal. It’ll be beautiful again.”

Uraraka purses her lips, done with her inspection. She’s been there once, when she was younger, and had begged King Toshinori to help her family, something he had graciously done by providing them  with jobs. “I think we should stop sitting here like a bunch of old ladies gossiping about who married whom and split up.”

Midoriya nods. “You’re right. Bakugou, start looking. Iida, go to your post.”

His words are met with, “Right away, Midoriya,” and, “Don’t tell me what to do, nerd,” but both of them oblige. Midoriya looks at Uraraka, then motions with his head to the horde of people gathered.

“Shall we, mademoiselle?” His pronunciation is terrible on purpose, and it brings a toothy, mischievous grin on her lips. Her eyes shine, the only thing visible from the upper half of her face. The pink of her mask glitters underneath the light, along with the red and silver swirls on it.

“Why, of course, good sire,” she mocks.


 

Mingling in is exhausting and interesting at the same time.

Midoriya has to constantly restrain himself from rolling his eyes or doing something worse as he hears the nobles left and right complain about the most pitiful of things.

“Can you believe it, I’ve had to fire four servants this week! Four!” The woman in front of him is from Endeavor, judging from her pronunciation. Lots of Endeavorians —all nobles, of course— had poured in Yuuei after the invasion, exacerbating the situation then. She’s wearing an animal mask, a peacock, from the looks of it.

How befitting.

“A tragedy, really,” he says, attempting to keep the sarcasm out of his voice. She doesn’t notice.

“I know! It’s a real shame, you know. One of them was even pregnant, and I felt really bad for her, but I just can’t degrade myself like that, you know?” She continues, waving her fan.

Midoriya grits his teeth. “A real shame,” he repeats, his voice ringing hollow among all the chatter that makes the Grand Hall resemble a giant wasp, buzzing, brandishing its stinger.

“Ah, but that doesn’t matter,” she waves her hand, “especially not on such an exciting night! Can you believe, Prince Shouto will find a bride tonight?”

Midoriya forces a smile. “Interested in the position?”

The woman giggles. “No, he’s far too young for me.”

She’s probably in her thirties, Midoriya judges, so that’s interesting.

“How old is the Prince, exactly?” Midoriya asks. In the past two years, neither he nor the others had bothered finding out. They were too busy trying to stay alive —and find each other, for the first six months after the invasion. Plus, the Prince hadn’t caused any troubles for them or the kingdom. It seemed that, even if his father liked to take him out for a walk, he kept a low profile.  Midoriya figures an Endeavorian will know better.

“Oh, he’s turning eighteen this year!” she answers. “Must be around your age, although I can’t judge all that well with your mask. But anyway, rumours say the King will throw a celebration for his eighteenth birthday, in January.”

“I see,” he mumbles. A few months from now...might be a good idea to crash that celebration too.

“Everyone is excited about today, though,” she remarks, switching between topics like a frog jumping from one water lily to another. “There’s a mystery the masks add, even if he’s not wearing one.”

Midoriya frowns. “Why not?”

She rolls her eyes beneath the mask. “Do you not know anything, boy?”

“Forgive me, I’m relatively new here in Yuuei.”

“Hmm.” She smacks her lips. “That accent tells me otherwise.”

“My father was from here, but I grew up west from here,” he replies, lies easily slipping from his tongue. “So, why is Prince Shouto not wearing a mask?” He steers the topic back into what he wants to know, curiosity piqued.

“Well if you ask me, it’s rather unnecessary, since everyone —or nearly everyone—” she shoots Midoriya a slightly condescending look, unfortunately not forceful enough for him to call her out on it, “knows about it. Still, from what I heard, King Enji ordered him not to wear one so that potential brides can recognize him, and so that they know what they’re getting.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“His scar, boy. The King apparently doesn’t want any women complaining about a damaged product.” Her voice is lowered, eyes darting here and there. “He’s the only one here not wearing a mask. Even King Enji himself wears one, though of course, everyone can tell who he is.”

That much is true, Midoriya concedes. Even now, in the middle of the crowd, dancing slowly, he can locate the King in an instant, calculating eyes scanning the room as he holds a conversation with some of the higher nobles, nobles Midoriya’s probably stolen from several times. He forces down a shudder.

He can’t seem to find Prince Shouto, though, even if his emblematic lack of mask is supposed to make that task easier.

The song comes to a slow halt, and he thanks the woman before stepping outside of the area where everyone’s exchanging partners. He swiftly moves to the sideline, locating Uraraka.

“Hey,” he says. “What’d you hear?”

She tells him the condensed version of everything she found out —after all, nobles were rather loquacious, save for the intelligent ones— filling him in on the latest gossip. It’s quite a bit of information, but might prove useful for later, so he files it away in his head.

Respectively, he tells her about Prince Shouto, about the possible future celebration of his birthday, about his mask, or the lack thereof. During his hushed narration, something, someone is watching him, making his skin crawl, spiders dancing on his arms, on his back. He throws a surreptitious glance the King’s way, but he’s not the culprit, now chatting with three women, perhaps mothers of Prince Shouto’s potential brides.

“Wow,” Uraraka says. “God, there’s so much to know.”

Midoriya smiles. “Well, better get dancing again, then,” he teases. Uraraka’s smile freezes just a second after, and she swallows audibly.

“Um, Mido…”

Something taps his right arm, and Midoriya turns, only to find himself face to face with Prince Shouto.