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Emerald enigma

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A lot of people love myths, urban legends and so on. Mostly because those things are seen as unusual and “cool”. Especially the horror-esque ones. Now, Izuku Midoriya doesn’t exactly agree with those sentiments. For him yokai, spirits and ghosts are not only dangerous, but also plain annoying. Especially when they try to steal his pudding.


“Give it back!” He shouts at the blob-like mass of shadows that is currently running away with his food.


Normally, he wouldn’t care enough to chase after them, and risk people thinking he’s insane. But he just bought it, and it was the limited summer edition chestnut-cherry pudding! Whether that mass of shadows is a ghost, a spirit or a yokai, it deserves to be exorcised for the sheer audacity of stealing something like that.


He finally catches up to them in some dark alley – which is good since there won’t be anyone to see him taking them down here. With a shout of “Gotcha”, he tackles the shadow and sticks one of his paper talismans onto them. The creature withers, letting out a gruesome roar, but they finally let go of his pudding. He manages to catch it before it hits the ground.


“Gahghewaegs” The mass of swirling black gurgles, writhing as the talisman slowly eats away at them.


“That’s what you get for trying to steal my pudding” He says, even though he knows they can’t understand him.


He takes out some exorcising salt from his backpack, and finishes them off. Years ago, when he first started exorcising those things, he barely could bring himself to kill them. But he eventually got used to it. He knows that if he doesn’t finish them off, they will just continue to harass humans. Possibly even lead to murder. It’s… not a chance he wants to take.


Sighing, he places the pudding back into his backpack, and leaves the alleyway. If he hurries up, he may be able to rest for a bit before he has to go to his “job”. Maybe he’ll even get to actually eat dinner, if he’s lucky. He runs through the streets, weaving between pedestrians, their guardian spirits, and occasional ghosts. The obvious lack of yokai on the streets is jarring, but he doesn’t want to dwell on it. If he doesn’t know, then obviously it doesn’t concern him.


He finally manages to get home. When he goes in, the distinct feeling of a “haunted” place hits him in full force. Looks like the ghosts are messing around again. He can’t see them though, so they’re most likely further in… probably in his room, then. He just hopes they don’t destroy anything this time.


A loud bang suddenly rings out. And there goes his hope of keeping his belongings intact. Sighing, he decides to go to the kitchen instead of worrying about it. He’ll just take care of it later… probably tomorrow. He checks the clock, and seeing that he should have enough time, he gets out the ingredients for dinner.


He makes a simple risotto, following mom’s recipe. She used to make it often, and even if he doesn’t enjoy it quite as much as he would enjoy katsudon, it’s still really good… Still, it kind of stings to think about the fact that she wasn’t cooking dinners anymore. Mostly because it made him remember she isn’t at home as much. He knows it’s unfair to think like that, since she’s focusing on her job, but… He kind of misses her. Most of the time he’s asleep by the time she comes back, so the only time they really talk is early in the morning.


It would be nice if they could talk more… after all, as far as humans go, she’s the only one who’s both nice to him, and alive. It’s… a bit depressing to think about.


He eats his meal in silence, checking the clock every now and then. It’s almost time to go… Wait, he has this distinct feeling he’s forgotten about something… FUCK, his pudding. He quickly rushes to put it in the fridge. It would’ve been bad if he took it to his appointment, seeing as it already got stolen once. Hmm… Just for good measure, he decides to put some of his talismans on the fridge. At least now nothing will steal it.


“Thank you for coming all the way out here, dearie” An elderly woman, Ms Hanako, says once he arrives.


She’s one of the few elderly people in the neighbourhood. Izuku doesn’t really know her too intimately, but she’s generally regarded as one of those kind elderly ladies who feed squirrels and so on. He sometimes helps her with stuff, like carrying groceries and so forth. It’s the first time she’s asked for him to exorcise something though. He notices her guardian spirit peeking over her shoulders. It’s a weird racoon-like thing with moth wings. He doesn’t acknowledge its presence though, that’d look weird to those who can’t see them.


“It’s not a problem” He reassures her awkwardly. It really isn’t a problem… especially since she’ll pay him to get rid of whatever the fuck is haunting her house “Could you tell me more about what’s happening?”


“Well… since a few days ago I’ve been hearing those weird noises at night… And my plates started breaking randomly since then… The light is flickering all the time, but the repairman said there’s nothing he can do about it, since it should be fully functional” The woman huffs “There is often also this… this weird laughter. At first I thought it was just some kids going back from their parties, but every time I look outside, no one is there”


“I see” He smiles slightly. This sounds like a ghost. Hopefully “I’d like to go in to investigate, if you don’t mind”


“Go on” The old woman says, stepping aside to invite him in. The moment he does, there is a distinct sound of something breaking “My plates!”


Ms Hanako rushes towards where the kitchen probably is, and he follows her. What’s waiting for them is indeed a broken plate… and a ghost. They’re middle aged, feminine, and have a fucking shot wound on their forehead. Their eyes are whitish, like most ghosts, but a bit of red and black is creeping into them… How lovely, a ghosts that’s starting to transform into a poltergeist.


“The ghost is here” He says, locking eyes with the figure, who seems surprised to be seen “Ms Hanako, please leave for a moment. I need a quiet environment if I want to find out what’s wrong”


If it was already a poltergeist, he’d just exorcise them – those are too far gone, and more often than not, can’t leave unless they’re exorcised. Since it’s still mostly a regular ghost, he can probably make them move on if he helps them resolve their issues.


“…” He waits for the woman to leave before addressing the ghost “Ghost-san, is your business with this house, the person living in it, or unrelated?”


“Y-you can see me” The ghost stammers, shocked “Oh my god, you can see me!”


“Yes, I can see you” He says patiently.


“Oh my god, you can hear me too” Alright, it looks like they’re having some sort of mental breakdown over this… He doesn’t know how to comfort people though, much less dead people. He’s pretty sure the usual “It’s okay, you’re safe” doesn’t apply when someone is dead.


“Ugh…” He just stands there awkwardly, waiting for shock to pass.


“Sorry, I’m feeling a bit better now” The ghost says. With bewilderment, Izuku sees some of the black and red recede from their eyes. Huh, he’s never seen that happen before…


“So, what exactly do you need to move on?” He gets to the point once he’s sure they won’t break down again.


“I want my body to be found! I’ve waited, like, twenty years!” The figure yells “Until recently, I wasn’t even able to do anything! Can you imagine going through twenty years without being able to do anything? It’s maddening!!” Alrighty, guess in this case poltergeist turning has to do with the fact they’ve waited this long to be found, huh.


“Do you know where your body is?” He asks, since he’s already encountered some ghosts who didn’t.


“It’s in the garden in front of the house” The figure answers “The asshole who buried me had earth-kinetic quirk, so he buried me pretty deeply. No one even noticed a thing”


“You’re sure it’s still there? No one could take it away while you weren’t present? For example, if you visited family or something?”


“Kid, I don’t have family. I didn’t have a family back when I was alive either”


“Alright… I’ll go and… dig you out, I guess” He heaves a sigh “By the way, how deep is ‘pretty deeply’? I’d prefer to know how long I’ll have to dig”


“About 7 meters, I think. Maybe a bit more” Fuck.


After convincing Ms Hanako that digging through her front yard is necessary if she wants her problems done, he starts working. The elderly woman keeps an eye on him for the first two hours, before giving up and just going inside. He can tell that she’s doubtful. But, he also knows that she’s probably aware of how successful he is in dealing with supernatural activity related things, considering he has a rather solid reputation on that front.


It’s dark out when he finally manages to get to the body… or what was left of it. For some time now, he’s been borrowing energy from the ghost, so that he could keep going without a break. His hands hurt, and they’re covered in blisters, but it’s worth it. Letting go of the shovel, he  takes out his phone to report the body.


“Thank you” The ghost says before he can even call the police “Now I can finally rest in peace”


“No problem” He smiles tiredly, as the ghost fades into nothing, finally passing on.


He leaves shortly after notifying the police, and informing Ms Hanako about what happened. Poor lady looked extremely pale as she rushed to see the skeleton. He did feel kind of bad about that, but still, it’s better than leaving this unresolved. That ghost deserved to get their body found, and their murder should be investigated.


Once he gets home, he finds that for the first time in a while, it’s his mom who went to bed before him. If he wasn’t sure she was used to him disappearing randomly, he’d feel guilty about not leaving a note before going to Ms Hanako’s. After all, mom didn’t know about it since he was supposed to be back before she got home.


Sighing tiredly, he heads to the bathroom, nodding in acknowledgement to mom’s guardian spirit, and a lone ghost – Mr Kamakura-, as he passes them in the hallway. Once he gets there, he takes his time getting all the dirt off. And there is a lot of it… He should really consider finding alternative methods of digging up corpses. Maybe the police would help? He’d have to actually take credit for finding them next time to get their cooperation though. After all, they wouldn’t help some random boy… but on the other hand, a person who they know has a knack for finding corpses… well, that’s a thought to consider later.


When he steps into his room, he spares a second to greet the ghosts there – who are all apparently playing monopoly, what the fuck – before going to bed. He honestly feels like shit. The fact that he knows he won’t fall asleep anytime soon despite feeling exhausted doesn’t help. Though, he resolves to at least try to sleep.

Ugh, this isn’t helping at all. What kind of insomnia-induced hell is this? Normally, one would expect hours of physical work to help with falling asleep, but no.  Groaning, he secures the blanket tighter around himself, before rolling out of bed, and crawling to where the ghosts are playing UNO now – with a spark of irritation, he notes that there are many other games left laying on the floor, what a mess.


There are five ghosts in total, including Mr. Kamakura, who must’ve joined them while Izuku was trying to sleep. From the looks of it, Yukiko – a ghost of a teenage girl who used to live in the apartment – is winning. Though, it seems like Yukizome-sensei isn’t far behind, she could probably still win… On the second thought, anyone could win, no matter who is in better situation right now. UNO games are just unpredictable like that.


“Have trouble sleeping, beansprout?” Yukizome-sensei asks once she notices him.


The others turn in their direction, as he just continues lying right next to semi-transparent woman. It’s pretty cool that they all have night vision, so they can see him even with the lights off. Well, he does too, which is fairly weird, but he guesses in his case it just comes with the quirk. Still not as cool as the ghosts having it, though.


“Mhm” He hums listlessly, shifting to lie more comfortably.


“If he’s awake anyways, can we turn the lights on?” Akabane asks “I mean, we could just continue like that, but you know, it’d be more comfortable with at least some light”


“Don’t be an asshole, Riku. Just because you can stand sudden changes in lighting doesn’t mean anyone else can. Besides, I’m pretty sure that as responsible adults here, we’re supposed to make sure he falls asleep… and, you know, maybe not try to bring him back to full wakefulness” Yukiko just continues playing with her hair, not meeting anyone’s eyes as she says this.


“She’s right-“ Yukizome-sensei starts before being interrupted.


“I don’t want to hear anything about ‘being the adult’ from someone who doesn’t even know how to cook, or use a washing machine, for that matter” Akabane snorts as he places a +4 card down, forcing Yukiko to take the cards.


“Oh, excuse me for dying before I had the chance. And you know, I’ve been a ghost for at least twenty years, and I have to say that neither of these things rank very high on the list of helpful skills for ghosts” Yukiko grumbles, pouting slightly.


“Please try to keep the volume down, you two” Mr Kamakura sighs, placing a card down.


“Do you want to join us for the next round, Midoriya-kun?” Yukizome-sensei asks, calm as ever.


“Not really, I’d prefer to just look… it’s relaxing” He murmurs, observing as Akabane plays a reverse card right before Yukiko’s turn.


“…” Akihiko remains as silent as usual, or so it seems. Wait a second, what’s with the disproportionately large number of cards in his hand. How did that happen?

He observes a few more round before he’s lulled to sleep by the feeling of safety he only ever gets when friendly entities are nearby (he can’t really narrow it down, since the list really has anything that would be friendly towards him, from animals to spirits).


This is it, this is the day Akari Yukizome will finally open her bakery. Everything is in place – the sweets she’s baked give off an alluring aroma, and the flowers placed on the counter help complete the serene atmosphere of the shop. She wonders how many people will come – friends and neighbours coming in from some sense of obligation aside.


Well, either way, she’s totally ready to let the world experience the bliss of perfectly made meringue cake. She’s sure that the people will love it. Internally cheering herself on, she goes to flip the sign on the door to ‘open’.


Izuku blearily opens his eyes, giving himself a second to wake up before what he’d dreamt about hits him in full force. Those were… Yukizome-sensei’s memories? Huh, weird. He does sometimes experience the memories of the dead, but, it’s not happening often. And up until now, it was mostly limited to one time per ghost… this was the second memory he’s seen of Yukizome-sensei. And, unlike normally, it wasn’t the scene of the ghost’s death. He’s glad for that, at least.


He doesn’t think he’d appreciate seeing Yukizome-sensei die once more.


He gets up from the floor and looks around the room. It’s empty, the ghosts probably wandering around the city or something. They do that a lot. Well, at least they cleaned up the games from yesterday. Small mercies, he supposes.


He throws the blanket back onto the bed, feeling no need to fold it properly – he’d mess it up anyways, so what’s the point? He checks the time, finding that it’s well after noon. Damn, he slept in way longer than expected. No wonder the ghosts decided to go away for now. And speaking of going away, where is his guardian spirit? He should’ve returned by now… At least going by what he’d said before leaving.


It makes him feel a bit lonely, but it’s not like he can do anything about it. At least he’s more or less sure his guardian spirit is alive, seeing as he still has his quirk… at least he thinks he does. The moment he sees any spirit or ghost is when it’ll be confirmed, but until then, he’ll just assume he does still have it.


It’s actually kind of funny how quirks, something people take for granted, and treat like any other part of themselves, actually come from entities completely independent of them. Some guardian spirits don’t even actually like their charges, they’re just stuck giving them power and protecting them. Just another bit of knowledge no one would believe, even if Izuku told them.


Hhm… now that he thinks about it, he’s glad that his guardian spirit is actually quite nice. He doesn’t know what he’d do if it had the same type of personality as some he’s seen. Specifically Kamui Wood’s spirit. His is kind of like Kac-Bakugou, but much worse. To be honest, despite basically being a hero’s quirk, it behaves more like a villain. He still doesn’t know how to feel about it.

Ugh, he should probably stop wasting time. He doesn’t have any pressing matters to attend to, but… actually eating breakfast would be nice. Then he could study or something. But he’s already far ahead in that regard… Maybe he’ll go around and see if anyone needs his help? There are always at least a few ghosts who need something simple to pass on. And spirits also sometimes have some issues he can resolve.


“Izu~kun!” Yukiko calls out, phasing through the wall, into the kitchen “What are you eating?”


“Pudding” He answers, shoving another spoonful into his mouth.


“Damn, it’s the moments like these that make me wish I was still alive” Yukiko leans against the wall… rather unsuccessfully, seeing as he can still see a gap between where her back is, and the wall.


“You need to lean a bit further back, if you want to actually look natural” He says.


“It’s really hard to judge where to lean when you just phase through the wall, you know?” She pouts as she rights herself, finally looking at least partially natural “Though I expected that after fifteen years of practice, I’d finally get it right”


Izuku simply finishes the pudding and heads towards the door. Yukiko doesn’t question him, instead opting to follow behind. Izuku doesn’t particularly mind it, he knows that being dead must be extremely boring when you can’t even interact with most things. It’s the main reason why he’s drawn glyphs that allow ghost to interact with objects on all his board games.


“Want me to ask around and see if anyone needs help?” Yukiko asks once they’re out in the streets.


“Please do” He whispers with a small smile.


He also searches for anyone needing help, although a bit more discreetly than the girl. After all, the streets are particularly busy here, so if he was too loud when talking to ghosts people would question his sanity. He doesn’t really care about their opinion, but he doesn’t want them to call the police or something on him.


It already almost happened once, and he’d rather not deal with it again.

He stops for a moment, amused, as both a ghost and a spirit sit on the same rock, in the exact same place, basically phasing through each other. It sometimes happens, since ghosts can’t see spirits, and most spirits can’t see ghosts. Still, it’s a funny sight, almost as if reality is glitching. Well, in any case, he should probably talk to the ghost, seeing as the spirit doesn’t look particularly troubled by anything.


“Hello? Uhm, ghost-san?” He tries to get their attention, and it works, as they rapidly turn towards him with wide eyes.


“Dear god, you can see me!” They exclaim, jumping from their place enthusiastically. The spirit simply gives Izuku a passing glance, before going back to watching other people, or whatever they were doing before.


“Yes… Would you like me to do something, to help you pass on?” He asks.


“Ehh, not really” The ghost shrugs “My only regret is not living to see the flower festival this year, so I’m guessing I’ll just pass on once I see it”


“Oh, okay… I guess I’ll be going then…” He murmurs, turning away.


“Izu-kun~!” A loud yell rings out, probably Yukiko’s “I’ve found a ghost who needs help!”


Without a word, he heads towards the voice.


The ghost’s problem is quite easily solved. They just wanted someone to make sure their cat will be okay, since it was in their apartment when they died. Izuku picks the lock to the flat, enters and then leaves with the cat. He later takes it to the local animal shelter, which seems to be enough for the ghost, as they move on to… wherever ghost go when their business on earth is finished.


Huh, maybe his guardian spirit knows where that is? He’s seemed knowledgeable enough when it came to ghosts.


“So, are we going to try and find another one?” Yukiko asks him, still looking at various animals in the shelter.


“I think we should go back home” He whispers, silently cursing when one of the shelter’s workers gives him an odd look.


It takes a while, but eventually he gets so bored he starts studying. Nothing new, just brushing up on history and maths. It’s not like he needs it either way, but the last exam of middle school is in like, a month or so, so it’s not a completely wasted effort. Come to think of it, he wonders what he’s going to do after that… Thanks to him being so enthusiastic (and in need of a distraction) he’s actually going to complete middle school one year ahead of his peers. Oh, the joys of online learning. It’s much more bearable than actually going to school. But… now he’ll have way too much time on his hands.


“Hey, kid, you’re zoning out” Mr. Kamakura’s voice brings him back to reality “You won’t remember much of this stuff if you don’t concentrate, you know?”


“You’re back early” He comments, raising an eyebrow at the ghost who obviously just came back.


“Yeah… turns out my colleague’s lecture was cancelled after all” The man looks kind of disappointed by this.


“I never really get to ask, but what was it about?” He turns away from the books, fully intending to stop studying for today.


“It was supposed to be about the effects of heroism on how quirks evolve” Huh, makes sense. After all, when he was still alive, Mr. Kamakura was a college professor on quirk theory, so his colleague would obviously teach something similar.


“Does heroism have any effect on quirks though?” It is an interesting question, considering quirks aren’t exactly genetic, like most people believe.


“Well, the lecture didn’t happen so I can’t tell you about its stance on the matter but… I think it does have an effect” The man looks like he’s deep in thoughts for just a second, before continuing “Glorification of heroics makes certain quirks more desirable. To the point where some people choose their partners based on their quirk, and children with no quirk, or quirkless, ones are often abandoned. Their death rates are considerably higher, and as a result, the percentage of certain types of quirks is getting higher in comparison to other types”


“It sucks” He huffs. What else can he say? As someone who can see ghosts, he can in fact confirm that there are a lot of quirkless people dying.


“It’s just how it is. There have always been, and there will always be undesirable traits that people have no control over” The man’s expression shows distaste “Nothing you can do about it, really”


“Yeah…” He knows that better than anyone, since no one would believe he has a quirk. Especially with Bakugou… well, being an even bigger asshole than he is towards others.


“Don’t get so depressed about it. At least you are still alive, unlike some of us” The ghost smiles tiredly, ruffling his hair – or at least attempting to “And speaking of living, did you choose which school you’ll apply to yet?”


“W-well… I was thinking of trying heroics, so one of the schools that offer that-“


“A shame. With that brilliant brain of yours, you going into heroics is going to be a loss for science”


“I-I’m not especially good… I only seem a bit smart because you’ve been tutoring me since I was, like, seven” He nervously shifts in his seat.


“Izuku, trust me, I’ve had students that’d kill to have a brain like yours” The man grimaces “Some of those morons couldn’t even do a simple analysis right”


“A-anyways… I’ve been thinking about applying to U.A., but Bakugou is probably going to be there-“


“God, him again?”


“-So, I was thinking, maybe Shiketsu or Ketsubutsu. Both are rather good”


“Yeah, but they’re not quite as great as U.A., from what I’ve heard, at least. Are you really going to settle for less without even trying?” Yukiko butts in, perching herself on Izuku’s desk “Doesn’t seem like… well, something you’d do”


“I’d rather not get stuck with Bakugou again” He says, knowing that it still doesn’t explain it clearly to them. After all, even if they haunt him, it’s not like they’ve been with him at school. They don’t know Bakugou outside of what Izuku’s told them.


“I still think it’s a waste not to go into the science field” Mr. Kamakura remarks “But I agree with Yukiko. If you’re going to follow your alleged dream, you should at least give it your best”


His ‘alleged’ dream, huh. Is he really so unheroic that they doubt he even wants to be a hero…? No, it’s probably something else… They wouldn’t do that to him.


After a few days, Izuku’s guardian spirit, Yami, returns. Apparently, he was helping an old friend out with something, and it took longer than expected. Yami didn’t actually elaborate on what that something might have been, but Izuku knows that asking would get him nowhere. Befitting the half-cat half-owl appearance he has, Izuku’s guardian spirit is not someone who is willing to do anything he doesn’t want to do.


It’s literally like trying to win against a cat (or a bird). There is just no way it’s happening.


“Are you still planning on becoming a hero?” Yami asks in the morning after his return.


“Obviously” He answers, frowning. Did Yami doubt him too…?


“Then we’d better start training again. You need to learn more glyphs before I can even consider letting you anywhere near heroics” The creature says “Not to mention, most schools actually require their students to have a quirk”


“What do glyphs have to do with having a quirk?” He asks, confused.


“For being so smart, you’re somehow dense” Yami looks at him sceptically “You can’t prove you have a quirk, because it only lets you see stuff others can’t, and not much else. But if you learn a glyph that actually has an effect on the physical world, you can just register glyphs as your quirk and no one will be able to call you out on your lie”


“Wait, there are glyphs that can directly affect the physical world? As in, without spirits’ or ghosts’ help?” He blinks owlishly. It’s the first he’s heard of that. The only glyphs he knows just let ghosts interact with stuff, or have some effect on spirits. Or are designed for exorcism purposes.


“Of course. They’re just rather complicated and energy consuming” Yami sighs “It will probably take a while for you to learn any of them, since we still have to cover simpler glyphs before moving on to more complex ones”


“Will I be ready in time for entrance exams?” He asks anxiously.


“…I can’t say either way, but you should be able to register your ‘quirk’ by then” The spirit tilts its head “And if nothing else, you still have your ghost-interaction glyphs. Just draw them on a knife or something and let one of the ghosts stab stuff for you”


“T-that’s dangerous!!” He nearly yells.


“But it is a possibility. Besides, I thought you trusted the ghosts in this house? Can’t they just help you?”


“Ugh… probably? I mean-“


“Hey, Izu-kun, why were you so loud, did something happen?” Yukiko asks, phasing into his room.


“N-not really” He says with a small smile “Uhm, could you leave for a moment…? I’m kinda in the middle of something”


“Oh, you’re talking with your ‘spirit’ or something? Is that why you told us to wait outside earlier?” At his nod, she grins “Alrighty! Just remember to say hi from me!”


“…She’s certainly a spirited one” Yami remarks.


“Wait, was that a pun?” Izuku asks in disbelief “Oh my god, you just made a pun. I can’t believe I lived to see this day”


“It wasn’t a pun” The spirit glares at him “It was just a slip of the tongue”


“Sure, whatever you say, Yami”


“Hey, Izuku… Where are you planning to apply for school?” Yami asks him out of nowhere during practice a few weeks later.


“I was thinking about Shiketsu, why do you ask?” Izuku is mostly confused since his guardian spirit never had much interest in school or other ‘unnecessary human’ stuff.


“You should apply for U.A. My friends’ charge is planning to go there” The creature says “It will be good to meet them there. You’d finally have a human friend”


“…Even if your friend is his guardian, there is no telling whether or not he’d want to be my friend. After all, most humans don’t really like me” He says bitterly “Besides, Bakugou is probably also going to try to get into U.A. I don’t… want to be anywhere near him”


“…By the time the school starts, you’ll be able to protect yourself. I’m sure of it” Yami sighs “And as for my friend’s charge… he’s not the type of person to reject you just for being weird”


“I still don’t think it’s a good idea” He mutters, slightly disappointed that Yami just brushed his concerns aside.


“Just think about it for now” The spirit chuckles “I’m sure you’ll change your mind. We still have a lot of time. But for now, please try to focus on the training. The glyph you’ve just drawn is so lopsided it looks like a five year old drew it”


“I’m trying! And you were the one who started the conversation in the first place! Don’t blame me for being distracted”