Naomasa Tsukauchi was not the only one pacing outside the Queen’s bedchambers that warm summer morning. His Majesty was doing his best to appear unshaken, to limited results. Nao decided that as long as he wasn’t enchanting his murmured worries or speaking fire, he was calm enough, even if he feared for the thin gold crown perched in black curls. The more he paced and tugged at his hair, the more precarious the jewelry's position became.
“Your Majesty.” The Royal Orator finally said. King Hisashi looked over at him. “Call your advisor.” Summoning the aiding spirit was something Hisashi had been doing more than half his life, and it would take up little mana and calm him. Besides, Tsunagu should meet the little child once they were born anyway.
“Do you really think I should?” King Hisashi asked, the question a blur of speed and exhausted words still clear to Naomasa’s sharp ears.
“I said it, didn’t I?”
“Hah, that’s fair.”
Both knew that Naomasa would be as careful telling something that wasn’t true as Hisashi would be something laced with magic. Words had a power, here. The Kingdom Magic of Midoriya centered on it, and Naomasa knew if the child being born in the rom behind the thick stone and oak was the heir, had that magic, he’d be entrusted with his training.
How daunting. Naomasa had no clue how his aunt had managed as well as she had with Hisashi.
His Majesty tugged a slip of blue from his jacket and muttered a quick “Leze rejem resese em egnev.” In a blink, a figure stood next to him, tall and dressed with a sheet of blue fabric that wrapped up around him, a scarf over his face. He seemed unreal with straw blond hair and eyes that matched his robes. He was, in fact, unreal. Once Hisahsi’s training dummy, until the then-prince had been able to summon up a true Protector- this was Tsunagu, an advising spirit and a good omen for craftsmen under his reign.
“Majesty.” The spirit nodded, then paused, looking at the wall. Naomasa wondered if he could see through it, or if it was just a spirit thing. “Ah, I see. Don’t worry, Hisashi, you have more than enough mana to spare if need be.”
“I’m afraid of even needing to, don’t say it when it could still be.” The king worried. “Inko’s been in there for hours, and then they kicked me out all of the sudden-“
“That is a good thing.” Tsunagu reassured.
Hisashi looked like he’d argue, but then a sound cut them all off.
A shrill cry, high little scream, that subsided into sobs, hiccups. Hisashi bolted for the door, tugging on it.
It was still locked, but on realizing he was likely about to command it open, both Naomasa and Tsunagu jumped forward to pull him back. “They’re fine, just hold on a minute, Hisashi.” The Royal Orator broke decorum. “Think of all the busybodies rushing around in there, and don’t make it worse!”
“Inko and our child are-“
A young maid opened the door, face flushed under her scarf. “Your Majesty.” She curtsied, wisely remaining in the doorway. “You have a son.”
And quite a son, indeed, Naomasa thought some years later. He still remembered the day the little prince was born, held so gently in his father’s arms, so protected in his mother’s. Izuku, they had named their son. Inko’s coloring and curls so tight everyone knew he’d taken after Hisashi there.
A happy boy, it was found, more likely to be found crying of laughter than any other reason, though his nursemaids were used to getting jumpy, sniffles were frequent visitors.
Less frequent were the other royalty that made up the Kingdoms of Cerbenec. Shimura, the homeland of Queen Inko, sent her sister-in-law when news of Izuku’s birth spread.
(“I’m so sorry, Kotaro wanted to come but you know how he is.”
“I do.” Inko winced in sympathy. “And both your children are so young, wouldn’t want a journey like that.”
“Right.” The other queen smiled, thinking instead of how her husband had harshened over the years with his mother’s death, sister’s marriage, and waiting for either child to show the Kingdom Magic of Destruction, twin of Midoriya’s Creation.)
Other little princelings did make it though. The king of the island nation Togata and his ten year old son came to pay respects, Prince Mirio taking in the sight of both the rolling green fields around the castle and the people in it with purple eyes shining every one of his ten-year-old questions. Less joyful was Prince Kai of Chisaki, there with his so-called uncle. Naomasa could see the familiar imprint of a spirit protector in him, and decided to let it lie. A young man away from his father and kingdom, alone, could seek comfort in any protector he liked, surely.
Naomasa would deeply regret letting that lie.
The island of Magen had sent apologies and congratulations by letter, and Tatsuma sent gifts as well, dragons were generous with children.
And through it all, the visit days, the feasts, the ordinary days and the sad, Naomasa watched Izuku, feeling the slight buzz around his voice, wondering when he would show his magic that the kingdom would respond to.
Not when he was held by the queen to giggle at her swiping his nose with her hair, not when she clung to him and Hisashi, sobbing at the news of her family’s deaths. Not when Hisashi scooped him up onto his shoulders and spoke fire to dance around him in pictures, not when the king looked over his sleepy little son, trying to imagine him simply vanishing like Magen’s queen had. Not when the Prince’s cousin, Momo, showed a perchance for creation magic as well, the girl creating a little shining marble when they were two, and not when Lord Todoroki showed off his son, skilled with not merely one aspect of magic, rare enough, but two.
No, Izuku used his powers for the first time when he was four. The boy was as clever as he was happy, and loved stories about heroes of ages past.
So when a high pitched echoed through the library, coming from the area used as a collection and schoolroom for royal children, Naomasa ran towards the sound with his heart in his throat. A few other guards jolted too, rushing around the shelves until they heard the little prince’s voice: “No, no, it’s all right!”
Then an unfamiliar voice joins in, strong, almost booming: “Yes, Miss, no need to worry-“
Naomasa skid to a stop between the shelves, looking into the little section, and even if he’d been planning on moving after that he couldn’t have.
There in the middle of the room, a giant of a golden man in bright, painted armor held up the little prince. Izuku clung to him with one arm, other waving out to his governess, the woman on the floor, slack jawed and looking ready to start screaming again.
A guard, a newer one Naomasa knew had some magic nullification came around from behind him, drawing twin blades. Naomasa lunged, grabbing his shoulder with a “Stop!”
Aizawa looked at him with suspicion, then ahead at the tiny royal, then back to Naomasa. Izuku might have tears welling up in his eyes but he wasn’t treating this man like a threat, even if the not-yet-twenty guard couldn’t see the magic around the figure.
A Protector, so much like Hisashi’s Tsunagu, but this one was stronger.
This one was All Might.
“Toshinori Yagi!” Naomasa called, stepping forward, arms waving for the other guards to let him pass. “This certainly is a surprise… Prince Izuku, did you summon this man?”
The blond figure nodded, looking at the boy first before moving to set him down on the floor. Izuku allowed this, though he stood, clinging to the man’s leg and looking up at Naomasa with eyes just now showing confusion.
“Was I not s’possed to?” His Highness asked. “We were just reading about All Might, and how he saves so many people, and always rises up to defeat the Unnamed Evil, and I thought-“
“Your Highness.” Naomasa cut off, mentally apologizing but now that magic dripped more freely from the boy’s lips he’d need to learn to be careful with his words, his muttering. “You did nothing wrong. But I’m going to have to begin your lessons with me earlier. Your first casting, and you already jump right in to conjuring your Protector.”
Izuku’s mouth dropped. “You- you’re my Protector, really?” Big green eyes looked up at the knight filling out every inch his fairytale form.
All Might, once a man named Toshinori Yagi who lived under the reign of the Emperor of Cerbenec and rose up to free the kingdoms from their ruler tainted with the Unnamed Evil, now a spirit of Protection called up by other rulers through the ages to guide and help them, nodded solemnly, though his smile never wavered. He took a moment to drop to one knee in front of Izuku, though he still towered over the little prince.
“Yes. I will accept your call to protect you and your kingdom, Your Highness.”
Izuku promptly burst into tears and leapt to jump into the man’s chest, warping his arms as much as he could around the man. All Might let him, scooping up the boy with one arm and rubbing circles in his back with the other.
Over the green curls, and impossible shade of blue eyes met Naomasa’s with an unspoken question.
Whenever All Might was summoned, it meant both dark times and victory ahead. No one needed to summon a knight in times of peace- and surely, no four year old should have the power to, Naomasa shuddered to think of what horror the prince could have brought on them with his first casting with a single added mumble, a tear hiccupping at the wrong place. Why had this happened now? Why had this happened with Izuku?
To answer his second fear, Naomasa knew he’d need to teach the prince care, but that was to be expected. Eyeing the young guard who warily took in the scene, he knew he’d need a way too teach the prince restraint.
And in answer to the first fear, the next morning a terrible missive came to Hisashi, who opened it and almost dropped it, handing it to Naomasa silently.
The island of Togata had been all but totally destroyed. Turned to rubble floating on the sea, the city and castle and king wiped away, sunk into the ocean.
For something of that power, they all feared it was the Unnamed Evil.
Izuku’s lessons began that very afternoon. Aizawa was snagged and promoted in order to teach restraint. Naomasa carefully drilled the in tongue twisters, explaining magical theory that the boy soaked up like a sponge, all while eyeing the little colorful wooden doll that All Might had turned into on Izuku dispelling his summons. Izuku clutched it like any other toy, like it wasn’t the most powerful spirit Protector they knew of.
After a day of having Hisashi repeat the dangers of overdrawing from the Kingdom’s Magic to cast for themselves, how it would leave protective wards and spells-of-plenty without mana for fuel but that withdrawing from the use of magic entirely would cause an explosion of dangerous, undirected magical bursts, Naomasa quietly asked Tsunagu what he thought.
“I think that Toshinori will protect Izuku and your kingdom.” The spirit said after a while. “I think between you and Hisashi and young Aizawa, Izuku will learn restraint and balance, and he’s already got kindness, courage. I think perhaps you should be more careful with your words, when you aren’t really asking me what I think.” He added the last sentence with a wry twist, eyes crinkling up like he might be smiling behind the scarf if the dummy body even had a mouth there.
Naomasa huffed out a laugh. That was fair.
“I suppose I mean, do you think Izuku will be ready, the day this Unnamed Evil rises up for Toshinori to defeat, like it always does?”
“I can only hope so, Naomasa, I can only hope so.”
But they kept watch anyway, they listened for any news from other kingdoms, but Togata was gone and Magen missing its sovereign. The newly named Shigaraki kingdom refused to acknowledge its sister anymore and Inko knew not why. Prince Kai had assumed control over Chisaki and no one knew how his father, the last king, fared or if he was even still alive.
They trained the knights, the guards, harder than before. They drilled countless spells into Izuku’s head and taught him so many words he could use. They announced to the kingdom that the Prince had summoned a Protector, and who it was. They kept watch for any signs of attack, for any reports of demons spotted, or magical attacks, or enemies marched up to their door.
But alas, like Togata before Midoriya, the threat did not sweep in obviously, the threat did not announce itself. The Evil was happy to remain Unnamed and unrecognized.
Like Togata before, it simply happened that the King fell ill.