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Breaking the Rules

Chapter Text

The fairy paced anxiously, crossing his arms in front of him as he waited for his spy to report to him.  His mottled wings were tense and he clenched his fists.  If he didn’t report to his superior soon, he would most likely be in trouble.  Suddenly, the air in front of him rippled, and a fairy appeared out of thin air.

“Semi,” the mottle-winged fae hissed.  “What took you so long?”

“Daishou, I’m sorry,” the fae, donned with cream-colored wings, responded hurriedly.

“You know how Oikawa is.”

“I know,” Semi looked around, as if someone were about to attack him.  “The thing is… I couldn’t get any information.”

What?!

“Suguru, I’m sorry!” Semi’s voice raised, before he lowered it back to a whisper.  He felt the pressure of aura crushing him as Daishou’s aura power overwhelmed him.  “They didn’t say anything that we weren’t already aware of!”

“Give me anything, Semi!”

“They… they said they’re going to watch their borders and raise their defenses more, but we already knew that was coming!”

“Oh, Fae,” Daishou turned his head away quickly.  “Oikawa’s going to have my head.”

“This is my mistake, I should take - “

“No,” the mottle-winged fairy fought back.  “This isn’t your fault.  This is his , for giving us orders we cannot complete.”

“Daishou-”

“Hey, you two,” a voice interrupted them.  The arguing faes immediately turned away from each other and their eyes widened nervously, but they relaxed once they realized who it was.

“Oh, Kunimi,” Daishou stood up straighter, asserting his dominance over the other fae.  “Yes?”

“The duel is about to commence,” Kunimi seemed indifferent.  “It’s Inuoka versus… actually, we don’t know.  Nobody will challenge him.”

“Someone will, right?” Semi furrowed his eyebrows.  “I mean, I’m not match for him, but there’s bound to be someone.”

“Oh, there is,” Daishou sighed and the three flew through the caverns of their kingdom.  The sides of the dark, large cave were lit up by torches, every few meters.  There were random offshoots to different areas, but they flew down the main cave system to the large pit, where the battles took place.  They landed and their eyes were immediately attracted to their leader.

He stood on the highest ledge in the whole ‘pit,’ or the giant, open cavern.  Multiple hallways led to the massive area, and there was almost an indent in the floor made for the duelers, as other faes watched from the sides.  Oikawa stood perfectly straight, his dark black wings hiding the white feathers that he used to bear.  He looked down upon the arena ominously, a smug grin painted on his lips.

“Who is going to challenge the undefeated Inuoka?” a voice rumbled, and the crowd of fairies cheered, fluttering around in their clustered groups.  Inuoka flew in the air, opening his arms up as he snickered.

“He’s actually a pretty impressive fighter, considering the power he was born with,” Oikawa commented, tilting his head towards the direction of his fellow leader, although he was just under Oikawa’s rank.

“Yes,” Tendou murmured, rubbing his chin in thought.  “Someone ought to put him in his place though.”

“And who do you have in mind?”

“Myself.”  The red-feathered fae flashed a menacing grin at Oikawa and flew high into the air before diving down and landing in the middle of the pit.  The crowd’s cheers died down and Inuoka beamed.

“Battling the all-talk, no-show Tendou, I see?” the brunette raised his eyebrows.

“Is that how they see me?” Tendou shrugged.  “What are the rules?”

“Anything goes.”

“Just how I like it.”  They hovered above the ground for a few moments, staring each other down, until Tendou raised his palms beside of him, and, flicking his wrists, generating balls of fire from his palm.  “Your move.”  Inuoka wasted no time and waved his arm, crystals materializing from his fingertips and flying towards Tendou.  Tendou spun out of the way easily, folding his wings into his sides, as the shards of crystal flew into the rock behind him.

“That’s easy, ” Tendou taunted.  “Let’s get messy.”  He darted into the air and blast flames down onto Inuoka, who spread his arms, a layer of crystal sheltering him from the intense flame.  Inuoka grit his teeth as the flames persisted, but he managed to stay undercover.  As Tendou flew back down, the crystal fae shot multiple shards towards Tendou.  The fire fae put a flame in front of him, but a small piece shot through the flame and scraped right above his eyebrow, cutting the skin.  Tendou hissed angrily as blood trickled down his face and he wiped it away with his hand.

“So you are as good as they say,” Tendou’s lip curled upward.  He darted forward toward Inuoka, who sent a whirlwind of crystal his direction, until he darted to the side and spun around, encircling Inuoka in flames.  A mixture of cheers and gasps erupted from the crowd, mingling with the painful yowl from Inuoka.  He flew out of the flames, burn marks evident on his skin.

Inuoka fired at Tendou, who dodged the shots by a hair, as he fired flaming spheres at the other.  They circled around each other, exchanging attacks, flying higher and higher.  Balls of fire and chunks of crystal flew around the arena, much to the amusement of the crowd.  Oikawa observed from above, the malicious grin on his face expanding.

Tendou raised his arm, about to throw fire; Inuoka raised his defenses, setting up a shield in front of himself.  However, Tendou tucked his wings in and fell out of the air quickly, much to the shock of the observers.  Inuoka was frozen as well, unsure of what to do, when the fire-fae below him shot daggers of fire upwards.  They lodged themselves in Inuoka’s leg, and he let out a sharp cry, silencing the crowd.  Clinging to his leg, he fell to the ground with a thump, still whimpering in pain.  Tendou stalked over to him and, his face gravely serious, raised his hand and summoned a flame.

“Enough.”  The heads of every fairy in the room, except for the dueler’s, turned to face Oikawa.  He was standing on the ledge, appearing to be satisfied, before swooping down into the pit.  The flame that had appeared in Tendou’s hand seconds ago was extinguished, as he looked upon Inuoka with almost boredom.

“Our new victor,” Oikawa dramatically turned around.  “Is Tendou Satori!”  The crowd began yelling loudly as Tendou cackled and outstretched his arms.  “Shimizu!  Tend to Inuoka and his injuries, please.”  The ravenette darted over and began taking care of the fallen fae as he lay crumpled on the ground.  Oikawa and Tendou flew out of the arena, through the ceiling, as the rest of the fairies dispersed.  They quickly made their way to Oikawa’s private chamber, where the important meetings and discussions were held.

“You weren’t going full force, were you?” Oikawa questioned, glancing at the cut on Tendou’s eyebrow.  It was still bleeding down his face, but he didn’t seem to care.

“Not at first,” Tendou admitted.  “He was better than I thought he would be, and I didn’t want to kill anyone on my own team.  I would’ve finished him off, though, if you hadn’t told me to stop.”

“That’s a good instinct to have.”

“Thank you.”  They were barely in the room, in privacy, until Daishou entered.  He looked stern and confident, as usual, as he strode into the room and bowed in front of Oikawa.  Daishou gave Tendou a curt nod, to which the red-winged fae burst out laughing, mockingly, and walked away from the two, staying within the chamber.

“I’m assuming Semi’s back, or you wouldn’t dare step in here?” Oikawa asked dryly.

“Yes, he is back,” Daishou retorted.  Oikawa gave him a look, as if he were daring him to test his power.  “He gave me some information.”

“About the spies, I assume,” Oikawa strode around the room, stretching his black wings.

“Well, he told me about some of the Helios’ plans.  They are going to restrict fairies from entering and leaving, as well as raising their defenses.”

“And about their spies?”

“There… there was no information about their spies.”

“What?!” Oikawa snarled, spinning around.

“They di- didn’t discuss anything,” Daishou backed away from Oikawa, who was stalking towards the lower-ranked fae.  “And Semi didn’t want to test his luck.  It would’ve been too dangerous if he-”

“If he what?  Took a risk?”

“Oikawa, please-”

“I expected more from you, Daishou,” Oikawa raised his chin.

“It’s not my fault!  It was out of my control!”

“Are you blaming your subordinate?”

“No, that’s not- it wasn’t my fault!”

“First rule of leadership,” Oikawa paused, staring directly at Daishou.  His normally cool brown eyes were almost red as he stared him down.  Tendou was watching from the corner of the room, obviously amused.  “ Everything is your fault.”

“Wouldn’t that mean it’s your fault, then?” Daishou blurted the words before he could think.

“Do you dare challenge me authority?!” Oikawa roared.  Daishou visibly cringed.

“That’s not at all-”

“Suguru, you better listen, and listen closely .”  Oikawa raised his hand slightly, and a dark, inky stream of magic slithered from his palm.  It split up, slowly moving through the air towards Daishou; it floated around his limbs and torso as he watched, his breathing shallow.  “You should be grateful and humbled that I have given you this high ranking.  In these past few months, you’ve risen from one of the common faes to one of the most powerful.  I was very impressed, actually, but you’ve let us down recently.  You’re becoming too comfortable in your position, and we can’t let that happen now, can we?”

“...no.”

“That’s what I thought.”  Oikawa gave a tight-lipped smile, even though his eyebrows were furrowed.  “However, this cannot ever happen again.  You shall still face punishment.”  Suddenly, the streams of dark magic bound themselves around Daishou, and a scream escaped his lips.  It overcame his body and forced him on the ground, hitting his head and scraping his face.  The magic felt like all types of pain, combined into one horrid creature: it felt blazing hot, as well as freezing, but shocked him with relentless pain.

“And what have you learned, Suguru?”

“I..” a yelp escaped Daishou’s lips as he attempted to talk.  “I take the… blame.”

“That’s correct,” Oikawa clenched his fist, and another cry echoed through the room.  Tendou stood, leaning against the wall, and watched the event unfold.  It was just another typical torture session.

“Alright,” Oikawa sighed.  He relaxed his hand, the magic disappearing immediately.  Daishou lifted himself off the floor as quickly as his weak body allowed him to; he wore a scrape on the side of his face from being pressed into the floor, and his legs shook.

“I am very sorry, Oikawa,” he bowed, gritting his teeth.  “I won’t fail again.”

“Good.  Send Semi back out as quickly as possible.”

“Of course.”  He flew out of the room, taking a few moments to gather his bearings.  

“That was worse than usual,” Tendou remarked.

“He deserved that,” Oikawa responded immediately after.  “He has been slacking, and isn’t doing anything to benefit our cause.”

“Why are you so obsessed with the Helios, anyways?” Tendou asked.  “I mean, our cause for starting the Artemis is to fight the humans, so why are we fighting other faes?”

“Because,” Oikawa pursed his lips.  “There are fairies who are ‘neutral’ that are on their side.  If we can defeat the Helios and get those neutral believers on our side, we will have even more of an advantage against the humans.  We are outnumbered, but if we can increase our power, we will be unstoppable.”

“That’s well-thought out, actually,” Tendou scoffed.  Oikawa shot him a look, but the fire-fae just sniggered.  “How are things going with your apprentice ?”

“Better than expected.  Kageyama learns fast, but he’s still struggling between light magic and dark magic.”

“Oikawa, you can’t expect a young fae like him to reach his full potential,” Tendou responded.  “He probably wouldn’t have even known about his dark magic if it weren’t for you steal-”

“Enough,” Oikawa held his hand up.  “He will be a very valuable asset to us.”

“You’re planning on sending a barely century-old fae into war?”  Yelps were heard, echoing down the hallway, as a few of the other high-ranking Artemis members entered, as well as one of the guards, a huge earth fairy with white hair, dragging a small fae behind him.  “We just can’t seem to have any quiet, huh?”

“Not at all,” Oikawa muttered.  “What’s this?”

“See for yourself,” Kunimi replied.  The guard, who Oikawa believed his name to be Aone, practically threw the small fae on the ground.

“What’s your name?”

“Yaku,” he said breathlessly before picking himself back up.  “Yaku Morisuke.”

“And why are you in my chamber?”

“The people…” Yaku took a deep breath.  “Oikawa-san, we all strongly believe in your cause.  We believe that the humans have taken away our freedom, our pride, and our dignity.  However… we don’t feel like we are getting anywhere with that.  On top of that, we are hungry, thirsty, and the training is so intense when taking these things into consideration.”

“So, you’re saying… that what I have given you all isn’t enough?”

“No, Oikawa-san,” Yaku bowed deeply.

“Then you request… more?”

“I mean, I guess-”

“I wish that could happen,” Oikawa sighed deeply.  “But it can’t.”

“We could just have people focusing on resources more and-”

“Tendou,” Oikawa interrupted.  “Take him away.”

“What?!” The small fae gasped, just as cuffs of flame attached themselves to his wrists.  He cried out in pain as Tendou grabbed his shoulder forcefully, pulling him out of the room.

“What is the punishment this time?”

“You know we cannot deal with fairies with rebellious ideas, Tendou.”

Ah ,” the fire-fae glared at the offender.  

“Wait, please-”

“Should have thought twice before speaking,” Oikawa’s gaze followed the two as they left the cavern.  Moments later, he heard brutal screaming coming from the execution chamber, and he felt an all-too familiar twist in his chest that he pushed away.

Chapter Text

Akaashi flew through the numerous large trees before landing in the center of the sheltered council area.  Yahaba, Futakuchi, Lev, Sugawara, Nishinoya, and Kenma were already gathered, discussing something quietly, before they became silent as they lay eyes on him.

“Sawamura isn’t here yet?” Akaashi asked breathlessly.

“No,” Sugawara shook his head.

“He’s usually first,” Akaashi commented, glancing around nervously.

“Akaashi, don’t worry,” Nishinoya attempted to calm him down.  “He might just be-”

“We can’t let our guard down,” Akaashi fired back, causing the small water fae to jump back in surprise.

“Akaashi, he’s right,” Yahaba frowned slightly.  “Just because he’s running late doesn’t mean anything happened to him.”

“You’ve been so cautious since Kageyama-” Lev began until Kenma elbowed him in the side, shutting him up.

“Because we can’t risk any more losses,” Akaashi argued.  “Even if they are alive, they’re as good as dead with the Artemis.”

“Don’t say that!” Futakuchi snapped.

“I’m serious,” the gray-feathered fae paced in a circle.  “Our spies have reported their living conditions to us multiple times.”

“Lack of food and water?” Sugawara raised his eyebrows.

“And… and the torturing and killing,” Akaashi admitted.  He had withheld the information from the rest of the council, except for Kenma (who was the spy that informed him), because a few of them had close ties to the other side.

“Torturing and killing?” Noya exclaimed.  “Since when?”

“Since the entire time.”

“We didn’t know about this!” Futakuchi threw his hands in the air.  “Aone-”

“Aone doesn’t matter anymore,” Yahaba harshly interrupted.

“You don’t have any right to say that!” Futakuchi snarled, advancing towards the ice fae.

“Stop!” Kenma yelled.  “Isn’t this exactly what the Artemis want?  For us to… to fight with one another and cause conflict?”  The group fell silent and all of them, except for Akaashi, looked down at their feet.

“Kenma’s right,” Akaashi quietly replied.  Suddenly, the group looked up to see Daichi soaring in, landing in the center of the group.  “Is everything alright?”

“Yes, just a false alarm on the East side,” Sawamura explained.  “Rather be safe than sorry.”

“Sawamura, you’re flying all over the kingdom,” Noya touched the fae’s arm gently.  “You need to rest.”

“Not while the Artemis is stirring,” Daichi shook his head.  “They’ve been especially active lately, and it’s making me nervous.”

“The same for all of us,” Akaashi said.  Murmurs of agreement filled the group as they formed a uniform circle, some standing still while other floated in the air, gently flapping their wings.

“I think… I think we need to send spies,” Sugawara suggested.

“No!” Akaashi shut down the idea.  “We can’t.  We’ve already sent Kenma a few times, but it’s too dangerous to try to pursue more.”

“The Artemis have snuck in here and gotten information from us multiple times!” Yahaba replied.

“I agree with Yahaba,” Nishinoya curtly nodded his head.  “We need to take action, and I’m willing to volunteer for it.”

“As am I,” Futakuchi added in.

“No, no!” Daichi raised his arms.  “Nobody, especially any of you in the council, except for Kenma, are going into Artemis territory.  It is much too dangerous.”

“Then how have they gotten in here?” Lev interrupted.

“They… they play dirtier than us,” Akaashi looked down.

“Then maybe we should, too!” Nishinoya leapt into the air, his little body filled with rage and determination.

“No!”

“Everyone, hush, for Fae’s sake!” Daichi interrupted the group.  Suddenly, the crackling of twigs was heard, and the group became even more quiet than before.  Nobody dared to breathe as their eyes silently moved, staring at one another.  Only a faint breeze was heard, rustling the trees, and Daichi and Akaashi looked up.  A fae-shaped silhouette was hunched on the branch of a tree, paralyzed, as they stared down at the group.  Suddenly, Daichi leapt in the air and, thrusting his hand out, hit them with a bolt of lightning.  A cry pierced the air and the figure fell limply, until Daichi caught them and lay them on the ground.

“Daishou?” Futakuchi gaped.  The group surrounded the Artemis fae as he twitched slightly, blinking in confusion.  The mottle-winged fae was pale and skinny, with dark circles under his eyes; there was a large burn on the side of his face, as if he had been dragged face-first.

“Please, please don’t hurt me,” Daishou pleaded, shielding himself with his arms.

“What are you doing here?  Spying?” Akaashi demanded, Daichi placing his arm in front of the furious fae.

“I… please let me explain.”

“We will,” Daichi stepped backwards and flicked his wrists, wrapping lightning cuffs around Daishou’s wrists.  They weren’t contacting his skin, but it was just a precaution.

“The Artemis has been spying on the Helios for weeks now,” Daishou began.

“We’re aware of that,” Yahaba shifted his weight.

“But Oikawa isn’t happy with the information we’re getting, so he keeps sending us back.  I sent Semi back just a few days ago, but he didn’t get the right information.”

“What was the information?” Daichi questioned.

“About your spies,” Daishou responded evenly.  “But whenever we came to spy on you, there was no talk about them.”

“Good call, Keiji,” Kenma tilted his head towards Akaashi.  Due to suspicion of getting spied on, Akaashi had told the council they couldn’t discuss certain topics when they met up.

“So when Semi came back, I had to report to Oikawa that it hadn’t been successful.  I… I ended up being punished,” Daishou paused and lifted up the sleeves of his shirt.  Dark purple, almost bruise-like, lines covered his arms, and Akaashi knew deep-down that there were more over the rest of his body.

“You got punished… for something Semi didn’t complete?” Futakuchi asked tentatively.

“Yes,” Daishou replied.  “That’s how things work there.  Oikawa picks and chooses who he wants to punish, or kill, and it just… happens .  I don’t know if it’s worse with him or Tendou, though.”

“Tendou?” the name practically tumbled out of Daichi and Noya’s mouths.

“He’s Oikawa’s right-hand man.”

“So we thought,” Akaashi’s lips formed a pout.

“So this time, I decided to go on the mission for myself instead of sending Semi.  If I’m being honest, though… I was hoping I would get caught so I wouldn’t have to go back.”  Fear was evident in Daishou’s eyes as he scanned the group.

“We will keep you here,” Daichi offered.  “You’ll be watched closely, as you did just come from the enemy side, but… could you help us with something?”

“Yes,” Daishou agreed immediately.  “Anything to stop Oikawa from hurting anyone else.”

“How high-ranking were you?”

“Maybe… maybe 4th or 5th.”

“Would you be willing to give us information?”

“...in exchange for protection?  Yes.”

 

***

 

Akaashi and Daichi left the cell that Daishou was confined to, bumping their shoulders as they quietly processed their thoughts.  Daishou’s information, if it were true, gave them a huge advantage in keeping up with the Artemis; he gave information over their leaders, plans, territory, and much more.  

“Keep your eye on him,” Daichi murmured to the prison guard, Tanaka.

“Will do,” the fae nodded his head and stood completely still, his eyes trained on their prisoner.  

“I understand keeping an eye on him, but putting him in a solitary cell being watched day and night?” Akaashi furrowed his eyebrows as he glanced at Daichi.  “He just gave us valuable information, and this is how we reward him?”

“You’ve always been too trusting, Akaashi,” Daichi sagely said.

“I’m…” Akaashi attempted to argue, but he knew Daichi was right.

“We’ll discuss it with the rest of the Council.”

“Are we going to withhold any information?” Akaashi asked as the two leapt into the air and flew towards their meeting area within the grove of large trees.

“No,” Daichi replied.  “I think we need to seriously discuss battling with them, though.”

“What?” the gray-feathered fae gaped.  “Sawamura, we’ve already lost lives, not in battle.  And we don’t have as many fairies on our side, as well as the faes with the Artemis being stronger than most faes here.  We need to find another way.”

“We’ll… we’ll have to figure something out,” Daichi responded, his face twisted with concentration and focus.  Akaashi felt a weird feeling grip his stomach; this is when his and Kenma’s secret, having been kept for weeks from everyone , would become useful, but may also anger Daichi.   Maybe… maybe war was the answer.

“Sawamura, actually-”

“We can discuss it with everyone else.”  Akaashi closed his mouth and breathed out deeply, trying to get rid of his nerves.  They flew throughout the mountainous forest before landing among the rest of the council, this time peaceful and quiet.  They had a few extra guards on standby, making sure absolutely no Artemis spies could get in.

“Finally,” Lev commented.  “We can talk in peace and quiet.”

“Haiba, just because you’re in the council doesn’t mean you can say stuff like that,” Sugawara said.

“Hey!”

“Okay, now,” Daichi interrupted.  “We just returned, so let’s not fight, shall we?”  Everyone shut up and turned to face him.

“So what did Daishou say?” Noya asked.

“He told us about their plans, locations… everything basically,” Daichi explained.  “I’m just concerned that the information we are getting isn’t accurate.”

“You’re saying he would lie?” Yahaba pressed.

“He could be sent over from them to throw us off.”

“They would do that?” Lev seemed surprised.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Daichi walked back and forth.  “Oikawa is very… sly .”

“I don’t think he was lying,” Akaashi proposed.  Everyone’s heads whipped around to Akaashi.

“What?!”

“Why would you say that?”

“Let me explain,” Akaashi snapped, before relaxing his tone.  “Before he joined the Artemis, Daishou was always confrontational and aggressive.  After hearing his side and seeing him… I think he’s telling the truth.  He’s been physically hurt, and probably mentally, and he just seemed so… different.  I think he would’ve put up more of a fight if he was working for the Artemis and not for himself.”  Daishou’s dull eyes flashed in Akaashi’s mind, exhaustion and stress obvious as they replaced the former burning passion.

“You do have a point,” Daichi said after a moment of thought.

“We can’t be 100% sure, though,” Noya threw his opinion into the mix.

“One of the things he said, though, concerns me most,” Daichi grabbed his chin.  “As we already know, the Artemis are becoming more and more aggressive.  However, Daishou has reason to believe that they will have an all-out battle against us to get rid of those against them and force the neutral-opinionated faes to join them.”

“So… a war?” Futakuchi presumed.

“Yes.  And we are already outnumbered and not as powerful as they are.”

“We should get ahead of this,” Sugawara announced.  “We can propose a treaty or something.”

“Do you really think Oikawa is going to follow through with a piece of paper?” Akaashi inquired.  The group fell silent.  “I think we need to get a jump on them and declare an official battle.”

“Akaashi, what’s gotten into you?” Daichi nearly shouted.  “You were the one who was just concerned with battling, and now you’re proposing it?”

“Kenma, I’m sorry,” Akaashi apologized, ignoring Daichi’s comment.  The spy immediately knew what he was going to say and began to protest.  “We will be just as powerful as them if we have more than they do.  I… I have an idea on how to get more on our side.”

“Keiji, where are we going to find more fairies?” Yahaba demanded.

“What if…” Akaashi gave one final glance to Kenma before taking a deep breath.  “What if they’re not fairies, but humans instead?”  The group burst into chaos within moments until Daichi yelled to get them to be quiet.

“What… why…” Daichi just stared at Akaashi.  Brown eyes locked with slate gray, neither of them looking away.  “ Humans ?”

“Ever since the humans had their war,” Akaashi began.  “I watched them from a distance.  Then, after things with the Artemis became more serious, I sent Kenma out to study them and see what happened.  The two kingdoms at war came to an agreement, but both kings were murdered at the signing of the treaty.  To stop another war from breaking out, they elected a new leader and, I know the king.  Well, not really know him, but I’ve come into contact with him.”

“You’ve come into contact with a human?” Sugawara butt in, until Daichi raised his arm in front of Suga.

“When I was helping… Tooru,” it tasted bitter as he said it, remembering that fatal night.  “He was the one that almost killed us.”

“Then why should we trust him , if he almost killed you?” Futakuchi challenged.

“Because it wasn’t me he was after.  It was Tooru.”  The group stared at Akaashi, silently encouraging him to elaborate.  “Tooru accidentally killed the king’s closest friend, but Iwa-, um, Tooru's human friend, took the blame instead of Tooru.  However, the king took his anger out on Tooru and I when he found us after we had helped the human escape.”

“So…” Yahaba began piecing the information together.  “You think that if we can persuade the king onto our side and get their soldiers to fight with us, we can defeat the Artemis before they wage war against us and then the humans?”

“Exactly.”

“I give you credit for the idea,” Daichi ran a hand through his hair.  “But it’s such a longshot and extremely risky.”

“I know,” Akaashi narrowed his eyes.  “But at this point, don’t we have to take risks?  I think we need to fight against the Artemis so they can’t get more powerful.  And if we can get the humans behind us, we have a great chance of winning.”  

“I’m.. I’m with Akaashi,” Kenma quietly agreed.  Yahaba and Noya nodded their heads as well, while Lev, Sugawara, and Futakuchi seemed tentative.

“As much as I hate to say it, I guess you’re right,” Daichi admitted.  He turned to face the group more openly.  “Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

“You’re going to go through with it?” Sugawara seemed astonished.  “You’re going to attempt to ally ourselves with humans ?”

“I mean…” Daichi looked to Akaashi for support.

“We have to,” Akaashi said.  “We can’t just keep letting the Artemis get away with what they want.  We need to take a stand for what is right and just, and they aren’t going to listen in any other way.  Unfortunately, violence is the only answer.”  Whispers flooded through the Council as they looked at Daichi and Akaashi.

“We best leave now if we want to hurry our plans along,” Daichi sounded anxious.  

“I agree.”

“Akaashi and I will go, so you all stay here.  If we aren’t back by…” Daichi looked up at the sky, the sun halfway through the atmosphere.  “If we aren’t back by midnight, send a search party.”

“Alright,” Noya nodded his head.  “Fae-speed to you both.”  The two immediately leapt into the air and began flying at a swift speed.

“Are you sure this will work?”

“No, but we have to at least try.”

 

***

 

Akaashi landed gently on the stone roof, crouching down.  Daichi was right beside him and the two sat for a moment, catching their breaths.  The sky was in that unique in-between phase of the sun being in the middle of the sky and setting: the light blue hue of the atmosphere was slightly enhanced by the orange streaks of the sun as it neared the horizon, casting long shadows against the stone of the roof.

“What’s the plan?” Daichi turned to Akaashi, his brown eyes penetrating Akaashi’s blue.

“We have to find the king’s chamber,” Akaashi replied.  

“You mean down there?”  Daichi pointed over the crest of the rooftop next to them, and the two crawled over to look.  There was a skylight, open to the outside, as it peered into the room.  Akaashi froze when he saw the familiar figure sitting nobly in a seat.  Even though it was a distance away, Akaashi could make out the king’s face and remembered the fateful day that changed their life forever.

“Shouldn’t we just go through the entrance of the castle?” Daichi asked.

“No,” Akaashi shook his head too-quickly.  “Because if we at least go in through his chamber, we’ll have a chance of speaking to him.  We’d get caught going through the entrance.”  Daichi didn’t respond and before he could, Akaashi leapt into the air and dove into the skylight; the room was luxurious and covered in many portraits and windows, and a large throne.

“Guards!” a commanding voice yelled.  Akaashi found the sound to come from the king, and the two locked eyes.  Unable to move, Akaashi was shoved and pinned to the ground by some large humans.  One had black hair and the other had chestnut hair, grunting as Akaashi tried to fight back.

“Please!  Wait!” Akaashi’s voice cracked.  Daichi flew into the room and shoved one of the guards off of Akaashi, who flapped his wings to get away from the other two.  More soldiers rushed to their aid, and, outnumbered, the two faes as they were forced onto the ground.  A foot rested on Akaashi’s back and he turned his face up, his countenance twisted into a scowl, as the king looked down upon him with displeasure.

Akaashi’s eyes fluttered open, raindrops rested on his lashes, as a crackle of lightning illuminated the sky.  Arms were wrapped protectively around him, but he was too weak to move.

“A fairy ?” a soldier cried out.

“Stay away from us,” Oikawa’s voice rumbled, Akaashi feeling the vibrations of his voice from his head resting on the other’s chest.

“Where did the prisoner go?” the stranger demanded.  His untamed black hair began to droop as rain poured down on the group; his golden-brown eyes were lit up in a way Akaashi had never seen before, nor wanted to see.

“Why would I tell you?” Oikawa hissed.  The soldier’s eyes lingered on Akaashi, the cat-like pupils locking with Akaashi’s blue.

Akaashi felt the same fear in his chest as the foot moved to step on his neck, his wings painfully held against his body, as his eyes searched the face of the king.  The anger and astonishment on his face changed into something else as he gazed upon the two fairies.

“You,” the king narrowed his eyes.  “You’re… you’re that fae.”

“I am ,” Akaashi scorned.  “And if you want to know the truth of what really happened on that night, I suggest you let us go.”

“And why would I do that?”

“Because… Iwaizumi didn’t kill your friend.”

“Keiji, this isn’t relevant,” Daichi hissed, until Akaashi shot him a look.

“Let them up, but keep an eye on them,” Kuroo ordered, taking a few steps back; Akaashi didn’t know if his stumbling was from surprise or not.  Akaashi and Daichi stretched their wings out, wincing a little, as the king took a seat in his throne.  “Come here.”  Akaashi and Daichi quickly made their way close.

“Keiji-”

“This will work,” Akaashi assured quietly, bowing to the king.  “Thank you.  I apologize, but what is your name?”

“Kuroo Tetsurou,” the king responded, sitting tall.  “And you, I must inquire?”

“I am Akaashi Keiji, and this is Sawamura Daichi.”

“Now that that’s over with…” Kuroo trailed off, before looking directly into Akaashi’s eyes with desperation and curiosity.  “What happened to Bokuto?”  Akaashi assumed that Bokuto was his friend that Oikawa had accidentally killed.

“It’s… it’s kind of a long story, so your patience would be the greatest gift,” Akaashi enticed.  The king made a face, but Akaashi continued anyways.  “So Iwaizumi came from a village called Eldham, which happened to be very close to where we fairies live.  Iwaizumi and one of our - well, former - faes, named Oikawa, happened to meet on a certain day, when Iwaizumi was very young, and the two formed a bond.  After Iwaizumi left to train to become a knight, Oikawa would visit him on certain nights.  He would leave flowers in his room-”

“The secret admirer,” Kuroo murmured to himself, stroking his chin in thought.  “Sorry, continue.”  Daichi seemed completely surprised, not knowing much about the story, as Akaashi continued the tale.

“One night, Iwaizumi apparently didn’t meet Oikawa and it angered him.  Oikawa waited in the forest, in case Iwaizumi would show up, which he did.  Oikawa began arguing with him and the two became quite loud, so-”

“Bokuto ran off,” Kuroo mentioned.  “But that doesn’t explain…”

“Fortunately, I can tell you that part,” Akaashi bit his lip nervously.  “He saw Oikawa trying to attack Iwaizumi and the two began fighting.  Iwaizumi was trying to stop them, but they didn’t listen to him.  Oikawa, who used to be a fairy of light magic, unlocked his dark magic abilities and accidentally killed Bokuto while trying to defend himself.”

“A fairy… killed Bo?” Kuroo whispered.  He stood up and paced around for a few moments, shaking his head and gripping his hands.  “ Not … not Iwaizumi?”

“No,” Akaashi confirmed.  “Iwaizumi forced Oikawa to hide and made it look like he killed Bokuto to not raise any suspicion.”

“So it’s you all I should have punished,” Kuroo’s upset demeanor turned dark quickly as he glared at the two fairies.  Anxiousness arose in Akaashi’s stomach, but he forced his feet forward.

“Not us,” Akaashi gently placed a hand on his chest.  “We are in the midst of a conflict with a group of faes that broke off from us, called the Artemis.  We are waging war, but we do not nearly have enough fairies to help fight.”

“So, why do I matter?” Kuroo snapped.

“Oikawa is leading the Artemis.”  Kuroo looked suddenly interested as his expression morphed through a myriad of emotions.

“So you’re asking me for help in defeating this group of fairies, whose leader was the one that killed my brother.”

“...yes.”

“And what would I receive if I helped you?”  Kuroo’s eyes glittered mischievously as he looked at Akaashi, who remained collected even though he felt pride surge through his chest, their plan finally coming together.

“Vengeance.”

Chapter Text

“No, Kageyama, like this !” Oikawa thrust his hand forward, flicking his hands forward, as dark magic burst from his palm.  It swirled as it traversed the room with lightning-fast speed, wrapping around a rock in the room.

“Oikawa-san,” Kageyama looked at his palms.  “I can’t!”

“Don’t say that,” Oikawa snarled.  “Try again!”  Kageyama looked like he was about to burst into tears, his lip quivering as he raised his hand again.  The young fae unleashed an uncontrolled burst of dark magic from his palm, being thrust backwards and landing on his back.  Oikawa tsked as he waved his hand, absorbing the out-of-control dark magic that rested in the room.

“You’re dismissed,” Oikawa said.  “Because you don’t know what you’re doing.  We will resume this another time.”  Kageyama scurried out of the room too-quickly for Oikawa’s liking, but he didn’t want to harm the young fairy.  Tendou emerged from the shadows, standing next to Oikawa.

“Aren’t you being a little harsh on him?” Tendou tiled his head to the side.  “I mean he just discovered to use light magic a few months ago, and now you’re expecting him to be performing movements with dark magic, which you didn’t even discover until recently.”

“He needs to learn,” Oikawa argued, whipping around to face Tendou, who remained unfazed.  “He could be a very valuable weapon in our conquest.”

“Conquest?” Tendou snickered.  “You’re becoming more and more power-hungry every time I talk to you.  You need someone to keep you in check.”

“I’m not power hungry!” Oikawa thundered, his wings tense.

“You are.  You just won’t admit it.”

“You may be second-in-command,” Oikawa threatened, a slither of dark magic grasping Tendou’s wrist.  He flinched in surprise, but his facial expression didn’t change.  “But that doesn’t change the fact that I am more powerful than you.”

“Are you?” a blaze of fire erupted around Tendou, scorching Oikawa slightly, who began to summon more dark magic.  The two were prepared to fight until Inuoka flew into the room, startled at what he saw.  Semi followed close behind, whose eyes widened in surprise.

“Am I interrupting something?” Inuoka asked tentatively.

“Not at all,” Oikawa’s magic faded, and Tendou extinguished the fire as they looked at the other two faes innocently

“Daishou is gone,” Semi reported, slightly breathless as if he had been flying for a great deal of time.

“What?” Oikawa hissed.

“H - he, I’m sorry,” Semi apologized as Oikawa stalked towards him.  Tendou even seemed surprised and backed away from Oikawa, Inuoka scooting towards Tendou.  The two grunted as they looked at each other, still tense from their duel.

“I didn’t send him to leave,” Oikawa stared into the spy’s eyes.  “ Why did he leave ?”

“I don’t know!” Semi yelped, raising his hands.  Handcuffs of dark magic wrapped around Semi’s wrists, and he let out a cry of pain as the magic touched his wrists.

“I asked you,” Oikawa paused, allowing the magic to burn into Semi’s skin, whimpers escaping his lips.  “Why did he leave?”

“I honestly don’t know!  He just told me to stay here and he would complete the mission!  I assumed it was because I didn’t get the right information and he wanted to get it for himself, so I didn’t question it.”

I didn’t tell him he could leave,” Oikawa released the cuffs from Semi, who seemed extremely relieved.  “How long has he been gone?”

“2 days.”

“And you never told me?!” Beams of the inky magic darted out and caught Semi’s arms and legs, causing a scream to escape his lips as he was dragged onto the floor.  The side of his face hit the ground roughly, and his temple began to bleed.

“I didn’t know!” Semi wailed, a scream following moments after as the magic intensified.  Tendou and Inuoka watched in horror as the poor spy was tortured, his face twisting in pain as shrieks pierced the air.

“You didn’t think this was suspicious at all?” Oikawa’s voice was rough as he yelled hysterically.  “I just lost one of my top officers because you didn’t tell me he disappeared?!”  No more words were exchanged as Semi’s howls echoed through the room.  It was an awful sound, filled with pain and regret, and Oikawa didn’t let up for another few minutes.  Tendou and Inuoka were shielding their vision, raising their arms over their eyes as the torture continued.  After what seemed like ages, Oikawa freed Semi of the restraints, who lay on the ground whimpering.

“Tooru…” Tendou crossed his arms as Inuoka darted over and began to help the fae onto his feet, who needed to be almost completely supported by the other.

“Satori, he could be giving them our secrets,” Oikawa retorted.  “We couldn’t afford to let that happen, and yet it did .”

“Don’t go and punish your subordinates!” Tendou exclaimed.  “Punish yourself if you want someone to blame!”  Oikawa’s eyes flared brightly, almost turning red as they glared at Tendou, but he didn’t dare raise his hand.  He couldn’t lose anymore supporters.

“You-”

“Oikawa!” a fae, Aone, flew into the room, astonished to see Semi leaning against the wall as Inuoka examined his injuries.  Aone’s eyes shifted between the two groups before holding out a paper in his hand.  “A message was delivered by owl.”

“Let me see that,” Oikawa snatched paper out of his hands as his eyes skimmed the page, narrowing and widening as they conveyed his emotions.  Tendou and Aone traded looks as the process occurred.

“The Helios…” Oikawa looked up, a feverish heat in his eyes.  “The Helios are declaring battle.”

“No,” Tendou grabbed the paper from Oikawa’s still hands before quickly reading over the page, his jaw slackening.  “What… why?  How did they find out?”

“Suguru,” Oikawa clenched his fists.

“So are we going to meet them?” Tendou questioned.

“I mean,” Oikawa paused.  “It says to meet them by the Sky Tree at sun-high tomorrow.  But, why would we?”

“To prepare for battle formally,” Inuoka responded.  “I think we should go.  Just because we’re fighting for different things doesn’t mean we have to play dirty.”

 

“Fine.  We’ll go,” Oikawa sighed, feigning disinterest.  “It’ll be me, Tendou, Aone, Inuoka, and Kunimi.”

“I’ll let the others know,” Tendou flew out of the chamber, the other 3 faes following him (Semi and Inuoka more slowly, though), as they left Oikawa to worry by himself.

 


  

“I can’t believe we actually got the king on-board with our idea,” Daichi said, he and Akaashi waiting for the rest of their group to join them.  “And he is giving us 500 men?  That’s a massive advantage.”

“I know,” Akaashi agreed.  “I’m pretty surprised, honestly.”  Futakuchi, Nishinoya, and Yahaba flew in a small group towards the other to two fairies, hovering in the air once they got close enough.  

“Are we leaving right now?” Noya questioned.

“Yes,” Akaashi leapt into the air and flew ahead of the group.  It was probably a half-hour’s journey to the Sky Tree, so they were setting out before the sun was too-close to the middle of the sky.  They all flew in silence, letting their thoughts envelope themselves.  They flew through the clouds until they reached clear skies, and the sun beamed down upon their feathered wings.  The Sky Tree became visible in the distance, and the group of faes began their descent into the forest before landing on the ground, probably 200 meters away from the towering tree.

“You all stay here,” Akaashi ordered, beginning to walk forward, until an hand seized his arm.

“No,” Daichi disagreed.  “What if-”

“I’ll be fine,” Akaashi assured, patting Daichi’s shoulder, before twisting out of his grasp and walking away from the group.  He breathed in nervously and closed his eyes, focusing on the sound of his footsteps through the forest.  The ground crackled as he stepped on twigs and vegetation, and he soon found himself standing under the giant tree.  He looked around, trying to find Oikawa, but didn’t see anything.

“So you did come here by yourself,” a voice called.  Akaashi stepped backwards, only slightly surprised, and looked up.  On one of the thickest branches of the tree rested the silhouette of a fae.  The figure flew down majestically and landed on the ground, meters away from Akaashi.

“I don’t lie,” Akaashi responded evenly.  His eyes widened as he stared at his former-best friend.  Everything about him was different.  His formerly pure white wings were now a shiny black, and his whole aura seemed entirely different.  He conveyed confidence and leadership, along with a cool vibe.  Oikawa’s eyes seemed almost hued with red as he stared at Akaashi.  “You’ve changed.”

“So have you,” Oikawa remarked.

“I didn’t come here to talk to you about the past,” Akaashi reverted the conversation back to the original plan, his chest tight with nostalgia.  “I wanted to formally prepare for battle, like choosing a date and location.”

“I’m still surprised you were the one to initiate battle.”

“Drastic times call for drastic measures.”

“You have changed,” the dark fae walked around Akaashi.  “You used to be so quiet and peaceful-”

“I still am,” Akaashi desperately tried to not sound bitter.  “Anyways , why don’t we meet at the base of Mount Petram in 3 days time.”

“Sunrise,” Oikawa concluded.  “It’s fine by me, but just know you aren’t going to win.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure…” Akaashi’s eyes coolly gazed into Oikawa’s.  “But, are you sure we want to do this?  It’s not too late for you all to come back and reunite with us, and we-”

“I’m sure,” Oikawa snapped.  Akaashi took a deep breath, ready to pull out his final card to play.

“Is this what Iwaizumi would want?”

Oikawa stopped moving, his entire body tense.  When he spun back around to face Akaashi, an expression of anger and regret had overtaken his countenance; his jaw was clenched and his eyes bore into him.

“What does Iwaizumi have to do with this?!”

“You know he has everything to do with this,” Akaashi pressed on, remaining calmer than the other fae.  “Tooru, we don’t have to-”


“Shut up!” Oikawa cried, raising his hands.  A burst of dark magic erupted from his palms, but Akaashi dodged it, flying into the air and twisting around to avoid it.  Oikawa flew into the air after him, and Akaashi sent a burst of force downwards at Oikawa.  The dark fae was hit by it and fell back to the ground, but not before shooting a slither of dark magic at Akaashi.  It caught the fae’s ankle and began dragging him down, the magic burning into his skin with a hot ,yet freezing cold, sting.  Akaashi sent a blast of force, breaking the magic into separate pieces, and felt immediate relief as the magic retracted.  Oikawa flew into the air and the two hovered in place, facing each other as their chests heaved.

“Tooru, we don’t have to do this!” Akaashi yelled.

“Don’t tell me what to do!” Oikawa retorted.  He sent a powerful wave of dark magic towards Akaashi, who repelled it with his force magic.  The two were in a stand-off, as their magic pushed against each other: a dark wall of magic was being forced upon Akaashi as he pushed against it.  “You have gotten stronger, Keiji.”

“Tooru-”

Suddenly, the two were flung backwards as a bright light and a loud boom were heard, shaking all the trees, the faes gone from sight.

 


 

“Where is he?” Daichi paced back and forth.  “The sun has moved in the sky, for Fae’s sake.  It shouldn’t take this long.”

“I have to agree,” Yahaba nodded his head.  “This is concerning.”

“But if we go to the Sky Tree and they’re there, won’t Oikawa feel threatened?” Futakuchi questioned.

“Probably,” Noya answered.

“I think we don’t have a choice, though,” Daichi shrugged.  Suddenly, the ground shook thunderously, causing them to lose their balance, as a massive rumble shook the area.  “Yeah, I think we need to go.”  The group flew through the forest, weaving through trees, until they came upon the Sky Tree.  Nobody else was there, and they began looking around in concern.

“Where are they?!” Noya exclaimed.

“What the heck?” Futakuchi flew around the branches of the tree.

“This is-”

“You!” Daichi heard a familiar voice and his eyes snapped up to see members of the Artemis.  Tendou had his fingers pointed at Daichi and his other hand raised, fire appearing in his hands, as the rest of the Artemis members stood tense, preparing their powers.

“Tendou, wait-”

“Where is Oikawa?” Tendou flew around, getting close to Futakuchi, too-close for comfort, and the other fae dove away from the fire fairy with a glare.

“Where is Akaashi?” Nishinoya snapped.

“Oh, Noya,” Tendou landed softly on the ground.  “Long time no see.”

“Fuck off, Tendou.”

“Yuu,” Daichi hissed.

“But on a serious note,” Tendou paused, looking at his fingers, before fire erupted from both of his palms.  “Where is our leader?”

“We don’t know where our leader is either!” Yahaba fought, stepping forward, until Daichi raised his arm in front of the ice fae.

“Lies,” Inuoka replied crisply.

“We are serious,” Daichi raised his hands innocently.  Tendou still seemed disbelieving, but the fire was extinguished and he crossed his arms.

“We came because we heard a loud noise,” Kunimi commented, flying to stand beside Tendou.

“That’s why we did, too,” Futakuchi nodded his head.

“So… where did they go?” Aone rumbled.

“That’s…” Daichi trailed off.  “A good question.”

 


 

Akaashi blinked and woke up to find himself surrounded by brightness.  He shaded his eyes as they adjusted to the illumination, before he realized he was surrounded by… clouds .  He was resting on one and was completely surrounded by them, filling the entire void.  Looking next to himself, Akaashi saw Oikawa laying on the ground, unconscious.

“Where are we?” Akaashi mumbled to himself, standing up on shaky legs.  He flew into the air, trying to piece information together, until he realized they were stuck .  The clouds all looked the same, and there seemed to be no way out, even after flying down; everything looked identical.  He looked back down and saw Oikawa moving slightly, so he returned to the original cloud.

“Where… wait, what?” Oikawa scrambled onto his feet and jabbed a finger at Akaashi once he had come to his senses.  “This is all your fault!”

"Excuse me?” Akaashi scoffed.  “It’s not like I wanted to teleport me and my best-friend-turned-enemy to an inescapable place!”  Oikawa’s eyes flared with anger and he raised his palms, shoving them forward as if he were attempting to send dark magic from his hands.  However, he let out a shrill cry and collapsed to the ground, writing in what seemed like pain.  “Tooru?”

“Leave me alone,” Oikawa seethed.  “Stop, stop!”  He rolled onto his hands and knees, looking at Akaashi with what seemed like desperation.

“I wasn’t doing anything!”

“You’re lying.”

“I wasn’t, I swear.”

“Then… why did my power hurt myself ?” Oikawa made his way onto two-feet, swaying unsteadily.

“I don’t… maybe it’s wherever we are?” Akaashi thought aloud, looking around the cloud-filled atmosphere.  “What is this place?”

“I have…” Oikawa paused for a moment and bent forward, still having aftershocks of pain.  “No idea.”

“What about the others?” Akaashi suddenly thought of the rest of the Helios.   What will they think happened?

“What others?”

“I brought some Helios faes with me just for security,” Akaashi explained.  “I’m assuming you did, too.”

“How’d you know?”

“You’re predictable.”

“Damn.”

“We need to focus on how we’re going to get out of here, anyways,” Akaashi changed the subject.

“Maybe we try to figure out what this place is ?” Oikawa suggested, standing up straight and walking around.

“We were by the Sky Tree before this happened, and… wait, isn’t the Sky Tree known for having high levels of magic?”

“That sounds familiar,” Oikawa nodded his head.  “So maybe, when we used our powers-”

“There was too much magic in the area and it sent us here,” Akaashi finished.

“Wait, this all sounds similar to something I’ve heard of,” Oikawa paused and rubbed his lip between his fingers in thought.  “I think we’re in the Magicae Carcerem .”

“I thought that was just a myth?”

“I did too.”

“So… just because we know what this place is, how are we going to get out?”

“The same way we got in, I guess.”

“You just tried to use your power, though,” Akaashi stepped away from the fae.  “And hurt yourself.  How are we going to…?”

“I… I don’t know,” Oikawa’s tone was obviously distressed.

“Maybe… we’ll just have to push through the pain if we want to get out of here,” Akaashi murmured.

“No, there has to be another way.”

“I don’t think there is!” Akaashi fought.  “At least, one that will get us out quickly.”  The two stared at each other for a moment, silence filling the tense space between them, and their ears almost ringing because it was so quiet.

“Did Daishou seek you out?” Oikawa asked suddenly.

“Wait, what?” Akaashi narrowed his eyes.   Don’t give anything away

“Daishou went to the Helios, didn’t he?”

“No,” Akaashi lied.

“You’re lying,” Oikawa snorted, shaking his head even though he was actually furious.  “You’ve always been a bad liar.”

“Tooru!” the name was sour and tart on his tongue.  “We need to focus on the problem at hand.”

“Fine.”

“So… are we just going to blast our powers at the same time?”

“I… guess.”

“1, 2, 3.”

The two forced their hands forward, but nothing came forth except for the worst pain Akaashi had ever experienced in his entire life.  A scream left his lips as he desperately tried to not fall onto the ground.  It felt like electricity and fire were burning through his veins, but he was deeply chilled at the same time.  Everything was burning and felt like it was being stabbed, but he kept pushing.  Similar sounds came from Oikawa as the two thrust their hands forward.

“Keep… pushing!” Akaashi choked out, a cry following shortly after.  As the two groaned in pain, but kept persevering, the air began to ripple.  Suddenly, dark magic burst forth, and Akaashi’s powers seemed to be unlocked again, as they held the wall of darkness back.  With one final push a wail of agony, a blinding light appeared and they fell to the ground, unconscious.

 


 

“Okay, stop with the tricks, Tendou,” Noya spat.  “Where is Akaashi?”

“We don’t know where Oikawa is, let alone Akaashi ,” Tendou snapped.  Daichi was about to step between the two when a bright light appeared between the second groups, and a giant wave of force overtook them, knocking everyone to the ground and shaking the trees around them.  Daichi, scrambling onto his feet quickly, was shocked to see Akaashi and Oikawa laying side by side, motionless.

“Akaashi!” the Helios faes dove forward and surrounded Akaashi; Daichi lay Akaashi’s head in his lap and searched for a pulse.  “He’s alive.”

“So is Oikawa, but…” Kunimi paused.  “What caused that?”

“Who knows,” Yahaba said.  “At least they’re back.”  Oikawa began shifting and sat up as the Artemis fairies surrounded him.  Akaashi’s eyes began to move and flutter, until his blue eyes met Daichi’s brown.

“Where… am I?”

“The Sky Tree,” Daichi explained, relief flooding through him.  “We don’t know where you went, but you’re back now.”

“We were in Magicae Carcerem ,” Oikawa grumbled, standing onto his feet and nearly falling over.  Pain was etched onto his expression, but he ignored it.

“Isn’t that just a myth?” Inuoka gasped.

“We thought,” Akaashi was much quieter.  He tried to stand up but nearly collapsed, Daichi and Noya catching him.  Akaashi wrapped his arms weakly around the two of them.

“Well,” Oikawa dusted himself off before crossing his arms, his subordinates stepping away from him.  “Is the plan official, Keiji?”

“It… is,” Akaashi reluctantly nodded his head.  “3 days time at sunrise, at Mount Petram.”  No more words were exchanged as the Artemis flew away, leaving the Helios fairies to worry about Akaashi.

“Are you okay?”

“What happened?”

“We can get Suga to take care of you!”

“I’m fine,” Akaashi stumbled away from the group before turning to face them.  He was still in pain, but he couldn’t let the rest of the group know that.  “It’s just… he was so set on battle.”

“You were the one that suggested it,” Futakuchi commented.

“I know,” Akaashi looked up to the sky.  “But it was like he wanted this to happen.”