Aomine sat down at the table while he waited for Kiyoshi and Momoi to return; it didn’t sit well with him that he had to wait inside. He gave the midget a sideways glance. Maybe he could do some research on his own meanwhile.
“Don’t call me that you giant meathead.” Hanamiya gritted his teeth.
Aomine only laughed in response. “You wish.” He put his pinky in his ear and then looked down at Hanamiya again, the small man made a disgusted face. “Say, how come you were stupid enough to turn yourself into a midget?”
“First. Not stupid, smart. Second. Last time I checked you were a simple swordsman.”
“Yeah, right.” Aomine glanced at the door and then straightened up just to let his shoulders slump again. What was taking them so long? “Maybe it’s some karma shit; with you betraying the kingdom and everything.”
“Don’t lose your last brain cell thinking about that.”
Aomine grunted in response. God. Midgets and their frail ego. He’d had enough of that. So he stood up and walked up to the corridor, some inspections had to be done. That midget was not very keen on telling anything.
“Hey where do you think you’re going?”
“Last time I checked you were a simple midget.” Aomine laughed when he heard the annoyed huff.
Without paying further attention to Hanamiya he stepped into the corridor. He only stopped when he reached the right door; gave the knob a testing tug, which resulted in the door rattling dangerously but not giving out. It was locked, pretty obvious. The corner of his mouth twitched in annoyance before he turned with a click of his tongue to the door that had been on the left side of the corridor. Again same procedure. He gave the knob a tug and to his surprise it opened.
The door moaned in protest as it opened. Aomine’s eyes widened. An alchemy laboratory. He’d only seen one once. Momoi’s father used to have one. Well, until the day a big explosion took his life and the laboratory with it. Aomine whistled through his teeth while he took his first step inside. Hell if he knew what even quarter of the stuff was that cluttered the shelves and tables. There were books and scripts on the floor, leaned against walls and of course just tossed onto the shelves. Aomine took the first book that hooked his attention and then grimaced when he saw that it was in a foreign language. He squinted his eyes. ‘Ejder’ was one of the words he could decipher, but that was about it. He clicked his tongue before he put the book back. Momoi was right, he should’ve paid more attention to the classes her parents and gran-gran had given them.
He took some of the jars in his hand, brows arched when he found bugs and frogs in some sort of yellowy liquid. These two had more secrets than Aomine had firstly thought. It was about time that he found out more, his eyes wandered around the room until he saw a red crystal. It was sitting on a silky cloth. He stepped closer, nearly falling over one stray book on the ground, and regarded the crystal first. It was somewhat of pyramid shape? It looked too perfect to be a simple crystal. The shape reminded him of diamond. But the kind that was formed to reflect as many rays of sun as it possibly could. He took the crystal in his hand, with the cloth. A mischievous grin passed his face before he returned to the table, sat down and acted like he was inspecting the Crystal.
“You imbecile. Put it back.” Bingo, there was what Aomine was hoping.
“Make me.” He turned the crystal between his fingers, one of his eyebrows arched as he looked at Hanamiya from the rim of his eyes.
“You will break it.” The distressed voice, and twitchy way the midget tried to get closer to Aomine had Aomine straighten up in his chair.
“I gather this thing?” He threw it in the air a short glance at Hanamiya. That tiny man looked mortified. Then he caught it again. “Is rather important.” His eyes settled on Hanamiya, a neutral face set in place, but man was Aomine enjoying the situation. “So smurf. We can do this the hard way or the easy way.” It felt good to have so much power over the situation while being a prisoner. “You gon’ tell me what the hell’s up with you two or this-” He demonstrated the crystal between his pointer finger and thumb. “will never see the day of light in one piece.”
Hanamiya was gritting his teeth. Good. That meant he was thinking. Then the small man sighed in defeat. “Fine. Just put it back.”
Aomine grinned and then leaned forward onto his left elbow while he watched Hanamiya. “So. You said you turned yourself and that Teppei guy?”
“How did that happen?”
“Teppei explained it quite well. I was outsmarted. The only way to get out alive was to brew potions that would alter my, our appearance. Teppei wasn’t included in the plan first-” Hanamiya breathed in deep and then massaged his temples. “I just so happened to need an escort. If I wanted to get out that is. I gave Teppei a potion that would enlargen him and I-” He pointed at himself. “Well, you can see what kind of potion I took.”
Aomine hummed. “So they decided to kill you.”
“Yes. You could say that. One member of the royal family remained alive after all.” Hanamiya was gritting his teeth. “I can only guess who managed to save that bastard.”
“Slow down a bit.” Aomine gripped the crystal tightly and then began swirling it between his fingers again. “It’s good he survived. Can’t imagine what the kingdom would look like when backstabbing cockroaches were to lead it.”
“If you say so.” Hanamiya mumbled something under his breath.
“I said why do you think they need an oracle. Those dark powers didn’t vanish.”
“Your pink haired friend numbskull.”
Aomine blinked surprised. She? An oracle? That didn’t add up at all. “I’m only escorting Satsuki because my village elders wanted me to. Said something about the kingdom needing her.”
“What did you think the reason was.” Hanamiya deadpanned, arms crossed in front of his chest and his foot tapping the tabletop.
“I guess.” Aomine groaned. “So. To gather. Momoi is some kind of oracle. The kingdom is close to falling, has been for the past decades. And I only learn of this now? I could’ve become royal guard damn it…”
“You were a farmer’s tramp. Do you really think they’d have any use for a subpar swordsman?”
Aomine gritted his teeth in response. That little cockroach.
“They need your friend.”
“Is this some kind of chosen one thing? Like prophecy?” Aomine shifted on his seat and sat upright.
Hanamiya laughed in response. “As if. She’s just very powerful. Her magical abilities aren’t ripened yet but I can tell she’s taking her studies seriously.”
Aomine sighed. This was a lot to take in. Oracle this oracle that. Momoi was a simple alchemist slash witch. True she did learn fast but that was about it. She’d been taught since she was a kid after all. What was an oracle anyways? Did they do some magic with their tears or perhaps their angelic voice? Aomine shuddered. He had heard Momoi sing once in his life. Never again. But damn him if he’d ask that smurf. He was already so high and mighty. Aomine’d ask Momoi later. So he continued with an entirely different topic; one which actually interested him.
“Why do you think you can’t become normal again?” He leaned back from the table, the crystal was in his palm, it felt like it was pulsing with Aomine’s heartbeat. He tightened his grip shortly and then loosened it again. Weird.
“It’s been decades. The youngest prince survived married had children, hell his children had children and soon the crowning ceremony for his great-grand-child will take place. Any potion has an expiration date where the effects either wear off or they stay. The potion I brewed was supposed to last for a year.” Hanamiya shrugged. “You do the math.”
Aomine had his mouth form a silent oh. Well that explained a lot.
“Now put the crystal back.”
“One last question. That Teppei guy. What was his work in the castle?”
“He was an alchemist. But since he’s in that condition he gave up on it. Or rather had to. We can’t seem to interact with higher forms of magic.”
“Higher forms of magic?”
“Are you for real, numbskull?” Hanamiya’s face was split by a cruel smile. “You’re escorting an oracle to the king and don’t know what higher magic is?”
“Just spit it.” Aomine held the crystal between his pointer finger and thumb, didn’t move it around for a second as if to prove a point.
“Fine. Fine.” Hanamiya glared at him, no trace of amusement left. “Higher magic is complicated magic. The lockdown of this house? Simple magic so it’s lower magic. But brewing potions, curses and powerful spells? They are complicated and thus Higher magic.”
“I see. What abou-”
Aomine was interrupted by the door creaking open. Momoi stepped in followed by Kiyoshi. The crystal disappeared quickly in Aomine’s pocket before he stood up regarding the both of them. Momoi was laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Aomine drawled, pinky in his ear.
Momoi giggled some more. “Teppei here told me how they escaped.”
Aomine let out a surprised oh. So he hadn’t needed to blackmail the smurf.
“Teppei hid Makoto in his trousers.” She laughed. “They had to run and escaped into these woods.” She took a deep breath, tried to get her laughter under control.
“What’s so funny about that?” Aomine crossed his arms, stoic mask in place.
“I shortened it. The details had me laugh.” Childish as it was Momoi stuck her tongue out at Aomine, before she turned around to face Kiyoshi. “Anyways. Thanks. You don’t happen to have an alchemist laboratory?” It was obvious she meant it as a joke, with the way she grinned and glanced to Aomine once.
“In fact I do.” Kiyoshi crossed his arms in front of his chest, a thoughtful look present on his face.
Hah! So Aomine did know more than she did.
“Before turning into a giant I was an alchemist in the order of our deceased King.”
“Then why didn’t you?”
“Can’t interact with higher magic anymore; thanks to certain people.” Kiyoshi side eyed Hanamiya.
“Whatever.” Salty midget mumbled from the table.
With this Aomine also had the proof that Hanamiya hadn’t given him false info. Neat. His hand petted his pocket once, the crystal was pulsing inside his pocket.
“Oh that does explain a lot. Dai, can you help me in the lab?” Momoi’s eyes were resting on him.
He nodded once. “Sure thing.”
“Follow me.” Aomine followed Kiyoshi and Momoi into the laboratory, didn’t say a word of actually having been there already. Kiyoshi opened the door and again it groaned like it was in great pain. Kiyoshi lit a candle after he stepped inside. He stood in the room for a few seconds, a thoughtful look carved into his face before he turned to the two of them and smiled.
“I will be waiting in the living area.” After that Kiyoshi left the laboratory. The door clicked shut and Aomine was left alone with Momoi.
“So what’s the matter?” Aomine leaned against the closed door. “Any ideas yet?”
“Uhm- Yeah. Turns out I didn’t have any midnightflowers.”
“That’s a bummer.”
“Yeah so I need to work through these manuscripts to find out either a different potion or an entirely different solution.” She sighed. “God I hate this already.”
“You followed them here.”
“Yes because they would’ve taken us either way.” She shrugged. “You don’t need higher magic to have people unconscious. Also that giant has a pouch full of alacakaranlık powder. It has you sleep within seconds.” That was the moment she finally looked at Aomine. “Also they seemed to be in need of help. I could tell that their bodily strength was diminishing alongside their life energy.”
Aomine pursed his lips. “Why help strangers. For all we know they could be murderers.”
“Teppei seems to be a nice guy in general. Makoto though. He’s a nasty piece of work.” She grinned. “When I finish their potions I’ve got a nasty surprise for him.”
“You know their potion’s expiration date is over right?”
“Oh, you talked to Makoto?”
“Yeah, had my way.” He grinned and held up the red crystal. Momoi’s eyes widened.
“Oh my god. Give that.”
Just as Momoi tried to snatch the crystal Aomine held it above his head. Like this she couldn’t ever reach it. “What is this? Makoto reacted the same way as you.”
“It’s an Ejder Nefesi.”
Aomine faltered. “A what?”
Momoi huffed annoyed before she stopped trying to get the crystal. “It’s the crystal dragon’s use to transform. They are born with it. First it’s stuck in their belly button. But the older they grow it just falls out.”
Aomine looked at the crystal. “Oh wow. Didn’t see that coming.”
“Oh god, you really never listened to gran-gran did you?”
Aomine laughed before he placed the crystal in her hands. At least she knew what it did. Obviously. Also if they could use it later on.
“Anyways. This has to have been stolen from one. Dragons hold onto them.” Her eyes were big as she regarded the crystal from all angles. “It’s so beautiful.” Her hand quickly vanished in her pouch, out came a small black box which she used to store the crystal in. After that the box vanished into her pouch again. “I’ll hold onto this.” She brushed her hair behind her ear and looked thoughtful at the table behind Aomine. “To answer your question, there are ways to undo expired potions. It’s not easy. You have to use potions and spells at the same time.”
Aomine let out a breath. Well. “What do we do now?”
“First of all, I need hair from both of them.”
“And you want me to fetch it?”
Momoi laughed. “No I’ve got it already.”
Aomine groaned. “Why am I here then?”
“Because I don’t want you to be alone with those two. Teppei might be nice. But I don’t trust them.” She turned to the shelves and began searching through them.
Aomine meanwhile only nodded. “Okay.” A sigh left him. He stood idly by while she worked. After a while when he got bored he started rummaging through the things in the room. The last time he had been in here he hadn’t taken a very close look. He was about to take a jar into his hand-
“Stop that.” Momoi hissed she was holding a frog’s leg Aomine dully noted. “You’ll jeopardies the potions. They will have to brew forever anyways.” She groaned. “We’re here at least two more days Dai. Don’t make the time go up.”
Aomine grunted in response. So what was he supposed to do then? He leaned against the wall and slid down until he sat on the ground cross-legged, his arms crossed in front of his chest. “Whatever.” He closed his eyes.
It felt like time didn’t role by as he listened to the cluttering of jars and boxes being moved around, pages being turned and water bubbling. Momoi only gave occasional sounds from herself that either meant defeat or success. This would become a long night.
“What’s an oracle?” Aomine asked without opening his eyes.
“A child from two magic wielding people.”
Aomine’s eyes flew open. “That’s it?”
“What did you expect?” Her hands paused as she turned to him. “That they were some kind of chosen race?” She giggled. “Oh, Dai.” She giggled some more before she turned around to continue with the potions.
Aomine grumbled in response. This was just terrific. Never in his life had he regretted to not listen to any class Momoi’s parents or her gran-gran had given him.
“They are somewhat special though.” She hummed and leaned closer to one of her books, after putting some sort of mineral into both pots she continued. “They can either be incredibly talented magic wielders, we are talking prodigy level, sometimes even have visions. That’s something no magic wielder has besides oracles.” Then an amused laugh left her. “Or they are entirely incapable of learning magic.” She stirred the potions. After that she glanced back at Aomine. “You know that normal humans can learn to brew potions or at some point use some lower spells and curses?” Aomine nodded hesitantly before Momoi continued. “Well those oracles can’t even do that. They are incapable of using or creating magic. Not even the simplest form of it.” Momoi sighed while she scratched her head below her bun. “So, finished here. This needs to brew for two full days now.”
“So you’re saying you knew you were an oracle?”
“Of course. My mother’s a witch and my father’s an alchemist. How else would I be at this level in such a young age?” Momoi deadpanned at Aomine.
He ignored her snarky behavior skillfully. “You said you were finished?”
“Yeah, sort of. I will do the manuscript reading in our room. Teppei said he’d ready us one.”
Aomine’s only response was a small nod, he pushed himself up, opened the door for Momoi and then stepped out after her. So two days? They could make it and who knew maybe they would end up having new allies for their long journey.