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'Three Wishes To Go, Please!'

Chapter Text

Aomine was grumbling as he walked through the forest with firewood under his arm. He still couldn’t believe that he had to take Momoi with him. Important mission, they said. You wanted to go on a journey anyways, they said. Now he was stuck with his childhood friend who just couldn’t stop nagging his ears off. He mumbled in frustration as he bent down to pick up another piece of wood that looked like it would burn nicely.

Go find some firewood, ” Aomine mimicked her in a high pitched voice. “ We need to rest.

He had to accompany her to the king of these lands because of her magical capabilities. Take her to him, they said. The country seems to be in trouble, they said. But Aomine couldn’t even see an evil fly in the air. He ground his teeth and glared with a clouded face directly to the front, stomping like a gorilla. There were some birds that flew away, but who could blame them as a rather big guy raged through the woods.

As he took another piece of wood from the ground he began to curse and yell loudly. “You fucking piece of shit, wood.” He let all the firewood he collected fall to the ground. “Fuck this, fuck them, fuck everything.” He inspected his finger and pulled out the stupid splinter tenderly, all this while biting his bottom lip. After the successful operation he stuck his finger in his mouth. He was about to bent over to collect the firwood when something caught his eyes.

There was a garden in the middle of the woods. And there right in the middle of said strange garden was a piano, waiting happily to be played. Aomine was baffled to say the least. He walked closer to the thing. He wanted to take a closer look, just that, and nobody could really blame him. Who in hell would expect a beautifully kept garden with a piano in this godforsaken place? He was literally in a forest and the weirdest part was he could not see any kind of house that was in close proximity that would explain this. Thus he stepped closer again, looked around and then touched the piano cautiously. You could never be careful enough after all. There were all kinds of creatures roaming the forest lately, wolves, bandits, even soldiers and knights. You could never be careful enough.

When he finally put his finger on the smooth wooden surface, a wide grin found its way on his face. He could have fun with this for a while at least, and keep Momoi waiting, she deserved it the way she had been bossing him around. With the least kind of finesse he began pressing the buttons and playing the piano, he was no musician but it was somewhat fun to do this. So he just pressed buttons, heard how animals and even trees and bushes protested. But he couldn’t care less at the time. Until, well, until something came out of the piano, he stumbled back and fell on his ass and nearly screamed his lungs out when a mini human was flying around right in front of his face.

“What the fucking shit?!” He nearly screamed as he tried to swat away that mosquito like human.

“If I was in your position, I would stop this nonsense.” The… thing said pushing up his glasses.

Aomine watched it with big eyes for a while, tried to understand what was going on, at some point he even thought that he was dreaming and therefore pinched himself. The only thing it lead to though was a pulsing pain that stayed on his skin while he couldn’t take his eyes away from that thing. He just realized but it had small fly wings and strange coloured hair.

“What the hell are you…” Was his first question that sounded more like he could still not believe what was going on.

“You foolish human,” the little thing said swirling further away and pushing up his glasses once more. “You dare lay your filthy, untalented fingers upon my home, summon me out of my cocoon of sleep, and yet not know what creature it is that will be talking to you?”

That was the cue that made Aomine jump up to his feet. Filthy? Foolish? Untalented? Was this fly for real?

“I think…” With a fast move Aomine caught the little human, and held him in a cage made out of his hands, his fingers being the bars through which he could see the little thing. He realized then that it was glowing and leaving behind some kind of glittery dust. “... you don’t seem to realize in what position you can be in no time. Now tell me, what the hell are you?”

It didn’t take long for Aomine’s eyes to go wide when the little thing between his palms sighed, snapped his fingers and Aomine began to move entirely without having control over his limbs. He was standing stiff and straight like a soldier about to be scolded and looked with big eyes towards the thing that swirled up to his eyes, looked through his glasses rather angrily.

“Normally…” It trailed off and swirled once around Aomine’s head. “Humans beg for my help. Yet here you are, without any knowledge over the powers I possess, and dare to threaten me on my homeland.” He was flying right in front of Aomine’s eyes, crossed his arms before speaking on. “Human. My name is Shintarou Midorima, you laid your filthy hands upon my choice of instrument for humans to summon me for help. I grant you-”

“What?”

Unphased from Aomine’s interruption Midorima continued. “- three wishes of your choice. Anything. That is the duty of my people, whatever, whoever plays my instrument of choice is granted these wishes and I will fulfill each of them.”

“Wait. wait, wait! Are you telling me…” Aomine breathed in deep, he wasn’t able to move yet. “I can wish whatever I want?”

“Yes. Sadly, I have to listen to fools like you as well.”

“What was that?” There was this inner wish to squish that little thing.

“If you wish to die you can try what is in your mind.” Midorima snapped his fingers once more before he swirled a few feet away and then stopped again.

Aomine though was relieved when he could feel his arms and legs again. He would have never thought that moving would be this amazing. He stretched his joints, moved his fingers and testingly squatted once or twice, everything seemed to be fine with him. Then finally his attention returned to the small human being that was swirling around in the air. He was still baffled, but not scared. He had heard of all kinds of creatures from Momoi as they were little, his first fright was over, now he could talk some business with this guy.

“You are a pixie?” There was a grin on his face. “I always thought they were supposed to be beautiful little women flying around with short skirts who can’t control urges.” There might have been a mocking tone to his voice.

The next thing he felt was how he was yanked by his collar up into the air. He couldn’t feel the ground beneath him.

“H-Hey!”

The pixie just flew up with him as Aomine took off, further up and up, until he was above the trees.

“Now. Normally, I am above threats like these, and I fairly dislike them. However-” It flew closer to Aomine. “I, too, have friends important to my soul and your words were rather insulting to their whole being.” He drew up an eyebrow. “I want to show our difference in power, Daiki-” Aomine’s eyes widened when he heard his name. “You may yield that sword of yours, be a master of it like none other, I however-” There might have been a very unmanly shriek that left Aomine’s mouth when he felt how the hold on his collar loosened and he began to fall, luckily he was caught mid air soon after. “- posses the power of gravity and the elements of earth, on me was bestowed the duty to grant wishes for you lowly humans from my great king. I hope we now see each other as equals?” Aomine was placed gently on the ground.

“Jeez, no need to go all out, midget.” He knew that it might be too daring to insult the pixie in this way, he, however, couldn’t let this get to him. There was a reason why he was the best swordsman in his village -it wasn’t because he was holding back all the time.

“That I cannot deny. My size however, does not matter in sense of power difference. You are a giant of a man yet would never be able to kill my kind.” Midorima swirled up and then down, sitting down on Aomine’s shoulder. “Now, let us talk about formalities, what is it that your heart desires?” He looked up to Aomine’s face from above his glasses, bouncing his leg.

“An immortal horse.” Was what shot out of Aomine’s mouth without even a second of thought. That was a wish suited for a soon to be knight like him, he needed a huge dignified horse to accompany him. He just saw shortly how the pixie snapped his fingers and right before him there it was, a huge horse, made for noblemen. His eyes widened as he approached the horse. He couldn’t believe what just happened.

“I-It appeared out of nowhere!” His voice sounded as baffled as he felt. “I… I can’t believe this!”

He laid his hand on its mane and petted the horse’s back but as he was about to pull himself up to the saddle, the horse buckled and sent Aomine’s flying through the air. Once again that day Aomine found himself on his ass, sitting and looking up rather baffled but this time also angry. His head snapped to the pixie who seemed to have left his shoulder before this could happen.

“What the hell?” He yelled.

“Foolish man.” Midorima said as he flew up to the horse’s head and sat down between its ears. “Your wish was not specific enough, be grateful that I did not give you a small useless horse. I am nicer than a few other of my species. It is my job to grant your wishes, however I do grant them the way I deem right. I saw in your stance, your arrogance and ungratefulness, thus I gave you this magnificent beautiful immortal horse that you will never be able to ride. Its name must be chosen correctly or it might even stop following your orders. Be wise, swordsman.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever…” Aomine grumbled in annoyance, he would have really liked to get to the pixie, squish it to mush, until its glitter was mixed with its blood. As of now however, Midorima was right, he did in fact not possess the power to do anything to the pixie, so he just crossed his arms and began thinking. What would a horse a knight couldn’t ride be of use? He looked at the horse with squinted eyes and felt his anger boil as his eyes fell on the pixie between its ears. What a waste of his first wish. “You could have told me before, you know.” He then muttered before he picked up the firewood. He needed to get back to the camp.

“Be grateful I told you after your first wish. It is your, humans’, duty to know the creatures they so easily use and disrespect.”

Aomine heard how the horse started following him… At least now he could tell people he had a horse, maybe leave out the part about not being able to ride it then. He sighed.

“You were forgotten a few years back…. are lucky that people like Satsuki exist....” Aomine mumbled more to himself than the pixie.

“I do not need luck, Daiki. I have the power to create from nothingness, I do not need luck. Also I carry my lucky item of day.”

“Lucky… item?” Aomine said face scrunching up in confusion. “Before you start telling me I don’t care.” He then added rather fast and quickened his steps.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Luckily it didn’t take long for the trio to return to camp. Aomine was glaring at the firewood in his arms, actually didn’t even stop glaring when he heard Momoi approaching him.

“There you are, you big idiot! Do you know how scary it gets in the woods all alone?” She didn’t even sound annoyed or scared as she bounced towards him; it was probably quite the opposite. She was able to assess situations well and if she had been scared there would have been something that had happened. “Aren’t you supposed to prote-”

Aomine looked at her quite annoyed but saw soon that she wasn’t looking at him but past him. He nearly turned around when he remembered - right, there was the horse; he really had to explain a few things.

“How did you get that horse?” She said pointing towards it.

It really would be a bother to explain, she would believe him that was for sure but it would also cost a lot of energy he was not ready to waste on a mundane explanation. But he eventually had to tell her so better sooner than having his ears nagged off later, he opened his mouth but then he heard Momoi gasp excitedly.

“I can’t believe this!” Her voice was high, ear numbingly high, she was bouncing up and down, all whilst pointing at the horse’s head and looking at Aomine with star shaped eyes. “You found a pixie!!”

“Calm down.” He finally said, her voice was scratching his eardrums.

There was a cough followed by Momoi smoothing down her long robes.

“The lady can see me?” Aomine’s head snapped to Midorima.

“Uh-”

“What, is she not supposed to?” His voice rumbled. He was really annoyed, he needed rest and something proper to eat. Momoi’s cooking was slowly burning a hole into his stomach.

“Dai-”

“No. There is a reason why humans have to play our instrument of choice before we grant them a wish. Normally we are not visible to human eye and even after the instrument is played only the human who played it has the ability to see us.”

“Guys-”

At this point Aomine was sure he was going to pop a vein. “When were you planning to tell me?!” He snapped.

Momoi stomped on the ground with an annoyed look on her face as she breathed in deep.

“I rarely repeat myself, but as you seem to be the dense kind of human I will repeat it for you once again.” At some point he would turn that pixie into mush, Aomine just had to wait for the right moment. “ It is your, humans’ duty to know the creatures they so easily use and disrespect. Please keep that in mind.”

“Daiki!”

“What?” His voice was maybe harsher than he intended it to be but Momoi was unfazed as she looked him in the eyes.

“Can you not start a fight?” She glared at him while crossing her arms, then a sigh left her lips before she talked on. “You know, I have a lot of questions for both of you, however, we should first light the campfire before it gets dark and cold.”

“She is quite sharp, not like other people.” The pixie said and swirled towards her and stopped flying right beside her head, giving Aomine the stink eye.

Momoi had a hard time keeping a straight face - firstly, this whole situation was exciting for her, and secondly, the pixie seemed to be quite fun.

“For hell’s sake…” Aomine mumbled as he got to work.

xoxoxoxox

“So, how did you find him?”

Aomine was making a face at whatever he had to chew to get a full stomach. He was really close to teach cooking to himself. After forcing the stuff that he could hardly call food down his throat he replied Momoi.

“Played a piano in a garden.”

“What?”

“Let him explain.” he pointed towards the pixie sitting on top of the horse’s head and eating his own share of food, he so magically let appear; it looked damn tasty. Momoi huffed in frustration as she turned to the pixie.

“Dai is being a pain, could you maybe explain to me what happened? I want to learn about your kind. More than I already know.” She showed her sweetest smile.

The pixie however pushed up his glasses and eyed Momoi from head to toe “What is it that you know about us?”

Momoi hummed and leaned over, supporting her head with her hands. “The usual, I’d say. You grant three wishes to whoever summons you, but these wishes have to be formulated carefully if the person who wishes wants to get exactly what he wishes for. I just don’t know how to summon you…”

Midorima snapped his fingers and his dishes disappeared; he stood up on the horse’s head and then swirled -leaving a trail of green glitter behind him- towards Momoi and came to a stop a few inches from her face.

“You, young lady, seem to have learned a few things before starting to travel through magical lands. The fool there,” he pointed towards Aomine with his head.

“Hey!”

Ignoring Aomine’s outburst the little pixie talked on “played a piano, my instrument of choice, to summon me.”

“Oh!” Momoi sat up abruptly and looked at Midorima with big eyes. “So you have musical instrument assigned to you?”

Midorima rose an eyebrow at how excited the girl seemed. “Indeed.” was his short answer.

“That’s so amazing!” She shot up from her sitting position and nearly hopped over to Aomine. “We have to find another one! I want three wishes too.” Her grin was big as she crouched down in front of Aomine.

“I have to get you to the king, Satsuki, not play games with you.” he grumbled as he looked at his food, apetit long gone, however he had to eat if he wanted to have enough energy to keep going, he sighed.

“Dai! It could help us…” she made a pouty face “please?”

Aomine really didn’t want to be part of this, however, when he looked at Momoi, her sparkling eyes, her little pout he sighed again. “Okay.” he then said.

He just heard her cheer as she jumped up and down excited like a little child. “This will help me so much with my studies!”

“One condition though.” Aomine quickly added.

“Hm?”

“When we get to the crown city we will eat something nice…”

Momoi laughed loudly. “That’s not a condition I could say no to. I had actually planned that already.” Then she continued her grinning and hopping and cheering, talked a bit more with the grumpy pixie before they decided to settle for the night.

Chapter Text

Next day Aomine packed up and loaded everything onto the horse. He couldn’t ride it but there was nothing holding him back from using the horse in any other way. Meanwhile Momoi was chatting with that small unnerving pixie. How he hated his life in that moment. Would he have known that his journey could’ve lead to this ordeal, he would’ve happily stayed in his village and eventually died of boredom.

“Get up the horse, Satsuki.” Aomine grumbled, still very angry about the fact that he couldn’t ride the damn animal. True he could use one of his wishes for that purpose. But he had wasted one wish already; he didn’t want to waste the other ones as well.

“Eh? Won’t you…?” Momoi’s confused look was telling. Right, she didn’t know yet.

“No. Just get up and stop talking.” Man that little bug was getting at him with this magnificent constant reminder.

Momoi was all pouty but he’d make it up to her. She wasn’t really angry, just a bit unnerved ‘is all. Aomine helped Momoi up the horse, and then after taking the reins in his left hand, they set off. They had a few days of journey ahead of them before they’d reach the crown city. Momoi was handling the map, told him where to go next and for whatever they had to watch out in the certain regions. But in that moment she was being oddly quiet. Had he assessed the situation wrong? Was she angry?

“You doing good?” Aomine asked. There was no answer. “Oi, Satsuki.”

“Thought I should stop talking.” Momoi huffed.

“Are you for real?”

Then the girl started laughing. “I got ‘cha.” She was grinning, Aomine could hear it in her voice.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever.” He wanted nothing more than to reach the damn city, get to the king and leave to find a good rival -which had been his actual goal for leaving anyways. The village elders had forced Momoi onto him while he left.

“But yes, am fine so far. This horse is so cool. So comfy. You sure you don’t want to switch?”

“Absolutely.”

He could hear the small fly laugh while sitting between the horse’s ears. Aomine’s fingers twitched, he wanted to rip its damn fly wings. Lucky enough though Momoi didn’t ask any further. Silence filled the air around them for a while until Momoi and Midorima started talking about magic and stuff. Aomine only interrupted them to ask for directions.

The wind was carrying the faint smell of flowers and the sun was shining bright. But then suddenly their surroundings changed. One moment they were in a forest made of fairy tales and the next it turned into a living nightmare. Aomine’s grip around the reins tightened.

“Dai…?”

“Shush.” Aomine’s voice was sharp as he cut her off. He listened carefully to his surroundings.

The place reeked of death. So rotten. The mud on which he was walking, was giving away under his leather shoes, the sound coming to his ears, squelching, as if he was walking on dead bodies. His clothes were sticking to his skin, the air suddenly humid and heavy, breathing was hard. He swallowed as his eyes darted from one side to the other. The trees around him were bony, their branches scaring the sky.

Aomine placed his right hand over his sword’s hilt. He tried to make it look casual. His nerves were on edge as they continued through the woods. Magical maps, pah. Momoi had said it would warn them of paths that were dangerous. This happened when you trusted those. They should’ve talked to some local people in the last village they passed, gotten a normal map for normal humans that actually knew what was up.

But no Miss Momoi had insisted to use a map that was gifted to her by her great-grandmother. To gran-gran’s times magic was widespread, she knows what’s up! She had said. Aomine knew it was true. To her gran-gran’s times, magic had been more widespread. People would travel all over the world to learn it. Nowadays though, people tried to ignore its existence. Searched for the reason behind flying boulders or sudden deaths in science and the like.

Aomine’s eyes darted to his right. Hadn’t there been a voice? “Stay cool!” He whispered to himself.

“Uhm. Dai-”

“I said shush it.” He looked at Momoi. She was way too calm. Didn’t she see the danger they were in? Then his eyes returned to the path ahead of them.

“Fool. You would do well in listening to the girl.”

“Oh for hell’s sake. What?” Aomine stopped, so did the horse, rather abruptly, so.

“Dai, I think.”

“Spit it.” Aomine looked around, his skin was crawling. The humid air, the foul stench of whatever the hell was trying to hunt them down brought tightness to his chest.

“I think someone used magic on you.”

Aomine froze. “What?”

“You’ve been on edge. But nothing has changed around us.”

Aomine dumbfounded as he was, was only able to blink in response. What?

Momoi didn’t comment further on the magic thing, instead dismounted the horse and said.  “I think we need to rest.”

“No.” Aomine said with an absolute sound to it. “This place gives me the creeps. We’re continuing.”

Momoi sighed. “Look, Dai-”

“I said no-”

“Daiki!” Momoi’s hands were clasped to fists on either side of her body as she glared at him. “You’ve been cursed. Let go of that horse. Sit down and wait for my return.”

Aomine’s eyes widened. An order. Momoi was literally ordering him. His face distorted into a snarl. “What the he-”

“Shush it.” Momoi got closer to Aomine’s face, poking his chest as she spoke. “You will wait.” Then her face softened and she took a step back. “I got this. Trust me.” And after a smile she left. Aomine though had nothing left to do but sit down. The ground felt cold, his clothes still stuck to his skin. He crossed his arms in front of his chest and waited. Cursed. As if. There hadn’t been any people that could’ve done this. He glared at the pixie.

“Did you?”

“Fool. If I were to curse you, my punishment would be public execution.”

“Sheesh chill.”

“You should listen to that girl more often. Contrary to some people-“ he looked pointedly at Aomine, “she has a sharp head on her shoulders.”

“You little-” Aomine so wanted to- just a little bit of- god damn it he couldn’t bring his thoughts to an end. He felt so tired all of a sudden. A yawn ripped past his throat. Maybe if he laid down for a bit.

“Don’t dare sleep swordsman.”

“Hn?”

“I said.” Aomine’s body slipped to the side, god he felt so sleepy. “Are you listening? Don’t dare sleep you fool.”

“Whatever,” Aomine drawled when sleep all too eagerly welcomed him in her domain.

“Swordsman-”

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

His world was rocking. So shaky, everything dark, cold, damp. He flinched when the grip around his arms tightened. Then something was dripping down his face onto his chest-

Aomine’s eyes ripped open. What was going on? It was still dark. So dark. Cold. He slung his arms around his body, began shivering. So cold.

“Daiki!”

Someone was calling his name. So far away. Who was that?

“Daiki!!”

Was it coming closer? He closed his eyes opened them again, in his body a tremor he couldn’t control. God he wanted to sleep again.

“Please.”

Something was tugging his shirt, clawing his arms. He wanted to speak when he opened his mouth though he only gasped. Air filled his lungs and something entirely else was suddenly in his mouth. He clamped it shut. So cold. He moaned.

“God Daiki.”

Was that a sob? Yet Aomine couldn’t care less, he screwed his eyes shut and let the shivers ease him into sleep.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

When he opened his eyes the light of fire was dancing at the corner of his eyes and above him in the branches of a tree was a crow. Watching him. Almost ominously. Aomine stared back. He didn’t even blink. It was like the crow was trying to tell him something. Aomine swallowed. And then began coughing uncontrollably.

“Daiki!”

When his coughing died down and he looked back up into the tree the crow was gone.

“God, Daiki.” Arms were slung around him and he was pulled into a tight embrace.

“What’s up?” Was his voice always so raspy when waking up?

“I thought you’d die.”

That was the moment Aomine finally looked at Momoi. She looked distressed, her eyes red rimmed, her cheeks pink colored, in her lower lip a quiver.

“Wh-what happened?” His voice was barely above a whisper. He couldn’t get his voice to rise yet.

“I-” Momoi swallowed. “You need to wash your head with this and chew this every few hours. Until I say you don’t have to anymore.”

Aomine stared at the leather bottle in his hand. He brought it close to his nose and screwed up his face. It smelled like burned meat. The other was just some weird looking leaf. “What happened?” He then repeated himself.

“Gran-gran’s map didn’t show the curse. It still doesn’t.” Momoi swallowed thickly. “And I only realized when I saw the blackish mark behind your ear.” She sniveled. “I thought you’d die because I realized so late.” Tears were rolling down her face.

“Hey-” Aomine stopped midsentence. Instead he pulled Momoi into a tight embrace. “Everything’s alright.” He whispered with a soft voice. He remembered how this had comforted her when her great granny died.

“No it’s not.” She hiccupped. “I should’ve seen sooner.” A snivel “I was so scared you’d die”

Aomine’s arms around Momoi tightened. He left words unsaid, they died on his lips. He didn’t know how to comfort her. So he only pulled his arms closer around her and nearly crushed her against his chest. When had the last time been that he had embraced her like this?

Only the small sound of someone clearing their throat broke them apart.

“To ease your heart, Momoi. I also did not realize there was a curse. I am a pixie, thus more sensitive to these phenomena. The wizard that cast the curse is powerful. Very sly. A curse mark behind the ear is not an easy feat.”

As it seemed the Pixie’s words were comforting Momoi. The corners of her eyes softened.

“Besides. Nobody can kill me but me. Remember?”

Aomine grinned when he saw the dumbfounded look on Momoi’s face. Then she let out a huff before she punched Aomine’s arm lightly. “You big idiot.”

Aomine began laughing. At the back of his mind though he finally realized how dangerous their journey was. He knew that he would’ve died if not for Momoi. But not through the hands of a powerful enemy that was attacking up front but through curses, powers he could not parry with his sword.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

When the first rays of sun peaked over the horizon, Aomine rose to his feet and washed his head with that stinking juice. It was greenish in color and had him nearly vomit twice. After he was finished he put the leaf in his mouth and bit on it. Slowly chewing it. Momoi had told him to swallow the water but spit out the remains of the leaf. After he was done he woke Momoi up and they began packing everything up. They loaded the horse and then continued their journey. It didn’t take long for Momoi to inquire for him to ride the horse after what happened the day before.

“Just stop asking damn it.” Aomine grumbled finally.

“Yeah but normally you aren’t this generous mister knight.” Momoi crossed her arms in front of her chest. Then her eyes widened. “Wait. Pixies grant wishes but there’s always a twist to it.” She eyed Aomine. “No way.” Then she began laughing.

Aomine though only sighed, he did not approve.

“No wonder you let me ride all the time.” She laughed even more.

“Yeah, yeah.”

Since he was following Momoi’s instructions the forest around him returned to its former self. Which had Aomine conclude that the curse hadn’t only nearly killed him but made him hallucinate so vividly that he was certain they were in danger. The forest around him in that moment was lively. Birds flew by. The leaves hushed silent whispers into the wind. On some parts of the ground even flowers dared to peak out. So in general a rather pretty sight. No wonder Momoi had been so confused about being ordered into silence.

He glared at the sky. Powerless. There had been nothing he could’ve done when facing curses and magic. The pixie had demonstrated before but now this curse had proven it again. Aomine gritted his teeth. This journey was more trouble than it was worth it so far. All he had wanted was a worthy opponent. Not die out in the woods through an invisible hand.

 “Stop!”

Aomine stopped dead in his tracks. His right hand was placed neatly over his weapon, ready to draw it.

“Oh thank god.” A giant guy tumbled out of the bushes. Brown hair, droopy eyes. “You nearly stepped on Hanamiya!”

Aomine drew up an eyebrow then he looked onto the ground. His eyes widened. There was a small human just a feet away from him. If not for the warning he would’ve stomped it down into the ground. He bent down and picked the small guy up.

“Let. Me. Go.” The human struggled in his hand. Flailed with his arms and legs, hit him even. “You tyrant of a being. Let me go!”

Aomine snorted. “You’re awfully loud for a small man.”

The brown haired guy began laughing. “He sure is.”

“Let go!”

Then Aomine nearly let the little thing fall to its sure death.  “You bit me!” He screamed scandalized.

“I told you to let go.” Arms neatly folded over his chest the small human glared at Aomine. “Also you’re loud. Your breath stinks. Never heard of mouth hygiene?”

Aomine’s eyebrow twitched. He was close to snapping. So close to snapping! But he didn’t. He didn’t squish the guy in his palm. He also didn’t react to the insults. Well maybe he did. Just a little bit. “You little smurf, wanna say that again?” He snarled.

“Now, now.” Big brown haired guy stepped closer. “I think you’ve had enough fun with him.” He held out his hand with the palm facing up. “Can you kindly give him back?”

Aomine clicked his tongue. “Here. Have your nasty toy back.” Then he dropped the small guy into the man’s hand.

“I’m not a toy!” The small man screamed but was soon silenced when the giant put his other hand over him. The protests were muffled, sealed in the cave of the giant’s hands.

Aomine took a step back, placed his hand casually on his sword’s hilt. He was eyeing the giant. There was a fleeting moment of silence before the giant spoke again.

“My name’s Kiyoshi Teppei.” A big smile was present on his face. “Nice to meet you. I would offer my hand but…” He signaled once to his hands.

Aomine snorted. “I’m Aomin-“

“Ohmygodareyouagiant?!” Momoi said in one breath, successfully interrupting Aomine in the process. At least she had found her voice. “I’m Momoi! I’m so pleased to meet you.”

She was all hyper as she walked up to the giant and regarded him from head to toe. Aomine though, decided to stand a few feet away, keeping an eye on the giant.

“Oh hi.” The smile on his face twitched. “Sorry to disappoint but I’m not a giant. I know a few giant’s though.” Then it was back to normal again. “This here-“ he pointed to his hand’swith his eyes, “is my small friend Hanamiya Makoto. He can get a bit intense.”

“I hadn’t noticed.” Aomine commented.

Kiyoshi laughed in response. His eyes smiled just as his face. Constantly. It kind of gave Aomine the creeps. Yet he couldn’t exactly pinpoint why. He adjusted his hand over the hilt of his sword.

“I can offer you to stay the day. Exchange stories, maybe help one another out.” Again Kiyoshi smiled.

Really something about that smile was off. “I don’t thi-“

“Yes.” Momoi cut him off again.

Aomine’s eyes widened. Was she for real?

“Excuse us.” He said before he grabbed Momoi’s arm and dragged her a few meters away.

“Are you crazy?” He whispered heatedly. “Something’s off about that guy.” He then added, once glancing to that mountain of a man.

“He seems nice.” Momoi chirped back.

“You’re going to get us killed.”

“Trust me.” She said, her face was serious all of a sudden. The air around her changed entirely too. “I have a hunch.”

Aomine’s grip around her arm tightened for the fraction of a second before he let go and straightened up. She said to trust her. That he did. He trusted her intuition more than he trusted his own instincts. But his skin was crawling. That guy was weird. Something was up but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He gritted his teeth before he gave a nod. She said to trust her; that he would do. If things got too intense he still had two wishes free. So just play it cool. He straightened his clothes before he turned to the giant man.

“Show us the way, Kiyoshi Teppei.”

“Just Teppei is fine.”

Again that smile. His hand over the hilt of his sword stayed.

Chapter Text

“Oh wow.” Momoi gasped. “That’s so amazing.”

Aomine meanwhile was eyeing the giant man. Not sure what Momoi meant.

“Dai, look!” He was manhandled to look at a huge tree in the distance.

“What about it?” He drawled, his gaze returned to Kiyoshi once again. “Ouch!” His arm was hurting what the hell. He squinted at Momoi, asking silently what the hell her problem was. “You pinched me.” He stated.

“Ah, there we go.” She grinned. “You’re finally listening.”

“Seriously?” Aomine shook his head. “Go ahead then.”

“Okay so now listen.” Her eyes were sparkling as she looked straight ahead -always a treat to see her in her element. “That tree over there.” She pointed at it with her hand held out in front of her. It somehow looked like she was holding a plate. “Is an Elder Tree.” Her hand fell to her side when she finally looked at Aomine again. “Those trees are thousands of years old. They are so old not even the giants know when they first appeared.” Her gaze returned to the tree. “They have this huge amount of magic stored in them and many alchemists are convinced that they are the source for the magic we use.”

Aomine hummed in response. So that was what was up. Maybe he should’ve listened more carefully when gran-gran had taught them.

“I’ve only seen them in my visions before.” She breathed out.

“We’re here.” A voice behind them said.

Momoi was so captivated by the tree that she didn’t stop walking in the direction of it. So Aomine did the next best thing that came to his mind. He grabbed Momoi by her shoulder and guided her in the direction of the house. He let out an amused huff when he realized how puzzled Momoi was for a second before she caught herself.

“This is our home.”

“Not my home.” The small man, Hanamiya grumbled, arms crossed in front of his chest.

Kiyoshi swung the door open; the insides were lit by the warm light of a fireplace. Aomine’s eyes stopped on a portrait just above the fireplace. It was Kiyoshi and two old people, probably his parents. On either side of the portrait were candleholders. At the corner close to the window was a big table with four stools standing beneath it. And in the direct opposite of it was a big door to a small kitchen area.

With cautious steps Aomine followed Kiyoshi inside, made sure that his body was placed between Momoi and Kiyoshi. The kitchen had a door that out into a field. On the stove food was cooking away, it filled the house with a heavenly smell. Aomine’s stomach grumbled in response. He grimaced.

Kiyoshi laughed. “Food will be ready soon.” His laugh died down to a smile.

Right in that moment the door behind Aomine swung closed. His first reaction was to grip his sword and turn around. But when Momoi laid her hand on his shoulder and shook her head. Aomine swallowed against the beating of his heart. The surroundings had changed. It looked less welcoming. The fire at the fireplace had vanished and instead of the warm light filling all the voids a cold darkness was left. The only thing he could think about was how he wanted to get out. Momoi gave him a pleading look so he nodded and tried to relax his tense muscles.

“I’m starving.” Momoi then finally said, first glancing at Aomine and then to Kiyoshi.

A hearty laugh left Kiyoshi. “Of course. Let me just finish it up.” Then he vanished into the kitchen area.

Momoi and Aomine were left in the dark room. The furniture looked like it hadn’t been used for year. The color on the walls faded and the portrait from before was hanging onto the wall with one corner. So in general it didn’t look like anybody lived here. Aomine bit the inside of his cheek. This was driving him crazy. Another sudden atmosphere change. To top it off, again it looked like he was the only one nervous. He heard steps and saw then that Momoi sat down at the table and threaded her fingers together after placing them on the table.

“Come sit.” She said silently.

Aomine complied, but not without giving his surroundings a last suspecting look.

“The door is locked.” Momoi whispered after he seated himself. “It will only open after we helped them.” She leaned a bit further towards Aomine. “The food is not poisoned.” She then added before plopping back.

“How do you know about the food?” He looked at the kitchen door, it was closed.

“Easy, they need our help.” She grinned and then leaned further back. “But-” She once again dropped her voice and came closer to Aomine. “I want us to switch plates after they set them down. They know I’m the one with knowledge in magic. So they might see you as a nuisance.”

Aomine swallowed and then nodded. Well that sounded like a plan. He let out a breath and studied the place a bit more. The walls were grey and cold and there was a corridor to their right. He stood up and walked towards it, looked inside. On this floor there were only two more doors, which seemed to be closed securely and then there were stairs that lead up. He only returned to the table when he heard the door to the kitchen open.

“Ah, sorry for the mess.” Kiyoshi placed two plates on the table then returned to the kitchen coming back with a big plate and a small plate. He sat down right across from Momoi thus beside Aomine. Then placed Hanamiya on the table, who sat down in front of his plate. It looked like the small man had to eat with his hands. He was too small to use any forks or knives. Aomine stifled a laugh.

“So, with what do you need our help?” Momoi reached for Aomine’s plate and switched the two while she talked. Kiyoshi's confused look was directed at Momoi but he didn't comment any further. “There must be a reason for having the door lock magically.” A grin was plastered on her face as she dug into the food. “Oh my god this is so good.”

Aomine looked at his plate. His stomach growled. He still wanted to refuse but in the end he did begin to eat. Oh god. Then he began shoveling the food down. This was so good. So, so good.

Kiyoshi laughed amused before he too began eating. Just after they were finished did he speak up. “The reason I brought you here is for your help, yes. But please don’t think of us as vile humans.” He sighed. “I tried more than once. Have mages help us but all of them betrayed our trust.” A dark look settled over Kiyoshi’s face, Aomine found himself gripping his sword. “But I have this feeling that I can trust you. Yet precautions had to be made.”

After that explanation Kiyoshi stood up and collected the plates. Then he made his way back to the kitchen.

“Look.” Aomine had totally forgotten that the small human was still with them. “That huge idiot has been searching for help for the last century. I know we can’t be turned back.” The small human stood up and dusted off his clothes.

“Why?” Momoi bent over towards Hanamiya.

“Because I’m the one to brew the potion that changed us.”

Momoi’s eyes widened. Aomine just drew an eyebrow up. “Explain.” Was his curt demand.

“I was the royal Mage for a while. That midget of a king would always rely on my plans when new lands had to be conquered.” He sighed and then shook his head. “Well. I didn’t particularly like him, or anyone else for that matter. It was a job for a means to an end. However one day this huge man approached me.” He glared at Aomine. “Kinda looked like you.” Then he laughed. “But he probably had more brain cells than you do.”

Aomine’s eye twitched. What was it with these small human like forms that took a liking to insulting him.

“Anyway. He approached me. Was a powerful wizard. Taught me a few things and had me plan a coup. In exchange I would gain power within their ranks.” A cruel smile split his face. “What I could’ve done with all that power.” Then he coughed into his fist and continued as relaxed as before. God these people were weird. “My plan was a success but as it seems the youngest prince managed to escape certain death.” He gritted his teeth. “That little blue haired midget. If not for him-”

“Are you telling the story of your betrayal?” Kiyoshi wandered in with steaming cups. Placed them on the table and then smiled at Aomine and Momoi. “He’s an intense little man.”

“He sure is.” Aomine mumbled before taking a cup and sniffing at it. It smelled ok. So he took a sip. “He also said that he was the one to change you two.”

Kiyoshi laughed. “He indeed was. He was working for powers he didn’t understand and people that actually outsmarted him.” Kiyoshi took a sip of his own tea. “When we get our normal bodies back I will take his ass back to the castle and have him have a fair trial.”

Momoi looked thoughtful at the cup between her palms. “You can’t return now?”

“No. We can’t leave these woods. I’ve tried many times. So many times that I’ve lost count.”

Aomine regarded the giant man from head to toe. He seemed more relaxed now that Momoi and Aomine were his prisoners. He bit the inside of his cheek and glanced at Momoi. Aomine hoped that she knew what she was doing because he was at his wits’ end. His hand was itching to draw his sword. He could only contain himself because he had told Momoi he trusted her.

“He probably also told you that nobody can undo his work, right?”

Momoi nodded.

“Don’t listen to him. He’s an overdramatic midget.”

“Hey!”

Kiyoshi laughed at Hanamiya’s outburst.

“I will need some more information about the potion Hanamiya used.”

“Ah call him Makoto. He won’t mind.”

“I sure as hell would.”

Momoi bit back a laugh Aomine could tell from the way she was biting her lip while a grin was forcing itself on her face.

“Ok, then Makoto.” She then said.

Aomine could practically see the fumes coming from Hanamiya’s head. Now it was also his turn to try and contain his laughter.

“Let’s try and undo this.” Momoi’s fists were on either side of her body as she showed a determined gesture.

Kiyoshi coughed once. “One more thing, though.”

Aomine drew up an eyebrow.

“We have one other Problem on hand. It does not involve us directly; it’s more of an importance for the kingdom in general.” Kiyoshi stood up and walked towards the corridor. “Follow me please.”

“You sure you wanna leave this midget alone here?” Aomine drawled as he stood up.

“He can’t get away while the house is on lockdown.” Kiyoshi smiled.

Momoi placed herself beside Aomine as they began following Kiyoshi deeper inside the house. They walked past the two doors that Aomine had seen and took the stairs up to the top. When they arrived greeting them was another set of 3 doors. Two on either side and one right in the direction they were facing. Kiyoshi walked past the two doors and stopped in front of the door that was facing the stairs. He slowly opened the door. Inside was a small round window and a bed. Aomine’s eyes widened. Lying in that bed was a red haired guy. When he stepped closer he noticed the royal purple colors and light armor. His eyes widened. This man was part of the royal guard.

“Oh my god.” Momoi whispered, her hand placed in front of her mouth.

“I found him on one of my walks. He was ringing for air until he passed out and never woke up. I checked already, he is not dead. Neither does his body need water or food.”

Aomine regarded the lying man from head to toe. Would this have been his fate if Momoi hadn’t acted quickly enough?

“Can I?” Momoi was standing above the guard her hands hovering over his body with an uncertain air around her.

“Sure. Go ahead.”

Momoi pulled the covers down unceremoniously and began feeling his body.

“Should we leave?” Aomine stuck his pinky in his ear.

“No. It’s fine.” She turned the red haired man’s face to the side and then looked behind his ear. And then did the same on the other side. She sighed in relief.

“What?” Aomine stepped closer, and looked too. It wasn’t like he would know what to look for. But it wouldn’t hurt right?

Momoi turned her face to Aomine. “This isn’t the same curse that was used on you. He seems to have been cautious but someone else got to him.” A shuddering breath left her lips. “I’m glad it’s not the same curse.” Then she began lifting up the man’s clothes. “Okay one of you has to strip him.”

Aomine looked dumbfounded. “Uh-?”

“I need to examine his body. Find the curse mark. Or rather check for one. Sometimes the only difference between a spell and curse is that mark. So yeah. Can someone strip him down?”

Aomine was rooted to his place so it was Kiyoshi that complied and began stripping the man. After he was stripped butt naked Momoi began examining the body again. She turned him onto his face when her face lit up. “Found it.” Then she bent closer to the mark that was conveniently placed between the man’s shoulder blades. “As I suspected. It’s a well-known curse.”

“Then why did you strip him?” Aomine crossed his arms.

“Well, as I said sometimes the difference between a curse and a spell is the curse mark.”

Aomine grumbled in response. “So what is this?”

“The curse is called goodnights kiss in folk’s mouth between mages ötme bülbül, between witches-”

“Okay I get it. It has a buncha names.” Aomine let out a breath. “Just tell me what it does and how you will undo it.”

Momoi laughed behind her hand. “I’ll need to get to Kral to get my manuscripts.”

“Kral?”

“The horse, Dai.” She laughed again.

“You named him?”

“Yes. I can’t call him horse all the time.”

“I… I guess.” Aomine clicked his tongue. “Whatever.”

“Are there any midnightflowers in this forest?”

Kiyoshi scratched his nape. “I don’t think so.” His look settled to thoughtful. “I’ve never come across any.”

Momoi hummed. “Maybe I have some left in Kral’s pouch.” She straightened up and then pulled covers over the naked guard, giving him at least some kind of dignity. “You asked what it does. It gives the cursed person a near death experience via suffocation but it stops as soon as the person faints. After that they are left in a comatose state until the curse is either broken or they’ve slept long enough to die.” She scratched her head before she turned to Kiyoshi. “How long has he been like this?”

“I think it’s been three years?” Kiyoshi’s hand was placed below his chin, his eyes squinted as he thought.

“I see. Okay. So if I were to guess, I’d say this guy is around 24 years old and if in average a man lives around 70 to 90 years. He’s lucky he was found so early.” Momoi hummed again one of her fists placed against her hip she regarded the man from head to toe. “From what I gathered while examining him, there is no mytrophy and his joints seem to be in a good condition as well.” She exhaled. “When he wakes up we’ll only have to deal with his confusion and not helping him to build up his body. The wizard or mage or witch or whatever that did this to him knew what they were doing. And they certainly didn’t want him to lose his body strength.” She hummed again. “I wonder…”

“What?” Aomine drew up an eyebrow.

“Nothing.” She turned to Kiyoshi. “I need to access Kral. Can you lift the lockdown?”

“I can get it for you.”

“Uh… That’s a no. I don’t let strangers go through my belongings. There are some manuscripts of high value and ingredients that are rare. So no. I need to get them myself or this won’t work. I can’t have someone accidentally destroying my stuff.”

Kiyoshi’s face darkened for a split second before his smile returned. “I understand.” Then he nodded his agreement and waved his hand once to signal them to follow him.

Aomine threw a last look at the guard and then went after Kiyoshi and Momoi. His life had become very different to what he was used to in his village. For once he barely came in contact with magic. Most of his concerns had been boredom. But the last days he had found a pixie, nearly died, was captured by a giant man and his midget companion and now they were supposed to wake up sleeping beauty. He sighed. But he had to admit. He hadn’t felt this alive in his whole life.

Chapter Text

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.

“Hey, smurf.”

“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?”

“Yes.”

“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.

“Come again?”

“I said why do you think they need an oracle. Those dark powers didn’t vanish.”

“Oracle?”

“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.

“What?”

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.