You are Izuku of House Midoriya; the Rose of Evergreen is what they call you, but you know a weed pretending to be a rose when you see one. After all, you stare at your failings in the mirror every day. Your people and Father, the High King of Miido, who raised you in their tender embrace, doesn’t seem to care though. They love you.
Your name is Izuku, you’re a prince and you are Beloved.
It is three turns before your nameday, you are to be six and ten, and all of Evergreen is in high spirit. The celebration will spread across seven days and nobody inside of Miido does not know of their precious prince’s name. They will sing, dance, and feast in your honor. Your existence is worth a hundred festivities, or so you are told.
You are Beloved.
You wake up this morning to your nursemaid shaking your shoulder. You’re five and ten and too old for a nursemaid, but Chiyo Shuzenji has taken care of you ever since you were born, since they had lay your mother to rest in the royal crypt. She is as much family to you as a blood kin.
“‘tis daybreak, my prince,” she says, brushing a kiss to your temple as you hear a flurry of activities rushing in and out of your chamber. You rise with the sun, earlier even than Father, because time is precious and your daily grooming take precedent over nearly all things.
Half asleep still, you yawn and sluggishly drag yourself up just in time to see a handful of attendants carefully laying out today’s attire. They bow in greeting upon your attention on them and watch with clear amusement tucked between their lips as you slowly struggle to your feet that Nursemaid Chiyo exhales deeply before assisting you with a fond scold.
You are lead out of your bedchamber and into the private bathing pool in the other room. Hands carefully undress you down to your smallclothes before you step out onto the mosaic tiles and sink under the warm pool, created by rainwater collected and heated under the belly of the castle.
Petals on the water. Bell drop vines hang from the ceiling like a curtain of flowers around you. A handful of water lilies decorate the surface of the pool and when you close your eyes, you can almost imagine their whisper echoes of “sweet prince” for your ears only. They say house Midoriya to be leafspeak in the past; a long-forgotten gift from the Old Ones. Sometimes when you walk pass a flower and its leaves seem to turn toward you, you can let yourself believe the truth in those words.
You’re in a castle, your private bath, but the forest never leaves you. It couldn’t even if you wanted to. You’re a weed pretending to be a rose, but you’re a Midoriya born in the cradle of a weeping tree, your roots are here and you will sow your seeds into the same ground as all your ancestors before you.
Your long hair floats on the surface water like a drifting breeze, all green wavy moss that spilled out into clear water.
Two attendants help you wash your hair with lye soap imported from highland of Eim. Their fingers carefully scratching your scalp while the other attendants take care of washing you clean. You sigh blissfully, giving your body over to their attentive ministration as your mind drift off into distant.
It isn’t long before they have you standing up to be dry off. Chiyo set you by the vanity and takes a comb to your head, clucking in disapproval as she brushes your mangy bush of hair, that you inherit from Father, with rosewater oil into some semblance of normal.
Each fallen strand of hair is meticulously picked up from the floor and delicately collected on a platter. Your hair is sacred and holy. It does not solely belong to you. There is only two of you in the entire Miido kingdom with a green hair like this fertile land, green like weeping trees of the forest, green like the Mother Tree. It used to be three, but now it’s just you and Priestess Ibara.
She raises the comb to the top of your head and with one smooth stroke the comb cards through your hair as she says a familiar prayer, “For truth will be all you know.“ One. “For strength to carry you through your hardships.” Two. “For wisdom so you can see the cracks before the fall.” And three.
Then she plaits a crown of braid on your head. A makeshift crown for the one you will receive in the future.
The attendants quickly deck you out in the finest silk, beading, and dyed colors from the farthest reach of the continent. The sigil of House Midoriya is embroidered in front; silver and green, the silhouette of a tree reaching toward the heavens — the Mother Tree that holds up the world.
Your father, like all the kings before him, is strong and sturdy as a weeping tree, old and immortalized in the banner of your house, which your ancestors had built their great castle on. Its venerable trunk has stood vigil over Father, your father’s father’s, and all those who came before you for thousands of years.
You are told you’re a rose, but you’re not even that, you’re a weed pretending to be a rose who hopes to become as might as a weeping tree one day. Tough and enduring enough to bear the weight of your kingdom on your weedy shoulders.
After the attendants have finished preparing you for the day, they bring up food for you. A fest for the eyes — ripen fruits and rare shellfishes brought far across the continent just for you. All your favorites. Like yesterday, and the day before that. You are lacking nothing.
You break your fast alone and quiet in your chamber. The attendants and nursemaid had long taken leave, abandoning you to your food and musings. You are a weed pretending to be a rose caged inside a glass garden. Valuable and as precious as you are, you lack nothing and you know nothing. Sheltered in the cradle of your castle, you have never stepped a foot outside of Evergreen.
“Too young,” your father said.
“Too dangerous,” your swornsword pleaded.
“Too ignorant,” your adviser corrected them all.
Tenya Iida, the Hand of the King’s second son, is kind but his kindness carries an edge to it; it cut you, however gently, to show that you bleed. To show your weakness so that you never make a second grave mistake.
So you sit alone in your chamber, peering out of the window and all that is before you. Green, forestry, and the dripping branches of weeping trees are all you see. The land of eternal summer. Vibrant and colorful. Oh, what a beauty that unfolds before you.
Miido is a kingdom of impressive wealth and power that stretched beyond its border — bordering the coast on one side and a vast fertile valley situated between mountains, it’s blessed with fortunate climate and heavy with resources — and one day it will all be yours; it’s a frightening and humbling thought, heavy is the head that wears the crown. Your weedy shoulders cannot hope to hold it all up by yourself, but you know your duty to your father, to your people, and to your kingdom. Even though you’re a weed pretending to be a rose, you’ll have talented people to assist you. A kingdom is not a lone tree, it is a forest and you will sit on its throne one day.
You can do this, you tell yourself for the hundredth time.
After you call back your servants to clear away your food, you have free rein for the next couple of hours. While your afternoons are normally occupied by your royal tutors, numerous lessons in various fields gear to mold you to become the next great king of Miido, but the mornings belong solely to you.
You could visit Shouto, Grand Marshal Todoroki’s youngest son, in the training grounds, but he’s busy earning his last rite before he can become your swornshield — vowing to serve you and only you as your sword and shield. He is your knight; you are his prince, and one day, you’ll be his king. It is the oldest and greatest pledge of loyalty and honor in your kingdom as deeply rooted as a weeping tree. You could not ask for a better person to have your back and front.
So the Grand Library is where you go.
You are not brave as Father, noble as Shouto, or smart as Tenya but you are well read and you learn, always keeping an open mind and heart. It was the first lesson you were ever taught by your greatest teacher, your mother. You don’t have to be the cleverest or the strongest; you just have to stand up.
Here’s the truth: you’re a weed pretending to be a rose. You’re no good. You know this, but when you fall, and you fall often, you get up and try again and again and again. Failure is all you know, but you don’t allow yourself to get comfortable with it. It breeds complacency.
You’re a weed pretending to be a rose, but your roots are thick and entrenched in the ground. You will not be moved. This is your home, and you will protect it.
First, you will have to talk to Father soon. You still have much to learn about the world, but you can’t learn any of it from the safety of your glass garden. Father is too overprotective and overbearing of you. His only child from the woman he loves, you are Beloved, but you’re suffocating under the weight of it.
Your nameday is the only time of the year where you can ask for the moon and Father will find a way to give it to you, but you don’t want the moon; you want freedom, the luxury to travel outside of Evergreen’s castle walls without Father hovering over your shoulders and sending the royal guards to drag you back.
You race down the open corridor of the main wing of the castle, branch barricades line both sides it from a drop of hundreds of feet to the ground, as a chorus of “my prince” graces their lips of those you pass by. You stop and greet them, courtiers and servants alike, who happily respond in kind, doting on you like you are one of their own.
You’ve lost your treasured mother ten years ago, but you are not lacking in anything. You are Beloved.
You stop by the front of the throne room, considering greeting your father before heading to your favorite reading nook in the library, but there are more guards than usual stationed outside of the room. Tenseness lines their shoulder, their face wary and cautious as they stand guard.
You are intrigued.
There hasn’t been a war in Miido since your honored mother’s death. Since the day Mother had bled all over you and your father was thousands of miles away, fighting for glory and honor as you watched her breathed her last breath. She had died with only you by her side and your father’s name on her tongue.
Five days later, Father came back — bloody, triumphant, and another battle won even as his wife lost the greatest battle of her life.
You had screamed and cried till your voice went hoarse and muted by your grief. Father pulled a struggling you into his lap and made a fervent promise to you that first night back. Never again will you bereft of a parent.
That was the last of the Thorn King’s conquest. He’d went home and stayed home. You are all that he has left of your mother and to be alone is a terrible and wretched thing. You hope you never have to feel it. You hope it will be a very, very long time.
War is a fleeting thought, but it’s never far from your mind.
Your father is in the throne room, holding a session with his councilmen because there is always a problem at the border. Land dispute. Minor rebellion. Raiders. And worst, barbarians. Savages from the far west. You heard the stories. You read the books. The Wild is in them.
They are godless heathens, worshiping beasts in blood sacrifices across the desert. They’re more animals than men. More men than the devout. Even communing with the giant winged beasts of the far west; they call them dragons, here you know them as monsters.
It’s what you’ve heard countless time. Again and again.
You don’t think it is all true. Your dearest mother was after all hailed from the far west, the rugged and unforgiving desert of Scorched Lands. They had called her Queen Inko, the Warrior Queen, but before that, she was a shieldmaiden who had struck your father down and enchanted him completely with green hair and even green eyes that are extremely rare and said to be blessed by the Old Ones in Miido.
She was eventually tamed and enlightened to your way before your father made her his queen. You, at least, know that is not true at all. For all the memories that you had of her, while warm and kind, but the wind seem to whip around her and the earth had bent to her will like she was forged from nature itself. It was always lurking under the surface of the cool facade of the queen.
Your mother was no leashed beast.
Your people may have forgotten, but you never did; neither did her enemies. She’d raised a sword and fought at your father’s side in countless battles, so fierce and unbridled as the land she’d hailed from. The Wild was in her, and maybe—maybe it’s—”Ahhhhh!"
A scream reverberates from the throne room; it’s loud, low, and guttural like something that had to claw its way out of someone’s mouth after having dug its teeth and fangs into their exposed flesh. It’s ghastly and inhuman.
Instinctively, you step forward, but a hand shoots out to stop you.
“Your Highness, it’s dangerous in there,” one of the guards, Yama, warns kindly. He always has a smile for you whenever you cross path. His wife, who works in the kitchen of a castle, willingly sneak you your favorite snacks when you come to visit her and both of them will welcome an extra family member come spring.
You stop and think of your concerned father, who would raise hell if you so much as get a cut on your finger, and of your people who worry endlessly about you, their only and precious prince.
You are Beloved above all things, but sometimes you wonder what’s it like to be able to make your own choice and have room to breathe.
One day this will be yours, but for now, it isn’t your business. Yet. You’re curious though, and that is worrisome.
It is both your greatest asset and your biggest flaw. It had gotten you and your friends into a few scrapes in the past and the entire castle and your father set into an anxious fit when you disappear without a notice over the years. You are a good boy, but not a very obedient one.
Your library awaits you, but the curious draw of the scream has piqued your interest. Your heart race and you are breathless with anticipation.
Here’s another truth: you never stray far from your routine. You are a good, dutiful prince and son, but sometimes when you shut your eyes and all you see a windswept desert that stretch before you like an endless sea of sand; the Wild hums in your vein. You are as much as your father’s son as your mother’s.