The full moon came and disappeared during the time it took for the bridge to be completed. During that time, Katsuki had personally tagged along with his father and a couple of the village men to watch the bridge’s progress.
The day the bridge was finished, Katsuki had been given the honour, as the prince, to be the first to cross the river. He had been hesitant at first, fearful that the river might have been too strong and would have swept the bridge clean out from under him but it had held firm, letting him cross and return safely.
That same night the village held a grand feast in celebration for the completed task. The day after, a small envoy of villagers, as well as the king, left in pursuit of finding other villages close to their own to open up trade routes with. Katsuki, of course, had tried going with by sneaking beneath the wagon’s cover, but had easily been ratted out by his friend, which resulted in a minor back-and-forth between him and his mother.
Currently the young prince sat on the ‘safe’ side of the new bridge, having gained permission from the queen to venture at least that far, the ribbons tied to the trees guided him along the way. He didn’t know, nor care, how long he had been out there, just staring at the bridge and wondering what truly lay on the other side, but he didn’t really care either.
The chirping of birds happily hopping around and singing between the branches relaxed the young prince into leaning back against the tree. One of the village teenagers had taught him how to tie himself to a tree branch so that if he fell asleep, he’d at least be caught if he rolled off the branch. The trick had come in handy more times than he liked to admit.
With a cool breeze rustling through the leaves, Katsuki felt his eyes slowly fall shut. He wasn’t one for mid-afternoon naps but keeping his eyes open in wait for his father’s return was starting to take a toll on his small body. He tried fighting it for as long as he could but before he knew it, his eyelids had fallen shut, protecting his red coloured eyes from the afternoon sun.
Attack was the first thought that exploded into Katsuki’s mind the moment he heard the sound. Without thinking, the boy had tried jumping to his feet to brandish the stick that he had taken into his first venture into the forest a month ago.
The problem was that he was still tied to the branch, or in this case it might have been luck, so before his face met the ground floor beneath, his body was yanked back up halfway, causing the rope to dig into his tummy a bit, but at least he didn’t have a bleeding forehead like he might have had if the rope hadn’t broken his fall.
“Hng! That hurt,” Katsuki groaned, wrapping his arms around his stomach to try and ease the possible rope burn scratching at his belly. A second later, he heard another snap, followed by a voice no older than his own.
“Oh my goodness! Are you alright?”
Managing to open one of his eyes, Katsuki looked to the owner of the voice. A small kid, probably an inch or so shorter than him with a bush of dark green hair and brighter coloured green eyes. Freckles decorated his cheeks, emphasising the concern on his face.
As prince of the village, Katsuki knew every villager, even the youngest baby, by name, but not once had he ever seen the peculiar looking boy, so naturally he did what he did best. He demanded to know who the other was.
“Hey! Who are you? What do you want?” Katsuki demanded to know, his body swaying some, somehow still in place thanks to the rope.
“Huh? Oh, uhm, m-my name is Izuku Midoriya. Who are you? Are you hurt?”
‘Are you hurt?’ Katsuki nearly blinked at those three words. Naturally as the ruling prince, Katsuki had come to expect the villagers to be concerned about his safety, but none of them had ever asked him whether he had been hurt directly, not like the strange boy named Izuku.
He chose to ignore the last question, jabbing a thumb proudly against his chest despite the awkward dangling position he was in. “I’m Prince Katsuki Bakugo, Prince of the Barbarian tribe!”
Izuku’s eyes widened to the size of two big rocks when he heard Katsuki’s title, something that caused the blonde boy to straighten his back in a show of pride.
“Whoa! You’re a prince? That’s amazing!”
“Heh, it is, isn’t it?” Katsuki smirked, crossing his arms in a show of superiority like he had seen his mother do whenever she won an argument against his father, something that happened quite often in their home.
“Uhm, d-do you need help? You l-look like you’re kind of… stuck.”
Katsuki blinked, his cheeks heating up when he remembered his current situation. Instead of admitting that he indeed needed help, Katsuki simply played it off as if his predicament was nothing more than an average day for him.
“Tch, no. I can do it myself,” Katsuki bragged, patting his waistband to feel for the knife he had received on his fifth birthday, except there was one problem, he had forgotten it at home. His cheeks reddened even more.
Katsuki found himself looking to the side, and when he looked back, Izuku was missing. It wasn’t until he heard the creaking of the branch that he realised the other boy was behind him, already working on untying him. Before Katsuki could protest, his face was introduced to the dirt below. All he heard from above was Izuku calling out to him.
Published by Fang Wolfsbane