Word count: ~1,400 (for this chapter)
Rating: PG for this one, will definitely get higher later ;)
Warning: Is it a warning to say that this is a collab fic?
Summary: Aiba got cursed and was able to use magic. For some reasons, his magic worked on everyone excpet Jun. And although the unexpected power seemed nice, Aiba wanted to get rid of it.
Note: This is a collaboration between me (piggywhale) and yukitsubute. We alternate the writing of this story, and neither of us knows what is going to happen next (we keep it a secret from each other - for the fun of it :D ) New chapters will be posted every Friday (unless it's me being SUPER late like this week).
This special collaboration is 20 chapters in total. We hope you will enjoy it <3
Previous: Chapter 1/ Chapter 2/ Chapter 3/ Chapter 4/ Chapter 5/ Chapter 6/ Chapter 7/ Chapter 8/ Chapter 9/ Chapter 10/ Chapter 11
Aiba woke up to a sound of someone humming a vaguely familiar tune. He slowly raised from the bed and tried to remember what had happened to him earlier. He shook his head a few times to clear his still foggy mind. It felt like he had been hit in the head with something heavy.
“Try not to move too much. Your body isn’t used to being on the receiving end of Kiko’s power.” A voice spoke to him from one side of the small bed room. Aiba turned instantly and saw Nino, no, not his Nino, it’s Nino’s great grandparent, standing next to the window with his eyes looking out the window to the street down below.
“How can you be here? What’s going on?” Aiba asked and felt a big headache attacking him as soon as he tried to form more words. Nino turned to him with a curious look.
“You knew me? You knew I am not my great grandson?” Nino was genuinely surprised. It struck Aiba as odd. “So, we have met before.” The way Nino said it sounded more like a question than a statement.
“Of course, we did! These past few days you have been bickering me about what I should wear at the ceremony.” Aiba confirmed with a strong nod. Nino tilted his head in acceptance of the information. He walked to the chair at the small table and nodded to himself a few times.
“So, I still have a future. That’s good. Glad to hear that I can make out of this place alive.” Nino gave him a reassuring smile, but his words only confused Aiba further. “Yeah, I know. Mind-blogging, isn't it? It’s ALWAYS the case with time travelling.” Nino sounded apologetic. “Even your great grandfather got confused all the time when it came to figure out WHEN and WHERE he was. And he is supposed to be the greatest and most powerful Time mage of all time.”
Aiba didn't understand what Nino was talking about. The stuffs about Time mage and time travel. No matter, they weren't as important as Aiba's most immenent concern.
"Where am I? What happened?" Aiba remembered being out in the shrine courtyard with Jun. He remembered suffocating black smoke. And everything turned completely black.
"It's going to be difficult explaining where you are, and also WHEN you are. The only useful information you need to know is that you are a prisoner." Nino's words were serious and Aiba instinctively backed away from Nino. It made Nino laughed.
"You don't have to be so scared. You've met me, the future me, so you know who I am. I am not going to even pretend to be a bad guy, although I thought it would have been more fun." Nino said teasingly, but soon his look turned serious again. "I may not be a threat to you but you are not safe here. No one is safe if they have you here. They are going to use you and your power for something terrible. Many people will get hurt because of it."
Aiba’s head hurt even more. Feeling very scared, Aiba lied down on the bed and closed his eyes, hoping that the pain in his head and the fear in his heart would go away. He wished at first that Jun would be right here, then, realizing what kind of situation he's in, he felt lucky instead that Jun was far away from him.
Seeing the state Aiba was in, Nino didn’t bother him and let him rest undisturbed for a little. There would be more time to catch Aiba up on everything that was going on. It's better to let him rest for a little while.
However, Nino was wrong. Within a brief moment, there was a sound of door opening and came the familiar voice.
“Is he still sleeping?” It was Kiko. It seemed she came to check on her prisoner.
“You hit him pretty hard.” Nino replied in chuckle. Aiba noticed the way Nino spoke change. He sounded more evil and more dangerous.
“Would he be strong enough for the ritual soon?” Kiko asked, rather impatiently. She didn’t seem to care for a chitchat.
“Probably, but I would give him a few more days if I were you.”
“We are not going to wait a few more days. Unless there are any alternatives, we are proceeding as planned tomorrow night. The stars would be in the perfect alignment. We would be able to draw power from him as much as we need.”
“But he may not survive the ritual. His body won’t not be able to take it. You know, he’s not a Matsumoto.”
Nino's words gave Aiba a shiver. Aiba didn’t dare opening his eye and continued pretending to be asleep.
“We don't have a Matsumoto. But given his strong connection with my nephew, he would be just the next best thing. It would be unfortunate if he cannot endure the ritual. My nephew would be sad.” Kiko commented dryly. “Yet, it wouldn’t matter what my nephew thinks or feels after the ritual is completed. He and the rest of people in that retched town would be sealed off forever.”
Kiko’s last words frightened Aiba more than anything she had said. Jun was going to be sealed off with the rest of the town. What would happen to him?
Kiko and Nino seemed to move to another side of the room and discussed something that Aiba couldn’t earsdrop. After some time, Kiko left the room. Nino immediately approached Aiba and got him out of the bed.
“I know you were listening. We’ve got a problem. A real problem.” Nino said as he supported Aiba off the bed. Aiba’s legs were weak and his head still throbbed like crazy. He wasn’t sure he could walk on his own. Nino helped support his weight and continued to talk. “They are going to use your magic to seal all the portals in the town. If they succeed, there would be no chance to travel in and out of the town anymore. That place would slowly wither and die because it was stripped of any source of magical energy.” Nino’s face was somber and serious. “But that would be after it has sucked out the last of magical energy from the every single Matsumoto’s living in that town.”
Aiba gasped. Did it mean Jun would also be in danger?
“What about a Matsumoto without magical power? I mean, if his power is sealed, he is safe, right?” Aiba felt optimistic. Jun’s inability to use his magic seemed to benefit him after all. However, his optimism was almost immediately crushed by Nino’s dejected stare.
“No. It doesn’t matter. Unless there is an alternative source of energy, like the love bonds from the members of magical families, that town would live on the Matsumoto’s power. It will reach out for it and take it from anyone with Matsumoto bloodline. The Matsumoto is the town’s guardian. As long as you are a Matsumoto, the town would draw from you. That’s what happening now.” Aiba knew Nino meant Jun’s great grandfather. It appeared the town was living on his magic at the moment, and it made him weak or possibly endangered him. Aiba saw a glimpse of real fear and despair in Nino's eyes, but it disappeared almost as quickly as it came. But that was enough. Aiba understood the gravity of the situation.
“I have to get you out of here, but I am not going to be able to do it alone. The magical ward that they put on this place is too strong for me.” Nino admitted worryingly.
“What should we do?” Aiba began to feel desperate. He didn’t want to be used in a ritual that would result in the death of Jun. Aiba would rather die himself than doing that. Luckily, Nino seemed to have a plan. He pulled a small silver whistle that shaped like a leave from his inner pocket.
“We’ve got a plan. I need to call your great grandfather - my Aiba. He’s back in the town but he would be able to hear us with this.” Waving the silver whistle in his hand, Nino said positively with a mischievous grin.
Aiba wasn’t sure he should feel reassured by it, but given the situation, he’s willing to go along with any plan.