Chapter Two: Waking The Beast
The silence of the cell surrounding me was nearly deafening as I sat as still as stone against the cold granite wall behind me, and stared back at the same black hate filled eyes that had been watching me ever since my mother's little servant had first taken her leave just a few hours before. The monstrous form of what I could only assume to be a man glared back at me with envy and malice dripping from his cold midnight colored stare, and as I found myself smiling at his idiotic rage in my usual sadistic fashion, I noticed his fingers beginning to slowly knot together into a tight fist just before he then angrily slammed them against the thick glass of his cell's incredibly dirtied outward facing wall. A low chuckle of sarcastic admiration slowly escaped my lips as I continued to watch the anger rage wildly inside of the venomous creature before me, and then as I carefully nodded my head in amused recognition, I quickly licked my slightly cracked dry lips just before I finally addressed my prison mate's incredibly childish outburst.
"She looked delicious, did she not?" I asked knowing full well that the being before me could more than see and hear me from where I sat unusually unmasked from his disgusting view, and that my strategically placed taunt would only further prove to rile his exceedingly amusing animalistic rage. The monster's chest heaved as he released a vicious barbaric breath, and then he angrily began to speak to himself in a filthy sounding language that I couldn't quite understand just before I relentlessly continued my vicious verbal attack.
"It truly is a shame that you are locked up in that cage so far away from her scent that lingers so intensely where I sit, Monster. The smell of her innocence is so utterly refreshing, and might I dare say also even just the slightest bit arousing." I continued as I watched the black eyes before me begin to burn with crimson red fire as my lascivious words appeared to assault his obviously weak mind and rip at his incredibly primal sense of idiotic pride.
"Her scent is all that lingers, Bastard Prince. Had she been sent to me, I assure you that she would not so quickly have taken her leave." The disgusting creature finally retorted in our common language with a thick accent covered in poisonous filth and hideously contemptible greed just as his thick lips curled up into a devious smile. I swallowed thickly as I felt my jaw tighten painfully beneath my skin at his childish insult, and then I locked my eyes tightly on his still darkened stare just before I finally spoke once again.
"Well, she was not sent to you, was she you hideous beast? No, she was sent to me. With that being said, if I ever see you gaze upon her in the disgusting manner in which you did while she was in my attendance earlier today, I will do much more than send another simple aneurism to your weak animalistic mind. I may be locked inside this cage, but I can undoubtedly still get to you. Do you understand me?" I asked with venom dripping from my words as I glared at the beast that stood still carefully watching me, and obviously now assessing the true danger of the situation that I presented before him. The monster remained silent for a few remaining moments as his dark eyes burned murderously into mine, and then after another heavy disgusting breath, the beastly appearing prisoner finally swallowed his pride and eventually turned away toward the other side of his cell. Rage boiled deep inside of me as I slowly leaned back against the wall behind me, and then I forcefully closed my eyes just as I felt my teeth beginning to grind tightly together, almost to the point of causing me actual pain. It felt as if I had been living in this enclosed hell for a millennia, but in reality, I knew that I had much more time ahead of me than the meager amount of time that I had already surprisingly survived. How in all of the nine realms would I not succumb completely to madness if I was actually forced to serve out the entirety of Odin's decree? How would I not become just as primal and feral as the rest of these monsters if I was left to rot inside of this cage?
It had only been a few short months since I had first been collected by my blundering oaf of an older brother just before I had nearly succeeded in taking reign over his beloved Midgard, but in my mind, it had been an eternity since I had last seen the outside of my cold cell walls. Having nothing more than my own company along with the remains of the few books that my mother had originally sent to me when I had first been detained was quickly driving me to the point of sheer madness, and the result of my crazed restlessness had unfortunately led me to delighting greatly in the torment of those that had been forced to surround me. The mind was a very terrifying place when it was left to its own devices, and the fact that I had been locked away with one such as mine, well it had only served to prove that point even more so than I had previously realized. My thoughts tortured me day after day as I sat locked beneath the kingdom that I knew was so rightfully mine to rule, and the repetitive chastising of the angered voices deep inside of my brain unfortunately forced me to actually have to examine the falsified life that I had so recently left behind. Memories of the brief happiness that I had once shared with my supposed family ripped at my insides like freshly sharpened daggers into exposed skin, but before I could feel the intensity of their pain too greatly, my hunger for revenge quickly swept in, and thankfully filled the deepened void that had been so carelessly left behind. Then, with every continuing second that passed as I remained forced to sit alone locked in the cage that Odin had built for me, my anger became even more so out of control than it previously had been the moment before. My desire for justice raged inside of me refusing me to allow Odin to remain in his seat of power while I rotted beneath him all just because he feared the obviously rightful King of Asgard, that in all reality, I had always been. The Golden Kingdom deserved far better than to continue to fall under the rule of such a petty and vengeful man such as that of my adoptive father, and as luck would have it, it appeared that my realm just might soon be allowed to finally get what they so rightly deserved. The gods had seemed to offer me the possibility of a way out of the prison that Odin had forced me into due to his own idiotic arrogance, and that passage way had just so happened to have been created by one of the very people that he loved the most. His most beloved Queen Frigga.
In all of the years that I had known my mother, I had never seen her give in to her own weakened desperation in such a way that she so obviously had earlier that morning. Frigga had always been kind, loving, and even slightly favoring toward me ever since I had been a small child, but the fact that she had gone to the extreme measures that she so recently had even after what I had done in Midgard, well that had undoubtedly surprised me. Of all of the supposed family and friends that I had acquired over the years, my mother had always known me the best, and had never for a single moment ever treated me as any less than her own true flesh and blood. As a young boy she had been my first playmate, my primary caretaker, and as soon as she had discovered that I possessed the power of magic, she also quickly became my most dedicated instructor. Frigga had been my confidant when I had questioned Odin's decision to turn his kingdom over to Thor what now seemed like a lifetime ago, and she had been my savior from the death that her husband had originally believed that I deserved when I first returned from Midgard depicted as the treasonous criminal that I just simply was not. However, in the brief moment that I had gazed upon my mother just before I had been sent down to my cage in the pit of Asgard's prison, I had finally seen a look of complete disappointment in her eyes that I had never before witnessed, and that I had originally taken as her finally letting me go. After everything that I had done and all of the lies that I had told over the course of my lifetime, I assumed that she had finally come to the realization that I was in fact truly a lost cause, and therefore that her favoritism and love for me would simply be no more. Earlier that morning, however, I had realized that I most certainly had been wrong in that assumption.
To send a servant to my cell in order to make sure that I was well, and to attempt to force me to eat was something that I could most definitely see my mother doing even if I had fallen out of her good graces. She had never been one to be cold or cruel, and therefore even if I had in fact greatly disappointed her, she still would never want to see me ill or worse if continued to push my own limits which in all honestly I almost always usually had. However, my mother had not just sent me a servant to attend to my needs, and ensure that my health was in fact still in good standing. No, she had sent me her servant and her servant had been a beautiful young maiden with caramel colored hair, and skin so fair that I could practically see her blood flowing vivaciously beneath it. Prior to sweet Seraphina's unexpected visit just a few hours before, I had made it a rule to never allow anyone into my cell in order to at least keep some semblance of control in my own life, but I had of course made an exception as soon as I had seen the young woman just as my deviously plotting mother knew that I would have. It wasn't that I was a complete monster who simply hungered for young delectable appearing flesh (even though to be completely honest, hers most certainly was), instead it was just that I had been locked away for what had felt like years, and sadly enough I desperately craved the company. And of course, since my mother knew me better than anyone else in all of the nine realms, she knew that sending the particular servant that she had would be just enough of a temptation to my loneliness in order for me to finally allow someone in. Unfortunately, even though my mother's intentions had been and undoubtedly still were completely pure in nature, I feared that she had no idea of the problem that she had just caused by giving in to the simple desperation that she so recently had experienced. She had sent an obviously easy to manipulate young girl into the cell of a man who had nothing but time on his hands, and as always, completely devious plots on his mind. Oh, what things I could do with those delicious possibilities.
I hadn't realized exactly how long I had been carrying on inside of the obviously slightly disturbed confines of my own mind, but somewhere in the midst of my internal scheming, I had eventually fallen asleep and into the rest that I so rarely allowed myself to have. Throughout the night, my dreams were chaotic, dark, and suddenly filled with a rekindled desire to return to my rightful place on Asgard's throne. Because of this, when the morning finally did arrive, I found myself feeling even more so vengeful than I had been the night before. Deep inside I knew the immediate danger of the emotions that suddenly raged deep inside of me, but the blissfully intoxicating rush from the intensity of my anger caused me to quickly dismiss any worries that moved around inside of my head. Quickly, I began to pace my cell anxiously as if I was a lion forcefully trapped inside of his den, and even as I dropped my carefully placed veil of illusion over the small space around me, I continued to taunt the animalistic beast in the cage just across from mine. My mind was racing with plans to escape from the shadows where Odin had cast me, and as I found myself so preoccupied with my own rage, I strangely didn't even notice when the door to my cell hesitantly began to open just behind me. It wasn't until I heard the soft click of a woman's shoes on the cold hardened floor beneath my still bare feet that I finally once again returned to my rightful mind (at least somewhat), and as soon as I had, my rage quickly faded into the background just before turning into something even more dangerous than before.
Dressed in a long crimson colored casual dress and wearing just a slight amount of makeup that she had not been wearing the day before, Seraphina nervously stepped into my cell before me, and desperately searched the seemingly empty space around her for the misbehaved prince in which she had been sent to once again attend. Her long dark caramel colored hair was swept over her left shoulder and hung down in a thick braid just over the swell of her breast, and the milky white complexion of her skin appeared to glow in the poor excuse for lighting that illuminated my cell. The soft features of her face appeared slightly tensed as she continued to desperately search for me without any success, and the supple skin of her full bottom lip was trapped tightly between her teeth as she seemed to contemplate exactly what it was that she wanted to say. I smiled to myself as I leaned against the frontward facing glass wall of my cell, and as I took in the beauty before me, I couldn't help but wonder to myself if her slightly more alluring appearance had anything to do with her recent visit to me. My silent question drifted around slowly inside the confines of my mind as I continued to watch the young woman fruitlessly search my very misleading cell, and then after a few moments of contemplation, I finally smiled in great satisfaction to absolutely no one other than myself. No, it didn't have anything to do with me. It had everything to do with me.
"Good morning, Seraphina." I said slowly in a low voice as I watched the young woman before me slightly jump at the unexpected sound of my voice, and then nervously take a step back away from where she had previously stood on slightly unsteady shaking legs.
"Good morning, My Lord. I have brought you some more food from the palace as well as some books to help occupy your mind. Are you well today?" Seraphina stuttered as she eventually turned her head over toward the space where I had sat the morning before, and then swallowed thickly inside of her throat. I smiled to myself as I reveled in her nervousness, and thoroughly relished in the intensity of her quite obvious anxiety.
"How kind of you. I am very well, and how are you?" I asked in a slightly mocking tone as I mindlessly carried on with our idiotic conversation, and continued to study my beautiful guest still completely masked from her view. Seraphina nodded slowly to herself, and then quickly tightened her grip on the basket that she desperately clutched in both of her petite hands, which immediately caused her knuckles to whiten just slightly in response. Something about that very simple and completely innocent action drew my eyes to her immediately, and caused my muscles to twitch just slightly beneath my skin.
"It is a most glorious day. Thank you for asking, My Lord." She answered carefully as she turned quickly in my direction, obviously now moving toward the sound of my voice. I narrowed my eyes as I finally lifted my gaze up from Seraphina's hands, and then slowly licked my lips just before eventually returning my stare to her beautifully innocent appearing face.
"You have not asked to see me yet, Seraphina. Do you prefer my cell's illusion to the view that you had of me yesterday?" I asked carefully as I added a slightly sterner edge to my tone. Seraphina quickly shook her head as I noticed her breathing immediately pick up at the slight change in my demeanor. Oh, how I so enjoyed how she reacted so strongly to me at such an early point in our acquaintance.
"Of course not, My Lord. I only assumed that if you wanted me to see you, well then you would make it so." She answered slowly as she bit down on her bottom lip once again, and appeared to then add just the slightest bit more pressure than she had been just a few moments before. I smiled as I watched her and couldn't help but once again lick my painfully dry lips. Her obedience and complete subjugation was tantalizing, and also something that I so desperately hungered to test. I had never before encountered a woman so dedicated to her service that she would speak in such a respectful manner toward an imprisoned man, even if he once had been that of royalty. Her dedication was intriguing and so obviously arousing, but I sensed there was something much more behind her mask than just simple humble adoration.
Finally after a few moments of continuing to assess the young woman before me and also admiring her delectable feminine form, I eventually found the self-control that I needed in order to pull myself out of the confines of my own now slightly obsessing darkened mind. I cleared my throat as I quickly masked my face with an expression of complete indifference, and then I slowly dropped my veil of illusion that had previously covered my cell. I grinned widely just as my magic flitted away, and then sarcastically lifted up my still tightly bound hands.
"And, it is so." I said darkly as I watched Seraphina jump slightly as soon as her eyes nervously met mine, and then happily savored the vision of the most beautiful color of crimson flush slowly begin to spread over the entirety of her beautiful flesh. I smiled as she stared up at me with wide eyes, and then nervously took a small step backward just as she forced herself to finally smile.
"Thank you, My Lord. You are most kind. Would you...?" Seraphina started to ask anxiously as she lifted the basket that she held tightly in her hands out toward me, but before she could finish, I quickly vanished the basket over to the other side of the room just before I pushed myself slowly away from my cell's cold wall.
"I prefer to eat in private." I said as I took a step closer toward Seraphina, immediately causing her to take a step backward, and then a look of fear to quickly flood the once calm waters of her soft emerald colored eyes. I smiled as I looked down at her petite form as it quickly began to shake just before I immediately stopped moving, and then I slowly tilted my head just slightly in her direction.
"Does it cause you unease that I am now standing?" I asked as I saw the fear continue to build behind her frightened young eyes, and then her full bottom lip begin to shake ever so slightly just over her chin. Seraphina shook her head quickly as she swallowed thickly once again.
"No…I…" She started, but she stopped speaking just as soon as she had started, making it obvious that she had absolutely no idea what it was that she should say in response to me. I nodded as I took another step forward and then watched as Seraphina forcefully held herself in place, and attempted to still her trembling form at the same time. I licked my lips at her obedience, and then immediately felt a familiar rush of power begin to surge through my once nearly lifeless veins.
"Well, then I must have misunderstood, and I apologize. So, how fare's my family, Seraphina? Are my mother and King Odin well?" I asked changing the subject as I could nearly taste the tension hanging in the air around me, and I knew very well that if I was left to my own devices, I would abuse that delicious tension in the span of a second. Seraphina released a slightly relieved breath at my question, and then nodded her head in reply.
"Your mother is very pleased that you are well, and she sends all of her love. She misses you very much, and…" She started enthusiastically just before I quickly raised my hand and stopped the young girl's rambling which once again quickly caused an expression of fear to move over her beautiful face.
"I did not ask how she felt in regards to me, Seraphina. I asked if she was well." I said with an edge to my voice as I locked my eyes on the pale green one's that stared nervously back at me. The color drained from Seraphina's face as I could sense that my tone slightly frightened her, and her breathing appeared to immediately pick up as a result.
"I apologize, My Lord. Yes, your mother is very well. She is as always very busy attending to the tasks of the palace, and spends a great deal of her time with the court. King Odin seems to be well also, but I do apologize, I am not in his attendance very often in order to know much of his activities." She apologized quickly as she dropped her eyes down to the floor between us, and then tangled her hands together nervously in front of her. I tightened my jaw as I slowly tilted my head to the side, and then took a very slow step forward once again.
"And, why is that?" I asked curiously. Seraphina kept her eyes down toward the floor and then shrugged her shoulders slightly.
"I am an attendant of the queen, My Lord. King Odin has many more qualified servants to attend to him than I, and in all honesty, I doubt that he even knows that I work in the palace at all." She stuttered slowly with a slightly bashful smile suddenly gracing her lips. I released a slightly uneven breath as I took in the beautiful coloring that suddenly flooded Seraphina's cheeks, and the images that moved through my mind at the sight of it caused me to take another almost involuntary step closer to her once again.
"If Odin has not noticed you, well then he is a fool." I said just as I finally stopped in my slow paces only a few inches away from where Seraphina stood, and then leaned back slightly on my heels. The young woman swallowed as she shrugged once again still staring down at the floor beneath her feet, and appeared to be attempting to steady her own erratic breaths.
"Well, as long as the kingdom is thriving as thank the gods that it is, I do not mind if anyone even sees me at all. Attention is not my concern, My Lord, only the wellbeing of the kingdom." She whispered as she began to fidget slightly where she stood. I lowered my eyes as I took another quick step forward and suddenly closed the gap that had previously existed between myself and the sweet Seraphina. I could sense her breathing immediately begin to pick up speed the second that my body neared hers, and then slowly I reached out with my bound hands and slipped my index finger just under her delicate chin. Seraphina took in a sharp breath as her skin flushed and then she slowly licked her full lips just as I carefully lifted her head up toward mine.
"I have asked you before to look at me when I speak to you. Why is it that you have such trouble with that very simple request?" I asked in a stern but soft tone as I locked my gaze on the pale green eyes staring back at me. Seraphina swallowed thickly inside of her throat, and then bit down on her bottom lip as her frame began to shake slightly harder before me.
"I am sorry, My Lord. I did not mean…." She started, but once again, I did not allow her to finish.
"I do not need your apology, and I definitely do not need another polished response that your mother has taught you from her time serving my family. All of this bowing and praise is adorable, but it is also completely fake, and I absolutely loathe facades. Now, please tell me why it is that you find it so difficult to look me in the eyes?" I asked in a clipped tone as I continued to hold Seraphina's chin just lightly with my hands, and for some reason I felt a small amount of the rage that I had felt before beginning to once again move wildly inside of me. The young woman swallowed once again, and then released a heavy breath before she finally spoke again.
"You…you make me nervous, My Lord." She stuttered just barely above a whisper. I narrowed my stare as I watched the girl in front of me force herself not to lower her eyes, and something about the way that she went against her own nature in order to adhere to my will stirred something inside of me that felt nearly impossible to control.
"What about me causes you to be nervous, Seraphina? I am bound in front of you in a cell where all of the guards can witness every move that I make. If I so much as lifted a finger to hurt you, they would have me on the ground before I had even truly begun. How could that possibly cause you distress?" I asked as I moved slightly closer causing Seraphina to lean slightly back on her heels. Her breathing was beginning to shake harder and her skin was suddenly glistening with the lightest sheen of sweat. She looked absolutely mouthwatering.
"I mean no disrespect, My Lord, but if that were true wouldn't they be in here by now? I was told before I came in that if they saw you touch me, then they would be in here in a second. I do not believe them to be liars, so can I assume that they do not see what is now happening?" Seraphina stuttered as she released another shaky breath, and then took a slow step back obviously fearful of my response. I grinned in appreciation at the cunning mind of the woman in front of me, and then took another step toward her, immediately closing the gap that she had most recently just made.
"Oh, Sweet Girl. It appears that you are more than just a pretty face. Tell me, what do you think that they see right now if they do not see me holding your face in my hands, and standing far closer to you than they would allow? What do you think that this liar has forced them to believe?" I asked as my voice dropped slightly lower, and the hunger inside of me quickly became my only focus just like a predator assessing his prey. Seraphina stepped back once again as she licked her lips, and then shrugged her shoulders still holding her eyes forcefully on mine.
"I…I imagine they see what you want them to see. Isn't that what everyone always sees?" She asked carefully and with those words my humor quickly began to fade. I could sense my eyes darken as I once again advanced on the girl in front of me, and as I saw fear settle deep within her eyes, I heard her back meet the wall just beside my cell's door. I did not appreciate people who did not know me making assumptions about me based on rumors that they had heard, and from the tone in Seraphina's frightened voice, I knew that was exactly what it was that she was doing. I could also tell by the tone in her voice, that she had quickly realized that she had just made a very large mistake in the way that she had spoken to me, but unfortunately for her it was already far too late.
"Excuse me?" I asked in a sharp tone as I finally closed every remaining inch left between Seraphina and myself, and then stared down into her terrified eyes as I felt her breath beginning to hit my face in quick pants. The young girl began to shake against me as I could tell that she was searching for something to say, but still she attempted to steady her uneven fearful breath before she answered me again.
"I am so sorry, My Lord. I didn't mean anything…." She started, but her fear was quickly consuming her and obviously making it nearly impossible for her to speak. I swallowed thickly as I tilted my head closer down toward Seraphina's, and then cleared my suddenly aching throat.
"Look at me." I whispered deeply as I noticed Seraphina's eyes had suddenly dropped down to the collar of my shirt, and not at all where I had requested them to be. Seraphina swallowed thickly as her breathing slightly faltered, and then slowly she lifted her gaze back up to meet mine.
"Anything that you think that you know about me is mostly likely garbage, and I would appreciate it if you didn't rely on it when dealing with me, Sweet Girl. No, those poor excuses for soldiers outside most certainly do not see what I am doing right now. They have no idea that I have you pressed against this wall with my hands on you when at any moment, restraints or not, I could easily do you in. Those blundering fools knew very well from the moment that my mother told them of her decree, that this was a very bad idea, but because she is the queen they obeyed her just the same. They know all too well what I am capable of, and she does not. Now, because of their inability to think with their own minds, you are locked in here with me, Seraphina. Do you still believe that the will of the kingdom is what's most important? Or are you starting to question that overly obedient little mind of yours?" I bit out as I stared down at Seraphina with cold eyes, and watched as she attempted to summon some sort of courage within herself even though she was obviously now even more terrified of me than she had been before. Seraphina swallowed as she held my gaze and then released a ragged breath.
"No matter how safe I look, they will come after me eventually, My Lord. Your mother expects me back at the palace just after breakfast, and if I do not return she will know exactly where I am. You may be able to do what you want with me right now, but right now is as long as you have." She said softly on a shaking slightly broken breath. I stared down at the sudden bravery that had moved through the young woman before me, and then tilted her head just slightly further up toward my face. A million threatening comebacks raced through my mind as I planned to thoroughly terrify the young woman before me despite my earlier plans to use her in my escape, but suddenly something stopped me. With all of the fear and terror moving through the green eyes that still stared obediently back into mine, just as I parted my lips to speak to her once again, I noticed that the young woman's eyes immediately dropped down to my mouth. Her bottom lip trembled as she stared at me and a glimpse of something much different than fear flashed through her stare. I released a breath as I felt a painful ache sink deep inside of me, and then I quickly jerked up Seraphina's head once again.
"Now is long enough." I whispered darkly, just close enough to Seraphina's mouth that I knew that she could feel my breath on her lips. I wasn't exactly sure what it was that I was now doing as two very competing urges were coursing wildly through my veins, but I was acting without thinking, of that much I was most certain. The fear in Seraphina's eyes slightly diminished as I could suddenly feel her heart beginning to pound harder against my chest and her breathing became dangerously heavy just before she spoke.
"I am sorry that I upset you, My Lord. Please forgive me." She whispered as her eyes slowly drifted back down to my lips once again, and this time they stayed there for slightly longer than they had before. The ache inside of me deepened, and my hunger roared with need, but I knew that I needed to let this girl go soon or I was going to lose everything that I was working on achieving before I had even begun to actually obtain it.
"Return to my mother, Seraphina. I suspect that it is much safer for you there." I said over the lump that had formed deep inside my throat, and just as I did, I quickly dropped the veil of illusion over my cell completely without thinking. Then once I finally found myself able to pull my stare away from Seraphina's, I slowly turned my eyes toward the cage just across from mine, and met the blackened pools of hatred that were suddenly watching me.
Now, even though the emotional outburst and sudden craving for the servant in front of me hadn't at all been planned when I had envisioned this day the night before, it suddenly appeared as if it just might aide in my devious plotting after all. The second that I locked eyes with the disgusting monster that was staring murderously back at me, I knew that my close proximity to Seraphina and the look in her eyes as she stared at me, would cause just enough damage to make this whole ordeal not a lost cause after all. The beast watching me slammed his hands against the glass and growled in pure anger as he intently watched us, and as my cell door flew open, I knew that my inevitable reward would be well worth the cost.
"Get your hands off of her now, Loki!" The Warrior Volstagg yelled from deep within his chest as he immediately drew his sword, and advanced on me quickly the second that he stepped inside of my cage. I smiled as I tilted my head toward him, and then released a very confused sounding sigh.
"But, we were just getting to know one another." I responded in an innocent voice as I remained planted firmly where I stood, and smiled slightly wider than before. Volstagg moved forward once again obviously not sharing in my slightly darkened sense of humor.
"Now, Loki!" He yelled angrily as he continued to advance on me. I chuckled slightly to myself, and then lifted my bound hands in surrender as I took a small step back. In an instant I was slammed back against the glass wall by one of the guards, and then Volstagg immediately jumped to sweet Seraphina's aide.
"Are you alright, Seraphina? Did he harm you?" He asked as he stared at Seraphina in pure concern, but sweet little Seraphina still had her eyes tightly planted on me. I smiled as I saw my victory much closer than I had originally imagined, and then nodded toward the young girl as I ran my tongue slowly over my lips.
"The warrior has spoken to you, Seraphina. Tell him of all of the damage that I have caused you." I taunted as I felt myself being pulled back in the opposite direction of my cage by three of the biggest guards that my father had at his disposal. Seraphina cleared her throat as she flushed once again, and then slowly turned back toward the warrior still standing at her side.
"I assure you that I am fine, Volstagg, thank you. Prince Loki and I were just talking. Everything is quite alright." She explained quickly as she smoothed out her dress with slightly shaking hands, and appeared to quickly attempt to pull herself together. I smiled as I could sense her eyes return back to me just as I was being pulled even further away in the opposite direction.
"Come now, let's get you back to the palace. Queen Frigga needs to hear of this. I will not allow you to continue to be put in harm's way over this devious trickster." Volstagg said as he put his arm around Seraphina and led her quickly toward my cell's door. I was not fond of the way that he held her or the way that he threatened me at the same time, but in all honestly, I had never liked that oaf to begin with so I attempted to ignore him just the same. Volstagg was not my current concern or my problem. It was the petite woman at his side who still strangely held my attention.
"Everything is fine, My Friend, I assure you. Please just let me return to my duties. Everything is fine." Seraphina soothed, and then before I could hear any more of their conversation, they both stepped out of my cell and then tightly locked the door behind them. I was quickly left with three guards who had no idea how to even begin to subdue me, and of course a handful of opportunities that I prayed I hadn't just lost.
Tension hung heavy in the room around me as I stood nervously fidgeting before the most elegant Queen Frigga, and silently praying that I wasn't about to be relieved of my station due to what had happened with the youngest prince just barely an hour before. The Warrior Volstagg stood beside me rambling on with anger seething from his voice as he pleaded with the queen to allow him to assign another attendant to Prince Loki's cell, and also to allow the other guards to further restrain him so that he could do no future harm. Slowly, I lifted my eyes from where they had been settled down onto the floor ahead of me, and then hesitantly met the worried ocean colored stare of the queen who was carefully watching me as I stood in complete silence. I waited patiently as Volstagg finished his very lengthy speech regarding how a fair maiden had no business being in an enclosed space with a devious trickster such as her imprisoned son, and then just as I finally released a heavy nervous breath, I finally gained the courage to speak.
"My Queen, if I may be so bold, I would like to speak on the prince's behalf." I said shakily as I quickly threaded my fingers together in front of my body, and desperately attempted to still my trembling form. Queen Frigga's eyes widened slightly as she continued to hold my stare, and then she slowly nodded her head in my direction.
"If you wish, My Dear." She said in a soft almost fearful sort of voice, and then she carefully cleared her throat. I released another breath as I nodded in recognition and then meticulously thought out what it was that I actually planned to say.
"While I am beyond grateful for the kindness and concern for my wellbeing that The Warrior Volstagg has shown, I do believe that his worry is for nothing and that this whole situation is the result of an incredibly unfortunate misunderstanding. The prince and I were merely having a conversation that became slightly intense and I fear that the guards mistook what they saw for something that it most certainly was not." I said carefully as I held my gaze tightly on the queen's and then swallowed thickly inside of my throat. I could feel Volstagg's stare come upon me immediately after my explanation had left my lips, and I felt myself tense as I awaited his inevitable reply.
"Misunderstanding, Seraphina? Loki had you cornered and was pressed against you so that you could not move! It took three of the strongest guards in the prison to get him completely away from you!" He exclaimed as he threw his massive arms up into the air and then huffed heavily under his breath. Queen Frigga tilted her head toward me in slight confusion, and then carefully narrowed her eyes.
"Is this true, Seraphina?" She asked slowly. I swallowed thickly as I searched my brain desperately for a sugar coated answer that would make this situation better, but at the same time was not a complete and total lie.
"I…I was very disrespectful to the prince, and I upset him. I spoke very brashly to him, and I even though he corrected me and told me to hold my tongue, I continued anyway against his generous warning." I choked out as I swallowed thickly waiting for Queen Frigga to dismiss me from my duties immediately for my insubordination, which brought me to the question that I suddenly had for myself that I had not truly considered before. Why in all of the nine realms had I just practically lied for Prince Loki?
"Seraphina! You have barely ever raised your voice in all of the years that I have known you. Do you actually expect any of us to believe that any of this is true?" Volstagg asked in complete astonishment as he stepped closer toward where I stood, and completely ignored the fact that he was having his outburst in front of the queen. Queen Frigga kept her eyes tightly on mine as she ignored the obvious disrespect taking place in front of her, and then nodded carefully toward the angry man at my side.
"Thank you for bringing this urgent matter to my attention, Volstagg. I will take care of it immediately. You are dismissed and may return to the training halls where I believe that Prince Thor is waiting for you." Queen Frigga said carefully as she finally turned her gaze from mine, and met eyes with the incredibly angry man that she spoke to. Volstagg stood silent for a moment as if he was debating pushing further, and then eventually he slowly bowed his head.
"Thank you, My Queen. You are most gracious. I do apologize if I spoke to roughly in your presence, I meant only to protect the young Seraphina, and not a single ounce of disrespect." He said in a slightly more calmed tone as I could tell that he suddenly realized he had greatly over stepped his bounds. Queen Frigga nodded as she smiled sweetly.
"I appreciate your concern, and your service." She said softly. Volstagg nodded slowly, and then after giving me a strange and still concerned look he bowed in respect once again, and then finally left the queen's royal sitting room. I released a heavy breath as I then turned back to find Queen Frigga watching me carefully with a very different look in her eyes than she had before, and then forced a small smile onto my face that I was quite certain had to look fake.
"My Queen, would you like me to begin attending to my duties for the day? I would hate to fall behind and cause you any distress just because of this mess that I have made." I said quickly attempting to change the subject at hand and also smooth over any anger that could have been brewing inside of the queen. Queen Frigga sighed as she finally pushed herself up from the large golden chair that she had been sitting in, and then gracefully rose to her feet.
"Seraphina, if I were to ask you to speak to me in complete honesty and without fear, would you be able to do that for me?" She asked as she stepped slowly toward me, and then tangled her hands together just at the small of her back. I released a shaky breath as I slowly nodded my head.
"Of course, My Queen. I would never lie to you." I said as I swallowed against the lump that had formed deep inside of my throat, and prayed that my racing pulse wasn't incredibly noticeable. The queen smiled tightly as she nodded to herself.
"You just did, my dear." She said softly. My knees buckled immediately as her words left her lips, and I felt all of the color drain from my face as a chill moved through my system. I was in more than just trouble, I was completely doomed.
"Your Highness…" I started, but immediately as her title left my lips, Queen Frigga quickly raised her hand up into the air, and signaled me to cease in my attempted reprieve.
"Seraphina, my youngest son is very different from his older brother, and he has been ever since they were children. Where Prince Thor has been blessed with the physical strength of over a hundred men, and has been gifted with the power of a hammer crafted from a most powerful dying star, Prince Loki has always had a strength all his own that quite possibly is even fiercer than that of his brother's." She began as she paced slowly in front of me. I swallowed thickly as I nodded my head in pretend understanding.
"Yes, My Queen. I have heard of Prince Loki's magic, and I understand that it is most incredible." I said quickly as I felt my fingers slightly beginning to shake ever so slightly against the silken material of my dress. The queen nodded slowly.
"Yes, it is most incredible. It is so incredible that most do not even realize that it has happened until it is already over, and others never realize that it has ever even happened at all." She continued carefully. I swallowed as I suddenly understood her implication, and then immediately shook my head.
"Prince Loki did not spell me, My Queen. I am well aware of everything that has happened ever since yesterday when I first went to him." I defended quickly. Queen Frigga immediately stopped in her pacing and then turned back toward me as she stared at me out of the corner of her eye.
"Alright, Seraphina. I would like you to tell me what happened then." She said in a slightly stern tone. I swallowed, and then released a heavy breath.
"Yesterday when I first went to Prince Loki's cell he questioned who I was, why I was there, and who I was to you. After I explained myself, I gave him the food that you had sent with me to give him, and then I eventually noticed that he was wounded." I started as I felt my heart quickly beginning to pick up speed inside of my chest as I remembered the electric charge that I had felt both when I had touched the prince the day before, and also when he had touched me when I had been pressed against the wall of his cell just an hour before. Queen Frigga lowered her eyes to mine.
"Continue." She said quickly with slight suspicion and confusion beginning to flood her soft voice. I nodded in obedience as I quickly licked my lips.
"I asked the prince if it was alright if I…attended to the cuts on the bottoms of his feet and he so graciously allowed me. I cleaned his wounds, and then shortly after that, I left." I said as I immediately dropped my eyes down to the floor, and forcefully pushed the strangely alluring memory of having my hands on the prince from my head. I heard Queen Frigga release a slightly shaky breath.
"And, today?" She asked carefully. Once again I released a breath and carefully thought about what I should say before I actually said it. I knew that I could not completely lie to the queen as that was considered treason and punishable by prison, but I also knew that I could not further incriminate Prince Loki and risk never being able to see him again. Wait, why did I care if I ever saw him again?
"Today, I arrived at Prince Loki's cell just before breakfast. I greeted him and then gave him the food and books that you had sent with me, and after that he asked me how his family fared. Unfortunately, my answer did not please him and the fact that I did not look him in the eye greatly upset him. A few heated words were exchanged on both of our parts, and then even though it was not my intention, I spoke incredibly disrespectful to him which is what led to the situation that upset the guards. I understand the mistake that I have made, and I do not intend to make it again. Prince Loki did not attempt to harm me in anyway, My Queen, I assure you. He merely was attempting to help me understand my mistake. I did not mean to cause this amount of trouble." I stuttered as I immediately realized how incredibly daft I truly sounded, and then slowly lifted my eyes back up toward the queen's, praying that she didn't hear the utter insanity in my explanation as well.
"Seraphina, what is it that you are most fearful of right now? Suffering the wrath of having disrespected a Prince of Asgard or not seeing my son again tomorrow morning?" She asked as her eyes quickly once again met mine and immediately caused all of my blood to rush to my face in pure embarrassment.
"My Queen, I assure you that I have absolutely no…" I started quickly, but once again Queen Frigga lifted her elegant right hand causing me to stop my sentence immediately in its tracks.
"I am not implying anything improper, Seraphina, I assure you. I understand your plight quite well, and I do not blame you for it in any way. I am simply wondering why it is that you would quite literally come within an inch of lying to me in order to be able to see him again. Has Prince Loki threatened you?" She asked slowly. I shook my head immediately.
"No, My Queen." I answered quickly. Queen Frigga narrowed her eyes.
"Then what is it, My Darling? I understand his mysterious allure, but if what I heard about earlier this morning is actually true, even I know that his charms can only go so far." She said carefully. I swallowed thickly as I slowly locked my stare on the queen's, and then licked my painfully dry feeling lips.
"I disrespected one of the Princes of Asgard, My Queen. I simply wish to be able to apologize." I answered slowly. That answer apparently took the queen slightly off guard as her eyes widened immediately at my response. Slowly, she made her way closer toward me, and then once she reached me, she carefully took a hold of my hand.
"Alright, Seraphina. I will allow you to attend to the prince until the week's end. During that time, my son will be further restrained and therefore unable to practice the majority of his magic. After that, you will return to your duties here at the palace full time, and deliver food to the prison weekly where the guards will distribute it to my son themselves. I love my son dearly, but I refuse to put you in any danger just because I have a weak heart. If anything were to happen to you because of me, I would never be able to forgive myself for my foolishness." She said with a soft smile as she gently squeezed my hand. I smiled as I nodded slowly attempting to ignore the slight fall in my spirits knowing that I had been removed from my position so quickly, but still thankful that I had at least a few days left.
"Thank you for your compassion, My Queen. No harm that could come to me would ever be any fault of yours. I will attend to my duties, and I promise that I will do exactly as I am told." I said as I bowed slightly in respect and understanding. The queen nodded in return and then released a careful breath.
"Just please be on your watch, Seraphina. Loki has a good heart, but he has been through more recently than I could ever begin to explain. I fear that he is not himself, and as much as I hate to admit it, I do not fully understand what it is that he might be capable of." She said as her expression became slightly saddened as she finally released my hand. I nodded slowly as I took a timid step back.
"I will carry out my duties just as you have asked, My Queen, and I will be nothing but diligent and careful. Prince Loki means me no harm, of that I am most certain." I said as I bowed ever so slightly and then turned in the direction of the grand hallway just outside of the queen's sitting room. A sinking feeling began to quickly ebb at my insides as a realization immediately washed over me that caused me to feel sick to my stomach just as I finally reached the queen's door. I had just lied to the Queen of Asgard with my most recent statement, and I had absolutely no idea why, but even I myself had almost actually believed it.