Episode Twenty-Four: Flowers: Scene 5

“What if I were to challenge him to a duel?”

Thruor considered. “Technically, I’d have more right to that than you. And a neutral ground duel…would probably make him even more attracted to you if you won.”

I laughed. “Good point. Unless I could force him through to Muspelheim. And I still don’t…”

“Kill him then pull a vanishing act?” Thruor suggested.

“I’d…I dunno. I think I’d feel responsible.”
“Which means no matter how little you want responsibility, at least you’d be good at it.”

I rolled my eyes at her. “And, of course, my old idea of marrying him then stabbing him in bed.”

“If you marry him, you become a denizen of Muspelheim.”

I hadn’t thought of that angle. “Crap. And then I really would be stuck with the job.”

“Not to mention risking your life.”

I shook my head. “I’m not sure that part wouldn’t be worth it.”

She frowned, then. “And you have fire giant blood. Even killing him could change your allegiance permanently, given their law.”

“It could.”

I felt the warmth within me and knew part of me wanted it, but I couldn’t let that part be the one in charge. I couldn’t.

I was…I was not going to be one of them. But what if this was what Odin wanted. Me instead of Surtur. A ruler in Muspelheim who didn’t want Ragnarok or to seek his throne.

I found I couldn’t look at Thruor. Mike was dead because of this. Because of me. I had to end it one way or another.

“Jane. It’s not your fault.”

I forced my eyes back on her. “I know that. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel guilty about it.”

I figured that was normal. A decent reaction. You couldn’t be responsible for the actions of your enemies, but you couldn’t help but feel a little bit as if you caused them. The trick was not to let them use that to manipulate you.

That was what they really meant by not negotiating with terrorists.

“So, maybe the answer is for somebody else to do it. Somebody who does want the job.”

“That gets me off the hook. Does it solve the problem?”

“It depends on who.”

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