Books turned out to be the bribe. Not even horribly rare books.
He liked trashy romance novels. Of course he did. He also liked having somebody else buy them so he did not have to admit to this fact. So, I sneaked him a nice new to be read pile and then went back to contemplating the issue.
So, the armory could be destroyed. Or the fire could be rebalanced, which would weaken the weapons.
And thus Muspelheim’s position in the event of a war. Which I knew Surtur would never do.
He wanted a stronger position not a weaker one, and although progress had been made, nobody was going to talk him into weakening his position for vague promises.
Not even me.
Besides, at this point he had to know I hated him. He had to know he would only end up bringing a viper into his bed.
He had to intend to do just that. So, how did I strengthen his position? Aesir blood.
I knew then.
He intended to use me to steal the apples.
He also intended to make sure there was a child before he did something stupid. I, of course, was not going to allow any such thing. I would never let him touch me.
So, I spent a bit more quality time staring at the dagger.
Strengthen Muspelheim’s position. Or work towards actual peace. Actual peace was not really going to happen. I knew that in my heart.
Whatever happened, we would still live under the sword. Because that was part of our nature.
Because life happened in the intersection of fire and ice and chaos and order, and any one side winning meant life could not exist.
Loki. On my balcony. I opened the door and let him in. “No brownies.”
“I heard your thoughts. You understand the conflict is needed.”
“And that it can only end one way.”
“Only to start again,” he added, thoughtfully. “We know that. The prophecy makes that clear.”
“A cycle.” I let out a breath. Stop Ragnarok or cause it. Something inside me shuddered.
“We can’t break that cycle. Well, one day the actual universe will end, and we don’t know at that point. Except that it’s likely to be just another much bigger cycle. Mortals have become fond of endings and beginnings. Neither exist.”
“I know.” I had been born, though. Or had I existed before in some form that I would not be able to recall even if I got my memories back?
Was I, too, a cycle?