Two dwarves. Me. Thruor.
I had honestly half expected Thruor’s extra backup to be one of the other valkyries.
When she came alone, of course, I assumed whoever it was had turned her down.
“Your friend is not coming.”
“He’ll be joining us.” There was a grim note to her tone. “When we open the gate.”
That was odd, but I had a feeling there was a reason for it. And at least this time she had revealed a gender.
Not a valkyrie, then.
Thruor started to open the gate. I felt it more than I had, and I watched her.
And I remembered how to do it.
Or perhaps it had been…unlocked. Something about that bothered me. It told me this was, all of it, heading towards some kind of end game.
And then we were five, and then we were in Muspelheim before I could register who the fifth was.
He looked as he always had – he even had a gun. He did not look like what he was now. Einherior. It was still Mike.
I could not, for a moment, speak. He broke the silence for me.
“Do you really think I could let Surtur kidnap Kanesha and not come?” He grinned at me. “But the rules say I can’t set foot on Midgard for a hundred years.”
In other words, until everyone who had known him as a mortal man was dead. “Mike…”
I couldn’t help it, though. I hugged him. Armor or no armor.
Thruor ahemed. “We need to get moving before we’re spotted.”
The dwarves, though, were both grinning. They, of course, knew the value of family.
We were not in the lava tube, we were closer to the capital. Thruor had taken a risk there, but I knew the back door would be watched.
With luck, nobody who could sense our arrival would be close enough to attack us before we’d moved away from the portal. Which we did. It was warm, it was…hot. The dwarves were already sweating a little.
As long as they weren’t hurt.
None of us could be harmed permanently here. Except Kanesha.
I hoped. Suddenly, I was not so sure of that as I had been, not so sure of my own safety. But still, we walked, not towards the village, but on a route that would take us around it.
I kept glancing at Mike.