He was delaying us. Stalling. I thought of walking out of the cabin. We could take him.
I did not want to fight him. I rather thought this was his place, that he was tied to it. Or something else was going on.
I wasn’t sure. “Please let us go.”
He hummed. “Maybe tea first.”
“We don’t have much time. Can’t you feel it?”
“Maybe some of us don’t have to fear even Ragnarok.”
My lips quirked. “You think that you can just hide in your quiet corner. I don’t think it works that way.”
If it did, I would have Kanesha tucked away in just such a place…no, I wouldn’t. She wouldn’t let me. But the temptation would be there.
Maybe Mike. Maybe…no. He was what he was because he wanted to fight and protect others.
I realized nobody I truly cared about would let themselves be protected, and I realized that was my own fault. I couldn’t, wouldn’t have friends who would hide.
“Maybe not. But if you do what you have in mind, then my mountain won’t be a quiet corner any more.”
I saw his point. “I did not choose this.”
“Yes you did. You chose it, at some point. You set foot on this path and it led you here.”
“Surtur forced me to it.”
“And if you were a different woman you would wear a crown now.”
I did not ask him how he knew. I did not need to. I smiled. “I rather thought you were not a fire giant game warden.”
“Perhaps not.” He smiled back. “But are you bent on this?”
“Got a better idea?”
“You may regret it.”
“I think I will regret any choice I make.” That was likely true. Any choice I made at this point could lead to death and destruction. Or to other things.
“Perhaps.” He smiled. “Go. Get on your way.”
Mike was looking at me as we stepped outside. “That wasn’t a fire giant, was it.”
“Nope. That was a test.”
“What do you think you’ll regret?” he asked.
“Any choice I make. It’s fine. I just have to find the regrets I can live with.” Or not live with as the case might be.
The mountain rose before us. We still had quite a bit of climbing to do.