I was aware that I had backup. Freya’s warrior was back, but she was holding back. I knew why. They had an incentive not to hurt me. They could probably get away with killing her.
“Even if I were to kill her?”
“There are more important things than one life,” I reminded him. I knew it was a reminder. This was a king, a leader of a realm. This was somebody who was, politics aside, a god.
“My father’s a good teacher.” That was the most indirect way of telling him that yes, I knew. I knew who I was.
“And after losing your brothers. Don’t forget who killed them.”
“I haven’t.” Could I forgive that? I had to. It wasn’t easy, but I had to. The alternative was to continue the feud to its illogical conclusion. “Maybe I’m young and naive, but I like to think blood feuds can actually be ended.”
“Definitely young and naive, but with the strength of a queen. What could Odin offer you? Your life, grudgingly given because he too hopes to end the feud and thus live? Some minor position in his court?”
I shook my head. “I don’t want to be queen. Or a princess of Hell.”
He laughed. “I noticed you sent that one packing.”
My lips quirked. “I would send you packing if I could, but I know it’s not that easy.”
“Then let me show you something that might change your mind. Let me show you Muspelheim.”
“You hope that I’ll appreciate its beauty?”
“Your father carries both frost and fire in his veins. You are kin to us, whether you admit it or not.”
I felt a peculiar sense that this was an important moment. “I admit it.” Because that was the right thing to do. “But it is not the only blood I carry. And it’s not the blood you seek…whether you admit that or not.”
He laughed again. “You definitely learn, Lokisdottir.”
I tried not to shiver at the name he gave me. “If you actually won and wiped out the All-Father’s court…”
“I will win. With you or without you I will win. There are others…”
“But none who are kin to you.”
He swept his arm downwards, and an image formed in the air. And it was as beautiful as he had claimed. If one had the eye to see it.
“None who would see the beauty of your realm. But I still will not marry you.”
“Then I will make you change your mind.” And he was gone.
I fled to class, barely making it by first bell.