Chapter 5: Answers
Loki was true to his word. I met him the next day at the same time, escorted by my healer. He was sitting on the bench in deep thought when my healer addressed him.
“You may leave us.” He waved her away. She nodded and returned to the healing room. “Please, sit.”
I sat down, looking out the picture window as I did. It was so beautiful out there. The sun was shining, and it looked so warm. I longed to go explore those gardens out there. They looked so marvelous from here. “I wish I could go outside.” I thought aloud.
“You seem to be completely healed. It should not be long before Odin makes you an official citizen here.” Loki said, absent-minded. “Now, shall I show you why I requested your presence?”
“Yes please.” I didn’t want him searching through my memories again. I was still shaken up by what happened. I mean, I was fine. I was safe. But the fact that someone so close to you could orchestrate your death…it was something that was only supposed to happen in movies. Not in real life. I didn’t trust people right now. I didn’t want him finding the memory of my attack and having me relive it. I wasn’t ready.
Loki waved his hands and a leather bound book appeared in his hands. To say I was in awe was an understatement. Speaking of things only happening in movies…
“It took a little searching, but I’ve finally found a book on Halflings.” He grinned at me. I grinned back, it was infectious.
“Great! Have you read it yet?”
“I have not. I acquired it only last night. Father was busy, giving me just enough time to sneak into his library-“
“You stole this from him?” I cut him off. What the hell was he thinking? Did he want me thrown out of Asgard?
“Borrowed. I borrowed it from him. I will return it when we are finished with it. He has most likely forgotten he has it. If he had remembered it, he would not question you so much on your power. Now, shall we read this, or was I completely wrong in assuming you would appreciate having me stick out my neck to retrieve this for you?” Loki looked at me expectantly. He must have been kidding.
“Of course I want to know! I’ve been in the dark about myself for twenty-three years! Do you even know what that’s like?” I pulled the top of the book and opened it, almost ripping it.
“Alright, alright. Calm yourself. You do not want to break it.” He seemed annoyed. I didn’t really care. I needed to know more about what I was.
“Hm…I guess we will read the sections in order then. The first section is on parentage and history.”
Loki and I had been reading for hours. At some point, my healer had come to get me, only to be shooed away by Loki. I made sure to cover the title embossed on the leather of the book. I wasn’t sure if she would recognise it as a book we weren’t supposed to have.
I heard footsteps coming down the hall again, but I didn’t even register it. I was too absorbed in what I was reading. The book had eight sections: History and parentage of Halflings, Strength, Durability, Longevity, Quickness, Immunity, Sorcery, and a record of every Halfling born. Loki suspected the book was under a spell, because at some point during our reading the book grew warm at the back. As we turned to the section, a new name was automatically imprinted there. I also checked for some of the people I hung out with, the club. Lana was the only one recorded.
Guess they were liars too.
A throat cleared in front of Loki and I. We both looked up, Loki looking like he was ready to snap at the person who dared disturb our reading. It was the head healer.
And did she ever look mad. And uncomfortable. At first, I thought it was because she was going to get Loki’s annoyance, but then I realised how we were sitting. Loki and I were sitting so close to each other, our legs and shoulders were pressed together. We each had a portion of the book on our lap. I moved away from him, handing him my portion of the book. We must have moved closer to read, because I know we didn’t want to read out loud and though Loki offered his lap to me, I wasn’t going for that. The guy was a flirt.
“It is time for the lady to return to the healing room. Her meal is ready, and the feasting hall has begun serving food.” The head healer was very stern. I thought Loki was going to go crazy on her, but was pleasantly surprised.
“You are correct, Lady Healer. I apologise. It seems we have taken much time today. She will return in a few moments, you have my word.” He said politely. I was stunned. The first time a healer came to fetch me he told her off. Now he was nice.
“I will be waiting.” The head healer said expectantly, turning around.
“But we haven’t finished yet.” I pointed out. I was getting hungry, and he probably was too. But we had only gotten to the third section. There was still more to learn.
“I know. We will finish tomorrow.” Loki said, closing the book. “Should we meet again at the same time?” He looked at me, and again I couldn’t help but feel mesmerized. He had such beautiful eyes. Focus Noelle.
“Maybe a little earlier…I want to finish as much as possible. I need to know more.” I confessed, looking down.
“Hm. Well, then I will come fetch you tomorrow, since it seems you do not have much of a sense of time here just yet.” He smiled. “I will cut my studies short until we finish the book”
“What do you study?” Was he still in school? He looked about my age, maybe a few years older. I mean, I was supposed to graduate from my online classes in six months, but I guess I would dropping out from them, which sucked, because I loved what I was doing.
“I study magic. Actually, I am considered a Master of Magic. What did you study on earth that you loved so much?”
I sighed. I wasn’t going to tell him to stop reading my mind again. He wouldn’t listen. “Biology.” He looked confused, so I continued. “It’s the study of all living things. The branch I studied was called genetics. It is what our bodies are composed of, what makes us this” I swept my arm down my body.
“I see. How interesting. You may like magic then.” Now I was confused. “On earth you call it science. Here we call it magic. It is one and the same. It is how I appear out of nowhere, and hear your thoughts. Just to inform you, I could teach you how to keep me from doing that.”
“You will have to once we finish this book. I am getting tired of you reading my thoughts.” I got up. I didn’t want the head healer telling me twice to get back to the healing room. I still didn’t get why I was there. I felt perfectly fine today.
“It would be my pleasure.” He stood up as well, and stretched. “I shall see you tomorrow my lady.” He turned to walk away.
“Tomorrow.” I said, going my own way.
The feasting hall was loud and boisterous as usual. I sat down at the long table where Thor was sitting. I might as well enjoy the company.
“Brother! How do you fare?” Thor handed me an ale. He knew me too well. I smiled.
“Well, brother. I will not bother asking how you fare. It seems to be well.”
“He is enjoying his third ale. Of course all is well with him!” Volstagg shouted, laughing. Out of all of Thor’s friends, Volstagg was the only one I had little patience for. He was a kind man, seasoned in battle, but much too loud and rambunctious for myself. He didn’t mind Fandral and Hogun. Sif was nowhere to be seen, so he reserved his judgement of her. Her mood towards him changed daily.
“Where have you been hiding all day, my friend?” Fandral asked him, digging into his meat. Mutton tonight. Loki helped himself to a portion on the table before answering.
“I have been searching the little Halfling’s memories and learning of her powers.” All of Asgard had heard of the arrival of the Lady Halfling, which was what they all called her. Only Thor, Loki, Frigga and the All-father knew her name, which he avoided using. Loki wasn’t sure how to pronounce it. He had only heard her say it once, and he wasn’t paying much attention. Loki had passed a description of her father to Odin, and he was waiting for an answer. It seemed all were anxious to hear her parentage, and to welcome her home to Asgard.
“How is she?” Thor asked, setting down his ale.
“She is well. Almost completely healed.”
“I hear she is lovely. That you cannot tell she is half Midgardian.” Fandral commented. I sent him an annoyed look. Of course that was all Fandral would want to hear. He was a womanizer. Silver-tongued, like me.
“She is quite lovely. Golden hair, blue eyes, fair skin, pink lips.” Thor described to his friends. I sent Thor a glare. Who was he to have to the audacity of claiming to know exactly what she looked like? Of course, he had been present when she was brought for questioning, but Loki had spent hours with her. He should be telling them.
“She does sound quite lovely. Maybe I shall visit her in the healing room.” Fandral said suggestively.
Loki shook his head, finishing his meal. They were very inconsiderate of her. “She is lovely.” He admitted. “But she trusts no one at the moment. She will attack you, not invite you to her bed.” He had read her thoughts earlier. She had known one of her attackers. He had betrayed her. He kept seeing a man with dark hair and dark eyes, hitting her.
“She may not now, but Midgardians are far looser in morals than Asgardians. She may eventually need comfort.” Fandral winked at me.
“Leave the girl be, Fandral. She has most likely not even left the healing room yet. Let her adjust to Asgard before swooping down on her.” Volstagg cut it. I was slightly grateful he stopped Fandral’s fantasizing.
“If anyone shall court her, it shall be me.” Thor said, raising his mug.
“Or she may reject you.” I cut in.
Thor shrugged. “There are always others, brother.”
“Yes, just throw her away, like every other woman.” I said venomously, before getting up and leaving. They all looked at me curiously. I was looking at myself curiously. I did not understand why I had defended her so. She was a Halfling!
But when I saw into her mind, I didn’t see a Halfling.
I saw a young woman, alone and confused. Her only desire to know more of herself, of what she was. I was grateful I knew exactly what I was.
And when she spoke of this biology she studied, how passionate she had sounded. That could have been why he had offered to teach her magic. In a way, she was like himself; she loved to learn.
I wondered what else she enjoyed. Languages? Art? Weaponry? Lore? She seemed to be a woman of substance. Very different from the noble women in the court.
I will know soon enough, I suppose.
Maybe, just maybe, this Halfling isn’t what we all think her to be. She may have potential to learn and grow, to become an Asgardian.
Maybe I will find out why she intrigues me so.