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Prose Equus 3: One's Place.

Mandroid Sep 2nd, 2018 114 Never
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  1. =Prose Equus 3=
  2.  
  3. >Little Loki leads you through halls of polished bronze and shimmering gold and convinces you that Equestria has nothing on Asgard when it comes to opulence.
  4. “By the Sisters…this palace is enormous! How long has it stood?”
  5. >You see vestiges of her Mother in Loki, vestiges such as not facing you when she talks. ”The palace was built by our grandfather, Bor.”
  6. “I don’t know of a Bor…”
  7. >”You wouldn’t” she answers. “He was Mother’s father, he died back in the Old World.”
  8. “I beg pardon?”
  9. >Loki sighs and stops at an intersection. “Do not think to drag me from Midgard and declare yourself my friend in the same day, mortal. I grow tired of your presence already and must begin my grounding after I’m rid of you, ask another your incessant questions.”
  10. >You feel the frost of Helheim emanate off her icy glare and age has brought with you the wisdom to know when not to press.
  11. >You raise both your hands.
  12. “As you wish, Princess.”
  13. >Loki clenches her jaw and continues to walk. “I will choose to take that as a compliment.”
  14. “I meant it as one.”
  15. >”You talk too much, mortal.”
  16. “Princess Luna thought it was one of my better features.”
  17. >”Then Princess Luna has rocks for brains.”
  18. >A single snicker escapes past your lips.
  19. >The rest of your walk with the Asgardian Princess was strictly educational, though with some reluctance from her.
  20. >You learned that Princess Loki was fourteen years young as the youngest of the crown children. Heimdall, the watchpony you’d met, oversaw the Bifrost; one of several wells within the nine realms and one that served as a bridge between all the others.
  21. “I have never heard of a well being a bridge before.”
  22. >”What you have not heard of before could fill a library, No-name. Bifrost is not the only bridge in these lands…”
  23. >You almost ask her what she means, but she flicks her horn and opens a set of doors taller than you are.
  24.  
  25. >The room beyond is made of the same fantastic stones and metals as the rest of the palace and stretches for dozens of feet from the door. A wide bed sits at one end against the wall while a hearth, empty of flame for now but warm and inviting at the promise of more rests on the other side. To one end of the room, a table for eating and racks upon the walls for the hanging of clothing or weaponry, while the other end holds a basin for washing and a small balcony overlooking the city below.
  26. >You stand in awe for the umpteenth time today.
  27. “THIS IS AMAZING!”
  28. >”This is actually one of the smaller rooms…”
  29. >You walk in and look around at it all.
  30. “It’s bigger than my entire home back in Equestria!”
  31. >”Because you are not nearly as large as some of those Asgard has needed to entertain.”
  32. >You continue to marvel at your lodgings while Loki takes a few steps into the room. “The water in the basin fills from beneath the basin itself and the sprites will tend to the plants upon your balcony. If Mother has you here for whatever reason then I’m sure you won’t be bothered unless something is burning down, but do not trust that the guards are not nearby if you are to engage in any…mischief.”
  33. >From out beyond your doorway, the shadow of one of the armored guard-ponies passes along the wall.
  34.  
  35. “Right…”
  36. >You walk up to Loki, she retracts her hoof as if to preemptively guard against being struck when you get close and you spot her grimacing expression in the reflective floor when you bow before her.
  37. “My thanks to you, Princess Loki of Asgard.”
  38. >”What are you doing.”
  39. “Bowing to royalty is customary, isn’t it?”
  40. >Loki shifts her weight on her hooves. “Of…course it is, but I did not command you to. Cease at once.”
  41. >You rise and pat your back.
  42. “Better for the bones at my age, your right.”
  43. >Loki rolls her eyes and begins toward your door.
  44. >”Well then, with this detour out of my way, I’ll be going now. If you go insane and decide to hurl yourself from the balcony, do ensure you perform a flip on your way do-“
  45. >”YOUR HOME!” a rapturous voice calls from the hall, interrupting Loki.
  46. >”Oh Hel.”
  47.  
  48. >You had counted yourself fortunate enough to have personally met Princess Celestia in life and you considered yourself to be used to the naturally increased ambient lighting that came with being in proximity to the ruler of the sun.
  49. >But if she was bright, this newcomer was positively incandescent.
  50. >He quickly flutters through the door on a wide pair of wings made of ethereal light. He wraps both his limbs around Loki’s neck and holds her close to him as his wings dissipate and he drops to the floor.
  51. >Loki, meanwhile, looks like she wishes she was currently on fire.
  52. >”OH WELCOME BACK, SISTER!” the newcomer says. “Mother was FURIOUS that you snuck out this time! She stomped around for hours after she discovered you and then went off to the room she goes to for black magic! I don’t know what she did, but she went into Valhalla itself earlier today! Can you believe that??”
  53. >Loki turns her eyes to you agonizingly slowly in a pathetic attempt to impart her pain right now onto you as he continues to talk.
  54. >”But you’re back now! Heimdall told me you were grounded when I walked by his post so I raced over here to find you and keep you company! We can-“
  55. “Excuse me.”
  56.  
  57. >He turns his head to you, noticing you for the first time. “Hail and well met!”
  58. >You look down to Loki.
  59. “Sister?”
  60. >She sighs and waves her hoof over his head. “My brother, Prince B-“
  61. >”Baldur!”
  62. >He leaps off Loki and towards you, stopping right before he tackles you and snatching your hand between his hooves where he shakes it vigorously. Your first instinct is to wonder how he was faster than you, but your second is more enlightening. This pony had disarmed you with his presence, and you did not feel even the remotest bit of a threat from him in all your years of experience.
  63. >”I am Prince Baldur! God of Light, Beauty, and Lord of the Heliopolis!”
  64. >”He made the last one up.” Loki interjects.
  65. >”Hush, you! I did not!” Baldur retorts.
  66. >The Shining god settles a bit and gives you a more traditional hoofshake.
  67. >”Prince Baldur, second to last in line for the throne of Asgard. What is your name?”
  68. >You shake back like you did when you had to meet someone important at the capitol.
  69. “Haven’t got one, I’m afraid.”
  70. >”AHA!” Baldur laughs, in a laugh that shakes the light fixtures. “Heimdall said the same THING! When I asked him who sister went along with, he told me “no one and someone”! I just figured out what he meant!”
  71. >You chuckle again as Loki walks to the door. “I’m leaving now.”
  72. >Baldur’s head turns so fast you hear the wind break. “WE WILL JOIN YOU! You may be walking to a grounding, but No-name and I shall make your last moments of freedom more enjoyable together!” he says, already going after her.
  73. “That sounds nice!”
  74. >Loki’s groan echoes through the hallway.
  75.  
  76. >Loki didn’t do much talking along the ay to her room, but damned if you and Baldur didn’t.
  77. “Wait, so you don’t feel ANY pain?”
  78. >”Not an ounce!” Baldur proclaims. “My Father, Frig, hath enchanted me with invulnerability when he obtained the word of all the things in the mortal world to never cause me harm.”
  79. >”Except-“ you hear Loki say, although she mumbles the rest.
  80. “Say again?”
  81. >”Nothing, forget I brought it up.”
  82. >Odd. But you return to the prince.
  83. “I’m jealous, your highness! Such a blessing must be akin being unbeatable on the battlefield!”
  84. >”I don’t know! I am not permitted to leave the city! And please, simply call me Baldur, No-name!”
  85. “Wait, what?”
  86. >”Mother’s command is that he must never leave the capitol.” Says Loki, imitating Sleipnir by not facing you again.
  87. >”I have received standard instruction in the art of combat from brother or others that have visited Asgard, but I may count the number of times I have left her walls on one hoof.”
  88. “A waste, says I. With your power, I could end war.”
  89.  
  90. >Baldur chuckles to himself and stops as Loki stops before a large wooden frame with a green carving in the center. “It is not so bad, No-name. It offers me many blessings even now, such as entertaining! Watch! Hit me!”
  91. >Baldur leans forward confidently and presents his chin.
  92. >You raise your fist, but hesitate.
  93. “…Are you sure, Baldur?”
  94. >He opens his eyes and looks right into yours. “I did not know I was escorting two your fillies to their rooms.”
  95. >Well there goes that worry. You shoot your fist out quickly and strike Baldur on the chin with a hook. Not only does he not move a hair, but you feel your fist crumple and bend awkwardly.
  96. >You bite back a curse and wince as you grip your aching fingers.
  97. “Gaaah! Ow ow ow!”
  98. >”Ahahahaha! I told you, No-name!” the light god boasts.
  99. “Ponies are meant to be made of flesh, not rocks!”
  100. >Baldur laughs at you, but it doesn’t hurt.
  101. >”Well this has been brutish and uninteresting. I am going to my room now, Baldur. Perhaps I’ll get out before Ragnarok. No-name, you will probably be dead by the time I’m released, so good bye.”’
  102. >At that Loki turns away from both of you and walks towards the sigil on the wall, a flash of light whisks her away and leaves the two of you alone in the corridor.
  103.  
  104. “…Women.”
  105. >”Absolutely.” Baldur says with a grin.
  106. >The two of you share a hearty chuckle together.
  107. “I appreciate your company, Baldur, but I have had an eventful day to say the least and think retiring would be wise before these old bones begin to ache.”
  108. >”Indeed! Dinner in the grand hall will be soon and I want to get there before the Alfheim pastries are gone. Meeting you was a pleasure, No-name!”
  109. >The two of you bop hoof to hand again.
  110. “Likewise, my lord! Your realm is as fantastical as the legends in Equestria make it out to be, I would relish the opportunity to learn my way around it and meet your friends here.”
  111. >Baldur puffs up. “I would happily aid you in your acquaintance with Asgard, No-name! But I’m afraid I have to disappoint you, as I have no friends.”
  112. >You had spent all your adult life in Equestria, and all your memories were of your time there and the lessons you learned.
  113. >The appropriate response here was child’s play. You extend your hand to Baldur.
  114. “Well, you do now.”
  115. >It takes a moment to process, but the smile that grows on Baldur’s face fills up more than half of it with glee.
  116. >The two of you stand there for a short while shaking hooves, confident that you’d both forged a bond already stronger than Gleipnir itself.
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