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Prose Equus 8: Through The Stomach.

Mandroid Jan 27th, 2019 (edited) 51 Never
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  1. =Prose Equus 8=
  2.  
  3. >You rapidly spin the midsections of the striking dummies in what is rapidly becoming your favorite courtyard in the palace until they look like they’ll go on their own.
  4. >You take a deep breath and pluck your sword from the ground as you dive between the two of them.
  5. >Iron striking limbs hit at you from all angles, requiring you to parry from forward and backwards with your ice sword and a sparring blade you’d borrowed.
  6. >The tornado of steel and wood becomes your entire world as you focus on your rhythm. Strike, strike, reverse strike, turn, strike, practice dummies get stopped by gold magic, strik-
  7. >Wait hold on.
  8. >You stop your flurry and look to your guest, the God Queen of Asgard.
  9. >”You spend more time alone with these training tools than you do with others.”
  10. >You snort and rise, sheathing your blade and swinging the borrowed one.
  11. “The same could be said for yourself, Grace. You spend so much time as a Queen that I never see you rest or spend time with your friends.”
  12. >”Because all my friends are dead, No-name.”
  13.  
  14. >The silence in the courtyard is palpable.
  15. “…Really?”
  16. >Sleipnir does what you construe as a shrug. “No, not all of them. But most.”
  17. “I’m sorry.”
  18. >Sleipnir signals for you to follow her, to which you obey.
  19. >”Do not be.” She says. “They were gone long before you were born.”
  20. “Then you have my sympathies.”
  21. >”Something I neither require nor desire.”
  22. >Either you made a face or she read your mind, but the Queen of Asgard knew how you felt and continued to speak as she walks with you.
  23. >”We die, that is the way of all things. Some may pass sooner, others later. But all things are destined to end, one day. So says the God of Death.”
  24. >You mull that over for a second as the two of you walk.
  25. “Pessimistic nihilism, if you ask me.”
  26. >Sleipnir stops in her tracks and looks back at you with a tempests eye, so you make quick to explain yourself.
  27. “Yeah, people die, sometimes we can’t stop it, but that doesn’t mean we submit ourselves to it either. Prevent it wherever you can, accept it when it happens, but never, EVER resign yourself to it.”
  28. >She continues to stare at you, you put your fists on your hips and puff your chest a bit.
  29. “So says No-name, God of Nothing.”
  30. >Sleipnir continues to stare, until she doesn't and just continues on her way. “Come, we’re late for breakfast.”
  31.  
  32. >The Queen leads you into the feasting hall which is entirely empty, with places set for only two.
  33. “Didn’t think we were THAT late…” you muse.
  34. >”Normal breakfast was early today, we required the room.” Sleipnir gestures to one of the seats. “Sit.”
  35. >You hang your sword on one of the hooks by the wall and sit down.
  36. “Early, eh? I can never eat so soon after waking up, it makes me feel sluggish.”
  37. >”I do not sleep.” Sleipnir says.
  38. >You ponder the logistics of that when two others enter the room.
  39. >”I’ve retrieved her as asked!” Baldur proclaims.
  40. >Next to him, Loki grimaces and rubs her head near her horn. “Not so LOUD, brother…”
  41. “Hey! Welcome back to the land of the living, Princess.”
  42. >Loki grunts as she walks around the table and takes a seat next to you.
  43. “No meal in your room today?”
  44. >”Nothing MORE obvious to state today?”
  45. >”Enough, the both of you.”
  46. >Sleipnir silences the both of you as she approaches from the other end of the table, floating a golden chest the size of your head. She places the chest before you on the table and eyes Loki sternly.
  47. >”Tell me what it is you did wrong.”
  48. >Loki squirms in her chair and looks away from her mother.
  49. >”Now.” She demands.
  50. >The princess closes her eyes and lets it all come out.
  51. >”I wandered down to Midgard and tried to trick the mortals to me because I wanted SOMEONE up here to take my magic seriously for once in my life and that seemed the best way to do it OKAY? Honestly…how am I to make myself known as a magister when you are here as well, Mother?”
  52. >”You don’t.” says Sleipnir, echoing through the empty chamber.
  53.  
  54. >She leans her head down to Loki’s level and looks her in the eye. “You are not prepared for the role you seek, child. The throne takes more than a magister to occupy.” Loki breaks eye contact with her mother and nods with a sigh. “If you wish to be noticed, then be something worth noticing.”
  55. >Loki is about to object before she continues. “There are enough magisters in this realm, you are a goddess, a princess, and my daughter. Surely you can come up with a role you wish to be.”
  56. >”Now, eat.” She commands as she opens the chest.
  57. >Inside the resplendent chest on a cushion of red silk was a single apple, about the size of AJ’s back home. Unlike hers, however, this one was the same color as the chest it came in.
  58. “What in the world-“
  59. >”The Golden Apples of Iduun. Called Ambrosia by the Equestrians and the source of the might of the Aesir. The grove where Iduun cultivates them is one of our most closely guarded secrets, as the power they hold within them the power to make a mortal into a king.”
  60. >You look between the apple and Sleipnir.
  61. “And?”
  62. >The Queen grabs a knife with her magic and stabs it into the table in front of you.
  63. “You can’t be serious.”
  64. >”She’s always serious.” Loki says.
  65. “She JUST said it would have the power to make me a king.”
  66. >”Half of one.” Sleipnir corrects, taking the knife and floating the apple up. With gentle care, the Mother of All cuts the heavenly fruit in half first, then begins slicing it.
  67. “Beg pardon.”
  68.  
  69. >”The apple does indeed have the power within it to make a mortal a king, but only those of Aesir blood may have the fortitude to contain it all.” Sleipnir places the slices gently in front of you both. “You two will make due with half of such power.”
  70. >Loki simmers and grabs one of the slices. “Mother! I am not a little filly anymore, cease treating me as one at once!”
  71. >”No.” is the response she gets.
  72. >You snicker under your breath.
  73. >Sleipnir goes around behind your chairs. “When you are my age, daughter. Then I may consider your request. Baldur.”
  74. >”Yes’m!” you hear.
  75. >”When your sister finishes her apple, spend the day with her outside the palace. Take No-name with you to ensure that the apple does not harm him.”
  76. >Loki’s ears perk up at the idea of not being grounded.
  77. >”Should she behave herself for the day, she will be permitted to walk the city again.”
  78. >You’d never seen anyone dig into a sliced apple meal so fast, but Loki certainly tried.
  79. “Hah! Well, bon appetite, I guess…”
  80. >You pick up the odd fruit between your fingers and pop it into your mouth.
  81. >Hmm. Tasted like sunshine.
  82.  
  83. >After your meal, the three of you walk from the entrance of the palace along the path to the city, between the golden statues of heroes from ages past that tower taller than the palace in Canterlot.
  84. >You look at your hands, flexing them and trying to feel the power the apple had carried into you.
  85. “I don’t FEEL any different.”
  86. >”Give it a bit of time, No-name!” Baldur assures you. “The nectar of the Golden Apples is like a gentle drip carried by the clear waters of the Aesir through our bodies! Yours might just take a bit of time since your blood is more like…uhm…” He chews on his tongue a bit in thought before he gets something. “Mud! Blood like mud! Hehe.”
  87. “You’re too kind, Majesty.”
  88. >”Baldur to you, No-name! Just Baldur!”
  89. >The prince walks along the path with his head held high and you look down to his sister, keeping her gaze low as she trots along.
  90. “Bit for your thoughts.”
  91. >Loki blinks away her haze and looks up to you. “Were you addressing me?”
  92. “Yes?”
  93. >She scrunches her nose. “My thoughts are none of your concern, No-name!” she says in her haughty princess voice.
  94. “Right, right. Humor me with a question then.”
  95. >Loki looks back to you with one eye open, the action form of a question mark.
  96. “The Queen called you her daughter so…assuredly, but you told me you were adopted, so…”
  97. >A shade of crimson comes from under Loki’s cheeks and her horn sparks. “You have some nerve on you, Mortal! To think that you would ask a goddess such-“
  98. >”Settle down, sister!” Baldur chides, stopping ahead of you both. He extends a calming hood out and pats her back. “He doesn’t know, alright? Settle down.”
  99.  
  100. “I get the feeling you two know something I don’t.”
  101. >Baldur gives you a big smile and laughs. “I believe this may be what you mortals call “cultural differences”, my friend.” Baldur pulls Loki a bit closer, the princess clearly not enjoying the physical attention. “In Asgard, so many may die in wars or battles, that bonds we form must either form quickly and deeply, or not at all. Because of that and any familial deaths within those wars to be “adopted” does not carry with it the stigma it may in other realms.” He explains.
  102. >Baldur smiles down at Loki, who does her best impression of a rock wall.
  103. >”Sister has been accepted as one of us! That means she is of our family, by heart if not by blood.”
  104. >”Being of the same family as you, brother…I can hardly contain my excitement.”
  105. >You chuckle.
  106. “You both act like family, at least.”
  107. >”His fault.” Loki assures. “He was here since I was a newborn and I am only able to withstand so much of him after the years.”
  108. >She removes her brother’s hoof and continues down the road. “Come! I would use my first day of freedom for something other than the cultural enrichment of a braindead peon.”
  109. >You and Baldur exchange a look and a half-sigh.
  110. “If she gets in trouble and stays grounded, she’ll never let us hear the end of it.”
  111. >”So we should get in the trouble before her since we’re not being punished! Come, No-name!”
  112. >Baldur gallops after his little sister, with you not too far behind.
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