Chapter Thirty-Two: Bad News
Natalie followed him out, and they found Thor waiting at the end of the hall. From there they went to the roof, and Thor called Heimdall. The Bifrost opened and swallowed them, and a minute later they landed on the Rainbow Bridge.
They made their way to the palace from there, and the guards escorted them to Frigga's sitting room. Natalie noticed Loki was slightly nervous, but was hiding it well.
When they went in, they saw Frigga sitting on a sofa, and she got up as they came in. "I am glad you came," she said. "I am sure you know at least partially why I called you here, but firstly, Loki, I would like to apologize for bringing Helblindi to see you. I did not think it wise, but he insisted, and I did not want to ruin chances of peace with Jotunheim. I am sorry for causing you pain."
"Thank you for apologizing, Mother," Loki said. "Thor mentioned you had a vision; is everything alright?"
"Yes, this was not a warning of danger," Frigga said. "It merely confused me. I saw Thor about to hit you over the head with Mjolnir, which was green for some reason, and then the hammer was wrenched out of his hand and flew to Natalie."
Loki and Natalie exchanged glances, and then Loki said, "I painted Mjolnir last night, and discovered that the hammer is sentient. It said that it thinks Natalie might be able to use it the way Thor does. Then Thor found out about the paint, started chasing me around, and then when Natalie got home, I suggested that she try calling Mjolnir to her before Thor actually managed to hit me with it, and it worked."
"Did it say anything else?" Frigga asked.
"Mjolnir said that Thanos will come at some point, and Natalie will need to know how to defend herself, as she will undoubtedly be caught up in the fighting," Loki replied. "It also said that her using it is very much a last resort, as Thor would have to be taken out for her to use it. It is his primary weapon, after all."
"I see," Frigga said. "Have any of you an idea of why Natalie was chosen?"
"I think it's because I was the first to recognize that Mjolnir was sentient," Natalie said. "I think it wants someone to talk to."
"I agree; Thor only sees Mjolnir as a weapon, but I think it wants to be seen as a partner," Loki said.
Before Frigga could reply, there was a knock on the door, and Frigga called, "Enter."
The door opened, and a man who looked to be about Frigga's age came in and bowed. "My apologies for disturbing you, my Queen, but there is a man requesting an audience with you."
"Did he state his name and why he seeks an audience?" Frigga asked.
"He claims his name is Oddr," the man said. "But he refused to give a reason for requesting an audience."
"Inform him I will meet with him in the throne room," Frigga commanded.
"Understood, my Queen," the man said, and left.
Frigga looked at her sons and Natalie, and said, "All of you come with me." Then she swept out, and they followed her. They went to an antechamber that led to the throne room, and Frigga said, "Natalie, I would like you to observe this person, but not show yourself. I have heard you are very perceptive. If you sense or see anything off about this person, let Loki know."
"I understand," Natalie said. She followed them out into the throne room, but quickly hid herself in a spot where she could see and hear everything. The man was let in by the guards, escorted by the man who had informed them of his presence. He was wearing a hooded cloak, which Natalie immediately thought suspicious. "Thank you, Lord Tyr, you may go," Frigga said.
Tyr bowed and left, and Frigga asked the man, "Why have you come before me?"
Natalie noticed a subtle shift in the man's posture as he gave some excuse that she didn't quite catch. Worried, Natalie looked closer, and saw that the man was holding what appeared to be a short sword. The man shifted again, and Natalie called telepathically, Loki, this guy is holding a sword, and I think he means to attack Frigga.
She didn't get an answer, but Loki had apparently warned Frigga, and was currently tensing up. The man didn't seem to notice, and therefore seemed shocked when a green and gold energy field appeared out of nowhere, and tied him up. Loki stalked over and tore the man's hood off, revealing Odin.
Natalie barely restrained a snarl, and kept watching as Frigga said coldly, "So, Odin, you thought you could outwit Loki? You are a fool- though I do wonder how you came to be here."
"I have come to reclaim what is rightfully mine," Odin said.
"That merely answers why you are here; it does not tell us how you got here," Loki commented.
"I have no need to explain myself," Odin said arrogantly.
"Considering the fact you are supposed to be banished and now considered a peasant, I would disagree," Frigga said calmly.
Natalie watched the conversation, and suddenly felt something at the edge of her senses. She closed her eyes to concentrate, and then felt someone behind her. She spun, and saw the man Frigga had called Tyr behind her. "Something is off about Odin," he said quietly.
"I'm aware of that, but I can't figure out what it is," Natalie replied, her voice equally quiet. Suddenly an image of Odin clasping arms with a being Natalie knew to be Thanos flashed through Natalie's mind, as if someone had hit fast-forward on a movie. The image stopped on what appeared to be a yellow gem embedded in Odin's left palm. Natalie watched the image fade, and then said to Tyr, "Odin has a yellow gem embedded in the palm of his left hand; could that be why he feels off?"
Tyr's eyes widened. "That sounds like the Mind Stone," he said. "What else did you see?"
"Odin is in league with Thanos," Natalie replied. "That's probably where he got the stone. What now?"
"We tell Queen Frigga," Tyr said grimly. "Can you do it unobtrusively?"
"Telepathy," Natalie said, and said telepathically, Frigga, Odin is in league with Thanos and he's got a yellow gem embedded in his left hand.
Thank you, Frigga said, and then out loud said, "Odin, you have run mad. Allying yourself with Thanos and accepting the Mind Stone? You are not fit to be king of a rock, much less of Asgard."
Odin was looking somewhat nervous now, and Frigga asked, "What does Thanos want from us?"
Odin didn't respond, and Frigga gestured, blue sparks appearing at her fingertips. Speaking as if the words were being ripped from him, Odin said, "Thanos wants control of the Nine Realms, and sent me to retake the throne of Asgard. He plans to use Midgard as a base from which to conquer the other Realms after he kills Loki, the Dream Walker, and the Avengers."
"When will he attack Midgard?" Frigga asked.
"He will be ready to attack in three months' time," Odin said through gritted teeth. "I do not know precisely when the attack will occur, but he plans to attack the same city he did when he was using Loki as his pawn."
Frigga looked grim, and said, "Loki, take the Mind Stone from him."
Loki went over to Odin, who was still immobilized by the energy field Loki had created, and grabbed his left wrist, ignoring Odin's struggles as he flipped Odin' hand over, revealing the Mind Stone embedded in Odin's palm. Loki conjured a dagger, and cut the Stone out of Odin's hand. With a wave of his hand, the blood on the Stone vanished, and he brought it to Frigga. She took it, and then looked back at Odin. "Odin, you have overstepped far too many times," she said coldly. "I fear banishing you is no longer a viable option."
"Forgive me for interrupting, but I have an idea," Loki said.
"Go on," Frigga said.
"Bind his powers and send him to Jotunheim; let the Jotnar deal with him as they see fit," Loki said.
Frigga considered that, and finally said, "Very well." She rose to her feet, and called for the guards. The doors opened, and the guards outside the door came in. "Put this man in chains and escort him to the Bifrost," she commanded. "Thor, go with them and explain the situation to Heimdall."
"Understood," Thor said as the guards said, "As you command, Your Majesty."
They left, and when the doors closed, Frigga said, "Natalie, you and Lord Tyr can come out now."
Natalie walked over to her and Loki, followed by Tyr. "Natalie, how did you know that Odin had the Mind Stone?" Frigga asked. "Or that he was in league with Thanos?"
"I felt like something was off about him, and when I concentrated, I saw him and Thanos shaking hands," Natalie said. "Then the image showed him alone, and then his left hand, with the Mind Stone embedded in it. I relayed that to Lord Tyr, and he told me to contact you. I don't know why I had that vision, though; it was helpful, but I've never had visions before. And I don't think that's part of my powers."
"It should not be, you are correct," Frigga said thoughtfully. She put a hand on Natalie's forehead, concentrating for a few minutes before saying, "I can sense the Norns' powers; they must have given you this power."
"So I'm going to get random visions now?" Natalie asked.
"So it seems," Frigga replied. "A word of wisdom; even if you see something happen before it does, does not mean you will be able to change the outcome."
"I'll try to remember that," Natalie said. "But why was I given an extra power?"
"If I were to guess, it is most likely because Thanos is on the rise, and you are now a part of the fight," Frigga said.
Natalie sighed as Thor came back. "Heimdall has sent Odin to Jotunheim," he said. "We should return to Midgard; they will need to know what we have learned."
"Be safe," Frigga said softly.
"We will," Loki said.
After saying their goodbyes, Loki, Thor, and Natalie went back to the Bifrost, and Heimdall sent them to Avengers Tower. They found the rest of the team waiting, and Tony asked, "Everything okay?"
"No," Loki said grimly. "We learned some disturbing news about Thanos, and it might be a good idea to let Fury know as well."
"Fury's on his way over, something about an update; you can tell him when he gets here," Tony said.
Sure enough, ten minutes later: "Sir, Director Fury is here," JARVIS announced.
"About time," Tony said as Fury came in. "Hey Nick, what's up?"
Fury glared at Tony, but it looked somewhat half-hearted to Natalie. "The WSC has been apparently disbanded," he said. "All the members are now on the run from every military and law enforcement agency on the planet, and all their personal details have somehow made it on the internet."
"I told you they'd rue the day they messed with me," Tony said smugly.
Fury nodded and said, "How are things going here?"
"We have news that you won't be happy about," Loki said. Fury turned a one-eyed glare on him, and Loki said, "Thanos is planning on taking over Earth still, and will be ready to attack in three months' time, though we are unsure of whether or not he will actually attack then or if it will take longer. We do know that he plans to attack this city first, as we all are his first targets."
"So you're telling me that we have to deal with another world takeover attempt in three months?" Fury asked, rubbing his forehead.
"Yes," Loki said. "But this time you'll also have me to fight Thanos."
"Does he have anyone still helping him?" Fury asked.
"He commands the Chitauri army, and has a servant of some sort who is known as the Other," Loki said. "I don't know of any others, but that's more than enough to be going on with; the Chitauri army is massive, and Thanos himself is extremely powerful as well."
Fury sighed. "Then we'd better start preparing," he said.
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