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Hidden Within

By Jade Buohler

Romance / Adventure

Honorable

Her nerves caused her to perspire heavily, her palms squeezed together in an act to ease her constant shivers, as her legs felt as though they had gone numb with fear. The King of Asgard was certainly someone one would want to impress, especially when one was in need of a stable occupation. Her family had lived desperately in a small cottage lacing the market street of Asgard, and money did not come easily. Her mother was a seamstress, sewing fine clothes for simple ladies of the town. Her younger brother helped her uncle in blacksmithing, something he wasn't at all fond of, but was forced into for the extra gold. Her father had been something of a hero, however. A warrior of Asgard, serving as a knight under order of the king. And so when she came of age, she strived to find her place, to follow in his footsteps. The door's heavy hinges screeching against the polished marble floor sprung her from her thoughts. She raised her head, removing her eyes from the ground beneath her feet and focusing on the guard standing present near the open door in his golden armor. She sent him a nod and quickly forced her numb legs to walk steadily towards the door now left ajar. The guard opened it widely for her, and she entered, swaying firmly down the long corridor of columns and golden decorations. She held her head high in an act to stay confident with herself, although her hands were clammy and her nerves were nagging at her very soul as she stared straight down the wide hall and at the King, sitting upright in his large throne. Her armor clattered awfully noisily, even though it was of the finest quality, given to her by the highest officials of Asgard's royalty, as congratulation for her acceptance by the king. Yes, she had in fact already received the occupation of a warrior of the royal family. But the king had called her forth immediately, as he wished to speak with her privately. Why? She did not know. She was sure it wasn't because she was female, a female who had easily performed her duty at a better quality than the men attempting to receive the occupation, as there was another female warrior already in the picture; Lady Sif. One she had aspired to be like since she was a young child. One who fought beside Thor, a prince of Asgard. Her very dream. Also, she was sure it couldn't be because she was in some kind of trouble, as she had only had the job for a day, and had done everything required of her.

So now she simply waited for the verdict.

She finally made it to the end of the corridor, stopping within a good enough distance of the Allfather, with his two guards standing beside his throne. She fell hurriedly into a steady bow, her long, blonde hair falling down beside her cheeks, clouding the nervous emotions hidden within her blue eyes.

"Adeline Crow." Odin's deep voice echoed her name through the mostly empty hall, redirecting her attention from where she knelt, back up to whom she was supposed to be speaking with. She swallowed, got to her feet with another clang of her heavy armor, and nodded her head firmly, "Your majesty." He gazed at her perceptively, watching her every move with careful judgment. She swayed in her stance slightly in her unease. Come on, Adeline. Woman up. It's only the king of Asgard.

She shook her thoughts away and smiled a faint confident smile to the king.

"Do you know why I have summoned you forth?" The Allfather asked intelligently. It was at that moment, that the queen came sauntering out, her blue and gold dressing sprawling out behind her with elegance, as she smiled softly towards her husband. Adeline focused back to Odin, waiting patiently for her answer.

She shook her head, "No, my king." She managed, and gazed at both of the royal figures before her, the queen standing gracefully next to the Allfather's throne.

The king raised his chin knowingly, "I knew your father." He stated, and suddenly Adeline's attention was directed right to Odin's careful eyes. "He was a great man. And if you have the potential to be half the warrior he was, you shall be greatly honored." The king grinned in a friendly way, causing Adeline's eyes to light up instantly at his king words.

"Thank you, your majesty." This time she curtsied. Like a lady. She found herself embarrassed by the action. The queen simply smiled, making her fair appearance all the more beautiful.

"Which is why, I am entrusting you with a very delicate matter." Adeline's head shot up to face the Allfather, unprepared by the words that followed his kind praise. Frigga's, the queen's, expression altered into a gaze of dismay, shame, and pity. Suddenly, Adeline felt severely pressured, like the weight of the world was resting on her shoulders and she didn't know why. She pushed her blonde hair from her pale-skinned face, as if to see the king more clearly.

"Anything, your highness." She bowed once more, letting out an inaudible sigh.

The king seemed to take one himself before he began to speak. "I am sure you are aware that Prince Thor has just recently returned from Midgard with the prisoner, Loki." Odin stated firmly to her, his expression flat.

She thought for a moment. She knew Thor visited Midgard often, the planet known as Earth, and that he had a woman there whom he loved greatly. She also knew of Loki, although she had never clearly seen him. It had always been impossible for anyone to catch a glimpse of the young piece of royalty, as he always kept himself in the company of his own presence, staying reserved and hidden away. He, too, had been a prince of Asgard before his rebellious actions got him killed. Or well, that's what everyone thought. Somehow he survived, and instead turned to Midgard in an act to be their king. He killed plenty of innocent people in the process, and in the end was captured and put in restraints by his very own brother, surely much to his regret. Why the Allfather was bringing this up, she was unsure.

"Yes, my king." Adeline nodded, and stood tall before the powerful man.

"I do not trust the traitor. If it were up to I alone, I would have him silenced for his crimes. Hung in the courtyard, or beheaded." The king snapped viciously, causing the hair on Adeline's back to rise in a muted version of fear. She bit her lip as she listened to him. Yes, his actions were terribly cruel and stupidly conducted, but was he not still the Allfather's son? Oddly enough, she felt a twinge of pity for the prisoner now rotting in the jail cells below the palace.

"But because Frigga was so persistent, I had no choice but to allow him to keep his life." The queen lowered her head in somewhat of a surrender. Adeline winced and carried on listening to the king's proposal. "However, because I still do not trust him, it causes me to lie awake at night in a panic that he will escape and attempt to hurt someone." The king sighed, shaking his head in almost embarrassment that he was afraid of his son.

"Therefore, I wish to assign you as a guard in the dungeons below." The king's last statement jerked Adeline from her straight stance.

She gazed at the king with widened eyes. "If you truly do hail from the bloodline of your father, Anzelmus Crow, then you are perfectly qualified for this task." The Allfather commanded sharply. "I see no one better suited for the duty." He exhaled sternly, "Yes, it is a big responsibility, but I trust you are capable of it."

Adeline was speechless. Never in her right mind did she think the king would place his full faith in her. And how hard could it be to simply guard an impossible-to-escape Asgardian prison cell? She instantly regained her confident stance.

"Of course, my king. I accept your task with infinite gratitude." She smiled to him, and bowed slightly forward.

He raised his chin to speak again, his tone of voice high and mighty, "You will obtain a private residence on palace ground, as I will need you to watch the prisoner almost constantly. Especially in the night hours." Odin informed her and she nodded quickly taking in the waterfall of information.

"I suggest you now collect your things, and return here in an hour, prepared for your new task." The Allfather ordered, and Adeline quickly dropped to her knee, her blonde hair flying down with her.

"Yes, your majesty." He gazed at her as she sprang upwards again.

"Go, now." He shooed her with a gesture of his hand.

She bobbed her head up and down and spun hurriedly to sway down the corridor and out of the palace. She felt honored, blessed even, that the king had entrusted her to contain the so-called evil he had referred to his son as. She would make her father proud, and she would fulfill her responsibility with her finest effort. Again, how difficult could it be?

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