Hidden Within


"The dungeons?" The blonde woman huffed in confusion, bags under her eyes and blistered fingers from sleepless nights of continuous sewing.

"Yes, mother." Adeline replied with a grin as she hurried to pack her things in a small bag. Her mother only sighed and sat down at the kitchen table to watch her daughter shuffle through her things. After moments of noisy packing, her mother spoke again. "Will you visit?"

Adeline stopped what she was doing and turned to her mother, who sat quietly, her legs folded, crinkling her lovely hand-made dress. She approached her and held her cheeks in her hands. "Of course, mother." Adeline smiled and gave her a small loving kiss on the forehead before returning to her job at hand.

Her mother sighed yet again, "Henry will miss you terribly."

Adeline winced as she thought of her little brother. "I suppose so, mother. But he will be a man soon, and he can join me." Adeline beamed reassuringly to her mother, to which she responded with a sad nod. Adeline was soon throwing the last of her belongings into her cloth bag. She found herself falling into a pit of despair; worried her little brother and mother wouldn't be able to care for themselves. But she had to do this. Besides, the royal family would pay her in gold, and she would send it off to her family at the end of every week. She stood up straight and grinned in her own pride.

Turning to the weak, blonde woman, she took a deep breath, "Goodbye, mother." She sighed and flew forward, pulling her into a tight embrace. Her mother only exhaled a saddened breath and hugged her back. And with that, Adeline was out the door, part of her terribly excited to take on the new responsibility of guarding the prisoner below Asgard.

"Lady Crow?" The deep voice asked her upon entering the palace, as he stood tall in his golden armor.

"Yes." She nodded with a friendly smile. A woman had already come to fetch her bags, reassuring her they would be placed in her new chamber.

"I am to lead you to your post." The guard stated firmly and Adeline bobbed her head up and down, preparing herself for the tour. "Please, follow me." He grinned a kind grin and began walking through the corridors of the palace. Adeline wore her shiny guard uniform, complete with a sword and shield, just as every knight of Asgard appeared. She gazed around at her surroundings, the palace glowing with wealth and riches as the gold on every large column shimmered in the sunlight. My, what it would be like to live hidden within the palace walls, everything at your dispense; the ability to do things whenever you wished to do them. To sleep in a bed ten times the size of your own. To be free. Without a care in the world. The guard before her led her down a flight of stairs, which twisted downwards. The walls changed from their sweet and bewildering patterns of color, to a cold, hard gray with every step she took. She found herself thinking of the basement below her own house in the market. It was her sanctuary, a place away from the world, no matter how bad it smelt of rats and rotten wood.

Once they reached the bottom of the flight of stairs, she was directed to enter a rather large metal door. "I bid you goodbye here, my lady." The guard stated sternly and bowed towards her.

She narrowed her eyes, "Oh." She swallowed the knot in her throat. "Alright, thank you."

The guard nodded and stood up straighter than he had been before. "I suggest you try your best not to speak to the prisoner." The man huffed in almost a wave of aggravation, not to her, but simply the subject he spoke of. Adeline raised an eyebrow.

"Nothing that exits his mouth is of importance. He is only constructed of tricks and lies." The knight of Asgard snapped, and sighed as he faced Adeline yet again. She felt the same feeling of pity yet again for this, Loki, whom the king had said only cruel words about. She brushed it away with a shake of her head and cleared her throat.

"It is my duty to guard this criminal, sir. I can assure you I do not intend to get distracted." She huffed firmly, and the man nodded his head abruptly.

"Well then. The king will send someone for you are finished carrying out your duty for the day." He grunted and with another bow, took off up the stairs. Adeline found herself nervous again. She hurriedly took a deep breath and pushed the heavy metal door open. That was when she saw the cells. They were large, extended across many feet of the walls they were sat in. They were not enclosed with iron bars; no, they were enclosed with glass surfaces. It was almost as if there were no barrier there at all. From the first she got a glimpse of, they were empty, bearing no prisoners. Until she swayed effortlessly up the corridor of cells was it that she saw the only one occupied.

He was sat, his back against the wall of the prison cage, a tattered, old book in his hands. His raven black hair was pulled backwards, so that his ears were revealed, and hit just about the top of his shoulders. His body was lean as it curved, following the flow of the wall, his legs crossed over one another. His expression seemed calm and relaxed, but somehow there were more emotions emanating off of him, in ways Adeline could not explain. She was distracted by his look of innocence, and absolute beauty. He was, in fact, beautiful. She failed to see how he was the talk of the town, mixed in with words of detestation. Wicked, hateful, inhuman; words Adeline didn't see when she gazed over at him. She longed for him to look up at her, as she stood right in the middle of the brightly lit dungeon. Suddenly, she was knocked from her act of admiration by a deep voice.

"Oi! You must be the new recruit!" A smiling guard, with a slight brown stubble and shaggy hair, exclaimed to her as she stared with widened eyes. She quickly nodded. She wasn't sure who this man was, or what he was doing down here. She presumed she'd be alone.

"Well, welcome to the family! Sorry you had to get stuck with that one!" He laughed and twitched his head in the direction of the occupied vault.

Adeline turned back to the prisoner. He had looked up from his book and was now staring at her with curious eyes. His eyes. From where she stood, she couldn't be sure if they were gray or light green. But she could tell that they were sad. Was she the only one that could see this? The loneliness, emptiness, or solitude burning within him? The guard knocked her shoulder with his knuckles, causing a loud clang to jolt Adeline awake. She glared at him suspiciously.

"Have fun!" He teased, and chuckled walking down the lonely corridor towards another door on the opposite side. What was that all about? Adeline rolled her eyes and sighed.

"He's always like that." The velvety voice echoed in the hall of prison cells. Adeline launched her head upward, her mouth slightly open in disbelief; surprised the man in the cell was willing to speak. An upward force threatened to tug up the corners of her lips, as she felt a hint of gratitude towards the prisoner for sharing his thoughts aloud. She soon took notice of a small chair in her peripheral vision, right beside the cell that enclosed her responsibility. She swayed over to it, keeping her eyes dead on the mysterious black-haired man.

"Loki, I suspect?" Adeline breathed softly as she sat in front of his cell, gazing at him, as he still sat in a curve against the white wall. His cell was filled with normal things. A chair, a small table or was it a desk? She narrowed her eyes and fixed her attention on him again.

"I don't believe I received your name." He grinned almost wickedly, to which Adeline simply ignored, remembering the guard's words.

I suggest you try your best not to speak to the prisoner. Great job, Adeline.

"You don't need it." Adeline countered with a stern smile, and almost trickery in her eyes. Loki suddenly chuckled softly, and his eyes closed in one smooth movement, his pale hands still grasping the book in his lap.

"Oh, I like you." He teased, his lips curved into a crooked smirk.

Adeline thought she'd find herself feeling uneasy, but for some reason she felt…honored. Why honored? Because he used to be prince of Asgard? No. He's a murderer, a villain. Why was she glad he accepted her?

His eyes remained closed, and she simply observed him now. His features were drawn so perfectly, pale with a lack of nature's touch, but still oddly magnificent. He was bewildering. How could a man look so innocent, yet be capable of so much evil? Adeline swallowed her thoughts, and looked away as the prisoner came alive again.

"Are you my new babysitter?" He asked, almost sincerely.

Adeline's expression twisted suspiciously, "Yes. Problem?" She asked, expecting an answer.

He smirked and raised his chin slightly. "Not at all. Did my father send you?" He questioned, this time honestly.

Adeline watched him and then slowly nodded.

The prisoner grinned and then scoffed, "Answer me this. Does he wish me dead?" Loki asked softly.

Adeline froze and swallowed the knot forming deep within her throat. She wasn't sure if she should answer. But the hurt in his tone of voice stuck out to her so much she couldn't refuse.

"I'm afraid so." Adeline cleared her throat as she watched him.

He shook his head, the wicked grin still tainting his lips. "Not to worry. The feeling is mutual." He replied, and he was instantly on his feet.

Adeline wasn't sure, but he seemed full of rage yet clouded by a look of despair. How was this the same Loki people spoke of as treacherous and evil? Maybe only she could see the light hidden within this man's tainted soul. His voice broke a rift in her thoughts.

"My lady, if you are to be my new babysitter, I do sincerely wish to know your name." Loki teased with an almost kind smile of honesty.

She hesitated and then eyed the young prisoner, gazing at him in his eyes. Only now, did she realize, that they were neither green nor gray. They were a fair blue. A blue so appealing she was hypnotized into answering his innocent question.

"Adeline Crow." She breathed and watched as his grin deepened in value.

He looked down at the floor beneath him and visibly swallowed. "Lady Crow. I am pleased to make your acquaintance."

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