Hidden Within

Indignation

"Adeline? Adeline? Can you hear me?"

The warrior twitched ever so slightly, opening her eyes to reveal the man standing above her. His auburn, dark hair cascaded down to his shoulders, where his ears peeked out ever so slightly in their usual pointed manner. His eyes glowed their familiar orange hue, and peered down at the mess of blonde hair sprawled out on the floor. Adeline's eyes fluttered, blinking in the bright light, which was nothing but a shade of white surrounding her. Not one single color stood out besides the Fire Elf staring down at her.

"Father?" Her eyes widened and she lunged forward, pulling him from his balanced and knelt position, to her level where she hugged him tightly, unable to think of anything else but the comfort of his embrace. He was chuckling softly under his breath, as he gently drew back, removing her hands and arms from around his neck. She stared helplessly bewildered.

"Adey." He grinned and placed a thumb across her cheek, staring proudly down at her solemn expression.

"What's going on?" She managed, her voice nothing but a quiet squeak, as tears began to flood her blue eyes.

Her father said nothing at first, just simply took her hand and guided her to her feet. She blinked, utterly confused, while taking a glance around, seeing nothing but an endless array of white walls. Not a single item of décor, or any intricate details.

"What do you mean, dear?" Her father asked, as his face contorted into a rather mystifying expression of solitude.

Something wasn't right here. Adeline paused, her eyes still adjusting to the room's brightness. Places like this don't exist, do they? Only one thing came to her mind as her fingers moved to her ribcage and folded onto her skin, immediately causing her features to cringe in agony. Broken rib, she presumed. She then looked up at her father, her blue eyes staring hopelessly into his almost flammable, orange orbs.

"Am I dead?" She questioned, heart constricting as she thought of the idea. Another hand reached up to feel a slight pounding on the back of her head, which she quickly took notice of, as blood contrasted with her pale skin and the mortifying white background.

Her father scoffed, shaking his head and smiling, "Of course not, Adey."

She hesitated and took a deep breath, watching her father peculiarly, "But you are."

His eyes widened, as if this was new knowledge he wasn't expecting. Surely he would know, wouldn't he? Adeline took a step closer to the man she'd known her whole life as not just her father, but her best friend too.

"Father?" She questioned, raising a hand to place it on his shoulder, before she was instantly interrupted by a flash of red. She whirled around to catch sight of the intruder and terrifying color amongst the white background, but didn't see a single soul. When she turned back to her father however, her memory was inflicted by a sudden trauma. She watched the blood trickle from both the open wound on his neck, and the dagger held by the crimson being, smirking vigorously as he observed her as well. His horns were their familiar red, and ivory glow, and his tail flickered in an anxious motion. He grinned wickedly at her, removing his hand from her father's neck, so the Fire Elf could instead slump down to the ground, eyes still open, and neck craned in a horribly odd manner.

"Father!" Adeline cried out and dropped to the floor, flipping him over so that his head rested in her lap. She ignored the cackles sounding from the Tiefling standing quite close to her, and simply reached to feel for her father's pulse. Nothing. His wrist was too still; no abnormal thumping, no thumping at all.

"No, please! Not again…" She mumbled to herself, tears beginning to flood her eyes, and sting her rather battered face. She ignored the extent of pain from her own injuries, and simply stayed beside her father, hunched over agonizingly. Even if this was a mere dream world, it hurt to watch this man die, and die again for that matter. Everything she'd ever felt before, in her grief, resurfaced, except now, however, anger won out over sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness. She flew to her feet and lunged for the creature that had brought both herself, and Loki, so much internal pain. She reached forward, flinging both hands around his neck, piercing his skin with her grasp, so tight he gasped for air. She didn't say a word; she simply glared, eyes on fire. She wished more than anything to call upon her flame and burn this being's body to a charred, and blackened corpse, but nothing came. Nothing was strong enough. Loki wasn't here. Instead, she resulted to holding her grip, never letting go, merely sucking the very life out of this soulless monster.

And then black.

The white of her mind's tunnel was swarmed in a mundane black light, and she felt her eyes fluttering open once again, this time into the harsh air of reality. Red filled her vision; red walls, red ceilings, a red corridor with a rather eccentric red throne at the end, caked with black lacings and sharp stones. It was a threatening display of décor, and it made her shiver just seeing the place, let alone touching anything. That reminded her. She looked up to see her wrists bound by a sharp, aged silver metal, clinging to her skin, and drawing her pale color to dark pink, in soreness. They were attached to pillars on either side of her, so that each arm was held up, so straight she ached already. Her feet were on the ground, shoeless and cold. Her hair was a mess, riddled with dried blood from an obvious blow to the head, and every breath she took was painful. Her clothes, still Midgardian – in this case, long pale, denim jeans, and a rather exotic blue blouse – felt overly tight, in her lack of breathable air, and were entirely covered in grunge, and spontaneous amounts of blood. Her eyes loomed to take in the now audible footsteps approaching her, rather slowly and elegantly. She lifted her head, which hung dejectedly from the chains that held her, and gazed up at the nearing creature.

Tiefling, obviously. His skin was darker than those she had seen, a rather horrifying crimson red that held your eyes in an attempt to kill you on the spot with it's terrifying shade. His eyes glowing a faint red, seeping in a dark puddle of white, as though they would bleed profusely any moment. He had black hair, but not much of it, as his head was mostly covered by the great length of his horns; long, and incredibly sharp as they spiraled around his ears and near his temples. His tail warped about, flickering with content as he peered pleasurably at Adeline's weakened position, along with his long black robe-like cape which dragged on the floor behind him and covered the extent of his charcoal colored tunic.

"My dear," His deep baritone voice broke the wavering silence, and suddenly Adeline felt highly on edge, seemingly too high, "So sorry for the poorly timed, and rather unexpected invitation."

Adeline broke into a mocking laugh, "Invitation? Is that how you Tieflings invite people into your humble abode? Whack them across the head and break a few of their ribs? Bit…intimate…don't you think?" Her sarcasm seemed to fit well with the creature's personality, as he was grinning widely.However, somehow she didn't see that as a good thing.

"It won't be for long, Elf. We only need you as a sort of," He paused, as if looking for the right word for the right context, "vessel."

Adeline arched a brow, "Vessel?"

"Hmm, Loki has grown quite fond of you, hasn't he?" The Tiefling smirked, and eyed her suspiciously.

"No, actually. We hate each other."She knew she sounded stupid, but she had to try. She was desperate.

The creature laughed darkly, and shook his head, "No sense in lying. Rollnick's told me everything."

Adeline swallowed, and cleared her throat, "Ever considered Rollnick could be wrong?"

The Tiefling sneered, and sighed, as if thoroughly exasperated with the conversation, "Rollnick is never wrong. At least not in any outrageously pressing matters. If he had been, he'd be dead by now."

Adeline gulped and nodded slowly, watching as the Tiefling took a seat in the rather frightening black and red throne.

"You, my dear, will have Loki scuttling in agony."

Adeline exhaled through her nose in outrage, but didn't say a word.

"He will return to you, find you have vanished, bottle up his anger, release it onto me, and be faced with a serious decision."The creature snickered, a grinned deviously.

Adeline winced, held back her aggravated tone of voice, and instantly questioned the being, "And what decision is that?"

At that moment, the monster's eyes darted up to stare her down, dark and gloomy, as though all the chaos of the world was reveled up in his power.

"Join me, or watch his precious warrior die."

xXx

"Of all the self-centered, idiotic low-life's," Loki was cut off by Thor's loud boom of a voice, "Loki! Enough!"It echoed through the dark neighborhood, as both princes made their way to the door of Jane's small cottage.

Loki was thoroughly pissed off; his father was a coward who thought himself a genius. He was undeniably wrong in that matter, and it was stirring up a storm behind Loki's vacant and colorless eyes. Thor grabbed hold of the door handle, pleased to find it unlocked, and shoved his brother in before him. Loki did as forced upon him, and strode into the house, elegantly yet still rather irritably.

"Jane?" Thor called out, and a rather frantic being dashed into the living room both Asgardians stood frozen still in.

But it wasn't Jane. It was Darcy; her hair thrown up in a neglected bun, her clothes the same as they had been when they left her, and her eyes pleading for…what was that? Forgiveness?

"Darcy?" Thor questioned and approached the trembling woman, "What is it, what's wrong?"

Darcy visibly swallowed, her eyes darting over to Loki whose expression was that of both concern and anger, and then faced the blonde again. "It's Adeline."Her reply was nothing but a squeak, but Loki was immediately inches closer to the terrified mortal, having heard the words perhaps too clearly.

"What do you mean, it's Adeline?" Loki snapped, eyes glowering in frustration and irritable aggravation.

Darcy gulped and nodded vigorously; her head shaking as she moved – frankly, everything was shaking on the human."Jane's out looking. It was fine. We were fine. And then Adeline left and went for a walk, just a walk, she told us she was just going out, and we thought it would be okay but then hours went by and she didn't return and we panicked, and- and," Thor shushed Darcy's non-stop babble, putting a large, gentle hand on her shoulder and patting back her hair, "It's okay, Darcy. Just breathe."

Loki was already too caught up in what the mortal had said, and was near explosion. He shoved Thor out of the way and placed a firm hand, slender fingers tightly wound, around Darcy's frail neck. She gasped as he forced her back against the living room wall."What happened?" He shouted, eyes flaring in outrage as the human only shivered in fear.Thor reached forward to pull Loki off of her, but he failed in his attempts, however ceased to stop.

"Where is Adeline, you mewling quim!" Loki snarled, his fingers tightening in their harsh and violent grip.

"Loki! Stop this! Stop this, now!" Thor exclaimed, grasping onto Loki's shoulders in firm shoves, to draw him away from the mortal.

Loki blinked, swallowed, and released his clasp on the woman's neck.She took a much-needed breath of air, and slumped to the floor; Thor knelt down and pulled her close, as if to protect her from another of Loki's unexpected outbursts. Loki stumbled backward in a mixture of shock, sadness, and both full-out and full-blown anger.

"I tolerated you! I tolerated you for longer than I thought I was able! I lived amongst your petty human race thinking I was safe, thinking Adeline was safe! And then in one night, because you're too stupid to even think, Adeline disappears, vanishes!"

Thor wasn't sure whom he was directing the outraged rant to, as he was simply yelling, eyes shut tight in pure overwhelming fury, his fingers carding roughly through his long black hair.

"I'm sorry." Darcy choked out, wiping a few tears from the side of her cheek, eager to hide her guilt, but failing miserably.

"Sorry," Loki scoffed, "Perhaps you should have thought of the circumstance, you puny mortal, you ridiculous animal! We were threatened with war! You were there when threats were passed! Were you too stupid to muster the idea that perhaps they would return in spite of my words?"

Loki was growled furiously now, and Thor raised a hand to him, gesturing that he back away, as he had been inching back toward the fragile woman, curled up next to Thor's knelt position. Loki chuckled darkly, and rather unexpectedly, whipping back his cape as he trudged toward the door of the small house.

"Brother!" Thor called out, eyes narrowing in confusion. "Where are you going?"The blonde prince mostly commanded an answer rather than asked for one.

Loki glanced over his shoulder, just before choosing to exit the abode.

"To collect what's mine."

With that, he disappeared into the cold breeze, and darkness of night.

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