Loki stood on the roof of one of Asgard's buildings that overlooked Bifrost, and watched as Bifrost activated. The ambassador from Alfheim, Arlen, and his aides had arrived.
He stayed standing there motionless until the Light Elves stepped out of Bifrost's dome. Autumn was approaching, and there was a chill in the air. It didn't bother Loki since for whatever reason he never got cold.
Once the elves stepped into view, he sharpened his sight to get a better look at them. Arlen did indeed have black hair. If Loki's knowledge was correct, then black haired elves were treated as third class citizens on Alfheim. It had something to do with Dark Elves having black hair, and the Light Elves always taking things (like their vendetta against the extinct Dark Elves) too far.
He did not remain there to greet them. There was a feast being held in their honor tonight, and he would have to attend that. Turning on his heel, the younger prince of Asgard disappeared in a swirl of emerald sparkles. He teleporting off to the training field where his brother undoubtedly was.
Loki was right, as usual. He wanted to tell his brother about the elves arrival, but Thor was currently engaged. Sif had managed to disarm him, and was standing between him and his training sword. Thor had yet to retrieve it.
Loki perched on one of the lower branches of the apple tree, having scampered up it invisibly, and watched Thor struggle. He was tempted to ice the training field over and see how well they'd do then, but his brother dived to one side, hit the ground, and came up with his blade. Loki decided against it.
He looked around for a bit to see if his pet Whipsnapper Cobra was up in the branches, but Slítas was not in sight. Slítas was from Jötunnheim, and had accidentally ended up on Asgard when he had wandered through a stray portal and into Loki's care. With autumn nearing, he was probably out in the woods enjoying the break from the heat of Asgard's summer like Loki was.
Fandral's shouting made Loki glance down at the match. Hogun watched as silently as Loki as Thor engaged Sif again.
Sif slid away from one of Thor's strokes and parried another, slipping her sword up past his defense and to his throat. Thor froze.
"That is two points for me," Sif goaded, slowly dropping her blade with a smug smile.
Thor scowled. The clear blue sky darkened slightly as black clouds moved in.
"Thor!" Fandral shouted, his voice losing its cheerful edge. "Don't make it rain again!" The blonde Godling looked around, and then up. "Loki! Don't let him make it rain!"
Loki swung down the branch partly and tilted his head to one side. "Why ever not?" He taunted. Due to Thor's link with Mjolnir, he made it storm whenever he got upset.
"It's autumn, a little rain isn't too odd."
Loki kept up his innocent look as a fuming Fandral turned away. It was surprising that Fandral had brought him into the conversation. Normally Thor's friends just ignored him. He had a distinct feeling they put up with him because otherwise Thor wouldn't tolerate them.
The wind shifted, and Loki heard a stick snap loudly. He was at an odd angle to the noise, and craned his neck when he heard a muffled giggle. His eyes skimmed over the shadows in the corner of the yard. Something moved. Loki pulled himself back into the foliage to get at a better angle, but by that time the figure in the shadows was gone.
Loki frowned slightly, but brushed it off. Most likely it was just a court girl trying to find something to gossip over. Girls. Loki couldn't understand why Thor and Fandral were forever chasing them around and making fools of themselves to get their attention.
By now, the clouds had faded and Fandral and Thor were now sparring. Hogan watched them stoically as Sif sat down on the grass, triumphant but exhausted. Loki hummed softly as he lay on the branch. Wait a moment, he thought, where's Volstagg?
The kitchen in Asgard's palace was a busy place. Servants and cooks were forever bustling around, and tonight's feast made the chaos even worse. On days of a feat it was traditional for attendees to not eat anything the whole day until the feast. It wasn't fair to Volstagg – who was always hungry – and right now on the verge of starving.
The plump Godling trotted around the kitchen. Loki was the real expert on sneaking around unnoticed but Volstagg was able to do a fair job in all the chaos. After a minute or so of clumsy "sneaking" and banging his head on a table once, he spotted his prey.
A maid set a plate of fresh, hot sweettarts on a nearby table and walked away. Volstagg licked his lips and got out from under the table, almost hitting his head again. He took a few steps and felt a warm breeze brush by him. In a kitchen with all its fires roaring it should come as no surprise, but there was a sort of substance to it that made his hair stand on end. He stopped and frowned.
A few sweettarts hovered off the plate and Volstagg's eyes got big as a bite appeared in one of them.
"Loki?" he asked knowing how good the Prince was at invisibility.
"Huh?" he heard a voice near the hovering goodies asked. The plate slid off the table and shattered, spilling sweettarts everywhere.
"Oops, didn't mean to do that." The same voice apologized.
"Volstagg!" one of the cooks, spotting him near the poor ruined treats, shouted.
"I didn't do it!" Volstagg shouted back.
He ducked under a flour covered rolling pin and beat a hasty retreat out of the kitchen. He didn't slow down until he got to the training yard where Fandral and Thor were sparring.
Loki rolled his eyes at his name and jumped down from his perch on the tree to land a few inches from a breathless Volstagg. Volstagg almost jumped out of his boots when he turned his head and saw Loki right next to him. He yelped instead and landed on his rear.
"Yes?" Loki asked, pleased that he could look down on someone for once instead of looking up. He hated being short.
"How did you get here so fast?" Volstagg demanded, standing up.
"Get where?" Loki asked again with a frown. What was Volstagg was getting at?
"From the kitchens!" Volstagg insisted. Loki's look remained clueless. "You knocked over a plate of sweettarts and got me chased out!"
"Me?" Loki shook his head. "I've been here watching the sparring the whole time."
"Well, who else can turn invisible?" Volstagg growled, looking over at his friends.
"Any other mage." Loki shrugged nonchalantly and leaned against the apple tree. "It's an advanced spell, but by no means impossible."
So another mage was causing trouble, was he. Hmm, that was Loki's job…
That seemed to appease Volstagg. "Didn't sound like you I guess, more like a girl."
"Sure it wasn't Loki?" Sif challenged from where she sat.
"Do not insult my brother!" Thor warned, lowering his blade from Fandral victoriously.
Sif rolled her eyes. "Whatever."
Thor opened his mouth, but stopped when he saw Loki's look.
"Hey Sif." Loki started.
Sif turned to face him defiantly. Loki had to look up to make eye contact being a full head shorter than everyone else. Loki smiled a smile that made Sif wary, mischief alight in his emerald eyes.
"Better lock up any scissors you have," Loki warned.
Fandral and Volstagg gaped, Thor grinned, and Hogan rolled his eyes. Sif went from wary to furious. She hadn't kept scissors on her nightstand since the last time she had insulted Loki and woken up with her beautiful golden hair scattered around her room. It had grown back that dull brown-black.
"Why you!" She spat and threw a punch at the younger boy – only to fall straight through his illusion.
The illusionary Loki dissolved into emerald swirls and Sif – who had put too much energy into the swing – fell on her stomach with an oomph. Sif could hear Loki's laughter from up in the apple tree, and Loki heard giggling.
This time Loki was in a perfect position to see a small, lithe figure in the shadows. Loki condensed his magic and sent out an invisible ripple of it to the hidden figure. It straightened at the touch of his magic and Loki got the distinct feeling that it, no, she, was looking through the dense leaves of the tree at him. There was a ripple of pink light around the figure and she was gone.
That was the same giggle from earlier. Loki knew who the mages were, and that laugh hadn't come from any of them. Was that the same girl that Volstagg had gotten chased out for? If she was one and the same, then who was she?