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The Loki System

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Light footfalls echoed inside the golden halls of the palace. Loki gracefully stepped through an arch, pulling off his headpiece and loosening the collar of his scholar robes. The dark-haired prince guided himself with both confidence and calm, looking dainty yet strong.

He knew the drastic measures he would need to take to prevent Thor's premature death. It was inevitable that he would be the one to make such a difficult decision, to choose either loyalty to his own brother, or loyalty to the royal family. But alas, Loki knew that keeping Thor alive was much more favorable than keeping the latter's pride.

The guards standing in front of the large, ash wood doors looked solemn as they saw their prince approach. Loki nodded to them in greeting and wordlessly swept past them, waving a hand for the door to open and silently entered.

"Father." He gave a small bow as he greeted the AllFather.

Odin's face was nearly pressed to a piece of parchment as he wrote a series of symbols that would soon decree the new rule for 'admiring' a royal family member.

Meaning no one can gawk at Loki Odinson or they shall be punished on pain of death!

"Father... Father..."

Oh, how Odin worried for his youngest. He glared at the sheet of parchment as his mind wandered to the day he would need to give away the young prince to someone completely unworthy and an obvious bastard to boot!

"Father!"

Odinson abruptly looked up, his eyes meeting a pair of emerald green irises peering at him with curiosity. Shit! He didn't notice him come in!

"Father, are you well?" Loki approached the Allfather, looking worried and unsure as he placed a hand on the old god's shoulder.

Odin turned away from the paperwork and gave all his attention to his youngest, looking straight at the trickster with a faint twitch of his lips. He coughed once. "Yes. What is it, my son?"

Loki wasn't convinced but dismissed his father's personality as being one of the weird side-effects of being king, which led him to wonder if Thor would someday turn out like that as well.

Hopefully, that will not be the case, as Thor is already weird enough and very arrogant.

"If you insist. Father, I am here to alert you of Thor. He and his friends are heading to Jotunheim-"

"WHAT?!"

Loki gave a small, helpless smile. "Thor is heading to Jotunheim, Father... Right now..."

Odin stood up from his chair and billowed out a command to the guards outside. He quickly turned to Loki, who looked rather calm and listless and ushered his son to the door. "Do not worry, my son. All will be taken care of."

"But- Father- I, Thor wants me to-"

"No, do not feel as if you are responsible. That pig-headed, stupid, shameless, idiotic boy will be in another world of pain once I have his hide. Causing such ruckus right after the troubles with the Jotun-"

Loki tried to speak, but Odin was already resolute, beginning to ramble and insult Thor in as many ways as humanly, and godly, possible. Soon, the silvertongue god was pushed out of the studies and walking down the hall, wondering what had just happened.

009, are you sure nobody is out of character? I'm pretty sure Odin isn't supposed to act like that.

{Quite, Master Mot. The reason for his reaction was because Loki- you- confronted him about Thor, unlike the original owner of the body, who only spoke with a few guards to deliver a message before leaving.}

I see. So Loki is basically an unreliable narrator.

{Quite so.}

Sighing, Loki picked up the long edges of his robes that swept the floors and ran (gracefully) to his room. Upon entering, the sorcerer changed from the elaborate- and comfortable- outfit to something warm and loose.

(1) The new scholar robe was dark green, looking more like a long jacket with a cloak-like exterior. There was a hood attached to it, along with a black shoulder cape (2) that covered his right shoulder. He wore his tunic and breeches inside, holding everything together with a wide, green, silk sash. Lastly, Loki draped a soft, transparent green shawl with a warming spell around his frame, attaching the clasps on his shoulder.

Feeling more comfortable in simpler clothes, the trickster god tugged on a pair of leather gloves, stuffed his feet into some riding boots, grabbed a magic staff (3) that he found lying inside his closet, attached his knives (4) to his secret storage space, and ditched the sword, made a swift exit out the door.

Seeing as Odin didn't let him explain before he was told to 'not feel responsible', Loki felt that he might need the weapons. Just in case.

He was only a few steps out of his room when loud, clanking armor and the approaching of several footsteps alerted him to pause.

"Loki!" The boisterous yell came from one blonde thunder god. Behind him were the Warrior Four, who are now openly gawking.

It would seem Loki's intuitions were not wrong.

Thor froze for a moment as well but did not say anything, opting to march forward and swing an arm around his little brother cheerfully.

"I see you changed into warmer garments. Friends, we shall depart now. Let us go to our horses and leave to Jotunheim!" He declared.

There was a round of unenthusiastic cheers among the group.

009, why do I have a feeling this isn't going to end well?

{Because you read the plot?}

True

Crossing the rainbow bridge of Asgard had little fanfare. Loki's mount, a large steed named Sigvard, had trotted proudly, in front of all the other horses, (even Thor's) before he could reign in some control. The younger prince pats its mane softly and cooed at it, giving all his attention to the steed that now moved more calmly than before. Unbeknownst to Loki, this has made all the other horses quite jealous on the account that none of their riders were ever so kind or gentle with them, (nor were they light. Either due to the weight of their armor or the weight of their stomach). They could only look on with jealousy as Sigvard was being hand fed a few apples that Loki brought for him.

Eventually, they reached the observatory, where Heimdall himself, the Gatekeeper of Asgard, stood at his post on the bridge before them. He blocked their way and stared them down with his stern, intimidating face that was partly covered by the visor of his golden armor, making the massive sword he held in front of him even more menacing than it should be. The god had an other-worldly air about him as if he held thousands of secret within him (which he did) and knew everything of anything in existence.

He eyed the group wearily and then turned to Loki as if expecting him to speak first. By instinct, the Warrior Four and Thor also took a glance at the effeminate looking prince, who would have said something if he wasn't busy cooing and feeding his horse.

For some odd reason, this left a feeling of disappointment and discomfort amongst the other Aesirs. That is because in the original storyline, Loki was the one who offered to speak for the group. However, with the intrusion of Mot, this scenario obviously isn't happening.

Thus, more awkward silence ensued.

In the end, Fandral stepped forth. "Good Heimdall-"

"None of you are dress warmly enough." The gatekeeper spoke in an even voice before slowly withdrawing his gaze, so that his eyes now saw the distance rather than them.

The Warrior Four and Thor traded looks. Loki was more interested in his horse so he ignored them magnificently.

Fandral was confused. "I'm sorry?"

Heimdall responded without a beat. "The freezing cold of Jotunheim. It will kill you all in time. Even Thor." He paused for a moment before a pair of golden eyes zoomed in on the youngest prince. "Well, perhaps you are an exception. At least you, my prince, had the decency to put on more layers."

Loki turned slightly, gave a languid smile to the gatekeeper, and then fell back to petting Sigvard. This left a good impression on the older god.

Heimdall turned back to the Warriors and Thor. "You think you can deceive me? I, who watch all? I, who can sense the flapping of a butterfly's wings a thousand worlds away?" He fixed his eyes pointedly at Fandral. "Or can hear a cricket passing gas in Niflheim?"

The dashing god became gob-smacked and tried to rectify the damage. "That was just a bit of a jest, really..."

Sif tries to help. He steps forward and attempts to explain. "You must be mistaken. We're not-"

"Enough." Thor cuts off, finally having lost his patience.

He turns to speak with Heimdall. "Gatekeeper, will you let us pass?"

The golden god's stare drilled into Thor's head until he finally gave the blonde an answer.

"No."

"But why?!" Thor's face became thunderous as he stepped closer to Heimdall in a more threatening manner.

This did not phase him one bit. Instead, he remained as cool as a cucumber, hands still loosely gripping his sword, not once truly looking Thor in the eyes. Instead, his golden eyes were somewhere else, far through the Nine Worlds.

"For Valhalla's sake, brother. There's a reason why my silver tongue hasn't turned to lead."

The tense silence was interrupted by the dark prince himself, the one with the silvertongue. The Warriors, the golden prince, and the gatekeeper all snapped their heads toward the one dressed as a scholar, without a single piece of armor. Instead, he carried knives and a magic staff, something so unlike for this prince to do.

Heimdall stared grimly at him. "And what, Liesmith, will you do to try and convince I, the Gatekeeper of Asgard?" A brow was raised questionably at the seidmadr.

Loki, at first, remained quiet. He didn't mean to say anything. He was actually trying to stall for time so that Odin and his guards can come over and stop Thor from waging war. Speaking of which, why are they taking so long?

He could have just dragged on the long and uncomfortable silence, but still, judging by the expression he was suddenly receiving from Thor and the Warriors (they all look like overgrown puppies... Mot liked puppies.), he finally relented and sighed. Sorry, father. You ran out of time.

Stepping gracefully over to the Heimdall, Loki bowed his head in greeting before smiling primly, like Queen Frigga. "My brother and his friends seek for adventure in Jotunheim. Though it may be dangerous, I promise and swear on my life and that of Frigga Allmother, that I will, to the best of my abilities, keep my brother and friends safe from harm."

Of course, no one expected Loki to swear by anything, even more so when he brought in Frigga's name. They all knew how much love he held for his mother, so to place an oath on her life, it would mean Loki was truly sincere with his request.

Sadly, it seemed the only one who paid attention to the part where Loki said 'best of my abilities' was 009.

Heimdall looked as if he was dissecting him. Thor had an expression that was a mix of tragic, sadness, and annoyance. Tragic and sad because he had made his brother swear by his- Loki's- and their mother's life, and annoyance because he would have never thought of those words. Years of king training, all for naught.

In the end, the Gatekeeper finally speaks. "For ages have I guarded Asgard and kept it safe from those who would do it harm. In all that time, never has an enemy slipped by my watch, that is, until this day. I wish to know how that happened."

A pointed look, both subtle and quiet, was directed at Loki. Loki returned it with a look of his own before shaking his head. No. He was not involved. He took this chance to lean close to Heimdall's ears. "Thor is going to make war if our father doesn't arrive soon. The moment he meets with you, please take him to our position. I fear Thor will tear this realm into pieces if nothing can be stopped." He pleaded.

Heimdall gave him a distrustful, yet hesitant look. Subtly, however, he gave a small, distinct nod before turning his eyes back to the Warriors and Thor.

Loki smiled genially and bowed his head in thanks. "Then we shall depart to solve these mysteries, Good Heimdall. We shall return in a within moments soon."

The trickster walks past Heimdall as the golden gatekeeper lets the group pass. Volstagg walks beside Thor, who looked both irritated and angry. He is the would-be king of Asgard! How dare Heimdall disobey him, yet a few words from his brother can suddenly change the stubborn god's mind? He simply couldn't comprehend this revelation.

"Cheer up, my friend. The dark prince has a knack for speaking with his silver tongue. You on the other hand... Uhhh..." The ginger god tried hard to think of something equally close to the caliber of Loki's many accomplishments and talents, which he suddenly remembered all of a sudden.

Loki raises a brow and looks back to support the tongue-tied Volstagg. "Fear not, Thor. Where I lack in strength, you make up with your brawns." He stops for a moment and turns completely around, his scholar robes spinning with him languidly. The Warriors suddenly stop as they realized that a confrontation may happen between the trickster and thunderer. Heimdall watches on.

With his arms crossed and a stern expression not unlike Queen Frigga whenever she scolds her sons, Loki gave a look to Thor. "I am going to make a promise, right here and now, brother." He says. "When we ride back from Jotunheim, I shall drill the art of political speeches and stratagem of the Nine Realms into that brain of yours. Beware, brother, for you will be trapped in hell until diplomacy and kingship are in the front of your mind while swords are in your back, understand?"

The threat made Thor shiver as he realized that Loki was serious. He imagined being permanently chained to the leg of the desk inside the royal library, books piled high as he attended to several stacks of work, with Loki carting more paper and documents in with every rune he rights.

Eventually, and Loki bemoaned this as he was stalling for time (where the hell is Odin?!), the group piled into the observatory and stepped on top of a platform. Heimdall climbs into the large control apparatus at the center of the room and readies the Bifrost.

"Be warned. I will honor my sworn oath to protect this Realm as its Gatekeeper. If your return threatens the safety of Asgard, Bifrost will remain closed to you. You'll be left to die in the cold wastes of Jotunheim."

Heimdall tells them this.

Loki gave a small smile. "We shall try not to."
Thor, however, looked confident and very arrogant. "I have no plans to die today."

"None do." Was the reply given as Heimdall inserts his sword into the control panel and the apparatus starts up. Outside, the Bifrost energy quickens along the bridge, feeding into the observatory.

Heimdall turns his sword in the control panel. The observatory's giant turret swings around and aims toward a section of space. Finally, the gatekeeper plunges the sword deeper into the control panel and the great turret fires a rainbow light. Bifrost energy blasts out and the Bifrost opens at the end of the platform upon which Loki, Thor, and the Warriors stood.

Heimdall looks to them expectantly. "All is ready. You may all pass."

Volstagg suddenly looked uncomfortable. He wasn't the only one. Sif, Fandral, and Hogun also hesitated. As for Loki, he was internally screaming in his head. Where is Odin?! The only one who was calm and self-assured was Thor, the meathead and the golden prince.

"Couldn't you just leave the bridge open for us?" The Warrior who is always hungry questioned the golden gatekeeper.

Heimdall shakes his head. "To keep this bridge open would unleash the full power of the Bifrost and destroy Jotunheim, with you upon it."

They all grimaced (save Loki and Thor). Volstagg laughed nervously. "Ah, nevermind then."

Thor starts toward the Bifrost, a large grin on his face. "Come, my friends. Let us not be bashful!"

One by one, the Warriors joined him by his side. For Loki, however, he took one fleeting glance behind him, hoping to see Odin make an appearance and catch them. He was disappointed that no one came. Signaling a nod to Heimdall (the god knew what to do), the Trickster stepped in front of the Bifrost.

Thor and the Warriors prepared themselves. Loki breathed in one last time to calm his nerves.

In an instant, they're jerked off the platform and into the vortex.