Chapter Two

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There were other places to read and after the first day he could have easily found a new place for his studies without slighting the generosity of his mother. The next morning however found the prince sitting on the same bench with the same unfinished book in hand and a stack of books beside him to make up for lost time. It was rare of him to not finish several books in a day, let alone the one he had brought with him.

After meeting the slave girl he had been too distracted to finish his studies. It was not just because she was lovely, he was not Fandral who could not use the brain in his head when presented with a pretty face. Instead, it was the mystery of her. 

She was so different from any Asgardian he had ever seen and yet, there was something about her that seemed familiar somehow. Some niggling memory in the back of his mind that he couldn't seem to wrap his head around. It both frustrated and fascinated him and he was determined to sort it out.

Then there was the matter of the magic he had felt. He was a Master of Magic himself and he was not one to be easily fooled. The magic hadn't belonged to the slave woman. It was highly illegal for a slave to have access to magic and if he hadn't missed his mark he didn't think she was aware of it's existence.

He was aware the moment she entered the garden this time. She wore the same simple shift as the day before, though it appeared to be pristine despite her work in the garden the day before. Today she had a small bucket with her and she moved among the plants, carefully weeding away the invading ones she disliked. She moved quietly but efficiently and hummed softly to herself as she worked. It surprised him to find himself enjoying her quiet presence.

It was odd. He had never enjoyed having anyone near him while he worked. Most days it irked him, if not entirely enraging and distracting him. She never addressed him. She simply went about her business seeming ignorant of his presence all together. Though after a week of observing her he doubted that were possible. The small slave seemed to know every inch of the garden and she was constantly touching and nurturing every plant within her care.

It fascinated him. Asgardians valued prowess in battle and bravery more than anything and yet here in this small corner of the world was one who nurtured instead of attacked. He should not be so interested, she was only a slave after all. Which only served to add to the mystery that vexed him. 

Since that first day he never saw any evidence of the magic he felt. It was almost enough to make him question whether he had imagined the whole thing. At times like these he wished he had someone to confide in. But there weren't many other magic users in Asgard and even fewer he was in contact with. His mother was the only one he routinely confided in and with the slave occupying her private garden he couldn't help but think Frigga must have known something about her. 

Early one afternoon several days later Loki was distracted once more. Had he been paying closer attention he would have realized the sunny day had rapidly given way to dark clouds and a cold breeze had picked up. He had never been one to notice the cold however so it came as a surprise when the skies opened and the rain came down in torrents.

He swore loudly, leaping to his feet. He had brought out two stacks of books that day. He fought to gather them, using his body to shield them from the weather. "Damn it to hell brother," he muttered as thunder crackled and lightning split the sky. Someone had upset Thor and for once it wasn't him.

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