Chapter Four

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Kenna woke just before dawn. After her encounter with Prince Loki in the library she hadn't returned to the slave quarters. Instead she had slipped out to the shed in the royal gardens and slept on the small pallet she had made there long ago. Most nights she stayed in the slave quarters but she had needed time alone.  

Her time in the library felt foggy. More so than is should have considering she had only fall asleep for a little while. She cupped her forehead as she tried not to think too hard about the Prince of Asgard. She had vowed long ago to never show weakness to an Asgardian. But, when he found her, instead of punishing her for her presence as he should have, he had been kind to her. She closed her eyes as she remembered the look of concern that had burned in the Prince's emerald eyes. It all seemed so strange considering the prince's reputation. Why would the trickster of Asgard care how a slave felt? 

She shook her head. The prince was an Asgardian and they weren't to be trusted and certainly weren't to be befriended. She had been in 'The Realm Eternal' long enough to know that. Besides that, she was nothing but a slave.

She climbed angrily to her feet, making up the pallet once more. She straightened her dress and her hair, and splashed water on her face from the small bucket she kept in the shed. She needed to stay far away from the Prince of Asgard.

She picked up a bucket of bulbs and a small shovel. She headed out to the far corner of the garden. She had work that needed to be done, and she was never disturbed in an area so far from the main path. Some time alone was exactly what she needed. Maybe she would prune the bushes in the opposite far corner tomorrow just to give herself more time to herself.

The dawn light was just beginning to illuminate the garden as she walked. She breathed the fresh scent of plants and living things. It calmed her in a way she had never fully understood. She loved this time of day when the dew was fresh and the world was quiet. When things were peaceful and she could almost pretend she was here in this lovely garden because she wanted to be.

She turned a corner and crashed face first into something solid. Someone solid. She grunted and nearly fell, but they caught her by the arms, straightening her. 

"For some reason I always expected an elf to be more graceful," Prince Loki's voice rumbled sardonically in the chest she had run into.

Kenna jerked back, fighting to keep her balance once more as she straightened. She was normally composed and fairly light on her feet, but for some reason she seemed utterly determined to make a fool of herself when Prince Loki was around.

She stood straight, bowing to the prince. "You are up early Prince Loki," she said, keeping her eyes firmly glued to the ground between the two of them.

"Not really," Loki replied casually.

He felt a little bad for startling the slave and making her stumble, but he wanted to check if the magic within her had remained quiet. He needed an excuse to touch her so he wouldn't scare her any more than she already seemed to be around him. The magic surged through him as it had the first time they touched, but it didn't feel as though it were attacking her. He stopped speaking and waited for Kenna to acknowledge him. The small slave wasn't looking at him. She was keeping her strange eyes maddeningly glued to his boots. 

He waited

It took several moments, but after a while her impatience got the best of her. He bit back a smirk. He didn't know why, but while it vexed him when he could drive others to irritation so easily, like Sif during training, it amused him to see that spark flare in her midnight eyes.

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