Chapter 37

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Loki was walking for a long time before he finally reached the forest. It was now after midnight and the air was very cold, especially for the warmer season.
He came to the edge of the forest and realized what he was doing, he could easily get lost, and the forest was so thick and uneven that he might end up getting injured as well as lost. But he was here now and he knew he'd have to do this eventually, so he took a deep breath and entered the forest.
The ground was wet and rocky and roots from the large crowded trees twisted above ground and made it difficult to walk. Leaves and sticks crunched under Loki's feet, but otherwise it was completely silent. It wasn't long before Loki had gotten deep enough into the forest so that he couldn't see where the edge was, all he could see was trees no matter which way he looked. The darkness made it hard to see, and the night was cold, which made him think of Jotunhiem. He tried to push away his memories of his home world, but it was hard, all he could think about was laufey and what had happened to him the one time he'd tried to escape.
Loki keep searching for the horse but it was becoming overwhelming, the forest was so large and thick and he already felt lost, he didn't know if he'd be able to find Sleipnir at all, and now he was afraid he'd not be able to get home. As he trudged through the mud and climbed over fallen trees, he couldn't shake the feeling of being watched. Every time he heard something move he was startled and jerked around to see what it was, he knew it was just the small animals that lived here, but he couldn't help feeling that someone was following him. 
Loki searched on for hours, he didn't know how much time had passed since it was always pitch black in the forest, but he knew he had been gone a long time, and he knew he was very lost. Finally he thought he found Sleipnir, or at least where he had been when he lost him the first time. He climbed over some twisted branches and was careful not to trip over the many rocks as he made his way to a fallen tree not to far ahead of him. He saw a stone on the ground that had quite a bit of blood on it, and he knew it was his own.
He also could see where Sleipnir had come from because there were trampled roots and broken branches. He hoped the horse had continued to leave such an obvious trail, and he was very pleased to find that -after climbing over the tree- there was a very clear trail showing where the horse had gone. He started to get excited and anxious at the same time, maybe this wasn't hopeless after all, he knew he didn't know the way out, but maybe the horse did. But at the same time he was afraid he was following the wrong animal... yes it seemed familiar, but the forest had all started to look the same, what if he's following some dangerous Predator into its den?
He tried not to think of the possible dangers, and pulled himself over the tree. By now he was tired and exhausted and his muscles were aching from all the climbing he had been doing, but he kept going anyway, he was used to pain and he wasn't going to let this stop him from getting the horse back, though by now he was really starting to hate this horse. As soon as he got over the tree he felt the strange sense of being watched again, but this time it was worse, he could feel eyes on him and he knew something was there. He felt his heart rate increase suddenly when he thought he heard breathing, he was about to move but then he heard the crunching sound of something large taking a step toward him, he felt his stomach drop and he was suddenly unable to move, he kept telling himself to run, to get away, but he was locked in his place. A small part of him held onto the hope that maybe this creature hadn't seen him, maybe if he stayed still he would be fine, but then he heard a loud growl and he snapped back to his senses. The only thing he could do was run. He turned sharply and ran in the opposite direction of the animal that had been growling, The creature let out a sharp high pitched shriek that made Loki's ears ring, but he kept running as fast as he could through the tangled forest, the creature chased after him, this creature was a predator and Loki was its prey, it wasn't going to let him run away.
Loki felt his lungs collapsing as he continued to run, his heart pounding, adrenaline pumping, and his mind trying to form a plan. He was following the trail that Sleipnir had left, maybe if he could find the horse he could escape. It was getting harder to run, the creature was catching up, and before he knew what was happening, the creature had lunged at him. He felt the hard force of the animal thrust against him from behind, and he collapsed under the weight of the creature. Loki was thrown to the ground face first and quickly found himself flat in the mud. But Apparently the creature had lunged a little bit too hard and inadvertently threw itself off of Loki, tumbling a few feet in front of him.
The animal wasn't overwhelmingly huge, maybe the size of a tiger (though it looked nothing like one) but it was large enough to take loki out. But Loki barely had Time to get up and notice this before the creature lunged again, this time from the front, and knocked him backwards so that he was pinned.
The creature shrieked again and slashed Loki across his chest with its claws. Loki yelled out with pain as his skin was torn open, but Thankfully he was still able to think quickly. just as the animal opened his mouth, baring its large pointed teeth to bring down on Loki, he reached out and grabbed a rock and forcefully brought it up and crashed it against he creatures skull. The animal groaned and roared angrily, but Loki had been able to distract it for a short moment. Before taking time to think, Loki grabbed the nearest branch and thrust the jagged end of it into the animals side, the creature wailed and moaned but Loki had knocked it off of him. He still had adrenaline pumping through his veins and didn't stop when he'd gotten the animal off. He got to his feet and grasped the beach more tightly, the animal lunged again but loki swung the branch and hit the creature on the head, knocking it down again. his heart was pounding in his chest as he shoved the branch into the creatures side over and over again, making sure it wouldn't be able to attack again.
the animal groaned and shrieked with each strike Loki gave, blood was gushing out of its side, but Loki kept going. He stabbed and beat the animal until he was sure it was dead. he was becoming crazed with rage as his mind went back to some of the more horrible memories of Jotunhiem; to the times laufey put him in an arena and made him fight and kill wild beasts for Laufey's own entertainment. to the times laufey had dehumanized him by using his pain and suffering as a sport his guests could cast wagers on. He remembered all the times he had been locked in a cage while a while creature tormented him and tore him apart, only to be saved by Laufey's lust to humiliate him further by displaying his mangled and half conscious body to the people watching. He had a thousand years of anger and torment that had been unable to escape, and suddenly he had an enemy, and now it had all come out. He screamed with rage as he stabbed to death the creature that would've eaten him. Even after it was dead Loki continued to beat it, trying to release his buildup of rage and pain. Finally he had exhausted himself, He dropped to his knees panting,  and released the branch from his firm grip. He had never felt that angry before, he'd always been broken and fearful, but now all his suppressed rage had escaped all at once and now he just wanted to collapse.
After a moment of trying to calm his breathing, he heard more shuffling coming toward him, he didn't want to have to fight another animal so he forced himself to get to his feet, but as soon as he was upright, Sleipnir came into view. Loki was glad it wasn't something else he had to fight, and he was glad he might be able to make it out of the forest, but he doubted the horse would cooperate with him.
"You.... you have caused me... a lot of problems" Loki said miserably as he went over to the horse and grabbed the reins before it could walk away again. He wasn't sure why he was here, maybe it was a coincidence, or maybe it was because Loki had made so much noise, but he didn't care, he just wanted to leave.
Sleipnir tried to wiggle his head out of the grip loki had on the reins, but Loki wasn't about to go chasing after this horse again.
"Stop it. We're going back to the palace" Loki Almost growled at the horse as he pulled hard on the reins and forced him to follow him back the way he came. He would've ridden the horse back to the palace, but he wasn't in the mood to deal with another problem, and his grip was so tight on the reins that he was confident the horse couldn't get away as long as he didn't change his grip. Thankfully, Sleipnir seemed to realize that running away into the forest wasn't a great idea, and he seemed to want to get back to the palace just like Loki.
After a long time they finally got out of the forest, Loki had been able to follow the trial back out of the forest for the most part, and when he got turned around Sleipnir seemed to know where to go.
After they got out of the forest, Sleipnir became more eager to get back and it became harder to hold him back, so Loki gave in and hoisted himself onto the horses back. As soon as he was on he held on tight and let Sleipnir run home. He was too tired to be paying attention, so he just let loose and hoped Sleipnir knew where he was going.
After a little while They got back to the palace and Loki directed Sleipnir to the stables, then got off and went inside to get back to his own room. He didn't realize how long he had been out, and he wasn't figuring that anyone would care or be there to see him when he came in, but he was very wrong. Frigga had been up and was awaiting his return.

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