Chapter Eight

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It took them nearly an hour before they reached the cliffs that bordered Asgard. Loki had never been to this part of the black sea before. Truthfully he had never had a reason. This part of the sea was difficult to navigate with hidden reefs and large, dangerous rocks sitting just below the surface of the churning waters. Following the map and Kenna's quiet direction he stopped the boat at the base of the cliff face that ran straight up five hundred feet.

He frowned up at the solid rock face wondering what was to come next. Kenna took a loop of rope and secured the small boat to the rocks. She only prayed a storm did not suddenly rise while they were gone. The small boat could easily be destroyed if it were smashed against the rocks.

Loki leapt out of the boat first, landing lightly on the slippery, uneven rocks. He turned back to offer Kenna his hand once more to help her but she was already leaping past him. She landed lightly on her feet, her muscles already coiled as though she was ready to pounce. When he turned around to look at her she flashed him a cheeky smile.

"By more graceful did you mean like that?" she asked glibly.

He smirked and nodded. "Something like that," he agreed.

Kenna then turned and looked up at the cliff face thoughtfully. There were enough handholds to climb it, but it was going to take time. The sky was starting to lighten to the east. She stepped up and reached for the first outcropping of rock.

Loki reached out to stop her. "What are you doing?" he asked.

She arched a brow and stepped back, pointing up to a small opening nearly one hundred feet up. "Do you see that?" she asked.

Loki nodded.

"That's where we have to go," she said turning back. She wished she were not still wearing her dress. Pants and boots would make the climb much easier. Glancing back at the prince she thought it might be a good idea to let him go first.

Loki held his hand out to her. She frowned at him, not understanding what he wanted. Rolling his eyes he snatched up her hand. As soon as their skin touched Kenna felt a strange tingling sensation run over her entire body. There was a heavy pressure for half a second and she closed her eyes against the sensations. When she opened them again she was surprised to find herself standing in a cave with Loki beside her. He released her hand. She whirled around to see the mouth of the cave behind them, with nothing but open sky visible. She walked towards it cautiously.

"Be careful," Loki advised wryly. "The wind sheer this high up will be vicious."

He was right. Her dress swirled around her, billowing away and then flattening tightly against her body. She neared the edge to gaze down at their small boat one hundred feet below them. She turned around to face the prince in shock.

"You can teleport," she said slowly in disbelief. Very few magic users ever mastered the craft and most didn't survive the very steep and dangerous learning curve that accompanied the pursuit.

Loki nodded.

"But-" she started to say and then stopped herself. Curiosity burned through her, but it wasn't her business. She was a slave, she reminded herself. She needed to keep her head down and her mouth shut. Slaves who stuck their noses where they didn't belong did not fair well. Unconsciously she reached up to touch the skin where the collar once sat.

"It is not commonly known," Loki said, watching her movements closely. It was as though two separate people were blending into one before his eyes. He wondered again whether that collar had suppressed more than just her memories. He wanted to ask but didn't know how. It seems somehow incredibly personal. He cleared his throat. "I would prefer if it was something we could keep between us."

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