Vali who had just left the barracks after reporting the missions his group had completed, and after having a short conversation with Lorelei, hurried on his way to meet his mother. She had made a huge fuss regarding his prolonged absence in the realm, when he left for his missions.
She had made him promise, to visit her as soon as he returned from every mission. Odin could wait a while longer for all he cared. He made it towards his mother's chambers as he came across a few 'Valkyrie' level guards.
"The Queen is teaching Prince Loki magic and forbid any disturbances, my Lord!" spoke the leading warrior who was a muscular woman, that would put many men on earth to shame.
The warrior knew that he was quite different from other Royalty, as he rarely indulged in anything other than training. Every Asgardian citizen by now, knew that Prince Vali was a recluse and if not for his mother they wouldn't see him for years.
"She will see me, and as for Loki-" replied Vali before pausing with contempt in his face. He then walked around the guards, as he casually strolled through the doorway into the chambers in a relaxed manner.
The guards just shook their heads helplessly, as they knew that Vali disliked small talk. They had always figured that he was a prideful person like the second prince, but when the Queen spoke up for Vali and the fact that he disliked talking unnecessarily, they came to accept the fact.
Vali had just entered after knocking, only to find Loki dancing around creating illusions and performing a solo play in front of his mother, who was gracefully seated on her favourite chair. Apparently, the chair was a gift from Odin himself, filled with runes and whatnot, elevating comfort to its peak.
Watching Vali barge in and interrupt his 'performance', a pissed off Loki who had his face originally scrunched-up, soon changed gears with a cunning glint in his eyes. He looked towards Frigga with an 'aggrieved look' on his face before speaking eagerly,
"Mother, you saw what he just did! He just interrupted your time of leisure and enjoyment. Allow me to inform father, so that he punishes him. Maybe even banish him from the realm for a few hundred years."
Unbothered by Loki's drivel, Vali soon pulled out a little potted plant that was purple in colour. It didn't have a name, and he had found it in one of the planets he visited during his missions.
During one of his missions, he had found several hints of 'pirates' staying within a city. He went on to easily find them in a few seconds, which was a no-brainer. With his eyes there was practically nothing that could stay hidden, including the unsavory stuff that he would rather not watch.
As he was about to eliminate the group of pirates after entering the native's home where they were hidden, he was surprised to find the rats scramble in all directions before he had even acted. Not bothered by the ones fleeing, he soon discovered the native who owned the house and searched his mind.
He was intrigued at first by how they discovered him, but soon got his answers which also humbled him a lot. He realized that there were several things in the universe that he remained in the dark about, even with all the knowledge from his previous life. This gave him a lot to think about how he went around doing things.
The reason he was detected was because of an extinct tiny native plant, that was purple in color. It swayed from side to side on its own as it should, as it held magical properties. The potted plant could be passed off as just any other decoration, but it held powerful sensing capabilities.
It formed something akin to a domain around itself, and when someone other than the caretaker of plant, entered its 'domain' it would sway from side to side for a few seconds before stopping. Vali discovered that it was an innate talent of this bizarre plant, and he didn't seem to understand how it detected him even after he expertly concealed himself.
He looked around the planet checking for any other similar plants and sure enough, this was a special one. This was the only one on the entire planet, and he pocketed the plant instantly. Even after a few years of testing, he was only able to figure out that the plant emitted some kind of undetectable domain even with his eyes.
After bringing out the plant, he explained its origins and what it did during the next few hours, before he turned to his mother and gifted it to her. He didn't forget to flaunt the gift in front of the obviously envious Loki with superiority in his face, daring him to give her something better.
Frigga who had just received a very valuable gift from her son, carefully touched the plant before examining it for a few seconds and setting it aside with a kind smile on her face.
"You've returned in one piece, and without any injuries this time. It seems that me constantly keeping an eye on you has restrained your reckless behaviour." spoke Frigga with clear relief in her voice.
Well, the injuries that Frigga had mentioned had to do with Vali wanting to test the integrity of his own body. So, during one of his battles, he didn't hesitate to let his opponent hack away at his non-vitals for several minutes. He came out all bloodied, but nothing some mediocre healing magic couldn't fix.
The 'mediocre' magic was also the reason for the brutal scars that remained, and his mother caught on quickly with rage in her eyes after she examined him, when he returned to meet her a few years ago.
"I'm fine, mother! Heimdall informed me of father requesting my presence a few hours ago, so I should leave. I just came to see if you're fine." replied Vali in a casual manner as he left before his mother could object.
He still didn't forget to look down on Loki before he left though; and had he stayed behind, he would have seen a Loki who cried a river to his mother, swearing an oath to get her a better gift than Vali's. This would lead Loki down the path of a thief, an extremely skilled one that many wouldn't want to cross.
'I need to go all out with my current strength, or I wouldn't know precisely how much I've improved. It is about time I battled Odin, as there isn't anyone else or any other way of improving my style of combat in a short while.' thought Vali inwardly, as he just left his mother's chambers.
Odin who had just felt Vali's presence in the realm, discharged himself from his duties as he prepared to meet with his son. He had already informed Heimdall to send him to his chambers when he arrived.
As Odin waited, he sensed his daring son who was completely unbothered by his request, going to meet his wife first and inform her of his arrival. He sighed wryly with a smile on his face, knowing that Vali wouldn't arrive anytime soon.
Odin had changed a lot from how he was 20-30 years ago, even regaining a hint of youthful aura. He might not have regressed in age, but Vali's struggle to overcome the inevitable prophecy ignited a spark in him.
If not for Vali, he would have held on to his throne for a few centuries, waiting for Thor to mature before passing away in peace. Now that things had changed, he decided to go all out and spend all his resources on his sons.
He was originally planning to leave them for Thor to handle when he abdicated, but now he changed his mind after clearing his head. There was a long guarded secret, only passed on from king to king at the time of their succession.
Asgard had been blessed with one chance to contact the spirit of the 'Tree of Yggdrasil' since time immemorial, but they held on to it as they knew that the tree was a neutral existence, that wouldn't participate in another's squabbles.
This was further corroborated by Odin, when he hung himself upside down for 9 days and 9 nights on the tree, and sacrificed his eye for the sake of knowledge on runes, wisdom, and a lot more. It more or less worked on the principle of equivalent exchange and sacrifice, so using the tree as a wishing well simply wasn't possible.
As he pondered, soon all of his knowledge and wisdom was put to use, to figure out a way to benefit his sons when he contacted the tree spirit. He soon paused, and realised that bargaining with beings at that level wasn't advisable.
He decided to keep it short, and get straight to the point once he summoned the spirit. Even if he failed, receiving no help in return, he decided to forge on and not fret. 'Beggars can't be choosers, and he'd take whatever he could' thought Odin inwardly with a determined expression on his face.
He walked to the corner of his chambers, pulling out a huge enchanted book. It was the 'Book of Yggdrasil' that was passed on from his predecessors. It was an ancient grimoire that held magically live illustrations, and contained ancient knowledge on the events that predated Odin himself.
He held on to the book with care, as he strolled towards his throne and walked behind it. In front of him, on the wall, stood an enormous portrait of the world tree that had existed since the creation of the realm.
He soon held the book before the portrait, chanting in an obscure language for a few minutes as magic flooded the atmosphere and, he noticed no change. Just when he was about to give up and leave, he noticed that he was incapable of moving.
Realising that something had happened, and that he was powerless, might have made most beings in the universe panic. But he was a man that had seen it all, and with all his wisdom, he knew there were beings in the universe that he couldn't even breathe against, even with all the power he held.
"Son of Bor, Speak!" A dreamy voice entered Odin's ears with the absence of any presence. Odin who was dazed for a split second, instantly pushed aside his thoughts and responded with no hesitation in his tone,
"Will you help Asgard defy it's pre-ordained fated end? If not, I request you to help my sons grow in power."
"I shall not interfere with the matters of the realms, and as for your sons, what shall you offer in return." said the dreamy voice in an unhurried tone.
Odin who had already prepared for several scenarios was quick to reply with solemnity in his tone, "Once my body perishes, I shall offer my soul in return for a chance, for my sons to grow."
After a period of silence, the being replied, "Your soul is worthy, but it's worth shall only grant your children a chance at a trial. A trial rewarding those worthy of their performance, and depriving them of their lives, should they underperform."
Without giving Odin a chance to reply, it followed up with, "The trials shall differ for each of them depending on their talents and paths, so it shall be held separately, should you choose to accept this offer. The trials may be held at your convenience, and lastly, you're allowed to turn down this offer."
Before Odin could express his agreement, the voice disappeared unbothered and he was able to move once again. He watched on as the 'Book of Yggdrasil' lost some of its magic, signifying the credibility of the conversation.
He might not have gotten a 'free' gift, but a chance was all he hoped for, so he was content. He returned to his throne, and resumed his thoughts about what he had just experienced.
[A.N.]: The trials with Yggdrasil are my own doing, (not canon) and I'm enjoying it XD. Just another chance for the MC, and his brothers to grow.
Hand over the power stones! NOW!
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