Caylis looked at the group in front of her. They resembled a ragtag army of sorts, displaying looks from all ends of the spectrum, as well as many mixed and matched powers.
“This is the best you could do?” she asked Cor in a voice low enough for only him to hear, unimpressed.
“Unlike where you come from, it’s hard here to find people who aren’t just human. You can’t just walk down the street and meet someone with powers,” he protested.
She rolled her eyes and growled. “While you have been around gathering playmates, I have found two of real worth, whom I hope will inspire all of you to become greater,” she said, raising her voice so the others could hear her.
“We may not meet up to your high standards, but we’re some of the best around here,” one called out angrily.
“Step forward, brave speaker,” Caylis said, her eyes flitting through the motley crew in front of her.
A slender girl with shoulder-length brown hair and crystal eyes stepped forward, her black cloak settling in the sand with a small poof of a glimmering substance.
“And what is your name?” Caylis asked, stepping closer.
“Rachael. And I came here because I have something you want,” she replied casually, a dark gleam in her eyes.
Caylis smirked. “And what would that be?”
Rachael clapped her hands once and a dark form materialized beside her. Caylis stared at it and fought to swallow the feral scream threatening to tear itself from her throat. Eyes wide with terror, she stepped back, clawing at the air in front of her.
Rachael laughed. “Now do you understand? I conjure up demons from your past and make you face your sins, your deepest and darkest fears. You need me to strike terror into their hearts,” she hissed, watching Caylis pull herself up from the sand.
Caylis eyed the girl with renewed interest. “You will come with me,” she finally said. “Your insight will help greatly in the battle to come.”
Rachael smirked and stood beside Cor. “And what about the two that you brought with you?” she asked tauntingly.
“My friends possess that rare gift that is known as true power. While each of you may have gifts that enhance natural abilities, there are also those who transcend into another realm entirely with gifts that mere mortals can only dream of possessing,” she began, looking into each person’s eyes individually. “In our conquest, I have gathered the help of a man who is a prince and the most powerful master of magic in his realm, and a dear friend who is from my own home, and who possesses similar powers. Learn from their example, and they will help shape you into something greater to suit our purpose to allow us to take power,” she cried, “and to establish a new rule under those who are better suited for it,” she finished, dropping her voice to a whisper, a triumphant smile on her face as she watched the gleaming eyes around her.
“Cor, take them to the city, and have them establish their positions where we discussed,” she commanded.
“And you?” he asked.
“I will see to it that my sister and aunt remain in the dark on our situation until it is too late,” she hissed, her elongated and sharpened canines gleaming in the moonlight. “And take Rachael with you. She will help you convince our esteemed guests to come with you soon.”
Cor grinned knowingly. “Anything else?”
She shook her head and turned toward the two dark figures standing a few yards away.
“Bravo, Caylis. Bravo,” called one of the figures as he clapped. “I have rarely heard such a rousing speech.”
“Loki,” she said, acknowledging his presence. “I thank you for coming.”
“You knew I would,” he replied softly. “There is much that could be done for you.”
“There is much that has already been done,” she said harshly. “I have been cast out of my home, I have been betrothed to one of the monsters that forced my exile! There is much that has already been done,” she repeated after a slight pause.
Loki watched her with concern. “You are known as ‘Hela’ throughout Asgard, save to Odin and a trusted few. Many know you as the all-powerful bringer of death and retribution, and the only woman that I have ever, and will ever, love. All you would have to do is say the word, and I would be there to save you,” he told her gently, as the third member of their party watched on with interest. “You do not need this conquest of Earth to stop what others have set in motion.”
“You, Loki, Joten in Asgardian skin, would have me abandon my conquest to play housewife?” she spat. “Never!”
“You misunderstand me,” he replied. “I say do not take this conquest alone, but use it as a display of our joint power, of us together as a union.”
“Two of the most powerful beings in the nine realms joined together?” the third person asked with a hint of laughter in their voice. “You two were made to either coexist in a heated passion or to tear each other apart. I will enjoy watching how this plays out.”
“Gillian is right,” Loki agreed. “There are only two ways for this to play for us both. But it is up to you to decide.”
A low growl rippled through Caylis’ throat. “I will consider your offer. But for now, I must go and see Acadia and Gwen, for dawn draws closely, and they will wonder at my absence.”
So saying, she turned and ran for her sister’s apartment complex.
“You have chosen a worthy mate,” Gillian said, adjusting her sword belt as she watched her friend run off.
“If only she would worthily accept it,” Loki replied, watching Caylis until she vanished.