Two days later...
"Ha!" Kashell cheered triumphantly. "Another bull's-eye!"
Badrach threw down his own bow and stared at the row of targets. Kashell's blue-fletched bolt was plainly visible in the center of a target, while Badrach's yellow bolt was nowhere to be seen. "Dammit, I missed again! What's goin' on here?"
"Well," Kashell answered lightly, "I'm winning, for one thing." He was grinning like an idiot; he'd been doing really well the past few days. Seemed like it was just easier to concentrate on everything, like he was really relaxed.
"Oh, c'mon! Badrach groused. "A couple days ago you couldn't hit a damn thing!" He walked up to Kashell and grabbed the crossbow he'd been using. "Lemme see that!"
"Sure, knock yourself out. I've got nothing to hide." Kashell said, letting go of the bow as Badrach tried to pull it away. He couldn't help but smile as the old codger stumbled backwards, swearing just under his breath as he tried to regain his balance. There was a smattering of laughter around them as he stared at the bow, prodding at the firing mechanism and muttering to himself.
"Good job," Ull said approvingly, grinning at the exchange. "You certainly have improved; I'm impressed. Looks like Tyr was right about you after all."
"Thanks," he answered, smiling back. "Good to know you won't have to worry too much about me, huh?"
The young-looking man laughed. "Yes, that's true. I think I can see who I'm going to have to watch out for."
"Wha - wait a second!" Badrach looked up sharply. "What do you mean by-"
"But I think that we've had enough training for the day," Ull continued, apparently ignoring the crusty old man. "I'm sure Tyr will be waiting for you." And with that he vanished - like most of the Aesir, he didn't even bother to say goodbye. Kashell didn't really mind; he'd gotten used to it.
He didn't even notice Aelia approaching him until she was right next to him. "All right, lover boy," she said as soon as he looked over at him. She was grinning, her heart-shaped face roguishly innocent. "Spill it. What's going on?"
"Yeah, good morning to you too. Now what are you talkin' about?" he answered glibly, shaking his head and throwing in a laugh for good measure.
"Oh, come on, stop playing dumb. It's obvious what's happening here. I can see it in your face. There's somebody you've got your eye on!" She laughed. Aelia was way too eager to tease him - he was just about the only man around that she would joke with like that.
"Why are you sayin' that? What tipped you off?"
"It's obvious, Kashell. You spend a couple of days moping around, then the next day you're all smiles again? What else could it be?" She elbowed him lightly and winked. "So what are you going to do now, hm? Head off with your sweetheart and leave the rest of us all alone?"
"Well-" He looked around, rubbing the back of his head and trying to think of some way to get out of the conversation. Luck was with him, fortunately - he turned his head and saw Frei standing at the top of the hill, smiling at him. She started waving her arms madly as soon as she saw him.
He grinned slowly. "Now that you mention it, I think that's a pretty good idea."
She looked up at the hill, then back at Kashell. Her jaw dropped as she put two and two together. "Kashell! You mean... you and...?"
"Well, who'd you think it was? Sorry, Aelia, but I told you before. You're not my type," he joked - then dodged a playful punch. One thing about Aelia, she was really hard to shock completely. "I can't keep a goddess waiting, can I?"
"Kashell, you come back here-!" But she was laughing, and Kashell was laughing too as he waved good-bye.
Frei waited until Kashell was halfway up the hill, then turned and ran. Kashell pushed himself harder; he'd chased enough girls in his lifetime to know what she was expecting him to do. They were well away from the practice range when he finally caught up with her, and he was thankful for his now godlike stamina by then.
"Hey, Frei, what's the big idea?" he asked her playfully. "Talk about all this secret stuff, and then come up and drag me away in front of everybody-"
"Oh, shush," she said, putting a finger on his lips. "I know what I'm doing!"
He reached up and grabbed her hand, pulled it away from his mouth. "Yeah, well, I'm glad somebody does." He squeezed her hand without thinking before he let go. "So you said you'd show me Alfheim, right? How are we gonna get there?"
"Oh, I'll take you. It's easy. You just have to hold on."
"Hold on? What-" He realized what she was talking about rather belatedly, just a split second before she stepped up to him and wrapped her arms around him. He was caught pretty off-guard, but he had to hand it to himself - he caught on pretty fast. He was ready for her when she kissed him, though, and kissed her back - not much of a kiss, really, a little bit more than a peck. Still, it had been a while, and he really didn't give a damn who was around to see it.
She giggled. "You've done that before, huh?"
"Yeah, well... a couple of times, I guess," he answered. Which wasn't quite true, he'd kissed lots of girls, but still... he never really got used to it.
"You're blushing, silly." She tossed her head. "We can't stay here all day, can we? Hang on tight!"
The two vanished in a shimmer of distorted light.
A/N: Yay. It's done.
This fic was inspired by a cursory reading of a Norse myth about Freyr's sword, which could wield itself and spread destruction across the battlefield. I've read a lot more since then, and I know I've taken many liberties, but then, so did the game. Freyr got turned into a girl, for crying out loud....
Critique is more than welcome; I'm always editing. This story isn't intended to be taken totally seriously. It was a strange idea that I ended up following up on.
Valkyrie Profile is owned and copyrighted by tri-Ace (2000).