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14 Days

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He came to with a jerk, his eyes darting around frantically, but all that he saw was a faint ray of sunshine fighting its way through the darkness to the spot next to where he lay. He traced the ray back to a small gap between what seemed to be two thick pieces of overlapping wood - or was it some sort of metal? - a few feet above him, resting on a pile of objects with all kinds of different textures and sizes. He seemed to be lying on something himself, as the stomp edges of whatever it was were poking him in the back and neck through his clothes. Something with the texture of a foam mattress seemed to be covering him from chest to toe.

After trying to form an idea of where he was and what he saw before him, he started to gently claw his way out of his confinement, removing the mattress first, until he had made room enough to stand up, albeit slightly hunched, without the entire pile collapsing onto him. The two overlapping pieces of what indeed happened to be metal wouldn't budge when he attempted to push them off the pile, him being in an unfortunate position to put a lot of force into it, but frustration gave him strength and with an angry push accompanied with a growl one of the pieces flew off the pile. This gave him enough space to force his head and shoulders through the newly formed hole. After his eyes had adjusted to the light, he looked around and was slightly disgusted by what he saw; immense piles of garbage surrounded him, the objects that formed those piles falling out of enormous holes in the sky. Looking down, he realised that he himself had been stuck in one of the many piles, having lain still long enough to be engulfed by newly fallen trash. 'Figures', he thought, more than a bit annoyed as he gave the other piece of metal a shove and climbed through the now man-sized hole. He slid down the pile, stumbling a bit as he went, but landing perfectly on his feet on the more even ground.

He hadn't realised the smell that hung over this planet like a subtle but rather stinging mist. He started walking, a bit desperate to get away from it all, only to be ambushed by about a dozen men, their faces either painted or masked and all of them holding a weapon. He backed away until his back was pressed against the garbage he had just escaped, all of the threatening-looking individuals advancing on him, bat-like weapons ready to swing and guns pointed at his head and chest. They didn't look all too bright to him, and he was confident he could get out of this situation. He had got out of much worse...

"Are you a fighter? Or are you food?"

He blinked at them, slightly taken aback, then his face broke into a broad grin.

"I am a trickster," he replied, and one by one copies of himself started appearing around the group of enemies. They started looking around frantically, trying to grasp what was happening. One of them had built up the nerve to take a swing at one of the copies, who swiftly evaded his weapon. The others started trying to shoot or hit the copies with whatever weapon they had, one of them actually taking a swing at the real version. He dived behind another close-by pile and doubled himself once more, the copy appearing from behind the pile instead, ready to face his component.

The real version kept low and ran off as fast as he could, grinning as he looked back after a few moments to see the 'fight' was still going on. 'Nobody has seen me leave', he thought triumphantly, and slowed down his pace. As he turned his head back to look where he was going, he walked into someone and his face fell immediately. 'One of them must have seen me', he thought anxiously. He recoiled and looked into the face of a rather stunning woman with dark skin. She was holding a nearly empty bottle in one hand and some sort of metal controller in the other. She was smiling at him, but it was far from a kind smile. He regained his composure and smiled back. As he opened his mouth to talk, she held up the hand with the controller to shush him. He looked at her in angry astonishment, but felt it was in his best interest to obey the command.

"If you try anything like that on me -" she pointed at the 'fight' that was still going on behind him "- I will fry you alive." She now pointed at his neck, and feeling around he noticed a small, round machine hooked into his flesh.

"Obedience disk," she said matter-of-factly. "I have a feeling the Grandmaster will be glad I took you to him."

"The Grandmaster?"

"He rules the place," she answered.

He looked around. Even the word 'place' would be too strong a word. "And what might this place be?"

She half-smiled, bemused and annoyed by his questions. "The Grandmaster will enlighten you himself. Now, who might you be?"

"I suppose I will enlighten the Grandmaster myself," he said, both to deny the woman of information, like she was doing to him, and to buy himself time. The Grandmaster sounded like quite the influential man, and if he wanted to get off this planet alive or at the very least have a pleasant time here, he had to get into his good graces. That meant he couldn't come waltzing in as himself, in case his idiot brother, should he live, came to this planet as well and broke down what he had built up here.

The woman frowned and looked him up and down. Then she sighed, not at all interested enough to press for his name. "Time to come and meet him, then." She moved her tumb to one of the buttons on the controller. He quickly moved forwards, ready to steal the controller or at least block her thumb. She stepped back even quicker, her thumb hovering over the button dangerously. She was smiling, very much enjoying this. He stepped back, both hand raised and smiling apologetically.

"There's no need for that. I will come with you willingly. No tricks, no games."

She looked him up and down again, slowly lowering the controller hand. Then she poked him in the chest with the index finger of her bottle hand, her face intimidatingly close to his. "If you so much as breathe in a way I don't approve of, I will have you struggling for air like a fish out of water," she growled. He nodded and she pointed at her space ship. "You go first. I'll be right behind you, so don't try anything."

They got on the ship - he had been thrown onto the big window right below the woman's seat where he could see the planet and where she could easily keep an eye on him - and flew to the palace looming up between the piles of trash. It wasn't quite beautiful, but still rather impressive, with enormous heads carved into the palace's outside walls. They flew into the opening meant for space crafts and, after landing, the woman dragged him out by his arm. He followed obligingly, feeling the obedience disk sting the flesh of his neck. She had been incredibly quick in placing it; they had made contact for barely a second when he had bumped into her. She obviously did this very often.

She guided him through the many brightly coloured halls until finally they reached a spacious room. Standing there were quite a few people, forming a half-circle, making way for him and the woman. As the curious people cleared the path, a man appeared at the end of it, with another woman next to him. The man was quite attractive; tall, with grey hair and a blue line painted from his bottom lip to his chin. Despite the grey hair, the man didn't give the impression of being old; the smile that was on his face and the twinkling of his brown eyes greatly rejuvenated him. The woman looked like she was always in a bad mood, holding a staff with a big sphere on top.

The man looked at him as if he was certifying meat, his eyes hungry, but he couldn't tell what he was hungry for.

"What did you bring me today, Scrapper 142?"

"I'm not sure, Grandmaster, but I thought he might interest you, so I brought him to you directly. This one is quite tricky, but surely he must be of use. He has quite a few skills."

He looked at the woman in confusion. Scrapper 142? What did that mean? And what would he be helpful for?
As if sensing his confusion, the Grandmaster started to explain.

"This, my friend, is Sakaar. The planet where all lost things find their purpose. Everyone who ends up here, shall be loved and respected. And you seem very lost indeed."
He looked at the Grandmaster, his eyebrows raised. A planet where everyone is loved and respected... that would be a first. The Grandmaster grinned even more broadly.

"Aha, that part speaks to you! The thing is, though, everyone who gets on this planet... stays on this planet. There's no leaving Sakaar. But that's never a problem because nobody ever really wants to leave, isn't that right, Topaz?"

The woman standing next to him nodded in agreement, but no smile crossed her face.

"And as for Scrapper 142's job, she collects the, eh, fortunate people who get to compete in our Contest of Champions! It's quite the honor!"

He stared at the Grandmaster in disbelief. Surely he wouldn't have to compete in this battle? It was something his brother would gladly do, but even though he could handle himself he wasn't much interested to fight for a living. Nobody ever got off this planet...

"Oh, I almost forgot! What's your name, handsome?"

He almost laughed at the compliment, as it was such a ridiculously timed one, but decided that it would probably not work in his favour. He had thought about how he would present himself on the way to this room, wondering what would protect him as well as impress the Grandmaster. Finally, he had chosen to stick to the truth while leaving out a few details that would connect him to his brother.

"I am Loki Laufeyson, prince of Jotunheim and the God of Mischief," he looked at the Grandmaster intently, before strongly adding "and I am not here to compete."

The Grandmaster grinned and clapped his hands enthusiastically.
"Oo, those are some impressive titles, God of Mischief! But if you're not here to fight..." The Grandmaster walked slowly towards him, coming within arms reach. "...can you give me any reason at all why I shouldn't obliterate you with my, eh..." He looked over his shoulder and extended his hand to Topaz, waving it impatiently until she gave him the staff she had been holding. "...my Melting Stick, right here?" The odd man practically shoved the Melting Stick under his nose in an attempt to intimidate him, and even though it worked quite a bit, Loki grinned at the Grandmaster over the big sphere.

"As I said, Grandmaster, I am both a prince and a God. Surely, befriending me would add to your already impressive reputation?"

The Grandmaster seemed to ponder this for a mere second before breaking into chuckles. "Hmm, I like your flattery very much, Prince Charming. I kind of want to know what kind of, eh, tricks you have up your sleeve, but..." He patted Loki on the shoulder, who resisted the urge to flinch and smiled broadly instead. "...I'm sure there are other ways to find out. You don't have to enter the Contest."

As if sensing Loki's relief through his facade of calmness and confidence, he added, "Yet! You don't have to enter the Contest yet! If you are wrong about what you would mean for my reputation and I can't find any other use for you... what choice would I have? Except the Melting Stick, of course!" Loki's smile almost faltered, but he caught himself in time.

"Not to worry, Grandmaster. I assure you, I won't be wrong."

And with that the Grandmaster laughed, pointed at a few guards and said, "Give our little God over here a nice big room, won't you? Maybe keep a few guard behind the door, just in case." He glanced at the obedience disk edged in Loki's neck. "I'll keep that on for a little while, just making sure you're not a flight risk! Even though leaving Sakaar is impossible, it doesn't mean people haven't tried... and it would be such a shame to lose you already, Princy..." He said it in a pleasant tone, but Loki didn't quite feel as pleasant and thus he bode the Grandmaster good evening and followed the guards to his assigned room.