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Tales of the Storm: Transmutation of Living Things

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Loki hurried into Odin's work room, eager to share what he had done. Transmutation. He could change things from one form to another. So far he'd only managed something small and similar, but still, it was exciting. Hopefully it would be the first of many. "Father! Father -"

Odin turned a glaring eye at him. "Is that appropriate decorum, Loki?"

Loki skid to a stop, ungainly limbs tangling and nearly sending him to the floor. He snapped his mouth closed and straightened hastily, as he saw Odin wasn't alone. The king was hearing some sort of report from a city master, whose name Loki forgot the moment they were introduced. Loki waited off to the side, bouncing on his toes restlessly.

The master took his leave swiftly, with an apologetic bow to Loki on the way out. "Prince."

"What is so important you would interrupt when I am busy?" Odin demanded when they were alone.

"I, uh," Loki cleared his throat and looked into Odin's stern visage, words failing for a moment. "I wanted to show you… something. I was excited, and I - I apologize for my intemperate-"

Odin interrupted, "Did you learn a sword form? You had sword lessons today, did you not?"

Loki glanced down. He hadn't been to sword lessons for three weeks. "Not today, Father."

"All right, then what is it?"

His enthusiasm building again at the thought, Loki looked up and took a step forward, "I learned transmutation, Father!" He held out his hand with the now limp white daisy and short stem in it. "Look! It was a stalk of celery before."

Odin looked at it, frowned, but seemed neither impressed nor very interested. "It is small and rather tired," he observed.

"But I -" Loki wanted to object and insist it was a transmutation. Not everyone, not even all sorcerers, could manage that, and Loki wasn't full grown yet. But he swallowed the words down. Because Odin was right; the daisy was small and crumpled in his palm, very unimpressive looking. "It was my first. I wanted you to see it," he murmured, without looking up, as his enthusiasm deflated to disappointment.

"You are not doing this instead of your usual lessons, I hope?" Odin asked.

"No, of course not," Loki answered. The rest of his lessons were not as interesting or challenging, but he still did them.

"And weapons training?" Odin nodded his head in the direction of Gungnir, which was standing against the wall nearby. "I will not have you do magic instead of proper weapons practice. You will not improve skills or your strength without more practice and training."

Loki stared at the flower in his hand and answered more stiffly, "I do not neglect my duties."

"Good, see that you do not. Asgard needs warrior princes, able to show their strength." Loki nodded because Odin expected it, but said nothing, because he wanted to protest that his magic could show strength, too. He had thought - hoped - that Odin would appreciate the power and skill involved in the transmutation, but it wasn't enough. The disappointment tasted bitter on his tongue, and his stomach felt tight. He kept from slumping his shoulders only by sheer force of will, keeping his posture straight as he'd been taught.

"Was there something else?" Odin prompted.

"No. Thank you for seeing me," Loki said politely and turned to leave. At the doorway, he looked over his shoulder. Odin had gone back to work and wasn't watching him leave.

Loki glanced at the flower in his hand. He'd intended to keep it, perhaps press it into a keepsake for his box, but there seemed little point now. He turned his palm over to let the daisy drop to the floor.

Not far away he encountered Thor. "Brother!" His cheerful greeting faltered with a look at Loki's face. "What occurred? You seem ... troubled."

For a moment he considered telling Thor his accomplishment, then shrugged. If Odin hadn't thought it was impressive, Thor wouldn't either. "Nothing. Nothing that matters."

Next time, he wouldn't show Odin anything until he'd mastered something better. It would have to be something not pathetic like creating flowers, but bigger and useful in battle. Something important.