Episode 33/Chapter 1: Idun’s warrior (1)
Valhalla, the holy land for warriors, was divided in several sectors.
The central hall had the space door that connected the several places of Midgard.
The amusement center of the warriors, Anaheim.
The smithy where the dwarf masters gathered and created several weapons for the warriors of Valhalla.
The fog lake that had the residences of the legions that had the shape of islands.
The holy door Valgrind, for the warriors to be dispatched at.
The great banquet room that could hold all the warriors of Valhalla.
The lowest-ranked warriors that had just entered Valhalla didn’t have much doubts of it, but the warriors with experience could only grow doubtful about the structure of Valhalla.
The reason was simple, for a residence of the Gods didn’t exist at all.
Excluding some special Gods that were in charge of their legion, most of them didn’t live in the residences.
Because of that, the lowest-ranked warriors simply thought that there may be a palace for the Gods somewhere in Valhalla.
However, no such residence for the Gods existed.
The Gods that were in charge of their legions were residents of Asgard before being the owners of Valhalla. One could say that the entirety of Valhalla was their palace.
The palace of the God of Thunder, Thor, Bilskirnir, was located in the north of Valhalla, and it was the most majestic and grandiose building among all the ones that existed in Valhalla.
Thor’s palace wasn’t located in Thor’s residence but in a different place, and the reason for this was because his palace also acted as the treasure vault for Valhalla.
The fortress of Heimdal, which guarded the entrance to the Bifrost, was quite far away from Valhalla.
However, one could say that it was also part of Valhalla, as it was connected with a long bridge that warriors could cross.
The residence of Freya, Folkvangr, was located in the middle of the fog lake.
Folkvangr, which was called the plain of battles, was wider than any other residence, but unlike Thor’s, it was inside her territory.
The reason it was located in the center of the fog lake was because it had a much more important role than Odin’s residence.
The owner of Valhalla, Odin, was the God who commanded all the warriors of Valhalla.
It was by his authority that the place, time, and manner of a battle was decided.
But Valhalla was the place the warriors stayed at and not the place they faced their enemies. So naturally, Odin’s authority was displayed more outside of Valhalla. Subsequently, it was Odin’s role to decide the things that happened outside of Valhalla.
The ones that were in charge of what happened inside of Valhalla wasn’t Odin but Freya and her Valkyries.
Because of that, it was a natural thing for her residence to be located in the middle of the fog lake so that she could influence all of the legions surrounding it.
“The Goddess is waiting for you. Let’s hurry.”
Hildegarde urged Tae Ho. As she knew that Tae Ho had the Hawk Wing Coat, she said that there was no need to ride on a ship and they should just fly over the Freya’s residence, but Heda dismissed this.
“It’s a visit by a commander, and as it’s late in the night, I think that there’s more need to keep with the procedures.”
Hildegarde didn’t have anything to rebuke with as Heda spoke her argument with eyes filled with vigilance.
She could only get on a boat as Heda had proposed.
The ones that got on the wooden boat Heda drove were Tae Ho, Hildegarde, and Adenmaha.
In the case of Adenmaha, she was just blinking because she wanted to go but had particularly no reason to. Unexpectedly, Heda had ‘ordered’ her to go too.
Heda was the representative Valkyrie indeed, but she didn’t particularly order her Valkyries. Even Adenmaha, who’d just been ordered, merely did favors, and as it was the first time she received an order, she put on a bewildered look.
‘Heda is really on her guard. Is she more cautious of Freya than Hildegarde?’
Cuchulainn said in a low voice. Tae Ho gripped Gae Bolg while sitting next to Heda and whispered in a really low voice.
‘Um, but it still feels quite good.’
He also felt that Heda was being jealous.
‘Are you open-minded or just simple?’
Cuchulainn clicked his tongue; however, he didn’t think of this situation to be too serious.
He must have gotten called because Freya had business with him, and there was a really low probability for her to harm Tae Ho and Heda.
Freya wasn’t simply a beautiful woman. She was the one that administered all of Valhalla instead of Odin and could be said to be the real owner of Valhalla.
She did show a childish side at times, but she was an undeniably wise and clear Goddess.
She had had her own reasons when she met Tae Ho until now, so there would also be one this time.
Heda drove the wooden boat while standing, while Tae Ho and Adenmaha sat calmly. Hildegarde looked at Heda and the direction the boat was going to while frowning.
Time flew by.
A really huge island started becoming visible from beyond the fog.
“It’s Folkvangr. The place where both Freya’s residence and the Valkyrie Training Center are at.”
Adenmaha’s eyes shone and showed a reaction at Hildegarde’s explanation rather than Tae Ho. It was because she was quite interested in the training center she had heard from Sigrun and Gudrun.
“Heda told me that she would send me to train when the legion gets stabilized.”
Adenmaha pulled on Tae Ho’s clothes and said in a low voice.
It was enough for her to learn from Heda as she was quite intelligent, but still, it was also good to experience it once.
But just like Adenmaha had said, it was impossible to do so right now because they didn’t know when Tae Ho may call Adenmaha.
When they hopped off the boat after it reached the dock, the Valkyries of Freya’s legion approached them as if they have been waiting.
“Greetings to the commander of Idun.”
The Valkyries hit their chests twice and then offered Tae Ho’s group to ride a cat carriage.
‘It feels like animal abuse.’
Because the cat carriage was really being pulled by a sort of feline.
The carriage that looked like a sleigh had about ten cats in front of it.
Tae Ho agreed to Cuchulainn’s words and got on the carriage. When Heda and Adenmaha also got on the carriage, Hildegarde boarded last and swung a willow branch to depart the cats.
It was doubtful if the cats would be able to pull the carriage, but it seemed like they weren’t normal cats. The carriage started to move much faster than an average one and then floated into the air and aimed for the sky.
“The white palace you see over there is Sessrumnir.”
It was a palace that had quite the difficult pronunciation.
The residence of Freya was quite a distance away from the training center of the Valkyries and the lodging of the warriors.
The palace of Freya was wide rather than high, and it looked similar to the palace of Versailles of France.
Hildegarde made the carriage stop in front of the main gates and then looked at Tae Ho and Heda at the same time and said,
“The only one that can enter is Idun’s commander.”
“I know. Be careful.”
She said the first part to Hildegarde and the last part was directed towards Tae Ho.
It seemed like it was a certain rule that was established rather than favoring Freya. Heda just frowned and didn’t say anything else. Adenmaha looked at Heda and told Tae Ho to have a safe trip.
“I will be going then.”
Tae Ho said his farewell to Adenmaha, who was waving her hand, and Heda, who was looking at him worriedly, and then followed Hildegarde inside of the palace of Freya.
‘It feels warm and soft.’
Cuchulainn checked the insides of the palace and said in a low voice. Everywhere Tae Ho looked was white, but it was a warm white instead of a cold one. It reminded Tae Ho of a sun-dried blanket and pillow.
In addition, as there were white cats rolling inside of the palace, one could only feel fluffy.
After he stepped on the red and comfy carpet, a long staircase that led to the second floor appeared. After climbing each floor, a big room that was guarded by Valkyries appeared.
“The commander of Idun has arrived.”
“Let him in.”
As the Valkyrie that was next to the door spoke, an answer from Freya came back from inside the room. Tae Ho ended up laughing as he had seen this scene several times in historical plays.
Hildegarde stopped right in front of the open doors as if she would accompany him up to here and said. Tae Ho greeted her with his eyes and then entered the room.
“The commander of Idun greets the Goddess of Magic and Beauty.”
Freya was half lying in a big throne that looked like a bed rather than a chair.
As Tae Ho lowered his posture to express etiquette to Freya just like he did so with Idun, Freya laughed and received his greeting.
“Your greeting has become quite good. It feels like you got accust…..huh?”
Freya, in the middle of complimenting Tae Ho, paused her words and frowned. She rose up and then checked on Tae Ho with her sharp eyes.
“You’ve changed quite a lot in only twenty days. Did Ragnar use magic on you?”
It was the sharp observation of the commander of the Valkyries. Tae Ho grew amazed inwardly and said briefly,
“I just trained hard.”
“Hm really? Ragnar indeed. How amazing.”
‘Hey, say that the amazing one is master quickly. Huh?’
The last one that urged him was Cuchulainn. Tae Ho pretended not to have heard it as he was in front of Freya, but it wasn’t possible. Rather than Cuchulainn, Freya was the problem.
“Gae Bolg, the spear of Cuchulainn. It seems like there’s a bit of his soul in it.”
She was the Goddess of Magic and this place was her magical region. It would be weirder for her to not notice Cuchulainn.
“Beautiful Prince of Light, it’s nice to meet you again.”
When Freya waved her hand, Cuchulainn materialized next to Tae Ho akin to the scene in the residence of Scathach.
Cuchulainn smiled bitterly and then hit his chest to express etiquette.
“Nice to meet you. You are still pretty, although you come after master.”
“Just like birds of the same flock. Both of your eyes are twisted.”
Freya answered with a discomforted voice at Cuchulainn’s greeting, but her eyes were smiling. It seemed like she was happy that she was able to face Cuchulainn.
“I can now understand. You have Ragnar and also Cuchulainn. I also heard that Scathach is staying in your residence….And even Merlin was added? It’s a really flashy composition.”
The number of the members of the legion was low, but it was a line up that wouldn’t fall behind any other legion.
Freya looked at Cuchulainn with affectionate eyes for a moment and then fixed her posture to say,
“I should tell you the reason I have called you. The reason is because I have something to entrust you with.”
The distance between Tae Ho and Freya shortened. It wasn’t that Tae Ho had approached Freya, but the distance between them had just closed.
The result of having gotten closer while omitting the process was really marvelous but Tae Ho just thought it as being on top of a moving floor.
Freya showed a disappointed look as Tae Ho didn’t get that surprised but then continued speaking.
“If it’s you, who has already gone to Midgard several times, you should know that the state and the effects of the Great Barrier are not clear. We also talked about this in the great conference.”
Could they keep believing in the Great Barrier like this? Weren’t the defects increasing?
“It hasn’t been revealed publicly…..but we are planning on installing the Great Barrier once again completely.”
Freya lowered her voice and then ordered Tae Ho to get closer. When the distance between the two of them became three steps, Freya said while blushing a bit.
“Installing the Great Barrier again isn’t a normal thing. In addition, it’s a sudden installation that hasn’t been planned. Because of that…it’s a bit embarrassing to say this, but we are lacking strength.”
It was understandable as it was a Great Barrier that protected all of Midgard. And just like Freya had said, it was decided too suddenly.
Tae Ho frowned unconsciously. He did understand Freya’s words, but he was curious as to where he could be put in that story.
Freya read Tae Ho’s expression and then clicked her tongue.
“Don’t worry. I’m not telling you to use magic.”
If that really was the case, she would have called Scathach instead.
“What I want to entrust you with is to go to Vanaheim to get the materials we need to install the Great Barrier.”
“Are you talking about the land of the Vanir?”
“Right. It’s the land of my father, my brother, and I that we long for. I don’t know if you know this, but most of the magic of Asgard originated from Vanaheim. I am a body that was dispatched to teach magic to the Aesir.”
If one went deeper into the matter, the Vanir had sent Freya as a hostage after they’d been defeated in the war against the Aesir, but there was no need to speak about that.
Freya spoke once again as the silent Tae Ho nodded.
“The reason we are sending you instead of the Valkyries is because this matter is that important. What you will be bringing from Vanaheim isn’t simply a magical book or tool. It’s a really precious item, even in Vanaheim. Appropriately, we have to send someone that’s at least a commander, and the one that has the most free time among the ones I know is you.”
It didn’t mean that Tae Ho had free time.
Normally, the commanders acted together with their legions. But the situation of Idun’s legion, which Tae Ho belonged to, was different. Excluding Tae Ho, all the others were lowest-ranked warriors, and that number was only in the tens.
Because of that, Tae Ho could only act alone so naturally he had more freedom than the other commanders.
“In addition, you should already know this, but Vanaheim isn’t a place you can come and go freely through a space door like Svartalfheim or Nidavelir. The existence of an escort is indispensab….what are those eyes? Don’t tell me you don’t know what i’m talking about.”
Tae Ho nodded honestly. There was no way he would know about Vanaheim when he didn’t even have the basic knowledge.
However, Freya frowned in disapproval.
“Really….what did Idun and Heda do without even teaching you this?”
She let out a sigh and said,
“It’s too long for me to explain everything, so get more information from Hildegarde. There’s a need for you to know about the structure of Asgard and other realms as you are a commander now.”
“I will take it into account.”
“Right. Thank you for answering me freshly. Also…..I’m sorry that I called you in the middle of the night, but I hope you can depart immediately. I hope you understand, as it’s a really important matter.”
“Thank you once again. If you have something besides the reward, you can just tell me. I will listen to you if it’s in my power.”
Everything had to have a price corresponding to it.
Tae Ho noticed Freya’s sincerity and then said in the end of his pondering,
“I want to receive Freya-nim’s blessing after and before I finish the task.”
“Yes, I want your blessing.”
Tae Ho said with craving eyes and Freya tilted her head as if it was unexpected but then put on a smile.
“Hm, right. So that’s what you want? Well, now we are being reasonable.”
It was time for Tae Ho’s bean chaff to get off as he had kept facing Freya’s shining beauty repeatedly.
Freya smiled joyfully and then made a gesture with her hand to Tae Ho to get closer. It really was to bless him.
But it was when Tae Ho lowered his posture in front of Freya, she opened her eyes sharply and said,
“What is this? It feels like you are planning something.”
Tae Ho flinched but spoke with desiring eyes.
“That’s not true. I just want to receive your blessing.”
Freya’s eyes became even sharper.
But it only lasted for a moment. Freya shrugged her shoulders and then stood up from her seat.
“Well, it’s not that I can’t do it.”
She spoke briefly and then made Tae Ho raise his head and kissed him. The blessing that had the biggest effect among the Valkyries was a blessing on the lips.
Cuchulainn whistled and Tae Ho forced himself to act calm. Freya giggled and then touched Tae Ho’s cheek.
“Go, Idun’s commander. Hildegarde will be the one to tell you the details.”
Freya spoke refreshingly and then sat on the throne once again and laughed. Tae Ho could understand why Freya was enjoying it so much after he got out of the room.
“So that was the case. You just wanted to strengthen your saga. The reason you smiled like a fool is also because your saga got strengthened, not because of another reason.”
“So that was the case.”
Heda and Adenmaha looked at Tae Ho with the same eyes. It was because they had watched Freya giving him the blessing in a live broadcast.
‘Hey! At times like this, you just have to come out shamelessly.’
Tae Ho ignored Cuchulainn’s baseless advice and then Hildegarde approached him with an enjoying face.
“I will be leading the commander of Idun to Vanaheim.”
There were two Valkyries of Freya’s legion and twenty shield maidens behind Hildegarde.
It seemed like it was because there were many Valkyries, but Freya’s legion had many more females compared to the other legions.
Heda was another case, but when even Adenmaha’s eyes grew chilly, Tae Ho thought of another thing.
‘Did I erase Hildegarde for nothing?’
As soon as he erased her name, an opportunity to receive her blessing several times had appeared.
Hildegarde was quite a strong Valkyrie. Just by looking at the performance as a Valkyrie, she was comparable to Reginleif.
But Tae Ho shook his head.
If he decided on a path, he should keep going by it. He would only suffer more damages if he couldn’t decide.
Compared to Adenmaha, Heda, who knew what Tae Ho was thinking about clearly, let out a sigh and then grabbed on Adenmaha’s arm and said,
“I will entrust Tae Ho to you, Adenmaha.”
“Leave it to me. I will be watching him closely.”
The representative Valkyrie couldn’t follow Tae Ho outside. In the first place, the reason Heda brought Adenmaha was because she had been expecting something like this to happen.
‘But for them to install the Great Barrier again at this point…..Is the situation more serious than I thought…….’
To install the Great Barrier anew, they had to remove the existing barrier once. So that meant that Midgard would be exposed to the giants at that moment.
Of course, Odin and Freya wouldn’t just remove the barrier. He was sure they had their own preparations.
Regardless, he couldn’t help but worry.
A hundred years since the Great War.
Many interesting events had been occurring recently. Perhaps, the time for a change had come.
Heda raised her head when she was called and then fixed her expression. She shook her head at Tae Ho whose eyes were filled with worry.
Hildegarde led the warriors and got on the ship of Freya’s legion. Heda allowed Adenmaha on the ship first and then gave Tae Ho the best blessing.
“May Idun’s blessing accompany you.”
“May Idun’s blessing accompany you.”
The ship of Freya’s legion left the dock with Heda watching from on.
It went towards Vanaheim, the land of the Vanir.
< Episode 33 – Idun’s sword (1) > End
TL note: Thanks for reading~