Colored by the beauty of greenery, there stood a mirror-like azure lake on this picturesque fantasyland.
Rustle...A lady in a gauze pushed the bushes aside, clearing a path to the lakeside. As she touched the surface, energy was sent into the water, causing the lake ripple; a man then emerged from the lake.
“Oh, the power of the box is finally full. Soon we’ll meet each other.” Pandora the lady gently stroked his face with deep fondness.
“Alright, it's time.” Pandora let go and exhaled a wisp of air, which was turned into a golden bird flying up to the sky. Next second, the bird vanished from this fastasyland; and then it jumped out from a rhombus portal.
Flap! Flap! The golden bird came to the skyline of reality, where there was a castle of Aesir resided on the frozen land named the North.
Behind a window, it was a pink bedroom. A blushing girl lay on the bed, gasping. It seemed she was having a bad fever.
The golden bird tilted its head and sang a pleasant song to catch the girl's attention. Looking at it, the innocent girl was curious and excited about this little creature.
“Aw! It's pretty. I've never seen a golden bird like this.” The girl Hel got off the bed despite her sickness, trying to catch that bird. However, it flapped to a tree outside.
“No, don't go away...” Hel chased it outside the house with a crutch as if she was bewitched by the bird. Unwittingly, she arrived at a mysterious forest, a tree under a floating miraculous rhombus.
“What is that?” Puzzled, Hel reached towards the rhombus. The moment she contacted, a strong light shone over her.
When Hel opened her eyes, she was stunned by the beauty of the scenery, followed by an even more amazing thing.
“My fever has gone...and my body isn’t sore anymore...” Hel jumped around like a kid; the torture of sickness had completely cured.
Suddenly, someone gave her a hug from behind. Hel, spontaneously, pushed that person away on alert——It was a gorgeous lady.
“She...somehow gives me a familiar feeling...” Hel asked as she pondered for a while. “Who are you? And where am I?”
“Hel, are you alright?” The lady smiled reluctantly. “Don't you even remember your mother?” She bent to gaze at Hel.
“No, my mother has already...” Hel became lost. “Em? Mother...Yeah right...You're my mother...”
The lady held Hel's hands passionately with a bright smile. “Today we're gonna have fun together, right?”
“Yes.” Hel nodded and went into the lady's embrace. “Mama let's play together.”
Touring in the garden, their laughters added
joyous vibe all over the place. Time flew. Soon it was at dusk.
“Mama, I want to go home.” Hel looked at the tangerine sky.
“Why? Don't you feel happy with mother?” As the lady heard it, she forced a smile, but Hel was unaware as she was gazing at the ground.
“Of course not,” Hel denied. “I just miss my dad a little...Right! You can come home with me. Dad will be very happy to see you!” She felt shy to say, slightly pulling her mother's hem.
“Sorry Hel, mother can't come with you.”
“Mother is cursed to never leave this garden.” The lady cried tears of sorrow, and touched Hel's shoulders to beg her. “Only you can save me.”
“Save mama...But how?” Hel asked anxiously.
“Make a wish.” The lady raised Hel's chin to whisper. “Make a wish to remove the curse of mama.”
“No problem. I can do that.” Hel closed her eyes, putting her palms together to pray sincerely. “I wish——”
“Don't listen to her!” A man cut in.
“Dad!” Hel ran to the man in surprise. “Are you here to bring mama back,” she asked happily.
“She is not your mother.” Loki glared at the lady. Then he swung his weapon to crack this fantasyland with dark elements; at the moment, multiple images emerged as if a mirror was cracked.
“Who are you exactly! A demon!?”
“It was so close if it wasn't because of you...” The lady murmured, with her skin peeling off, eventually showing her real face.
“Pandora...” Loki was shocked. She was once his childhood sweetheart, who passed away a long time ago.
“Call my name again. Oh I’ve missed your voice,” Pandora was indulged.
“Weren't you dead in the battle?”
“Dead?” Pandora could not believe his words. “So this is the lie they told you. That’s why you’ve never thought of me in all these years. Am I right? And I've been stuck at this box of hope just to make your dream come true! Now I see you can walk, and become a man of power,” she wore a sorrowful smile.
“My dream...So my foot injury was cured by you——” Loki finally figured everything out.
“Yes, all for you.” Pandora continued as she touched her own face. “To find the cure of your injury, I sought a mythological relic named the box of hope. I wished to the box, and my hope was truly fulfilled. But the cost is——”
Pandora wore a wry smile, looking at Loki.
“Apology is meaningless to me. I replaced the former host of this box, so I'll be staying here forever and ever. Now you know the truth. You should say it's so good to see me alive. You should say you regret marrying Angrboda.” Pandora went on with a cold voice, “then I'll say never mind. I'll accept your daughter.”
“You just tried to make Hel become the next host!” Loki’s deep gaze was exuding with chill.
“Don't you want your daughter to live on healthily? I did this for you!”
“Let's get out of here, Hel.” Unwilling to explain, Loki held her hands to leave.
“Who says you can go? I've sacrificed everything for you, and this is how you treat me...Unforgivable!”
Pandora released an ominous aura of dark elements, which turned into vines to trap Loki. Despite his struggles, he was proved powerless in the face of Pandora who possessed the box of hope.
“Don't hurt my dad!” Hel spread her arms before Loki. Her legs were trembling with fear, but she stood still.
Pandora smiled when she saw her situation. “Hel, reality only makes you suffer. Why not live in this beautiful world? You'll no longer be tormented by your curse. You can be healthy, and do whatever you want here.”
“NOO!” Hel closed her eyes to yell. “Even though my body suffers, I can take it as long as I have dad with me!”
“Stop that nonsense. Loki brings nothing but miseries to you.”
“So be it. Dad is my courage to face up to everything!”
“No...how stubborn of you...,” Pandora murmured anguishly.
Loki laughed suddenly. “She is not stubborn, but it's just you being too weak. Back then, you gave up on me and left me to suffer alone. You just wanted to live a pleasant life and escape the heavy burden.”
“What's the problem with that? Isn't it natural to avoid sufferings? This is how we move on!” Pandora lost control, as if she tried to conceal her true thought with her yell.
“Suffering is inevitable. This is not what you called moving on. You're just playing with fate. Pandora, even if you hadn't been trapped inside the box, I won't have you in the future ‘cause you're just a coward.”
In spite of being restrained, Loki refused to bend before her but told her the truth. “Angrboda isn’t like you. Even though she already knew my future was a tragedy, she stood by me, and loved me. This is what I called sacrifice for me.”
“NO! Not like this! I gave away my freedom for you! I love you more than Angrboda! How come you’re not moved at all while I’ve devoted all of me to you?”
Pandora's words failed to shake Loki's mind. He shattered her last hope with a cold voice.
“I don't love you.”
“What did you just say!? I'll kill YOU!”
“You made the old me. Then I give you back my life as a return. Do it.”
Loki's confession had made Pandora feel shame; she let out a scream to trigger the power within. “You’d rather die than love me!”
The fantasyland began to collapse; Loki and Hel were falling.
Loki covered Loki to take the fall——
Bang! The impact created a huge noise. Loki, touching his painful back, sat up.
“...We're back.” Loki looked around the familiar surroundings. While he was still doubtful, Hel's moan had pulled back his drifted mind.
Back to reality, Hel's fever resumed again. Loki then immediately brought her back to the castle, unaware of that floating rhombus in the sky.
“Loki, I won't kill you, for I’m waiting for the day you get defeated by fate.” Pandora grinned. “Let's see how much suffering you can bear.”
With her secret manipulation, Loki's fate later fell into an even more desperate abyss...