The next morning; thirty miles from Asgarn: Torga POV
The group raced through the night and into the next morning before Lokir informed them they were closing in on their destination.
The forest around them had long since turned into an almost perfectly flat grassland.
"How far?" Torga asked.
Because he'd spent the night coiled around Ayla's waist and neck, he was eager for this journey to end, so he could actually move around a bit.
"Thirty miles... Give or take."
"Good." Torga turned to Ayla.
"You said you've never met them, right?"
"Yeah... Why? What're you thinking?"
"How'd you like to make one hell of a first impression?"
Though Ayla looked confused for a second, she quickly caught on to Torga's intentions and nodded her approval.
"Alright, then." He looked to Lokir. "Get your ass up here and leave your horse with the humans!"
"Just do it, Lokir." Ayla smiled at him. "I promise it'll be fun~"
The prince rolled his eyes at her obvious attempts at manipulating him... He still did as she asked though.
He slowed himself down until he and the captain were neck and neck, then he jumped off and sprinted ahead of them. A most impressive feat, considering they were atop galloping horses and he was now on foot.
He dodged around, jumped over, and in one instance, he actually jumped onto Holstig's shoulder and flipped over his head to land on the back of Ayla's horse.
"Miss me?" He whispered in her ear and wrapped his arms around her waist, earning him a bright red blush from Ayla.
"Like one misses a hemorrhoid." Torga sneered.
"Thanks for that... It's always been a goal of mine to be a pain in the ass."
"Glad I could fulfill one of your life goals. Now, if you don't stop groping my daughter under the pretense of holding on, I'll help you fulfill another one."
"Becoming a eunuch."
Lokir jerked his hands away liked he'd been burned and gave Ayla, who was also glaring at him, a sheepish look.
"Sorry, I uh... I couldn't resist."
Ayla rolled her eyes at him and smirked, but didn't otherwise react.
Torga rose to his full height and looked around until he found something Ayla could jump off of... And he found it in the form of a ravine with a one-hundred-foot bridge connecting the two sides.
"Wait until you get to the bridge ahead, then jump off the side."
"Alright!" Ayla said without hesitation.
Torga unwrapped himself from her waist and allowed himself to fall off the horse. However, just before he landed on the ground, a loud boom startled everyone as Torga blasted off into the sky, followed by the 'gift' a few seconds later.
"He can fly!?" The prince yelled.
"Yep. Dad can fly."
"So... is there anything else I should know about?"
"Hmm... There might be a few things."
"Are you going to tell me what they are?"
"Figures..." Lokir grumbled, which earned him a giggle from Ayla.
A few minutes later and Ayla slowed down her horse so Hali could take the reigns, then she stood up on the horse's back.
"What're you doing!?"
While keeping her balance, she lifted Lokir's face with two fingers and stared into his eyes.
"Don't you trust me?"
Lokir looked past her to the ravine, then he refocused on her and slowly nodded.
"Alright. Let's do this." He sighed as he too climbed to his feet.
"Hali, keep us steady!"
"Yeah, yeah. You have fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do!"
Ayla nodded her head and waited until just before the horse reached the bridge and she... Pushed Lokir off.
He screamed as he fell over the edge for a few seconds before a low groan could be heard from just below the bridge. Then Ayla winked at Hali and jumped off the side to land on a large object floating just beneath the bridge.
Lokir shot to his feet and yelled, "What the hell was that for!? I could've died were it not for this... Ground?" he looked down and for the first time, he realized just what he was standing on. It wasn't grass or dirt, no.
It was massive scales, connected to massive spikes and an absolutely colossal serpent.
"Sup?" Torga turned his massive head around to greet Ayla and Lokir.
Lokir's mouth dropped so low, Ayla thought for a moment he'd dislocated his jaw, so she pushed it back closed and waved to Torga.
"Hi, Dad! You're looking kinda small still. Are you done growing for now? "
Torga shook his head and laughed; a low echoing sound reverberated off the walls of the ravine and knocking the prince out of his stupor.
"No. I'm going to return to full size for a little while, so I still have a few thousand feet to go."
"Wait! Hold up! Timeout!" The prince screamed. "The fuck you mean, 'a few thousand feet'!? How big could you possibly be!?"
Torga blinked at the prince's outburst, then 'shrugged'.
"Don't know for sure... Although, if what Uriel said is true and I grow at the same speed I shrink, then I've got... about an hour until I'm back to normal."
Lokir's eyes widened and his mouth gaped open like a fish out of water. So shocked was he, that even when Ayla waved her hand in front of his face, he didn't react.
"Dad, I think you broke him."
"Oh, well. I'm sure he'll get over eventually-"
"That's not possible!" Lokir suddenly interrupted.
"It's just not possible for one creature to have so many abilities! I mean, You can shrink, grow, use magic, petrify, break an unbreakable sword, and fucking fly! At this point, I should just start asking what you can't do!"
After his outburst, Lokir began panting for air... Which gave Torga time to interject.
"Are you done?"
The prince nodded.
"Good, then I've got something you can add to your list of stuff I 'can't' do."
"What's... That?" Lokir panted.
Torga bared his teeth at Lokir, which Ayla knew to be his way of 'smiling' and said.
"I can't... GIVE A FLYING FUCK WHAT AN IGNORANT LITTLE SHIT LIKE YOU THINKS IS 'IMPOSSIBLE'!" Torga roared.
His voice was so loud, the prince was knocked onto his back and would've fallen off had Ayla not grabbed his arm and pulled him back up.
"Oh, and don't forget to hold on." Torga said in a much quieter voice. Then he slowly began to fly forward and angle himself out from under the bridge.
"Men..." Ayla shook her head and pressed her back into one of Torga's spikes, so she would have something to brace herself on when Torga inevitably sped up.
Sure enough, as soon as Torga was clear, he accelerated with enough force to cause a sonic boom and almost instantly he was flying at his top speed.
They easily caught up with and even passed the group on horseback, before rocketing off into the early morning sky to the sound of Lokir screaming for his life...
The flight from the bridge to the outskirts of Asgarn only took twenty minutes, but with Lokir's constant screaming and whining, It'd felt like a much longer journey. However, once Lokir saw Asgarn, he calmed down almost immediately and began grooming himself.
Torga watched the prince for a few moments with an incredulous look on his face.
"The little shit spent the entire trip crying, and only now does he shut up?
Typical..." Torga shook his head, then looked down at the city below.
Situated in the center of a large crater, suspended over what appeared to be a bottomless chasm and held in place by nine massive, metal constructs that dug deep into the ground. Asgarn was a large city with three large walls that got progressively smaller as they got closer to the center, which served to separate the city into three districts.
Although Torga was unsure which district severed which purposes, he was fairly certain the castle in the center was the prince's home.
The castle itself, while being extremely large in its own right, was nothing compared to the nine towers surrounding it; with each one stretching over five-hundred-feet into the air, they were truly a sight to behold... Unless you were currently staring at the over seven hundred foot long Torga floating in the air above said towers, in which case you most likely wouldn't pay them any attention at all.
Torga watched and waited for the moment he knew would happen; the moment someone looked up and saw him floating there and decided to raise the alarm... Which happened much quicker than he thought it would.
It only took the city two minutes to sound the alarm, and scramble the guards... A decent time, all things considered.
"It would appear your people have taken notice of us." Torga mumbled as he watched winged guards jump off the towers and make a b-line for him.
"Father has sent the Valkyries to intercept us."
"Mmm... That's the proper name for the winged guards. They were named after the Angels of myth; Valkyries are the elite troops that guard the city against invasion."
"And... Just what are they hoping to accomplish?" Torga wondered aloud.
"The most likely outcome is to kill you, and failing that, they would attempt to slow you down until the army can be mobilized."
"Wow, I'm actually impressed." Torga admitted.
"As you should be." Lokir said with no small amount of pride.
"Indeed, I'm impressed at the lack of thought you've put into the defense of your city; No cannons, limited air defense, not even the slightest inkling of magical protection."
"I'll have you know, we've survived countless sieges ever since our kingdom was founded over a thousand years ago!" Lokir yelled.
"Against humans... But I'm not human, am I?" Torga sneered.
Lokir's mouth snapped shut and he puffed out his chest. However, before he could say anything, the Valkyries arrived en-mass.
Several hundred humans; all armed to the teeth with enchanted weapons and armor, surrounded what they could of Torga, while the rest formed a wall between him and the castle.
Torga; instead of shrinking back or attempting to flee like most would under the circumstances. He simply watched them surround him with a bored expression on his face.
"Dad, are you gonna be okay?" Ayla quietly asked.
Torga laughed; a deep rumbling sound, and he said.
"Of course, Your old man's not a weakling, you know?"
Lokir snorted, "That's a lot of arrogance coming from you, 'old man'."
"It's not arrogance that allows me to say so... It's my hunger." Torga's eyes flashed bright red as magic began to accumulate within them. "If they attack me, then they will serve as my next meal. It's as simple as that."
Ayla placed her hand on Lokir's shoulder, prompting him to look at her, and she said...
"My father is not boasting to annoy you, Lokir. He's simply telling you what will happen if you don't stop them from attacking."
"Do you truly have so much faith in his power?"
"It's not his power I have faith in, it's his will."
While they were discussing whether or not the prince would 'save' his people. Torga watched as the line of Valkyries in front of him pointing long barrels at him; Each barrel drew magic in and created a glowing sphere of energy that grew brighter with every passing second.
"They're attacking." Torga said to interrupt them.
Ayla and Lokir turned in time to see the Valkyries pull the trigger on their weapons and send beams of energy flying towards Torga at high speed.
"No!" The prince yelled.
He sprinted around Ayla and jumped over the spikes on Torga's head to land on his nose, then he reached for his sword... Which was no longer there.
"Damn!" He swore as he quickly tried to think of a way to save Torga.
However, all of his thoughts ground to a halt when Torga displayed just how 'monstrous' he truly was.
"Thanks for the meal~" Torga cheered and opened his mouth wide.
Lokir, who knew the destructive capabilities of those guns better than anyone else, thought Torga was insane for giving the Valkyries a 'softer' target to aim for... But when Torga took a deep breath and the beams were literally Sucked down his throat.
Lokir's mind simply couldn't process it.
"Each of those guns is capable of destroying a tier five beast in one blast so just... Just what kind of a monster is he!?"
The Valkyries, after witnessing Torga simply eat their beams instead of being killed as they expected, slowly began to increase the output of their weapons until foot high streams of magic were constantly being sent towards Torga... Which he also ate.
Lokir, after deciding to end this embarrassment before the Valkyries ran out of ammo and Torga was forced to eat someone, got a running start and jumped off.
While in the air, wings sprouted from his pauldrons and he flew towards the Valkyries.
"Stop! Hold your fire!" The prince yelled.
The Valkyries all stopped firing immediately after recognizing Lokir for who he was and lowered their weapons.
"Your Highness!?" One of the Valkyries yelled.
"Yes, it's me. No, I'm not injured. And please, for the love of god, don't shoot at it anymore!"
"Yes, sir!" The Valkyries yelled.
Lokir sighed and turned around to see Torga staring at the Valkyries with a disappointed expression on his face.
"Is... Is something wrong?"
"I'm still hungry..."
"Wait, you actually enjoyed that!?" Lokir asked incredulously.
"Eh, aside from it being rather plain tasting... I'd give it a six out of ten."
Lokir and Ayla sweatdropped and shook their heads.
"Why'd I have to fall for the girl with this weirdo for a father?" Lokir thought morosely, then he flew over to Ayla and lifted her into a bridal carry.
"Ready to meet the in-laws?"
Ayla sighed, "As ready as I'll ever be."
"Don't worry, I'm sure they'll like you..."
"Can we hurry this up? I'm starving and I'd like to track down one of those Valkyries to see if they'd like to feed me again."
Lokir rolled his eyes and whispered.
"Now, Him? I'm not so sure about-Umph!" Lokir grunted as a rock slammed into his back, which sent him and Ayla flying towards the ground.
"I'm hungry, not deaf. You little shit!" Torga laughed as he dove after them.
"I'm going to regret bringing him here... I just know it."