Two and a half years had gone by since Loki had been banished, it seemed like a lifetime even to him.
He´d come at peace with himself, he was happy, though he missed his family he´d come to the realization that he idealized his parents and brother, and that caused ill feelings in him, envy for one side and resentment on the other. No matter how powerful or wise his parents were they could still be wrong and more than reluctant to accept it, this knowledge made him better about himself.
–We all make mistakes – he thought to himself- after all we are only human … well kind of.-
Several talks with Irina about comparing siblings lead him to the conclusion that it was absolutely preposterous even twins could be totally different and their difference in abilities didn´t meant that one was better than the other, but just plainly different.
-Every person is unique and special – she one said to him –Imagine if we all thought, looked and acted alike, it would be very boring. Diversity is a blessing, it allow us to appreciate others for what they are-
He didn’t quiet agreed on the appreciation part but he could see her point.
As he was working in the stables lost in his thoughts he heard an explosion, it had to be the coal mine.
Loki went outside and found Sergey and Alexey looking in the same direction that he was, towards the coal mine.
It wasn´t long before the phone rang, there had been a gas explosion in the mine, over 30 miners had been trapped in the caving that followed the explosion; they needed every men available to help with the rescue efforts.
Luckily it was summer the rescue efforts wouldn´t be hampered by the weather conditions but still time was of the essence, as they said their goodbyes to Irina and the children the tree of them got into the Alexey truck and drove over the mine.
As they arrived they saw some of the miners being helped out, some of them were fortunate enough to be able to walk out, the ones that hadn´t been that lucky were carried out on stretches.
Volunteers had already started to arrive although more were expected to join within the hour. They reported in an were assigned to help with the tunnel clearing efforts as soon as they could confirm there were no more gas leaks.
Meanwhile in Asgard, Heimdall already alerted Odin of the situation as they would have to move in quickly in case it was needed.Every time a situation that may lead to the opportunity of Loki´s return presented itself they would set their plan in motion. The amulet had been finished just months before, it had the most powerful protective magic embedded in it designed especially for the only porpoise of cloaking his owner from Thanos, though it wouldn´t be effective unless they could get Loki to wear it just before he gained his powers back.
Thor had been in Asgard since the moment the amulet had been completed worried he couldn´t get back in time should he been in Midgard.
As Loki entered the mine shaft commotion arose realizing that the Bifrost wouldn´t get them as near as they would need in time.
-Thor, go get the Teseract! – Odin voiced as Thor rushed to the relics vault.
It was dark in the mine, most of the lights were off, and the remaining ones shed barely enough light to see. Loki was glad that the helmets they wore had lamps integrated in them, as they made their way through the chaos the explosion has left behind easier.
As they reached the caving site they joined another group of volunteers already working to get the rubble out so they could get to the trapped miners.
It was hard work, the air felt stuffy and warm; efforts were directed to open a small tunnel without provoking another cave in. As the work progressed they were able to communicate with the trapped miners.
-Are you ok? – A rather big man probably a miner by the looks of him asked the trapped men.
-Yes, we are. No serious injury mainly cuts and bruises but we have another problem. The explosion caused the floor on this level to cave in, we are about more thanhalf level bellow you, we´ll need ropes to climb out and water is coming in- was the reply.
-Yes, we´re flooding quite quickly, it´s already at chest level and keeps rising up, you´ll need to hurry.-
Efforts were redoubled to get them out as they all knew they had time against them.
A cry of relief was heard as they managed to get free a little opening. They started working on it to widen it, soon the opening grew larger but none of them could fit in yet, well one of them could Loki was thin enough to get in and start setting the ropes to get the miners out before they drown while the rescuers kept enlarging the opening.
-I can get though-Loki said to the leader of the rescue party realizing they were running short on time.
-Are you sure? You know what to do? – He replied
-Yes, I´m sure. I think so they don´t have time to wait until the opening is larger to get in someone with more experience, you can tell me what to do-
-Ok- the man replied
-Give him a harness, you’ll have to climb down to where they are and help them up, we´ll get the opening clear for you-
-Vanyusha-Sergey approached him – You sure of this?-
-I am- he replied with a smile- Don´t worry I´ll be right back-
The opening was a bit tight even for him but he managed to get through within a minute he had started to climb down. He shivered as he reached the water level; it was cold, though not as cold as he knew it could get on winter season. The miners cheered as they saw him.
-There´s no time to waste, you´ll have to start climbing up one by one, I´ll help you- he told them swiftly as the water started reaching his shoulders.
The miners agreed as they started to climb up giving each other just enough space to avoid pulling each other down in case one of them slip.
It was hard as they had been in the cold water for quite a while by now, but they had renewed hope to get out of there alive.
Meanwhile the rescue party had made up the opening big enough for the miners to get through. As the miners started to get out they celebrated their safe return.
Soon the last miner was at the rope as water reached Loki’s mouth and he started to climb back up, he could hear the celebration shouts as the last miner get through then he heard rubble dropping down.
-Vanyusha- he could hear both Sergey and Alexey desperate cries as the rubble started to fall around him and causing him to fall into the water again. He couldn´t stand up anymore the water level was way over his head, as he started swimming towards the rope more rubble fell down, one of them hitting him unconscious. He drifted under the water.
The rescuers had to drag Alexey and Sergey from the opening as more rubble came down closing it again.
At the commotion that the new cave in had caused added a flash of light that suddenly appeared at the tunnel. A man wearing an armour and a red cape appeared – Where is him? – He roared
Both miners and rescuers pointed to the place the opening had been.
-Get out!-Thor voiced over – I´ll get him out but you should leave- he told them as he walked towards the opening.
Though still very surprised they all obeyed him and started to get out as fast as they could.
Thor waited just enough for them to get to a safe distance before starting to pound the rocks that closed the opening with his hammer, soon he was swimming looking for his brother, as he closed in on him he tied the amulet in one of Loki´s wrists.
Barely a second later he did it a green light wrapped Loki´s body, his powers were returning to him, as his armour appeared Loki opened his eyes and an energy pulse surrounded him creating a bubble around them.
As they climbed out of the water Loki couldn´t hide his surprise – Brother?!-
-Yes Loki, it is me. You have proven yourself worthy as we knew you would.-
-But how?-Loki couldn´t quite believe it.
-Self-sacrifice-Thor answered him-Father one told me that a worthy leader is selfless, thinking about the were fell of his people before considering his own needs.-
Loki blush he didn´t even though about himself when he volunteered to get into the opening, he just knew the miners needed him and that was enough reason to go.
-Are the miners ok? He asked Thor
-Yes, they got out thanks to you- Thor answered with a smile and the hugged his younger brother.
-I´m proud of calling you my brother, Loki-
-Thank you Thor – Loki replied- But you have to let go you´re squeezing me too tight-
-I´m sorry, I missed you-Thor answered as he let him go.
-I missed you too, you big oaf-Loki answered with a smile as he gave Thor a hug.-Let´s get out of here. They´ll be worried-
-Certainly brother, let´s leave-Thor replied.
-Wait! –Loki suddenly remembered – What of Thanos? Now that I´m a mage again he´ll know I´m alive- fear reflected in his voice.
-No brother, fear no more. He won´t be able to sense you as long as you wear this – he said to him as he pointed to the amulet that was still attached to Loki´s wrist.
-What´s that? Loki asked deeply intrigued.
-It´s a protective amulet that was crafted for you with the only purpose of cloaking you from Thanos view, the most powerful mages from all the Kingdoms helped in its making.-
-Wow! – Loki replied
-What? – Thor frowned
-Oh, it´s just a midgardian expression. It means I´m surprised. I can sense very powerful magic in it, it couldn’t had been easy to craft.-Loki admitted
-No, remind me of telling you later all the ingredients we had to gather, you won´t believe some of them.-
-All right- Loki smiled grateful he wouldn´t have to worry about Thanos unless he ran directly into him, which was something he planned on never happening.
As they got out they realized everyone was expecting them, shouts of joy were heard as they saw both men.
-Vanyusha, you´re alive-Sergey and Alexey had run to embrace him, they thought he was going to die and were extremely relief to see him walk out of the mine.
-Although you´ll have to explain these-Alexey pointed to his horned helmet.
-I will. I promise –Loki replied glad they all were all right.
-Vanyusha?-Thor gave him an enquiry look.
-I´ll explain that later also- he laughed he had too much explaining to do.
CHAPTER 16: Rescue in the Coal Mine
Two and a half years had gone by since Loki had been banished, it seemed like a lifetime even to him.