"The Branch is finally moving."
"Can't you technically control this shit? Since your mother created it and all."
"I am afraid it is not that simple. Even mother's connection with the Branch was not that strong, even if she was indeed the one that created it."
Back in the territory of the Forest Giants, Gerald and Vanya were currently on top of the tallest tree in the Branch, overlooking the hundreds of different races of giants that were cleanly lined up in sections in a field not too far from them.
When Van was teleported near Asgard, some of the giants that happened to be there saw what happened. None of them knew that the humans of Midgard were capable of doing such things, and with the tavern almost breaking into pieces when Gerald lightly slammed Harvey to the ground-- the giants had finally seen what kind of threat the humans have actually become.
It wasn't only the Aesir anymore that they had to be wary of, even the humans were amassing their own army to assert their dominance. And so, with the revelation being scattered throughout the Branch, more and more people lined up to join Van's army.
The majority of their soldiers were Fire Giants, sponsored by none other than Surtr himself, who was now flying his way towards Gerald and Vanya.
"I saw the creation of the Branch," he quickly followed the conversation, "Artemis truly was a blessing to the Realms, it was because of her that the other races were able to interact with each other."
"What are you still doing here, Surtr?" Vanya said with a hint of haste in her voice, "The Branch is leaving Muspelheim."
"It'll be fine without me," Surtr flicked his jet-black hair, "I have been stagnant for thousands of years; I feel it is just right for me to be present in the event that would change the 9 Realms forever."
"But in truth, I do also truly need to stretch my bones-- they have grown weak and wear from my slumber."
"Weak enough to get your ass handed down to you by a human," Gerald smirked as he started to walk away, "Anyway, call me when something interesting happens."
"You're not a normal human, Gerald," Surtr furrowed his eyebrows, "My defeat with you is not something I hold in contempt; you have killed one of Thor's sons, after all. There is no shame in my defeat."
"More excuses," Gerald said, waving his hand before leaping from the colossal tree.
"...Quite a spontaneous little fellow, is he not?" Surtr then said as he stood beside Vanya, also looking over the army they have amassed, "But still, he is of the human race. His brother is also the leader of the humans."
"He won't be a problem," Vanya shook her head.
"I don't know about that; he did let his brother go," Surtr breathed out, "We could have ended the threat of the humans there and then if we killed them."
"Wouldn't you do the same if you were in his situation?"
"Oh, have you grown attached to him?"
"No," Vanya quickly shook her head, "But he is with us because we can help him heal the woman he loves the most; Is there a greater assurance than that?"
"And if she dies in our stead? There is also no greater threat than a man who has lost the woman he loves the most. Gerald is incredibly strong, even stronger than I am, physically. He… is unpredictable."
"My father had decided to help him, and that is what I will do." Vanya said before letting out a long and deep sigh, "And speaking of father, I would be more concerned about him doing something drastic in Asgard."
"You think he is still alive?"
"What do you think?" Vanya scoffed, "I may have only been in Asgard once, but I know even the creatures there can not do anything to father… I just hope he is staying away from the Aesir."
"When was the last time you visited it?"
"In my earlier years."
"Then it is probably not the same Asgard you remember," Surtr shook his head, "The Aesir have grown to be more… civil. However, they have also grown stronger, and with them, the creatures that lived there."
"He will be fine," Vanya started to walk away, "Right now, I think he is in hiding…
...waiting for the right chance to reveal himself to the people of Asgard"
"Can all of you sit the fuck down?"
Meanwhile, the man in question was currently in front of almost 30 children of the Aesir. Not in hiding, and completely revealing himself in front of the said enemy and already harming one of them.
"Do you think we would believe your words, squirt!?"
Magnus, who was slapped away by Van just moments ago, once again rushed towards him as soon as he had recovered himself. But alas, once again, he found himself rolling on the floor for several meters as he was once again slapped by Van.
Van, however, did not even seem to care about Magnus as he turned to look towards the group of students that were still standing near him. Magnus's friends quickly ran to their seats. Sven, who seemed to be some sort of rival to Magnus, also rushed to his seat.
There was one, however, who remained standing still-- the red-haired female student who was about to presumably rescue Van from Magnus.
"Are… are you really our new teacher?" She muttered.
"I am," Van said as he casually moved towards the desk in front of the class, "Now please, sit down."
"O… okay!" The female student bowed towards Van before quickly turning around. However, before she could return to her desk, Van called for her.
"What's your name?"
"T… Thyri, sir!"
"Can you return that to his desk?"
"Sir?" Thyri slowly turned her head towards the direction Van was pointing to, only to see Magnus still struggling to stand up. Seeing this, she quickly rushed towards to help him, but as she did so, Magnus pushed her away.
"I… I am going to report this to the headmistress!" Magnus then roared as he proceeded to run towards the door. However, as soon as he opened it, he found that their new combat instructor was standing in the hallway, blocking his path.
"W… what the!?" Magnus quickly looked back towards the desk, only to see that Van was no longer there.
"I am not going to ask again."
Van's cold words then whispered through his ears, "Sit down."
Van was smaller than him, but seeing the look in his eyes, Magnus could not help but return to his seat.
"Thank you, student Thyri."
"N… I didn't do anything," Thyri said before quickly returning to her seat. And now, finally, Van could let out a sigh as every one of his new students was quietly seated accordingly. He didn't really want to believe it, but the Aesir truly did seem just like normal humans.
If anything, Van reckons that he would feel less guilt in absorbing the souls of the giants instead; but according to what Athena had told him, the soul of the Aesir were more a hundred times purer than that of the giants; meaning, he would also have to kill more of them.
Van then quickly shook his head off of the thoughts he was having. He was here to learn about the Aesir, nothing more. If he had to absorb these people in front of him in order for him and Vanya to survive, then he would do so.
"Right, now that you're all seated… Let's go outside."
He just threatened all of them to make them take their seats, and now he was asking them to go outside? The students were all confused, but still, they did so either way. Most of them were still in disbelief that their new combat instructor seemed to be even younger than them; but considering he was able to treat Magnus like a little child, it would seem he was the real deal.
And so, the only thing they could do was follow him until they reached the Academy's training field.
"...I don't really know what to teach you guys."
However, as soon as they all settled themselves in the field, their new combat instructor let out a long and deep sigh. Was he really their new teacher?
"So how about we do this," Van then started stretching his arms and legs, "For the duration of the term, try to land a hit on me-- as soon as you're successful in doing so, I would consider you passing the class and you don't need to attend any longer."
"What kind of training is this?"
The whispers of the students livened up the quiet field as they all turned to look at each other. However, after a while, some of them could not help but let out a small smile on their faces; if they are able to pass this test early, then that would mean they would have more time to loiter around and have some fun.
"M… Mr. Evans, is what you said true?" Sven, Magnus's presumed rival, stepped forward.
"It is," Van nodded, "All of you can gang up on me together, or you can go one by one, it doesn't matter."
Van already had an inkling of how strong the Aesir were even at a young age due to the orphanage, but exactly how strong was what Van was trying to find out. If all of them could, potentially all be as strong as Odin if properly trained, then they would be more useful alive than dead.
"However, if you fail the class…
...I have permission to kill you."