Several months went by, until it was time to fight Jotunheim once more.
Their goal was to take over the last Jotnar fortress. Loki understood that this mission was more important than any other they had so far, as it could decide the course of the war.
Seeing this as an irreplaceable chance to prove his worth to his father, he came up with a risky strategy.
Before the assault, he and a few more soldiers would scout the grounds, killing any guards on the way and then infiltrate the fortress.
Though simple in theory this maneuver was almost suicidal, as it could deliver them defenseless to the enemy.
Loki regretted not being able to use his bird form to do the task safely: How could the Sorcerer risk revealing that he and the Raven shared the same identity?
He felt that he would have a very hard time to explain those things that as an animal,
were innocent enough; but as a man would guarantee a kick in the rocks from Tyra's part: Such as witnessing her bathing by accident one day.
So without any choice, at nightfall, he and four of his men left the Asgardian camp, disappearing into the shadows of the guarded forest.
Hiding in the snowy foliage, they bypassed the Giant warriors, more and more numerous as they approached the fortress.
They crouched into the trenches surrounding the stronghold, walking for miles with their heads down, dangerously too close to their opponents.
As they were spotted by a group, Loki quickly stuck a dagger in the chest of the first Giant, tossing a second one that split the skull the other warrior.
Several brushes with death later, they finally climbed the walls of the fortress to find a multitude of enemies inside.
Impossible to remain undercover at this point, The Trickster jumped from the walls, falling over the enemies with the dexterity of a jaguar.
Outnumbered, he and his men ferociously fought the Jotun warriors, Loki cut the chains that held the massive door of the fortress in place.
Then, dodging arrows and lances he climbed to a higher tower and released a magic sign in the air to warn the others.
Thor and his army stormed in, throwing themselves at the surprised Giants.
Soon Asgard was victorious again as the few remaining fled in terror.
Back at home, the people of Asgard awaited at the gates of the Bifrost, loudly cheering for their heroes.
Under a rain of petals, thrown by the adoring crowd, Loki was notified that, hearing of their enormous triumph over the enemy, Odin expected them in his hall,
ordering a feast that surpassed any other.
Face to face with the Allfather, Loki was taken by a strong mix of pride and anxiety. Heart accelerating at the sight of Tyra and his mother, placed behind the throne, he awaited with a smile.
He expected his father to say something to him, but instead, Odin raised his hand towards Thor, bidding him to speak.
His brother's voice echoed like thunder, as he lifted Mjolnir for all to see:
'Yesterday, Father, we brought honor and bravery to Asgard. But today, I bring you all victory!'
Enthusiastic acclamations took over and a thousand glasses were raised in his direction.
With a tear suspended in her long lashes, Tyra glanced at Loki as his smile dissolved with a small, but heartbreaking twitch.
She heard how the success of the mission relied almost entirely on him and his troops' stealth approach.
Theirs was the biggest share of accomplishment, in the end given exclusively to Thor and his men.
He did all the planing, but since such strategy wasn't as showy as his brother's theatrical entrance at the last minute, no one talked about it.
Odin knew the facts, but seemed oblivious to the part that concerned his second son.
Forgotten by the exultant crowd that immediately surrounded Thor, Loki simply stood where he was as people passed by. His eyes, however, were fixed in his father's direction.
Tyra could see that, past the fake indifference, he desperately waited for something, a glance of approval, a word of acknowledgement, a glass raised in his direction, anything.
But the Allfather's mind seemed to be already far away, so he didn't even realize his son's silent plea for attention.
--'Heartless tyrant, lousy excuse for a father!'-- She thought angrily. --'Both of his sons are extremely powerful, only a fool would drive them to resent one another.'--
Underestimating Loki, in her opinion, was not only unfair, but dangerous as well. --'His skills are impressive, his intelligence knows no limits.
He has all the right to be insulted it and if by any chance he sets his mind on revenge, then those cursed dreams are an echo of things to come.'--
Talking to the Allfather would be useless, he never listened to anyone, but Thor could still save the situation.
So she made her way to him, not without difficulty, since a frenetic hoard was gathered around the future king.
With surprise, the princess noticed that in no moment her husband made an attempt to share a bit of that glory with his brother, and even seemed not to acknowledge Loki at all.
Completely absorbed in the triumph that surrounded him, Thor saw his wife coming closer and had no doubts that she came to congratulate him as well.
But as he bent over to listen to whatever she had to say in his ear, an expression of displeasure took over his handsome features:
'Today is my great day and just as usual, your words to me aren't kind.'
'Everyday is your great day Thor, this victory wasn't achieved by your deeds alone. Make a toast in your brother's honor, speak of his brave actions. He is entitled to a share of this glory.
' She pleaded.
Thought The God of Thunder loved his brother sincerely, he wasn't used to see past his own needs: 'I don't recognize you anymore, Tyra.
I could almost think that you are willing to take this moment from me.'
'This is not what it is.'
'But it's definitely what it looks like.' Thor smiled sadly.
'You may think Asgard gives you everything, but in reality, it changes you for the worse.
' Tyra addressed him a savage glance and Thor said no more, fearing to endure of one his wife's explosive fits.
He knew very well that the presence of the guests wouldn't refrain her from making a scene. The Vanir turned on her heels, and unkindly pushed her way out, suddenly sick of the joyous party.
Loki also left the celebration, retreating into his favorite spot for solitude.
Standing in front on the window, devastated, he numbly observed the view.
The lights coming from the outside were cast on his handsome face, projecting his long and elegant silhouette on the floor.
The Trickster looked like a beautiful statue, locked in it's still bitterness.
Like many times before, he was convinced that for once, he had done well, but apparently, not enough: Because there he was, cast apart in that familiar invisibility,
left with nothing but a front seat to contemplate what his life would be like if he was more like Asgard's favorite, and less like himself.
--'Why wouldn't Thor be anyone's favorite, anyway?' He is so much like father, a hero, a king...
'-- Loki eyes, lost at a distant point in the horizon, expressed fiercely the hopelessness of his inner dialog.
He thought of how, more than anything, he expected for once to be seen by Tyra under the lights of Asgard's honors; and perhaps for once too, feel worthy of her. He concluded: --'...A husband.
Everything a man should be, and me, what do I have in my turn?'-- He stared at his hands, with an ironic smirk of disgust. --'My tricks. And my hate.'--
It didn't take long until Tyra came looking for him, trying her best to improve his moods. She insisted that they should celebrate somewhere else, in their own manner.
This idea lead them to a Casino on Earth, where the two friends proceeded to spend huge gains, illicitly earned by magic.
After a brush with the cops, a car jacking and many, many, drinks later, both decided it was time to return.
When they finally set foot in Asgard, Heimdall couldn't help but welcome them with a grin, amused.
Still in clothes suited for Midgard, their state gave away how much they'd taken partying seriously.
At the gates of the castle, however, someone waited for them amongst the guards. It was Thor.
'Loki can take care of himself.' He said, clearly irritated. 'I was looking for you.'
Both ignored him and kept going inside without a word.
The privileged position as the most celebrated man in Asgard didn't allow Thor to even consider his brother as a rival, but that defiance, so openly expressed in front of others,
was enough to put him in a furious state.
The heir of the throne seemed on the edge of losing his temper, and Loki, who was too drunk to care about an eventual punch, whispered with a challenging smile:
'If you're looking for some horns, I can lend you the ones on my helmet.'
Thor swung his arm and Loki didn't even make an effort to dodge the punch.
Stumbling, he let out a long laugh, clearly amused.
His state made him eager to start the conflict he ordinarily tried to keep at bay, to spill at least a fraction of all the resentment muffled inside.
Thor could beat him to death for all he cared. With blood smeared across his nose, the Trickster remarked:
'You don't disappoint, Brother. Though I thought you could do better than a nosebleed.'
Thor stepped closer threateningly, but Tyra halted her husband, outraged:
'He is too drunk to fight back, yet you punch him like a coward?'
Infuriated at that insult, Thor argued that being drunk wasn't an excuse for disrespecting him, but Tyra replied that words would've been enough.
Remorseful, the God of Thunder reconsidered and stepped closer to where the Sorcerer was. With an apology, he tried to help Loki getting up.
But to his surprise his intoxicated brother leap forward with uncanny agility, attacking him with a magic discharge.
'Loki, stop!' Tyra yelled.
Their fight couldn't go any further, as a guard came running towards them with urgent news:
'Your father requests your presence at once. Laufey and the Giants surrendered.'