• Published 16th Apr 2022
  • 1,043 Views, 54 Comments

Valhalla - DanishDash

It's been four years since Thor left Equestria and Applejack. Missing her beloved, Applejack decides to find a way to get to his world! (Not connected to the marvel universe)

  • ...

Chapter 3: The Crossing

"But it isn't fair!" Exclaimed an upset Apple Bloom. "It isn't fair, and you know it!"

Applejack frowned, letting out a sigh. "Apple Bloom, I know it doesn't seem that way, but we have no idea what is over there. It could be dangerous." This argument had gone on for at least an hour now, and Applejack felt more exhausted with each minute that passed now. Mac was there too, trying his best to calm their younger sister down.

"All the more reason to take me with you!" The filly argued. "We're family, we need to look out for one another."

"That's true, but you're only 14, and we-"

"So I'm old enough to look out for the farm then?"

"You've looked after the farm before, Apple Bloom." Applejack noted. "This is no different."

"It's totally different," she argued. "The last time you were not in danger, at least to my knowledge. This time, not only are you going away, but you don't know for how long, and you are heading to another world different from our own!"

"Apple Bloom, we understand w-"

"No you don't!" Yelled Apple Bloom. "First we lose Granny, and now I may lose you two?"

Applejack and Mac glanced at one another, both frowning. Without a word, they both trotted to her younger sister and pulled her into a hug. For a minute or two they did not speak, instead taking comfort in one another. Finally Apple Bloom let out a sigh and stepped back, wiping her tears away.

"Look, I'm not a little filly anymore. I get it, I miss Astral too. So if you're going to do this, then at least bring me along."

Mac looked from Apple Bloom to Applejack, while Applejack looked right back at him. None of them liked to do this, and it wasn't fair to Apple Bloom no matter what. Still, they had agreed, this trip was far too dangerous for her. They needed somepony they could trust to stay at the farm, and they wanted her safe.

"Apple Bloom.." Applejack began, but Apple Bloom wasn't having it.

"Fine.." She mumbled bitterly, then without another word she ran out.

"Apple Bloom, wait!" Applejack tried to catch up with her, but she only got as far as the door before seeing her vanish into the orchard. "Apple Bloom!" It was no use, she wasn't coming back. Applejack sighed in frustration, leaning against the door frame. "Well, we screwed that up pretty well."

Mac nodded. "Eeyup."

She looked at her brother, frowning. "Mac, you really don't have to come with me. You and Rainbow Dash could stay here, look after the farm and Apple Bloom."

"Nnope." Replied Mac with a shake of his head. "If you're going, I'm going. Apple Bloom will be safe here, me being here won't do much of a difference. She also has her friends, Starlight, and the whole of Ponyville. I'm not worried about her if she is here. However, you will be in danger when you cross over, and I don't like that."

"It's not fair to Apple Bloom."

"It had nothing to do with being fair, it's about safety. Apple Bloom will be safe here, and Fluttershy can help her, and dare I say it, Discord. We cannot guarantee that in that other world."

Applejack sighed again, rubbing her forehead with her hoof. "I know, I know.. I just don't like leaving her alone."

"She'll be fine." Promised Big Mac. "Come, we should get ready."

As they both walked out they noticed Rainbow Dash flying towards the farm. Once close enough she dived towards them and landed elegantly. "Right, so Starlight will come over this afternoon and perform the ritual, we have until then to get ready." She explained, then noticed their expressions. "I guess Apple Bloom didn't take the news very well?"

Both of them shook their heads. "I don't even blame her." Said Applejack.

"She'll be alright, she is a strong filly. She's an Apple after all." Rainbow grinned. "She might not like it, but it is the better choice to keep her here."

The siblings both nodded, then Mac took the lead. "We should get packing, load up the wagon with whatever we need." He started to trot towards the barn, and the two mares followed suit. "We have no idea what to expect, and I for one would rather be safe than sorry."

So the day continued with preparation. They packed a small wagon with supplies of all sorts, making sure they could deal with anything they could imagine. Only problem was they were heading to a world where there were things they had never imagined before existed.

As they prepared and talked about what they might face, and how they should deal with threats, Applejack kept looking for Apple Bloom to return. So far there had been no sight of her, and Applejack imagined she would have run to one of her friends for support.

Morning turned to midday, and midday turned to afternoon. Applejack, Rainbow Dash and Big Mac all sat in the living room, all silent, all waiting. None of them spoke of their own doubts, as they all just waited for Starlight. Apple Bloom had still not returned, and it made them feel more anxious. Then suddenly a figure appeared by the farm house, and they all got up.

It was Starlight, carrying her saddlebags and looked quite nervous herself. "Alright then, so you all want to go through with this?" She asked, and they all nodded. Starlight sighed. "Applejack, are you sure about this? Once you are there, the only way for you to get back is if the gods sent you back. At least according to the book."

Applejack felt a moment of hesitation, but that damn desire to go still raged inside her, and she could not make herself stop, not now. Instead she turned to her brother and her friend, giving them one last chance to back out. She wouldn't blame them if they did so, after all, this was something she wanted to do. Only she stood to gain anything, this should only be her risk. However they did not back out, instead looking back at her with determined eyes.

"We're sure."

Starlight nodded. "Alright, then get ready and gather your stuff, this will take some time to prepare." She took off her saddlebags and started to get all sorts of things out.

Applejack looked to her brother, who looked back at her. "Still no sign of Apple Bloom?" She asked, and he shook his head. Applejack sighed, looking towards the house. She didn't want to leave without saying goodbye, but they could not keep Starlight waiting either.

They still had some time, and with Mac pulling the wagon, and Rainbow helping him with whatever he needed, she decided to head inside. She already knew Apple Bloom wasn't inside, but she couldn't leave without being sure. Applejack walked through the house, taking her time when passing the pictures that hung on the wall. Each picture reminds her how lucky she was to have such a great family. It reminded her of joy and sorrow, and it only made it hurt more when knowing Apple Bloom wasn't here.

She looked into her room, and of course as she expected, Apple Bloom wasn't there. Applejack sighed, trotting inside and looked around. The room was pretty neat, as expected. However, it seemed to hold the last traces of a vanishing childhood. The toys seemed to be more packed away, almost hidden. The teen moving in, and the foal vanishing.

Applejack had hoped she would get more time with her younger sister, but every foal had to grow up sometime. She didn't want to leave on a sour note, so Applejack took her time, writing a letter for Apple Bloom to read when she got home. she doubted it would do little to cheer her up, but hopefully it could make her understand somewhat. Once done, she placed it on her bed, and left the room.

Outside Starlight was busy at work. She had drawn two large circles in the ground, then drawn all sorts of runes between the inner circle and outer circle. At certain points she had placed thick candles, and at others left certain objects, like some gold, silver, amber, even something that looked like bloody meat.

Inside the circles waited Mac, hitched up to the wagon, and beside him stood Rainbow Dash. They looked her way as they heard the door close, and both frowned as they could tell by Applejack's expression that Apple Bloom had not been inside. They had expected as much, but they had hoped nonetheless.

Trotting towards Starlight, Applejack noticed she had the book open, and frequently checked it and re-checked it. When close enough, Starlight paused, giving Applejack a nervous smile. "It is very fascinating, but this is not a small feat of magic, Applejack. Now, are you really, REALLY, sure you want to do this?"

Applejack nodded once more. "Yes I am." Then she sighed. "While we're gone, will you make sure to look after Apple Bloom? I'm sure Fluttershy will help with the animals too."

Starlight nodded. "Of course." They remained in place for a few seconds, when Applejack moved forward and embraced her.

"Thank you again." Applejack said, stepping back.

"Just be careful, and remember what I said. The only way for you to get home is for the gods to send you back. You will have to travel to Midgard and find this Bifrost bridge to reach them." Starlight repeated. "I wish I could tell you more, but the book isn't any more specific about how to reach them."

Applejack nodded, and turned, about to enter the circle when suddenly someone poked her back. She turned and looked, and was surprised to find Discord standing over her with a smile. "Discord?"

He smiled at her. "Applejack, always a pleasure." Pause, he seemed uneasy. "Listen, when you cross over, you will need to pass the great ocean dividing us from Midgard."

Both Applejack and Starlight looked startled. "What? But I thought I was sending her to Midgard?" Starlight asked, looking through the book.

"You are, but one does not simply appear in Midgard." Discord said almost dismissively. "You will need to cross over."


"There is a ship, and a guide. He can help you cross over safely, but he will need payment."

"Payment? What does he want?"

Discord looked around, then sighed, smiling slightly. "Well, he is rather fond of apples." He smirked, then stepped back. "Well got to go, be careful while traveling through Midgard. You will need to find a high up place when you get there. Good luck!" and with that, he was gone, leaving Applejack stunned, and Starlight frustrated.

"Stupid book, why doesn't it say stuff like this?" She sighed looking at Applejack. "Are you still s-" She stopped when Applejack sent her a look. "Alright, moving on. Step into the circle and we will get started." Applejack did so, trotting into the circle, careful not to step on any of the drawn lines as she took her place next to Big Mac. "Right, let's get started. If this works, we should be able to tell. The whole incantation circle will light up, and if that happens you are not to leave it under any circumstances, is that clear?"

The three nodded, and Starlight began the ritual. It wasn't like anything she had done before, the words were foreign to her, and it felt more like chanting than an actual spell. At first she was slow, pronouncing the words in the old tongue with care and precision. After the first minute, Applejack started to believe they could not do it. Then suddenly, the outer ring started to glow orange. The air seemed thicker around them, and looking at Rainbow Dash and Big Mac, they must have noticed it too.

As blue light started to appear in the inner ring, Applejack noticed Starlight's chanting had become less careful, and faster. However his pronunciation did not suffer, in fact, it seemed it was getting better. Looking her way, Applejack was shocked to see Starlight's eyes glow, her body swaying as if she was in some sort of trance. Her chanting became faster and faster, and at some point it seemed her voice surrounded them, almost echoing within the circle itself.

The wind started to pick up, moving around them in an unnatural way, almost as if it was following the circle. The dust started to move up, circling around them, creating a sort of tunnel. The colors within the circles started to flare up like flames, and everything seemed to pick up in power and speed.

For a moment it felt hard to breathe, and the way everything moved made it hard to see. It was like standing in the middle of a tornado, one that was filled with strange lights, and sounds. It got so intense that soon enough they could not see because of all the dust flying around them, and soon enough all three of them had to shield their eyes. As Applejack did so, she could have sworn she heard her name being called from somewhere, and just before she shielded her eyes, she noticed a group of ponies approach in great haste.

However before they could even get close, the air suddenly changed. It got colder, and the wind and colors seemed to die down. The fresh smell of apple trees and summer was suddenly replaced by a cold salty air, the smell of the sea. The wind that had surrounded them vanished, and as the three of them looked around they were not met with a sunny sky, or the green of the apple orchard.

Instead the blue sky was hidden by dark gray clouds, the orchard gone, replaced by thick pine trees, and the cold air was filled with a thick fog. The three of them looked around, all amazed yet tense. Starlight had really done it, she had sent them to another world.

"Is this Midgard?" Asked Rainbow Dash.

"No," answered Applejack. "Discord said we should cross the sea, so we should head to the sea."

Mac frowned. "This place, it doesn't feel right."

None of them needed to ask what he meant, they could feel it, sense it. One thing they quickly noticed was the lack of life, no sound of birds or animals of any kind, just the very gentle breeze that carried the cold air between the thick trees. Applejack shook, feeling as if the cold tried to attach itself to her.

"Let's keep moving." She said, her ears standing upright, listening. There was a faint sound of gentle waves, and the sea air was stronger when she turned in the direction of the faint sound.

With no other plan, the three started to move between the trees, staying close so as not to lose one another in the thick fog. Mac hauled the wagon, but the uneven ground beneath them made it hard, and the wagon bounced around every time they cleared a tiny patch of dirt.

They kept looking around as they trotted through the pine forest, the smell of the ocean getting stronger as they did so. "What's that?!" Rainbow suddenly exclaimed, and they all stopped.

"What?" Asked Mac. When they looked, no one was there, no sign of anybody.

Rainbow frowned looking into the fog. "I thought I saw.." She hesitated, then looked at them. "A pony."

The group remained silent, looking around to make sure they hadn't missed anything. There were no sounds to indicate somepony was trotting around out there, but this was not their world, so none of them wanted to take any chances. Mac gasped, and the two mares turned his way.

"There." He said almost in a whisper, pointing into the fog. They looked just in time to see a figure vanish out of sight.

"Over there." Rainbow then said, pointing in another direction, and this time they managed to see more. It looked like a mare, trotting through the forest with a calm expression, as if the forest did not bother her. "Hey!" Called Rainbow. "Hey, you!" She vanished into the fog, never stopping or reacting to her call. "Did she not hear me?"

The three looked at one another, exchanging worried looks. "I think they are heading the same way as us." Mac suddenly said, looking around again. "We should keep moving."

"Good idea, it's creepy out here." Agreed Rainbow Dash, and tried to casually trot closer to her coltfriend.

So the group continued on their way, and as they did so they spotted more figures moving through the fog. It wasn't just ponies, but Yaks, Diamond Dogs, Changelings, Griffons, Deers, Lovelings, Zebras, Hippogriffs, Kirins and others. The only race they did not see though was dragons. They all came in different age groups, some were young, others old. Some looked sickly, while others looked normal. They didn't seem to pay each other any mind, as if they did not even see one another. Neither did they even glance their way.

They didn't speak, but they could hear whispers in between the trees. Applejack frowned, wondering who they were, and what they were all doing here. The forest suddenly ended, and after a few meters of nothing but grass, they suddenly stepped onto a beach. It wasn't the kind of beach you wanted to visit in the summer. It was rocky, its soft sand hidden beneath pebbles and rocks. It stretched as far as the eyes could see, vanishing into the fog like everything else.

The sea was calm, its waves not making huge splashes, only against the larger rocks which were few and far between. The beach was not empty, instead several long ships all lined the beach, all seeming to just wait to be pushed out to sea. The ships were graceful, long, narrow and light, with a shallow-draft hull designed for speed. They were double-ended, the symmetrical bow and stern allowing the ship to reverse direction quickly without a turn around. In the middle of the ships were a single mast with a single rectangular sail ready to be unfolded and taken away.

It was quite a sight to behold, and the three of them found themselves staring at the many ships. The figures they had seen move between the trees did not stop to look however. Instead they walked onto the beach, and made their way to the ships. No one guided them, instead they just found the ship they wanted to board and got in. There was no pushing, arguing, or any words of any kind. They just lined up, and waited their turns to board the ships.

"Should we get on one of those ships?" Mac asked, stepping onto the beach, dragging the wagon with him. As he did though, there was a loud snap, and the wagon seemed to fall to the side a little. The crack was a surprise, but what was an even bigger surprise was the slight yelp that followed it.

Mac looked to the mares, they had heard it too, and one of them had been the one to do it. "Did you hear that?"

Applejack nodded, narrowing her eyes. As Rainbow Dash helped Big Mac to get unhitched, Applejack moved up behind the wagon. In it were their supplies, protected from the elements with sacks. One of those sacks twitched, and it wasn't tied in the top like the others.

Applejack got closer, reached in, and pulled on the sack. It twitched again, but in doing so made more of the sack come down, revealing, "Apple Bloom?!" Applejack exclaimed in both shock and horror. "What are you doing here?"

Apple Bloom blushed, looking both embarrassed and stubborn. "Well I told you I wanted to come along, so I hid in the wagon!"

Both Mac and Dashie came up to Applejack, and they looked equally as surprised as Applejack. "We told you to stay at the farm, it could be dangerous over here!" Scolded Applejack.

Apple Bloom didn't budge. "Family stick together, Applejack."

"I can't believe you disobeyed, this is no place for you!"

"Well you're here!" Apple Bloom argued, getting out of the sack, and stepped out of the wagon. "You decided to leave me alone, and I decided to come along."

Applejack sighed. "Of all the stubborn.." She mumbled, looking both frustrated and angry. "You're in big trouble missy."

Apple Bloom was not the type to talk back to adults. She didn't do it to Granny, and neither did she do it to her older siblings. However this time she could not help rolling her eyes and saying, "don't you think we have other things to worry about?" She looked around, looking amazed like the rest had. "Like how we are going to cross that?"

Mac looked at Applejack, then sighed. "It's not like we can send her back, Applejack."

She nodded. "I know.." She looked at her sister and shook her head. "This isn't over, Apple Bloom. We will talk about this later, for now, you just stay close to us while we figure this out." Apple Bloom nodded, knowing not to push the issue any further.

Rainbow took Apple Bloom to the side, while Applejack and Big Mac tried to see if they could get the wagon moving again. Apple Bloom shook, the breeze was cold, and she did not dare to imagine how cold the sea was. She looked at the many creatures, all seeming to board a ship that only had creatures like themselves in them.

"Why don't we ask one of them for help?" Asked Apple Bloom.

Rainbow Dash shrugged. "They don't seem so interested in talking much, at least not to us."

Applejack let out a frustrated groan. "It's dead."

"Eeyup." Agreed Big Mac. "Better take what we can carry and move on."

"Good idea." Applejack went into the wagon and started to divide their supplies, hoping to make them easy to carry with them. The others followed suit, all carrying something.

"So, what is the plan?" Asked Rainbow Dash.

"Well," said Applejack as she took the last sack over her back. "Discord said there would be a ship with a guide. He will help us over if we pay him, Discord suggested with apples."

"But how will we find this guide?" Big Mac asked, carrying most of their supplies.

Apple Bloom spoke up before anyone else could. "Why don't we ask that guy over there?"

They all looked at Apple Bloom, and then at the direction she was pointing. Away from the rest of the ships was a dark cloaked figure, a unicorn by the looks of it. However his size suggested he was far from any ordinary pony. He was the biggest pony any of them had ever seen.

The figure didn't do anything, just stood by a very large ship. There were no lines near him, and none of the creatures they could see was making their way over to him. Instead he just stood there, and Applejack got the uneasy feeling he was looking directly at them. It was hard to see with the hood shrouding most of his face in darkness.

The group hesitated for a moment, as if afraid of making the first step. However it was Rainbow Dash who pushed them on. "Well, we might as well see if he can help us."

So the group started walking along the rocky beach. Apple Bloom stayed close to her brother, glancing at Applejack once in a while. With every step they took the figure seemed to grow in size. At first they did not slow down, but once they got so close that they could tell Big Mac only reached up to his knee, they started to slow down.

The figure sat at the edge of the beach, the waves reaching up around, soaking the bottom of his long black cloak. He didn't seem to sense the water, nor the cold air around him. The same couldn't be said for them, and as they approached, their blood seemed to turn into ice.

They stopped, all of them looking pale as they looked up at the tall figure. Not only was the unicorn taller than any pony back in Equestria, but what stood out was the fact he had no flesh to speak of. No coat, no mane, no muscles, only bones. At a distance it had seemed the unicorn had a white coat, but now they could see he was nothing more than a skeleton, a living one at that. He had no eyes, but deep within those dark sockets of his skull, there were tiny blue glows that seemed to follow them, acting like his eyes.

"Approach." A deep dark voice said. It was the figure who had spoken, but it had not opened its mouth to speak. At first, they didn't react, so the figure repeated itself. "Approach." This time the group obeyed, moved slowly closer until they were forced to look up. "What do you offer?"

It took a moment for Applejack to realize what the massive pony was asking for. She had been so stunned that her mind had simply frozen. She looked back at Big Mac, gesturing for one of the sacks. "Mac, give me the sack." Macintosh didn't even look at her, nor respond. Instead he simply did it, keeping his eyes on the figure. As soon as the sack was down, Applejack pushed it forward carefully. "We bring you this!" She said, then opened up the sack.

The figure leaned forward and tilted his head. They could hear the large bones move and turn, it sounded like wood groaning and cracking. A deep hum came from the figure, as he reached out with his hoof, took the sack, and in one put the whole thing into his muzzle.

They all watched with amazement as the heard all the apples get crushed and chewed by the large pony. Juice flowed from between the holes, and teeth, dripping down into the water and stones below. He then tilted his head back, and it sounded like he swallowed. Applejack half expected to hear the apples fall through his non-existent throat and fall into the water, but they did not. Somehow he had actually eaten the apples, leaving nothing left.

The figure looked down at them again. "Your offering is accepted, I will grant you passage on my ship. I am Vragi, the one who guides." His right hoof came out of the cloak, and gestured to the massive ship that looked nothing more than a fishing boat for him.

It was no easy feat to get up over the side of the ship, but they would have to do it. Rainbow flew up, placed her things on the deck, and then reached over the side to help Apple Bloom up. Macintosh lifted her up from below, and once she was over, they did the same thing with Applejack. When they were over, Mac made sure to toss their things into the boat before he did his utmost to get in. It took Rainbow Dash and Applejack working together in order to pull the large stallion up, but they did it.

They had just barely gotten into the large ship before the whole thing started to shake and move from side to side. It was almost violent to the point that they were thrown around up on deck. Then it just stopped, and the ship was gliding out to sea, and sitting at the rudder was none other than Vragi himself. He sat calmly at the rudder, wrapped in his cloak, which hid most of his body. The sail fell from the mast by itself, and they started to pick up speed.

Apple Bloom shook her body, still feeling the cold, but she was too in awe with everything to really be bothered. She trotted to the side, looking out at the other ships. "Be careful not to leave the ship." Vragi warned, which made them all look. "If you do leave this ship, you will never be able to return."

This made them all frown, but they were not about to argue. Not to mention the sea looked unforgivingly cold, so none of them had any intention of leaving. Still, Rainbow Dash kept her wings tightly to her sides, feeling more safe to stand on the ship, than floating above it. Apple Bloom looked out again, looking at the other ships.

They were all similar in design, but still very different. Some ships looked brand new, the wood almost shining. Others looked older, but still well kept, enough to still be able to take you across the sea. The last ones however looked like they could break apart at any moment. They were cracked, and the wood looked rotten, the sail was full of holes, and it seemed like a disaster waiting to happen.

Despite Vragi's scary appearance, Apple Bloom still looked his way. "Mister Vragi, why are they boarding those broken ships?"

He didn't look, but he still answered. "Those ships are for the souls who have lived a life of dishonor. Thieves, murderers, rapist. Those who cannot be redeemed, those whose souls are stained red by the blood of the innocent." Apple Bloom felt a cold shiver running down her back, but she kept listening. "Their ship will not make the journey. It will sink into the cold dark ocean and take them to the underworld, to the land of the damned, to Hel's domain."

Apple Bloom gulped, not wanting to imagine sinking into this gray dark water and vanishing. Still, she could not help but ask, "and those other ships?"

"The second is for souls who had a chance of redemption. Those who have lived a life of crimes, but are not stained with blood. Those who have broken their oaths, but have lived as best they could. It is for souls who want to do better, but cannot." Vragi explained. "Their journey will be long and harsh, those who make it will be redeemed and allowed to enter their afterlife. Those who cannot will fall into the ocean, drown, and make it to Hel's domain."

"So all those creatures we saw." Rainbow Dash mumbled, trotting up to the railing along with the others to look out at the ships. "They are dead?"

"Souls travel to their afterlives. For those who live a good life, one with honor, just actions, and good deeds, they will take the last ship. For them the sea will be calm, the journey easy and pleasant." Vragi continued. "Most will go to Midgard, while others will find their way back to their world of origin. Kirin shall return to Vanaheim, the deer to Alfheim, and Diamond Dogs to Svartalfheim."

They kept watching for a while, right up until they vanished from sight, gliding into the heavy fog. By now they could not even see the beach anymore, or anything for that matter. Applejack looked over at Vragi, and asked. "What about us? How long will we be at sea?"

"It will take as long as it needs to." He simply said. "Your journey will be harsh, as you are mortals, and this world is not meant for the living. We will pass through the ice fields, then the great sea where Jörmungandr lurks and hungers."

This did nothing to calm the ponies, as they all looked his way in alarm. "Who lurks?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"Jörmungandr, the Midgard serpent, spawn of Loki. He will sense you are here, souls in living bodies. He will grow restless and try to make you fall overboard into the cold ocean. There he will swallow you whole, and you will be forever lost." His head tilted down, and those two blue dots in his eye sockets seemed to glow. "He cannot smash us, but he can make the waves as high as mountains, and the wind as powerful as a hurricane."

The four ponies looked at one another, and quickly decided the safest place was in the middle of the large ship. There they started to set up a camp of sorts. It was cold, the weather was wet, and they were hungry. They moved around the thick mast, and for the next hour Mac and Applejack worked on creating a shelter around it. It was pretty tricky, but after a bit of trial and error, they managed to create a round tent around the mast.

It wasn't perfect by any means, but it would protect them from the elements, and it would give them a place to rest, and a place to dry. The four of them ate, all too tired to really talk. It was hard to tell how much time had passed since they got here, not a whole day, but with everything that had happened they all felt exhausted and mentally drained. Soon after they laid down, covering themselves with whatever that could keep them warm, staying close to one another to share heat.

It was maybe a few hours later when Apple Bloom woke up, sensing something, or somepony, was missing. Slowly she opened her eyes, poking her head out of their heavy fort of blankets. Her brother and Rainbow Dash were still there, cuddled up close, both sleeping. Applejack however, was nowhere to be seen.

Apple Bloom frowned. She carefully made her way out of the warm blankets, careful not to wake her brother or Rainbow. She passed the tent sheets, and stepped onto the deck. Vragi was still at his post, unmoving, and unbothered by the freezing air that made Apple Bloom shudder as soon as she stepped out.

The air had changed, and the fog had vanished. The sky above them was clear, and Apple Bloom found herself smiling despite the cold. Above them were hundreds and thousands of stars. It was an amazing sight, as it was way more clear than anything she had seen back in Equestria. It really made her feel small.

She took her eyes off the sky, noted Vragi at one end, and then turned to the front of the ship. Applejack sat there, looking ahead with a single blanket wrapped around her. She hadn't heard Apple Bloom stepping into the open air, nor did she hear as Apple Bloom trotted up to her.


A shudder moved through Applejack as she turned her head to look at Apple Bloom. She let out a breath, which showed as light steam in the cold. "Apple Bloom," she chuckled. "You startled me."

"Sorry," she said, trotting up beside her. "What are you doing out here?"

Applejack shrugged, looking forward again. "I needed some air, some time to think."

They were passing large slabs of eyes, mini mountains of smooth ice. Some were no bigger than a ball, while others were as big as houses. Vragi however masterfully guided them past any of the icebergs that might be a threat to the ship. you hardly felt the shifts and turns, they were gentle and smooth. The water was very calm, it reflected the stars sky above, it was almost like sailing on a massive mirror.

The two sisters enjoyed the sight for a bit, then Apple Bloom looked at her sister. "Applejack, are you still mad at me?"

Applejack looked back at her sister, almost looking surprised. She smiled, then shook her head. "No, Apple Bloom. I'm not mad at you." She sighed, looking forward again. "I'm more mad at myself."


"Because leaving you behind is unfair to you." She then admitted. "Safer," Applejack quickly added. "But unfair." She let out another sigh, this time longer and sounding more frustrated. "These last two days, they have been like a blur to me. I have not felt like myself. I don't know what's gotten into me, and it is like I've only now started to wake up."

Apple Bloom frowned. "Have you been lonely without Astral?"

Applejack looked at her, smiling slightly. It was a sad smile, Apple Bloom thought, and for a moment she thought her sister was going to cry. It did not come to that though. "Yeah, I have been lonely." She admitted. "Maybe that's why I've been so rash lately." Applejack shook her head. "I put you and your brother in an impossible situation, and that ain't right."

"But you would have gone anyway?"

Applejack didn't answer right away, she considered her answer carefully. Would she have gone alone if she could? "I think I would." Applejack admitted, giving her sister an apologetic look.

Apple Bloom smiled. "Then we would have come too."

Applejack smiled a bit more, then shook her head. "I'm sure you would." She opened up the blanket. "Come on, you must be freezing." Apple Bloom nodded, and scooted closer to her sister, who wrapped the blanket around them both.

The trip continued, the coming days were long, and slow. For someone like Rainbow Dash, being stuck on a boat without being able to fly was pure torture. It felt like ages, weeks and months were passing them by, but in reality it was only a few days. They did their best to pass the time, trying to play games, look out at the vast sea, reading what few books Big Mac had brought, which wasn't much.

The weather was harsh. At times it could be sunny, but at others it was so freezing cold that the whole ship got covered in ice. At other times, it was raining so hard that each drop felt like a tiny little slap. The sea was mostly calm, a few waves here and there, but so far nothing they could not handle.

All that changed on the fifth day.

The day started with a sudden crash, and then a huge amount of water spilling onto the ship. The sudden stop, then turn, made all four of them roll over, and almost went through their own tent. They all woke up, and heard how the wind was picking up, and how the ship seemed to move at random.

All of them went out on deck, and stepped at the sight of the waves around them. They were tall, crashing against the ship with such force that the whole thing shook violently. Applejack looked towards Vragi who looked perfectly at ease. However, he was holding the rudder with both of his hooves now, something he had never done on this whole trip before.

"It is time, mortals!" Vragi said, his voice sounding strained, as if he was really having difficulty keeping the ship steady. "Steady your hearts, and stay on the ship. He cannot break us, but you can be tossed off, or swallowed by the waves!" He called over the sound of the roaring sea.

Another wave splashed across the deck, almost making Applejack trip and slide. She quickly looked back at the others, her mane waving in the strong wind. "MAC!" She yelled over the wind. "GET THE ROPE!" He nodded, getting to their makeshift shelter, which was shaking struggling in its restraints. Applejack went to Dash and Apple Bloom. "WE HAVE TO STAY TOGETHER! HUDDLE UP NEAR THE MAST!"

Another crashing wave made its way over them, and this time Applejack did fall. Rainbow Dash managed to hold onto Apple Bloom, just barely staying on her hooves. Applejack got up, spitting some of the sea water out of her mouth. "APPLEJACK!" Called Apple Bloom. "YOUR HAT!"

She looked up, noticing she was right, her hat had washed away, or blown off. She cursed herself for not thinking of it before, but there was no time to worry about it now. Instead she quickly made her way back to them. The whole ship moved from side to side, making it hard to keep her balance. "RIGHT, HUDDLE UP, COME ON!"

"RIGHT!" Rainbow Dash nodded, guiding Apple Bloom back to the tent.

Mac was already inside, having tied the rope to the mast, making sure it was secure by several rounds around it. He'd already secured himself with a safety line, so when he helped Apple Bloom and the others, he didn't need to worry about himself. As Mac helped Apple Bloom, the two mares helped one another, making sure to tie the rope tightly around their barrel.

The heavy rain was coming in through the cracks in the tent, and the strong wind was only making those cracks larger. Some of the lines snapped, and one of the tent flaps got ripped off, and flew off into the storm. "HUDDLE UP!!" Yelled Mac over the storm, and the group did so.

The ship seemed to sway, riding on the waves, and crashing into others. Mac made sure to hold onto the girls, and to the mast, trying to be their anchor. Another wave crashed into them, the water moving all around them, and washing some of their possessions around the deck and overboard.

Rainbow screamed in frustration. "THIS IS THE WORST!!"


The waves grew bigger and stronger, the wind seeming to roar and howl, the rain almost feeling like tiny ice drops. The only one who didn't struggle in his place was Vragi. He sat at his post, keeping the rudder steady, guiding the ship through the storm. At some point when the storm seemed to hit its peak, he called into the storm. "YOU SHALL NOT TAKE THEM, FOUL BEAST! GO BACK TO THE ABYSS!!"

A low rumble made the whole ship shake, a deep growl Apple Bloom thought, and despite her fear, she opened her eyes just a little. She saw something pass them by in the water. At first she thought of a whale coming up to the surface, but it was too big, too long, and too scaly.


"DON'T LOOK AT IT, APPLE BLOOM! JUST HANG ON!!" Applejack called back, sounding almost desperate.

But despite her sister's advice, Apple Bloom could not help it. Once again, she looked out into the sea, and saw something she would never forget. Something massive rose up from the sea, something so big that it defied all description. At first it seemed like an entire mountain was rising from the depths, but as it rose higher and higher, Apple Bloom realized she was looking at the head of a massive serpent.

Despite it being far away, it was so huge that she could see the head in almost every detail. She doubted the ship itself would even be half the height of one of its teeth! The serpent opened its huge mouth, roared in anger as the ship would not break to its will!

Vragi seemed to roar back at the monster, showing no fear at all. "BEGONE, SPAWN OF LOKI! GO BACK TO THE DARKNESS FROM WHERE YOU DWELL!"

The serpent opened its mouth again, and a strange sound could be heard over the storm. Apple Bloom couldn't help but watch in horror, listening to what she realized was the serpent. It was speaking! Its words were long and slow, and the sound was horrifying. Then it roared again, and seemed for a moment to dive towards them.

Apple Bloom screamed in terror, and only then could she look away, hiding her face in her brother's soaked coat. A massive wave swept across the ship, and Apple Bloom almost slipped this time. She could feel her grip loosen, but just in time, Rainbow Dash took a hold of her, almost screaming in effort as she used all her strength to keep the filly in place.

"HOLD ON!!" A voice screamed.


Author's Note:

I will be stealing a little from Greek mythology in this chapter, and one trait from the anime Death Note. Let me know if you can spot those two things. :ajsmug:

Also, it is pretty hard to cross Norse Mythology with MLP, but I am doing my best to mix those two worlds, and create my own spin on it. Some of that you will see in this chapter, like how the afterlife works.

Sorry if it seems overly detailed, but I am a sucker for such things. :twilightsmile:

This chapter was inspired by the great scene in the series Vikings.