• Published 8th Oct 2012
  • 2,816 Views, 89 Comments

The Lovers' Edda - Simon_oSullivan



A love story of two ponies from the frozen lands of the North.

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Finnandi nyjan hluti

Finnandi nýjan hluti (Discovering new things)

The Sun was at its highest in the cloudless sky. Drakkar sat in Fluttershy’s courtyard, making an inverted hammer with some rocks. Meanwhile, the young wild boar stared at the stones with mild curiosity, sniffing at them occasionally.

“Þór, þiggj þessa gjǫfina ek yðarr ásju í mér ferðinni,” intoned Drakkar, keeping a hoof on his chest with his eyes closed.

The young animal oinked and squeaked at the sight of Fluttershy carrying a sack of animal feed. Drakkar turned around after he was done with the prayer and levitated the huge bag, much to Fluttershy’s relief.

“Thank you, Drakkar,” she said with shaky legs. “But you didn’t have to do anything. I always do this on my own.”

“I’ve already thanked Þór for his assistance,” replied Drakkar as he poured the feed in the trough. “Besides, I told you that I’d help you in whatever I could as a guest.”

“Oh, right. By the way, if it’s okay for me to ask… what were you saying? And what is that little sculpture you made out of stones?” asked Fluttershy, pointing at the rocky structure.

“This is a small offering to Þór, god of Thunder. There are no temples of our deities here in Equestria, so we make small offerings. As for an accurate translation to Equestrian, it’s something like ‘Thor, accept this offer for your protection in my journey’.”

“He protected you?” inquired Fluttershy while raising an eyebrow skeptically.

“Well, he can control the weather, so it’s a god I pray to during my long journey from the Frozen North to Equestria.”

“Oh, I didn’t know that, in the Frozen North, climate worked differently from here in Equestria.”

Drakkar raised an eyebrow. “What are you talking about?”

“Well, here in Equestria, the pegasi can remove the clouds from the sky, and can move the storm clouds and jump on them to make it rain.” Fluttershy lowered her ears as soon as Drakkar’s jaw dropped.

He stared at her with widened eyes. “You can control the weather? That’s unbelievable! Then what do your gods take care of?”

“Well, I’m not sure…” Fluttershy looked away, flustered as Drakkar walked closer to her, making it harder for her to think. “Oh, well, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna take care of the Sun and the Moon.”

Drakkar let out a sigh of relief. “Okay, so you have two goddesses.” Much to Fluttershy’s comfort, he took a few steps back away from her. “What stories do you have about them? Did they defeat a horde of giants from the underworld? Did they make a competition with the mightiest ponies of Equestria? I’d love to know about them!”

Fluttershy looked up to the sky, tapping the ground with a hoof and humming as she tried to remember a story.“W-well, we have the legend of the Mare in the Moon, about how Luna got corrupted and turned into Nightmare Moon. Celestia then sealed her in the Moon for a thousand years. When she returned from her imprisonment, the Elements of Harmony purged the evil Nightmare from Luna and she became nice again.”

Drakkar nodded in approval. “A nice story. I’d really love to hear the full story, with all the details and such.”

“Well, Twilight lives in the library,” said Fluttershy, pointing towards the direction where the building was. “You can find all the books you want there. And if you can’t find it there, I’m sure that Twilight can pull some strings to let you talk with the Princesses.” Fluttershy showed a tender smile as a squirrel climbed through her back and lay on her shoulder. “They’d love to tell—”

“Wait, wait, wait, hold on for a second,” interrupted Drakkar, shaking his head in disbelief. “Who’s this Twilight, who can speak with the goddesses? Is she the town’s high priestess? An oracle, perhaps?”

Fluttershy giggled at his questions. “Oh, no, she’s a good friend of mine. And we’ve also seen the Princesses. I took care of Celestia’s pet for a while.”

Drakkar stepped back in awe. “Otruligr!”

She perked up her ears and raised an eyebrow, the squirrel following suit. “What was that?”

“Oh, sorry,” said Drakkar, clearing his throat. “It means ‘unbelievable’. So you took care of Celestia’s pet?”

“That’s right. And then she came to pick her up.”

“So let me get this straight,” said Drakkar, pressing his forehead with a hoof. “She left the mystical divine plane where she lives to return to Equestria to pick her pet. Okay, I’ve heard crazier stories among my gods.”

“Mystical divine plane? Oh, no, she lives in the Royal Palace of Canterlot with her sister Luna.”

Drakkar’s ears perked up and his eyes widened to their limit. “Fluttershy, do you have any idea of what you’re insinuating? In Equestria, gods walk among mortals!”

Fluttershy cowered, covering herself with her wings. The squirrel ran away, hiding behind her. “I’m sorry! I didn’t know it was a bad thing!”

“No, no, Fluttershy, it’s not bad. It’s… it’s…” Drakkar’s words wouldn’t come out as he stared dumbfounded at Fluttershy. He sat on the ground, looking askance at her as she recovered from the previous fright. “It’s nothing like in Scandineighvia. We… our gods live in Ásgarð, the top of the Nine Realms. We have recorded stories about them, but we don’t see them in our daily lives.” He shook his head with a surprised grimace. “I have to write a lot more than I expected. All this information is unknown in my homeland!”

“Well, I don’t mind if you need to stay here longer if you help me at home. If you don’t mind, that is,” said Fluttershy, fearing that she sounded too bossy. “Also, I’m sure that you’ll love hanging around with Mjǫllna in the meantime.”

“Oh, that’s right! Do you by any chance know where her smithy is?”

Fluttershy shook her head sadly. “Sorry, but I’m sure that if you ask around, somepony will guide you.”

“I think I’ll pay her a visit.” Drakkar turned to the young wild boar. “Okay, young friend, I’m going out for a while, but I’ll be back tonight. Be a nice boar and don’t give problems to Fluttershy while I’m away, understood?”

The little animal replied by squeaking and running around in circles. Drakkar had grown fond of the young wild boar in a short time. They were quite common in his homeland, and represented protection, so having them as pets wasn’t unheard of. To Drakkar, playing with the young animal had brought a small piece of Scandineighvia back to him.

Drakkar then turned back at Fluttershy. ”Are you sure you’ll be okay?”

“Oh, yes, don’t worry. A couple of my friends are going to stop by for the day, so I’ll be fine.”

“Alright then, in that case—” Drakkar noticed the young wild boar’s tusks against his hoof. He snorted and looked at him as the animal hopped and walked back a bit. “You want to play a bit before I leave?” The wild boar nodded and oinked happily, to which Drakkar turned to Fluttershy. “Do you mind if we…”

“Sure, enjoy,” she replied with a smile. “I didn’t know that boars played like that. To be honest, he’s the first one I’ve taken care of. I thought he was a bully, but I’m glad to know that he just wanted to play.”

Drakkar and the young wild boar took a few steps back before charging against each other. When their heads collided, the animal stumbled and fell on his rear, slightly dazzled. After shaking his head, he hopped back and charged again towards Drakkar. This time, though, the stallion simply stood motionless, gritting his teeth for the incoming rush. The blow wasn’t that strong, but he still threw himself to the ground, pretending to lose the game. As soon as he laid on the grass, the wild boar rushed to get close to him, tickling him with the muzzle and licking all over Drakkar’s face.

Fluttershy witnessed the scene with a tender look on her face, barely noticing the chatting that was taking place far behind her.

“Hey, Fluttershy!” cried Rainbow Dash.

Fluttershy looked back and saw both Dash and Pinkie Pie rushing to meet her. “Hi, girls! You arrived earlier than planned. B-but that’s okay,” she said swiftly with a snicker. “It’s not that I don’t want to you be here or anything.”

“There’s not that much to do today,” said Rainbow Dash. “I woke up earlier than usual and did my exercise, and Pinkie said that they didn’t have too much work at Sugarcube Corner.”

“That’s good to hear.”

“Hey, Fluttershy, who’s that stallion over there playing with a pig?” asked Pinkie Pie. The stallion was pushing the young wild boar around with his face, until the animal ran around him and under his legs.

“Well, well, Fluttershy, you kept it secret, huh?” said Rainbow Dash jokingly with a wink.

“Oh, no, it’s not what you think,” replied Fluttershy with a blush. “He’s a pony from Scandineighvia who arrived this morning.”

“Scandiwhatnow?” asked Dash with a raised eyebrow.

“Scandineighvia,” repeated Fluttershy. “He’s from the Frozen North.”

“Ooooh, exotic!” cheered Pinkie Pie bouncing around the other ponies. “It must be amazing; they can have ice cream all year long!”

“Well, he looks kinda awesome,” admitted Rainbow Dash with her forehooves crossed in front of her, “but seeing him wrestle with a little pig kinda ruins it for me. He doesn’t look that tough, no matter how big he is,” she added, shaking her head in disappointment.

“Do you want to talk to him and introduce yourselves? He’s staying here writing reports about Equestria for their ponies in Scandineighvia.”

“You mean like those friendship reports Twilight’s always writing to the Princess?” asked Dash.

“Maybe. He told me that he was sent here to update all the information he can gather of Equestria.”

“And you’re letting him? After all we’ve suffered with the changelings, a pony comes here to gather information about us and you let him?!” Dash flapped her wings and charged against Drakkar. “I’ll show him how we treat spies!”

“Rainbow Dash, wait!” cried Fluttershy. With widened eyes, she noticed that Pinkie had grabbed Dash’s tail and was flying with her. “Pinkie!”

“Oooh this is going to be amazing!” said Pinkie Pie, clapping with her hind hooves in anticipation.

Rainbow Dash tackled Drakkar’s side at high speed. However, due to the stallion’s large size, he just stumbled several steps back coughing violently, the wind having got knocked out of him. Rainbow Dash, on the other hoof, fell to the ground as the collision made her fall face first to the ground. To add to her pain, Pinkie Pie landed on her back, laughing carelessly and asking for another ride. When they looked up from her prone position, they saw the large stallion with an angry stare in front of them. He looked much more threatening from down there. Drakkar growled at Dash, and the young wild boar tackled her sides, pushing her away.

“Drakkar, don’t!” shouted Fluttershy as she ran towards them. “She’s my friend!”

With a loud hush, Drakkar made the young wild boar cease his attack. “Who are you and why do you attack me?” he asked angrily.

“Because you’re a spy for the changelings!” accused Rainbow Dash, pointing at his chest.

“Changelings?” repeated Drakkar with a raised eyebrow. “What are you talking about?”

“You don’t have changelings in your home land?” asked Fluttershy.

“Maybe we call them differently. What do they do?”

“They’re ugly shmugly meanies that can turn into other ponies and feed on love!” shouted Pinkie Pie with exaggerated waves.

Drakkar stared at them, blinking a few times. “No, we don’t have anything like that in Scandineighvia. We have jǫtnar, ulfvetir—”

“Oh, oh, I can make up words too!” announced Pinkie Pie proudly. “Chimicherrichanga! Sprinklipie!”

“No, Pinkie, he’s speaking in Scandineighvian,” corrected Fluttershy. “But I don’t know what he means.”

“I was just trying to think about the names they have in my homeland,” he replied with a shake of a hoof. “I mentioned giants and winter wolves. And even though I’m trying to think of a shape shifter, we don’t have a whole race of creatures doing that. There are only a few specific giants in the old stories with that power, and they live in Jǫtunnheimr, the Realm of Giants.”

“But you said jǫtnar, why is their land called Jǫtunnheimr?” asked Pinkie, showing a surprising adaptability to replicate words she just heard.

“That’s actually a fair question,” he replied with a burst of laughter. “It’s like in Equestrian. You say one mouse, but two mice. We say one jǫtunn, but when there are more of them, we say jǫtnar.”

“Okay, thanks for all the information about your language, but I’m still thinking you’re a spy!” Rainbow flew in front of her friends, extending her wings to cover them.

Drakkar let out an upset sigh while staring at Rainbow Dash. “What do I have to do to proove that I’m not one of those changelings so you can leave me be?”

“Well, changelings’ horns always shine with a green glow!” said Pinkie Pie with a bounce. “Cast a spell! Cast a spell!”

Drakkar’s horn and throat shone with a dark brown glow. With a smile, he nodded at Fluttershy with a smile. She covered her ears as he took a deep breath and let out a bellowing bear-like roar to the sky. He looked at Rainbow Dash’s eyes with a smirk.

“Wow, that was awesome!” cried Dash. “Oh, and your horn shone normally, so I guess you’re no changeling.”

“Glad that we finally got to that conclusion. Can we introduce ourselves properly now?”

“Sure. I’m Rainbow Dash, the fastest pony in Equestria!” she boasted flying several feet over the others.

“And I’m Pinkie Pie!” she cried, jumping high and throwing confetti that everypony knew she didn’t have on her when she arrived.

“I’m Drakkar, Hoofcarl at the service of the Jarl Winter Blizzard!”

“Drakkar, huh?” repeated Rainbow Dash. “Sounds good, but you still can’t beat the awesomeness of Rainbow Dash as a name.”

“Probably not. You said that you were the fastest pony in Equestria?”

“Yup!” Rainbow Dash took off, performing a double backflip before stopping mere inches away from Drakkar’s head. She showed a proud and challenging smirk. “Think you can find somepony better than me?”

Drakkar laughed at the arrogant mare’s confidence. “You have the boastful nature of the Scandineighvian folks. But you never met the fastest stallion in all the Frozen North: Svaðilfar. Legend has it that he galloped so fast that, if you looked at him, you got the impression that he had eight legs. Such was his speed. He lived two hundred years ago, but the legend still lives, and our racing stadium is named after him.”

“Really? That sounds amazing! I’ll get something named after me someday, I’m sure of it!”

Drakkar burst into laughter once more. ”You remind me of my people, Rainbow Dash. I like you.”

“You’re not that bad of a stallion either,” admitted Dash with a snort. “Hey, if that’s true, the thing about me reminding you of your people… what would be my name there?”

He raised an eyebrow, surprised at the comment. “That’s quite an odd request.”

“Well, ‘Drakkar’ sounds exotic but powerful. I want to see if by any chance my Scandineighvian name would be even cooler. Though I guess that’s a bit hard.”

Drakkar thought for a moment before throwing a confident smirk at the pegasus. “How does ‘Bifrǫst Rusning’ sound to you?”

Dash remained speechless for a moment, showing the widest grin she’d ever shown. “Ohmygosh, that sounds amazing! Can you please call me that when you speak to me?”

Drakkar shrugged with a snort. “As you wish, Rusning.”

“Oh, now say Fluttershy’s name in Scandineighvian!” cried Pinkie Pie as she pushed her friend towards the rest of the group.

“It’s not necessary, really,” said Fluttershy, embarrassed of becoming the focus of the conversation.

“It’s okay, Fluttershy, I don’t mind,” replied Drakkar with a smile. “Now, let me think for a moment. This doesn’t suit you, I’m afraid, but it would be something like ‘Gáttaflǫktstyggr’.”

The three mares stared at him in complete silence. Fluttershy’s mouth was wide open in shock and Rainbow Dash landed with an equally surprised stare.

“Wow, it looked like you were choking there!” exclaimed Pinkie Pie with a giggle. “Hey, Fluttershy, do you want me to call you that?”

Fluttershy shook her head swiftly at her words. “I’ll stick with Fluttershy, if that’s okay. The other name sounds too scary.”

“Now it’s my turn! Pinkie Pie the Scandineighvian!” She clapped anxiously, taking battle positions and making war faces.

Drakkar sat on the ground, scratching his chin, under the cautious and expecting stare of Pinkie Pie. After a moment, he let out a long sigh and shrugged in defeat. “Pinkie Pie.”

She fell face first to the ground. “That’s not fair!” she cried in disappointment, waving her arms vigorously. “Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy have amazing Norse names! Why don’t I have one?”

“Well, I’ve never heard about this ’pie’ that you mention, so—”

Pinkie Pie gasped loudly, gathering the attention of every single creature in the surroundings. “You don’t know what a pie is?!” Drakkar replied with a shake of his head. “That’s impossible! Cupcakes, muffins, pies, milkshakes!?”

“Never heard of them,” replied Drakkar with a humble shrug. “What are those things?”

-o-

In Sugarcube Corner, Mrs. Cake softly squeezed the piping bag to add the frosting to a muffin-flavored cupcakes order from Derpy while her husband cleaned the oven.

“Well, that’s all for today, cream puff,” said Carrot Cake.

“Indeed, quite a relaxed day,” admitted Cup Cake. “We barely got deliveries. And the place is so quiet without Pinkie Pie.”

Just when Mrs. Cake finished that last sentence, Sugarcube Corner’s doors opened with a deafening crash. Pinkie Pie was carrying over her head an astonished brown unicorn. “We have an emergency!” she cried before sitting Drakkar on a chair and galloping to the kitchen.

Both bakers and Drakkar stared at each other in an uncomfortable silence.

“Uh… are you a friend of Pinkie Pie?” asked Carrot Cake.

“I’m... not sure about what happened,” confessed Drakkar, leaning back on the chair and staring dumbfounded at the two ponies. “Does she kidnap her friends and bring them here often?”

“Well, she brings them here,” admitted Cup Cake. “But she’s never done this before.” She looked back to the kitchen, where Pinkie was noisily getting the oven ready for a tray of cupcakes. “Pinkie, why did you bring your friend here?”

“He doesn’t know anything about pastries!” cried Pinkie Pie, rushing out of the kitchen. She pointed at him menacingly with a furious stare, as if he had committed the biggest atrocity ever conceived.” I’m going to fix that!” She then rushed back inside the kitchen, slamming the doors shut.

“Is that true, uh…” Carrot Cake stopped when he noticed that he didn’t know the newcomer’s name. “I’m sorry, but what’s your name?”

”Drakkar, Hoofcarl at the service of the Jarl Winter Blizzard, from the land of Scandineighvia, in the Frozen North.”

“The Frozen North?” repeated Mr. Cake. “Wow, that’s sure far away! I didn’t even know that ponies lived up there! So, are you staying here for long?”

“I’m mostly here to update the reports we have of Equestria. Every few decades they send some trusted soldiers to explore the different lands.” He looked at both ponies standing in front of him and noticed the aprons they wore. “I see that you’re the owners of this place.”

“That’s right,” Mr. Cake replied with a nod. “I’m Carrot Cake and this is my wife, Cup Cake.”

“And this is our bakery, Sugarcube Corner,” added Mrs. Cake. “Everypony calls us Mr. and Mrs. Cake.”

“A pleasure, and my apologies for such an…“ Drakkar shook his head with a snort, still slightly shocked by the event, “unorthodox appearance, if we can call it that.”

“Oh, it’s okay. We’re glad that you decided to choose our establishment to satisfy your curiosity with Equestrian eating habits,” said Cup Cake with a grin.

“I didn’t exactly choose it,” he corrected. He motioned a hoof towards the kitchen, where Pinkie Pie was maniacally stirring batter while adding sugar to the frosting at the same time. “However, this place really called my attention, and I would’ve come here on my own.”

“Your words mean a lot to us, Drakkar,” admitted Carrot Cake, tipping his cooking hat politely. “I’m sure you’ll find our pastries delightful.”

”Yeah, about that,” said Drakkar as he pulled a few coins from inside his pelt. “Unless you accept these, we have a little problem.”

“What are these?” asked Carrot Cake, taking one of them and staring at it like an appraiser. “I’ve never seen one of these before.”

“It’s a blizz, the currency back in Scandineighvia. I have a small bag full of them, but I guess you don’t accept them here.”

“I’m afraid you’re right, Drakkar. We only accept bits here.”

“In that case, this will have to wait for another day.” Drakkar got up from the chair and turned around to leave, gently bowing at the couple.

“Oh no, you won’t!” cried Pinkie Pie. She rushed out of the kitchen and pushed Drakkar down again.

“Pinkie, what part of ‘I can’t afford it’ don’t you understand?” said Drakkar, quite upset.

“The part where you said that you didn’t know about any kind of pastries! Now, sit down and don’t move a muscle or say a word while I bring you everything you have to taste! I’ll take care of the money!”

Drakkar huffed in anger. “I plain refuse to let a mare take care of my—”

Not… a… word!” repeated Pinkie Pie furiously, standing on her hind legs and getting eye to eye with him. To everypony’s surprise, Drakkar sat down again, remaining speechless. Pinkie Pie’s anger suddenly vanished, turning again into the joyful pink mare everypony knew, and happily trotted back to the kitchen.

Drakkar let out an exasperated sigh before looking up to meet Cup Cake’s frown. “And what, exactly, is wrong with a mare taking care of your meal?” she asked with an offended tone. Drakkar tried to speak, but she didn’t let him. “I don’t know how things are in Scandineighvia, but this is Equestria, and mares and stallions are equal! And there’s nothing wrong with a mare paying for a stallion’s food. Now, stay here while Pinkie and I bring you the food.”

Cup Cake turned to the kitchen and walked inside to help Pinkie with the pastries. Her husband sat next to Drakkar, resting a hoof on his shoulder. “Don’t worry about my wife; she’ll cool down after a while.”

Drakkar let out a long sigh of defeat, staring at the table. “I’m beginning to understand why none of the other hoofcarls talked to ponies here.”

“Don’t say that,” scolded Carrot Cake softly, patting his back. “Think of how revolutionary all the knowledge you’ll bring will be.”

Drakkar looked at him, seeing the camaraderie in the baker’s eyes. With a shake of his head, he resumed staring at the table. “I just don’t want to have a debt here. And I hate having others taking care of my expenses!” he added, hitting his chest with a hoof. “A drengskapr can’t allow himself to suffer such an insult.”

Mr. Cake raised an eyebrow. “Pardon?”

“Oh, sorry about that. Drengskapr means…” Drakkar tapped his hoof against the table for a while. “Something like ‘honor’. It’s not a literal translation, but it will help. The pony who has drengskapr is a drengr. And as a hoofcarl serving directly under the Jarl, I must be a drengr.”

“And what qualities should this drengr show?” Carrot Cake listened to him, completely overwhelmed by the fact that he was having a conversation with a stallion from faraway lands.

“Well, we must show nobility, magnanimity, fair play, respect and—” Drakkar stopped in mid-sentence, his eyes wide open. He lowered his head as the words flowed slowly out of his mouth. “Self-control.”

“You didn’t show a lot of that a moment ago, right?” Carrot smiled tenderly, patting Drakkar’s back. “Don’t worry, I‘m not here to judge. Just understand that you’re in a different place now, and the laws you have there don’t apply here, and vice versa. And I’m sure that nopony will go to Scandineighvia to tell them that you broke their laws here.”

Drakkar looked at the baker, letting out a soft snort. “After meeting Pinkie, I expect anything to happen.”

Carrot laughed, smacking Drakkar on the back. “Well, welcome to Ponyville, then! Don’t worry, there’s nopony in this town more… random than Pinkie Pie. If you can handle her, you’ll do quite well here.”

Drakkar showed a wide smile. “Alright then, I think I can start writing about Equestrian gastronomy and overall culture as well,” he said, letting his joy fade slowly, “but I still have the problem concerning the surely huge debt I’ll have here.”

“If you’re going to be here for a long time, I’m sure that you’ll find a way to pay it,” replied Carrot with a reassuring nod. “Besides, I don’t think Pinkie will bring too much—”

“Here we are!” cried Pinkie Pie while opening the kitchen’s door with a kick. She showed up with trays full of every single kind of pastry they had in each front hoof, plus another one balancing on her head and on her tail. Cup Cake had a chocolate cake on her back. “And there’s more yet to come!”

Drakkar and Carrot Cake stared at the scene dumbfounded, then looked at each other. “Okay, you might need to ask for a loan or something,” said the baker.

-o-

To the Cakes and Pinkie’s astonishment, Drakkar was having no problem eating all the pastries, no matter how many they brought him. He wrote in several scrolls as he ate and, by late afternoon, he had already finished five trays of pastries, a whole cake and half of another one, and seven milkshakes.

“Are you sure you’re okay, Drakkar?” asked Cup Cake with honest concern. “Not even Pinkie could eat all that without having a severe tummy ache.”

“Wow, he’s amazing!” cried Pinkie, checking the floor every now and then to see if he was throwing food away.

“I’m fine, Mrs. Cake,” assured Drakkar with a nod. “In Scandineighvia we have two meals a day: dagverðr at mid-morning and náttverðr in the evening. And they’re both quite abundant, mostly because we do a lot of work and we need a huge amount of energy. So yeah, we’re used to eating a lot, especially considering that I didn’t have dagverðr this midday.” He levitated a cupcake and stared at it for a while. “I’m curious, though. How long can these… what was their name again?”

“Cupcakes!” yelled Pinkie Pie excitedly. She jumped next to him, pointing at every single kind of pastry and naming them. “These puffy ones here are muffins, this huge thing is a cake, this one here is a pie, and the drinks are called milkshakes!”

“I think I got all of them down. Say, Mrs. Cake, how long can these pastries stay in good condition?”

“You want us to pack them so you can take them home?” asked Mrs. Cake with a smile. After she had spoken with him privately for awhile, they had made up. Drakkar had apologized for not honoring their traditions in their land, and she accepted his apology on the condition that he would from here on out.

“Oh, no, just… Well, I think these are outstanding, and if there was a chance we could import these pastries to Scandineighvia, I’d like to know how long they could last.”

“Oh, it mostly depends on how you store them. They can stay in optimal condition for a few days, then they’ll start becoming a little stale, but they’re still fine to eat until a week after they’re baked.” She looked at him with hopeful eyes and a wide grin. “Do you think you could get us orders?”

“To be fair, most of these flavors are unknown to me. I’m sure that, as a dessert for certain festivities, they’d be most appreciated. I’ll have to report this to the Jarl so see if he’s interested, though.”

“That would be wonderful, Drakkar!” said Cup Cake with a broad smile. “By the way, we’ll be closing in an hour, so I’ll get some packages ready so you can take them home.”

“Sure, thanks, Mrs. Cake. And again, sorry for my behavior earlier.”

“Oh, I already accepted your apologies before, you don’t need to insist,” she replied with a snort. “I just thought that you treated mares in a… inappropriate way in your homeland, that’s all.”

“On the contrary. It is true that, in Scandineighvia, stallions are dominant, but mares are quite respected and our law, grágás, protects them from a lot of things, from violence to unwanted attention from stallions.” Drakkar suddenly burst into laughter, getting everypony’s attention. “That actually happened once that I can remember to one of my old friends back home. He was flirting with the baker’s daughter, but she didn’t want to be close to him. The lad ended up having to pay one hundred blizzes as a fine.”

“I know a few stallions here whose money wouldn’t last for long there,” said Mrs. Cake with a chuckle. “But are there important mares in Scandineighvia? I still think that we are quite… weak there.”

“Not at all, Cup Cake,” assured Drakkar with a smile. “In fact, there are a lot of strong mares fighting alongside our soldiers. And in our legends, valkyrjur are mighty shieldmares that take fallen warriors to Valhöll, where they get ready to fight the Ragnarök. A lot of mares that show skills in battle take the name of a valkyrja as a second name.” There was a glow in Drakkar’s eyes whenever he talked about his homeland, and the other three ponies sat around him, paying close attention to his stories. “I can think of Áræði, one of the Jarl’s shieldmares. She took arms and the name of one of the valkyrjur, and she’s now known as Áræði Skögulsdóttir, which literally means ‘Áræði, daughter of Skögul.’”

The storytelling came to an end when the sound of the doorbell caught their attention.

“Are you still open?” asked a voice that made Drakkar’s ears perk up.

“Mjǫllna?”

“Drakkar!” She turned to face him with a broad smile. “I wondered where you were. You told me you’re going to visit me at the smithy. I thought you got lost.”

“Oopsie, my bad!” said Pinkie Pie with a snicker at the Cakes’ accusing stare.

“I’d like a chocolate milkshake, please,” ordered Mjǫllna with a smile. She turned to Drakkar, showing a tender smile. “Would you like to share a milkshake with me, Drakkar?”

“Oh, I don’t think your friend has room in his stomach for anything else,” said Mrs. Cake while pointing at all the empty trays at the table.

Mjǫllna turned to see the five empty trays and seven glasses of milkshake next to a half-eaten cake. “Wow, you sure were hungry!” she said with a chuckle.

“It has more to do with how I ended up here, to be honest,” replied Drakkar, looking at Pinkie Pie through the corner of the eye. He pointed at one of the free chairs next to him. “Would you like to join us?”

“Of course!”

“Here you go, Mjǫllna,” said Mrs. Cake as she served the milkshake. With a playful smirk, she scolded Drakkar softly. “Drakkar, what did you just tell us about unwanted attention towards mares again?”

“Unwanted?” repeated Mjǫllna, winking at the baker.

“Oh, I see.” Cup Cake chuckled and walked away discreetly. “I’ll leave you here then. Enjoy the drink!”

Drakkar stared at the scene with a raised eyebrow. “What just happened?”

“Nothing important. Mares’ stuff,” replied Mjǫllna with a giggle. She looked down to see all the scrolls he had all over the table. “What are these?”

“My reports concerning Equestrian gastronomy. We only focused in topography until now, but I think that gathering more information about the life here will be widely appreciated.”

“So that’s why you came here?”

Drakkar tilted his head. “Though it was more something like ‘they kidnapped and dragged me here’ than coming on my own.”

“May I take a look at this one?” she said, pointing at a scroll in front of her.

“Sure, go ahead. I’m almost done with these ones anyways.”

“This one got my attention because I’ve noticed a lot of Equestrian words.”

“If I use Equestrian words it’s because we don’t have Norse words for it.”

Mjǫllna nodded as she read through the scroll, noticing that there wasn’t a single pastry with a Scandineighvian name. She raised an eyebrow when she found ‘Pinkie Pie’ written down. “Okay, I know that ‘merr’ means ‘mare’, but what does ‘varist’ mean?”

“Beware,” answered Drakkar, holding back a snort.

Mjǫllna chuckled. “Oh, come on. Pinkie Pie isn’t that scary.”

“She dragged me here when she found out that we didn’t know anything about pastries in our homeland, then began bringing trays and trays of food for me to eat.”

“I’m surprised that you don’t have pastries there.”

“Well, we don’t have sugar in my homeland. The only sweetener we use is honey. But our bread is one of the best you can eat,” he added with a proud smile. “I miss it a bit. Not as much as a nice, cold horn of mead, but still.”

“Why don’t you ask the Cakes to bake some? Do you know the recipe?”

Drakkar crossed his forehooves for a while, staring at the ceiling. “I remember that we used flour, buttermilk, eggs, salt, honey and nuts. When I was a colt, my sister told me how they did it.”

“Sounds delicious! I’m sure my grandma would love to try it!” Mjǫllna took a short sip of the milkshake before resuming. “What do you think of Ponyville for now?”

Drakkar shrugged with a smile. “Considering I’ve been yelled at twice and taken hostage here by a pink baker, I can’t say that this is the best day ever,” he said with a laugh. “But I guess tomorrow will be better. Though I still have to think how I’m going to take care of the bill for all these cakes.”

“Well, I could use an assistant at the smithy, though I barely have customers,” offered Mjǫllna with a playful smile.

“I appreciate it. If I don’t get kidnapped again, I’ll try to find my way there,” he replied with a snort.

She giggled at his words. “I sure hope so.”

“What kind of forge do you have, by the way?”

“Oh, I use a stone forge that works with coal and coke.”

Drakkar nodded. “I’ve seen some of those, but our local smith had one carved on the ground. He also used coal and coke. Did you make the tools yourself?”

“Yes, I did. Well, at first I used the ones I inherited from my great-grandfather, but I made my own set of tools when I had the chance. I felt more comfortable with them.”

“Indeed, a blacksmith must always have a set of his or her own.”

Mjǫllna and Drakkar kept on talking and comparing the life he had in Scandineighvia with how it was in Ponyville. They also discussed about how much of Mjǫllna’s grandmother’s stories about the Frozen North were true or simple misconceptions. Surprisingly, there were no inaccuracies between both sources, only incomplete sections. They talked about the games they played there, the competitions they held and the huge feasts they had at their festivities. They also told some stories about their youth.

“I remember one day at school when I was a filly,” said Mjǫllna with a snort. “A couple stallions picked on me because of my accent. They were bigger than me, but that didn’t stop me from putting up a fight with both of them. Sure, our teacher expelled me for three days and visited my mom. She was so angry at me that she grounded me for three days, but they never mocked me again. However, my granny came to my bedroom and told me ‘You’ve acted like a strong Norse mare would’. She gave me a hug and warned me to keep my Norse pride down while in Equestria, but she was still proud of me.”

“Well, I wasn’t a stallion who used to pick fights, but I joined the glíma when I had the chance.”

“Oh, wrestling!” Mjǫllna clapped in enthusiasm with a wide grin. “My granny told me a lot about it, especially about the ceremonial glíma. You know, the one during mating season, with mares cheerleading the contestants.” She looked at him with roguish eyes.

Drakkar blushed lightly, looking away. “Well, yeah, a few years ago…”

She chuckled at his reaction. “So, are there any young Drakkars around Scandineighvia?”

Drakkar shook his head. “Not even one. I joined the ceremonial glíma twice, and I always had the misfortune to fight against Megin-gjarð, the strongest stallion in all Scandineighvia. In the stories they say that he’s the size of an ox, and that he has the strength of a jǫtunn. That’s why sometimes in the satires we call him jǫtunhestrr.”

“The giant stallion?” repeated Mjǫllna with a chuckle. “I guess he didn’t take that lightly.”

“Oh, he didn’t, but his hot-headedness only made it his role as a jǫtunn easier. He’s quite respected in our community and, while he doesn’t like the satires, he considers that they’re still praising his skills. And his size might be quite exaggerated, as he’s only a bit larger than me, but he’s surely as strong as the stories state.”

“So, no mares for you.”

Drakkar shook his head. “Only the nurses who took care of me after Megin broke five of my ribs in the final match of the last glíma I joined.”

“Ouch! I’m so sorry to hear it!”

“Nah, I’m fine now. I’m curious, how did you get your cutie mark?”

“Oh, it’s quite a short story, I’m afraid, nothing as epic as how I got the respect of my peers at school,” she replied with a laugh. “My granny had been a blacksmith for as long as she could remember, helping Gleipna at the smithy. My mother didn’t want to keep the family tradition, but I wanted to, and I made a horseshoe for my granny as a birthday gift. She loved it, and I got my cutie mark. She said that it meant more to her than the gift itself, which she still keeps at her door. Granny said that my cutie mark proved that I had embraced our Norse heritage and traditions.” She leaned her head sideways, noticing the roaring head Drakkar had on the flank. “What about you? What’s your cutie mark’s story?”

Drakkar lowered his head, caressing the hanging bear paw tied around his neck. “Let’s just say that I got it when I became a hoofcarl.”

“Oh, I’m sure that there’s an interesting story behind it!” insisted Mjǫllna as she took the last sip from the milkshake.

She knew that Drakkar always loved talking about everything concerning his homeland. However, his eyes didn’t shine as usual when she mentioned his cutie mark’s story. On the contrary, he kept his head lowered, staring at her with sorrowful eyes. “I’d rather not talk about it, Mjǫllna.”

She lowered her ears and rested her hoof on his. “I’m sorry, I didn’t want to—”

“I know you didn’t,” replied Drakkar. He held Mjǫllna’s hoof with both of his instinctively. He didn’t even look at what he wasn’t doing, maybe didn’t even knew what he was doing. She didn’t complain, letting him caress her front hoof gently.

“Alright, lovebirds, we’re closing,” said Cup Cake with a broad smile at the tender scene.

“Lovebirds?” Drakkar looked up and noticed that he was caressing Mjǫllna’s hoof.

“My granny never told me that Norse stallions were so adorable,” said Mjǫllna with a giggle.

Drakkar pulled back with a blush. “I-I’m sorry, I was absent-minded! I didn’t notice what I was doing!”

“Aww, but I liked it! Can you go on?” teased Mjǫllna as she offered her hoof again.

“I-I… ”

She chuckled loudly. “You can fight to get a mare to bear your foals but you shake like jelly when one offers you her hoof to caress it?”

“Would you like me to pack the pastries for you to take home?” offered Cup Cake in an attempt to save Drakkar from further embarrassment.

“Y-yes, please, I’d appreciate it.”

“Drakkar, would you mind taking me home?” asked Mjǫllna with pleading eyes.

“I… don’t see why not.”

-o-

Mjǫllna didn’t live so far away from Sugarcube Corner, only a couple blocks behind the bakery. The forge in the yard made her house quite noticeable and hard to miss. Neither of them spoke during the short walk, though Mjǫllna still found it funny. Drakkar was an imposing stallion, but he was also quite shy sometimes. Surprisingly, he’d slip in a compliment in Norse during his euphoric tales about his homeland.

“Well, Drakkar,” she said, breaking the silence as they reached the door. “Here we are.”

“It’s a nice house,” admitted Drakkar with a nod. “These are quite different from the ones we have in Scandineighvia.”

“We’ll talk about those another day, my mom and granny must be worried because I’m getting home later than usual.”

“Wait, before you go…” Drakkar levitated one of the boxes full of pastries. “I… think that you and your family would enjoy them, because I already have everything I need for the reports and… you know, it’d be a pity if they were wasted.”

“Thanks! I’m sure my family will appreciate them! So, you think we’ll be able to meet tomorrow?”

Drakkar shrugged with a smile. “If I don’t get kidnapped again, I think I’ll be able to see you at the smithy.”

“It’d be a good thing to have a normal date for a change,” she replied with a giggle. She turned around, wiggling her tail playfully. “See you tomorrow, then, fríðr.”

Drakkar stood motionless for a while, even after she got inside. “Wait, did I just have a date with Mjǫllna? Really?” A moment later, he snorted softly and took a deep breath. “And she called me handsome,” repeated Drakkar with a grin, walking back to Fluttershy’s house. “Well, I guess this wasn’t such a bad day after all.”