• Published 8th Oct 2012
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The Lovers' Edda - Simon_oSullivan



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

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Drykksfjandhestar

Drykksfjandhestar (Drinking rivals)

The next morning, after having breakfast, Mjǫllna went to the smithy with a small notebook and a quill. Making numbers to make sure that she was going to be able to keep bringing bits home even without Rarity’s orders had become one of her top priorities. Though she appreciate that Vínviðr and Drakkar were worried about it, she refused to forgive her for what she had done. However, that left her in a dire situation, for other cities already had blacksmiths, and even if she started crafting metal ornaments, chances were that she’d have a hard time selling them.

As she worked her way to sort out a solution for her financial problems, Vínviðr got out of the house and into the smithy. She was showing a wide, shining beam as she got closer to Mjǫllna.

“So,” she started, getting to her granddaughter’s side. “That was Drakkar, right?”

Mjǫllna closed her notebook, smiling back at Vínviðr. “Yes, that was him. Sorry for being so—”

“Oh, no need to apologize, honey,” she interjected with a laugh as she raised her hoof to interrupt her. “I just wanted to know if it was him. A nice exemplar you got there,” she added with a wink.

Mjǫllna giggled, putting the notebook away. “Indeed he is. He must be on his way here.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll leave you two here. Now that you don’t have Rarity’s orders, you have enough extra time to spend with him,” she said with a grin that showed only half a dozen teeth spread through the whole mouth.

“Yeah, about that.” Mjǫllna’s joy faded slowly, turning to look at the notebook. “I don’t think it’s been a good idea.” As she opened her eyes widely, she turned to her grandmother. “How do you know about that, anyway?”

“You have a bad habit of thinking in a loud voice,” replied Vínviðr, to which Mjǫllna blushed and looked away with a sorrowful grimace. She rested her hook on her granddaughter’s shoulder, slightly shaking it. “Come on, dear, don’t be so hard on yourself. Ponyville has never been a very active city for us blacksmiths. We’ve survived despite our lack of customers since Gleipna came and settled here.”

“I know, granny, but that doesn’t make me feel better. I had a great customer, and—”

“And she called Drakkar a savage,” interrupted Vínviðr. “We are proud ponies, and pride is both good and bad. If I had been there instead of you, I would’ve reacted in the same way as you did.”

“Please, granny,” said Mjǫllna, resting her hooves on Vínviðr’s shoulders as she stared at her with pleading eyes, “don’t tell mother about this. The last thing I need is her throwing tantrums at Drakkar for ruining our business.”

“Mjǫllna, you don’t even need to tell me that,” comforted Vínviðr, caressing her hoof. “I’ll tell you what; craft the brooches for Rarity, but keep them hidden until you feel like she’s earned your forgiveness.”

“It’s not that simple, granny. She needs them for a slideshow. If she doesn’t get them on time, she won’t buy them!” explained Mjǫllna. She grabbed her head, pressing it as she grunted between her gritted teeth. “Why do I have to be so proud?”

“It’s in our nature, my dear,” replied Vínviðr, tenderly wrapping her granddaughter with her front leg. “But trust me; she’ll buy them from you.”

“Why are you so sure about that?”

“Because, if she really needs them, she’ll look for ways to get them. She’ll come to me, and I’ll show her the way,” she replied with congenial smile as she caressed her granddaughter’s head. “Is that okay with you?”

Mjǫllna looked at her through the corner of the eye, and slowly nodded. “Thank you, granny.”

“You might be proud enough to defend your own kin,” she said with an approving beam, “but not enough to refuse help from us. Keep that balance, my dear.” Vínviðr turned to check the street in front of them, and noticed a familiar stallion walking towards them. “Well, he’s right there,” she said with a chuckle. “I’ll leave you two alone. And remember,” she added as she reached the door, resting the hoof on it but not pushing it open. “Craft the brooches.”

“Okay, granny. Thanks for everything.” As Vínviðr got inside the house, Mjǫllna waved at Drakkar before trotting to his encounter. With a pounce, she hung to his neck, kissing him as he got up on his hind legs and embraced her. From that height, her hooves barely touched the ground. After a while, Mjǫllna let herself fall back, separating her lips from his.

“That’s the best way to say góðr morginn I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting,” said Drakkar with a delighted grin.

“I know, right?” she replied with a giggle. As Drakkar released her from his hug, Mjǫllna trotted inside the smithy, followed closely by him. “We’re going to have a very relaxing day today.”

“No orders?”

“Not even one. I haven’t even lighted up the forge yet.” With a sudden hop, she stood on the anvil, sitting on it as she shook her head to make her mane wave around her. “Which mean more time for us,” she added with an inviting voice.

“Isn’t that a bit cold for you to sit on?” asked Drakkar with a raised eyebrow.

“You can do something about that, right?” said Mjǫllna, letting her mane cover the right half of her face as she gestured with her hoof for Drakkar to come closer.

Without a second thought, and with lavish eyes, Drakkar walked his way to Mjǫllna, who shook her head to whip him with her mane. She slowly let herself fall back until her whole body rested on the anvil, pulling Drakkar by his ears. To avoid squishing her, he rested his weight on his right front hoof, leaning on the cold metal that contrasted to extremes with the warmth of Mjǫllna’s lips as they fused together in another kiss.

“Hey, save something for the honeymoon, you two!” jokingly cried voice from above.

Drakkar’s ears perked up as he tenderly moved away from Mjǫllna. “I recognize that voice,” he said in a low voice before looking up with a defying grin. “Show yourself, Bifrǫst!”

In a flash, as Drakkar had guessed, Rainbow Dash dived at high speed, stopping a few feet before the ground, creating a wave of dust and pebbles starting where she was about to land that spread through the whole place. “Sorry for that, but I didn’t expect to see you here, big guy!”

“What a surprise, Dash!” said Mjǫllna with a low, barely noticeable grunt as she showed a feigned smile. Her reaction didn’t go unnoticed for Drakkar, who was also beginning to get irritated at the constant interruptions. However, Mjǫllna’s smile became sincere when a thought came to mind. “Are you here to make an order?”

“Not for now, though I must admit that those wing-weights you made work wonders! I feel like I can create tornados with my wingpower!” She flapped her wings hastily, taking off a few feet from the ground as a small whirl of dust surged in front of her. The gust dissipated almost instantly, much to Rainbow Dash’s contempt. “Okay, that was a bit lame, but you get my point! I’ve mentioned them to some of the buddies I made at the Wonderbolt Academy, and some of them might order a set for themselves too!”

“My iron is at their service!” announced Mjǫllna proudly as she hit her chest. When Rainbow Dash turned to talk to Drakkar, she let out a relieved sigh, happy to know that money might not be such a problem after all.

“I feel invincible!” cried Rainbow Dash, extending her wings at their maximum wingspan. “I bet I could beat anypony at anything!” She threw a challenging gaze at Drakkar as she showed a confident smile. “What do you say, Drakkar? Think you have what it takes to beat an Equestrian mare?”

“Speed is far from my special asset,” said Drakkar with a frown. “And I can’t fly either.”

“I’m good at much more than just those things!” boasted Rainbow Dash, crossing her front legs in front of her chest. “I’m sure that I could beat you at any competition, even those from your hometown!”

“That’s a courageous challenge you’re throwing there, Bifrǫst.” Drakkar looked up, trying to come up with contests he knew from Scandineighvia. His mouth curved into a sardonic smile as he remembered one of his favorite pastimes. “There is one, but it might not be for you.”

“Don’t be so lame! Even if it’s the thing you’re best at, I have chances to beat you!” insisted Rainbow Dash. “Unless you’re a chicken, of course.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” he replied, letting out a contempt grunt, doing his best to control his anger at Rainbow Dash’s taunt. “But I have to admit that you have guts to challenge a Scandineighvian pony in their own games.” After nodding in approval and turning to Mjǫllna, smiling broadly at her, he turned back at Rainbow Dash. “Very well, then. I challenge you to a Scandineighvian drinking game.”

Rainbow Dash’s jaw dropped at the announcement. “A drinking game?” she repeated, still unable to believe her ears. “That’s awesome! I know that Applejack might have a keg or two left from the last cider season! What else do I need aside from the cider?”

“The tradition states that you need a companion to serve you the drinks,” explained Drakkar. Then again, there’s one thing—”

“That’s it? Just a pony to serve the cider? Alright! You’re gonna bite the dust, big guy!” cried Rainbow Dash as she extended her wings, taking a challenging stance. “Nopony likes cider more than I do! I’m gonna go and make sure everything’s ready! See you there at midday!” With those words, she took off towards Sweet Apple Acres at a blinding speed.

“Bifrǫst, wait!” cried Drakkar before getting hit by the dust cloud Rainbow Dash had created with her take off. As he coughed and rubbed his eyes, he looked back at Mjǫllna, who was sitting on the anvil. “Well, there goes our day together.”

“Well, I can be your companion if you want to,” she replied with a wink.

“I wouldn’t like anypony else,” he said with a laugh. He looked back at Sweet Apple Acres, nodding at the idea. “This is going to be interesting.”

“It’s still around ten in the morning, though Sweet Apple Acres is a bit far from here,” said Mjǫllna, hopping off the anvil. “Come on, we’re not keeping Dash waiting. I really want to see where this will go,” she added with a grin. “Wait for me here, though. I want to make this special.”

“What do you have in mind?” asked Drakkar with a raised eyebrow.

“My granny and I use drinking horns that my great-grandmother brought with her,” she explained, giggling as she saw Drakkar slowly showing a broad grin. “I’m sure they won’t mind if I take them and, by the looks of you, you’ll love having one of those during the contest.”

“That would be great!” cried Drakkar, jumping towards Mjǫllna and wrapping his front hooves around her in a tight embrace.

Mjǫllna stared at him with a smirk, playfully taunting him. “Is that all? By Freyja’s necklace, we’re dating!” Without letting him react, she leaned forward and kissed him, feeling how his strong legs tightened around her. Pleased by this, she slowly lowered her head, softly biting his lower lip as their muzzles rubbed against each other. Mjǫllna pulled herself back, winking at Drakkar with lavish eyes. “That’s how you show how grateful you are,” she added, playfully wiggling her tail. “Now, if you let me down, I’ll go get the horns so we can leave.”

-o-

The trip to Sweet Apple Acres was mostly uneventful, though the streets were more crowded than usual today. Being still early, both ponies went window shopping, checking the goods salesponies had available at the market. While some necklaces and trinkets called Mjǫllna’s attention, Drakkar seemed out of place. No matter how hard she tried to find something that actually made him consider getting something, he couldn’t find anything he considered worth the time. Mjǫllna told him that, one day, they’d go to a different town, probably Appleoosa, to try their luck to find something that Drakkar might like.

When Drakkar and Mjǫllna arrived at Sweet Apple Acres, they were met by Applejack preparing a table with other two ponies. An imposing red stallion was carrying a middle-size keg, and a small filly they recognized as Apple Bloom was setting the chairs. Of the three ponies, she was the one who recognized them the first, waving and hopping as she spotted the couple.

“Mister Drakkar, Miss Mjǫllna!” called Apple Bloom from her place.

“Hi, Apple Bloom!” replied Mjǫllna, waving back at her. Next to her, Drakkar greeted silently with a salute before both ponies changed to a hasty trot.

Applejack tipped his hat gently at the newly arrived. “Howdy, partners. Rainbow Dash told us about this bet of yours.”

Drakkar stared at her with a raised eyebrow. “Bet? What are you talking about?”

“Well, Ah wasn’t giving ‘er the a cider keg just because, so she said that it was actually a bet; whoever loses, pays for what both of you drank.”

Blinking in disbelief as his face twitched into a horrified semblance, Drakkar’s voice trembled. “Did… did she really say so?”

“Eeeyup,” said the large stallion.

“Oh, right, you don’t know him,” said Apple Bloom. “Brother, this is Mister Drakkar. Drakkar, this is my older brother, Big Macintosh.”

Though he was still trying to understand what was going on, Apple Bloom’s words called his attention. For the first time since he arrived, he was able to look at a pony in the eyes without having to lower his head. Drakkar nodded respectfully at him with a short smile, to which Big Macintosh replied by returning the gesture, both remaining silent the whole time.

“Well, looks like Big Mac just found a friend who shares his shortness of words,” said Applejack, beaming gleefully.

“Drakkar might have a lot of things in common with Big Macintosh,” added Mjǫllna playfully, “but being short of words isn’t one of them.” Her face changed slowly from her comfortable visage to one showing a mixture of concern and confusion. “But is it true what Rainbow Dash said? That this is actually a bet? Because that’s the first thing I know about it, and I was with Drakkar the whole time.”

“I don’t really want to be in debt with the whole town,” grunted Drakkar.

“Oh, it’s okay,” consoled Mjǫllna as she put the two drinking horns on the table. “I’m sure you’ll win. Remember that she didn’t let you explain how this game really was. She doesn’t know what she got into.”

“Whatcha talkin’ about?” inquired Applejack, sounding worried. “Is Dash gonna be okay?”

“You’re a friend of hers, right?” asked Drakkar.

“Yup,” she replied with a quick nod.

“So you know about her.”

“Ah guess you could say that.” Applejack stared suspiciously at the giant unicorn. “Why do you ask?”

“Just curious,“ replied Drakkar, slowly getting closer to her and whispering to her ear. “Is she a good poet, by any chance?”

Applejack did her best to avoid bursting into loud laughter, but it was obvious for everypony that she was forcing herself into seriousness until she finally couldn’t hold back anymore. “Rainbow Dash, a poet? That’s one of the best things Ah’ve ever heard! If she ever writes a decent poem Ah’ll eat mah Stetson. Concerning acrobatics, now that’s something she’s really good at.”

“In that case,” said Drakkar with a short relieved huff, “this game might not last too long.”

“What do ya mean?” asked Applejack, tilting her head.

“You’ll find out.” Drakkar sounded relaxed again, taking his seat and admiring the crafting of the drinking horn.

It didn’t took Rainbow Dash long to return at great speed, followed closely by Scootaloo riding her scooter. Mjǫllna took her seat between Drakkar and their keg while Rainbow Dash performed a double back flip before slowly hovering and sitting on her chair. Scootaloo, on the other hoof, took a less risky performance due to her vehicle, and just braked harshly, lifting bits of dust that splattered across the road before taking her seat next to Rainbow Dash.

“What were you doing, Dash?” asked Applejack.

“I was telling everypony what was going to happen here!” she said proudly, stretching her wings. “I’m gonna defeat a Scandineighvian stallion in a drinking game!” She then turned to Drakkar with a challenging grin. “Nopony loves cider more than me! Let’s get this started already!”

“Before we start,” interjected Drakkar, tapping the table with the drinking horn Mjǫllna offered him, “I’ll explain the rules.”

“Really? It’s a drinking game, for Pete’s sake!” complained Rainbow Dash as she flapped her wings hastily. “I just have to outdrink you; it’s not that hard to understand! Now, pour me some good cider here!”

“Drinking is only half the game,” replied Drakkar as he raised the horn. “After gulping the cider, you must compose a poetry verse and recite it out loud.”

“What?!” Rainbow Dash stared at him with her eyes wide open, a reaction that, save for Mjǫllna, everypony attending the event followed. “You never told me about this part!”

“I remind you left the smithy without letting me explain,” scolded Drakkar with a snarky grimace.

“Oh, right,” said Rainbow Dash with a low snicker as she looked away shyly and her ears drooped.

“Anyway, it’s nothing too demanding; just a small verse either boasting about your own skills and actions or mocking the other’s.” He raised an eyebrow as Rainbow Dash grew a smile that slowly turned into an excited grin. “By the looks of you, I think you start to like the idea.”

“Are you kiddin’? Drinking cider and talking about my awesome feats at the same time? This game was made for me!”

“You have to keep your verses coherent despite the drinking; that’s the fun part,” he added with a snort. “If you’re ready, we can start whenever you say so.”

“I’m ready!”

“Well, this is something Ah wouldn’t believe if they told me,” said Applejack with a raised eyebrow. “Let’s see where this goes.”

“I’ll start,” announced Drakkar as he offered the drinking horn to Mjǫllna with a concerned expression. “You know how this goes. I didn’t mean to drag you here.”

“I don’t mind serving your drinks, and this promises to be an unforgettable afternoon!” replied Mjǫllna, laughing it off. Without hesitation, she filled Drakkar’s horn with cider and gave it back to him. “Let’s see that skaldic poetry in action!” she added with a wink.

Drakkar raised the drinking horn and toasted silently to Mjǫllna before gulping the cider in the blink of an eye. Once he was done, he turned to the keg and nodded, surprised at such taste. “Not bad at all. It’s not our Scandineighvian mead, but it’s still an outstanding beverage!”

“Finest quality drink for y’all,” replied Applejack, tipping her hat at Drakkar’s compliment.

“Alright, my verse.” He turned back to Rainbow Dash, throwing a taunting smirk to her as he chanted. “With my hooves, strong as the mightiest tree, I defeat my foes in groups of three.” With a challenging beam, he raised his horn to Rainbow Dash. “Your turn.”

“Come on, Dash, give him all you have!” cheered Scootaloo as she filled the drinking horn for her.

“Alright, let’s do this!” Rainbow Dash grabbed the horn and drank the content, delighting herself as the cider flooded her mouth and slipped down her throat. “Aw, yeah, I love this!” She slowly cleared her throat, and then looked up with a thoughtful grimace with her front legs crossed on her chest. After a moment, she shrugged and leaned forward, hitting her shoulder with the horn’s base. “Roses are red, violets are blue; I’m really awesome, much more than you!”

Drakkar and Mjǫllna stared at each other for a moment, and then back at Rainbow Dash, who was also victim of Scootaloo’s dumbfounded look. “That’s… something, alright,” he admitted with a confused look as Mjǫllna refilled the horn. “At least you get the hang of rhyming. I’m assuming you’re warming up, though.” Finishing his just refilled drink in a moment, he spoke his verse. “My physical strength resembles that of a divine gift, and the heaviest rocks without effort I can lift!”

“Yeah, we got that you’re strong, no need to insist on that,” huffed Rainbow Dash as she rolled her eyes. “Come on, Scoots, let’s show him how it’s done!”

“There’s no rule against boasting about the same ability,” replied Drakkar as Mjǫllna took his drinking horn and filled it again.

“Alright, I’ll show you!” Rainbow Dash took the already filled horn from Scootaloo, and drank it before throwing her rhyme, her lips dripping drops of cider on the table. “Swift and fast, there in a dash. It’s me, the amazing Rainbow Dash!”

Mjǫllna blinked in astound for a second as she offered Drakkar the horn. “You can’t rhyme ‘dash’ with ‘Dash’!” she complained with a grunt. “That’s lazy!”

“This is your last chance,” warned Drakkar as he began to spin playfully the small container with his hoof. “If you don’t compose a decent verse, you’re disqualified.”

“Come on, Dash, you can do it!” cheered Scootaloo as she filled Rainbow Dash’s horn.

“Are you sure she’ll do it better this time?” whispered Mjǫllna.

“Maybe a different approach will make her react,” replied Drakkar in the same low register with a confident grin hidden behind his horn. “If not, at least she’d only have to pay for a few drinks, so we’ll all win if she fails.” After gulping the cider, he pounded the table with his free hoof before speaking. “If your speed matched the rhyming skills you displayed now, you would be as fast as a legless cow!”

Mjǫllna openly laughed at the taunt, and the Apple siblings did their best to hold their giggling at the mental image. However, Scootaloo was far from laughing, and Rainbow Dash sat motionless, staring at Drakkar, who stared back at her with a defying grin.

“That was mean!” cried Scootaloo before turning to Rainbow Dash. “Dash, you’re not a legless cow! Don’t listen to him!”

“Scoots,” said Rainbow Dash, offering her the horn without looking at her. “Fill it.”

“Dash?”

Rainbow Dash frowned, showing a challenging smirk to the giant unicorn. “This is on!”

As Scootaloo filled the horn, Apple Bloom spotted a group of ponies coming towards them, one of them being a pink blur hopping everywhere. She recognized them as her sister’s friends, who had come to see the show, as Rainbow Dash had previously stated.

“Alright, bottoms up!” Without noticing her friends’ presence, she drank the cider, smashing the horn against the table when she finished. “Let’s see how you like this: your mockery and insults flow down the river, before I get tipsy, you’ll surely lose your liver!”

To her surprise, both Drakkar and Mjǫllna nodded in approval. “This might be longer than we thought,” she said playfully, rapidly serving him another drink.

“Very well, the contest will go on. Another!” he announced magnanimously with his hoof raised.

“Hey, girls, what’s going on?” asked Twilight, who stared dumbfounded at the large stallion in front of Rainbow Dash. “And who’s him?”

“He’s Mister Drakkar; he and Dash are competing in…” Apple Bloom tipped her chin for a moment, as if trying to find a way of describing what was going on. “A poetry drinking contest or something.”

“A poetry what now?” inquired Twilight. As she heard Apple Bloom, she looked at the table, where the two cider kegs rested. “This is totally nonsen—”

Rarity was quick to cover Twilight’s mouth before she could finish. “It’s surely a traditional game or competition in his homeland,” she corrected with a snicker before getting closer to her and whispering to her ear. “Drakkar there is a Scandineighvian pony, from the Frozen North, and he’s extremely proud of it, and so is Mjǫllna. Trust me; you don’t want to insult their lands or traditions.”

“Scandineighvians?” repeated Twilight with widened eyes as she turned to Rarity. “But that’s far beyond the Crystal Empire! What’s he doing here?”

Rarity jumped back with a loud gasp. “Wait, you know about Scandineighvia?” she asked, shocked at such revelation.

“Well, there isn’t that much in the books in Equestria, but I know a few things,” she replied, tapping her chin. “Maybe the Crystal Empire had more contact with them.”

“My turn,” claimed Drakkar, cleaning his muzzle with his front leg.

“He’s not the most socially correct pony, that’s for sure,” added Rarity, her face twitching in disgust at his lack of manners.

“Ice and blizzards won’t make me even shudder, and I punch frost giants without the need of a ladder!” chanted Drakkar, hitting his chest and raising the horn.

“I have to admit, though, that despite his manners, he apparently has certain poetic skills,” said Rarity. “I’d prefer something more romantic, though.”

“For what Ah got, it’s about drinking and then saying some fancy talking even say how awesome one is or how lame the other is,” said Applejack, greeting her friends.

“Scoots, fill it up!” cried Rainbow Dash as she turned around to meet the rest of the gang. “Thanks for coming, girls! This guy’s gonna bite the dust any minute now.”

“I don’t really think he’s going to be easy to defeat.” Rarity tried to look away when Mjǫllna threw a contemptuous glare at her as she filled Drakkar’s horn again. He, on the other hoof, simply nodded at most of them, only giving a warmer greeting to Fluttershy. “And I’d rather not be here.”

“A Scandineighvian drinking contest is neutral terrain,” said Drakkar. Noticing Mjǫllna’s reaction, he rested a hoof on her shoulder, slowly shaking his head. “Besides, this is Applejack’s place, I have no power here.”

“Is Rainbow Dash really going to try and rhyme boastings of herself against him?” insisted Twilight. “I’ve never thought she was fond of poetry.”

“But she is fond of ‘erself,” added Applejack with a short laugh, followed by a grunt from Rainbow Dash. “This is the fourth round of drinks, and she’s getting a bit better now. Listen to ‘er.”

Toasting to her friends, Rainbow Dash gulped the cider, and then rested her weight on her right elbow. “I fly through a fierce hurricane or the softest gale, and can create storms that’d make your homeland’s blizzards pale!”

Her friends watched with dropped jaws, blinking in disbelief at what had happened. “I simply can’t believe what my ears are hearing; Rainbow Dash just composed a poem on the run! Not the most lady-like,” added Rarity, “but it’s a start.”

“Maybe it’s the cider,” said Twilight with a raised eyebrow. “I’ve read about some ponies becoming proficient at certain skills while intoxicated.”

“So yer saying that Dash is good at poetry because she’s tipsy?” asked Applejack, trying her hardest to assimilate what was happening.

“I want to know what powers I get from drinking too much cider!” shouted Pinkie Pie, bouncing happily on the spot. “Maybe I’ll become a writer, or good at playing the tambourine, or I might turn into a limbo champion! Oh, oh, or maybe—”

“Pinkie, Ahm sure you’ll find out someday, and you’ll tell us all about it,” interjected Applejack, trying to stop Pinkie’s bouncing with her hoof and failing miserably.

“There goes mine,” announced Drakkar. “Ponies and beasts alike cower in fear, when my bellowing roar from afar they hear!”

“Yeah, whatever, big guy,” mocked Rainbow Dash, drinking from her horn, leaning back so much that her head touched the chair’s back. When she was done drinking, she offered the horn to Scootaloo without retaking a proper posture. A moment later, she pushed herself forward, resting both hooves on the table. “I am the pegasus mistress of lightning and thunder; now that you know, why don’t you give up, I wonder?”

“Rainbow Dash, that was a bit mean,” said Fluttershy lowly.

“He called me a legless cow a moment ago,” complained Rainbow Dash. “This is war!“

”Applejack,” whispered Mjǫllna as she leaned towards her.

“Yup? Something wrong?”

“I don’t think Dash should continue with this, but I also know that she’s not going to let this go.” Mjǫllna sounded concerned, trying not to call Drakkar or anypony else’s attention as she refilled the horn. “Will you take care of her when this is over?”

“Ya don’t even have to ask, Sugarcube,” assured Applejack with a whisper. “We won’t let ‘er down.”

“Fearsome wolves made of solid ice I shatter to shards and make them flee like mice,” chanted Drakkar before leaning back with his front legs crossed and resting on his chest. “Your turn, Bifrǫst.”

Apple Bloom spotted a group of ponies walking towards them, surely intrigued by Rainbow Dash’s invitation to the event. They got close enough to hear her rhyme.

“My Sonic Rainboom creates rainbows at will, while your muscles barely hold you still!” replied Rainbow Dash, slowly giving the horn to Scootaloo.

The newly arrived ponies stared at them, trying to figure out what was going on. While they were there, another group of ponies, larger than the last one, appeared in the distance, and Apple Bloom patiently explained to them what this was all about.

“Our most abundant and memorable feasts, are those composed of sharks and other beasts,” said Drakkar with a wide grin. When he looked at Fluttershy and saw her face twitched in utter disgust, his joy faded away. “I should avoid boasting about our eating habits when Fluttershy’s around,” he added in a low voice.

“That sounds like a good idea,” replied Mjǫllna with a giggle as she refilled the horn. “Let’s see what Dash has to say about this.”

“Bottoms up!” Dash drank the cider slowly, putting the horn by Scootaloo’s side and leaning her head on her left hoof. “During this challenge, let cider endlessly flow! I assure that I won’t let victory go!”

Drakkar nailed both elbows on the table, resting his face between his hooves. Shaking his head slightly to shoo away the sprouting dizziness, he looked to his left here Mjǫllna was. “This mare has more stamina than I thought,” he whispered. “And her poetry’s getting better over time.”

“Can it be that my hoofcarl in groomed pelt is worried about losing against an Equestrian mare?” she teased as she showed a short, snarky grin.

“I’m not saying that,” he grunted lowly. “She actually looks like she won’t be able to stand any longer.”

“I could say the same about you,” she giggled. “You’re starting to lean more on the table or chair.”

“I’m still in better shape than her,” he grunted, rubbing his eyes.

“I know something that might give you some extra strength.” Mjǫllna slowly got close to Drakkar’s ear, covering it, as well as her muzzle, with her hooves.

“Hey, no cheating!” cried Scootaloo, pointing at her.

“Do you have to ruin every moment we have?” replied Mjǫllna bluntly, to which Scootaloo shrank slightly as her ears drooped. “If you think I’m cheating, help Dash too if you want!” With a huff, she turned to Drakkar again, getting her lips touch his ear, covered behind her hooves so nopony could see her. Closing her eyes, she tenderly bit his lower ear, letting out a lavish pant made his free ear perk up. His eyes widened at the unexpected gesture, and, nervous, he accidentally pounded the table with a hoof. At such reaction, and trying not to giggle as she licked a circle around his ear, she giggled as she slowly returned to her place.

“M-Mjǫllna!” whispered Drakkar, slightly blushed, yet showing a pleased smile.

“That’s an appetizer,” she teased with a wink. “Winners get first, second course and dessert,” she added as she refilled horn to Drakkar. Before giving it to him, though, she pressed her lips against it as if she were to drink, and then offered it to him. A few ponies in the crowd cheered at the gesture, and some sentences were heard.

“Nice catch, Mjǫllna!” said one of the florists.

Drakkar showed a broad smile as his horn and throat glowed. Looking up he let out a roar that caught almost everypony off-guard, while Twilight stared in awe at the unusual spell. The threatening sound faded away slowly, being replaced by laughter from Drakkar. With his confidence restored, he hit his chest with the free hoof. “Get ready, Equestria!” he announced proudly, “for today you’ll witness what a Scandineighvian skáld can do!”

-o-

In Mjǫllna’s house, Hearth Fire walked to and fro in the dining room, huffing and cursing in a low voice.

“That girl doesn’t seem to want to know where she’s getting into,” she grunted, stopping her walking to see a family portrait with herself, a newborn Mjǫllna and a blue male pegasus with long, wavy silver mane and shiny purple eyes. “Why did you have to leave, you miserable featherbrain?! You ruined everything!” In a fit of rage, she slapped the picture, crashing on the floor. At the loud sound, Vínviðr trotted to the room as fast as her age allowed her. When she got there, the only thing in the room out of the ordinary was a ragged breathing Hearth Fire and a picture with the frame shattered and spread all across the floor.

“What’s going on, dear?” asked Vínviðr with a mixture of fear and concern.

“Nothing, mother!” grunted Hearth Fire. “I’m just angry because Mjǫllna’s dating that barbaric stallion, but you don’t care about that, so you’re just going to call it nonsense!”

“Far from it, my dear,” corrected Vínviðr. “In fact, I think I’m beginning to see the root of your problems.” She slowly got close to the picture, carefully to avoid stepping on a splinter, and picked it up. “Everything has to do with Solar Beam, right?”

Hearth Fire didn’t turn to face her, but nodded weakly. Her anger slowly faded away, her head lowering as her eyes became watery. “I miss Beamie. I miss him a lot.” Letting herself fall onto the couch, she buried a side of her head among the pillows. “He said so many beautiful things to me. He loved Mjǫllna so much.” Her tender voice swiftly changed to one of anger and despair. “And then he left with the most pathetic excuse I’ve ever heard!”

“Feeling like a failure wasn’t uncommon to him,” said Vínviðr, caressing the picture. “Being rejected from the Wonderbolt Academy was too much of a hard blow to his already low self-esteem.”

“That’s still no excuse for leaving!” roared Hearth Fire as she pounded the cushion with both front hooves.

“I’m not justifying his behavior, my dear,” replied Vínviðr with a soft shake of her head. “I’m just saying that Beam’s problem was aiming way too high and not being ready to withstand the consequences of not succeeding. But he wasn’t a bad stallion; he wanted the best for both of you, but he considered he wasn’t.”

“How dare you say that?” inquired Hearth Fire as she got up from the couch, pounding the floor as she walked to Vínviðr. “I took care of him, cheered him up when he was down and assured him that nothing would go wrong if he didn’t get to join the Wonderbolts! What did you say to him?”

“Watch your words, Eldstaðr!” warned Vínviðr with a bitter tone. Though Hearth Fire seemed to calm down a bit, she kept a frown and kept staring at her. “I tried my best to keep him here. The poor stallion was shattered when he was rejected from the Wonderbolt Academy. I told him that he already was the stallion both you and Mjǫllna needed; that he just had to see it himself. I stayed with him for almost an hour, but he wouldn’t listen.”

Hearth Fire took the picture from Vínviðr’s hoof, flying slowly back to the couch, sitting on one of the pillows. After staring at the picture in complete silence for a while, she took a long sigh. “Do you remember how much he enjoyed playing with Mjǫllna?” she said with a trembling lip.

“Boy, do I remember,” replied Vínviðr as she trotted to her side. “I’ve seen a lot of families, but none could say that their foals got tired of playing before their parents. But Beamie was too much for Mjǫllna; no matter how much energy she had, her father played with her until she got sleepy.”

“And he mailed us toys the first few years for her,” added Hearth Fire, slowly resting her hoof on Solar Beam’s portrait. “And some bits every now and then.”

“He loved Mjǫllna with all his heart, my dear.”

“But he still left. I don’t care what he’s been doing for us; I will never… never forgive him for leaving me to take care of our daughter on my own!” Vínviðr rested a hoof on Hearth Fire’s shoulder, and then cleared her throat while keeping a raised eyebrow. “Yes, I know that you helped me too, and I really appreciate that, but what I wanted was a normal family. Yes, Mjǫllna never lacked anything, but she needed a father, a parental figure! And she had none!”

“Oh, come on, my dear. There are mares out there who get along quite well without one,” said Vínviðr, hugging her daughter in an attempt to comfort her.

“I know, but this could’ve been avoided, mother! Mjǫllna could’ve had a father who took her to school, to the prom and taught her about life!”

“And now you want to make sure that she doesn’t suffer the same fate as you did,” said Vínviðr, to which Hearth Fire replied with a sad nod. “That’s very noble of you, but I think she’ll be fine.”

“No, she won’t, mother!” she cried, taking off with such strength that she almost crashed into the ceiling. “Drakkar has businesses here, and no matter how much extra work he wants to do, he’ll have to leave someday. He’s not like Beamie in that sense. Drakkar lives in a different kingdom, and he serves in the military there. He will return when he’s done!”

“Dear, I think Mjǫllna gave him enough reasons to return,” she replied with a giggle.

“What are you—” When Hearth Fire realized what she was talking about, her jaw dropped in shock. Her wings flapped slowly as she lost height until she landed on the couch. “Don’t tell me she—”

“Oh, they just said goodbye to each other with a quite passionate kiss,” explained Vínviðr with a laugh as she remembered how she closed the window mere inches away from her muzzle. “Ah, the youth of the North; from such an icy climate, and yet bearing such fiery passions.”

“They kissed? In our backyard? And you didn’t say anything?”

“I admit I was quite shocked, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I’m far from a mood killer.” Vínviðr then changed to a more snarky voice, throwing a mocking glare at her. “At least they had the decency of not coming inside and making out in this very couch we’re sitting on right now.” She smirked as Hearth Fire blushed furiously with her eyes wide open, letting out a gasp. “Yes, I saw you two there. It was your second date, right?”

“Uh… y-yes.” Hearth Fire looked away, covering herself with her wing as she spoke. “The rain caught us off-guard and I took him home, and—”

“Honey, you don’t need to justify what you were doing,” Vínviðr assured as she tenderly pushed the wing away, laughing it off. “We Scandineighvian are passionate ponies. Our culture isn’t one for long periods of time being coltfriend and fillyfriend as they do here. The average Fimbulvetrian couple, if both are in love, gets married in a month or two. Us mares don’t like those stallions to keep us waiting,” she added with a laugh.

“Yeah, I know,” Hearth Fire replied with a giggle. “However, I’m still concerned about Mjǫllna.”

“I’m sure that she’s gonna be fine,” said Vínviðr, grabbing her daughter’s face with both hooves and making her look at her in the eyes. “Drakkar seemed like a very nice stallion, and very responsible too.”

-o-

“Drink, drink, drink, drink, drink!” chanted the crowd as Drakkar gulped the cider.

Though it started as a simple two-pony friendly duel, it ended up turning into a massive event that almost all of Ponyville was watching. After a whole hour of drinking and rhyming, some ponies began placing bets about who would win. Applejack refused at first, but ended up obliging as Apple Bloom began to cry pony names and the amount of bits they wanted to bet. Seeing that the event would be much more lucrative than expected, the Apple siblings shared the burden of organizing everything.

The odds were two to one for Drakkar, being the largest of the two contestants and the one who took the longest to start showing the side effects of alcohol; three to one for Rainbow Dash, who was becoming surprisingly skilled with poetry as she turned less skilled at sitting straight. And, in case of a tie, for Pinkie Pie, the only pony who placed that bet, the odds were twenty-five to one. Applejack and her friends tried to convince her not to bet, much less for such an implausible situation, but nopony was able to make Pinkie change her mind, so Twilight advised them to give a high stake to make sure that nopony else had the preposterous idea of betting to that, but that didn’t stop her from betting forty bits, much to her friends’ disappoint.

During the whole event, Twilight was relentlessly asking questions as quickly as she could, while Applejack overheard Pinkie and Fluttershy doing her best to satisfy her curiosity. She wasn’t paying as much attention to the contest as she was to everything her friends had to say. What seemed to slightly upset her was the fact that she wasn’t knowledgeable about him, Scandineighvia and Fimbulvetr as she, as Celestia’s prime student, should be. Though Twilight wasn’t able to hear her friends during the cheering of the crowd when either Drakkar or Dash recited their verses, the contest lasted long enough for her to learn everything Pinkie and Fluttershy had learned about him.

Both Drakkar and Rainbow Dash stared at each other, each one grabbing the table with a hoof while holding their drinking horns with the other one. The Sun had set long time ago, and the numerous stars joined the rest of Ponyville to witness the event that had been going for about half a day. There had been several time outs for the contestants to use the restroom, but aside from that, they spent the whole time drinking, boasting and mocking each other.

He tightly closed his eyes, shaking her head and took a deep breath before speaking. “You can hardly fly, walk or even crawl, so call it quits and put an end to the drinking brawl.” A large group of ponies in the crowd cried of joy as the rest booed in anger.

“Hah, in your dreams, big guy!” replied Rainbow Dash, raising both hooves in the air, getting an ovation from the ones who had bet on her. “Scoots, another!”

“Are you sure you can keep up with this?” she asked, concerned. “You can barely sit straight.”

“I ain’t gonna let him win. Pour some cider on me, kid! We’ll show him how tough we are here in Equestria!” Rainbow Dash threw a punch in the air, but her dizziness and total lack of balance forced her to land her elbow on the table to avoid falling facedown onto it.

Scootaloo sighed as she served Rainbow Dash the cider, and she drank it slowly, a sign that she was barely able to go on, but her pride wouldn’t let her admit defeat so easily.

“I gotta tell you, this is far from the end. I’ll defeat you and you’ll cry to your fillyfriend,” sang Rainbow Dash playfully with a confident grin.

Drakkar burst into laughter, ignoring the crowd crying Rainbow Dash’s name. ”You have some guts and a strong liver, Bifrǫst. But this ends here and now! Mjǫllna!” he cried as he offered the drinking horn. “Another round!”

When she tried to fill the container, the only thing that came out of the keg was a short ‘psst’ and nothing else. “Well, looks like you dried up this one,” she said with a tilt of her head.

Drakkar rested her back on the chair, staring at his empty drinking horn in Mjǫllna’s hoof. As Scootaloo sighed in relief, Rainbow Dash leaned forward, nailing both elbows on the table as she held her head with her hooves.

“Well, they ended up the whole cider keg and both are still up, that means that it’s a draw!” announced Applejack loudly, much to almost everypony’s sadness. There was one pony who jumped and cried of joy, though.

“Yay! I won! I won! I won!” sang Pinkie Pie, raising joyfully her ticket. Meanwhile, the vast majority of the attendants began to leave the place, some of them commenting on the wonderful experience it had been, while most of them complained about their lost bits.

“Well, apparently we have a winner,” said Applejack with a tip of her hat. “Let me see how much you won.” She trotted towards her and looked at the piece of paper, her jaw dropping in shock as her eyes widened. “D-did ya really bet forty bits?”

“That’s right! I knew that Drakkar’s size would make him strong enough, and Dashie loves cider and competition, so I guessed that the keg wouldn’t last enough! My guts kept telling me that it was a safe bet! See? They’re cheering!” Pinkie Pie grabbed Applejack’s head and pulled it next to her belly for her to hear the grumbles of her insides.

After freeing herself from Pinkie’s grip, Applejack shook her head with a snicker. “Yeah, but Ah think yer just hungry. Y’all have been here since midday!”

“The odds for the tie were quite high, weren’t they?” inquired Fluttershy timidly.

“Yeah, twenty-five to one,” replied Twilight, looking up for a moment as she performed the mental calculations. “That means that Pinkie won… a thousand bits!”

“A thousand bits?! Imagine how many pancakes I can buy with all that money!” cried Pinkie Pie in a burst of happiness.

“Has anypony thought that we now have to count a thousand bits from that large sack?” asked Rarity, slightly uncomfortable at the imposing size of the container.

“Don’t worry about that, Rarity,” comforted Twilight with a wink. “With a bit of organization and some buckets, I can count the thousand bits in no time!”

“Ahm on it!” said Apple Bloom, galloping inside the barn.

“While she’s on it,” added Applejack, “we should bring these two something to eat.”

“Eeeyup,” said Big Macintosh as he followed Apple Bloom, to which Applejack replied with a nod while keeping an eye on the two wobbly contestants.

“Scoots,” said Rainbow Dash immediately before covering her mouth with a hoof as her cheeks puffed with a disgusting sound. Pushing the little filly aside, she took off as fast as her clumsy flying allowed her towards the outhouse, shutting the door violently behind her.

“Is she going to be okay?” asked Scootaloo, staring scared at the rest of the fillies.

“She’ll stay here tonight, Ah don’t think she’s in condition of flying home,” said Applejack, caressing the filly’s head. “No need to worry, she’s safe ‘ere. Ah have some medicine for ‘er for when she wakes up.”

Meanwhile, Apple Bloom trotted back with five tin buckets balancing on her head. At the same time, Twilight had made a small tower with ten bits, and magically set all the buckets in line.

“With this little tower of ten bits as reference,” began explaining Twilight, “I can divide the bits in groups, making them easier to count and distribute. I’m surprised about Equestria not having a currency worth more than the bit; that would make this much easier,” she added with a shrug.

A purple aura surrounded all the coins, dancing in mid air as they formed small towers of ten bits like the other one. Every time a group of twenty towers were set, she put them inside one of the five buckets. When she was done, every bucket was filled with two hundred bits each. To everypony’s surprise, there were still a lot of coins floating in the air.

“Wow, we were lucky that only Pinkie won” said Rarity with a relieved huff. “Can you imagine if either Dash or Drakkar had won and the money of the bids wasn’t enough to pay the winners?”

“That would’ve been horrible,” replied Fluttershy, slowly walking towards Drakkar, as Twilight was still making small towers with the remaining coins. “Are you okay?”

“I… have been better, to be honest,” admitted Drakkar with a grunt, massaging his forehead. “This is the first time I dueled against a pony that became better at poetry the drunker they got. And I’m not used to using Equestrian poetry, with the rhyming and all. Our poetry’s different to this one, but I didn’t consider fair forcing her to use our rules.”

“That’s a darn fine thing to do,” said Applejack, resting a hoof on his shoulder. As they spoke, Big Mac brought a basket of apples with him. “There’s mah brother with some fruit; you should eat a bit.”

“And I can make some medicine for you in the morning,” added Fluttershy. “I have the feeling you’ll need them.”

“Thanks, Fluttershy,” he said as he closed his eyes tightly.

“Oh, I’m sorry; I didn’t ask if Mjǫllna wanted to take him home.” Fluttershy shrank as she looked at the mare next to Drakkar, who looked back at her with tender eyes.

“It’s okay, Fluttershy, I know you’re taking good care of him,” she said with a giggle. “Besides, the last thing my mother needs is me bringing this hunk of mine home in such a deplorable shape. I’ll take him to your house myself. You should all stay with Rainbow Dash, though.” Mjǫllna looked turned to face the outhouse. “Her boastful nature might be a little bit more than her liver.”

“Granny Smith’s with ‘er right now,” assured Apple Bloom. “Ahm sure she knows how to make Dash feel better.”

“You can go with her, Fluttershy,” insisted Mjǫllna, grabbing Drakkar’s arm. “I’ll take care of him.”

“Okay, if you have everything under control…” As Mjǫllna nodded, Fluttershy turned around and galloped towards the outhouse.

“Well, I’m done!” announced Twilight as she poured the content of the buckets magically into the sack and offered it to Pinkie Pie. “We have here three hundred and seventy-nine bits for you, Applejack!”

“Well, Ah’ll be, that’s more than what Ah was gonna get for the keg alone!” cried Applejack, scratching her head under the hat. “Don’t worry, buddy,” she added, turning to Drakkar, “this covers up the bet; neither you nor Dash owe me anythin’.”

“And I’ve won so much money thanks to you two that it covers all the food you ate at Sugarcube Corner!” said Pinkie, walking on her hind legs with an exaggerated sneaky stance, as if pretending to be a burglar with the huge sack of money held with her front hooves. “So we’re even too!”

Drakkar let out a long, relieved sigh before falling face down on the table with a loud thud. Stretching his hoof, he reached one of the apples and gave it a large bite. “There goes my first impression,” he said after swallowing.

“Oh, don’t feel bad about it,” comforted Mjǫllna, caressing her back. “You see, girls,” she added as she looked up to the rest of the mares, “we were at my smithy and Dash came to thank me for the wing weights I crafted for her. After that, she felt unbeatable, and assured Drakkar that she could beat him at anything, even at his own games.”

“That’s Rainbow Dash, alright,” said Applejack with a laugh. “But Drakkar didn’t seem to know about the bet.”

“That’s because we never talked about bets,” assured Mjǫllna. “I guess it was a way to make sure that you obliged.”

“Ah see.” Applejack turned to the barn, shaking her head slightly. “Ah apologize in her name for all the trouble.”

Drakkar began to laugh lowly, holding the almost eaten apple. “Trouble?” he said as he sat straight while Mjǫllna grabbed him tightly to make sure he didn’t fall again. “Applejack, this has been the best drinking game I’ve had in my life! I would’ve worked my way to pay whatever money I would’ve owed you for the pleasure of this day!”

“I’m going to take him to Fluttershy’s house,” said Mjǫllna as she got up. “You should go see Rainbow Dash.”

“We will, Sugarcube,” replied Applejack. “Take the apples with ya; I’ll tell Fluttershy to give the basket back tomorrow.” She then turned to her friends, as Twilight poured the bits in one of the buckets, almost overflowing with the money, as she put the other four one inside the other. “Come on, girls, we have to go with Rainbow Dash!”

-o-

During their trip home, Drakkar was far more talkative than usual, telling drunk anecdotes from his homeland. Mjǫllna listened to him in shock, trying her best not to laugh at the crazy stories.

“So, let me get this straight,” said Mjǫllna as she pushed Drakkar gently to avoid him falling on her. “You actually decided to wrestle with another pony to decide who was right about the result of a previous wrestling match?”

“Both contestants had fallen to the ground almost at the same time,” explained Drakkar, clumsily trying to walk straight and failing at giving a bite to the apple he was magically holding. “It sounded like a good idea to me back then.”

Mjǫllna burst into laughter as she leaned on his side to help him support his own weight. “Sounds like mead flowed aplenty that day,” she replied with a teasing grin.

“Oh, yes, indeed it did,” assured Drakkar with an exaggerated gesture that, if not for her assistance, would’ve caused him to fall to the ground. “The annual alþing always has plenty of drink. But that wrestling argument was nothing compared to the bear jousting we had once.”

With a shocked expression and eyes so widened that seemed like they’d fall off, Mjǫllna stared at him in awe. “You… you jousted on bears? I never knew that was common practice there!“

”It isn’t,” he replied, laughing loudly. “But when a young and overly drunk stallion challenges every warrior present to a bear-jousting competition, and they are drunk enough to consider it the greatest idea ever, it gets done.”

“I really want to hear about that,” said Mjǫllna, bursting in excitement. “It should’ve been the stuff of legends!”

Drakkar raised an eyebrow at her words, shaking his head slowly. “Look at me, Mjǫllna; I can barely walk on my own. Do you really think that, while being this drunk, I’ll be able to ride a bear and do something aside from falling off the animal?”

“Oh, but you use them as mounts in the military, right?” she insisted playfully.

“Only a few elite warriors ride them, and those are not only specifically trained to do so,” he explained, “but also have special saddles and battle gear. I tell you, witnessing a charge of mounted spearponies is a terrifying experience, nearly impossible to forget. ”

“I’m assuming that bears are common there,” said Mjǫllna. From where they were, Fluttershy’s house was already visible. “So I guess that the bear’s barding is what makes them only suitable for the richest ponies.”

“That’s true,” replied Drakkar with a pleased nod, “but it also has to do with the required training of the bear which is going to be used as a mount. And then you have the bonding period, which can require months, and that is if the bear accepts the rider,” he added as he sighed in relief as he spotted Fluttershy’s home from the distance.

“So you can spend all the money in the barding and gear, and the bear can simply refuse to accept you as his rider?” inquired Mjǫllna with a raised eyebrow.

Drakkar’s joyful expression slowly faded, turning into a sad grimace as he looked up at the starry sky. “Bears are sapient creatures, and are revered in Scandineighvia,” he started, stomping the ground as he lost balance, preventing a fall. Clearing his throat and pretending that nothing had happened, and ignoring Mjǫllna’s held laughter, he resumed. “We understand bears when they speak, and their wishes and decisions are respected and fulfilled. This means that, for example, if one refuses to serve as a mount for a specific pony, you can’t force him to do so. You can try and find out why he doesn’t want you to ride him; sometimes they want to make sure you’re worth such an honor.”

“So what happened with the bears you used for that drunk jousting?”

“They weren’t trained for riding.” After a brief moment of silence, Drakkar tilted his head, snorting softly. “We also woke them up, so they weren’t on the mood to put up with our drunken bets. Not to mention that riding bareback didn’t make trying to stay on top any easier,” he added with a chuckle.

Mjǫllna looked at him through the corner of the eye, showing a lavish smirk. “I really hope that’s not a problem anymore.”

“Nah, once I sober up I have no prob—” Drakkar stopped in mid sentence, suddenly turning to Mjǫllna with a shocked expression.

Bursting into laughter, Mjǫllna pushed him gently. “It took your time, huh?”

Without her to help him stand, Drakkar fell to the ground, a few feet away from Fluttershy’s cottage. Before he had a chance of getting up, Mjǫllna pounced directly over him, forcing him to stay in his place. She lowered her body, almost resting her weight on him, her muzzle inches away from his.

“Well, this has been an interesting date,” she whispered, her left elbow leaned on the ground as her hoof caressed Drakkar’s leonine mane.

“A typical Scandineighvian date,” he replied with a tired, yet pleased, huff.

Mjǫllna raised an eyebrow, showing an inciting smirk. “I admit that I like cider as much as the next pony. I don’t like my stallion’s breath to smell like it, though,” she admitted as she tapped Drakkar’s horn.

“Oh, come on, it’s not that bad,” he complained, to which Mjǫllna reacted by lowering her hoof and covering his mouth.

“I don’t care if you drink or not,” she interjected with a slightly scolding tone, slowly showing a brazen beam as her voice changed to a more inciting one. “But I do want to make sure you’ll remember what we do.” She rested her lips on the hoof she had on his muzzle. “I want you to remember every time our tongues entangle inside our mouths when we kiss. Whenever you’re not with me, I want you to long for me to be yours again, just as I long for you to be mine. Every time you see me, I want you to remember the times I bit your ear, or silently panted as I licked your strong and powerful neck and my chest pressed against yours.” Her ears perked up as she looked down too see Drakkar’s chest pumping up and down, followed by faster heart beats. With an approving nod, she passed the tongue around her lips. “That’s right. Keep that in mind. Or at least try it if all that cider allows you,” she added with a chuckle.

“I don’t get forgetful after drinking,” complained Drakkar as she pushed her hoof away from his mouth.

“Oh, yeah?” she inquired playfully, throwing a teasing glare at him. “I guess you wouldn’t mind betting on that, right? Prove that you can remember anything about today and you’ll get twice the prize I promised if you won the contest. If you lose, though,” she continued as she drew circles with the tip of her hoof on his heaving chest, “I can think of a lot of chores I could use an assistant for.”

“You enjoy our time together as much as I do,” replied Drakkar, slowly resting his hooves slightly over Mjǫllna’s tail. “Aren’t you going to make it a bit easier? We’ll both enjoy ourselves.”

Mjǫllna looked back at Drakkar’s hooves, tapping her haunch rhythmically, and then turned to look at him as she rolled her eyes with a delighted beam. “If you ask it so nicely… close your eyes.” Without a second thought, Drakkar obliged as a smile began to draw on his muzzle. Mjǫllna then grabbed his cheeks, lowered her head and, as she closed her eyes, sensually licked his lips, letting out a loud pant as her tongue caressed his mouth. As Drakkar’s eyes opened followed by his ragged breathing, she showed a pleased smile and tilted her head. “You can’t complain about my generous tip for tomorrow morning, can you?”

She wasn’t able to react on time as Drakkar held her from the waist and pushed one of her hind legs, making her trip and fall on him. With a quick turn, he rolled and let Mjǫllna to fall face up on the grass. Her head was resting on his left front hoof, with Drakkar on top of her and their muzzles barely touching.

“Now this is much better!” she admitted, wrapping his body with her hooves.

“You won’t shut up, huh?” said Drakkar with a mocking tone.

“Make me!” replied Mjǫllna right before licking his lips once more, this time as a quick move he didn’t expect.

Drakkar pulled her towards him, their mouths joining together in a deep kiss. Led by the flames of passion, both ponies forgot about time and place, focusing solely on each other.

-o-

As the rest of her friends took care of Rainbow Dash, and after apologizing a few times before leaving, Twilight rushed to the library as fast as her legs allowed her. With her mind flooded with everything she had learned and wanted to write about, she wasn’t able to focus in even the simplest spell. Once she arrived to her place, she slammed the door open, causing Spike to jump out of his bed.

“Whu-what-What’s going on?!” stuttered Spike as he stumbled across the upper floor in his pajamas. He looked down to see Twilight running to her desk. “Twilight, it’s you! Where in Equestria have you been all day?”

“In a poetry drinking contest, but now’s not the time to talk about me,” she replied hastily, leaving the young dragon unbelievably confused.

“A poetry drinking contest?” Spike’s eyebrow twitched as he held back a laugh. “Okay, Twilight, where have you really been all day?”

Without answering him, Twilight levitated her quill and a parchment, speaking aloud as she wrote. “Dear Princess Celestia,” she started, walking around the main hall as Spike rushed to put stuff away from her path so she wouldn’t trip and all, “today I’ve met a Scandineighvian pony, who goes by the name of Drakkar. For what I’ve gathered, he’s a hoofcarl from Scandineighvia, in the kingdom of Fimbulvetr. He spends most of the time either at Fluttershy’s house or at the local smithy. I’m going to do some research in my library, but I’ll appreciate if you could send me as much information about this that you might have in the Canterlot Library as possible. I’m going to take a train to the Crystal Empire myself tomorrow morning to try and see if they had more contact with these Fimbulvetrian ponies. I’ll send you as much information I gather as possible. Your faithful student, Twilight Sparkle.”

When she was done with the letter, she stopped walking and folded the parchment, offering it to Spike. With a quick burst of green flames, Spike set the letter ablaze, and the ashes flew through the window towards Canterlot castle. “I’ve barely understood a word you said,” admitted Spike as he scratched the back of his neck. “What did you write about?”

“There’s a stallion from a different kingdom here,” replied Twilight with a frown as she looked through the library. “We’ve had sightings of Scandineighvian ponies before, but this is the first time that I know of that one of them interacts in such a way with Equestria!”

“And what does he want?”

“Just mapping for what Fluttershy told me, and I think he’s in a relationship with a mare, which might explain why he isn’t performing his duties as quickly as usual,” said Twilight, noticing how Spike’s eyes widened in shock.

“With who?!” cried Spike as he jumped towards Twilight, clenching her hair as he stared at her in the eyes.

“Calm down, Spike!” she tried to say, shaking her head trying in vain to get him to release her. “He’s dating the local blacksmith, Mjǫllna!”

At those words, he let out a sigh as he loosened the grips, falling on the floor. “But wait, how do you know this?”

“Rarity told me that Mjǫllna was a descendant of a Scandineighvian mare who moved to Ponyville by the time the Apple Family founded—” Twilight stopped talking for a moment, a wide beam sprouting on her face. “The Apple Family! Of course! I can ask Granny Smith! She’ll know all I need to know!”

“Why don’t you just ask Mjǫllna, or her family?” asked Spike with a shrug.

Though Twilight at first raised a hoof in an attempt to refute his idea, her ears perked up, slowly nodding in approval. “That’s actually an even better idea! But it’s been a long time, and they’ve been living in Ponyville for too long. Maybe they forgot their traditions. Then again, Rarity insisted that they were proud ponies concerning their culture, and—”

“Wait a minute, Twilight,” interjected Spike with a raised claw. “So she’s the one who’s making Rarity suffer because she refuses to craft the brooches she needs?” added Spike, menacingly showing his fangs.

“I don’t think now’s the time to think about that, Spike,” replied Twilight. “But now that you mention it, I did what Applejack told me and found brochures of the Canterlot smithies and jewel crafters,” she added as she magically pulled an envelope from her bed.

“So she’s going to be fine?” asked Spike with hopeful eyes.

However, Twilight shook her head with a saddened expression. “The prices are quite expensive, so it’s a desperate measure she’ll have to take. I’m not sure how much she expected to earn with the dresses, but chances are that she’d barely be able to get any profit if she’s forced to commission the brooches from these places.”

“Maybe you can try and talk to Mjǫllna to find a way for them to make up?” asked Spike with a shrug as he ran out of ideas.

“I want to take care of this Scandineighvian pony first,” insisted Twilight, grabbing a few parchments and putting them inside the saddlebags that were hanging on the chair. “You can tell Rarity to talk to Mjǫllna’s family.”

“Tomorrow morning I’ll go visit her at Carousel Boutique!” he said with a salute. His straight position lasted next to nothing as he let out a long yawn and leaned forward. “But I’m going back to bed now.”

“Of course, Spike,” replied Twilight as she giggled. “Sorry for waking you up.”

Spike shrugged it off, turning to Twilight with a joyful beam. “This is my daily bread, I’ve got used to it.”