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New Sensations for the New Year

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Pancakes were a very foreign concept to Robin. She thought she'd seen it all, trapped in a time loop for 2,000 years. As it turned out, Smash City had many new things to try out, pancakes being one of them.

Not that it couldn't have been all that much different. So what if she hadn't tried these "pancakes" before? Food was food. She'd gotten sick of all the junk they served back at Castle Ylisse, having eaten the same meals for her entire life. She wasn't even sure she had any taste buds left. From what she'd heard, it was not too dissimilar to bread, so she was sure these wouldn't be anything she'd enjoy.

Was it a bit cynical for something so unimportant? Yes, but she was 2,000 years old, Naga dammit! She liked to think she had a passable excuse for being so negative all the time.

"I do not see the necessity in having a taste of these... pancakes," Meta Knight said from the seat across from her.

Oh yes, Meta Knight was here too.

Besides both of them, Kirby and Corrin watched them with eager eyes. Being a "self-proclaimed food expert", Kirby had dragged Meta Knight into this "pancake shop" on the first day of the year to try these new confections that were all the rage these days. This wouldn't be much of a problem to her, if Corrin, who, to her surprise, was good friends with Kirby, hadn't pulled her into this as well. Misery loved company. Who knew.

"I appreciate the thought, Kirby," Meta Knight said, "but I believe are more important things to be done on New Year's Day. Like our resolutions for the year."

Kirby gave Meta Knight a long, hard glare, and he mimed stuffing food into his mouth, before planting his face onto the table. He might have made a passable impression of being asleep if it weren't for all the giggling coming from him.

"I have enough nutrition to sustain myself, thank you. And I do not overwork myself."

"You do."

Meta Knight moved his cold gaze from Kirby, and Corrin shrunk down his seat, laughing nervously.

"I mean no offense, Mister Meta Knight, but I rarely ever see you in the mess hall. Actually, I don't think I've ever seen food anywhere near you." Then he turned to Robin. "You too. Both of you should try something different."

"I do plenty of new things," Robin said, narrowing her eyes.

"Do you, though? All I've ever seen you do is haul history textbooks into your room."

"There is plenty of history I have yet to catch up on. So much of this hasn't been available to me up until now."

Kirby waved his arms up and down, giving her a frustrated scowl. Apparently, that wasn't an acceptable answer to him. His loss. History was much more important than a full stomach.

"Kirby, the Halberd won't keep itself in working order. This can wait."

Meta Knight hopped out of the chair and tried to leave, but a platter of pancakes blocked his path.

"The least you can do is eat one before you go. They say it's important to start the day with a good breakfast."

Meta Knight scoffed, disbelieving. "Who in their right mind would say that?"

Kirby spread his hands to the side and spun around in an imitation of Rosalina.

"Miss Palutena says it too," Corrin added. "And Chrom."

Kirby cupped his hands around his mouth and blew. It was a rather simple portrayal of Bowser, but Rosalina got it. Meta Knight got it too if the way his eyes narrowed was any indication.

"You're saying Bowser is better with this than I am?"

Meta Knight was a rather temperate person, and he didn't show emotions easily. That said, he never did seem to get over the time the Koopa King had tricked him into being a crash-test dummy for one of his clown cars, and the mention of him was one of the few things that riled him up. With how intimidating Meta Knight could be, most would have backed down after that.

Kirby and Corrin exchanged looks. Then Kirby nodded.

Meta Knight closed his eyes. He lowered his head, and let out a sigh. While his eyes were closed, Kirby crept up to him, biting his lip and getting his eyes to tear up, so when Meta Knight opened his eyes in a harsh glare, he was met with a whimpering, tearful mess.

Kirby wore his thoughts on his face, plain and simple. He wasn't good at faking emotions. Someone must have helped him change that. Robin suspected foul play.

Meta Knight just glared harder, but no matter what he did, Kirby just wouldn't back down. Finally, Meta Knight's shoulder pads fell, all the fight leaving him.

"Very well. Just one."

Kirby cheered. Grabbing the plate from Corrin, Meta Knight hopped back up on his chair and set his plate in front of him. Taking a fork and knife in his hands, Meta Knight cut a piece off one of the pancakes. Robin watched as he stabbed it with a fork, taking in every detail of the treat laid out on the plate between the two of them, from the way it glistened in the morning sun, to all the specks on its surface.

Something strange was going on. Maybe it was just paranoia, but if living for 2,000 years had taught her anything, there was no such thing as being too careful, and when she peered closer, she thought she saw a faint red sheen over it in the soft light.

Meta Knight raised the fork to his mask, and he tilted back his mask just enough to reveal his mouth. Before Robin could warn him, the pancake disappeared inside of his mouth, good as gone.

He started chewing. As he slid his mask back over his face, his eyes flicked to the ceiling. He hummed and looked around like he wasn't sure what to think.

Then, his chewing slowed down. His eyes slowly widened, and Robin could have sworn she heard steam rising from somewhere. He gagged once, twice, then, hastily removing his mask, he spat it out on an empty part of the table.

When Kirby and Corrin burst out into laughter, Robin realized this was no accident. Meta Knight hissed, and under the eye of both Corrin and Kirby, he grabbed a fistful of sugar packets from the small box at the center of the table, ripping them open all at once before pouring the contents down his mouth. Kirby and Corrin laughed harder at that.

Now was her chance to leave, she realized, something she had to do if she wanted to avoid the same fate that had befallen Meta Knight. It didn't take a brilliant tactical mind to figure out that this was all a setup.

As quietly as she could, she slipped out of her chair and turned to leave. She had only taken one step before she heard Meta Knight call out behind her.

"Miss Robin. Where do you think you're going?"

Dammit. She should have known it wouldn't be that easy.

Keeping a straight face, she turned around to face him, only to find that Kirby and Corrin were looking at her as well. There went her chances of sneaking off unnoticed. And since excuses hadn't worked for Meta Knight, there was only one thing she could do.

Before anyone could react, she grabbed a whole pancake off the plate and crammed it into her mouth.

A soft, buttery taste enveloped her long-dead taste buds. She had eaten her way through plenty of cakes, muffins, and breads. This taste, it was nothing new to her. It was, however, something unique; a balance between the taste and texture of a bit of all the baked goods she had eaten before.

It seems she had been mistaken about having tasted everything the world had to offer.

"You know," she said, her voice muffled by the pancake stuffed in her mouth, "this isn't so ba–"

And then someone dropped an Arcfire tome's worth of spells in her mouth, all at the same time.

It took her half the week to get that taste out of her mouth.