Hiccup discovers a seemingly endless new island. During his exploration of it, he finds three gigantic walls and within them, remnants of a civilisation far more refined than his own. The only problems are the pests.
Authors' note: Ah, this took a while didn't it? I apologise for the wait but here it is, chapter 3!
"N-no...! Go back...I need...urgh..."
Mikasa looked down at Eren, a faint look of surprise passing on her usually stoic face. Had he been awake the whole time? She hoped she hadn't hurt him.
"Eren, you need to go back to sleep. You can tell me about that...thing later." Mikasa spoke in a soothing voice as she swung through the trees, trying not to jolt her adoptive brother.
"M...Mika...sa-ahh..." no matter how much he tried to fight it Eren's eyes fluttered shut and his body went limp. Mikasa allowed herself a small smile as she flew through the air back to where the rest of Squad Levi were. She landed perfectly on her horse, alarming the younger members around her.
"You got the brat?" the Corporal asked irritably, turning his steed around with a face that betrayed little to no emotion. Mikasa's eyebrow twitched at his choice of words but she nodded.
"Yes sir." She said through gritted teeth. He was lucky that she had found Eren in such a short time. A few of the horses around had turned in her direction to see if the two were alright. Thin ribbons of steam were rising up from the deep gashes on Eren's face where he had been connected to his other form. She adjusted his position on her horse so that he was sitting leaning into its mane with his head to the side though she kept her arms tightly wrapped around him while gripping the reins. A horse trotted up to her whose blonde haired rider had a slightly worried expression on his face.
"Is he okay? Where'd you find him?"
She was about to answer when the Corporal had walked past, giving the order for their retreat back to the safety of the Walls.
"I'll tell you later," she answered in a low voice, "we need to get away from here though. There's something else out there other than Titans." Armin sat up straight, intruiged, but he asked no more as they all turned their horses around and made their way back through the forest the way they came. Mikasa stole a last glance backwards and shuddered as she swore she could see a pair of freakishly large cat-like eyes watching her in the darkness of the forest before turning back and following the rest of the squad back home.
"You realise he wasn't going to eat me, right?"
Hiccup put his hand over the steaming skeleton and whipped it away almost instantly at the scalding heat. Toothless ignored him as he scratched at the skull, jumping back as it crumbled at his touch. Hiccup's heart was pounding. This creature, whatever it was, had been killed so easily...just by cutting out a section of the neck? The girl, she had equipment specifically to kill it that somehow also allowed her to fly too. The thing she was holding...had it come out of the giant?
Was the giant really dead?
Too many questions were going through his head and he had no answers. The fact that giants existed at all made a part of him want to start believeing that Gobber's tales of trolls and ogres had a hint of truth to them. But all he knew is that he had to get out of there soon otherwise he might come across more of...them. He guessed that the raven girl was headed to a specific location, maybe inside the giant walls he had seen?
The walls! Of course! They had been shot down by cannons on top of them, so there must be people within the inner two walls atleast. The abandoned village they came across must have been invaded by these giants, meaning that the entire outer wall must've been left to rot. But which wall was he in now? He had to stop himself from asking more questions to further confuse himself. He hopped onto Toothless' back and slipped his feet into place.
"We gotta go find somewhere safe, follow that girl."
Toothless nodded and folded in his wings to run in the direction the girl went, keeping his eyes peeled for any other humans or giants. The wind whipped at Hiccup's face almost as hard as when they had been flying. He pressed himself flat against the Night Fury's back and glanced around, letting out a low whistle when he realised how tall the trees in the forest were. He wondered how old they were when all of a sudden Toothless jerked to a stop, almost sending Hiccup flying off him. Before he could even ask what he was doing the dragon lowered itself to the ground and nodded to the area infront of them.
A group of horses (Hiccup was astounded at their size, he had only ever seen wild foals and they were ridiculously rare on Birk. He was almost tempted to start believing unicorns were more common than them). Each one with a rider on them. They stood in a group conversing, about what Hiccup couldn't hear. They stayed low and watched them carefully, trying to pick out the faces. Hiccup could see a few brunettes, a bald and blonde kid and the girl he'd seen before, they were all turning to go again, being led by a smaller one with black hair. He sat up slightly before the girl turned her head in their direction for a moment. The two flattened themselves as much as they could when she turned back and the group sped off on their steeds.
"Go, go go!" Hiccup hissed but the dragon didn't need to hear it, he had already started chasing after them, darting between trees. As they travelled Hiccup noticed that the trees were thinning and that there were thundering footsteps following them. He turned his head and sure enough there was not only one but two giants running in the most awkward way Hiccup thought possible.
He heard some distant popping sounds and saw trails of black smoke shooting into the sky directly to the side of him where he saw a wagon being pulled by more horses. They were almost completely free of the forest and Hiccup needed to hide himself fast before the two of them got themselves or anyone else into deep trouble.
More importantly he had to get away from those things alive.
He could hear people shouting, more smoke trails shooting up into the air (smoke signals? How on Nirn are they doing it? Hiccup wondered to himself) and steered Toothless closer to the wagon, losing the group from before. Just as they were about to leave the forest HIccup had Toothless dive into the back of the wagon where he quickly formulated a plan.
When the Scouting Legion had returned later that day Eren was brought to his dungeon where Armin and Mikasa waited by his bedside for him to awaken, agreeing not to talk about what Mikasa had seen until he was awake. Levi busied himself with paperwork which helped him refrain from kicking another one of the boy's teeth out for making him stay out there for longer.
After Eren made no signs of waking up for the rest of the day the two sighed and reluctantly left him to go to their own quarters, leaving the dungeon in pitch blackness.
Outside the HQ Sasha and Connie had been tasked with putting the wagons in place for someone to come along and clear them out.
"Ughhhh this is so tiring..."
"Tell me about it. Why is this one so darn heavy? Think there's food in it?"
The wagon jolted before Connie could reply and it was suddenly slightly less heavy than before.
"Wh-what was that? You felt that too, right?"
"'Course I did! What's even in here anyway?"
Sasha whipped open the curtain and almost shrieked at the sight of a half-naked corpse.
"What, what what is i- holy shit!" Connie yelled as he leapt back. "What the hell?! Where's his clothes gone?!"
Sasha stayed still, looking it up and down with a morbid curiosity. "What are you doing? Just leave it alone for the other guys to clean it up! It's weirdin' me out."
Sasha let out a 'pfft'.
"You wanna know the weirdest thing about this?" She asked, looking down at the body and not moving from her position.
"The fact that you're still talking about it?"
"It's missing one of its socks."
Hiccup felt terrible for what he had done but he couldn't let himself be caught, especially not when the option to instantly jump on Toothless' back and fly away was not available. The two started fighting and arguing with eachother but Hiccup didn't bother listen as he attempted to stuff his pegleg into a very narrow awkward boot with a sock stuffed into the toes and the rest which stretched up to his tiny kneecap.
He had to put his furry vest and trousers aside as he slipped into the Scouting Legion uniform he'd stolen from a similarly-sized corpse to him. He'd almost had a heart attack when they first landed in the back of the corpse-filled wagon. He could have fixed Toothless' tail flap right there and then with some of the metal fragments and pieces that had been left from the strange boxes the people wore but he was too horrified at the time. It was a shame he thought, he wasn't able to study them as the only ones in the wagon were broken beyond recognition.
He looked at the weird short jacket with the wing emblems on it. These people...had they not seen the world outside those large walls before? Toothless nudged him and brought Hiccup back to the present.
"Sorry bud. Just one day and we'll be out of here okay? I can use my jacket for the flap but I need to find something to replace the connecting rod. Next time remind me to bring spare supplies, alright?"
The dragon nuzzled Hiccup's leg with a low content purr. Hiccup put the jacket back on the ground and started rubbing the Night Fury's head, who shuffled closer to the viking and placed his head on Hiccup's folded knees, looking up at him with a sort of look that said 'you're an idiot but I still love you'
Hiccup chuckled at the expression and started rubbing the dragon's head to cheer him up. "Just one night...don't you think they're all pretty weird though? But...in a cool way, y'know?" Toothless rolled his eyes which brought a hearty laugh from the boy. "I guess you're more interested in getting back home, huh?"
"Uhh...who are you talking to?"
Hiccup almost leapt out of his skin and snapped his head around to find to heads poking out from the other side of the rock he was hiding behind.
He looked down to his lap and then straight ahead, only just seeing the outline of Toothless curled up, hidden in the shadows. He turned back to the bald guy and the girl with the hungry eyes. "There was...a dog..."
"Oh! Was it a puppy? Where'd it go?" The girl vaulted over the rock and crouched besides the viking, her hands lightly brushing over the ground. The bald one rolled his eyes and walked around the rock and stood with his hands on his hips.
"It's too dark for any of that stuff, Sasha. You'll never find anything out here!"
"Don't interrupt me, Connie! I'm a born and raised hunter. Its the Braus family way!"
Hiccup couldn't move. He didn't know what to do. Stuck between a rock and a hard place (almost literally) he picked up his (stolen) jacket and dusted it off before standing up and letting out a forced friendly-sounding awkward laugh.
"Ah, it doesn't matter. He'll come back tomorrow I'm sure, ha ha...I think it's about time we turn in, don't you?"
"Hm...okay, if you say so." The girl known as Sasha stopped, her hand just millimetres from finding Toothless' tracks. "Must've been pretty big...hey, have we met? I don't think I've ever seen you around before."
"Yeah, I don't think I saw you at the initiation ceremony..."
"Well, we were in the top ten, of course we didn't see anyone else!"
Hiccup's eyes widened a fraction, he saw his chance but at the same he was terrified he'd say something that would blow his cover instantly.
"Y-yeah, ah, well look at me, of course you wouldn't have seen me, I only just made the cut but here I am, haha..."
The two shared glances and crossed their arms. Sasha started examining her nails with a smirk.
"I see, well atleast we have some extra hands to help around, right?"
Hiccup let out a sigh of relief disguised as another awkward forced laugh. Either he had just gotten off on sheer luck or the two infront of him were complete idiots. Then again, they said they had gotten in the top ten of some ceremony or something, maybe they were smarter than they look. "Speaking of helping hands, why not help put in the last of these wagons?"
Hiccup slipped his arms into the leathery jacket, the shortness of it making him feel exposed and cold. How did these people manage? He moved to follow the two, sending a glance back to where Toothless was and saw that he had shifted so that he was hanging upside-down from a tree branch, hidden completely in shadow just outside of the flaming torches ring of light. He managed to catch a glimpse of a green slit that was his dragon's eye.
He awkwardly shuffled after the two, worried the bunched-up (stolen) sock in place of his missing toes would come loose and make him lose his balance and make him look like a complete fool.
After he'd helped the two push the last wagon into place he followed them to their sleeping quarters and almost dropped to his knees screaming his thanks to Odin for his luck that he got an entire empty room to himself, the other ones filled with people his age or older.
He had said his goodnights to Connie and Sasha, somehow managing to slip past the dozen or so sweating, tired, well-muscled bodies into an unusually cold room that luckily only faintly smelled of testosterone. He sat alone on the bottom bunk of a bed right besides the door, thinking about his plan for the next day when the back of his foot bumped against something under the bed. "Huh?"
He slipped off the bed and pulled out what was underneath, letting out a gasp when he found a portrait of someone's family. "Oh no...oh no, no, no..." He dug around under the bed and pulled out a box filled with letters and a locket with another portrait but of a beautifully-drawn young woman in it.
He had to stop himself from looking at anything else, his trembling hands turning the words on the letters into blurred squiggles in the darkness.
He was wearing a dead man's clothing, sleeping in a dead man's bed, looking through a dead man's stuff. He shuddered and shoved it all back under, turning away from it all and curling up on himself on the hard, wooden floor. What had he gotten himself into?!
He shuddered, feeling a chilly breeze passing through the room. He also got a whiff of something burning from outside, so he got up, glad to get away from the person's possessions and stepped over to the window.
He looked out and saw the window was looking out onto some sort of courtyard where a large bonfire had been set up. A group of people standing around were dragging out the wagons he had seen before. Hiccup tilted his head and pushed himself against the glass, trying to hear what they had to say.
"Damn it, this is the worst job..."
"Come on, let's get it over and done with..."
The people wordlessly lifted the covers on the wagons and pushed them closer to the fire before tipping the contents out. Hiccup threw up in his mouth a little for the second time that day. Piles of corpses were being fed to the fire. Hiccup shut his window before the stench of rotting flesh could reach his nostrils. As he reached up to shut it he noticed that there were other people doing the same on the other sides of the courtyard, watching from the safety of behind their windows.
The blank looks on their faces told Hiccup everything he needed to know. These people were used to this sort of thing. He shook his head and turned away from the window, pinching his arm in the hopes that he was stuck in some horrible nightmare. He pinched the bridge of his nose and breathed heavily. He had to find a way to get out of there as soon as possible.
Feeling sick with himself he started rooting through more dead people's things, hoping to find anything he could have used to fix Toothless' wing flap. He didn't care what, he wanted to get out of here and never return until he could find a way to stop the needless bloodshed and death.
Uttering apologies over and over again as he dragged out boxes of people's once most prized possessions after three hours of searching he finally found a toolbox. He rifled through it as quietly as he could, trying not to waken the soldiers in the room adjacent when he found a couple of spanners and wrenches that he could have used. It would mean clunky flight but it would atleast be enough to get him home.
He sighed and brought the tools over to the bed he would be borrowing for the night before laying down and staring at the bottom of the bunk above him. He wondered how everyone on Berk was faring and if his father was worried about him...
"WHERE IS THAT BOY?!"
"Stoick, I think you're getting a bit carried away, remember that one time he was gone for almost an entire week and he came back safe and sound?"
The chief turned on Gobber like a dragon on a predator who had stolen its eggs.
"Do you mean the time he and Toothless had been kidnapped by the Outcasts and locked in a dungeon for days on end?"
Stoick sighed and ran his hand over his face and ran it through his thick beard. Gobber looked out the window, hoping for a sign of a returning Night Fury but seeing none. Suddenly Stoick punched the wall, leaving a huge crack in it before he stomped out, the whole island seeming to quake under him. Vikings moved out of his way at the sight of him as he stormed out the building.
Hiccup had been missing all day and no one seemed to have any idea where he had gotten off to. Gobber hobbled after the chief, yelling after him before he managed to catch up to him and stop him from breaking someone's house down. "Stoick, Stoick, Stoick! You should really calm down! Just think, he's got Toothless with him, he'll be fine! He's probably just lost track of the time and got carried away with his little map-making and the like. If he doesn't show up by tomorrow afternoon we can all go after him. He's a smart lad, you shoud trust him a little more."
Stoick sighed. The viking with the missing arm was right, he had to have faith in his son. After all, he did manage to teach them all how to train dragons of all things and defeat a Red Death.
"Alright," he grumbled, "He's got till noon. Then every viking on this island who owns a dragon is going out to look for him."
Levi slammed open the door, thankful his face was covered by a cloth. His jacket was gone, his head wrapped in another cloth and a pair of feather dusters gripped in his fists.
The noise the door caused woke everyone in the room and upon realising who exactly it was that had awoken them they were all on their feet, fists against their chests in a half-asleep salute.
Levi glared at each one of them individually before a door at the end of the room flew open, a cadet with tousled hair and freckles spilling out in a flurry. Not fully realising what was going on he copied what the others were doing, realising it was some sort of salute. He got a few dubious glances from people whose beds were right beside the door. Whispers were being exchanged and the small man at the door raised a thin eyebrow at the sight of Hiccup, but turned his glance to the other teens in the room.
"Alright you lot. You know what day it is. Time to make this place shine or I'll have your heads mounted on my wall."
"Yes, Corporal Levi sir!" came the reply from the teens in unison. They all started to get changed swiftly, Hiccup tugging at his boots to busy himself before the small man pointed a feather duster directly at him, making him freeze on the spot.
"You." He said, his voice slightly muffled by the cloth protecting his mouth. "Get the Jaeger brat. Even his hole of a basement needs cleaning every once in a while." He commanded him. Hiccup did the salute again and mimicked the teens
"Yes Corporal L-Levi sir!" he called, heart skipping a beat for fear he'd messed up the worryingly angry-looking authoritative figure's name before sidling through the group and past the smaller man. As he stepped past him he glared after him. Levi did not recognise the boy. He had to check him out later though. For now their headquarters needed cleaning. He could not stand being in the filth any longer.
Hiccup hurriedly walked down the corridor towards the set of stairs he recalled seeing from the day before, assuming that this 'Jaeger brat' lived in the basement. He wondered why though, was he a prisoner or something? He stepped down the cobblestone stairs, making sure he didn't trip on his concealed pegleg and break his neck.
When he got to the bottom he was unsure of whether he should have knocked or not. He decided to do it and went inside, almost tripping down another set of stairs. At the bottom was a dungeon and inside the bars was a bed, a figure sleeping inside it with a bandage over their head.
Hiccup put his hands on the bars, noticing the boy wasn't shackled to the walls. Why was he being kept in there? "Erm...hello? The er, corporal sent me down to get you so uh...could you wake up now?"
The boy turned over and groaned, putting a hand to his bandaged head before sitting himself up, rubbing his eyes with one hand while pulling off the bandage with the other with a frown, his eyes still closed.
"Ugh, I keep telling them bandages are wasted on me..." the boy grumbled to himself, then moving his free hand to feel his forehead.
"Well if you're bleeding then its advisable to cover it up, you know."
"I know that but-...hey, wait a minute...!"
The boy wrenched his large eyes open and stared at Hiccup in disbelief. The viking shuddered, his eyes looked strikingly familiar yet he'd never seen them before.
Or had he?
"Erm...is there a-"