Heir to Berk
This was stupid. Whoever thought that him and Snotlout should spend two hours a week together for the next six months – or possibly more – was stupid. Of course, since it was the elder council, which included his dad and Gobber – though he liked to think that Gobber had objected – he wasn't going to state his opinion to anyone.
Except maybe Snotlout.
And Gothi since she seemed to think it was as stupid as he did.
Snotlout, didn't seem too pleased at the arrangement either, but seeing as he was next to be heir when Hiccup eventually either stepped down or was forced from the position, it would be beneficial to him. And if by some miracle Hiccup actually stayed heir, Snotlout would likely end up being one of his advisors as the next in line for heirship.
Hicup realized this, but Snotlout didn't think of it that way, he simply thought of it as an insult to have to spend time with his cousin. This, Hiccup knew, would most likely bode badly for him.
Gothi came in looking very stern. Quite possibly since Snotlout regularly sent Hiccup to her for treatment. Gothi wrote something in the dirt pad within her hut and Hiccup with some trial, error, and a couple of whacks managed to translate it.
"Rhododendron." Hiccup said. "It causes progressive symptoms that at the latest stage must be treated at the same time as the poison."
"Poison?" Snotlout asked.
"Yes Snotlout. In case you didn't remember this is meant to be a course on poisons and basic first aid."
Snotlout grumbled, "This is girl's stuff!"
"And then I said- 'Well, if you wanted your sheep you shoulda put a leash on it'!"
Tuff laughed, and Ruff nearly knocked the pan off the cooking fire. Astrid rolled her eyes in the corner and Fish just managed to save the pan of food. Hiccup was in the corner meanwhile, snacking on some dried berries Yohan had procured from some more southernly provinces.
"What are you eating?" Snotlout asked loudly, stomping over and taking one. "Eww – it's sour! You like this stuff?"
Hiccup sighed. "Yes, Snotlout. I personally think they're good."
Toothless however didn't seem to agree with his rider, and huffed as he turned his head away.
Snotlout snickered, "even your dragon doesn't agree with you."
Hiccup shrugged and popped a couple more into his mouth. Oswald had once given him some when he visited and Hiccup had liked them ever since. They were tasty, though hard to get. It was pure luck that Yohan had some when he stopped in on the edge. Chicken walked up to the small box, and Hiccup with a raised eyebrow held one out. She grabbed it and gulped it down but before long she had glared at him and regurgitated it back up.
Tuff ran over to his pet/child – "Ohhh Chicken! I'm sorry that awful Hiccup fed you those awful berries!" With that he picked chicken up and took her to have some grains.
"Well. Wow. More for me I suppose."
"That's weird. I though chickens liked berries." Astrid said.
From across the room Tuff shook his head, "Chicken has a very refined pallet. Obviously those are not gourmet berries!"
Dinner was served and with it the last of the small box was gone. Each of them sat at the table, and behind them a barrel of fresh fish had been tipped on the deck outside where the dragons were eating.
"So what's the game plan for tomorrow?" Astrid asked.
Fish paused in eating, "well – when I was out for patrol today, I saw a flock of dragons going across the Dirkire strait. I was thinking we might check it out – it could be a new migration route… Though if it's not…"
"Then it might be a human disturbance…" Hiccup finished.
"Dragon hunters…" Astrid agreed.
Strangely the dragon hunters had been fairly quiet the past month or so, so the riders had been on edge waiting to see what their next move was.
Hiccup nodded as he pushed some of his dinner around. "So then I guess we'll have to check that out tomorrow. I also saw a string of new islands to the east – so if nothing is wrong with that flock I'll probably head out that direction for the afternoon."
"I wanted to check on the Gronkel island – make sure they aren't being bothered by anyone again."
"I had plans to train mostly." Astrid said unsurprisingly. She turned to the last three, "and I suppose you plan to do some stupid pranks or something."
Tuff leaned to his twin and whispered, "how'd she know?"
"Don't ask me I'm way better at keeping secrets than you."
Astrid rolled her eyes – "you meatheads are always planning something either stupid or destructive."
Snotlout sat back smirking with his arms folded, "see what she thinks of you guys."
"I include you in that count Snotlout."
"What?!" Snotlout waved a hand in a circle in front of his face, "this could never be in the same league as those meatheads!"
Astrid raised an amused eyebrow at the Jorgenson.
It was as this was going on that a choking cough broke through the commonplace dinner conversation.
Everyone turned to the source of the noise and to their horror they found Hiccup bent over with a hand clutching at his throat.
Astrid, who was sitting beside him was the first to spring into action grabbing his shoulders and trying to figure out what was wrong.
"I think he must be choking on something!" Fish exclaimed, "oh Thor, oh Thor!"
A weak shake however dashed those hopes and Hiccup managed to lock a silent gaze with his cousin.
"What can I do about it?!" Snotlout yelled, just as panicked as the others. Then it suddenly dawned on him what was going on. "Oh – right…" mind trying to pick out the source and follow the symptoms finally his eyes zeroed in on the one thing that could have possibly introduced poison to his cousin. He rushed to the other side of the table and picked up the box. Inside was small amounts of residue from the berries and likely whatever poison they had been coated with.
He took a finger and scratched a bit off while beside him pandemonium took hold as Hiccup was less and less able to breath.
Fairly certain he knew what the poison was he ran to toothless' saddle which was leaning against the wall, and which also had a treatment kit, since Snotlout's was in his hut and that was much to far for the situation, and grabbed it out rushing back to the table.
"Lets see… Anti-inflammatory concoction, followed by a solid antidote to eradicate the bulk of the poison…" he muttered to himself.
"Poison?!" Fish exclaimed somehow managing to panic even more.
"Shut up Fishlegs! I have to concentrate!" He mixed several ingredients together in an oil and without much care shoved Fishlegs and Ruffnut out of his way to administer it. At this point Hiccup's lips had a pale blue tinge to them and he didn't seem to be breathing.
"Come on Hiccup!" Snotlout yelled pouring the pale oily liquid into his mouth and forcing him to swallow as much as he could which wasn't much.
"Snotlout what was that? I don't get it – what's going on?" Astrid asked, staring down worriedly at her boyfriend.
"Hiccup was poisoned Astrid." Snotlout explained briefly, before getting up to make the solid neutralizer.
"And what was that you gave him – was it supposed to help?! He's still not-!"
Astrid's words were cut off by a tiny spluttering gasp which was released and grew quickly into breathing.
"You owe me eight life debts now." Snotlout said.
"No," Hiccup croaked, "I've saved your life wa-aaaay more times than that."
Hiccup shifted trying to sit up and with Astrid's help he managed to get into a sitting position.
"Errrr…. What just happened…?" Tuff asked, looking about as confused as the other felt.
"Poison." Snotlout answered, adding a final purple power to the mix and then encasing it in a grass fiber capsule.
Astrid cursed, "the dragon hunters! It had to be them!"
"Not necessarily… There are a lot of people who probably want me dead. Enemy tribes for one."
"But who else would want to do it out here?" Fishlegs asked.
"Again, a lot of people. I mean this isn't the first time." Hiccup answered.
Snotlout held out the edible poultice capsule out and Hiccup made a face as he smelled it. "What in thor's name did you put in this?"
"Do you really want to know?"
Hiccup apparently didn't and gulped it down before draining the glass of water provided to him.
"So this has happened before…?" Fish asked tentatively.
"Yep. Apparently, a lot of people want to kill him. I mean this has got to be – what the fifteenth assassination attempt in the last four years."
"Seriously?! How did w not know?!"
Hiccup shrugged, "it's not generally made public knowledge when someone tries to kill an heir. It just gives ideas to other enemies. Anyways I think I'm good now. Luckily the council thought it was a good idea to put Snotlout and I together in classes with Gothi for fifteen miserable weeks when we were ten. Personally, I think it was a miserable for her as it was for us."
"But how would someone know you liked those?" Astrid asked, nodding to the empty box.
"Who knows." Hiccup said, though something niggled at him. It wasn't all that common a knowledge.
"Well, anyways – don't get poisoned till we make a stop by Burke again otherwise I think you're dead." Snotlout said showing him the nearly empty kit.
"Thanks." Hiccup said with a deadpan.
"Hey I've done my good deed for the day. It's your job to notice stuff like this before you almost die."
"Anyways…" Fish interrupted, "I guess we'll just have to keep an eye out…"
"Yeah, at least we know now." Astrid said, looking at Hiccup with a raised eyebrow.
It would be a week later when the dragon hunters reported the decimation of one of their camps that Yohan would curse the Burkian heir.
YAY! I finished something! I'm not particularly pleased with this chapter – but I think it will do for now. I may edit it to improve it later but for now I think we're good. I hope you enjoyed this story which is over two years in the making! (That tells you my writing pace! XD)