Methinks I've been thoroughly sucked into HtTYD. Not that I'm complaining. Oh well. Basically, this is set during the time that Hiccup spends learning about dragons, and trying to get everything completely ready for a first time free flight with Toothless. (Wow, did not actually mean to use alliteration like that...)
Astrid sees Hiccup going to see Toothless, during one of her training sessions. I can't help but think that she would have been a little curious as to what he was wearing, and what the bundle he was carrying was. However, she doesn't get to asking him about it in this chapter.
I couldn't help but think over what I had seen...
Hiccup had never really been on my radar, so to speak. Chief's son, sure. Clumsy and disastrous to be around beyond belief, most definitely.
Hardly worth paying attention to? Beyond doubt.
But suddenly, he'd simply exploded onto the dragon training scene. First he'd shown up in the first place, which was a surprise. The first two lessons were a testament to his utter inability to do anything correctly. (Although, I will admit his smithing skills are something to stand in awe of, considering how well made my axe is.)
But ever since, he'd somehow... Become competent. A word no one would have imagined being able to apply to him. First, there was the Zippleback. That was peculiar, but at the time I just sort of... passed it off as a one-time thing, like the Zippleback having heard how much of a dangerous klutz Hiccup was, or some insane reason like that.
But the Gronckle? That was just plain freaky. Gronckle's do not, I repeat, do not, suddenly collapse from an empty-handed blow of any sort, from anyone. I don't think even Chief Stoick could pull that off, those things have such thick skulls!
I didn't even see what the Hel he did to the Nadder, all I saw was him dash behind it's head. At the time, I thought he was going to try and run past it, to get out of either my way, or the dragons, I didn't care which. But then that dragon collapsed as well, before I'd even begun to swing my axe!
And as for the terrible Terror? That was just plain weird... I mean, how did Hiccup even know that the light reflecting off of his shield would distract it? He can't have been coming to the arena to experiment with 'em or anything insane like that, because I'D been in there most of the time, training in some way or another. No one even saw him around the village of an afternoon anymore, so I assumed he'd been training in the woods or something.
I decided to take a leaf out of his book. If it could somehow help him overtake my spot as top of dragon training, it could sure as hell help me reclaim it.
This is where we get to the interesting part. I'd just wrenched my axe out of the same tree I'd been throwing it at for over an hour, performed a somersault roll, landed perfectly on my feet, arm extended to throw the axe, again, when I suddenly realised who was standing not five metres in front of me.
But something was off. And I mean, really off. For starters, he was wearing some weird leather getup over his tunic. I'd never seen anything of the like before. And he was carrying something, something that looked to be made of leather as well, but with straps criss-crossing the side of it that I could see. I'd never anything remotely resembling that, either. Certainly not in Hiccup's hands.
When I stopped dead, axe in hand, he just turned slightly, and walked off! I tried to follow, only for him to vanish, right from under my nose!
Understandably, I was rather frustrated by now. I'd finally seen for myself that he was in fact coming out to the woods every afternoon, seen that he had some bizarre kind of leather gear, and I was still no closer to having an answer!
It was the single most infuriating thing I've ever experienced. Hiccup, was somehow managing to become better than I'd ever been. Hiccup, of all people! I wanted to know HOW! If it could make him that good, then imagine how much better off the village would be if we could apply the same training to every viking! If everyone could fell a dragon with one blow, unarmed, we'd be able to beat back the dragons like never before! We could finally rid ourselves of them! If they lost too many trying to take food, they'd give up!
But despite coming close, so close!
I STILL DIDN'T KNOW HOW HE WAS DOING IT!
After realising that he'd evaded me, I returned to the village, and asked a few questions.
For starters, I asked Gellert, the village Tanner, if Hiccup had requested any leather from him. Apparently, not only had he requested leather, he'd requested the strongest, smoothest, essentially the best, leather that Gellert had! And he hadn't wanted it stitched in anyway, just the leather, freshly tanned.
THAT was highly suspicious, to me. I wasn't aware of Hiccup having any sort of leather working ability. So that was my next question, directed at Gobber, as he would be more likely to know than anyone.
It turned out, he was actually very talented at detailed leather work. Apparently, he would have had potential as a tailor, if it weren't for the fact that he was very prone to stabbing the needle straight through his own thumb.
Multiple times. In the same spot!
I shuddered at the thought. Getting injured by a dragon was one thing. Sewing needles, especially berkian ones, were another altogether. It had actually been tested, and somehow, those needles were able to cause more pain than any weapon, claw or fire. And they were sure as Hel a lot sharper. The only reason we didn't use them as weapons was because of our Viking pride.
Getting back on track, my final stop was Hiccup's new stalker... To an extent.
My questions for her were two fold. I asked if she had any idea where in the forest he went, and when he usually got back.
She had no clue as to the first question, unfortunately. And that was a true surprise. Somehow, he was able to evade one of the most determined Vikings on the island.
She did have an answer for the second question, however. He usually returned a bit past moon rise. He would either head to the forge, with a large bundle of leather, or straight back to his home, also with the bundle of leather.
So I waited. One way or another, I would have my answer...
Yeah, determined Viking Warrior-Godesses ('Cos seriously, that's pretty much what Astrid is) are not the easiest thing to get off your back, I'd imagine. Hiccup's going to have some explaining to do, methinks...