I am soooo incredibly sorry for the long delay. I blame highschool taking up all my time.
Well, here's the final chapter anyway, before Christmas, like I promised. :) Merry Christmas!
Chapter Three: The Boneknapper
Fishlegs shuffled nervously. This rope was itching. He was decked out in a makeshift Gobber costume, with bones for the helmet, a yellowing rope wrapped aound his face for the mostache, and a claw in his hand for the hook. He was standing on a pile of bones that was lying beneath an enormous ribcage that was suspended over him with rope. The rope was lopped over a rocky outcrop and lead down to Phil, where it was tied around a bone and held in place by rocks. Phil was chewing on something, looking bored, not acknowledging the fact that with one move of his hoof, he could kick the bone attached to the rope and drop the ribcage over Fishlegs.
"Uh…Gobber?" Fishlegs called to the Viking man nervously, "Are you sure this is safe?"
Gobber dismissed Fishlegs's words with a wave of his hand. "Eh, safety's overrated."
Fishlegs gulped. This was not the answer he wanted to hear.
Gobber walked back to the rest of the kids, who were standing in a circle, waiting for him to get abck to them. "Okay," Gobber began, "Here's the plan. The Boneknapper wants me, right?" He pointed towards a trail off to the side. "He comes down that trail, sees Fishlegs, thinks it's me, rushes Fishlegs—"
Fishlegs let out a yelp of fear at those words.
"Causing Phil to trip that rope, dropping that ribcage—" Gobber pointed to the trap "—and then we rush in and finish him off, once and for all!"
His eager grin was met with disbelieving looks from the kids.
Snotlout leaned over to Ruffnut. "It's sad when they get old."
"Gobber?" Hiccup began, looking annoyed, "You're taking this way too far, okay? You need to face it! There is no such thing as the Boneknapper!"
"Wormsquat!" huffed Gobber. "Now, get into position. WAY TO GO, FISHLEGS!" he called over to him, "YOU"RE DOING FINE!" Gobber and the kids crouched down behind a log to watch Fishlegs from a safe distance.
"No wonder the entire village thinks you're crazy," Snotlout scoffed.
"Hello? Sees dead Vikings?"
Behind them, something appeared out of the fog. Fishlegs's eyes widened to the size of battle shields and let out a ragged gasp. "Uh, guys?" he squeaked.
"Yeah," said Tuffnut, not hearing Fishlegs's silent plea, "Especially that thing about the hammerhead yak."
"Guys!" Fishlegs tried to cry out. This time his voice was a little louder. Oh Gods, it landed…it was walking towards them…it wasn't making any noise at all… "Guys!" Fishlegs cried.
"This is a complete waste of time!" Ruffnut complained.
Everyone broke into annoyed chatter. Oh, why didn't they turn around?
"GUYS!" Fishlegs screamed, pointing wildly behind them. "GUUUUUUYYSS!"
Everyone turned to look at him with angry looks on their faces. "WHAT?" they yelled at him simultaneously.
Behind them, there was the sound of bones rattling.
"It's right behind us, isn't it," Hiccup said in a flat voice.
Everyone slowly turned.
Over fifty feet of mottled green skin and dusty white bone loomed over them. Vivid green eyes stared down at them from behind an enormous white skull. An awful rattling sound was emanating from the beast as it shifted position, causing all its bones to knock together. The Boneknapper growled at them, lifted its head, opened its mouth…
And a squeak came out.
Fishlegs blinked. "Well what do you know? No roar."
The Boneknapper lowered its head and opened its mouth wide. A ball of green gas began to form in its throat. Knowing what was coming, everyone leaped over the log and began running as fast as they could toward Fishlegs. The Boneknapper released a big plume of bright red flame and directed it right at the running Vikings, who barely managed to dodge. "Okay, Gobber!" shrieked Astrid, "We believe you!"
The Boneknapper swung its massive, spiked, clubbed tail, and sent everyone sprawling on top of Fishlegs and the pile of bones. Right under the ribcage.
Phil, not even glancing toward the Vikings, raised a hoof and kicked the bone away.
The ribcage dropped.
"PHIL!" came Gobber's yell of annoyance from underneath the ribcage.
The Boneknapper ran up to the side of the ribcage and opened its mouth again. Everyone quickly scrambled to hide behind a rib. The Boneknapper's fire shot through the slits in the ribcage, surrounding the (just barely) protected Vikings in flames.
Snotlout clasped his hands together and looked up at the sky. "Find a happy place, find a happy place…"
The Boneknapper jumped on top of the ribcage and peered down at the trapped Vikings below, then jumped off and squeaked again.
"Nonononono please!" Fishlegs tried to plead with the Boneknapper, "Don't! Please!"
Hiccup looked up at the Boneknapper, trying to think of a way to get out of this mess, when his eyes fell upon a spot in the middle of the Boneknapper's breastbone. There was an oddly-shaped hole in the Boneknapper's armour. Its shape was familiar. Where had Hiccup seen that before? "Wait…" Hiccup whispered to himself.
Hiccup quickly looked over at Gobber, who was shaking his fist at the dragon and yelling, "Bring it on!" Gobber shifted position, and his belt buckle slipped to the side, giving Hiccup a good look at it. Hiccup looked at the hole in the dragon's breastbone, then back at Gobber's belt buckle. It was a perfect match.
"It searches for the perfect bone to build its coat of armour!" Hiccup exclaimed, his eyes widening in realization. "The treasure!"
Hiccup dashed over to Gobber. "Gobber! Take off your pants!"
Gobber stopped yelling at the Boneknapper and looked at Hiccup strangely. "Huh?"
Astrid, Snotlout, and the rest of the kids whipped around to stare at Hiccup frantically. "NO!"
"Listen to me!" Hiccup protested, looking back at the Boneknapper again, "I think Fishlegs was right! The Boneknapper is supposed to have a roar, but maybe he can't, 'cause the bone he needs is your belt buckle!"
It did make sense. That would be why the Boneknapper was always targeting Gobber. And why it was shaped so strangely. And why the Boneknapper had only started chasing Gobber when he had found the treasure chest. Gobber looked at the ground, trying to figure out what to do. "Gobber, please!" Astrid begged, her mind already changed, "You have to give it back!"
Gobber planted his hands on his hips and said loudly, "No way! It's mine!"
The Boneknapper's snout nosed through the ribcage and closed on Gobber's wooden leg.
Gobber's eyes widened. "Uh-oh."
The Boneknapper yanked Gobber out and began shaking him around. Gobber yelled and tried to break the Boneknapper's strong hold on his leg. "Give him back his bone!" Hiccup yelled.
"No!" Gobber yelled back as the Boneknapper shook him ferociously.
"GIVE HIM BACK HIS BONE!" Hiccup yelled again.
The Boneknapper flung Gobber through the air.
Gobber's face was set. "NOOOOOOOOOOO…ooohh, alright." Gobber reached down, pulled off the bone, and hurled it in the Boneknapper's direction.
By some small miracle, the Bone flew directly into place. Golden light shot from the cracks around the breastbone. The Boneknapper paused and began to shake itself, making sure that the bone was firmly in place. Gobber landed with a crunch in the middle of another pile of bones.
The Boneknapper opened its mouth again. And this time, what came out wasn't a squeak.
Everyone turned their head away and clamped their hands over their ears, cringing as the sound waves sent dust and bones flying in all directions. The roar was so loud that you couldn't hear yourself think, even with your hands over your ears. Hiccup's eardrums were still ringing when the Boneknapper fell silent again.
There was a scuffling of bones, and Gobber emerged, looking shaken but fine. The Boneknapper lowered its head and growled at Gobber.
Hiccup gasped. "Gobber!"
Gobber looked at Hiccup, then at the ground, looking defeated. "Alright," he said to the Boneknapper, closing his eyes. "You've got me. Make it fast."
The Boneknapper lowered its head toward Gobber and began to nuzzle against him, a loud purring sound coming from its throat. Gobber opened his eyes in confusion that he wasn't dead yet and glanced back at the kids.
And, without the belt to support them, Gobber's pants fell down.
The kids groaned and quickly looked away. "Ah, that's going to give me nightmares," moaned Hiccup as Fishlegs made gagging noises behind him.
"Well, said Astrid, gesturing toward the Boneknapper, "at least we have a ride home."
Gobber scratched the Boneknapper under the chin, and the enormous dragon fell over on its side, wagging its tail in the air. "Aren't you cute?" cooed Gobber, "Yes you are. Yes you are!"
Minutes later, they were airborne. Phil was perched on top of the Boneknapper's head between its horns, still chewing and looking bored. Gobber had the seat of honour, right behind the dragon's head. Hiccup and Astrid were behind him, followed by Snotlout, Fishlegs, and Ruffnut, Tuffnut bringing up the rear. The Boneknapper opened its mouth and let out another roar, but this time it was of happiness.
"Whoo-hoo!" cheered Ruffnut, pumping her fist in the air.
Snotlout turned to Fishlegs and smirked. "You know, I never doubted him," he said, gesturing to Gobber. "I was always like: he's right." Fishlegs rolled his eyes.
Tuffnut shifted uncomfortably in the dragon's spine. "This tailbone is hurting my tailbone."
Hiccup smiled at Gobber. "He sure seems happy to have that bone back."
"Well," said Fishlegs, piping up with some more dragon facts, "legend says that the Boneknapper's roar is it's mating call."
Gobber chuckled. "Oh, that's just a myth!"
An ear-splitting roar vibrated through the air around them. It was not coming from their Boneknapper. Everyone uneasily turned and looked behind them.
Phil bleated fearfully.
"Uh-oh," Gobber said cheerfully, watching four new Boneknappers soar after them, answering their Boneknapper's cry with more loud shrieks, "I think Stoick will believe me now, eh?"