Sorry for late update... I forgot about the story ^^'

The wind was cool against his face, blowing all his worries away for the moment. Toothless rumbled happily underneath him, flicking his wings gently, flight steady and effortless. The endless expanses of sky before them were awe-inspiring; the last vestiges of sunset reflected off the horizon as the skies gave way to deep blues and twinkling stars.

Toothless turned lazily, flapping his wings once, and Hiccup automatically adjusted the tail fin to allow it. Rapidly, the black dragon took them back to Berk, setting himself to circle the village gently, high in the sky; Hiccup shivered, not really from cold, and gazed sadly down at the cluster of houses he called home. No way to get away from thinking about it, now... He missed the half-amused, rather worried glance Toothless threw him, as he contemplated.

If he were to join the raids, he'd need something to show for it, certainly. Perhaps he could just pretend he'd suddenly fallen sick?

It might work the first time... maybe...

Or he'd just run around the edges of the village and say none had come down close enough for him to reach, everyone else'd gotten them first... Yeah, might work till Astrid heard him.

Perhaps he could...




In no time flat, Toothless had started flapping quickly, away into the fog. Hiccup hadn't noticed, but they had drifted away from Berk, into a lonelier place on the island rampant with rock formations and mist. Apparently... a whole bunch of other dragons had decided to fly through here at the same time as he and Toothless.

Hiccup flattened himself to Toothless' neck, glad that he was so small. Toothless attempted to fly out of the mist sideways, but a Nightmare shouldered in beside him, and suddenly they were surrounded. Their flight evened out, tense and swift; much larger rock formations approached... then a dizzying twirl as Toothless spun in, out and around the rock formations, flying inexorably toward the reddish glow seen through the heavy fog.

One last dive that left his stomach somewhere far behind... and...

Dragons. Dragons everywhere, in this huge volcanic cavern. The dragons' den! Hiccup realized, in shock. What my dad would give to see this... He shielded his eyes from the abrupt blast of heated air, so different from the cold fog, and peered between his fingers at the interior of the cavern.

Toothless flew up, situating himself behind an outcropping, peering around it down at the huge pit. He seemed tense, worried, terrified. Hiccup put a hand on his neck, worried. "Toothless?" he asked, in the merest thread of a whisper. "What..."

He trailed off as the first shark and sheep disappeared down the great red-tinted pit. The dragons were dumping the food down the pit? That didn't make any sense at all. Were they stockpiling it? Then why... why are they ALL as tense as Toothless? Hiccup realized uneasily, gazing at the pit, a sense of foreboding raising the hairs at the back of his neck.

A small Gronkle buzzed toward the center. Hiccup's bad feeling intensified exponentially, but he kept watching, fascinated. It dropped a single, small fish down the pit, hovering and scratching its ear lazily... funny, it seemed to be the only dragon here without worries...

An enormous, irritated growl caused every dragon in the cavern to huddle down in terror, and Hiccup to very nearly jump out of his skin. Even the little Gronkle started, and began to buzz upward...


What... was... that...? It appeared as though an enormous rock outcropping had erupted from the pit below, shutting around the little Gronkle... and was now sinking back into the pit slowly...?

Eyes... nostrils... enormous teeth... That was a dragon?

A dragon that might have been mistaken for a mountain if it held still... had eaten a Gronkle... and was now looking at them, with a hungry, irritable expression in its monstrous eyes. Hiccup leaned forward quickly, adrenalin overtaking him. "Toothless? You've gotta get us outta here, bud... that thing looks hungry..."

Toothless sprang, speeding upwards at his top speed... and the monster pounced, jaws snapping shut emptily where they had been just an instant before. At the same time, all the smaller dragons in the... nest took flight, spiraling upward through the mouth of the volcano, flying for their lives in a cacophony of terrified shrieks and calls.

In the midst of it all, Hiccup and Toothless were totally unnoticed as they sped back to Berk at top speed, terrified, not daring to think. Only when they'd landed with a thump back in the cove did Hiccup allow his thoughts to return, and he shuddered and went cold at the memory. "Toothless... that thing ate a Gronkle... they weren't even eating the food they raided..." He paused, realization taking him over. "They aren't raiding us because they want to. It's because that... thing... will eat them if they don't feed it, isn't it?" He stared at Toothless, eyes wide and frightened.

Toothless crooned soothingly, extending a wing to cover the frightened boy, curling around him. Hiccup leaned against the black dragon's side, somehow immeasurably relieved that it wasn't by choice that the dragons raided Berk; even though their reason wasn't an especially welcome one anyway. "How do we make that monster leave?" he murmured, already half asleep. Thoughts of future raids had flown out of his mind like moths, and he fell asleep dreaming of the enormous monster in its deadly volcanic tomb.

So, Hiccup and Toothless get to meet the Queen after all, just a day late. Only problem is, he's not going to be telling his dad about it... which means no ill-fated expedition to the nest, no heroic blast-fest at the monstrous Queen... so what's a boy and his dragon to do, all alone, with literally no friends in the world?