8. Flying Blind
Story Start: Hidden Cove After Successful First Flight
The sun was just beginning to set as the sound of flapping wings filled the air and a black blur shot out of the sky and into the cove taking a long sweeping turn to bleed off most of its speed before slowing down even further revealing Toothless as he flapped his wings five more times before dropping to the ground. As soon as he hit Terra Firma Hiccup unhooked himself and jumped off heading straight for the artificial tail fin already running a check on the equipment to see how it handled two hours of non-stop flying.
Satisfied with seeing that the rig handled the strain with no problems, he said "Well, I'd say that for a first field test, that went rather well. The rig had no problems and we were able to coordinate quite well in keeping the two fins properly synced with each other."
Toothless nodded as he sent 'Indeed. But the real test will be tomorrow when we see how well we can fly through that cluster of rocks that are just off shore. Not to mention we still have to see if your crazy idea can actually work.'
Hiccup frowned at his friend as he finished undoing the straps keeping the saddle on him as he said "You don't sound that excited about it. I thought we agreed that with how fast your top speed is it would be the best option for us when it came to making sure I could see where we are going."
Toothless snorted as he shook his body out and scratched behind one of his ears even as he sent 'Just because it could be necessary doesn't mean I have to like it.'
"Fair enough." Hiccup said carrying the saddle over to the pile of rocks near the canyon entrance that they had been able to create a small 'cubby hole' in halfway up the pile and placed the equipment in so that way it would be out of the weather. Returning to his friend and unhooking the artificial tail fin, he continued "My main concern though is that we don't end up as flat cakes when we do the test run through the forest afterwards. Going through rocks along the coast is one thing, they are quite easy to see where to fly and where not to. Trees in a forest tend to be a lot harder to avoid with how much cover their branches give."
'Which is why we're doing that test with both our eyes open and at half speed.' Toothless said getting a nod from Hiccup as the dragon walked over to the lake and a minute later expertly snapped a fish out of the air when it had jumped just that little bit too close to the shore.
'He's getting awfully good at that.' Hiccup thought as he placed the artificial tail fin next to the rig inside the cubby hole before moving one of the rocks in front of it to keep water out of the hole if it rained. Making his way back down, he said "I need to start heading back Toothless. I'll be back around an hour after sun rise tomorrow."
Toothless gave a wave of his tail showing that he heard even as his head shot forward into the water and snatched another fish that had gotten too close to the dragon. Hiccup shook his head at the sight before he began the walk back to the village.
Thirty minutes later, Hiccup heard the sound of ax meeting wood and blinked as he pulled himself from his thoughts of what Gobber would have them fighting during the next class. Walking closer to the sound, Hiccup saw Astrid throwing her ax at a tree that had a huge chunk tore out of it before she walked over to the tree and pulled it out before walking back to her original position and threw her ax again.
Walking over to the rather large boulder off to her side to stay out of the way, Hiccup watched her throw the ax a couple of more times before he gave a soft whistle to gain her attention as he said "If I didn't know better, I'd say you were trying to cut down that tree from a distance."
"Just trying to keep my accuracy up." Astrid said before she looked at the ax that was almost always at Hiccup's waist nowadays and said "What about you, are you any good with throwing that?"
Hiccup looked down at his ax and said "This? A little, my dad did show me how to throw it but it's not really my style. Besides, to be honest I'm better at inventing stuff than fighting."
Astrid snorted and said "Well you could have fooled me with how you took out the Hideous Zippleback barehanded."
Hiccup gained a slight blush as he rubbed the back of his head and said "Well yeah, but you can really thank Gobber and Dad for that, since they are the ones who had pushed me so hard when they were training me. Without them, I'd just be a thin little toothpick for the dragons to use once they were finished eating their meals."
Astrid's eyebrow rose showing she wasn't fully convinced it was all those two's doing as she said "Well regardless, in a fight I'd rather have you by my side than any of those delinquents we're learning with. None of the others ever seem to take the things Gobber teaches us seriously."
Hiccup sighed as he walked over to where she was standing and said "Tell me about it." Reaching her spot, he turned to the tree and hooked his left pointer finger under the head of his ax where the metal met it's handle and said "We're in that arena to learn how to not die as we defend our homes from attack by beings who can fly, breath fire, and let's not forget have razor sharp teeth and claws and those four are more interested in being the biggest stud. And yet they constantly mock me for doing the best I can and act like it's my fault that they can't get things done. It just makes me so frustrated!" Hiccup growled at the end as his arm suddenly seemed to blur as he brought his ax out of the loop holding it at his waist even as he flicked his wrist causing it to swing around and off his finger. The ax spun in the air in a half circle before the handle was in his hand even as his arm fully drew back and he threw the ax at the tree hitting it four inches shy of the center of the tree an inch below Astrid's own ax strikes.
He sighed again as he walked to reclaim his ax while Astrid rose an eyebrow at the shot and thought 'A little off center, but still a pretty good throw.' Out loud, she said "I know how you feel, if Snoutlout isn't trying to flirt with me, then Fishlegs is spewing some nonsense about the dragons like they're some kind of character out of a stupid board game. And let's not get started on the twins, sometimes I wonder if it's their life's mission to annoy everyone around them until we snap and fight over who gets to strangle those two."
Hiccup chuckled as he pulled his ax out of the tree and turned around to see Astrid making strangling motions with her hands and wondered which twin she was currently imagining between them. Then he frowned as he said "You know, sometimes I wish it was just you and me Gobber was teaching right now. Things would be so much simpler then. No Snoutlout acting all macho and making excuses when he messes up, no Fishlegs spouting weird dragon stats, no annoying twins harassing us. Just the two of us trying to figure out how Gobber seems to be a magician and learning how to work together and with the others of the village."
"Hm, that would be nice." Astrid said with a small smile imagining how much less stressful that would be before she shook her head and looked up to see what color the sky was. Seeing how it was starting to get dark, she picked up her ax from where she had set it down against her leg while talking with Hiccup and holstered it as she said "We should get back to the village."
Hiccup nodded as he holstered his own ax and the two began walking back home. On the way back, the two talked about what Gobber was probably going to have them do next class before shifting over to the boa and net launchers that the rest of the villagers had placed onto the watch towers under Hiccup's guidance during the previous week. Unknown to the other one, both couldn't help but think that it was a lot more comfortable for them being alone than with the rest of their class.
Time Skip: The Next Morning/Day Two Of Flight Testing Location: Rock Gauntlet Off The Northern Coast of Berk Altitude: 2,000 Feet Above Sea Level
Hiccup glanced over the side of Toothless as the two held their position over the rock gauntlet that was half a mile beneath them. They had already done two test runs through it, one slow run to get their route down, and a faster one at half speed to be sure they could actually make a speed run. Then there was a third test at their current altitude to be sure that the rig could handle the strain of the aerobatic tricks that they were about to use since at least at this height if the rig failed Hiccup would have time to get to the tail fin and bring them down to the ground instead of suddenly slamming into the rocks around them. Thankfully Hiccup had made the rig with his usual efficiency and there weren't any mishaps. So now they were preparing for the final test, seeing if they could properly fly while sharing vision.
"Ready for this Toothless?" Hiccup asked getting into position.
'As ready as I'll ever be. I'm still not comfortable about this though. Sending still images is one thing. Sending real time images on the ground when we're not moving at top speed is another. But this, this is on a completely different level. And a crazy level at that.'
"But still a necessary one. What if we have to move through an area that is filled with smoke in order to rescue someone. I wouldn't be able to see properly because it would do damage to my eyes but if we used the link, I could still help you since it would still be two people looking." Hiccup said.
Toothless sighed and sent 'I'm not trying to make one last argument on this Hiccup. I told you before that the theory is sound. It's just implementing it that has my nerves all jittery. Still, we better get this over with. So hang on tight child, because here, we, GO!'
That was all the warning Hiccup got as a second later Toothless adjusted his wings and began to rapidly descend down to sea level. Hiccup was already laying as flat as he could with his eyes closed by the time Toothless started his dive. Now he allowed himself one deep breath before he allowed himself to let the link take over his sense of sight and saw the sea coming towards him at a speed he almost couldn't comprehend. Hiccup felt a brief flash of fear that he wouldn't be able to respond to Toothless' commands fast enough but that was gently pushed aside by said dragon as he sent calm reassurance across the emotional aspect of their link. It seemed even with his misconceptions, the dragon still believed in Hiccup's abilities which really spoke volumes about their friendship.
But Hiccup didn't have time to dwell on this since they were suddenly ten feet above the water and Toothless was sending him the first command to change the tail fin's position. The next few minutes were nothing but an adrenaline filled blur for Hiccup as the pair blitzed its way through the course without once making a mistake. Rocks were flashing past as they shot around them with inches, sometimes even centimeters to spare yet not once did Hiccup ever truly feel as if they were in danger of crashing.
Then they were suddenly clear of all of the rocks and there was nothing but an open expanse of blue in front of them with the coast of Berk now visible on their left as Toothless settled into a glide and gave Hiccup a mental nudge telling him the test was over. Hiccup slowly withdrew from the link regaining his own sight and opened his eyes even as he let out a laugh full of excitement as he said "That was incredible! A bit terrifying now that I think about it, but incredible!"
Toothless chuckled as he sent 'Indeed. And now we know for sure that your idea will work when needed.'
An hour and a successful tree run test later, Hiccup was leaning his back against Toothless' side as he finished eating one of the five smaller fish that the net that he had set before the tests began caught over a fire that his friend had been kind enough to light for him. In front of Toothless were the remaining, much larger fish that had been caught in the net that said dragon was enjoying.
A chitterling sound drew both of their attention to four Terrible Terrors making their way over. At the sight of them landing and walking towards his fish pile, Toothless moved to stand in front of them with a growl coming out that Hiccup didn't need a mental link with the much larger dragon to understand as a warning to back off.
Three of the four Terrors did stop their approach although the other was apparently braver than the others since it took five more steps closer and began putting the gas inside it under pressure. Hiccup felt a flash of annoyance from his partner before the Terror opened his mouth to fire only to have Toothless shoot a small fireball of his own down the little guy's throat which caused the gas to prematurely ignite and the Terror suddenly expanded like a water skin with way too much water in it before rapidly deflating.
As the now dazed Terror stumbled back to his friends, Hiccup says "Huh, you guys aren't so fireproof on the inside are you?"
'Nope.' Toothless says with a chuckle before going back to his meal. Hiccup chuckles himself before he goes back to his own remaining fish and said "Come over here guys, you can have the rest of mine since I'm not that hungry."
The Terrors stared at him warily for a minute before Toothless snorted and told them something that sent them rushing over and eagerly eating the offered fish. Turning his head to his friend, he asked "What did you tell them?"
Toothless snorted again and said 'I told them that if they don't eat the fish then I would.'
"Ah." Hiccup said before he felt something brush against and then lift his right arm. Looking down, he was surprised to see that one of the Terrors had decided to settle itself against his side with his arm over him and was now for lack of a better word purring. Then the other three Terrors came over from where they had dragged their own fish away from each other and two of them curled up against his legs while the final one settled itself in his lap. Hiccup could only stare at them before he turned confused eyes towards his friend silently asking what's going on. Toothless though just seemed amused at the whole thing and gave the Night Fury version of laughter as he went back to his fish and began eating again.
Hiccup sighed before he idly began scratching the small dragon under his right arm behind its horns and began doing the same in with the dragon in his lap with his left as he said " I wish everyone else in my village could get along with you guys so well."
'It would be nice if they could.' Toothless sent before sighing and continued with 'Unfortunately, until we get rid of that monster in the nest, that will never happen.'
Hiccup sighed again before he sent back 'Too bad you can't just launch a fire ball down its throat like you did a minute ago.'
He felt something shift in his friend at that thought before he heard 'Yes, it's too bad.' Hiccup frowned wondering what the black dragon was thinking before shrugging it off and allowed himself to drift off to sleep, visions of him and Toothless rocketing through the sky filling his dreams.