Hiccup gripped the rock ledge and pulled himself up.
"Everyone accounted for?" he said.
"Yeah. And remember, we have a date after this," said Astrid. Hiccup scratched the little spot on Toothless's neck that Toothless loved so much.
"Why would all the dragons be leaving Berk?" asked Ruffnut. "Where would they go, anyhow?"
"That's what we're here to find out, guys," said Hiccup, brushing off his tunic.
"Well, let's get going," said Astrid.
Fox found it easier to be alone here. He wandered up and down the Saurian valley endlessly. It was the place where he found it easiest to remember her. He couldn't escape memories of her where ever he went, but this place, on planet Sauria, held better memories than other places. But even being here couldn't seem to ease the pain. A breeze blew through the trees. Even the wind in the branches seemed to whisper her name.
He wondered if she was happy. She must be, if she hadn't spoken to anyone on the team in the six months she had been with Panther and Star Wolf.
"Okay, everyone," said Hiccup. "Seen anything yet?"
Snotlout rolled his eyes.
"We'd tell you if we had," he said. Toothless kept climbing up, tracking the missing dragons. He stopped at the mouth of a cave and gestured in with his head.
Fishlegs looked nervous.
"Um, isn't it getting dark?"
Toothless set a nearby tree on fire.
"We can use torches," said Hiccup. "Thanks, boy."
The cave was dark, except for the few spots of light cast by the torches. Toothless went ahead of them. Suddenly, Hiccup felt something on his cheek. Something warm and humid… breeze? He was yanked off his feet. Astrid screamed. Hiccup tried to yell, but nothing come from his mouth. It felt as if someone was trying to wrench his body in two. Then he was hit by a blinding light and something hard. For a moment, he lay, stunned, staring up at a blue sky. Instinctively, he jumped to his feet, smacking his head against a branch. He sat up, rubbing his forehead.
"Where is everybody!" he yelled.
"Here," groaned Snotlout.
"Still breathing," said Fishlegs.
"Here!" said Ruffnut and Tuffnut in the same breath. "Where are we?"
Hiccup gazed around at the unfamiliar trees.
"Well, I don't think we're on Berk any more."
Then something hit him.
"Where's Astrid and Toothless?"
Astrid moaned and sat up. She stared around.
She felt something nudge her.
"Hey, Toothless. Where's Hiccup?"
She glanced around.
"Hiccup! Where are you? Hiccup?"
She closed her mouth. She didn't know where she was. Shouting could draw unwanted attention.
"Come on, Toothless, let's see if we can find Hiccup."
Toothless eagerly sat up at the name of his favorite human. Astrid scratched the place on his neck that the dragon loved. Astrid glanced around and bent over to retrieve her battle axe.
A quick search of the vicinity showed that Toothless and Astrid were no where near.
"We have to find them," Hiccup said. "They could be wandering out there, alone, lost –"
"Let's go," said Snotlout. "Don't you think she'd ride Toothless, looking for us?"
"No. We don't know where we are, so she wouldn't risk being seen."
They took off into the trees.
Astrid brushed aside a vine. Everything was starting to look the same. Hadn't they passed that stream half a dozen times? Or more?
She attacked the nearest tree with her battle axe, hacking viciously at the thick bark. She put all her frustration into demolishing the tree. Finally, she stopped.
"Well, that was a useful idea," she growled. She lowered the battle axe and turned to glance at Toothless. He wasn't there.
Something rustled. Astrid dodged to the side just before something charged out of the bushes at her. There was a growl. The creature looked like some sort of humanoid wolf, with something shiny and metal covering one of his eyes.
"Hello. What are you doing here?" he said.
Astrid held her axe ready.
"Well, I don't know where here is, so I don't know what you're talking about. I walked into a cave and found myself here."
"Sure. And I suppose you have absolutely no idea who I am."
"I have absolutely no idea who you are," replied Astrid.
He laughed unpleasantly. Astrid, realizing this could not end well, ran.
"Stop her!" yelled the wolf. Astrid scrambled up a tree, pulling herself into the lower branches. "Get down from there!"
Two more figures – one lizard-like, one like a black cat – appeared below her.
"You can't stay there forever. You'll have to come down sometime."
Astrid kept her mouth shut. Please, Toothless, be nearby. The Viking girl tightened her grip on the branches.
"Come down and we can talk about it."
"Talk about what?"
A fourth figure appeared below the tree. A vixen, Astrid thought, only her fur was blue.
"What are you up to?" she asked in a soft voice.
"Something's up a tree," replied the wolf.
"Yes, it was either that or stay on the ground," said Astrid. "I decided the tree would be better."
There was a little sigh of impatience.
"Wolf…" she looked upward and squinted at Astrid. "Come a little closer and we can talk about it."
"Yeah," said Astrid. "I'm just going to come down like a good little girl, into range of whatever weapons you have. Nice try."
Astrid pulled herself up another branch. Hiccup, where are you when I need you? She glanced around.
She let out a sharp whistle.
"TOOTHLESS!" she yelled.
There was a loud roar. Thanks. You're here, anyhow. Toothless swooped out of the sky, spewing fire. Astrid jumped onto his back as he flew back.
"See ya!" she yelled.
She smiled triumphantly as she and Toothless took off into the sky.
Hiccup pushed aside a tree branch. It smacked back, hitting him in the face. He groaned and rubbed his eye.
"Does anyone have idea where we are?"
There was silence. Okay, why did I ask that question?
Hiccup pulled off his heavy fur vest. It was much too hot for one. Where was Astrid? And Toothless?
"Well, today isn't turning out the way we expected," said Hiccup.
Footsteps crunched nearby. Hiccup glanced over his shoulder. Nothing.
"Who's there?" he said.
"Is someone there?"
"Hello," said a voice from behind Hiccup. He let out a yell and jumped.
Astrid had landed in another part of the forest. Where was she? Everything looked so much alike. She was completely lost. She buried her face in her hands. Today simply was not right. Well, maybe this had something to do with why their dragons were missing.
Hiccup let out a yelp and whirled around to face a fox.
"Who are you? And more importantly, what are you?" demanded the vulpine.
Hiccup was so shocked that, for a moment, he couldn't say anything.
"And how did you get here?"
Hiccup recovered himself quickly.
"I'm Hiccup. That's Snotlout, and the twins are Ruffnut and Tuffnut. We're… humans, I guess? and we don't know how we got here. I'm looking for my dragon, Toothless, and my friend Astrid. They're missing."
The vulpine just stared.
"Dragon?" he said, after a long pause.
"Yeah, you seen one?"
"Are you sure you don't mean a dinosaur? There are a lot of those around, but there are no such thing as dragons."
Okay, so we're definitely not on Berk anymore.
"Yes, there are such a thing as dragons! I came here with one!"
There were murmurs of agreement from the others.
Fox wasn't sure what to think. On one hand, it was possible they were all insane. On the other hand, it wasn't completely impossible that dragons were real, if there were such a thing as dinosaurs. And it was unlikely all four of them would be insane.
"Where are you from?"
"What planet is that?"
"Planet?" said Hiccup. "It's an island. It's twelve degrees north of hopeless and a few degrees south of freezing to death, located solidly on the Meridian of Misery."
O-kay. Either this human was crazy or something very strange was going on.
"Yes, but what part of Lylat is it in?"
"Lylat? Where's that?"
"It's the system we're in."
This was a very strange conversation, and it was going nowhere. He decided to change the subject.
"So, you're looking for some friends of yours?"
"Yes, uh… sorry, I didn't pick up on your name."
"Fox," he replied.
"Fox. Yes, I'm looking for my friend Astrid. She has blond hair and blue eyes, carries a battle axe, probably traveling with a black dragon."
"I haven't seen them. Sorry."
Astrid shivered. She glanced up at the sky. It would soon be nightfall. I can't stay in the open at night. I have to find a hiding place. Somewhere nothing can attack me. She shuddered at the idea and scratched Toothless behind the ear. Suddenly, his ears pricked up.
Something rustled nearby. Astrid tightened her grip on her battle axe. Something was moving behind her. She turned, slowly. A creature sat in the shadows, a small dragon, she thought, staring at her.
"Hello?" she said.
There was more rustling. More creatures emerged from all directions.
"Oh, help," she whispered.
I'd like to apologize for taking so long to update this. I promise, I will make the next update sooner.
I can't really think of any good ways to ask for reviews. But please let me know what you think!