Well this is moving along smoothly. I don't own How To Train Your Dragon. I do own the other characters that you see in the story… read and review as always please and thank you. Enjoy.
Chapter 3: Trouble Starts
"Today's lesson is about team work. If you get a dragons head wet it can't use its fire. The Hideous Zippleback is extra tricky. One head breaths gas while the other one lights it." Olaf said as the doors to the cage opened and the arena was filled with gas.
Gunnar and Skullette were one team while The twins were another and Torrent and Gretchen, begrudgingly, were the last team. Each had a bucket and stood back to back to know where each other was in the gas cloud.
"If that dragon shows either of its heads, I'm gonna…" Torrent stopped as he saw a large figure through the gas. "There!" Torrent splashed the figure along with Gretchen. To their dismay it was the twins who they had splashed.
"Idiot." Hogsnot stated.
"It's us." Mudbath finished.
"How was I supposed to know. You had two heads through the gas!" Gretchen tried to explain. "He's the one that said you're the dragon."
Just then one of the twins was pulled away from the other. "Mudbath!" Hogsnot called to his missing brother.
There was nothing but silence for a moment before a scream came from the gas and Mudbath came running out of it screaming. "Oh I'm hurt! I am very much hurt."
Hogsnot ran after his twin to help him, leaving his bucket on the ground.
Gretchen grabbed the bucket and listened for where the dragon could be hiding. Torrent was by her side holding an empty bucket to use as a weapon should one of the two heads show itself.
There was nothing but silence for a long moment. The two could see nothing in front of them except the green gas that could easily be ignited at any moment.
Suddenly before Torrent could warn his partner, the two were knocked onto their backs by the Zippleback's tail running to the back of their knees. The bucket was emptied onto the floor in the process, leaving Skullette and Gunnar as the remaining team.
"You got a plan to get out of this one?" Skullette asked in a whisper as their backs were to each other.
"Maybe." He said quietly. They watched for any sign of movement in case it tried to ambush them like they did the others.
One of the heads came through the gas cloud and got very close to Skullette before sniffing her.
She didn't dare move for a moment. In doing so it made it look like she froze up in fear of the mighty dragon. No one moved for a moment, that's when Gunnar acted. He dumped his bucket of water on its head and waited for a reaction. Sadly the one he got wasn't the one he wanted.
The dragon opened its mouth and out flowed the green gas. "Just great." He said in dismay.
The head blew gas on him making him back up in case its other head decided to show up and set him on fire.
An instant later the second and sparking head came into view and right up to Skullette as well.
"Now Girl!" Olaf called from the ramp entrance behind her.
Skullette tossed the water at the dragon head, who had moved to look at her from above, only to miss by inches. Sighing in defeat she brought it down to eye level and that's when she understood Gunnar's plan.
She moved the bucket from side to side as if she was going to hit the dragon with it. As she did so the Hideous Zippleback moved away from the offending object. Everyone watched as she moved more confidently, making the Zippleback move back into its cage.
"Back. Go back into your cage!" As she reached the inside of the door so no one could see what she was doing she pulled the slimy Eel out of the bucket and through it in the cage. "Now you just think about what you've done."
As she moved away from the entrance, Gunnar came up to one of the doors and started pushing it so it would close. Skullette, understanding, went and started to close the other door. Once it was firmly shut they smiled lightly to each other and then turned around to see the four teens and Olaf staring at them.
"Is that it for today?" Skullette asked "Cause I really need to um… yeah, I'll uh, see you tomorrow." Skullette said as she took off for the ramp and out into the fresh air with Gunnar on her tail.
They quickly headed off to her house to get a basket of fish and her herb basket from the storage area.
"How did you know that the dragons didn't like eels?" Skullette asked as she grabbed her empty basket.
"I noticed that they left the Eel baskets alone when they were collecting food in the last raid." He explained picking up the basket of fish and then his crossbow.
Skullette grabbed her bow and quiver of arrows and they headed out and into the woods. That's when one of the villagers stopped them half way.
"And where do you think you're going? You're not allowed in the woods Skullette." The woman said sternly.
"It's alright. We're just going out for some training. I won't let her out of my sight, promise." Gunnar explained before the woman could drag them back to the house.
"As long as she doesn't go herb hunting. Her father made it very clear that she is not to collect any more herbs." She declared to the two. "Speaking of which I need the Antidote formula dear."
"You won't need it for a while. I have enough back at the house to last us until the end of next winter." She explained. She would die before giving away her antidote recipe. It was the only thing she could hold over her father's head at the moment.
The woman thought about it for a moment. "Very well. But see that you write it down so if anything should happen we can have it." With that last statement she walked off to do some chores.
The two teens soon made it into the woods with no more trouble. Making sure no one was following them, they went to the clearing in the ground where Nightingale stayed.
After dumping the fish out for the Night Fury, they sat down and relaxed for a moment. Dragon training was tiring and running all the way from there to the middle of the island was just as taxing on their bodies.
"Do you intend to give the women your formula?" Gunnar finally asked after the long silence. By now Nightingale had finished her fish and was laying down next to Skullette protectively. She was still wary of the weapon wielder and wouldn't leave Skullette to face him alone.
"No I don't. Should I be forced to marry someone I don't love, I will threaten to kill myself and the secret of the antidote along with me." She explained sternly. The seriousness in her voice worried Gunnar slightly.
"Do you really hate the fact that you have to marry someone?" He asked looking into her eyes for the answer.
"Marry, no. Someone I don't love or care for, yes." She adjusted the string on her bow to make it tighter. It had been loosening due to overuse recently.
She didn't like close combat too much. She was one to keep a distance and strike quietly.
"And if that ever happens?" Gunnar asked. He tried to hide his worry but it came through slightly in his voice. "What are you going to do?"
"If worse comes to worse… I will have to make good on my promise. But being the chief's only child I don't think that we have anything to worry about." She calmly stated. She looked over at her best friend and petted her head gently.
"What about Nightingale? What will she do if you do have to kill yourself?" he asked. He couldn't see her killing herself over something that she can possibly get out of.
"If this does happen, and I'm not saying it will, I want you to watch after her. Can you do that for me?" By now both the girl and the dragon were looking at him waiting for his answer.
"Fine but I warn you I might have to stop you before you get anything close to causing you any permanent damage." He said turning away from them now. "I do still have to watch over you."
She scowled at him. "Don't remind me. It's bad enough that he's forcing me to marry someone I don't know and don't love but to make someone watch over me as if I'm a child. Does that seem like he's trying to turn me into a True Viking? Or Keep me locked away to hide his shame of me being his daughter?" she asked angrily. A rumbling came from the dragon's throat trying to calm her.
"Well it does sound like he's trying to hide you away but I think it's more like, he wants you to be a real Viking so you can be free again." He said trying to understand.
"You don't get it do you!?" She said standing up in front of him now. "I will never be free! I will be bound to do a man's will every day of my life! To bed him whenever he asks. To give him heirs and to clean up after him. The only way for me to be free is to…" She stopped to breath slowly and calm herself down again.
"Run away?" Gunnar suggested. He was rather relieved she had calmed down now.
"I don't even know why I am telling you all of this. It's none of your business anyways." Skullette said sitting down and looked out at the pond in thought.
"Maybe it's because I'm the first human who actually sat down and talked to you normally instead of fearing that you would start a fire on them." He stated. He wasn't trying to poke fun at her like the other teens did. He was just trying to get her talking again. So much anger and frustration can make people go mad sometimes.
"We need to figure out what we are going to do next. My father and the rest of the Vikings should be coming home soon. They only ever leave for a few weeks around this time of year because of the ice. I would have to say we only have maybe a weeks' time before their return." Skullette stated.
"That soon huh? Thought they might stay out a bit longer than that." He said sharpening one of his arrows.
"Yeah well, you know how Vikings are. We have stubbornness issues and being a Viking is an occupational hazard." They both laughed slightly at this knowing full well that she was right. "Besides I have had enough of looking over that dragon manual. It's like they are trying to turn us into killing devices that they can control." Gunnar nodded in agreement.
"If I have to look at that manual again I'm going to shove it down Olaf's big fat throat." Skullette giggled lightly at this statement. She could just see him doing so and Olaf with that big manual in his mouth is quite the sight to see. Of course, after a week of reading that manual she was half tempted to do the job herself.
"Back to the problem with your father." Gunnar said clearing his throat to get her attention. "What do you intend to do?"
"I'm not sure yet. I know I will have to face him about dragons and Vikings working together but I don't know how to go about doing so." She confessed looking down at the ground sadly. She will have to face her father but will she be able to?
"In any case why don't we practice what we are going to do in the ring tomorrow." He stood up and stretched his arms and legs to get them moving again.
"Why?" Skullette was confused how could they train when they don't even know which dragon they are going to be facing next?
"Because, it involves your dragon." He said smiling at them.
Skullette and Nightingale shared a confused look before looking back up at him waiting for an explanation.
"A' right little Vick's, it is now time to face the Terrible Terror!" Olaf said while lifting the wooden log that kept the gates to the cage sealed.
Instead of seeing a giant dragon as they had thought would come from the doors only a small lizard like dragon came from a smaller door inside the larger door. It was green with red on the top of the head, back and tail.
"That little thing?" Hogsnot laughed.
"That is a waste of time!" Mudbath joined in with his brother.
Suddenly both were running away from the little dragon's fire as it chased them around the arena. Only when a small light hit its scales and got its attention did it stop and watch the small light. Following it as it tried to get away it used its claws to try and grab the annoying light. What everyone else could see was Skullette waving her shield in front of the dragon and it following her back to its cage.
Everyone was shocked at this. How was she doing this and how did she suddenly get so good?
She moved just in time to watch the little Terror go back into its cage and she quickly closed the small door while Gunnar closed the gates once again.
Everyone was silent for a moment and Gretchen just seemed to look ready to kill Skullette as if she was one of the dragons in the cages.
"Well done Skullette. Your training is certainly paying off." Olaf complimented as he headed back up the ramp. "Be back here bright and early tomorrow morning." He laughed.
"That was incredible." Torrent said as he walked up to Skullette. "How do you do it?"
Before she could answer Gunnar interrupted. "Sorry but it's time to go now Skullette." He said pulling her arm gently towards the ramp back to the real world.
"Something isn't right here and I am going to find out what." Gretchen seethed.
"Oh don't get your hair," Started Hogsnot. "In a knot." Mudbath finished.
"Maybe she's just jealous cause Gunnar is hanging around with Skullette instead of her." Torrent said teasingly. This caused him to get a bloody nose courtesy of Gretchen's fist hitting his face.
"That's enough out of all of you. She is not going to take him away from me." She growled as she stomped up the ramp and went home to rest.
The following day they had to face the Gronkle again. This time Skullette was prepared for it. Gunnar and she had discovered that Dragon's liked a certain plant and became very calm when they smelled it.
Gunnar attracted the Gronkle and brought it around to where Skullette was hiding and got out of the way before she hit him in the head, when her fist went in front of the Gronkle's nose. As the dragon breathed in, it could smell the plant that the girl held in her hand. The Gronkle became calm and fall to the ground, rolling onto its side.
As the week went on things continued as they were, Skullette was placing first followed by Gunnar and Gretchen coming in third. The other three where decent dragon fighters but not as good as the others.
Finally after two and a half weeks of waiting the ships had finally returned. Olaf was there to greet them canceling dragon training so the others could say hello to their parents after their long trip.
"Did you find the nest?" Olaf asked as he greeted the chief.
"Not even close. I hope you had better luck than me." He groaned as they made their way up to the village.
"If you mean your Daughter has found the true Viking spirit, then yes." Olaf said in praise.
Bundar looked at the blacksmith confused. "Skullette?"
"Who would have thought she was so skilled." Olaf said. "She has even placed first in training." He said to the chief hoping to fill the man with pride.
"I will have to see such a feat for myself. Where can I find her?" he asked
"Well she and Gunnar usually train in the woods around now, but seeing as today is your return you might find them at your house." Olaf suggested.
"Has she given up on her herbs?" the chief asked warily.
"Well, I haven't seen her sneak out to get any. Her basket has even been burned by one of the other Viking women. So I suspect all that's left is what you have at home."
"And did she give the women the antidote formula?" he asked to make sure his troubles were truly over.
"I believe so. I saw her give somethin' to the other women in the healing hut not three days ago." Olaf explained. By now they had reached the top of the hill and were next to Olaf's blacksmith stall.
"Very good. Then maybe the marriage will go off without a hitch!" Bundar said excitedly.
"Oh, you found someone that will take her hand?" Olaf asked slightly surprised. He hadn't been home for more than a few minutes and he already had a man willing to take his daughters hand?
"Yes the lucky man's father was on the ship on the journey home." Bundar explains. "His son is a fine young man, so he's told me. A real Viking, he was even in your training group." He said excitedly.
"What is the boy's name?" Olaf asked surprised.
"Torrent. A fine strong young man that will make a fine son in law one day. Am I right?" He asked hoping for a good response.
"With a bit more trainin' he will be perfect. Now why don't ya go tell your daughter the good news." Olaf suggested.
"Very good. We have decided to have the wedding right after the final training session." Bundar said happily.
Olaf was slightly skeptical about the wedding, something didn't sit right in his stomach about it. But the chief looked so happy right now. He didn't want to bother him with something that could just have been something he ate. "Sounds wonderful. Tomorrow is the final trail before the killin' of the dragon. And with your daughter in first position, if all goes well tomorrow she will be the one to slay her first dragon."
Pride was glowing off of Bundar. "Splendid, now to tell my daughter the good news." He said walking off towards his hut.
Meanwhile Gunnar and Skullette had just returned from the woods. They had visited Nightingale early that morning because of the arrival of the ships. As predicted, they had arrived the day Skullette had said they would. As they reached the house Skullette looked over her shoulder and saw her father talking to Olaf and then head this way.
She quickly pushed Gunnar inside and started tidying up. Putting the clothes away hiding the pelt she had been working on and fixing something to eat over the now reasonable fire that Gunnar had made.
She had just sat down to stir the pot when her father walked in. Gunnar was on the other side of the fire pit, more in the shadows than in the fire light. Bundar was so happy at the news that he didn't realize Gunnar was there at all not even as he sat down in front of the boy. (A/N: Gunnar is behind him in the shadows if anyone didn't understand that last sentence.)
"How have you been doing Daughter?" Bundar asked as he tried to keep his voice level and as calm as he possibly could.
Gunnar said nothing as he just watched the scene before him unfold. He wanted to know all of the information before he tried to do anything.
"I have been fine Father. Did your trip fare well?" Skullette asked as she stopped her stirring and looked up at her father.
"We didn't find the nest." He stated calmly. Skullette had to restrain herself from smiling at this bit of news. "However I do come baring good news." Bundar replied more happily then he was a moment ago.
Skullette had to calm herself as she awaited the news that he had for her. "And what would that be father?" she asked. Her voice was calm enough but Gunnar could tell from being around her so much that she was afraid of what he was going to tell her.
A rock felt like it hit the bottom of both of their stomachs when Bundar stated, "I have found a man who will take your hand in marriage. His name is Torrent and you both will be wed after you slay your first dragon!" The smile he had would not leave his face. Not even after seeing his daughters eyes fill with horror and tears. "This is a happy day! I will go an announce it to the whole Village. Be sure not to burn dinner won't you." He laughed as he left the house, the door slamming gently as he did so.
It was then that Gunnar revealed himself to her once again. His face nearly matched hers. Before he could stop her she was up and out the door faster than a Night Fury during a raid. "Skullette wait!" He moved the pot out of the fire as he ran past it and followed her. She ran all the way to the farthest pillar of rock and climbed the slippery slope until she could stand on top of it.
Gunnar was trying to talk her out of it before she made a big mistake. "Please Skully." He called to her. He had recently been calling her this because it was much easier to say than Skullette and at a time like this, much faster. "I can still talk to your father, remember! Now come down before someone sees."
She looked at him for a moment contemplating her choices. Finally deciding she could do the deed before the wedding, she came down and sat on the ledge of the island for a long while. Gunnar was trying to calm his racing heart now that the chief's daughter was safe again.
Once calm again, he looks at the sad girl beside him. "Do you promise not to try and kill yourself again if I go and talk to your father?" he asked looking at her seriously.
"Yes, just try to not get yourself killed, alright?" She asked sadly looking up at him.
He nodded and then headed off in the direction of the girl's father. He passed many excited Vikings busy doing one thing or another. He knew why but he wanted to make it look like the news had not reached him yet. Finally he found the man he had been searching for.
"Bundar sir, I wish to speak with you." He said calmly. Bundar dismissed the Vikings around him so that they may talk alone.
"What is it Gunnar?" he asked. His happy demeanor was still in place as they spoke.
"Over the time I have known your daughter, keeping her out of trouble and what not. I have come to love her and so I ask for her hand in marriage."
There was a silence before Bundar laughed out right in the boys face. "Boy, you may have taught her a few things and made her change her ways but she has already got a future husband. They will be married after my daughter kills her first dragon." He said still laughing lightly.
"Then allow me to prove myself better. Should I win tomorrow's duel against the dragon I will marry Skullette. Should she win you have to offer a portion of our food for the dragons to take once every moon cycle." Gunnar stated firmly.
Bundar stopped laughing at this request. "Are you mad boy? Are you siding with them? To give them our food is to say we surrender! I will not have it!" He yelled at Gunnar.
"They aren't dangerous!" Gunnar yelled back at him. Earning him a whack from Bundar the Wise, sending the boy into the wall.
"You listen to me boy. If you continue to side with them then I will have you banished from this tribe!" Bundar said standing up to face the young Viking prodigy.
"Come at me then." The boy threatened.
Bundar had him by the throat 3' off the ground at this point. "So be it!" He said raising his free arm into the air, clenching his hand into a fist.
The following day Skullette had gotten up early to take the pelt to Nightingale. She had a very good feeling that she was leaving soon. She placed it in a large basket along with a few rolled up cloths of food and some spare clothes. She also packed all of her herbs and healing supplies in a smaller bag and brought it to Nightingale's hiding place yesterday.
So now no one saw her as she snuck out the back with the basket as well as her bow and quiver on her back. Should her father be up when she got back she can say she was merely training not too far into the woods.
When she finally got there what she saw surprised her. Gunnar was sitting on the cold ground unconscious. She moved over to him quickly to make sure he was alright. When she could see him up close she was not pleased. He has cuts and bruises all up and down his arms and legs. But his face was the worst off. He had a bloody nose, a swollen eye and a cut lip and cheek.
"Gunnar. Gunnar!" She called trying to wake him.
She received a pained whine before he fell back into unconsciousness. She went and grabbed her medical bag after dropping off the larger basket before hurrying back to him.
She quickly got to work on his cuts and bruises by laying a thin layer a berry paste over them and then wrapping them in strips of cloth that she can wash and re-use. When she finished his arms and legs she went to try and wake him up when she looked into two deep pools of green emerald staring right back at her.
"You think you can do the same to my back?" He asked in a hoarse voice.
She nodded and he lifted the back of his shirt after, with much difficulty, taking off his vest. There were mostly just bruises on his back but they looked like someone had thrown rocks at him and not just small rocks, these had to have been bigger than her head.
Once she was done she turned him around and finally asked, "Who did this to you?" her voice showed her worry even if she didn't mean to.
"You're father has a mean punch. In the end I did manage to give him a good fight but I lost. So he banished me, for siding with dragons. Before that I tried to talk him out of your marriage. He fully intends to marry you to that ignorant prick." He explains sitting upright and putting his vest back on over his shirt.
"How were you going to try and talk him out of it?" She was curious as to how he intended to break her arranged marriage with idiot Torrent.
"That's not important. Right now they have moved the wedding up to tonight after you slay your first dragon. Because I was banished you win today's fight by default and there for you will kill the dragon.
I think a good cliff hanger is in order here. Please review and tell me what you think. Thank you.