Bilbo was introduced to everyone else right before they began training. There were two other dwarves. Dwalin, who was apparently Thorin's best friend and Balin's little brother, though they didn't live together. And Dori who smiled politely at Bilbo once he heard her introduced as the Thrain's granddaughter. They all marched into the iron bar covered pit together, Bilbo bringing up the rear.

Thorin looked in her element, what must have been a ridiculously heavy sword held in one hand as lightly as if it were flower. Dwalin was beside her with an axe taller than he was strapped to his back. Dori seemed almost timid as he walked behind them, but Bilbo noticed he held an enormous hammer in one hand.

"I want to learn how to cut through a dragon's neck in one strike," said Frerin. He was twirling two axes haphazardly in his hands. Dis smacked him upside the head.

"Keep dreaming, brother," she said. Frerin snarled at her, before trying to poke her with the blunt head of one axe. She dodged and went to put him in a headlock. They ended up wrestling in the dirt. Bilbo stepped around them, already accustomed to the daily, nay, hourly squabbles between the two youngest of the line of Durin.

"I'm hoping for a mauling," said Dwalin cheerfully.

Thorin grinned. "It's no fun if you don't get a scar or two," she said.

"Yay," Bilbo said with absolutely no enthusiasm. "Permanent scars." Dori grinned at her. Bilbo had the feeling that her sarcasm hadn't been understood.

"All right, lads and lasses," said Balin. "You're going to face a lot of different dragons in this place. Common greens, gronkles, zippers, and more. So get ready!" He headed over to a door and pulled out a big, iron pin.

Bilbo's mouth dropped open in shock, but Dwalin beat her to it. "You're just going to let the dragon in here with us?" he said.

"Best way to learn," said Balin cheerfully. Of course, he was riding a chain on a pulley up to the upper level so he had no reason to be worried about the dragon.

The dragon burst out of the door. It looked like a bunched up caterpillar with spikes, and its mouth leaked a gas which smelt of rotten eggs. "This is a gronkle. Don't get hit by its' shots or you'll die."

"Shields," roared Thorin. She was a natural leader. Everyone, even Bilbo, scrambled for a shield. Only the shields were made of heavy iron and wood. She couldn't even lift it off the ground. Bilbo crouched behind it instead, cursing every Valar she could think of who could have gotten her into this mess. She didn't even want to kill dragons anymore!

"Don't worry, Bilbo," shouted Balin. "You're small and weak. The dragon will probably think you're sickly and not bother with you." Bilbo wished she knew some better curses to shout at him. Dwalin was already trying to put out his smoking hair from a shot that passed too close to his head.

"How many shots can a gronkle fire at one time?" asked Balin from above them.

"They only have six shots!" shouted Dori. Frerin and Dis seemed to take this as encouragement because they rushed the dragon together. Frerin's shield got fried, and then he was knocked out when Dis swung hers around to slam into the gronkle's jaw. It didn't even pause though and chomped clean through the shield before going after the two. Bilbo was unsurprised to see Thorin jump in between them and the dragon, shielding their retreat. She looked magnificent facing it down.

Thorin's shield fried under another show however and Dori rushed in. He flung his shield at the dragon and missed. Bilbo goggled when the shield embedded itself half way into the wooden wall behind it. Dwalin attacked then, but Bilbo couldn't see what happened though because Thorin ran towards her. Thorin pulled on the edge of Bilbo's shield while Bilbo instinctively clung to the inside handles.

"Come on," growled Thorin. "It's not like you're using it."

"I beg to differ. I believe I'm using it for exactly what it was intended."

"Thorin!" shouted Dwalin. Thorin leapt nimbly over the shield and Bilbo's head. Seconds later, the gronkle's attack hit her shield and the acidic flames began to eat through it. She let go of it and started to run. The gronkle followed. Bilbo hit the end of the dragon pit and turned to face the dragon. She instinctively brought her arm up to protect her face, and shouted in Dragonese for it to stop. It seemed to her that it did for a second, but only for a moment. She was still cowering as it ramped up to attack when Thorin tackled it from the side. What had to have been the sixth shot spattered harmlessly into the wooden walls of the pit. Balin and some other dwarves were suddenly there to drive the dragon back into its' pen.

"Next time let me have the shield," said Thorin.

Bilbo frowned. "How was I supposed to know you would use it to protect me?" Bilbo had been certain going into this that Thorin would just let her die. Had that been uncharitable? Well, at least Bilbo would show she had good manners. "Thank you for saving me." She gave a small bow.

"It's my duty to protect those around me who are weaker," said Thorin. Bilbo was hard pressed not to roll her eyes.

"Please don't. You won't be there to protect me when I return to Hobbiton. I need to learn to do this on my own." Thorin looked shocked at her words.

Dwalin had been standing nearby. He laughed. "If you refuse Thorin's protection, you're never going to survive dragon training."

Bilbo shot him an annoyed look. "We shall see," was all she said as she walked out of the training pit, completely oblivious to the looks the dwarves were giving her. She wanted to talk to Myrtle and see if there were other ways to deal with dragons that didn't involve both sides maniacally trying to killing each other. Maybe Myrtle knew something about handling dwarves as well…