OK, so I know it's been a while, and I'm only posting this because I dont know when I'm going to pick up writing for this story again. Usually I keep one chapter ahead at least, but I've had delays in writing chapter 15, so I decided to post this now. Sorry for the wait! :)

"Heather!" Fishlegs lowered his sword, feeling relived. "Oh thank Thor, it's just you!"

Heather smiled briefly at the two boys, but clearly she had been expecting combat too, her axe gripped in both hands. She slowly lowered it and folded it up.

"I thought you guys were hunters!" She exclaimed, breathing heavily.

"We thought you were... well, I'm not sure, we thought you were." Snotlout put his axe down. "So, um, do you have any food?"

It turned out Heather did have a few yak chops stored in her satchel, so the three dragon riders happily feasted on the cold meat until their stomachs stopped growling.

"Do not tell the twins about this!" Fishlegs said, chewing on a bone. "Tuffnut can get majorly jealous sometimes!"

"Enough said." Snotlout remarked. "So Heather, where's Windshear?"

"I left her hidden in the forest." Heather told him. "If you guys had been dragon hunters, I didn't want her getting hurt." She sighed. "They've upped their game recently, more arrows, stronger catapults, after what happened to Astrid, I didn't want her getting hurt."

"Well, why don't you go back and get her?" Fishlegs said. "Then in the morning, we can all head to Berserker Island."

"Berserker Island?"

"Oh yeah, we told the twins to meet us there tomorrow." Fishlegs told her. "Apparently Ruffnut found out some information when she was held captive on their ship."

Heather nodded, and stood up.

"I'll go fetch Windshear." She told them, and headed off into the forest.

Snotlout opened his mouth, presumably to make a snide remark, but yawned instead.

"Who else is up for a nap while she's gone?" He muttered sleepily, and rolled over onto his side. Fishlegs ignored him, but he was feeling quite tired too. Before he knew it, he was leaning against Meatlug's back and his eyes were beginning to close.

"Fishlegs, wake up!"

Fishlegs was jolted awake suddenly and blinked his eyes open to see Heather's worried face above his. "Huh... Heather?" He mumbled and sat up, rubbing his eyes.

"I can't find Windshear, Fishlegs!" Heather said. "I went back to where I left her, and she was gone!" She turned and quickly shook Snotlout awake, who groaned sleepily and sat up.

"Wassgoinon?" He mumbled, rubbing his eyes.

"My dragon is missing, Snotlout!" Heather said anxiously, beginning the pace up and down next to the dying embers of the fire. "I knew I shouldn't have left her alone for this long, I should have gone and gotten her immediately, not sat around the fire, oh Windshear, where are you-"

"Heather, we'll find Windshear!" Fishlegs said, standing up and coming over to her. "Right Snotlout?"

"Yeah, yeah, sure." Snotlout yawned. "Just let me- argh!" Hookfang (not so gently) nudged him to his feet. "Hookfang!"

"Whereabouts did you leave her?" Fishlegs asked Heather, trying to calm her down. "Do you think she could have wandered off?"

"Windshear doesn't wander off, Fishlegs!" Heather said sharply. "She's only ever done that when she was going after food, but there aren't any seaslugs in these woods!"

"Wait..." Snotlout came over to them. "Did you just say seaslugs?"

"Yeah, seaslugs are the primary ingredient in a Razorwhip's diet." Fishlegs said. "Why, what is it?"

"Well, usually around this time of month, Trader Zachariah gets a massive delivery of seaslugs down at the Northern Markets." Snotlout said. "You can smell that business for miles around."

Heather gasped. "Windshear must have smelled them and gone after them! I knew I should have taken more breaks to feed her, I was just so caught up in tailing Astrid and-"

"Calm down." Fishlegs put his hands on her shoulders to snap her out of it. "We'll find her."

"The markets are crawling with hunters though!" Snotlout protested. "The last time we went there, Rufffnut got kidnapped! We're not seriously going there again, are we?"

Fishlegs and Heather shot him a look that was enough to make him climb onto Hookfang's saddle without another word.

"Come on, you can ride with me." Fishlegs led Heather over to Meatlug. "We'll find Windshear, I promise."

Heather smiled at him. "OK." She said. "Thank you Fishlegs."

Fishlegs smiled back at her.

"Urgh, get a room you two!" Snotlout cried. "Are we going or what?"

The trip to the markets seemed a lot faster than normal, and before they knew it, Heather, Fishlegs, Snotlout and the two dragons were crouched in the bushes, watching the traders unload a large boat's delivery

"Ew, what does he even use these for?" Snotlout exclaimed, holding his nose. "Any sign of Windshear?"

Heather was crouched low, the leaves concealing her from the traders.

"No, I don't see her." She whispered, scanning the layout. "But you know what else I don't see?"

"What?" Fishlegs asked.

"Dragon hunters." Heather said. "Usually this area is crawling with them."

"Hey, you're right." Snotlout exclaimed. "They like to inspect new deliveries to see if there's anything they need. If they're not here... then where are they?"

"Viggo must have called them all back to base." Heather whispered. Snotlout stood up.

"Wait, what are you doing?" Fishlegs exclaimed. "They'll see you!"

"If there's no dragon hunters, who cares?" Snotlout replied. He motioned quickly for Hookfang to stay back, then strode up to the traders unpacking the seaslugs, calling out to them in greeting.

"He's going to get himself killed!" Heather groaned.

"Might be cool to watch though." Fishlegs said. She looked at him, frowning. He gasped. "Oh Thor, the twins must be rubbing off on me!"

The pair watched as Snotlout announced himself to the traders, who seemed happy to strike up a conversation with him. No weapons were drawn, which seemed like a good sign.

"What are they saying?" Heather whispered anxiously as the group suddenly laughed. Fishlegs shrugged.

"I don't know, but it seems to be going well." He said.

Eventually, Snotlout waved goodbye to the traders and went to stand against one of the nearby stalls, which was just opening up as the first rays of dawn appeared over the horizon. Snotlout waited until the traders lost interest, then motioned for Heather and Fishlegs to come over.

"What did they say?" Fishlegs asked.

"All sorts, gossip from across the land, you know, trader talk."

"No, about Windshear!" Heather said sternly.

"Oh that, yeah, they found her. She started raiding the shipment, so they locked her in a cage." Heather gasped. "Yeah, they're planning to sell her to the dragon hunters whenever they show up again, but don't worry, their guards are lousy. Windshear's being kept behind that stall over there." He pointed to a large stall selling dried fish.

Heather took out her axe furiously and was about to dash off, but paused briefly. "Thank you, Snotlout." She said with a smile.

"No problem." Snotlout smiled. "If that was Hookfang, I'd be pretty worried too."

Heather grinned briefly, then ran off towards the fish stall, axe drawn. Fishlegs and Snotlout watched her disappear behind it and chuckled at the crashes and cries that came from behind it.

"She sure is intense!" Fishlegs remarked. He turned to Snotlout, who had set off towards the general direction of the markets. "Hey, wait, where are you going?"

"This is the Northern Markets, Fishlegs." Snotlout said, not turning around. "I grew up around here and I used to be able to walk through it as a free dragon rider. Then those stupid hunters showed up." He spat on the ground. "Now they're gone, I'm going to show these traders me and Hookfang are still out there fighting!" He smacked his fist into his hand, then beckoned Hookfang over from the bushes. Fishlegs watched in amazement as boy and dragon flew into the air in the direction of the major trading areas of the market.

"I'm not crazy, right?" Fishlegs said Meatlug approached him. "He's crazy! There could still be hunters down there!"

Meatlug glanced at him, and then towards the approaching figures of Heather and Windshear, who were running out from behind the fish stall, both of them looking relived and excited.

"You got her!" He said excitedly.

"Yep." Heather rubbed Windshear's neck, smiling from ear to ear. "I've given her a stern talking to about sneaking off for food!" She nuzzled Windshear affectionately. "Where's Snotlout?"

"Off being his usual obnoxious self." Fishlegs said.

Snotlout landed Hookfang in a spot that was more or less the centre of the Northern Market's trade. Since all the night patrons had gone home and the day patrons had yet to arrive, it was fairly empty, just the occaisional Viking milling about or trader setting up their stall, and definitely no dragon hunters. Nevertheless, Snotlout still felt someone watching him. He turned to see the apprentice of the animal trader's stall was tending to a small herd of sheep, and staring up at him with an expression of pure amazement. Snotlout grinned down at him.

"Hey kid! Ever given a rub down to a dragon before?" He called.

The kid frantically snapped himself out of his daze. "No!" He answered enthusiastically. "Well, I did find an injured Terrible Terror in the woods once and fixed her up, but then my boss found her and sold her to the hunters." He scowled, but then his face brightened. "But I've never seen a Nightmare up close before!"

Snotlout chuckled a little at the boy's overeager look of amazement. "Today's your lucky day, kid." He said. "Be gentle, he's worn out." He slid down from Hookfang and leaned against an absentminded sheep while the boy approached his dragon cautiously. Hookfang narrowed his eyes and the boy flinched, but Snotlout watched as, slowly, his dragon lowered his head to the boy and allowed him to touch him.

"Nice moves." Snotlout remarked. "You've got the makings of a natural dragon trainer."

"Really?" The boy exclaimed, beginning to rub off the dried mud and old gel from Hookfang's flank. "That's so cool! Of course, my boss would never let that happen." He frowned again.

"Boss?" Snotlout raised an eyebrow. "So the people who run this joint aren't your parents?"

"My parents?" The boy laughed. "No, they just found me as a baby, and have been dutifully looking after me ever since!" The tone of his voice shifted into sarcasm. "Of course, I'm forced to earn my keep."

"That sucks." Snotlout came over to watch him work. "So they don't like dragon riders?"

"Of definitely not." The boy said, rubbing his brush up and down Hookfang's scales. "But I think you're cool. I heard a guy with a Gronckle came through the other night and got into a fight with some hunters, and then set the place on fire! Wish I could have been here to see it!"

"Well I was." Snotlout grinned. "It was awesome, right Hookfang?" He patted Hookfang's side fondly.

The boy continued to marvel at the pair while he worked. Hookfang glanced down and admired how bright his scales had become. Snotlout raised an eyebrow in surprise too, he had never seen his dragon looks so pleased with his appearance. Suddenly, the moment was interrupted by the animal trader's proprietor emerging from her stall and catching sight of what was happening.

"Apprentice!" She shouted. "What did I tell you about dealing with dragon riders?" She marched over to the boy and grabbed him by his ear, yanking him off his feet. The boy let out a sharp cry of pain.

"I was just-" He stammered, but was roughly thrown towards the sheep.

"Get back to work!" The woman yelled at him, then turned to Snotlout. "Get lost. We don't want your kind around here, you're nothing but trouble!"

Snotlout rolled his eyes, and put a reassuring hand on Hookfang's neck to prevent him from roasting the woman alive.

The trader headed over to the front of her stall and began to hang up some signs advertising her business. Snotlout glanced towards her apprentice, who was moodily feeding the sheep and inspecting their wool for ticks. Helped an injured dragon, gained Hookfang's trust in a matter of seconds, Snotlout could use someone like him. And his overeager admiration was amusing.

"Hey kid?" He called. "What's your name."

The boy turned around. "Gustav." He said with a small smile. "Gustav Larsen."

Snotlout grinned at him, admiring his confidence. This kid knew exactly who he was in the world, even if he didn't know where he had come from. Snotlout recognised the feeling. Gustav reminded him of himself.

"I'll be back for you, Gustav Larsen." He said with a grin, climbing back onto Hookfang's saddle. Hookfang rose into the air, catching the attention of the slowly growing crowd of people at the market.

"Hey, listen up!" Snotlout yelled. "When the dragon hunters show up here again, you can tell them not to bother! This is now our turf, dragon rider turf! Right Hooky?"

Hookfang shot a fireball into the air in confirmation. The Vikings below gazed up at him in wonder and fear. Behind Snotlout, Heather and Fishlegs arrived on their dragons, looking equally as menacing. The different traders looked at each other, concerned. Gustav's boss looked furious.

"In fact, you can give them a message!" Snotlout yelled, grinning happily. "Tell them we're coming for them, and we won't rest until they leave every dragon, every innocent person, in the Northern Sea alone!"

A few cheers erupted from below them. Snotlout grinned happily.

"Shall we head for Berserker Island?" Heather asked, bringing Windshear towards him.

Snotlout nodded.

"Yeah, I am kind of curious to know what Ruffnut found out."

...

Astrid felt sick. Not only was she filled with dread and fear, but she had been punched in the stomach a few times and wasn't sure if her body eas entirely OK. Since the firstrays of dawn had appeared over the sea, Viggo had sent several guards down to her cell to try and beat or persuade the information out of her. Nobody had directly threatended Hiccup yet, but Astrid still wasn;t sure if he was safe. That was one of the main reasons the pit in her stomach was so large, as well as general concern for her own safety. The ship was now crawling with hunters, and travelling in a fleet with many more just like it. Viggo had caled all of his troops back for a reason. A reason that made Astrid sick to her stomach to think about.

Who were Viggo's biggest challengers right now?

Berserker Island, Astrid's home and it's multitude of trained dragons.

Astrid hadn't revealed anything yet, but she wasn't sure how long she could hold out here.

Gustav makes an appearance! Hope you enjoyed that chapter, sorry but I dont know when the next update will be.