Chapter two!

Writing sadistic!Toothless is great fun. :D

Not much else to say. Thanks for spending the time to look at this, though!

Disclaimer: I do not own How to Train Your Dragon.

I was shaking like a leaf in a storm. I could hardly make sense of everything around me, I was still in pain, and I was horribly aware of what had happened to me.

What had happened…it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life. I had never felt so much physical and emotional pain ever. Both were increased tenfold when I realized that the Night Fury had escaped. I was a failure again…but this time, I was a dragon.

I groaned, slowly opened my eyes. I was momentarily shocked; everything was crystal-clear. Not only could I see as if it were daytime, but I could make out more details and see farther than I had ever been able to before. I even saw a few dragons flying overhead, frantically flying after the swarm that had just struck us. A few were hovering off in the distance and staring at me with mixtures of shock, awe, and horror. I repressed the urge to growl at them.

I wrinkled my nose. I could smell them! In fact…I could smell a lot of things. My nose hurt at the sudden assault. I could recognize simple scents like fire, ash, wood, and sweat. But there was hundreds of other smells that I'd never even imagined until now. It was like being blind your entire life and suddenly being able to see.

My hearing was incredibly strong, too. I heard every word, even if they were whispered, as clearly as if someone had screamed them in my ear.

Slowly, I rolled over and attempted to stand up like a normal person. I got about halfway up before loosing balance and falling down onto my sore muscles, whimpering weakly. This is a dream, I thought, I got knocked out or something, and this is a dream. Come on, Hiccup, wake up! Wake up! I attempted to sit up again, but failed again. I lay belly-down on the earth, panting. I squeezed my eyes shut, feeling the beginnings of hysteria come upon me.

I heard footsteps coming towards me. I cracked my eyes open. "Dad…" I weakly raised my head to look up at him. "Dad, help me. Please help me." My eyes widened in horror when I heard that, instead of words, I was growling. My chest heaved, and I let out a chocked sob. "Dad?"

Dad was staring at me in absolute horror. He was tense, and only got more so when I called out to him again. He looked over his shoulder at Gobber, and for the first time in my life, Chief Stoic had no idea what to do.

I bent my elbows and started to crawl towards him, belly, wings, and tail dragging on the ground. "D-Dad. Please, help me!" I reached one massive forepaw out to grab his leg…and I realized that I didn't have fingers anymore. I squeezed my eyes shut in pain and settled for a small little croon, hoping that the message was perceived. More like praying.

Dad flinching away from me like I was fire hurt more than the transformation. "Dad! It's me, Hiccup! I'm Hiccup!" I cried out to him. I felt my ears and side frills flatten against my head and lowered myself on the ground, chin resting in the dirt.

He shook his head, backing away from me. "Dad…"

Dad stopped when he reached Gobber. He looked at his friend with the strangest expression I'd ever seen on him. With a pang, I realized it was sorrow. My chest constricted, and suddenly I found it hard to breath. I felt my muscles tighten in response to my emotional stress. I unwillingly pricked my ears, dread filling my every bone.



"…I…I can't…"

Oh GODS, no.

"We can't leave a dragon here."

Gobber recoiled in shock. "What? But that's…that's Hiccup!"

Oh no, oh no, oh no! No! Please no! Please!

Dad's voice turned hard. Emotionless. "Hiccup is gone. That's a dragon that took over his body. And we can't let one, especially a Night Fury, get loose."

I felt the fragile mental wall I had built up shatter into a million pieces. Dad grabbed a sword out of a nearby man's holster. The sound of the weapon being sheaved sent shivers down my spine.

I shook my head frantically. "No! I'm Hiccup! Stop, Dad!" I sprang to my feet, swayed at the unfamiliar feeling, and crouched low. "It's me, Hiccup! Stop! Stop!" I continued to shake my head, staring right at him.

Dad walked towards me. His grip on the sword tightened.

I screamed bloody murder in fear. I backpedaled until I hit the torch-tower. Crouching low, I desperately pleaded with my father. "No! Please, stop! Don't hurt me! I'm your son, Hiccup! I'm Hiccup!"

Someone called out, "Stoic, stop! You're being ridiculous!"

Another yelled, "Hiccup, calm down!"

I shivered when Dad came within striking distance. His eyebrows were pulled down and his teeth were clenched even when he started to raise the sword. I stared at it, mouth agape.

A female voice I recognized reached my ears over the chaos of the situation. "Hiccup, run!"

I spun around and dashed away so fast that I could barely even register what had happened. I was suddenly surrounded by houses instead of a crowd of people. I let out a sorrowful wail, clenching my eyes shut. I had no idea what Dad was going to do…but exiling me? What did I do wrong?

I pelted into the forest on the outskirts of Berk, the only place a human-turned-dragon could ever hide.

Once I had calmed down, I tried to assess my situation. I spoke aloud to try and help my thoughts jumble together.

"Okay, Hiccup. Take this easy. I've been turned into a Night Fury…but it was with magic. Magic always can be reversed, right? So, I just have to find that dragon." I sighed. Like that would ever happen. It had run off, and was probably off of the island by now. And considering how a Night Fury had never been seen before last night, I doubt I'd be able to find another. The other dragons would probably attack me if I asked them to change me into a human, too.

I still couldn't wrap my mind around the fact that I had been banished. I had done the unthinkable: I had shot down a Night Fury! Even more so, I survived a direct attack from one! Why did I have to be outcasted? Why was I a traitor for trying to win my father's approval? It wasn't like I was willingly turned into a dragon.

I sat down and covered my eyes with my hands—no, paws. Gods, I couldn't stop thinking that I was human. It was like adding salt to an open wound. A loud, painful reminder that my entire life was over. Shattered in a blink of an eye.

What did I do wrong?

I know that the Night Fury was angry…but wouldn't it know the kind of burden this was? Why would a creature do such a thing? I was only trying to impress Dad. I just wanted to be a real Viking.

Now they were all probably getting a hunting party out to find me. For all I knew, they were spying on me. I wished with all my heart that I would just take a deep breath and open my eyes and I'd be back to normal. But that was nonsense. In this cruel world, there is no such thing as miracles.

I had no idea how long I moped in that spot, waiting for either a Viking or predator to take me out. What was the point? I'd never be able to fight my own people, the ones I grew up with. Even if they did hate me.

My ear twitched and I picked up the faint sound of something heavy crashing onto the ground. I lifted my head and unknowingly pricked my ears towards it.

Was it that Night Fury?

I narrowed my eyes. If that Night Fury was still on this island, then I still had a chance. I had shot it down from a high speed and distance. Maybe it was sore, or even better, injured! I could corner it and force it to change me back! Then, everything would be normal, and I could just shoot it down again at the next raid.

Filled with newfound hope, I sprang to my feet and clumsily made my way towards the noise. I still hadn't gotten the hang of walking on all-fours yet.

It didn't take me long to realize that my wings and tail couldn't just drag on the ground. They would bump into things or get caught in them, which was very painful, by the way. With a lot of concentration, I finally figured out how to move the muscles and managed to fold the sturdy wings and lift my muscular tail off the ground. Once I had accomplished this, I immediately recognized the change in my movement. With my tail above the ground, I was far more graceful than any Viking could hope to be, and much faster.

I scurried between tree trunks, jumped over ditches, and swerved out of the way of sinkholes. I could hear footsteps. As they got louder, I grew more and more excited. I went into a jog, tongue loping out of my mouth as I all but pranced towards the Night Fury. I could be normal again!

I burst out from behind a large bush. I crouched low and sent a glare to the evil creature that had just ruined my life.

Except…it wasn't a Night Fury!

I recoiled in shock. So did Astrid.

She was in her typical outfit, with a blue shirt, spiked skirt, boots, and armor. I eyed her trademark double-axe warily and slowly moved my posture from aggressive to submissive. The last thing I wanted was the best teenage dragon-killer to be mad at me while I was in the body of a Night Fury.

Astrid blinked her beautiful blue eyes at me in shock. She brushed her golden hair out of her eyes, trying to pull her bangs back towards the braid that reached the small of her back. She shifted into a slightly defensive position, making me tense. We stared at each other for a tense moment.

Finally, she broke it. "Hiccup."

Hearing her say my name like that was unbearable. It didn't have the usual scorn or holier-than-thou attitude with it. It was sympathetic and full of pity. Her sing-song voice echoed slightly around us and I instinctively pricked my ears to pinpoint the sound.

Astrid slowly took one step towards me, mirroring my cautious look. I admired her bravery. My father had told everyone that a dragon had taken over my body. Astrid clung to every word he said, so there wasn't really a reason for her to doubt him. But here she was, approaching a seemingly-deadly Night Fury with nothing but a measly axe to protect her. A draconic smile spread across my face and I crooned, stretching my neck out towards her.

Astrid's axe was up in seconds. I jumped and slunk back in surprise.

It took one look at he face for me to realize that she didn't trust me. She was trying to trick me! I bet she was going to wait for me to come within striking distance and lop my head off to put an end to my misery. Eyes wide, I spun on my feet and bolted off into the forest as fast as I could. Everything around me became a senseless blur, but that didn't stop me from hearing one last thing from Astrid.

"Hiccup!" She called to me. I ignored her.

There is one thing that is the worst fate any dragon could ever think of.

That, my friends, is losing the ability of flight.

I roared in anger and took to the skies for the hundredth time. I tightened my wings and tried to curve myself away. But my tail, incredibly unbalanced and flailing wildly, knocked me off-course and grounded me. Again. I landed in a giant black heap of feet, wings, and a tail. Groaning, I got to work untangling myself to try and get into the air again. I had to get back to the tribe!

No Shadow-Blender should ever be dishonored like this!

I shook my body to fling the grass sticking between my scales. When I was done, I crouched low and stretched my wings out.

A sharp throbbing in my tail stopped me. I hissed in anger and pain and brought it towards me. The stupid thing had stopped bleeding long ago and had already scabbed over, but it was still very painful. I sat down and licked it to try and make the pain go away. It worked somewhat.

With a sigh, I let my head drop on the ground. This was hopeless. My magic was considerably low, and would be for a long time. I wouldn't be able to fix my tail without potentially handicapping myself even further. I shuddered at the thought of losing my magic abilities, or worse, becoming mentally insane. I'd seen too many dragons attempt something they simply could not do and pay the ultimate price for it. There was no way a Shadow-Blender such as myself would be as stupid as to do that.

So, my best chance was to wait. If I stored my energy as long as I could, I would be able to heal my tail a lot sooner.

I growled, staring at it. That damn human…I hoped he was killed by his own father. There was no possible way he could escape from a crowd that big without my expertise. At least I had one comforting thought.

I hate Vikings, I thought miserably.

It was still dark out, but I knew the sun was going to rise soon. Once it did, I would probably have to retreat into a cave or hide myself in a large cluster of trees. Knowing the Vikings, they'd be swarming the forest all day long in search of me. I grimaced at the thought of having to fight off a village of angry humans carrying pointy sticks. Those weapons may seem like a joke at first, but gods, do they hurt!

My ear twitched at the sound of something soft crushing dead grass, giving out a delightful cracking sound. I held still and looked over at it. Cautiously, a little fawn stepped out into the field, sniffing at the air and swiveling its ears. It was obviously lost. The little spotted creature stamped the ground with its hoof and bounded forward once. It halted in its tracks and looked off into the distance, not even casting me a second glance.

I started to stalk towards it. I knew it would hear me charge up a blast and take off into the forest. So, I had to stick to the shadows and stay in only the tall grass. Eyes narrowed, I slid along the ground with my wings pressed against my body and my tail slightly hovering off the ground.

The deer's neck swiveled and it looked right at me. I pounced.

The fawn let out a little yip and tried to bolt in the opposite direction. But I was too smart; I had already swerved to where I had predicted it would go and blocked its only path to safety. It bumped into my hide and stumbled back, losing its footing against the rocky ground and exposing its tiny little neck to me. I was feeling generous, so I quickly bit down on its throat for a quick death.

I sniffed the fawn's body to check for anything out of the ordinary. When it passed my regulations, I bit into it. I devoured the meal in less than a minute, leaving only the bones, head, and a little bit of meat that would probably fill up some scavengers. I licked my teeth in satisfaction. That deer had tasted good!

My stomach rumbled loudly, demanding more food. I stood up and began to sniff the air, searching for more deer to hunt down.

I caught a very faint scent on the opposite side of the field I was at. I glided a short distance across and, crouching low, made my way into the pitch-black shelter of the woods. My ears were sticking straight up, waiting to pick up even the slightest sound. My eyes searched for any sort of tracks left behind by prey, and I inhaled deeply every few seconds.

So, it wasn't much of a shocker when I found a herd of deer.

Rumbling in happiness and excitement, I picked up my pace. They were resting in a little creek not too far ahead, drinking as much fresh water as they could before they would have to move on. Unfortunately for them, they had decided to visit the creek for a moment too long.

I hid myself in a shadow and allowed my teeth to silently slide out of my gums. A large male, a stag, was wandering near me. I didn't dare move a muscle.

Two more steps, one more step…just a little bit closer…now!

I leaped into the air, intending to the pin the stag to the ground.

At the same time, another dragon jumped out of the bushes!

We both stared at each other in shock as the deer herd scattered, prancing away in neat little jumps.

This dragon was male. He was a Shadow-Blender like me, only he wasn't black. He had brownish-black scales and lighter spots adorning his nose, cheeks, and side frills. I stared at him curiously, sniffing the air. It took me a few seconds to realize why he looked strange, and why the scent I took in was so familiar.

The human!

My jaw all but dropped in shock. How the hell was he still alive?

"You survived?"

His eyes widened a fraction. "I can understand you?" He whispered, ears standing straight up.

I was surprised, too. The human's scales were brownish, and he still had those freckles. That meant that my magic hadn't worked all the way. But judging on this new little fact, I'd say that he was far more dragon than he was human. I must have changed all but a small part of him, so small that all it did was change his color. I growled in annoyance. "Unfortunately, you can."

"But how?" He wailed. "I'm not a dragon!"

I let out a long, sarcastic laugh. "Oh, but you are! And not just that…you're a freak of a dragon! Look at your scales!" I collapsed into laughter, my mirth only growing when he made an annoyed sound.

"Shut up!" He cried, jumped out into the little clearing. His voice shook in what sounded like pain.

"Make me, freak." I shot him a tooth-filled smile. Sarcasm was dripping from my voice. As long as he was still alive, I might as well torment him.

His answer wasn't what I was expecting from such a timid little thing. Roaring in fury, loud enough to make me cringe and send a small flock of birds scattering, the Viking rushed at me. I shook off the ringing in my ears and leaped aside. He barreled right past me and into a tree, hitting his nose and forehead against it. I laughed loudly at him, raising my head and tail and pointing my chin up to the sky. "Are you really trying to fight me?" I taunted.

"Yes! I am!" The human-dragon growled, shaking his head furiously. He pawed at the ground with one foot and charged again with the full intent to headbutt me.

Imagine his surprise when I jumped over him! While I could not fly, I could still get pretty high into the air, and even glide short distances. His expression when I was suddenly gone was priceless. I'm sure the gods would be proud of me for giving him what he deserved.

Taking my chance, I leaped on top of him. My victim screeched and instinctively tried to throw me off, but I held fast. All I did was clamp my jaw into the spot his scruff was and tighten my grip to a death-hold, digging my claws into his skin. I stayed in that position until he tried to roll on the ground.

Perfect! His sensitive belly now exposed, I jumped off for a second and leaped onto him again, pinning him to the ground. I reared my head back, building up a fireblast that would take care of him once and for all. The high-pitched scream that signaled a Shadow-Blender's strongest attack sounded like music to my ears. I grinned, retracted my teeth, and pursed my lips.

The Viking flapped his wings close to his body, hitting my square in the head. My concentration completely put off, the blast I had built up disappeared. While I was distracted, my enemy clawed at the base of my tail with his hind legs and leaned forward and snapped at my front two. I jumped off of him, gasping slightly.

My eyes narrowed in anger. "You will pay for that!" I screeched, spreading my wings out to their full length and rearing up on my hind legs.

The Viking made a move to scratch my stomach open. I pulled my wings in and crushed my front paws at the base of his neck when he got close to me, sending him into the ground. His entire body began to tip over from the sheer force of the impact. He cried out in agony. When his tail came with reaching distance, I grabbed him and used it to fling him aside.

The valiant little thing struggled to stand up. He backed away from me. "C-change me back," he gasped through his pain. "Just ch-change me b-back." His entire body was shaking and he crouched low to the ground. I towered over his skinny frame, giving him a harsh glare. "Please! Change me back!"

"Why should I," I deadpanned, "when you just attacked me? Why should I not just," I smirked, "punish you further?"

His ears dropped and his frills pressed tight against his head in shock. "W-what? W-w-what are you talking about?" He stood up, arching his back slightly and slowly began to walk backwards.

I casually followed after him. I heard his heart rate speed up. "Oh, nothing," I cooed. I leaped in front of him when he turned to try and dash away. He backed up and cringed in a very humanlike way, attempting to bring a paw up to defend his face. Of course, since he was a dragon now, it only went up to his chest. I flattened my ears against my head and gave him a full-blown snarl, showing him every single one of my teeth. "Except this!"

The human let out a terrified wail. I grabbed him by the neck and pulled my head up as far as it could go, forcing him to walk with his forepaws hanging slightly above the ground. I backed up, shoving him along with me, and checked behind me for something I could throw him at. A large rock, preferably. Even a tree would do! Just something to knock the annoying little thing out.

What met my eyes was even better.

A gorge! There were steep rocky cliffs on all sides. A large lake filled the center, and a small cluster of trees hung off to the side. There were several cracks and small caves in there, maybe just big enough for him to fit. But I didn't really care about that; what only mattered was the fact that this Viking was about to be pushed over a cliff that would certainly kill him.

With a mighty pull, I threw the screeching male over the edge. He flipped in the air once, saw the ground, and…!

He spread out his wings a few seconds before hitting the ground, but it was enough. Instead of hitting the ground at a bone-crushing speed, he simply landed as hard against it as my landings were when I was trying to fly earlier. He grunted loudly and held still, groaning in pain.

I growled in annoyance. How hard could it be to kill this guy?

While he was still stunned, I began to filter gas into my mouth. I snarled loudly, the screeching of my flame rising in pitch and volume. I saw the Viking freeze under me and look up helplessly. He squeezed his eyes shut after a moment and dropped his head in solemn acceptance.

I spat out the fireball. At the same exact time, something hard and metal hit me in the side of the face, knocking it to the side! The blue-white blast screamed as it briefly flew over the gorge. Then, it hit the wall of one of the cliffs, creating a huge hole in it and sending vibrations running through the earth. I heard the scuttle of terrified animals fleeing the direct area.

"Get away from him!" A loud, feminine voice screamed. I looked over just in time to see a blonde-haired human run at me with an axe raised over her shoulder, screaming her little lungs out. My eyes widened a fraction at her sudden appearance.

Sidestepping her, I growled a warning. "Stay out of this, human! This doesn't involve you in the least bit."

Below me, I heard the Viking-dragon call out, "Astrid! Run!"

I looked at him in surprise. He was on his feet again, gesturing wildly to the girl to run. His eyes were the biggest I'd ever seen on a dragon and were full of fear.

The Viking girl was of importance to him? I set my lime-green eyes on her. She was shaking her head stubbornly at her grounded companion and easing into a fighting position. We locked eyes. I hissed at her and charged.

I was too fast for her to dodge. She tried to jump out of the way, but I was too quick! I grabbed her midair and flung her towards a nearby tree. To my surprise, she grabbed the bark and swung around it using only a hand. Even though her palm and fingers immediately started bleeding, it was a bit impressive. I quickly shook off the emotion, though, reminding myself that this monster had just attacked me out of nowhere. I was only ridding the world of a certain evil!

I charged up for a fireblast. She spun on her heels, fooling me into thinking she was running and making me falter. But she wasn't! The evil girl continued on with her spin and thrust her axe at my head. I barely had enough time to duck. The familiar chopping sound of the weapon being thrown into something came up behind me. It turned slightly and flared my nostrils in surprise. The axe was sticking into a tree!

If that had been my head… I shuddered. It would have killed me!

The girl screamed again, sheathing a small dagger that had been on the side of her belt. I crouched low, roaring in outrage.

She swung at me. I jumped back to avoid the hit and then stepped aside to dodge another. While she was still swinging, I pulled a paw up and swiped at her chest, sending her falling onto the ground. I went to pounce on her, but she rolled away and kicked me in the cheek! While it didn't hurt me physically, it certainly wounded my dignity. I bared my teeth at her and grabbed her foot, rising on my hind legs and spinning my body. I let her go halfway through. The Viking girl screamed until she hit the ground with a loud 'thump'.

Panting, she got to her feet again and patted her sides in search of a weapon. Her expression slowly melted from brave anger to horrified fear when she realized that she had nothing to defend herself with. I sent her a grin, tail swishing back and forth. "Looks like I win, human," I told her.

I doubt she understood me, but she took off running anyways. I immediately gave chase, ignoring the Viking-dragon's cries.

The girl was a lot more agile than I had expected. She ducked under things and swerved at angles a dragon as big as myself couldn't hope to do without getting hurt. I growled in annoyance when she used this strategy again. And again. And again.

"Stop moving!" I demanded at the top of my lungs when I had eventually lost sight on her. Now all I could depend on was my sense of smell (which wasn't a help; by now, she was covered in plants and smelled just like one) and hearing (how in the god's name can a human be so quiet?).

After awhile, I stopped, slightly out of breath. I narrowed my eyes and let out a wordless bellow of outrage. How dare a human defeat a Shadow-Blender! I would make her regret this day for the rest of her life! I made this message very clear to every living thing around me by shooting a fireball at a tree, causing it to explode and run into a bunch of other trees. I sniffed warily at the tiny fire that had started.

Eh, there's some rain coming in soon. That'll fix it, I reassured myself. Besides, the fire wasn't that big. It wasn't even medium-sized!

My ears pricked at the sound of shouting voices. Human shouting voices.

Aw, damn! I didn't realize I was this close to their village! They probably heard and saw that. Stupid, stupid! I berated myself. I slunk back as the voices started to get louder, and when they were very close, I turned and silently fled into the forest.

I dropped to the ground, chest heaving and skin sweaty. I pushed my long hair back and rolled my sleeves up in an attempt to cool off. Rolling onto my back, I closed my eyes and thanked every single god I could think of that I was still alive and not some miserable wreck of a dragon's breakfast.

Images of what had just happened flashed before my eyes. Finding the dragon…no, Hiccup, in the forest. Scaring him off by accident. Searching the woods until I heard him fighting the Night Fury responsible, and then defending him from it.

Why in the world was that Night Fury still around? I squeezed my eyes and clenched my teeth and fists at the thought of the demon. I bet it wanted to turn more people into dragons, or even eat Hiccup. Why else would it attack him? I wouldn't be surprised if we Vikings found out that Night Furies would practice cannibalism. It would only add to how terrible, sickening, destructive, insane, evil, and selfish they are!

That dragon…it was a monster.

Because of it, Hiccup was gone. Because Hiccup was gone, Chief Stoic was a mess!

He'd locked himself up in his house after Hiccup had run off and hadn't come out since. To make matters worse, he wasn't even talking to anyone! Even his best friend, Gobber, couldn't get him to come out of his shell. It was awful. What's a tribe to do without its leader?

The village itself had fallen deathly silent, as if the Night Fury had taken us all prisoner. People would huddle in their own groups and whisper to each other, stopping whenever an outsider came close to them. The remaining villagers were holed up in their houses, trying to work to get their minds off of what had happened.

While I don't like Hiccup in the least bit (he's a sorry excuse for a Viking), he did matter to Chief Stoic, no matter how much the man denied it. Anyone would go into such a shock after seeing their one and only son, albeit weak and scrawny, being transformed into a dragon right before their eyes. So, the obvious solution is to get Hiccup to come back, make amends, and possibly break the spell!

That's why I had gone out into the forest. I repeatedly told myself that I had done it for the tribe, not Hiccup. The only thing that mattered was getting everything back to normal, or we'll become as weak as the other tribes around us and get forced to flee our homeland.

The distant sound of something exploding pulled me out of my thoughts. I sat upright, instinctively reaching for the axe that I would never see again. Far off in the distance, within the forest, smoke was rising. I heard a faint caterwauling coming from within. Several of the brave villagers who lived close to the forest yelped in shock, grabbed the nearest weapon, and started to advance on whatever had made that happen.

I scoffed at their panicky movements. I knew that it was that Night Fury throwing a hissy-fit because I'd managed to escape from it. A small smile tugged at my lips while I stood up. How many people can say that they beat a Night Fury in a game of hide-and-seek? Deadly hide-and-seek, I might add.

My eyes widened in sudden realization. I had to tell someone about Hiccup! I should have told the entire village by now instead of just lying in the grass to regain energy. I cursed at myself. I should have never put my own needs before everyone else's.

I went to head for Chief Stoic's house, but stopped myself. Chances are there was still a big crowd around his house, and I didn't want the entire village to go into a panic when they learned that the Night Fury that cursed Hiccup was still wandering about. Plus, I needed more information. Not just, "I saw Hiccup in the woods with another Night Fury".

Who could I go to for information? Who could I trust not to tell anyone?

I plopped down next to Fishlegs, who was staring out his window worriedly. He hadn't moved an inch away from it since this morning. I flipped my bangs back and forced my expression to become impassive. I was here to get information. Nothing else.

"So, u-u-uh, what is it that you want?" He asked uncertainly, glancing over at me and back out the window.

"Tell me about dragon magic." I got right into business. No beating around the bushes for me. I needed information, and I needed it fast. "Like, how it works. Is there a way to reverse it? Can dragons do other things?"

Fishlegs stopped in his worrying and cast me a suspicious glance, showing a brave side of him that usually only came out during raids. He glanced at my hands and where I usually kept my extra dagger attached to my skull-and-bones skirt. Then he stared right into my eyes.

"You chased down that Night Fury, didn't you." It was a statement. I blinked several times in shock. Fishlegs was a lot smarter than I gave him credit for. I had never expected him to get it dead-on like that. I'd even come up with an alibi!

"How did you know?" I asked, genuinely impressed. 'Brave' Fishlegs disappeared under my admiration and was instantly replaces by timid, shy, nerdy, slightly starstruck Fishlegs. He dropped his gaze and looked out the window again, tapping his chubby fingers against the wood paneling.

I kicked him none-too-gently in the side. "I noticed that you didn't have your axe or dagger, and you look kind of winded," Fishlegs struggled to get out. He tapped his fingers together. "It's not hard to figure out, considering how you were ranting earlier about the Night Fury messing everything up."

I nodded, eyes glazing over slightly as I remembered what he was talking about. Refocusing, I told him, "Well, now that that's in the open, can you answer my question?"

Fishlegs turned and gave me a small—very small—glare. "Astrid, you can't go fighting a Night Fury when you haven't even had any real training yet! It's suicide!" He threw his arms into the air and shook his head wildly when he reached the last word. "I won't let you!"

"Really? When did it become any of your business?" I demanded, standing up angrily. I squared my feet, raised my shoulders, and lifted my head.

"Uh, I don't know, since you just told me?" Fishlegs shot back. Looks like brave Fishlegs has made a reappearance. "If you go, then I'll tell everyone. It doesn't matter if I can't stop you, but I'm pretty sure the entire village can. And, really, Astrid, I doubt Chief Stoic wants anybody going missing in the woods right now. We need all the warriors we can get."

His speech over, he stopped to wait for my reaction. I considered this for a moment. I'd never thought of it like that. I grimaced at the memory of the Night Fury throwing me at a tree, just barely missing my head against the trunk.

"So," Fishlegs decided, "I'll tell you about dragon magic. But you can't use that knowledge anywhere. Not in the woods, not in the village, and definitely not fighting some crazed dragon with a lot of magic power. Deal?" He stuck his hand out to me.

"Deal," I grudgingly agreed, grabbing his hand and shaking it a bit too hard.

"Alright!" Fishlegs jumped off of his bed and walked over to a desk covered in books. He shuffled them around, talking loudly to himself. "Dragon Encyclopedia, Dragon Fighting Techniques, How to Kill a Dragon, Fishing—oh! Here it is!" He grabbed a medium-thick book with a faded cover and worn pages. "The Analysis of Dragon Magic! I've read it, like, seven times."

I raised an eyebrow. Hadn't he just been scared out of his mind a few minutes ago?

Fishlegs sat down on his bed, making it creak loudly and dip under him. He opened the book to its glossary, running a finger along the runes written into the yellowing paper. I looked over his shoulder curiously. "Aha!" He exclaimed. "Magic on humans, page 45."

He flipped through the thin paper quickly until he stopped on the designated page. I blinked at it. The page was almost completely covered in sentences. Unlike many books on dragons, there didn't seem to be pictures. I squinted to try and see what was on the page, but Fishlegs began reading it aloud.

"Dragon magic is usually very hard to learn about it, since most captured dragons appear to be unwilling to use it when confined. On occasion, there has been times when dragons use magic to make their attacks stronger, but there is debate on that subject because—"

"Can you get to the 'magic on people' part?" I interrupted impatiently.

Fishlegs flinched slightly and quickly skimmed, making his finger race back and forth along the page. "Uh, here it is. Dragons have not used magic on humans very much in the past, suggesting that it is too risky for them to do it. The only known uses of dragon magic on Vikings is possessing them, or changing their general appearance."

He stopped and looked at me. I raised my eyebrows in surprise. "That's it?" He nodded. "You sure?" More nodding.

"What the hell?" I leaped up and threw my arms into the air. "That's the only thing we know about dragon magic?" I paced around the room angrily, kicking at the chair that was resting by the small desk. It clattered to the floor, and I picked it up and threw it into a wall. "How are we going to fix things, then?"

"Fix things?" Fishlegs parroted. "Astrid! We just made a deal! What were you planning on doing?"

I glared at my feet. Oh. I'd forgotten about that little part. I heard him get up from his bed swiftly and walked over to me. He closed the book and set it on the dresser, picked up the chair, and set it back to where it had been before. In the awkward, tense silence, he sat down and stared at me. When I refused to speak, he sighed and murmured something about 'stubbornness issues'.

"Astrid. You can't possibly think you can break a Night Fury's magic by yourself." I looked up at him, eyebrows knitted together. "Well, you see," Fishlegs explained, "if that dragon could change a human into a dragon, then it's obviously incredibly powerful. How can you face something like that? Do you want to become a dragon, too?" His voice turned fearful at this.

I sighed. "I…guess you're right," I grudgingly admitted. I turned to him sharply and jabbed a finger at him. "But this isn't going to be the end of this! Unlike everyone else, I'm going to try and solve this! I might not have to face the Night Fury alone!"

Fishlegs rolled his eyes. "How exactly do you plan on doing that? Are you forgetting that this is a Night Fury, the only thing that any Viking has every feared, that we're talking about? The only reasing you're going after it is because you're too stubborn to admit defeat. Who's going to help you?" He raised a blond eyebrow and crossed his arms.

"The rest of the gang, of course." I replied. A plan was already formulating in my head. At Fishleg's disbelieving snort, I added, "And you." He gasped loudly.

"W-w-what?" He grabbed my arm, eyes wide. "No!"

"If we can just convince that dragon that it's outmatched," I jerked my head towards the forest, "then we can trick it into changing Hiccup back."

"No. Too dangerous. You don't even like Hiccup!" Fishlegs shook his head wildly and backed away from me.

I glared. "Do you want Chief Stoic to be a mess the rest of his life? No? Well, then we should probably help Hiccup."

It was Fishleg's turn to give me a dirty look. "You don't even care about him! All you're thinking about is the village's welfare! Hiccup could die, and you wouldn't even bat an eye at it!"

I scoffed. "That's untrue. I just happen to like, I don't know, living in a place that isn't falling apart at the seams? Face it, Fishlegs, if Hiccup doesn't come back, we're done for! The other Vikings will find out eventually, and we'll be attacked!"

Fishlegs fell silent again.

I was a little surprised at his accusation. Sure, I didn't like Hiccup and had said numerous times, out of his hearing distance, that the village would be better off without him. But not like this! While Hiccup was annoying and clumsy, he had the best intentions and always tried his best, even if he ended up failing every single time. That's why I never teased him like the others; because I could see more than they could. I respected the fact that he wasn't trying to do everything he did on purpose. Unfortunately, Hiccup's ambition was what got everyone into this mess. I doubted that he'd be in any shape to try and help himself right now, Chief Stoic was out of the count, and the village was scared out of its wits. That left me.

I know that basing the entire thing off of the greater good seemed ridiculous. I admit it, what happened to Hiccup was wrong. I wanted to help him, too. But the entire tribe was far more important than one wayward person who never did anything right. Thinking about it, though, maybe I should have told Fishlegs that part, too. He probably thought I was some goody-goody that didn't care about anyone else, which is a lie!

"I think you should leave," Fishlegs murmured. Crap. I should have explained myself further. The exact opposite of what I had wanted just happened.

"I'm going to go tell the others," I told Fishlegs, standing up. "I'll see you later."


I walked out of his house into the cool morning air. A few birds were flying overhead, swirling around each other in eccentric patterns. A few stray villagers were walking around. None of the were really doing anything. I sighed.

Now I had to find Snoutlout, Ruffnut, and Tuffnut. We needed to get to work.