I really hope that this chapter makes up for the long wait that all of you loyal readers had to go through, and I hope that all of you will have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Bare Night, Cute Morning

"Are you alright, Mr. Haddock?" Queen Elinor asked, as she started to believe that something was wrong when she noticed Hiccup had a frown on his face at the moment.

Hearing this question had caused Hiccup's train of thought about his tribe possibly being the Northern Invaders to stop as he quickly brought his head up to face the Queen.

"I'm okay, Your Majesty, and I was just thinking about how fortunate you and your whole family are to still be alive after those Northern Invaders came here." Hiccup fibbed.

"Yes, we are, Mr. Haddock, and I'd say that we are fortunate enough that they never came back and let our kingdom and the other clans live in peace." Queen Elinor replied.

Hiccup was about to say something when all of a sudden, he let out a big yawn while making sure not to hit Merida by accident as he stretched out one of his arms in the air. He instantly made sure to cover his mouth with one of his hands so that none of the triplets could catch a glimpse inside of his mouth and vomit for the second time today. The Viking didn't want the King and Queen to assume that he's become bored from what they told him, and he was truly tired, so he thought it was necessary to tell them.

"I'm sorry, Your Majesty, I didn't yawn just now because I was bored or anything, but because I'm actually quite tired, so I should probably get some sleep." Hiccup revealed.

"We'll be doin' that too, Mr. Haddock, since we usually go to bed after dinnertime, so one of the servants will escort you and Toothless to your room." King Fergus informed.

"Thank you, Your Majesty." Hiccup responded, and just after those words left his mouth, a group of four servants arrived to collect all the empty plates from the dinner table.

Two more servants came out the kitchen doors to pick up the barrel used to hold Toothless' fish, because it was still quite heavy even though it had no more fish inside of it.

"Could one of you escort Mr. Haddock and his dragon to their room after you've put that barrel back?" The Queen requested, while facing the servants who held the barrel.

One of the servants nodded in agreement to Queen Elinor before the two of them followed the other four servants as they carried the empty barrel back into the kitchen.

"Wait, Mum!" Merida shouted as she got up from her chair before facing her mother. "I know where Hiccup's room is, so could I bring him and Toothless back?" She asked.

The Queen couldn't think of a reason why her daughter shouldn't do it, since Merida didn't need an escort to find her room unlike her brothers, who always needed one so they didn't get lost.

"I don't see why not, Merida, but I have one condition. You return to your own room after you've brought them back to theirs and said goodnight." Queen Elinor requested.

"Yes, Mum," Merida responded as she nodded in agreement before turning to face Hiccup. "Follow me, dragon boy, and I promise I won't get both of ye lost." She added.

Hiccup couldn't resist from letting out a chuckle as he heard Merida's nickname for him, and he got up from his chair, but quickly turned around to face both of her parents.

"Your Majesty, thank you for not just the meal tonight, but for allowing me to tell you and your family all about how dragons got to live in peace with Vikings." Hiccup said.

"You're our guest, Mr. Haddock, so it was our pleasure, and the same will go for every other meal that you'll have with us until you and Toothless leave." The Queen replied.

Hiccup didn't stop a smile from appearing on his face after hearing Merida's mother say that, as it made him look forward to the next time that he shared a meal with them.

"That's good to know, Your Majesty." Hiccup responded kindly, before him and Toothless turned to follow Merida as they left the Great Hall and walked through the hallway.

The Viking and the princess stayed quiet as they walked, but since Hiccup didn't want things to be awkward between them, he thought it was best for him to break the ice.

"Merida, I have a question," Hiccup said, and he waited until the redhead faced him before speaking again. "It might be silly to ask you this now, but did you like my story?"

"I loved yer story, Hiccup, and as much as I enjoy hearin' my Dad's stories, it was nice to listen to a completely new story tonight, so thank ye for that." Merida answered.

"Your welcome, Merida, and as luck would have it, I've got a lot more stories to tell your family, so you'll get to hear something new for the next few days." Hiccup revealed.

Even though Merida didn't say a word, Hiccup could tell that the Scottish royal was very happy to hear what he just said, since he saw a smile instantly appear on her face. Hiccup was almost tempted to ask Merida if she wanted to hear another story before she went to bed, but he decided not to, believing that she must have been pretty tired. The dragon rider was sure that one of the servants or even Merida's parents would stop by her room later, so Hiccup didn't want them to panic and assume she'd gone missing.

"I guess ye won't mind tellin' one of those stories durin' breakfast tomorrow, because Mum and Dad won't let us go outside without eatin somethin' first." Merida informed.

"Don't worry, Merida, I'm okay with that, since I don't think either me or Toothless could actually go through the morning without getting something to eat." Hiccup replied.

"Isn't that right, bud?" Hiccup asked, but not before turning his head and bringing it down a little to face Toothless, who gave his answer by snorting a happy 'yes!' to Hiccup.

Merida couldn't help but giggle from seeing the cute interaction between Toothless and his best friend, but she just hoped that she wasn't loud enough for them to hear her.

"Well, Hiccup, here's yer room," Merida declared while motioning Hiccup and his dragon to a door right next to them. "I have a good memory, so this can't be the wrong one."

The princess kept quiet as she let Hiccup go ahead and open up the door to take a look for himself, and she was relieved when he turned to face her with a smile on his face.

"You've got a good memory, Merida, this is definitely my room, because I remember Toothless and I being in here earlier today, so thanks for being our escort." Hiccup said.

Merida almost felt like bragging, but she knew it wasn't the right time for that, and even if she'd done it, then she probably would've ruined her conversation with Hiccup.

"Yer welcome, Hiccup, and I'm glad that I could help you out," Merida said, but not before she took a few steps aside to let Toothless go inside too. "Goodnight." She added.

"Goodnight, Merida." Hiccup responded while smiling, then he slowly closed the door, and turned around without stopping to see if Merida already left to return to her room.

What Hiccup didn't know was that Merida never did leave, and for some reason, she decided to stay and watch both him and Toothless through a small window in the door. Merida knew this was something that she'd definitely be scolded for if her mother had caught her, but she didn't feel like leaving Hiccup just yet, and she didn't know why. Her and Hiccup would get to spend more time together when he taught her how to ride a dragon tomorrow, and he was staying with her and her family for a few more days.

The redhead wasn't planning to make this into a hobby, so she decided it would be just a one time thing, and she brought her attention back to the Viking in his bedroom. Merida didn't focus on Toothless so much, because the dragon was now laying down on the floor, so that meant Toothless was either already sleeping, or about to fall asleep. The princess had been expecting Hiccup to do the same as his best friend and get into bed right away, but instead, he did something that left Merida frozen as it happened.

Hiccup's long, thin, and facile fingers grasped the edge of his tunic, and in one swift, fluid motion, he lifted the piece of clothing over his head and dropped it on a nearby shelf. Up until now, Merida had no interest whatsoever in seeing what Hiccup's chest looked like, but seeing it now, her heart stopped, her jaw dropped, and she could do absolutely nothing but stare. From the waist up, it was all pale, freckle-dusted skin, with sharp bones, flat planes of muscle, and his stomach was flat and ribbed, every bit as tight and lean as his back.

Merida presumed that Hiccup wasn't a fighter, because he didn't have the bulk that other young men must have possessed in his village, but Hiccup was athletic in his own right. Riding a dragon for the past several years must have kept Hiccup in shape, and Merida didn't think it'd be very appropriate to ask him if that was true during his stay here. Merida quickly stopped herself from letting out a loud groan as she watched Hiccup get into his bed, which meant Merida no longer had a good view of his half naked form.

Now that the Viking was getting some much needed sleep just like his dragon, Merida believed it was time for her to return to her own bedroom and do the exact same thing. As she walked away from Toothless and Hiccup's bedroom door, Merida started to worry that she might bump into either her parents or one of the servants in the castle. Fortunately for the redhead, she didn't run into anybody familiar through the hallways, so when Merida was finally back inside her room, she let out a huge sigh of relief.

The first thing Merida decided to do was change, and it made perfect sense, considering she never preferred to sleep in a dress overnight unless she was out in the woods. Merida didn't need to worry about her room not having enough light, because there was a warm, lit fire in the fireplace, which must have been done by one of the servants. She would've remembered starting a fire in her own room, so Merida would make sure to thank the servant in the morning, but also get her parents to find the servant first.

Without further ado, Merida changed out of her long-sleeved dark teal dress and placed it on a nearby shelf, then she put on a white dress that she usually wore for bedtime. The last thing Merida needed to do now before going to sleep was put out the fire, and she was able to do that by using a pitcher filled with water that a servant left for her. Once she finally got into bed, Merida did her best to try and keep her mind focused on the riding lesson she'd be having with Hiccup tomorrow, and not on the young man's impressive physique.

Hiccup felt quite relieved that he didn't experience another major headache when he woke up, and it must have meant his head was healing from his injury just yesterday. What made sleeping last night so much better for Hiccup was definitely not being in his flight suit, but he wasn't upset with Merida's family for not removing it after tending to his injury, since none of them knew how, and he had been unconscious at the time. Once he sat up in bed, a smile appeared on Hiccup's face as he remembered that he'd give Merida a riding lesson with Toothless today, and this also caused him to feel a lot more excited. It wasn't just because Toothless would have a chance to literally spread his wings and get up in the air, but it could also give the Scottish royals a good reason to have dragons around their home more often.

If Merida's family was able to convince the other three clans that dragons were real and not a dangerous threat, then three new alliances would be formed with Berk in the near future. His father was probably still upset with him for taking off despite leaving a note, but that was sure to change after Stoick heard how his son's skills as a diplomat had worked wonders on the people of Scotland. Even though Hiccup felt more happy just thinking about it, he knew that he really shouldn't get ahead of himself, so for now, he could only hope that Merida's lesson would be a complete success. Hiccup figured that a servant would soon stop by his room to escort him and Toothless to the Great Hall for breakfast, but he thought it was a good idea to get dressed now.

Hiccup pulled away the blanket and got himself out of bed, but not before picking up his prosthetic leg from the spot where he left it on the floor, and attached it to his left leg. He already noticed that Toothless was still asleep, so Hiccup decided not to make a sound and wake him up by hopping over to the shelf where he left his shirt last night and putting it on. All of a sudden, Hiccup realized that it wouldn't have been appropriate of him to just head for breakfast without getting washed up first, but he assumed that a servant would escort him to a bathroom so he could do that. Hiccup almost felt like making a facepalm as he could just use the bowl of water that was on top on the shelf in his room, but he couldn't help but wonder if the water was actually clean and fresh.

It must have been, since this was Toothless and Hiccup's room, and it definitely would've been rude of Merida's family to have a servant leave a bowl of dirty water for them. Hiccup took a closer look at the water inside the bowl, and he could easily see his own reflection, so the Viking considered it to be proof that the water wasn't contaminated. Hiccup put his hands together to form a cup before bringing them into the bowl's water while leaning his head closer to the bowl since he didn't want to get the shelf wet. In only a few seconds, Hiccup scooped up the water and he splashed his face with it, and he repeated this routine two more times before taking his hands out of the bowl.

After he'd done that, Hiccup realized that he needed something to wipe his hands clean from the water, but it didn't take him long to think of something that could help. Luckily, Toothless wasn't laying down on the fur rug, so Hiccup quickly hopped over to it and rubbed his hands on the rug, but not before getting down on one knee first. Right when he was standing on his foot, Hiccup saw that he wasn't wearing his fur boot, so he quietly searched the room until he finally found it and put it on right away. Hiccup couldn't help but wonder if Merida was already awake too, and it made him curious if she'd stop by his room soon and ask to hear one of his stories he promised her.

Before he had the chance to think about that more, Hiccup heard a knock at the door, and he could easily see through its window that it wasn't Merida on the other side. Hearing this had also caused Toothless' sleep to come to an end, but Hiccup wasn't too upset about that happening, since the dragon was going to wake up sooner or later. Hiccup made sure not to step on Toothless' tail with either foot by accident as he walked over to the door, but not before playfully rubbing a hand on top of the dragon's head.

"Good morning, Mr. Haddock," A servant said with a cheerful tone in her voice, but waiting until Hiccup opened the door completely. "How did you sleep?" She asked.

"My head's feeling much better, so I slept very well last night, and thanks for asking. I guess you've come to escort us to the Great Hall for breakfast?" Hiccup inquired.

"Yes, Mr. Haddock, and I assume that the princess is already there, since the Queen said that she would go to her daughter's room and wake her up." The servant replied.

"Well, me and Toothless are already awake, so we can follow you there right now, but I'll just check and see if Toothless isn't still laying on the floor." Hiccup responded.

When Hiccup turned around, he quickly saw that Toothless wasn't laying on the floor anymore, and the dragon was now standing on all fours and ready for breakfast.

"It's time for breakfast, bud." Hiccup declared happily before he walked out of the room, but Hiccup waited until his best friend was out too before closing the door shut.

Toothless and Hiccup stayed unusually quiet as they followed the servant to the Great Hall, and this was actually because they were both thinking about different things. The Night Fury wondered if he'd get to enjoy another barrel of his favorite fish, while Hiccup was hoping that Merida would already be at the dinner table waiting for him. This caused Hiccup to start thinking of what story that he should tell Merida and her family, but it definitely had to be one that wouldn't make lose them their appetites.

By the time that they arrived at the Great Hall, the Viking had managed to have a good story in mind, and he quickly looked up to see if whether or not Merida was here too. To Hiccup's delight, there was a girl with curly red hair sitting at the table, and he knew it couldn't have been just one of the servants impersonating the princess for fun. Before he headed towards the table, Hiccup turned to face the servant, since it would've been rude to not thank her for escorting him and Toothless through the hallways.

"Thanks for bringing us here, ma'am, we really appreciate it." Hiccup told the servant while giving a smile, and the servant nodded and smiled back before leaving the room.

After expressing his gratitude to the servant, Hiccup went over to take a seat at the table as Toothless followed, then sat down on his hind legs right next to Hiccup's chair.

"Good morning, Mr. Haddock!" Queen Elinor said, but she waited until Hiccup was sitting down before greeting him. "The servant's probably asked you this already, but how did you sleep?" She asked.

"I slept very well, Your Majesty," Hiccup answered, then decided to tell the Queen another thing that he recently told the servant. "My head's feeling a lot better." He added.

"I'm happy to hear that, Mr. Haddock, but I hope you and Toothless are hungry, because our servants will be coming out with breakfast very soon." Queen Elinor informed.

"Yes, Your Majesty, we're very hungry," Hiccup replied before turning to face Merida, since he'd been wanted to talk to her too. "Good morning, Merida, how did you sleep?" He asked.

"I slept well, Hiccup, even though I usually like to sleep in, but Mum always tells me that a princess should rise with the sun, so I got up a while ago." Merida responded.

Hiccup had been able to notice that Merida didn't even look at him when she was talking, but before he could ask her if something was wrong, Merida's mother spoke up.

"Mr. Haddock, when Merida says sleep in, she means 'lolling about', but there's nothing wrong with me joining her long after the sun is in the sky." The Queen revealed.

"That's good to know, Your Majesty," Hiccup said kindly while facing Queen Elinor, then he turned to face her daughter. "Hey, Merida, are you upset with me?" He asked.

Merida still didn't bother to turn her head and look at Hiccup after hearing his question, but it did cause the rest of her family to look at him with confusion on their face.

"Mr. Haddock, now why would you possibly think Merida's upset with you?" The Queen inquired, as she became curious to also find out why Merida wouldn't look at him.

"Honesty, I don't know, Your Majesty, but I do know from past experience that if someone's not looking at me, then they're angry at me for some reason." Hiccup replied.

The last thing Merida wanted to happen right now was for Hiccup and her family to find out she saw Hiccup half-naked last night, so she quickly thought of a good excuse. Merida was also worried that if she did look at Hiccup, then she would begin fantasizing him without a shirt, and that would certainly make her dragon riding lesson awkward. All of a sudden, Merida was able to come up with a reason, but even though she really didn't want to lie to Hiccup, the princess didn't have anything else in mind to tell him.

"I'm sorry, Hiccup," Merida said, but not before she slowly turned her head to face him. "It's just I had a really bad dream last night, and ye were in it too." Merida fibbed.

"Really, Merida, because you seemed fine when I saw you this morning." Queen Elinor said, while not bothering to realize that her daughter wasn't directly speaking to her.

"Mum, I didn't want ye to be worried, and besides, it was actually a good dream too, since it had Toothless comin' to rescue Hiccup from Mor'du's clutches." Merida explained.

Although it hurt Merida inside to be lying to her mother, she didn't want the truth to get out, become a lot more embarrassed and have their mealtime become so awkward.

"I'm glad that you told us about it, Merida, and I appreciate that you didn't keep it a secret from us either, but you know that you can be always honest with us, right?" The Queen asked.

"Yes, Mum, I know," Merida answered, before turning to face Hiccup again. "I'm sorry for makin' ye think I was angry with ye, Hiccup, so can ye forgive me?" She asked.

Instead of saying of word right away, Hiccup took a hand off from the table and put it on Merida's shoulder, and the redhead did her best not to blush while looking at him.

"Of course I forgive you, Merida, and you should never be afraid to tell me anything, even if it's about a bad dream of me getting hurt by a demon bear." Hiccup replied.

Merida couldn't resist smiling that Hiccup wasn't upset with her at all, and she could tell from the sincere tone in his voice that he appreciated her being honest with him, even if it wasn't technically the real truth.

"Okay, Hiccup, from now on, if there's something that I want to tell ye, then I'll just tell ye right away, and I promise I won't keep it a secret from ye either." Merida declared.

The smile was on Hiccup's face grew bigger from what he just heard, and he was about to say something when a group of five servants had come out from the kitchen. Three of the servants were each carrying a large plate with food, while two of them carried a large barrel together, and Toothless licked his lips as he already knew it was meant for him. Toothless did his absolute best to wait until after the servants had carefully placed the barrel down on the floor and were a good distance away from it before he started his meal.

"All of it smells really good," Hiccup said, but until each servant put the plate of food they were holding down onto the table, and Hiccup quickly picked up a fork and knife.

One of the plates had a bunch of sunny side up eggs, while the second had groups of different meat, such as sausage and chicken, and the third had fruit and vegetables.

"We hope you enjoy your meal." The servants said in unison before all of them went back into the kitchen, and that's when Hiccup, Merida, and the rest of her family started picking which food they wanted to eat.

"Hey, Merida," Hiccup said while turning to face the princess, but not until he took a few sausages and eggs by using his fork and putting them onto his plate. "Do you mind telling me more about your dream?" He asked.

Merida's eyes widened as soon as she heard that question, considering that she wasn't expecting to give more detail about a dream that she didn't even have last night.

"Oh, no, I don't mind, Hiccup, but I probably think it should wait until after we've had our breakfast, because I don't want anyone to get sick hearin' it." Merida answered.

Merida couldn't help but wonder if she upset Hiccup with her reply, but when she saw a smile soon appear on his face, the redhead knew that the Viking wasn't angry at her.

"That's a good idea, Merida, and as much as I want to hear about your dream, I wouldn't want anyone to lose their appetite, so I don't mind waiting to hear it." Hiccup said.

Instead of letting out a huge sigh of relief, which she really wanted to make, Merida just smiled while nodding her head until Hiccup brought his attention back to his meal. For the next few minutes, everybody ate their meal in silence until Merida suddenly began thinking of what he should tell Hiccup when she described her 'dream' to him. It would be quite a challenge to make the tale as long as her story about how her bond with her mother became stronger, so Merida decided to keep it as short as possible.

"Hey, Hiccup?" Merida said, and she waited until Hiccup had turned to face her before speaking again. "I just want to let ye know that my dream wasn't long." She added.

"Merida, that's okay with me," Hiccup responded, but not before he swallowed the food in his mouth. "I won't even mind if the story's only a few minutes." He assured.

"In that case, Hiccup, I'll make sure to have my tale be as scary and entertainin' for ye as possible, but why don't ye tell a story for us after breakfast." Merida requested.

"Don't worry, Merida, I'm definitely going to do that." Hiccup replied, and once they returned to eating their meal, he began thinking of what story that he should tell them.

Hiccup already told the Scottish royals all about how dragons got to live in harmony with the Vikings of Berk, so it needed to be a new and completely different story this time. All of a sudden, Hiccup's eyes widened a bit as a story came to his mind, and he felt confident they'd enjoy it, considering there was plenty of action throughout the story. Even though it'd be a long story, Hiccup assumed that Merida wasn't in any sort of rush for them to head outside so he could teach her how to fly Toothless on her own.

When Hiccup took a glance at Merida, he easily noticed that she hadn't been eating her food in a fast pace, but was taking her time just like everybody else in her family. Hiccup believed that there wasn't any reason for him not to do the same, and when he glanced at Toothless, he saw that the dragon had already finished his meal and was lying down comfortably on the floor. The Viking was a little surprised that Toothless hadn't been so eager to leave the castle and spread his wings in the air, but the Night Fury was probably just taking a moment to let all of the fish he ate to be properly digested in his stomach.

"Hiccup?" Merida said, and this obviously caused Hiccup to swallow the food in his mouth and turn to face her again. "There's somethin' that I want to ask you." She added.

"What is it, Merida?" Hiccup inquired, and he was already curious to find out if whether her question would be about her dream, or one of the stories he promised to tell her.

"I know that ye're goin' to teach me how to fly Toothless, but I just want to know what are some of the things that I'm goin' to learn while I'm flying him." Merida inquired.

"Since it's your very first lesson, Merida, I'll teach you a few easy things, such as how to fly him in a gliding position, and how to turn him left and right." Hiccup answered.

It made Merida feel delighted to know about what she'll be experiencing in the lesson, since she hadn't been one for surprises ever since her mother had turned into a bear.

"Thanks for lettin' me know, Hiccup, because now I'm a lot more excited for the lesson." Merida said appreciatively while facing the Viking before returning to eat her meal.

"Your welcome." Hiccup replied with a smile on his face, then he went back to finishing the rest of the food that was on his plate, and made sure to take his time eating it.

After he was done with his meal, Hiccup looked around to see if anybody else was done too, but he was surprised to see that they were still taking bites of their breakfast. Hiccup was in no rush to either go outside or tell a story to Merida and her family, so he didn't really mind waiting for all the Scottish royals to be finished with their meal. It wasn't until he gently patted Toothless on the head that Hiccup realized he needed a drink to wash down all of the food he ate, but there wasn't any drinks on the table.

"Excuse me, Your Majesty?" Hiccup said while being loud enough for him to be heard, and it seemed that did happen as Queen Elinor turned her head and looked at him.

"I've finished my meal, but I don't think the servants brought us any sort of drink to wash it down, so you don't mind if I head into the kitchen to get one?" Hiccup asked.

"That's not necessary, Mr. Haddock," The Queen said while putting down her fork and knife, then picked up a bell. "I can just have a servant do that for you." She added.

After saying this, Queen Elinor had rung the bell for a moment, and it was only a few seconds that passed before a servant had come out and stood in front of the Queen.

"Mr. Haddock's finished his meal, so can you please get him a drink?" Queen Elinor requested before turning to face Hiccup. "What kind of drink would you like?" She asked.

"It's the morning, so water will be just fine," Hiccup replied, and right after the words had left his mouth, the servant gave a nod to him before going back into the kitchen.

Half a minute went by until the servant appeared while carrying a wooden cup of fresh water this time, and she placed the cup gently right next to Hiccup's empty plate.

"Thank you." Hiccup said while smiling at the servant, who nodded before leaving again, and once she was gone, he picked up the cup in his hand and started drinking.

Hiccup didn't see the point in leaving some of the water in the cup, so that's why he drank all of it, but after he'd done that, the Viking suddenly felt very thirsty again. Just as he was about to inform the Queen about his thirst, he started wondering if Merida's mother wouldn't mind letting him use the bell to call for a servant himself. Queen Elinor wouldn't have to take a break from eating her breakfast to talk to either him or the servant, and Hiccup still believed that she didn't like to be bothered during a mealtime.

"Excuse me, Your Majesty?" Hiccup said, and he waited until the Queen was looking at him before speaking again. "Would it be okay with you if I used that bell?" He asked.

"That's not necessary, Mr Haddock, you're our guest and I don't mind doing it for you, so I'm guessing that you'd like another cup of water, right?" Queen Elinor inquired.

Instead of saying a word, Hiccup just nodded his head, and so the Queen picked up and rang the bell, which led to another servant to appear in front of her once again.

"Mr. Haddock would like another cup of water, but I'm not too surprised, since he did have a big meal, so could you please bring him two cups?" Queen Elinor requested.

Hiccup was obviously touched that the Queen had asked the servant to return with not one, but two cups of water, so he thought it was necessary for him to thank her.

"Thank you, Your Majesty," Hiccup said, but not before the servant had already gone into the kitchen. "I know it's only two cups of water, but I appreciate it." He added.

"Your welcome, Mr. Haddock, and I'll have you know the rest of us are almost done with our meals, so you'll get to tell another story to us very soon." Queen Elinor informed.

Hearing this had suddenly caused Hiccup to remember the story he'd decided on to tell the Scottish royals and he felt quite relieved that he hadn't forgotten all about it.

"That's good to know, Your Majesty, and I'm sure that you and your family will love it because there's a lot of action in it." Hiccup revealed while having a smirk on his face.

Even though he was facing the Queen as he said that, Hiccup didn't notice that Merida had seen the smirk he made, and she couldn't help but blush again from seeing it.

"Well, I'm certain that Merida will be happy to hear it, because I know she loves to be told a story filled with action." Queen Elinor replied, while glancing at her daughter.

Merida's eyes quickly widened as she started to believe that her mother must have noticed her blushing, and she only hoped that her mother wouldn't tell that to Hiccup.

"Yes, Hiccup, she's right, and that explains why I always love to hear Dad's stories, but I'm still lookin' forward to hearin' another one of yers this time." Merida reminded.

Hiccup smiled at Merida since he was happy to hear that, and he didn't feel it was necessary to give a hint about his story considering that they'd finish their meal soon. It was Merida's triplet brothers who were done with their breakfast to Hiccup's surprise, and he was a little relieved that none of them put any more food on their plate. The next person to finish their meal was the Queen, who waited for her husband to finish his meal before taking the bell and ringing it for the third time that morning.

Not even five seconds had went by before a servant came out, but when she got a closer look at the empty plates on the table, she quickly went back into the kitchen. It wasn't long until she returned with four more servants and two of these women immediately went to work on picking up all the plates and utensils that were used. Another servant was also carrying a plate that had about six cups of fresh water, and each one must have been meant for Merida and every member in her family.

"Now that's what I call a good breakfast," Merida said as she carefully took a cup from off the plate before drinking some water. "Don't ye think so, Hiccup?" She asked.

"Yeah, Merida, and it'll be great for all of us to burn off that food when we go flying with Toothless, because I consider it to be a great form of exercise." Hiccup answered.

Merida couldn't resist thinking about the view she got of Hiccup's chest last night, as she was now sure her assumption that he got his physique from flying was correct.

"Ye know, Hiccup, I actually consider ridin' Angus to be a nice form of exercise too, because we're both outside and Angus can get to stretch his legs." Merida responded.

"Well, in that case, you should bring him along for when we leave for your flying lesson, it wouldn't be right to just leave him all alone in the stables." Hiccup suggested.

Instead of saying a word, Merida nodded her head while giving Hiccup a smile, not only because she thought it was a good idea, but it was definitely something that she would've said too.

"Alright, Hiccup, so I'll gonna ride Angus until we've found a spot that's right for the lesson, and after it's done, I'll ride him back here to the castle." Merida informed.

Hiccup wished that he could ask Merida to get Angus right now and meet him outside, but he knew there was still a story that he promised to tell her and her family.

"Merida, that sounds like a great plan, but for now, I think it's time for me to tell you all a story, especially one that I said would have a lot of action." Hiccup reminded.

Hiccup hadn't expected a reaction from anybody except Merida, so he was taken by surprise when each of her triplet brothers started cheering with their cups raised.

"Wow, I'm glad to know that the triplets are really excited for it, but should I wait until you've all finished your water, or do I have your attention now?" Hiccup asked.

Queen Elinor knew that she'd already washed down her own meal, so she quickly checked to see everyone else in her family had done the same thing before speaking.

"I don't see anybody with a cup in their hand, Mr. Haddock, and I'm sure that means we've finished our water now, so you can finally tell your story." The Queen replied.

Now that he was certain that everyone at the table was giving him their attention, Hiccup went ahead with his tale about an item he found that he called the Dragon Eye. Hiccup told himself that he couldn't have his story last too long, since he had a flying lesson to give Merida later today, so he decided to tell only half of the story for now. He started by talking about the Dragon Eye itself, and Hiccup didn't hesitate to give as many details about it as possible, such as what it looked like and all of its abilities.

Hiccup couldn't recall the last time that he even thought about the Dragon Eye, since it's been so long that he held it in his hands, and none of his friends bring it up either. The Viking went on to reveal and describe not just every dragon that he and Toothless discovered with the Dragon Eye, but also every dragon they found without using it. Hiccup remembered that he promised to tell Merida and her family lots of action in his story, so he told them about each encounter he had with the dragon hunters up until the time they met Queen Mala and her tribe of dragon worshippers at Caldera Cay.

"So. . .what'd you guys think?" Hiccup asked, but not before he quickly took a deep breath after talking for so long, and he was impressed with himself for doing it again.

Only a few seconds passed before the Scottish royals gave Hiccup a round of applause, with Queen Elinor clapping her hands and everyone else pumping their fist in the air.

"I'm glad to know that you all enjoyed it," Hiccup said, but waited until Merida and her family became quiet before speaking. "I think it's time for that lesson." He added.

Hiccup had been facing Merida when he said that, and the princess' eyes widened instantly while a smile came on her face as she knew exactly what he was talking about.

"Ye have no idea how long I've been waitin' to hear ye say that, Hiccup!" Merida exclaimed as she got up from her chair. "I'll get Angus and then we can go." She added.

"Merida, hold on a minute." The Queen told her daughter, who made a frown right away after hearing that, and hoped that she wouldn't be asked to help in the kitchen.

"You and Mr. Haddock just had a big breakfast, so the two of you should at least wash up first, not to mention he should wear his flight suit too." Queen Elinor requested.

Merida didn't really see the point of washing up, considering that she wasn't much of a messy eater, and she had enough meals with Hiccup to know that he wasn't one.

"It's okay, Merida," Hiccup said, which caused the redhead to face him. "I'm sure that Toothless and Angus can wait a few more minutes until we leave, right?" He added.

Once she heard Hiccup say that, Merida started to think it wouldn't be so bad for them to wash up, and she didn't want to risk upsetting Hiccup by saying they shouldn't.

"On second thought, Hiccup, washin' up does seem like a good idea, but we could probably save time by doing that in the kitchen instead of our rooms." Merida suggested.

The Queen couldn't help but react in disbelief from how Merida changed her mood so suddenly, but she thought it was smart of her to suggest they wash up in the kitchen.

"Alright, Merida, after we've done that, you can go get Angus from the stables and wait for us outside while I go back to my room and put on my flight suit." Hiccup replied.

Merida gave a nod as she thought it was a good plan, and she waited until Hiccup was out of his own chair before walking with him and Toothless toward the kitchen doors. All the servants took notice of Merida and Hiccup when they came inside, and each servant's eyes widened a little from seeing Toothless, but they soon went back to work. They were worried that the dragon would walk around and possibly cause a mess, but to their relief, Toothless stayed right by the doors as Hiccup followed Merida to a big bowl of water.

Even though there had been a servant prepared to use that bowl, she quickly stepped aside to let the princess and her friend use it, since she believed it'd only be for a few minutes. What Hiccup and Merida didn't know was that all the servants were now secretly watching them, but they kept washing the plates, so neither of them would get suspicious. However, when they saw Hiccup be a gentleman and let Merida go first in washing up, they couldn't resist making an "aww' sound at the same time, which had been very loud.

This obviously caused the Viking and the redhead to bring their heads up and look at the servants, who quickly turned their heads away and focused on cleaning the dishes. Hiccup and Merida wondered about what it was that the servants saw that would have them make that sound, but they soon believed that they'd been looking at Toothless. He probably made one of his signature 'toothless' smiles' in order to to show the servants that he wasn't all dangerous and they didn't have to be afraid while he was here.

"It's good to know the servants aren't scared of Toothless anymore," Hiccup said before turning to face the dragon. "Thanks for making that face to them, bud." He added.

Instead of simply nodding his head, Toothless only tilted his head in confusion, which meant he really didn't know what kind of face that Hiccup was referring to exactly.

"C'mon, bud, you remember, it was the same face that you made after I ate part of that regurgitated fish and then I smiled to show you that I liked it." Hiccup reminded.

Toothless suddenly knew what Hiccup was talking about, while Merida and the servants became a little grossed out upon knowing that Hiccup ate something that's already been swallowed.

"I knew you remembered, Toothless, so please go ahead and make that face to them again, because I'm sure that Merida would even like to see it too." Hiccup requested.

All of the servants and Merida kept their eyes on Toothless and watched as the Night Fury retracted his teeth before making a gummy smile, which caused them to giggle. Even though this also got Hiccup to laugh too, he soon stopped as he realized that the first sound the servants made weren't giggles, which meant they hadn't seen Toothless' smile a few minutes ago. Hiccup was tempted to ask one of the servants right now and find out what it is they'd actually seen recently, but he didn't want to keep Merida waiting any longer for her flying lesson.

"That was a funny smile, Hiccup, so when was the first time that he made it?" Merida asked, but not before washing her hands and face with the water from the big bowl.

"About five years ago on the same night we began our friendship, and I'm surprised that I didn't mention it when I told you and your family the story." Hiccup answered.

"I think it's probably because all of us had to go to bed eventually, so ye couldn't have the story be too long, but I'm glad that ye did tell us a lot though." Merida replied.

Hiccup couldn't help but be amazed from hearing this, since he never told Merida the reason why he kept that story short, but he thought anyone else in her family could figure out why.

"Well, Merida, I definitely would've told all of you about that if we had more time, but I'll make sure to tell your parents and brother when we have dinner." Hiccup informed.

"I know my family will really love to see Toothless' smile later today, but for now, how about we focus on the flying lesson ye'll be giving me in the forest?" Merida asked.

Instead of saying a word, Hiccup just smiled and nodded his head to Merida before washing his hands in the bowl, then they left the kitchen with Toothless right behind them. Once they were in the hallway, Merida started to wonder if Hiccup remembered where his room was in the castle, because she wasn't sure that he did, since every room to each door looked exactly the same. Although she felt quite eager to go outside and get Angus from the stables, Merida actually didn't mind taking just a few minutes to go through the castle and show Hiccup to his room.

"Hey, Hiccup?" Merida said, and she waited until Hiccup turned to face her before speaking again. "Ye wouldn't mind if I led you and Toothless to your room?" She asked.

"Of course not, but are you sure that you don't want to get Angus right now, because it probably won't take too long to find my room all on my own." Hiccup responded.

"I think that Angus can wait a few more minutes for me, and even though my parents gave ye both a tour, I just want to make sure ye don't get lost." Merida claimed.

Hiccup was surprised that Merida wasn't so eager to leave the castle, especially considering that she was all set to do just that without even washing up after breakfast.

"I guess that's a good idea, Merida, since we've only been shown to our room twice so far, the first time with a servant and the second time with you." Hiccup answered.

After hearing that, the princess smiled at Hiccup before she went in front of him and Toothless, then led them through the castle until they finally reached the guest room.

"So, Hiccup, would ye like me to just wait out here until ye're changed, or do ye think that ye'll be able to make yer way out of this castle all by yerself?" Merida asked.

Even though he felt touched that Merida was willing to wait for him and presumably show them outside the castle, Hiccup believed that she's done more than enough.

"I think Toothless and I can figure our way out, Merida, but if we're not outside in about ten minutes or less, than don't hesitate to come in and find us." Hiccup replied.

Merida was a little disappointed to hear the first part of that sentence, but she was happy after hearing the rest, so the redhead decided not to argue with Hiccup about it.

"Okay, Hiccup, but would ye like to have some directions first before I go, because I know I'd probably need them if it was my first time in this castle." Merida offered.

Hiccup realized that since he kept his attention focused mostly on Merida during the walk to his room, he believed that having directions was definitely a very good idea.

"Yes, Merida, I'd really like some directions, but please have them lead us to the stables, since that's where me and Toothless are going to meet you." Hiccup requested.

The dragon rider listened carefully to Merida as she spoke to him, because if he forgot even one part of her directions, then he'd risk getting lost and making Merida wait. Once she was done talking, Hiccup was about to thank Merida for giving him those directions until he suddenly noticed that the princess' face was unusually close to his. It only took Hiccup a bit of time to see the freckles on Merida's cheeks, but he knew that if he mentioned this to her, then her flying lesson would become very awkward.

"Thanks, Merida, and if I happen to forget about your directions, then Toothless can just show me the way out, since he does have a good memory." Hiccup informed.

Merida simply smiled and gave a nod to Hiccup before turning around to make her way through the hallway, and for some reason, Hiccup didn't enter his room yet. Hiccup was actually taking a moment to stare at Merida as she walked away, and Toothless couldn't help but roll his eyes after he'd realized what the boy was doing. The Night Fury decided to wait until after the redhead was out of Hiccup's sight before snorting in his face, and fortunately, this caused Hiccup to come out of his dream-like state.

"Oh, sorry, bud, I was just uhh. . .checking to see that Merida wasn't going to turn around and ask me if I forgot her directions, because I didn't forget." Hiccup claimed.

Instead of rolling his eyes again, Toothless just went behind Hiccup and used his head to nudge the boy closer toward their room's door, since they came here for a reason.

"Don't worry, Toothless, I still remember what I'm supposed to do now." Hiccup said before he opened the door and went inside the room with Toothless following right behind him.

Hiccup waited until Toothless was completely inside the room with him before closing the door shut, and then he wasted no time in finding his flight suit and putting it on. Once he finished doing that, Hiccup suddenly realized that he hasn't told Merida yet about all the features that his flight suit has, and he hasn't told her about Inferno either. He'd make sure to tell Merida everything until after her lesson, because he felt absolutely sure that she wouldn't want to wait any longer in learning how to ride a dragon.

"C'mon, bud, we don't want to keep Merida waiting any longer for us." Hiccup reminded as he and Toothless left the room together before he suddenly stopped to think.

"I remember Merida going that way," Hiccup said as he pointed to the left path in the hallway. "So I'm sure that's where should we go." He added with a confident tone.

After saying that, Hiccup turned and quickly closed the door to their room before heading down that path while he recalled the directions Merida had recently given him.

"Now, I go right," The boy whispered to himself as he kept walking, and Toothless decided not to make a sound, since he didn't want to break his friend's concentration.

Every few minutes, Hiccup would mumble a part of Merida's directions to himself as they walked through hallway upon hallway, but not too fast so that he didn't trip. He made sure to keep his head up so he would always know where he was going and not accidentally bump into Merida's parents, brothers, or even one of the servants. The Viking felt positive that he didn't need to have directions for every single place in the castle, since the only places he'd be going to most often would be his room and the Great Hall.

Hiccup didn't have much interest to see the Queen's tapestry again, even though he thought it looked very nice, and he didn't intend to have any cooking lessons with the servants in the kitchen. He would probably just be a distraction for Merida if he stuck around while she was having a lesson in one of those classrooms, and it still disturbed him a little to see all those stuffed animals in that Trophy Room. Hiccup was fine with having water to drink after each of his meals, so he wasn't going to plan another trip to the cellar, and he believed it was best for him and Toothless to stay away from the garden and pens, since those were both places that the servants usually went to get food.

"I don't believe it." A familiar Scottish voice said, and Hiccup's eyes widened as he saw Merida standing right in front of him. "Ye actually made it out!" She exclaimed.

A smile slowly made its way onto Hiccup's face as he looked around to see that him and Toothless had come outside the castle and were now at the stables with Merida.

"Let's hope that I don't need directions to find my room," Hiccup said before turning to face the redhead. "So, I'm guessing we took less then ten minutes?" He asked.

"Well, I wouldn't know exactly how long, Hiccup, I wasn't really countin', but I do know that ye both didn't take so long to get me worried out here." Merida responded.

Hiccup was glad to hear that, but instead of saying a word, he just smiled before getting onto Toothless' saddle, but waited until the dragon got down for him to do that.

"I know this might be a silly question to ask you, considering I've already asked you the question when we were inside, but are you ready for your lesson?" Hiccup asked.

Merida walked over to where Angus was laying down and she brought one leg on each side of the horse before gently patting Angus to have him stand up on all four legs.

"Hiccup, I was ready ever since ye suggested that I learn how to ride a dragon," Merida replied, before a question came to her mind. "Now what about ye?" She asked.

"Oh, I'm ready." Hiccup answered, and he let Merida lead the way into the forest as him and Toothless followed close behind her and Angus, leaving the castle far behind them.