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The Happenings of Berk and the School of Dragons

Author: Carotius

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Chapter 1

“Let’s see… A minute and thirty-seven seconds. Hah, got you there, Zairo. My personal best is much faster than that…”

 

For the next five minutes, I continued my little triumphant mutterings, looking through and updating my logs of Thunder Run timings with the ones that Fishlegs had just given to me today. Having been a sort of librarian (or bookkeeper…or something like that) of Berk since getting the opportunity to do so, I pretty much enjoyed looking through the various documents that came through day by day. Which reminds me…My copy of the Jormungandr Clan documents was still at the old meeting place, and I haven’t been able to find the time or nice weather to travel back there to retrieve them.

 

Speaking of travel, my flying mount was purring nearby, shifting the new arrivals of furniture here and there. I’ve never understood why, but Southstorm practically found enjoyment in helping with the house stuff, especially when it came to kitchen duties, and I actually did ask him why he loved doing it; he gave me that dragon smile. But it had its perks – I tend not to move from my desk in the late afternoons until the sun had set because I’m so busy with my paperwork, so I always kept a fish somewhere near the table, and whenever I got hungry, all I had to do was ask Southstorm to torch the fish for a quick second.

 

‘The magnesium flame of a Deadly Nadder burns as bright as the Sun, and is the hottest fire of all the dragons.’

 

He wasn’t just my flying mount. He was my closest dragon friend. Ever since we made peace with the dragons, I grew excited to have one of my own, and when the School of Dragons opened its doors, boom! My enthusiasm shot through the roof! Almost literally. He was playful and stubborn, and as a baby, he had this knack for putting his head into holes in the ground just to get my attention, and it had continued for a while into his adolescent stage, but now, he’s more mature…well, he’s still a playful reptile.

 

“Ah, what’s this? This was from a week ago, but…” I mumbled, scrutinising the paper carefully. “He…what? He beat my personal best? Ack…”

 

I hated this… For the longest time, I’ve noticed that Hideous Zipplebacks seemed to have faster speeds than most other dragons, but I’ve always managed to stay ahead of my neighbour and closest friend (and my partner!), who was the owner of one himself. Lately, however, he had always zipped past me to the finish line at the last second, and the one time we had a three-way race, I came in dead last. Since then, I hadn’t taken much to Thunder Run’s daily Rider Challenges, and Southstorm had been curious as to why.

 

I half-heartedly cancelled off my name and replaced it with his, before rewriting my name at a lower ranking, getting mildly irritated at the normally peaceful scratching of ink on parchment. “No racing for me for a while, then…”

 

“NO! Don’t be discouraged! I bump into rocks all the time! I get stuck! I-I-I am years away from your personal best record!!! Seriously? How? I victory dance at a minute and seven seconds!”

 

“GAH!” the sudden appearance of a female face in my window and that loud voice sent me falling backwards on my chair, and I landed with a loud thud. “OW! WHOA! Don’t scare me like that!”

 

I angled my head downwards just enough to see who was the sudden visitor at my window, and there she stood. Red hair roughed up in curls, wide eyes, face paint over her left eye, and a red shirt with fur shoulders. To top it was a…was that a sharktooth necklace? Oh, and not to mention that cheeky grin she suddenly had on her face. Ugh, her.

 

One of the Vikings who had just recently moved in to the new settlement at Berk. She may be older than most students here, but there’s still that part of her that’s the same age as me. I first saw her around the time I arrived in Berk’s newly expanded village, but I hadn’t talked much with her until we got to the Thunder Run races and took off against each other several times in a single day. After that, I befriended her outside the Commons, and we discussed a lot about racing. She’s a good friend, Leader of her Sammenfiltrede Clan, and one of the avid fans of racing. Like some of the others, I get to be my sarcastic side around her.

 

Picking myself up and sitting on the chair that Southstorm has instinctively righted up for me, I took a breath and gave a dry smile. “Hello, Aikaterin.”

 

“Ah hah hah!” was the opening of a reply I got, and I felt myself sweatdrop. “I’m so scary, hear me roar!” “Really, Aika…Watcha pop up out of nowhere for – and at my window for that matter?”

 

She gave me a dejected look. “I heard from some of the Riders here that you haven’t been taking part in the Rider Challenges since a week ago.”

 

“Really?” my reply was flat as I gave her a sarcastic look before turning to my desk to keep the papers aside. Desk cleaned, I reached out and brought down a book, flipping to a fresh page. “That shouldn’t be a problem.”

 

“Well, I did notice that your racing activities lowered sharply since the week of races with Zipplebacks…?”

 

And I froze for a few seconds, blinking at the new scribblings I was making on the page. Turning back to her, I gave a little smile before deadpanning again. “Your point?”

 

“It’s not me, is it?”

 

If my jaw could literally drop and roll on the floor, it would. “What in Thor? No!” I rummaged around the cupboards and drawers of my desk, searching for the bright red-and-gold binding that demarcated my album. Ah, I knew I placed it somewhere in this mess. Oh wait. “Eh…By the way, would you like some bagels while you’re still staring at me through my window?”

 

The excitement that lit up her eyes were so obvious, it came as no surprise me to me as she answered when she agreed. She had a strange love for bagels, especially the ones from my family. “Oh oh! I would love one if it isn’t too much trouble! Do you have cream cheese?”

 

“Eh…Cream cheese…Southstorm, could you go pick up some from the back, along with the bagels?”

 

My reptilian friend padded off with that Nadder-esque purr, and I was left with Aika looking curiously at me through the window. I had found the album by then, and I opened it to a page where it was all nothing but photo drawings of my races from the week before…those of which were against Zipplebacks. I had a heavy heart whenever it came to looking through this page, so it was one of the less-frequented pages of mine.

 

“You know my partner who lives a little down the path from here? Yeah, I raced against him and another Zippleback rider…and it was a crushing blow,” I explained with a hint of lamenting, closing the album and setting it on the desk.

 

“Oh,” was her reply, but she continued on just so the awkward silence wouldn’t get to us. “I haven’t really raced against that many other Zipplebacks yet…but I do know it gets discouraging when the Riders leave their races with me all because I own one.”

 

I gave a dry chuckle. “Oh. I normally just sit there in the waiting room and see the Rider profiles when they come in to check, and do a little cheery dance when I see that they don’t mind racing against a more experienced Rider. Though now when it comes to Zipplebacks, I take an especially long time deciding to race. Ah well.”

 

“I know what you mean. It feels awesome when they don’t quit on you!”

 

I continued scribbling in my book, murmuring little pointers to myself. Before long, without looking up at Aika, I continued, “So are you gonna come into my house, or are you just going to stand out there in the cold staring at the plate of bagels and cream cheese my Nadder’s about to bring in?”

 

Sure enough, Southstorm was back. At the sight of the bowl of cream cheese, Aika gave a cheer and thanked my dragon loud enough for those in the vicinity to hear. Well, until she remembered about my question. “Oh right, I guess that’s best.”

 

“And by the way,” I said rather nonchalantly, “you might want to duck.”

 

Alarmed but confused, Aika ducked as she climbed through my window, and ended up falling to the floor rather clumsily. I held back a snicker as she turned towards me.

 

“Um. I hope you just save something more important than my dignity.”

 

I smirked. “Actually, yes.”

 

The sibilant hiss came soon after, and within seconds, sharp spines came flying through the window, over Aika’s surprised form before pinning itself to my desk.

 

“Unless, of course, you don’t value both your head and your butt?”

 

Aika’s wide-eyed surprise made me want to burst into laughter. “Oh good. I wasn’t looking for any body piercings today – pierced spleens are so not in this year.”

 

“Hah!” I snarked, pretty much by accident. “And that’s how my neighbour’s Nadder greets me every evening on a daily basis.” Without much thought, I took one spine out from the desk and looked at it closely. “Blue with a hint of rose. Ah.”

 

Then came the enormous CRAAAACK that brought my hand up to my face. “My Nadder just broke the archway, didn’t he? Sigh. Ah well. Bagels for everyone!”

 

“Huzzah! All the bagels!” Aika’s excitement hadn’t died off at all. “Do you have applebutter? Or ooo! No, applebutter!”

 

“Applebutter?” I repeated thoughtfully. “I think there’s some in the ba-“ I stopped midway with a deadpan expression on my face as the sound of cracking wood echoed again, and I held back a sigh. “…Southstorm’s getting it.” Rolling my eyes, I added, “And I should call Skips soon.”

 

My red-haired friend, of course, was more interested in the food. “Thank you, Southstorm! You’re the second best dragon ever in the world!”

 

“…Really.”

 

She turned back to me, eyeing my book. “Oh, and if you’re describing my hair, it is unruly curls. Not wild. Not a tangled mop. Unruly curls.”

- Carotius

Chapter 2- Riding the Night Fury

 

“I hadn’t ridden on Toothless since I came to the school!”

 

“Ah. You were flying on Toothless. Now, you’ll be flying with him.”

 

This was a one in a million chance! Riding Berk’s one and only Night Fury! And that adventure was to begin the next morning, with Hiccup teaching some of the advanced aerial manoeuvres that many students had been aweing at for the past week. Oh, this was golden.

 

“You look a little nervous, though. And a tad bit worried.”

 

Either person could’ve said it, but it might surprise many Vikings when they hear of who did.

 

“Worried? I’m not worried! Do I look worried?” Hiccup laughed it off, a wry smile on his face. He waved a hand towards the sky. “Does Thor look worried?”

 

Aylen put on a half-smile. “I’m supposed to know…how?”

 

“Oh, nice work with the sarcasm there. Really helps…” his reply was in his distinct sarcastic tone, but quickly changed as he scratched the back of his head. “Ah…just that I don’t want Toothless getting another headache and all…”

 

Ah, of course. Ever since the new riding lessons involving Toothless, a couple of students were given the chance to soar Berk’s skies with the legendary Night Fury, provided they could afford the extra fees. The experience was extraordinary, according to them, and all were far beyond amazed by Toothless’s speed and agility.

 

Some special people…well, let’s just say that Hiccup felt sorry for his dragon buddy after those lessons. Aylen’s friend happened to be one of those wild riders, having recently smacked Toothless into the walls of rock numerous times during her test flight. Kinda understandable, considering her method of flying with her Zippleback.

 

Hiccup looked at her a little worriedly. “Something wrong?”

 

“A-Ah, just excited.”

 

“Great!” Hiccup turned to check the sun’s position. “You’ll probably be the last rider for this week. I don’t think Toothless wants any more of that crazy turnaround…things…”

 

Aylen smiled. “I won’t do that. I’m pretty good. See you tomorrow morning?”

 

“See you tomorrow morning. Hmm…I get the feeling you’ll do just fine.”


~oOo~

 

“WHY did he say that?!” Aylen muttered under her breath.

 

Another crack caught her attention, and her heart raced as she watched the stack ahead crumble towards her flight path. With a help, she tugged on the saddle, sending the Night Fury and herself climbing upwards to avoid the rubble before zooming back down to fly through the hoop. The wind that whipped her face afterwards made her yelp.

 

Toothless hadn’t shown any signs of wanting to ear-whip her AT ALL, even after all the wild tugs and turns that would normally cause Southstorm to launch into speeding aileron rolls. She just didn’t understand it, what with all the surprised screeches the dragon made each time she made a move. Speaking of which, time to slalom through…OH THOR.

 

“Whoa, too much! Ah! Wait, too little! We're going to miss the hoop! YIKES!"

 

Meanwhile, Hiccup covered his eyes with a hand, a wince escaping from his lips as he heard more rocks tumbling down. “I somehow regret saying that last evening.”

 

It wasn’t long before the duo finally made it to the end of the slaloming course, and it was perfect landing, strangely. Toothless made a purring noise that nearly sounded like a whine, which made Aylen a little bit guilty. Her next chance at flying Toothless was ways away.

 

“I saw you had a little…steering issue?” Hiccup began.

 

“It’s not the turning that got me! It was the speed at which he could go!” Aylen exclaimed, a little bit from excitement, holding a part of her ponytail that had freed itself. “I’ve taken a ride on Zairo’s Zippleback, and already was it faster than Southstorm even though the turns were troubling, but this! THIS!”

 

Hiccup gave a nervous laugh. “This…?”

 

“…He’s just so fast.”

 

Silence. A silence in which Toothless broke by purring in Hiccup’s direction, his tail swaying from side to side. Aylen let her arms fall to the side, letting out sigh of disappointment. She probably had a bad grade for the slaloming lesson. She could feel it. But unknown to her, Hiccup pretty much understood where she was coming from; he had heard about her disappearance from the Rider Challenges too.

 

“Okay…Lesson’s over, right? I’ll head on home, then,” she murmured, climbing aboard Southstorm. “See you next week.”

 

Hiccup waved his hands in front of the Nadder before it could take off. “WAIT!”

 

“What?” Aylen shouted as she calmed her dragon down, more out of surprise than anything else.

 

“Are you free this evening?” the quizzical look that accompanied Aylen’s pause was enough to substantiate a ‘yes’. “Okay, well…Meet me by the Great Hall?”

 

She had no idea what was up, but she agreed anyway.

 

~oOo~

 

“I want to show you something.”

 

Aylen didn’t know what to expect even until now, but when she saw Hiccup by Toothless again, she figured it had something to do with earlier. Oh, not that it isn’t normal to see rider and dragon together, but still! She climbed onto Toothless, leaving enough space for Hiccup later. She was about to settle herself in when Hiccup clicked his tongue. She gave the teen a questioning look.

 

“What? You’re his rider.”

 

Hiccup smirked. “Oh, no, no.” She did not like the sound of that. “I won’t be the one flying him. You are.”

 

Aylen visibly paled. “B-B-B-But I-I can’t! You saw what I did and made happen!”

 

“Well, yes, and that was actually painful to watch,” Hiccup admitted, shifting his eyes to the ground. He gave a small yelp when Toothless nudged him sharply. “But that was when you were flying on him. This time, you’re flying with him.”  

Now, where had she heard that before?

 

Wherever it was, she reluctantly pushed herself to the front area of the saddle, Hiccup taking position on where she had sat earlier. She turned to give him one frightened look. “You don’t have anything evil in mind, do you?”

 

“Me? Nooo…Toothless?” Hiccup’s gaze towards the Night Fury made Aylen look too, and what she saw made her heart melt – Toothless’s pupils were wide and innocent, and he made that pleading purr. “See? He just wants to show you something.”

 

“I thought it was you.”

 

“Well, now it’s him and I.”

 

“…You’re mean, you know that?”

 

Hiccup gave a sigh. "And I thought Astrid was already a mouthful." 

 

"I HEARD THAT, YOU SON OF A HALF-TROLL," the sudden cry was followed up with an equally loud 'YEOW!' from Hiccup as a pebble came flying to his head.

 

"And of course, she's...scary," Hiccup whispered, before receiving another thwack to the head with another pebble. "Ow."

- Carotius