As expected of a land that was always surrounded with the coldest atmosphere in the entire world, a faint ray of light shines upon Berk: reflecting off the snow covered mountains and wooden buildings. Waves from the unfrozen but cold sea gently splashed against the island’s rocks and gently swayed the dragon-headed boats that were harboured at the village’s port left to right. The village of Berk was covered in snow from the ground to the roofs of the Great Hall. To an outsider, it may look like another uneventful day in Berk. However, that was not the case.
The sound of laughter and merry-making could be heard every corners of the island as the villagers prepared from the Viking’s annual winter holiday: Snoggletog. Houses were decorated with mistletoes; pines and shields while a giant bonfire provide warmth to the villagers. Dragons could be seen dragging heavy bundles of wood into houses or flying to the roofs, helping their Vikings’ friends in the decorations. The baby dragons, who were still too weak to help in the preparation, were happily playing with the village children.
In one of the houses, Astrid and her Deadly Nadder, Stormfly, were adding the finishing touches on her house.
‘All right Stromfly’, she said, holding on to two wooden shields. ‘Are you ready?’
Stormfly nodded, twitching her spiky tail. Astrid threw both shields in the air and Stormfly responded by flicking her tail. Two spikes impaled both shields to exactly where it supposed to be. Astrid’s father, who was brewing a barrel of ale, nodded.
‘Good job, lass. You and Stormfly have been a great help!’
Astrid pushed her blonde bangs from her eyes and smiled. ‘It was nothing dad! Is there anything you want us to do?’
Astrid’s father shook her head. ‘You run off now my girl. You deserve a break.’
Astrid grinned and ran to the middle of the village with Stormfly following behind her: seeing what her other friends were doing. Snoutlout was helping his parents decorate the house, if you called setting up a pile of decorations on fire decorating. Tuffnut and Ruffnut were bickering about who will be the first to put up a very beautiful mistletoe on the top of the roof. Fishleg was dressing Meatlug with colourful ribbons, much to the dragon’s displeasure. Everywhere Astrid look, she saw the happy and laughing faces of humans and dragons.
All but one. Astrid frowned as she scanned the crowd. She could not find the person she was looking for but did spot somebody related to him. Chief Stoick the Vast was talking and laughing with Gobber the Belch as they walked and inspect the preparation of the holiday. However, his son was neither among the crowd nor walking besides his dad, with a Night Fury tailing behind them.
Now knowing of Hiccup’s favourite spots, Astrid jogged through the thin snow and made her way to Hiccup’s workshop. As expected, black smoke was coming out of the workshop’s chimney: meaning Hiccup was there.
An on a special day too! Astrid thought as she knocked on the wooden door. No answer. Astrid frowned. That’s odd. She was about to open the door when it was suddenly opened and Hiccup appeared, with Toothless behind him.
‘A-A- Astrid!’ he exclaimed as he quickly closed the door behind him. ‘What brings you here?’
Astrid looked over Hiccup’s shoulders. ‘Besides the fact that you just shut Toothless inside that shed, I’m having this feeling you’re hiding something.’
Hiccup, an embarrassed look on his face, quickly opened the workshop; releasing Toothless. ‘Sorry about that bud.’ He apologised.
Hiccup earned a soft growl from his dragon. Hiccup turned back to Astrid. ‘I was just… urm… upgrading Toothless’ new tail! Yeah! That’s right! I… eerrr… did a quick inspection on the Snoggletog’s preparation before coming back here. So… what do you think?’
He pointed to Toothless’ man-made tail. There was a new small mechanic joint attached to its’ tail and looked light. Astrid spotted it and asked, ‘What does it do?’
‘It helped Toothless fly through higher to the mountains where the atmosphere are difficult to breath in and fly through. I thought it could prove useful when we need to fly over high mountains in emergencies.’
Astrid raised a sceptical eyebrow. ‘Like what?’
Hiccup gestured airily. ‘Oh you know… If Fishleg crashed Meatlug into a tree and they need medical attention which only Gobber can give or if any of our dragons suddenly got hurt or sick and…’ Hiccup coughed at Astrid’s accusing glare. ‘Anyway, I better test this out! Come on buddy!’
Astrid blocked his path. ‘And what about the preparation?’
‘The logs are all stocked in the warehouse,’ Hiccup listed. ‘All animals are warm and well fed, fish are provided for the dragons, all decorations are in place and all presents are ready for the kids. Yup! Everything is on the list. If we hurry, me and Toothless can be back before supper.’
Hiccup walked passed Astrid and Toothless followed behind him. However, Astrid was not ready to admit defeat. ‘Hiccup, the others and me are having a race later. Want to join us?’
Hiccup did not bothered to turn around to answer. ‘Sorry, but this might take some time. Maybe another time!’
Before Astrid could utter another word, Hiccup jumped on Toothless back and both of them were already in the air: leaving a fuming Astrid behind.
‘I can’t believe him!’ Astrid fumed as she threw down ribbons and wrappings on her bed. ‘Of all the days he have to go out, he had to pick days before Snoggletog! I want to try Toothless new tail, he says! Everything on the list is done, he says! When he comes back, I…’
‘Astrid!’ the voice of Astrid’s mother cried. ‘Whom are you talking to?’
‘Nothing mom!’ Astrid replied as her mother popped her head into her room but knowing her mother, she sighed and muttered, ‘Hiccup.’
Her mother gave her an understanding smile. ‘Did that boy go to some experimental ride with his dragon again? It’s not healthy for him to work so hard. Especially during the holidays.’
‘I know!’ Astrid exclaimed as she turned to face her mother. ‘It’s so infuriating! I just don’t understand why he must work so hard!’ Then she calmed down. ‘On the other hand, this give me more time to think what to give him for Snoggletog.’
‘You haven’t thought of one yet?’ her mother asked accusingly, causing Astrid to blush slightly. ‘But you two are so close! Surely you know what he likes.’
Astrid shrugged. ‘Books, mechanical devices and something warm to wear.’
Astrid’s mother’s face brightened up. ‘Why don’t you knit him something warm? A scarf perhaps?’
Astrid looked horrified. ‘What?! Mom! I’m a Valkyrie! I don’t… knit or sew!’
‘Yes you do’, her mother said. ‘You sew that beautiful cap for your father when you were only nine.’
‘You mean that moth-eaten mask that you called a cap, yeah. That was pretty good!’ Astrid’s father, who overheard the conversation, joined in insensibly.
Astrid’s mother gave him a you-are-not-helping look before turning back to Astrid. ‘Look, even if it turned out bad, it’s not the gift that counts but the gift of giving. That’s what Snoggletog is all about.’
Astrid looked down at her hands and smiled. ‘Thanks mom.’
‘There!’ Astrid breathed with relief as she held up her handiwork. It took her much wool and many hours, not to mention poking her fingers with the sewing needle, to finish what she intended to make for Hiccup. A scarf made from the finest wool with pictures of what looks like dragons on it. They were also spots of red, no doubt from Astrid’s bleeding fingers when she was knitting.
‘I have to admit’, Astrid said as she inspected the scarf. ‘This turn out way better than that cap I made for dad. What do you think Stormfly?’
Stormfly, who was dozing in Astrid’s room, gave an approving sound. Astrid smiled and looked outside her window. ‘By Freya! I was so busy that I didn’t notice it’s morning! Maybe I should go see Hiccup!’
She jumped out of bed and was greeted by the sun. It was still early and not everyone is up yet. Knowing Toothless, he must had wake Hiccup early so the both of them could go for their usual morning ride.
That was perfect for Astrid. She jogged through the snow, passing through decorated houses until she reached Hiccup’s workshop. Slowly and softly, she pushed open the door and invited herself inside. The workshop was always the same when Astrid came to visit: crates full of tools and materials stacked into piles in the corner, fabrics and other common materials littered the floor, tools like hammers and tongs were leaned against the wall, the smell of melting metal and smoking coals and sketches of machineries and plans were tacked on the walls. Hiccup’s workshop never changes.
What was unusual was something bulky that was standing besides Hiccup’s worktable, covered in a white cloth. Curious, Astrid walked closer to it. She held the corner of the cloth and slowly pulled it up.
‘Astrid? What are you doing?’
Hiccup’s voice made Astrid jumped, abruptly uncovering the bulk. ‘Hiccup! Don’t scare the dragons out of me!’
Hiccup grinned. ‘Well, you shouldn’t have enter my workshop uninvited.’ His grin faded when he looked over Astrid shoulders. Astrid followed his gaze and her sight landed on a machination on four wheels of what looked like a giant crossbow attached to it.
Astrid raised an eyebrow. ‘What’s that?’
‘Oh that?’ Hiccup explained as he covered it back. ‘That’s my latest defensive device: the Flying Fire Bolt. It can shoot from 100 to 400 feet, firing fire arrows or nets. Just an extra precaution if the Outcasts want to attack us again. Well, I better get back to the forest.’
Hiccup slowly and cautiously stepped towards Toothless. Astrid, who was disappointed and furious that the device was not her Snoggletog present, softly but dangerously said, ‘Is this how you spend your Snoggletog? Taking your dragon for a ride and inventing new machines that are rarely used?’
Hiccup squirmed at Astrid’s tone. ‘Oh look at the time! It’s time to feed Toothless now…’
‘HICCUP HORRENDOUS HADDOCK III!!!’ Astrid screamed, turning around to face him, anger showing on her face. ‘I WANT AN EXPLANATION FOR YOUR DISREGARD OF SNOGGLETOG AND I WANT IT NOW!!!’
‘Oh by the Gods!’ Hiccup muttered as he jumped on Toothless. ‘Go Toothless, go!’ Toothless opened his wings and flew into the air.
‘HICCUP!!!’ Astrid tried running after them but was too late. ‘COME BACK HERE!!!’
‘I’M SORRY ASTRID!’ Hiccup shouted back, he and Toothless how far away from her. ‘I’’LL BE BACK FOR THE CELEBRATION!!!’ Hiccup and Toothless disappeared behind the mountains, leaving Astrid to grind her teeth.
‘You better, Hiccup.’ Astrid muttered under her breath. ‘You better come for the celebration. If not,’ Astrid punched a fist into her palm. ‘You better be prepared for Ragnarok!’
‘I can’t believe that guy!’ Astrid muttered angrily as she flung her axe into a tree. She was in the forest, venting her rage of Hiccup on the trees. ‘It’s something I made to protect ourselves from the Outcasts he said! I’ll be back for the celebration, he said! Grr… If I get my hands on that guy, I’ll tear him limb from limb. I’ll brain him! I’ll…’
Astrid was so deep in her ranting that she buried her axe into a tree. She cursed and tried to pull it out: resulting her landing on her bottoms on the grass. Astrid lay on the grass, stuck her axe into the ground and wrapped her arms around her legs.
Doesn’t he care about Snoggletog or me? She thought bitterly. She sulked a bit before clenching her fists, grabbed her axe and continued smashing at trees. She was so into smashing Hiccup’s skull that she did not hear the rustling of the bushes and the soft but heavy footsteps.
Snoggletog had finally arrived. Every building was covered with hollies and mistletoes with decorative shields and ribbons displayed in such glamour. Small torches and a giant bonfire lighted the entire village. Dragons perched on top of the roofs and surveyed the adult Vikings clinking beer mugs and singing aloud-traditional Snoggletog songs while the children plays with Terrible Terrors. Everywhere there were feasting and laughing: every Vikings and dragons were in a festive mood.
Everyone, except a certain Viking female: Astrid just leaned against her own house with Stormfly standing besides her. She wore a stony frown and she had her arms crossed. She saw her father laughing with Stoick, Gobber and Spitelout Jorgenson about their times together as teenagers. Her mother was dancing with the other village’s wives and young women. Mulch and Bucket were playing with the children or to be more exact, getting burned by Terrible Terrors. Tuffnut and Ruffnut were fighting over a leg of lamb and Fishleg was feeding Meatlug with pieces of meat from his plate.
‘Hey beautiful’, Snoutlout approached her, pursing his lips. ‘Want to give me a smooch under the mistletoe?’
Astrid, already in a foul mood, kicked Snoutlout in the crotch and threw him into a pile of snow. She went back to her previous position and ignored the stares from those who watched that brief scene. She had been scanning the merrymaking for hours and she have not seen Hiccup or Toothless among the crowd. Astrid grinded her teeth: she had been wondering for the hundredth time why she never threw the scarf she made for Hiccup into the fire. She has to admit that the scarf was one of her best works but after what happened that morning, that idiot doesn’t deserve it.
Astrid looked around and sighed. Maybe he isn’t coming. She thought sadly. Astrid shook her head and continued to glare at the falling snowflakes.
Astrid was not the only one participating in the festivities. Armed men carrying battle-axes and spears were quietly surrounding the noisy village, which the celebrating Vikings were too in the holidays to post guards or suspect any sudden attacks. As soon as each Viking were in position, a slightly taller and slimmer Viking walked past them until he reached the biggest of them.
‘Is everything ready?’ the giant Viking asked.
Sweating despite the cold, Savage nodded. ‘Everything is ready, Alvin.’
Swinging his heavy fur cape away, Alvin the Treacherous, leader of the Outcast, turned to the lighted village and grinned. ‘Then let the party begin.’
‘This is going to be another perfect Snoggletog.’ Stoick the Vast commented to Gobber the Belch as he surveyed his people eating, drinking and laughing.
‘Aye!’ Gobber agreed. ‘With the dragons finished with laying their eggs on Dragon Island, we have everything we needed for the celebration. Mind ya, all that is left is a good fight.’
Stoick mumbled something and changed the subject. ‘Is Hiccup still in your forge?’
‘Aye and I say he better hurry with that project of his. A certain lass is ready to smash some skulls.’ Gobber gestured towards Astrid, who was still leaning against her house.
Stoick looked up and smiled. ‘I won’t like to be in his shoes when he finally…’ He suddenly stopped when he heard a war cry and screaming at the other side of the village.
‘By Thor’s hammer, what is going on?’ Stoick asked.
‘Sounds like a fight!’ Gobber said excitedly. ‘Just what we need for the holidays!’
Stoick shook his head at his friend’s non-serious attitude and ran to the direction of the commotion.
The sudden cry and commotion woke Astrid from her brooding as well as the other villagers who were celebrating. Astrid quickly went inside her house and grabbed her axe.
‘Come on Stromfly!’ Astrid beckoned her dragon. The Deadly Nadder opened her wings and jumped into the open…
… Only to be ensnared by a net. Stormfly pulled as hard as she could but the net proved indestructible. She was not the only dragon: the net also trapped other dragons, including the Terrible Terrors. The owners tried to help them out but to no avail.
‘What in Freya’s skirt is going on here?’ Astrid asked astonished. She was soon answered when figures stood on top of the highest roofs of houses, carrying loaded crossbows. Astrid studied their symbols and cursed.
The crossbows were pointing to the defenceless Vikings who were not fast enough to react or too far away to attack the sudden invaders. Astrid turned around until she found Stoick and Gobber. Unlike the other villagers, Stoick carried his war hammer and Gobber… well; his left arm is technically a weapon. However, they too were in a disadvantage position with crossbows aiming at them as well.
Approaching from the darkness were more Outcasts but armed with axes, clubs and spears. They surround the Vikings of Berk, closing them in: like wolves closing in on sheep. As soon as Outcasts had them completely surrounded, they slightly parted apart to make way for Alvin the Treacherous: following close behind him was Savage. Alvin approached Stoick and planted his hands on his hips with a big grin on his face.
‘Stoick, Stoick, Stoick.’ He said in mock sadness. ‘Why didn’t you invite me to your little party?’
‘That invitation is only reserved for members of the Hooligan tribe.’ Stoick replied shortly, tightening his grip on his war-hammer.
‘But I’m a member of the Hooligan tribe.’ Alvin grinned nastily.
‘Was, Alvin, was!’ Stoick snorted. ‘You have some nerves to come back to Berk, especially on Snoggletog!’
‘I just thought I made the party more livelier!’ Alvin said. ‘After all, there’s nothing but a good ole fight to get into the holiday’s spirit.’
Gobber bent forward into Stoick’s ears. ‘At least he got that covered.’
Stoick ignored him and faced Alvin. ‘What do you want Alvin?’
‘I want my Snoggletog present.’ Alvin answered. ‘I want the boy.’
Stoick pretended to be puzzled. ‘Which boys? We have so many here.’
‘Don’t play games with me Stoick!’ Alvin snarled. ‘Your boy! Hiccup! We just want some help subjugating the dragons back in our homes.’
‘Over my dead body!’ Stoick growled and was about to march to Alvin but was stopped by Alvin’s crossbowmen.
‘Bad choice Stoick.’ Alvin sneered. ‘You may have forgotten that you and your people are surrounded. Just one word from the arrows and me will be sticking out of the bodies of you and everybody who happened to be in range. So if you don’t want any bloodshed on this festive day, hand over Hiccup.’
Stoick just stood there, trembling with rage. Hiccup was his son and as her father, he would never leave his son into the hands of Alvin the Treacherous. However, Alvin was right and he and all the Hooligan tribe will be exterminated unless he hand over Hiccup to the Outcasts. If only there was another way out…
To his surprise, Astrid strode forward until she was facing Alvin. She opened her mouth and yelled. ‘WE WILL NEVER GIVE HICCUP TO YOU, YOU HAIRY JERK!!!’
Everybody stared at her with surprise and shock. Astrid continued on, ‘Hiccup saved our island by making peace with the dragons and taming them so they can be accepted into our village. No matter what obstacles or problems thrown at him, he never fails to solve them! If you want Hiccup, you have to get through me first!’
All anger on Hiccup was gone, Astrid stubbornly stood where she was with her axe ready. At first there was only silence until her parents stood behind her, placing their hands on her shoulders.
‘That’s my little Valkyrie!’ her father announced proudly. ‘We’re behind you all the way!’
‘Yeah!’ Fishleg shouted as he also stood besides Astrid. ‘You have to go through us!’ Tuffnut, Ruffnut and Snoutlout soon joined her; Snoutlout still recovering from the blow Astrid delivered him.
There were murmurs and nods of agreement among the Vikings as more stood besides the teenagers. Stoick looked at surprise and smiled at Astrid. Hiccup chose the right girl. He thought proudly. He and Gobber also stood besides the kids.
Alvin raised a bushy eyebrow. ‘Is that your answer?’
‘You heard the lass.’ Stoick replied back.
‘Very well, ye chose your fate.’ As Alvin raised his arms, so did the crossbowmen. Every Viking closed their eyes, expecting the brief painful feeling when the arrows strike them down.
What they did not expect was a sudden rough cry and the sounds of heavy bodies falling into a pile of snow. Everybody opened their eyes and everybody, including a surprise Alvin, saw three of Alvin’s Outcasts snared in a giant net.
‘Look’s like I haven’t missed much of the celebration yet.’
Everybody now turned towards Hiccup who was standing on the tallest hill looking smug. Besides him was his Flying Fire Bolt, already loaded with another giant arrow. Alvin wore a nasty grin and pointed towards Hiccup.
‘That’s him! Get him!’
All the crossbowmen aimed their weapons at Hiccup. Hiccup pulled the lever, releasing another net. The net tangled three more crossbowmen, sending them next to their fallen comrades. Hiccup fired more nets until all the Outcasts on the roofs were trapped. Hiccup whistled and Toothless appeared next to him. The Night Fury released rapid shots, setting on fire the nets that held the other dragons. With their prisons weakened, the dragons tore out and roared with rage.
Alvin grinded his teeth in rage as he watched his plan was failed. He screamed, ‘ATTACK!!’
The Outcasts heeded their leader’s cry, raised their weapons and charged towards the villagers.
‘FORWARD!!!’ Stoick roared and raised his war-hammer, leading his tribe. Although weapon-less, the villagers grabbed anything that can be swung: table legs, decorative shields, ale mugs and even legs of lambs. The dragons swooped down and knocked any Outcasts that were in their way.
Astrid was fighting with two or three Outcast. She parried an Outcast’s sword stroke and kicked him in the belly. She barely blocked a downward axe blow from another Outcast and almost impaled herself to the third’s spear. Angrily, she swung her axe into the axe-wielding Outcast and he raised his blade to face her swing.
To her horror, her axe-head snapped with the body: causing splinters to fly and the blade to fall to the ground. All that was left in Astrid’s hands was the remaining of her beloved axe. The two Outcasts grinned and raised their weapons for the final strike. Astrid back away, raising the haft of her former axe in a futile attempt in defending herself.
Astrid briefly turned her head to see why Hiccup was shouting her name. There was something in his hands. He made a throwing movement.
Hiccup threw with all his might and the object landed safely in Astrid’s hands. The Outcasts used Astrid’s distraction to their advantage and brought their weapon down on her. Unable to examine it closely, Astrid swung the object with all her might. To her surprise and astonishment, the object broke the Outcasts weapons with ease. The two Outcasts, now holding small remainders of their weapons, looked at the object that dealt with such damage and ran away screaming.
And they call themselves Vikings. Astrid thought, satisfied. She looked down and smiled at what Hiccup threw at her. It was a battle-axe that was similar to hers except for a few things. It was much more lighter and the blade were slimmer. There were golden linings on the edge and a golden spike both ends of the axe. She knocked on the blade and found it quite dense. For something so light and small, it caused a lot of damage. What really made her happy was a small note attached to it that reads: Happy Snoggletog. Love, Hiccup.
‘Astrid!’ Hiccup cried as he slid down besides her, armed with a sword and shield. ‘Are you all right?’
‘Never better.’ Astrid smiled. ‘How did you made this?’
Hiccup shrugged. ‘I discovered some metals that are quite light but hard as a rock but it could only be found on the highest peaks in the mountains. That’s why I upgraded Toothless’ tail so he can fly through that aptitude. I was suppose to give it to you personally but I thought now is the best time with all these Outcasts about. I was worried that I couldn’t finish it on time, had me working for the past few days.’
‘Past few days?’ Astrid looked up, trying her best not to admire the axe again. ‘Then what about the Flying Fire Bolt?’
‘Oh that. I finish that months ago. It was something to cover up while making your axe.’ A puzzled look appeared on Hiccup’s face. ‘Wait, are you saying that you prefer the Flying Fire Bolt than that axe?’
Astrid grinned and grabbed Hiccup’s shield hand. ‘Are you kidding? This is the best Snoggletog present I ever got! Now let’s kick some Outcasts’ butts!’
She pulled Hiccup along with her, screaming a war cry and swinging her new axe.
Despite being weaponless, the Hooligan tribe were sending the Outcasts running back to the seas. Snoutlout and his father, Spitelout, were smashing Outcasts left and right, Tuffnut and Ruffnut were tripping Outcasts off their feet to give the Hooligans more advantage and Fishleg and Meatlug were causing havoc among the Outcast ranks.
Gobber the Belch blocked an Outcast’s axe with his iron hook, tossed the weapon aside and hooked the front of the Outcast’s clothes. ‘This is the best Snoggletog ever!’ He said before delivering a powerful punch into the Outcast’s face. The Outcast’s eyes rolled back and bumped into his own tribesman and both of them fell into the sea.
In the middle of the fight, Stoick and Alvin were circling at each other: like two bears fighting over a fish.
‘Give up Alvin. You never win.’
‘Never Stoick!’ Alvin cried and threw a punch at Stoick. Stoick caught it, pulled Alvin into him, lift him up and threw him into a group of snow sculptures. Alvin, covered in snow, stood up and got ready to pounce. Stoick sighed and gave a strong whistle. Instantly, Stoick’s Thunderdrum, Thornado, woke up from behind the houses and gave a thundering bellow. The powerful gust of wind blew Alvin off his feet, making him land safely in the sea: two miles away from Berk’s shores.
When Savage saw his leader fell into the sea, he blew his horn and shouted, ‘RETREAT! RETREAT!’
The Outcasts stopped fighting and ran back to their ships that were resting on the shores. By now, the invaders who were trapped by Hiccup’s nets managed to free themselves and joined their comrades in fleeing. The Vikings of Berk gave a mighty roar and pursued the Outcasts. Dropping their weapons and shields, the Outcasts scurried on to their ships and rowed as fast as they could: back to their home island. Alvin’s main ship made a detour just to pick up a soaking Alvin: laughter echoing from Berk at the sight of him.
‘Yeah!’ Gobber shouted at the fleeing ships with his hook up. ‘Come back when you’re still not wet behind the ears!’
The Vikings threw abuses and taunts at their feeling enemies before turning into cheers for Stocik and Thornado who descended onto the crowd.
‘Thank you Stoick and Thornado!’ somebody from the crowd shouted gratefully.
Stoick made a soothing gesture to calm the crowd down. ‘This victory was not possible for not my son’s timely arrival and his invention! If it wasn’t for him, we all be dead by the end of the year!’
‘Let’s give a big applause to Hiccup!!!’ Gobber added in and cheered aloud. The crowd of Vikings clapped and cheered as Hiccup was brought towards Stoick. Stoick smiled at his son and clapped his hands on the boy’s shoulders.
‘Well done, Hiccup.’ Stoick proudly said. ‘You save us all!’
‘You’re a hero, lad!’ Gobber joined in.
‘Thanks dad.’ Hiccup said humbly but with a hint of pride in his voice.
Stoick leaned forward that only Hiccup could hear him whispering, ‘The reason why you’re still alive means that she likes your project?’
Hiccup grinned, as he understood the meanings of his father’s words. ‘She knocked a score of Outcasts with it.’
Stoick grinned back, his eyes twinkling. ‘Good.’ Then he stood up straight and roared, ‘Let’s the celebration continued!’
The celebration became wilder and festive after their victory over the Outcasts. Meat were roasted and gobbled down with ale and mead to wash down with. The adults who were to drunk were singing victory songs loudly and it was not long before a brawl began: with Gobber participating in every one he can get to. Stoick stood besides Thornado and smiled in satisfaction that the party was going well despite Alvin’s interference. The teenagers were also celebrating in their own way, Snoutlout boasting about how he and his father overcame many Outcasts and having their first alcoholic drink: they will be having a massive headache in the morning.
Far away from the festivities in the thick, forested woods were Hiccup, Astrid, Toothless and Stormfly. Astrid was swinging her new axe with amazing strength and speed. Hiccup stood at a safe distance with Toothless, smiling that his hard work was being appreciated.
‘Wow Hiccup! I’ve never wielded such a great weapon!’ Astrid marvelled as she stopped to take a breather.
‘All in a day’s work.’ Hiccup said smugly. ‘Of course, Toothless helped.’
Toothless gave a small grunt, agreeing with him.
Astrid smiled at them. ‘Thanks, you two. Oh, before I forget!’ she hung her axe behind her back and took out the scarf that sew for Hiccup. ‘Here, Happy Snoggletog!’
‘Hey, just what I always wanted!’ Hiccup exclaimed as he wrapped the scarf around his neck. ‘Where did you buy this scarf from? Trader Johann doesn’t come at this time of year.’
The smile on Astrid’s face faded. ‘I sew that!’
Hiccup reacted in surprise. ‘Ah!’ he exclaimed with a smirk. ‘That’s explained the blood stains of the wool!’
Astrid, whose face was slightly red from annoyance, punched Hiccup on the arm. Hiccup rubbed his sore arm.
‘That’s for looking down on my sewing skills!’ she declared. Then as quickly as she punched him, she pulled him closer to her and kissed him on the lips. ‘And that’s for giving me the best Snoggletog gift ever!’
Hiccup smiled bashfully as Astrid pulled out her new axe. ‘Now let see what this baby can do.’
She raised the axe over her head and brought it down onto a nearby tree. Like a knife cutting through butter, the tree instantly split into two on impact: falling in opposite directions.
‘By Thor! This is some axe!’ she smirked when she saw both Hiccup and Toothless’ gaping at the destruction she wrought. ‘I think I called this Sky Splitter! Isn’t it a magnificent name for a powerful weapon?’
Hiccup forced his opened jaws to close and whispered to Toothless, ‘I think we created a monster, buddy.’
Toothless looked at him as if to say, What do you mean ‘we’? You’re the one who forged that thing!
‘Oh Hiccup’, Astrid gave Hiccup a predatory smile. ‘Remember that time when you beat me using Roman techniques?’
Hiccup gulped and took a step back. ‘Wow, did you hear that? Looks like the party is really getting out of control. Maybe I should go back and help dad…’
‘HICCUP HORRENDOUS HADDOCK III!!!’ Astrid yelled as she swung Sky Splitter in circles. ‘I WANT A REMATCH!!!’
‘Oh by the Gods! She really means it!’ Hiccup started running. ‘YOU HAVE TO CATCH ME FIRST THEN!’
Hiccup ran back to the village with Astrid chasing after him, both of them laughing away heartily. Both Toothless and Stromfly looked at their trainers and shook their heads.