Fan-Fiction Contest Entry #7: How to Save Your Snoggletog

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Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 09/22/2014






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victoriae350's picture
Supreme Viking Champion
Joined: 09/22/2014
         “Go get some water, he says.  Go get some firewood, he says.  Go get this.  Go get that,” said a viking girl who is mumbling out loud as she grabs logs to put in her arms.
         A Monstrous Nightmare is following the girl while she picks up a full load of firewood; the dragon chuckles in amusement at her rider as they trudge through the snow.
         “Oh shut, up Destiny,” retorted the blond-haired viking.  “You’re in this too.”
         The girl then trips and falls down in the snow.  Her load of firewood sprawls out and becomes buried under the foot of powder snow.
         Chuckling again, the girl’s dragon laughs at her rider.
         “Thanks,” she sarcastically replied.
         Then she rolls up a snowball and fires at Destiny’s head.  It hits the mark.  Being playful, Destiny serves back a wave of snow with a swipe of her snout down into the snow and up.  The two begin to go back and forth for a few seconds.  That is all the time needed for the two of them to be covered in snow.
         “Alright, alright,” the girl spoke, holding up her arms to shield the relentless waves of snow coming at her.  “We need to stop and get back to work.”  Destiny stops and proceeds to help the girl with picking up the wood.  “Thank you.  I should know better than to get into a snow fight with a dragon, especially you.”
         With the praise of her rider, Destiny lifts up her head in pride and has a smug grin on.  The girl could only roll her eyes.
         “Nikesh!” yells a voice piercing the cold winter’s breeze.
         “Oh, great,” Nikesh sighed as she picked up the last log and starts to run as fast as she can with the load.  “We’re in trouble now.”
         Minutes later, Nikesh found herself back at a farmhouse.  She burst through the door and immediately put the wood near the fireplace.
         “What took you so long?” demands the voice from before.
         “I’m sorry,” Nikesh answers.  “It won’t happen again.”
         “Be sure that it doesn’t,” the voice replied.
         Behind Nikesh stood a ragged old viking who stood watch over Nikesh to make sure she stacks the wood flawlessly and tends to the fire.
         Once Nikesh finished, she stood up to say, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”
         “Bah, you’ve done enough for me,” the viking gruffly responded.  “Just get out of my sight.  But be sure you come back tonight to milk the yaks and tend to my sheep.”
         “I will,” Nikesh voiced as she hurried out the door.
         As soon as she returned outside, she took in a deep breath, “I’m glad that is finally over.  I don’t mind helping, but I wish old-man Creggor wasn’t so grouchy all the time.”  Destiny agreed with a nod.  “What say we return to Hiccup and report our progress?”
         Destiny quickly lowers her neck to allow her rider to mount up, “Someone surely wants to leave this place…  I don’t blame you.”
         Nikesh hopped on her dragon and flew back to Berk.
         Nikesh Korvald is a teenage viking who just wants to see some action.  Her bright, blond hair is a striking resemblance of her personality.  Nikesh is always willing to help someone.  She is smart and loyal.  Nikesh’s demeanor has run wild with no guidance.  Her parents have tried to be an example, but being the youngest of a large family, the lessons get lost in the struggle of having four older brothers.  Nikesh wants to do the right thing, but relaying want she wants to other people is not her strongest trait.  She would always have to defend herself against her brothers.
         Now, just because her brothers are not the best all the time, does not mean they are all terrible.  Nikesh did not come along until the youngest Korvald was six years old.  Having such an age gap between siblings created a rift between Nikesh and her brothers.  At first, the brothers blamed Nikesh for messing things up as they thought their family was complete before she came along.  However, as their parents time and time again tried to get them to develop a brother and sister relationship with Nikesh, the brother’s tone turned to the fact they are stuck with her.  Basically, the brothers felt they had to make the most of it.
         Growing up with four older brothers does have its perks though.  Even though a girl, she never let that stop her.  And if you ever said that to her, she would look at you with the eyes of a Red Death.  If you did say that to her, you best run for the hills.  Nikesh developed a strong build which allows her to do the same amount of work that any viking boy her age can do.  How did she become so athletic and strong?  Three words: Sibling Rivalry Competitions.
         When Nikesh was old enough to walk, her brothers would often challenge her.  Anything that would involve a danger of some sort, her brothers challenged her to do them.  For a while, this went unnoticed.  But when their mother caught Nikesh’s brothers encouraging her to climb a tree, their mother called the brothers out.  Yet, when she did, it scared Nikesh into losing her focus and falling out of the tree.  It was nearly a seven-foot drop in which she broke her left arm.  The brothers were punished for making her climb a tree when she was barely five.
         As Nikesh laid in bed the night after the accident, her father came into the room she shared with her brothers to say goodnight to her.
         Before he left the room, Nikesh softly spoke out, “Why do I feel bad?”
         “What?” the father answered.
         “Why do I feel bad?” Nikesh repeated.
         “You did break your arm,” he started.  “That creates a lot of pain-.”
         “No,” Nikesh interrupted.  “Why do I feel bad… that my brothers got in trouble?”
         The father was curious why his daughter would say such a thing; so, he inquired further, “Let me ask you this.  Why do you accept your brothers’ challenges?”
         “Challenges?” Nikesh echoed.  “How do you-?”
         The father cut in, “Believe me, I grew up with older sisters.  I was the youngest and I had a strong rivalry between them and me.”
         “What’s a rivalry?” Nikesh asked.
         “Well,” her father knelt by her bedside and explained.  “It is like a competition that between siblings that never seems to end.  They can be friendly competitions or they can be intense or fighting competitions.  These competitions will test your love for your siblings just as much as they will your strength to stand up for yourself.  Do you understand that?”
         Nikesh though for a minute, “I guess so.  But, that doesn’t explain why I feel bad for my brothers?”
         Her father smiled, “You love your brothers.”
         As if he had said, “Time for your spinach,” Nikesh replied with a disgusted look on her face, “I love my brothers?  Really?”
         Her father continued, “It is not as bad as you think it is.  With any sibling rivalry, at least the good ones, where others see them as competitions, the siblings see them as ways to show their love for their siblings.  Now, they never outright say that they love their sibling, but they care enough for their siblings to show them that they can do what they ask.  Let me ask you this now.  Have you ever failed a challenge from your brothers?”
         Thinking for a moment, Nikesh responded, “No, I have won… or well, completed each challenge I have faced.  Though, except for the one that mother caught me doing.”
         “When you are challenged, do they think you can do it?” her father further questioned.
         “Yes, absolutely,” Nikesh replied.  “They always tell me I can do it.”
         “Putting the clues together,” the father deduced.  “I believe that your brothers will not challenge you to do something they know you cannot do.  They believe you can do something, even if you might be scared to do so.  Now, they may not encourage you in the best way to do these challenges, but they care enough not to put you in a situation you cannot handle.”
         “Are you going to answer my question now, or do I have to wait until you complete the puzzle?” Nikesh sighed.
         The father chuckled, answering, “I believe you feel bad is because if you had not accepted their challenge, they would not be in trouble.  This is a good thing to feel bad about.”
         “That doesn’t make sense,” Nikesh said.
         Smiling, her father kissed her on her forehead, “It will, eventually.  Goodnight.”
         He stood up and walked towards the door of the bedroom, “So, what should I do?  How do I make this feeling go away?”
         Turning around, he answers, “Alright.  You have two choices.  One, you leave things the way they are and not accept any more challenges.  Two, you go to your mother, explain why you do these challenges your brothers tell you to do and share responsibility with your brothers.  Thereby accept their challenges and be sure to make the challenge safe for yourself and your brothers so they don’t get it trouble.  Which one will you pick?”
         “The one where you explained the most,” smiled Nikesh.
         “Very funny,” her father could only shake his head.  “But do you understand now?”
         “I’m beginning to,” Nikesh said.  “Goodnight, father.”
         That was a turning point for the Korvald family.  Things physically stayed the same, but how it was handled, that is what changed.  All those challenges made Nikesh stronger, faster, quicker, smarter, and able to compete to a level her brothers would be proud of.  It got to the point where she was getting so good that she was doing better than most of them.  In recent years, she is giving out the challenges while her brothers have to compete.  Their mother still does not like the idea, but also recalls her days with her siblings and understands.  So, it turned into a family tradition to do during the special seasons of Berk.  Friendly competition never hurt anyone.  But when you learn to keep others before yourself, everyone wins.
         “Especially when you keep your brothers and parents before yourself while you take first place,” Nikesh would often quip.
         While Nikesh benefited from the challenges set before her, she got to the point where she would react to things and get them done.  She would make up a plan as she went along, but she developed a knack for getting the job done efficiently in time and resources.  But this reacting way of thinking would only serve her in competitions or a job.  When dealing with other vikings, one must be observant, cautious, and respectful.
         Nikesh does these things in her own way.  One might view Nikesh as the opposite of observant, cautious, and respectful, you just have to know where she is coming from.  She is not intending to be mannerless, that is just how she is.  That being said, it is hard for her to make friends, but she does not allow that to define her because she knows she will always have her brothers.  And the same goes for her brothers and her.  Their sibling relationship bong has grown stronger each year.  They may try to beat each other at anything, making everything into a competition, but if you hurt any one of them they will come to the others aid in the blink of an eye.
         Like what was said before, they may come across as mannerless but that is how they treat each other.  And in how they treat each other, they understand what the other is saying and can decipher what they mean where outsiders have very few to no clues as to what they are talking about.
         Nikesh’s personality can also be shown in her clothes.  She dresses in a lively yellow, long sleeve shirt with dark blue, fuzzy bracers.  Her warm skirt is the same blue with yellow highlights.  Also, a belt with a buckle and the Monstrous Nightmare class symbol on buckle continues her attire.  Her pants are yellow and her hairy boots are a dark blue.  She dawns a dark blue fur shawl which drapes down in front and back, though reaches further down her back.  Because winter is here, this is her winter garb.  When it is warmer weather, she has a short sleeve shirt, lighter skirt, and no shawl.  Finally, she wears a headband on her forehead to keep her blond, fluffy locks out of her bright blue eyes.
         Her hair has the appearance of a windswept look, but that is just how it lays naturally.  Well, except for the few locks of hair that always wants to fall down on her face.  Her blonde hair is long, fluffy, and a bit poufy.  To sum it up, she has a lot of hair.  It can reach halfway down her back.  She usually wears it with a few small groups of strands braided together, yet sometimes she just wears it straight.
         Nikesh’s closest friend and ally is Destiny, a Monstrous Nightmare.  Destiny is a matching blue with bright yellow highlights.  Her personality much resembles that of Nikesh’s, but Destiny can sometimes be even more like Nikesh then Nikesh would like.  Destiny is a few years older than Nikesh as the dragon was given to Nikesh as a five-year-old birthday present.  Destiny recently finished her teen stage and is now officially an adult.  Nikesh has about three more years to match how old Destiny is now.
         Nikesh and Destiny were fifteen minutes out of Berk and arrived to report back to Hiccup.  They first went to his house, but he is not there.  The next best place to look for Hiccup is the Academy.  No success.
         “Where could he be, Destiny?” Nikesh asks her dragon.
         Destiny laughs as Nikesh realized what she did, “Hah, I rhymed.”
         Making a decision, the young viking girl chose to fly back near Hiccup’s house, but land, and enter The Great Hall instead.  Dismounting and telling Destiny to stay, she walks up the steps and goes into The Great Hall.  Gobber is standing off to her right, sweeping the floor with his broom arm.
         “Do you know where Hiccup is?” asks Nikesh.
         “Yeah,” Gobber replies.  “He’s in with his mother in the meeting room.”
         “Ooo, what’s going on?” she excitingly asked further.
         Gobber stops his sweeping to come closer to Nikesh, he leans down and whispers to her, “They, or should I say Hiccup with his mother’s approval, are planning a big surprise for Astrid at the big Snoggletog celebration tonight.”  Another viking came walking by, Gobber spoke up and said, “Yeah, that’s right.  The chief and his mother are talking strategy against the Dragon Hunters.”
         The viking shrugged his shoulders and continued on by, Nikesh asks a different question, “So, when do you think he will be done?”
         “When who will be done?” asked Hiccup who came from behind Gobber.
         Along with Hiccup, his mother, Valka, is standing to the right and behind Hiccup.
         “Oh, Mrs.- Mrs. Haddock, I-,” Nikesh acted nervously and awkwardly tried to bow or curtsy.  It is difficult to tell which she is trying to do.
         “Now, now, you don’t have to bow to me,” Valka held out her hands.  “If you show that kind of acknowledgment to anyone, it would be Hiccup.”
         Nikesh starts to curtsy to Hiccup, but he immediately says, “Mother, really?” Valka tries to stifle a smile as Hiccup continues.  “What did I say about the bowing to the chief, also curtsying?  Ugh,” Hiccup sighs and quickly facepalms with his right hand.  “I thought I made it clear to everyone in Berk… That I do not… repeat… do not want people to bow or curtsy to me.  I know it has been a long-standing tradition for those under a chief to publicly show distinction who the chief is.  But I mean, come on, that just isn’t me.  I can get for certain ceremonial things bowing or curtsying would be applicable, but for an informal-just-happened-to-see-you greeting-.”
         He was interrupted by a viking man walking by, bowing, and acknowledging the chief, “Hiccup.”
         “Ugg!” Hiccup facepalms again.  “I thought I-.  I mean I have been the chief for a while now and-. Oh, never mind.”
         Valka chuckles, “I’m sorry.  I’ll let you go about your duties.  I have something to talk with Gobber about.”
         Hiccup takes a few steps to come even with Nikesh.  Well, even in distance, Nikesh stands an inch taller than Hiccup.
         “So,” Hiccup takes a short deep breath, in and out.  “How’d it go with ol’-man-, I mean, Mr. Creggor.”
         Nikesh rolls her eyes, “It went alright.  It’s done and finished.  I was able to chop down a better group of trees that even though fewer were chopped down per what was asked of me, I saved time and got Creggor better quality firewood.”
         “Good,” Hiccup replied.
         Nikesh then got on a rant, “That guy is just so picky.  He wants something a certain way.  When you try to do it exactly how he tells you to do, he comes over and calls you out for doing it wrong.  I just did it the way you told me to!  Then as soon as you get one thing done, you have to go do something else.  Then when you are still working on that, he wants you to do this.  Then he yells at you for not working on the thing he called you away from.  Then-.”
         Hiccup folds his arms and just looks at Nikesh.
         Nikesh grasps what Hiccup is inferring, so she stops and says, “Sorry.”
         “You need to work on that,” Hiccup points out.  “That’s what got you into trouble in the first place.”
         “I’m sorry,” Nikesh defensively said.  “I can’t help it.”
         “You can help it,” Hiccup unfolded.  “All it takes is practice.  As long as you try your best, that’s all anyone can ask of you.”
         Nikesh sighs as she nods her head, “Yeah, but it might take a lot of work.”
         “I’m not trying to say, ‘You need to change who you are,’” Hiccup made sure to clarify.  “All I’m wanting is for you to be a bit more observant around groups of people so you don’t embarrass yourself-.”
         “Like I did the other night, you mean,” Nikesh mentions.
         “Yes,” Hiccup responded.  “To treat old-man Creggor the way you did last night, where you may have said the truth about him being a crank -for everyone knows that-, to do that in front of the whole village, not the smartest of moves.”
         “That’s the thing,” Nikesh flops her hands down on her sides.  “I just react in situations.  I don’t think.  I just go.”
         “Well,” Hiccup said.  “Maybe we can put that to good use yet.”
         “I’ll do what needs to be done,” Nikesh added.  “What do I do next?”
         Hiccup smiles.  “Seeing how it is Snoggletog Eve, why don’t you take the rest of the day off.  Be back here in plenty of time though, the feast that the village has been preparing is going to be one to remember.”
         “Alright,” Nikesh acknowledged and went back to the front door.
         Even though she loves the celebrations, feasts, and holiday seasons, when large groups of vikings get together, she will try anything just to get out and be alone with herself or Destiny.
         “Maybe Hiccup’s right,” she talks to herself while mounting her dragon.  “Maybe I just need to find the knack that I can just be myself but still help someone.”
         Though she had the day off, she spent the rest of the day searching around for someone trying to help.
         Nikesh’s first top is a viking trying to get his vegetables to market.  The viking got his squash to market.  Unfortunately, they were originally tomatoes.  Nikesh carried them all the way there just fine.  But when she got on Destiny to leave, Destiny swiped her tail, knocking over his crates of tomatoes with such force, that it looked like someone was bringing in their kill from hunting.  Reason for that, the tomatoes spilled out over the snow, actually causing a nearby woman to faint.
         “Sorry,” relayed Nikesh as she flew away.
         Next, Nikesh found a few bakers finishing up the bread and other goodies for the party tonight.  Welcoming the help, they put her to work.  The fire in the stove became low and no one had an easy way to strengthen the fire.  Immediately reacting, Nikesh called in the support of her dragon.  A hesitant protest by the bakers in charge tried to stop her, but when Destiny fired… let us just say that the party is going to be a few servings short of bread, pies, and rolls.
         Looking at the very… very well done stove and its surrounding housing, the floor it was standing on, and part of the ceiling, Nikesh slowly said, “Sorry,” as the bakers led Nikesh out of the building.
         Nikesh changed her mind from the food side of things to the decorating side of things.  Astrid is heading the committee to decorate Berk.  So, Nikesh went to her and asked if there was anything left to do special for the party tonight.  Astrid attempted to politely decline her help, even though there was work to be done.  Astrid made the mistake of telling Snotlout to help put up the garland.  Nikesh jumped right into to help Snotlout.  There was no stopping Nikesh as she proceeded to string up the garland with ordainments, decorations… and Snotlout.
         “Sorry, I didn’t mean to-,” Nikesh started.
         “No, you’re quite alright,” Astrid grinned.  “Hey, Snotlout?!  Who knew you would make a great ornament?  Did not know you would look that great all strung up.”
         “Shut up, Astrid!” said a suspended Snotlout.
         Astrid suggested that Nikesh go find the Twins, as they are supposed to be helping Fishlegs wrap all the presents for the little ones coming to the party.  Astrid said they should be in the Academy.
         So, Nikesh flies over there with Destiny to find Fishlegs keep the Twins from opening all the presents he just wrapped.
         “Would you to knuckle-brains stop that!” Fishlegs demanded.
         “Oh, come on, Fish-man,” Tuffnut said.  “Me and Ruffnut have come up with a new business.  You wrap the presents, we open them up to see what is inside, Ruff remembers what they were, you wrap them again, and wa-la.  You have twice the presents as before and we can bet each person a yak to guess what they will get.”
         “We are not doing that!” Fishlegs firmly told Tuffnut as Fishlegs took back the present he had just wrapped out of Tuffnut’s hands.
         “Alright fine,” Tuffnut disappointingly said.  “We’ll just bet a sheep, how about that?”
         Ruffnut manically laugh as Fishlegs yelled, “NO!”
         “Come on, Fish-man work with me,” Tuffnut waved his arms at Fishlegs.  “We obviously can’t bet a chicken.”
         “Can I help?” Nikesh stepped up after waiting for the banter to stop.
         “Sure,” Fishlegs put his presents down and pointed at the Twins, “You can get these two mutton heads to actually sort the presents the way I have told them to do it for the hundredth time.”
         “Hey,” Ruffnut greeted Nikesh.  “Would you like to join the new business endeavor my brother and I have bestowed upon?  It might be your destiny to do so.”
         Ruffnut giggled and the laughed.
         “Eh,” Nikesh gave a couple dry chuckles as Destiny bent down and snorted some smoke in the Twins’ faces.  “Not the first time we’ve heard that one.”
         “Nor will it be the last.  Am I right?” Tuffnut nudged his sister.
         “Knock it off you two,” Nikesh replied.  Fishlegs inputted a “Thank you,” as Nikesh went on, “You do know if you look at the present before Fishlegs wraps them, you wouldn’t have to have Fishlegs wrap them again.”
         “Yeah,” Tuffnut said.  “But that just takes all the fun out of it.”
         “I heard that,” responded Fishlegs.
         “But I do like your idea about the presents,” Nikesh spoke.  “It would be like a trade.”
         “Yes, yes!” Tuffnut pointed his finger in the air.  “That’s exactly what we want!  We can monopolize Snoggletog!”
         “Not helping, Nikesh,” Fishlegs turned back around to look at the three conspirators.
         “Here,” Nikesh said and then took Ruffnut by the arms to walk her next to Fishlegs.  “Say you give your sister to him.  You can get something in return.”
         “What would you like to give me in return for my sister?” Tuffnut bowed.
         Fishlegs responds, “I know what I would like to give you.”
         Tuffnut says, “Seeing how it is the season of giving… give me what you really want to give me.”
         “You sure?” checked Fishlegs.
         “Yes,” Tuffnut assured.
         Fishlegs proceeds to give Tuffnut a right cross Tuffnut is not going to forget… until seconds later when his sister starts fighting him.
         “Now look what you made me do?” Fishlegs asked of Nikesh.
         “I was just helping you do what you wanted to do,” Nikesh defended.
         “Well,” Fishlegs looked down at the pile of Twins beating up on each other.  “You did get them to be occupied with something else so they would stop bothering me.  I guess you helped me after all.”
         Tuffnut yells, “I want a refund.  Give me back my sister.”
         “I’m already here, stupid,” Ruffnut informs.
         “Oh yeah,” Tuffnut states as he and his sister briefly stop fighting but then as soon as he said that they are at it again.
         Nikesh asks Fishlegs again if he needs any help.
         “No, actually, I am almost finished wrapping,” Fishlegs answered.  “I just have a few more to go.  And I won’t need any help moving the presents as the kids will be coming back down here to get their presents.”
         “Alright,” replied Nikesh as she mounts Destiny and flies off to help some more vikings.
         If the last three tries were not enough to tell Nikesh something, the next three did.  First, she helped Not-So-Silent Sven’s find his sheep.  As Sven saw his sheep… he became Silent Sven again as he lost his voice trying to find the words to yell about his white sheep becoming black from being rounded up by Destiny’s fire blasts.  Secondly, Nikesh endeavored to help Spitelout pick some flowers for his wife.  The flowers turned out to be from his wife’s own garden.  In spite of Spitelout’s efforts to compliment how beautiful the flowers look, his wife told him they looked better still in her garden.  When Mrs. Spitelout slammed the door in Spitelout’s face, Nikesh made a subtle but quick getaway.
         Finally, Nikesh tried to help Gobber… ended up making an Iron Punch bowl instead of making it out of glass.
         “Not what Valka wanted,” Gobber said and noticed Nikesh’s shoulders drop.  “But,” Gobber quickly thought of something encouraging to say.  “At least no one will try to steal it.”
         “Thanks,” Nikesh smiled.
         “Lass,” Gobber went over to put his right hand on her right shoulder and also gave her a bit of a hug.  “You're trying too hard to help someone.  Just relax and be yourself.  Not everyone is fit to be a sculptor, forger, or baker.  We all have to find who we are.  I mean look at Hiccup.  He thought for sure he was going to be a viking by taking down a dragon.  Not just any dragon, the dragon of all dragons, The Night Fury.  But on his quest to find himself, he found something that he did not expect.  And it changed all of our lives forever.”
         Nikesh’s father came by and said, “Gobber, I brought the metal ore that you-.”
         He stops short as he sees his daughter sadden by what she has done.  Gobber whispered a quick explanation of what has gone on.  Gobber then left to leave father and daughter alone.
         Nikesh’s father slowly walks over to kneel down, look at his depressed Nikesh; taking her chin he talked to her at eye level, “I have been trying to ask around for vikings to help you be a better person.  But what I am not trying to do is to say you have to take down a villain like Drago Bludvist or wipe out neighboring Dragon Hunter cells… Just be who you want to be instead of what everyone wants you to be.  Maybe this is on us a little too.  We are trying to help you be a better viking, but we may be part of the problem trying to make you into something you are not.  Instead of trying not to react in front of someone, just act like yourself however that may be.  Just be you.  You’re fine when you are around your brothers and me and your mother.”
         Nikesh interjects, “But that is because you are family.”
         “We are all your family, Nikesh,” her father said.  “Just try to act like you would if we were always around.  You are truly yourself then.  Granted, you did grow up with four brothers, but they have grown to be strong viking men who would do anything to protect their little sister.  They want you to feel better, even if they never have the best way of showing it,” he chuckled.  “But you are yourself around them.  See if you can be that way around other vikings.  And if they tell you to stop or act better, you don’t need to change.  They do.  Think about what I said.”
         Her father stood up and started walking up to The Great Hall, “I hope to see you at the feast tonight.  It is starting in a few hours.  Love you.”
         “I love you too, dad,” Nikesh replied.  “Thanks.”
         “Anytime,” her father smiled.
         For the remaining hours left before the Snoggletog Feast, Nikesh and Destiny flew around Berk.  They went nowhere, in particular, Nikesh mainly is just trying to clear her head.  The time at first crawled by.  But when she later noticed the sun setting, she realized she needs to get back to Berk.
         As soon as she got back, most everyone is already in The Great Hall getting ready to sit down to eat.  The last few villagers are making their way up to The Hall, so, Nikesh follows along.  Astrid is directing those who have dragons to leave their dragons in stables for the dragons to feast on their own celebration for Snoggletog.  After Nikesh leaves Destiny, she enters The Great Hall.  She is greeted by a mass of vikings and loud chaos of so many vikings telling a tale of Snoggletogs past.  It did not take Nikesh long to work her way back to the front door of The Great Hall and just exit back outside.
         “Everyone in the whole village must be in The Great Hall,” Nikesh sits down on a step and looks out over Berk.  “Seeing Berk this quiet is almost relaxing in it of itself.”
         There is a slight breeze out of the south blowing Nikesh’s hair behind her.  She closes her eyes and just takes it all in.
         “What was that?” she surprisingly asked herself.
         Without hesitating, she runs down the steps to investigate.
         The main square with the Academy huts… no one is around.  Just as she turns around, she hears something… Talking.
         Nikesh then walks over to the house near Gobber’s Forge and peeks around the side; she nearly says out loud, “Dragon Hunters!”
         “Do you mind keeping it down, please,” one Dragon Hunter said.
         “Sorry,” the one said as he picks up a couple forging tools he knocked over.  “It isn’t like someone is going to hear it.  The whole village is in The Great Hall.  Turns out the ‘chief’ had something special planned that the whole village was going to attend anyway.  I did not have to do anything.”
         The first Dragon Hunter laughed, “Well, it is just as well.  We don’t want to take any changes-.”
         “Of someone seeing you?” Nikesh steps out and finishes the Hunter’s sentence.
         The second Hunter drops the tools again as they both freeze when Nikesh stops them.
         “You two are not going anywhere but away from here,” Nikesh said.
         “Oh really,” the first Hunter put his hands on his hips.  “You and what army?”
         It dawns on Nikesh as she looks back behind her.  She is alone.
         “That’s right little girl,” the first Hunter says.  “You are all alone and no dragon is coming to fight at your side and no one is coming to rescue you.”
         Nikesh looks back around to see the two Hunters coming at her very slowly, Nikesh then states, “That’s… That’s fine.  Then I will stop you.”
         The first Dragon Hunter then stops and tries to hold in a laugh but it comes gushing out, “You?  You will stop us?  Oh please.  A little girl out all alone against the Dragon Hunters.”
         “Well,” Nikesh smiles.  “All I see are two Hunters.  Two-to-one odds, I’ll take those odds.”
         “Even with those odds,” the Hunter said as suddenly out of seemingly nowhere a whole hoard of Dragon Hunters came out of hiding to start to surround Nikesh.  “You were saying.”
         They slowly started converging on Nikesh.  The odds now are ten-to-one.  What felt like a hoard is now merely a small cell of Dragon Hunters, now that Nikesh is trying to relax and stay calm.
         The first Dragon Hunter, who seems to be the leader, barks an order, “Get that girl.  I want no witnesses to what I am about to do.”
         “What are you going to do?” Nikesh questioned with a slight shortness of breath.
         “Well, it probably won’t hurt to tell you,” the leader responded.  “We plan on burning down Berk’s precious stables with all of their dragons in it.”
         “You can’t do that!” demanded Nikesh.
         “Oh, we can,” the leader assuredly said.  “And we will.”
         “Then you will have to go through me,” Nikesh readied herself in a fighting stance.
         The leader announced, “That can be arranged.  How will you protect yourself?”
         At first, Nikesh hesitated but then confidently said, “I’m a viking.  That’s all I need.”
         “That’s all you’re gonna have,” the leader said and then ordered.  “Get her!”
         With Dragon Hunters converging on all sides, Nikesh does not know what to do until…
         Nikesh darts to her left and jumps off the plateau, grabbing on to some strung up garland, and swings down below to safety.
         “What the-?!” the leader exclaimed.
         Nikesh thought she would be safe for the moment down there, but even then, three Hunters came out of a few houses and started to chase Nikesh.  She ran away.  Nikesh looks back to now see the rest of the Hunters coming after her.  As she looks ahead of her, a Hunter is just to her right… and makes her trip by holding out his foot.  Nikesh stumbles, rolls, and sprawls out into a Snoggletog decoration; she is covered in garland, decorative shields, Snoggletog presents, and… wait… Nikesh’s face lit up.  She has an idea.
         “Hey,” Nikesh cried out which her following statement stops the Hunters in their tracks.  “Do you have anything for Snoggletog this year?”
         The second viking from before replies, “No, no one has got me anything for Snoggletog.  Erp, though… everyone gets Erp something for Snoggletog because they want to get on his good side.”
         “Well, today is your day,” Nikesh grinned, slowly getting up, but in the process grabbed something.  “I have something for you.”
         “You do?” the second viking excitingly asked.
         “Yep,” Nikesh then throws a shield directly at the Hunter, standing about twenty feet away.
         The shield hit the Hunter square in the face, knocking him back… the Hunter is out cold.  This gave Nikesh a bit more confidence and so she perked up.
         “Well, just don’t stand there,” Erp said.  “Get her!”
         The Hunters then rush Nikesh, but they all get pummeled by the shields, the decorations, the presents…
         “Where’s your Snoggletog spirit?” Nikesh laugh as several of them fell over and some also became knocked out.
         Instead of nearly fifteen Hunters, now there are only nine.  Nikesh reaches for another shield, but there is none.  Without any more ammo, she then runs away in a tactical regroup.  Because she knows Berk a lot better than the Hunters do, she makes her way through side paths, ramps, and levels and gains a bit of a lead on them.  As she is running through Berk, she passes the place where she helped Astrid earlier.
         Looking up to her left, she says, “Hi Snotlout.”
         “Hi,” he sadly replies.
         Nikesh stops in her tracks as if she was about to go off a cliff.
         Quickly backing up, she says, “Snotlout?!  What are you still doing here?”
         “No one got me down after you left,” said a dejected Snotlout.  “Astrid said I look better as a decoration.”
         “Well am I glad to see you,” Nikesh stated.  “There’s Dragon Hunters here.”
         Snotlout woke up and echoed, “Dragon Hunters?!”
         “Here,” Nikesh spoke as she picks up a nearby Stormfly spine off of a shield, and then throws the spine at Snotlout with such force that it lodges into the top of the house next to him… also the spine lands right next to his head.  “Use that to cut yourself loose.  I’ll keep the Hunters busy while you go get Hiccup.”
         “Thank you,” Snotlout replied as he got to work.
         With the Hunters rounding a corner behind her, she replied, “You’re welcome.”
         For a few seconds, she continued to run, but then stopped again.
         Thank you.
         Nikesh thought about what Snotlout just said to her.  That is the first time today that someone said, “Thank you,” to her.  She felt good, really good all of a sudden.
         Then she remembers her situation with the Hunters barreling down on her.  With not much to do, she grabs a nearby strand of garland -attached to the top of the nearby fire stack- she runs and jumps off of this level.
         “What are you trying to do, girl?” Erp yelled.
         “I have a name!” Nikesh shouted.
         “Okay,” Erp cried back. “What is it, little girl?!”
         Nikesh has no intention of jumping off to the level below as she did before.  This time, she keeps hold of the garland as it swings back the way she came.
         Nikesh screams out, “My name is Nikesh Korvald!”
         Nikesh then swings right into a Dragon Hunter.  She takes out all but Erp and two other Hunters.  While they try to reel in what just happened, Nikesh makes herself scarce and runs back up to Gobber’s Forge.
         “You are going to pay!” Erp yelled.
         “Have to catch me first,” she called back.
         Nikesh still had the garland in her hands but kept it for a reason.  She makes the garland into a lasso on her way.  Also, she looks back and notices only two Hunters following her.
         “Great,” she said.  “They took the bait.”
         A minute or two later, she came back up to Gobber’s Forge.  The other Hunter ran out to meet her.  She intentionally slows up to let Erp and the other one so he catches up with her.  To his surprise, Nikesh ropes the one coming at her around the middle and then she runs directly north.  The sudden change of direction causes the Hunter to lose all of his balance, faceplant on the ground, and slide on the snow knocking into the other Hunter.  Erp is nimble enough that he jumped over them both.  Now he is the only one left.
         “So,” he said, out of breath.  “It is just you… and me.”
         “Man, you preceptive,” Nikesh laughed.
         “Then I hope you perceive this,” Erp states as he draws his sword.
         Nikesh’s eyes got big for a second but then moved on with her plan.
         “What are you going to do now, little girl?” Erp expressed.  “You have no weapon.”
         Nikesh replied in a way to downplay what is happening, “Who said anything about needing a weapon?”
         “Well, in any case,” he said following Nikesh as she stepped into the Forge.  “Someone is going to be trapped.”
         Nikesh smiled, “Couldn’t have said it better myself,” and then whispered to herself, “Come on… one more step and…”
         “Hey!” Erp declared as he stumbled over a trip wire which activated a dragon net trap.
         Out of the corner, Grump woke up and sounded his alarm.  Upon waking up, Grump flung his wings and legs knocking things over, bumping into things… making a whole bunch of noise.
         The Great Hall doors flung open and a large group of vikings came rushing down the steps, led by Hiccup.  Upon arriving at Gobber’s Forge, they all see one Nikesh Korvald with her right foot on top of Erp, the Dragon Hunter.
         “Don’t worry everything is under control,” Nikesh smiled.
         Hiccup too smiled but shook his head, “Looks like you found some trouble.”
         “This time,” Nikesh said.  “I didn’t start it, but I for sure stopped it before it got out of hand.”
         Grump is still going off, so Gobber steps through the crowd, “Excuse me… coming through…  Grump!  It’s okay, daddy’s here.”
         When Gobber quickly quieted down Grump, Erp said, “Why in a yak’s brain was that trap set.”
         Without thinking, Gobber answered, “To protect my chocolate stash, what else.”
         The crowd which had gathered gasped in shock at the mention of “chocolate.”
         Gobber understood what he just did -Nikesh smiled- and so Gobber added, “Not that I wouldn’t give it to any of you… or… or share it…  Hey, why don’t we go back in The Great Hall.”
         Valka stopped Gobber and said, “Would you mind taking care of our unwelcomed guest?  Then we can talk about your… chocolate stash.”
         Gobber opens his mouth to say something, but then just closes it does what she asks, “I should have thought before I acted.”
         Nikesh chuckled as Gobber picked up Erp, she added, “Oh, and there are about thirteen others out there that you’ll need to round up.”
         Gobber walked off mumbling to himself.
         “Thirteen others, huh?” Hiccup question.  “Looks like you’ve been busy.”
         “Yeah,” Nikesh said sounding a bit embarrassed at first but then stood up straighter to own up to her actions.
         Hiccup continued, “Looks like you found the right thing to react to.”
         “I did,” Nikesh stated and the looked up seeing her father.  Her mother is standing to his left with her head on his left shoulder and both have their arms around each other.  Looking at him, Nikesh repeated, “I did.”
         Her father gave a slight nod to show is approval.  Nikesh returned the nod.
         Hiccup turned around and walked back up with Astrid, who they also had arms around each other.
         From inside the crowd, came four young vikings barreling down at Nikesh.  They are her brothers.  Upon asking what had happened, Nikesh relayed to them all that she did.  Her brothers praised and complimented her for what she did and commented on how those Dragon Hunters picked the wrong viking to contend with.  The oldest one then picked up Nikesh’s right leg, the second oldest picked up her left leg, and they carried her into The Great Hall.
         Nikesh whispered to no one in particular, “Thank you.”
         Finally, happy, Nikesh had the best Snoggletog she ever had.
         Everyone was eventually back in The Great Hall spending the holiday with each other.
         Hiccup looks out his family and sees all the joy, happiness, and love being shown, he thinks to himself…
         “This is Berk.”
         “When we celebrate the holidays, we celebrate together.”
         “Though we have troubles, tribulations, and trials of our own, we come together as one celebrate all that we have accomplished.”
         “Some might say that we have troubles all the time, in one way, shape or form, but it is who we what we do that makes us who we are.”
         “The upside to this is those we have around us.”
         “While some vikings might strive for fame, search for fortune, or try to conqueror, we have something they are lacking.”
         “It makes us who we are.  We are one and united with…”
         “Our dragons.  Our friends.  Our family.”