Skrills and Thrills---Fanfiction Commission for StormStriker217
WELL, at long last after some serious delays, I have finished Stormy's story! Hope you like it, Freefall, and that it's everything you were hoping for. :) I did my best!
Меня зовут стойкий жук!
Here is a Russian doing the Cossack dance for you to enjoy.
It was with no surprise that, the moment she walked through the door of her little home, she found her two little brothers fighting.
And not just arguing with words, they were rolling on the ground and trying to strangle each other, yelling all sorts of obscenities she was pretty sure her parents wouldn't be thrilled to hear. The young brunette let out a sigh between her teeth, fairly confident should her parents walk through the door they'd demand from her to know what was going on.
Best to break up this fight before it got anymore violent. And since the boys were trying to bite each other, she figured this was as good of a time as any.
"Boys!" she said sharply, hands settling on her hips as she did her best impression of their mother. "Stop that, right now!"
She wondered why she had even thought that would work, the boys rolling underneath the table and screaming at each other.
"I'm the best Rider!" Foxflash screeched, chomping on his little brother's arm. "You can't even ride a dragon!'
"That's not fair, my dragon likes me better and I'm the best Dragon Rider!" Sandyleap cried, kicking his big brother with enough force to send him flying back.
Oh for goodness sake...
Cooperblaze Freyhelm clinched her teeth and stormed over to the table, leaning down to grab both boys from underneath and drag them out. It was all she could do to keep them apart, her little brothers clawing at her to try and get back at each other. With one big jerk she pushed them away from each other, sending the boys crashing to the ground.
"I said enough!" she ordered, glaring at her sandy-blonde haired brothers. Had Sandyleap been a little bigger, one would have thought the boys were twins. "Now you two sit there and calm down, and I don't want to hear one word from either of you until you're ready to tell me what happened."
Both boys opened their mouths.
"Without telling me what the other did wrong," she corrected, realizing her mistake. "I'm only interested in what you have to say for yourselves. Don't confess each other's sins."
Their mouths slowly closed, though their eyes remained fixed on their sisters' with sour, devilish looks. She had a pretty good idea of what they'd tell their parents when they got home. Copperblaze was being bossy and—
Such was the life of a big sister. Nothing was ever normal around here, and she'd come to expect to get a lot of the blame from her brothers. Her wonderful parents of course realized she wasn't often the one to be held responsible for what the boys did and didn't do, but there were times where she got the short end of the stick for simply being present and not stopping them from killing each other.
At least this time she'd done a fairly good job of that. Hopefully they wouldn't tell their parents she'd started the whole argument.
After three minutes without the boys speaking, Copperblaze decided it had been long enough and turned to Foxflash, his blue eyes meeting hers. "So, let's start with you. What did you do wrong?"
"I'm the best Dragon Rider," he said abruptly. "That's all I said and did."
Sandyleap opened his mouth to object, but Copperblaze held up her hand. "Excuse me? You don't think biting your little brother is a bit questionable? And you're not even a Dragon Rider yet, Foxy. You're not old enough."
"I'm the best dragon rider of Sandyleap and myself," Foxflash defended, waving a hand toward his brother. "And I'm sorry for biting him."
"Why not say that to him?"
Foxflash narrowed his gaze, but turned to his brother nonetheless, mumbling what sounded like a halfhearted apology.
"Louder," Copperblaze commanded.
"I'm sorry for biting you," he growled, glaring at Copperblaze.
Though it wasn't quite what she was looking for, she'd let it slide. As her mother's aid in helping take care of the little boys, she'd learned to let a lot of things go. She now turned to Sandyleap, the seven-year-old avoiding her gaze so she couldn't see his eyes.
"Well, Sandyleap? Your side of the story?"
"I'm just as good as Foxy," he whimpered. "I can ride a dragon, too."
Copperblaze considered this, her left eyebrow raising as she took into account that Sandy did not, in fact, have a dragon. "Sandy, mind telling me who you're riding?"
Sandy's cheeks reddened. Foxy smirked, looked like he was about to say some smart comment, but bit his tongue when his big sister gave him the "don't you dare" look.
"I met...a dragon, in the woods," Sandy murmured.
Getting on her knees, she sat herself down to Sandy and tilted his head up to look at her, their eyes meeting. Sandy looked guilty, but kept her gaze.
"What kind of dragon?" she asked softly.
"He's a Monstrous Nightmare, I'm calling him Flameup!" Sandy declared, his confidence building. "He's purple and and red and he's really funny, he flares up at ants and burns them!"
"Sounds fun, Sandy, but you haven't tried to ride him, have you?"
At this, Sandy's guilty look returned, his eyes wandering around the room to try and latch onto something other than Copperblaze's questioning stare. "I tried once..."
"Today," Foxy piped up.
"Foxy!" she snapped, shutting the twelve-year-old up.
"I just wanted to try." Sandy squirmed, twiddling his thumbs. He still couldn't bring himself to look up at Copperblaze. "I think we're going to be friends, Copper. Is that so wrong?"
No. No it wasn't so wrong. In fact, Copper knew exactly how her little brother felt, her mind wandering back to a time not so long ago when she felt very similar to her little brother. "No, it's not wrong," she said at last.
Sandy's eyes lit up, his face breaking out in smile. "Really?"
"What!" Foxy shouted, leaping to his feet. "Copper you wouldn't let me ride a dragon at his age!"
"And neither should Sandy," Copper replied firmly, getting to her feet and beckoning the boys to follow. "It's not time yet."
"But you just said—"
"I said it's not wrong to become friends with a dragon and bond with them, but I didn't say anything about riding. It's not time yet. It's not time for you to own a dragon either, Sandy. These things take time, and patience, and you can't force them." She paused, memories of her first meeting with Raika playing through her mind. "And trust me, it's worth the wait. Come, boys, follow me to the kitchen. Let's get something to eat, and I'm going to tell you a little story."
When you're fourteen years old and don't have a dragon, people start to give you strange looks. Sometimes, whispers begin, and at long last, the questions start up.
Things were made worse by the fact that Cooperblaze had been one of the first recruits of the Dragon Academy. She was thrilled when the Dragon War had come to its end, when the vikings announced there would be sessions to teach young riders how to work with dragons, and most of all, the idea that she wouldn't have to be the one entertaining the entire village anymore. Well, not that it was ever entirely her responsibility, since the twins were far better at pranks than she was, but her pranks were meant to make people happy, not to annoy them. She wanted nothing more than to encourage people and give them something to enjoy, especially during the bleak battles with the horrid dragonkind.
But now it was all over. Now the dragons were at peace with the vikings, and all young and eager vikings were encouraged to join the newly opened Dragon Academy that Astrid and Hiccup started up.
Except there was only one problem for Copper.
She had no interest in the dragons that were presented to her.
It wasn't that she didn't necessarily like the dragons that they had to offer at the academy. There were some nice ones there—Doru, for example, a sky-blue Monstrous Nightmare with a very sweet personality. But she just didn't click with them. The Monstrous Nightmares were too fiery and wild, the Nadder, too vain. Gronckles were, face, it, boring, though she'd never say that in front of Fishlegs and his Gronckle minions. She didn't like Zipplebacks in the least, and it was something she didn't quite enjoy remembering when she'd come to that conclusion.
Even after Hiccup had discovered some Whispering Death eggs and had offered to give his best students an egg to try and raise as their own dragon, and even though she was picked, the Whispering Death wasn't her sort of dragon friend in the end after all. In fact if there was anything worse than the Zippleback story, it was the Whispering Death story.
Never ask Copperblaze the Whispering Death story.
And now she was getting older. She was fourteen, one of the first and best educated students in the Dragon Academy, often proclaimed Hiccup's brightest...
And she didn't own a dragon.
At first it didn't bother her all that much, she figured sooner or later she'd make that bond everyone talked about, that bond that would just tell you, affirm to you, that yes, this is your dragon, your friend, your partner, but...
It didn't come. She never got that feeling. No matter how many dragons she tried, or how long she waited, Copperblaze never found that dragon that she just felt right about.
It was beginning to disturb her. Even worse, she, the cheerful, caring, kind Copper was becoming disheartened, and had even begun to entertain thoughts that perhaps she was not meant to be a dragon rider. Perhaps she really didn't care, and maybe after all of this time searching, it was a sign from above that she wasn't meant to have a dragon.
Or dragons didn't like her.
It was the end of a long study day. Though Copper hadn't participated in the flying exercises, she was right on time for ground classes and book education, answering every question correctly on a test Hiccup and Fishlegs had put together. After class was dismissed, she headed off toward the entrance of the Dragon Academy to see what her fellow students were up to.
Only to find they were discussing something in very hushed tones.
Naturally, curiosity overtook her. Copper had never been one of those girls in the "in" crowd, who held a lot of friends or got to spend a lot of time with kids her own age. That was another thing she'd hoped to gain in the academy, new best friends that she could share adventures with. However, no dragon had meant she'd missed out on a lot of activities. No participation meant less time with other people. Less time with other people, and she wasn't quite developing those relationships she'd dreamed of.
However, whatever everyone else was talking about here seemed to be important. She took in a deep breath and stepped closer, hoping perhaps she could listen and bear some insight on whatever was troubling them.
It wasn't until she'd come close enough to hear that she realized the topic was a fellow dragon rider.
"I think it's time Hiccup have her sent on her own way, give her a new job or something," a young boy named Emil was saying, glancing at his older brother, who was nodding. "She just doesn't fit in."
"And we have limited spots in the Academy anyway," a girl known as Rifka agreed, tossing her long braid over her shoulder. "She just takes up an extra space, a space someone else more talented and able to ride could use."
Copper's throat caught, her heart began to thud against her chest. No, they can't be talking about...
"Copper just needs something else to do, she'll never be a dragon rider," the oldest boy of the group, Bjorn, agreed with finality. "I think we should have a discussion with Fishlegs and Hiccup about it. She's going to keep us back. We need more dragon riders, and if we can't count on her to join us in the skies because she won't choose a dragon, than we'd best get someone else."
Emil was about to turn and look over his shoulder, so before he could make eye contact or even know she'd been there, Copper slipped behind a barrel and took off running down the corridor, out the other exit of the Academy. She couldn't wrap her mind around what she'd just heard, her heart beating so hard she could have sworn it would burst. The words they'd said played over and over again in her head, and she felt tears begin to stream down her cheeks. We can't count on her to join us...we'd best get someone else... She needs a new job...she'll never be a dragon rider.
How could they say that about her? How could they do this to her, she'd never hurt any of them!
She ran and ran, she ran and ran until she could run no more, her breath coming in great gasps and her sobs clogging her throat. Copper fell onto her stomach and clutched the grass, her emotions so rattled she felt as if she would split in two. Why, why, why? she lamented.
Why, why this? Why now? She'd worked so hard to get here, she'd done everything right, followed everything down to a T. And yet no dragon had presented itself to her, no bond had she'd created with a winged friend to be considered an equal among her peers.
Was it her fault? Was it because she secretly didn't care about dragons, she just wanted to fit in? What was it that was hindering her from this?
She didn't know. She didn't know anything anymore. All she knew was the hurt, the fear, the pain, everything in her heart was hitting her all at once. Hurt from the words she'd overheard, fear that she would never be accepted as one of her fellow dragon riders, pain from falling flat on her stomach and from breathing so hard...
Copper didn't know how long she lay there, or when exactly she stopped sobbing, but over time the tears ceased, the feelings slowly faded away, and all that was left was a dull nothingness. She felt nothing, certainly no love or comfort. What do I have to do to get accepted?
Slowly, she lifted her eyes to take in her surroundings, blinking back the remaining tears until her vision cleared. Trees surrounded her, trees and a handful of wildflowers and...
Something that moved? A purple moving something?
Cooperblaze shook her head, sure that her eyes were playing tricks on her after crying so hard. She wiped them away with a clenched fist, trying to refocus again. What she saw stopped her heart, and once more fear took its vicious grip on her heart.
That can't be...
The Skrill was looking at her with the same look as she, its eyes fixed on her with a semi horrified, half angry look. The dragon was all purple, purple from the wings down in various shades. Its beady gaze was fixed on her, watched her, crouched, waiting for Copper to make a move. Copper lay frozen where she was, wondering if a Skrill could summon lightning on a sunny day like this. She doubted it, but it was best to be safe rather than sorry.
How on earth was she going to get out of this? Not even when she'd played her worst prank ever had she faced a more dire situation than what she found herself in now. The Skrill refused to move, frozen where she was in her terror of Copper, and Copper glued to the ground in her fear of the dragon. This can't go on like this...
No, it couldn't go on like this. She had to get past that dragon or at least escape from it. Not an easy feat, considering the Skrill was known as one of the most aggressive dragons, after one Skrill's rampage of revenge on Berk when looking for Hiccup.
What should she do? What could she do?
But then, something in the eyes of the purple creature caused Copper to hesitate, to take a second glance to assess the situation. It was almost as if...as if...
The Skrill was curious.
And a curious dragon meant it had potential of friendliness.
"You scared, dragon?" Copper asked softly, surprised at her own voice.
Purple Skrill shrunk back, hissing as it shook its head to make the spines around its head appear larger. It was trying to be threatening.
"It's okay," Copper continued, her hand slowly sliding in front of her to gain some ground so she could make an attempt at rising. "I'm not going to hurt you. You look like a nice dragon. You a girl dragon or a boy dragon?"
Skrill was beginning to lose its menacing stance, tilting its head just so to watch Copper cautiously. Copper continued to slide her hand in front of her, then began to move the other.
"I'm guessing you're a girl dragon, no boy dragon would look as pretty as you," she informed the reptile. "You're too pretty to be a boy! Not masculine at all, powerful and beautiful! I like you a lot. My name is Copper. I'm a nice viking, and I like dragons."
Inch by inch she was able to move her hands in front of her, slowly pushing her feet beneath her so she was in a crouching position. Purple Skrill sat down on its haunches, entranced by Copper's voice. It didn't appear to be too threatening right now. It looked more...scared? Lonely? Lost?
Kind of like me, she thought.
"Hey, can I give you a name, girl?" Copper asked, rising to her feet so sluggishly the dragon didn't seem to notice. "You are such a beautiful girl, you could use a name."
Skrill made a little trill noise, slinking down to the ground and stepping closer. Copper kept her heart calm, knowing enough body language to understand the dragon was interested in coming closer, to check her out. Please, please don't have any lightning stored up.
"You can come see me," she encouraged, putting her hand out. "I'm not going to hurt you."
The Skrill crouched lower, sticking her tongue out in a half-hearted hiss. And yet, she took another step forward.
"You most certainly need a name," Copper continued, now talking more to herself than the dragon to calm her heart. If it sensed her fear it might become fearful itself, and lash out. That would not be good. "How about...well, I don't know, that's hard. Nothing with an "S", that reminds me too much of Snotlout and it would be too hard to pronounce a double "S" name since you're a Skrill."
Closer the reptile crept. Copper averted her eyes, looking at a tree instead of the dragon so she didn't intimidate her.
"I like "R" names, personally, they just seem to go well. I wish my mother let me name one of my younger brothers, I wanted to name one of my brothers Ryslan, but apparently that's too Slavic of a name for vikings. Oh well, since you're a girl, let's try to find you a nice, viking "R" name! Hmm, Rilyee? No, sounds too boyish. Rachel? Nope. Uhm..."
She wracked her brain, trying to ignore the tingling sense going down her spine as the Skrill crept close enough to smell her hand, its scaly nose touching her palm. Her heart beat a thousand beats per second, it seemed, and she could hardly focus. Stay focused, stay focused.
"Raika," she whispered, surprised to hear her own voice. "Your name is Raika."
Raika halted, and out of the corner of Copper's eye she could see the dragon was staring up at her. But then, slowly, she pressed her nose back into Copper's balm again, and trilled.
It was a quiet trill, barely noticeable, but Copper could feel it in her hand. She could feel the vibration, traveling through her body and sending happy chills up and down every nerve she had. The Skrill was trying to bond with her.
It was curious about her!
"You're a good girl," Copper soothed, slowly letting her fingers travel up the dragon's head until she was stroking her behind the spines. It felt good, it felt so...
Natural. Like this was meant to be.
Like they were meant to be together.
And just like that, it was over. A shriek came from the skies above, Raika leapt away from Copper, and Copper found herself on the ground staring up at the largest dragon she'd ever seen.
The teal dragon hissed, tilting its owl-like head to the side to take in Copper's features. Copper refused to move, she didn't even let her eyes blink. Everything in her was frozen, she couldn't have moved even if she wanted to. Well, this is what I call adrenaline...
The Stormcutter backed up, still hissing with its teeth bared, taking a wing and pulling Raika close to it. Raika looked almost embarrassed, eyes averted from the large Stormcutter.
The whole scene was very confusing and not the least bit comforting. Slowly, nudging her newly made friend away, the Stormcutter and Skrill took flight into the skies, leaving the girl behind and in a near-despair.
"Wait," she whispered, before leaping to her feet to wave her arms. "Wait, please! I want to be your friend! Please! Raika!"
Was it her imagination, or did Raika look down at her? However the Stormcutter pushed her along, leaving Copper alone in the woods.
She had never felt such loneliness before. Not even when she'd come out here to cry her heart out against the injustices of the world. Not when she had gone weeks, months without finding the perfect dragon for her.
Somehow that Skrill had seen something in her, and in their short time together, Copper realized that dragon was meant to be hers. They were meant to be flying partners.
She felt like this was the dragon she was meant to bond with.
Would she ever see Raika again?
"Whoa," Foxy commented, eating the last of his biscuit. He pushed it away and wiped the crumbs from his face, gazing thoughtfully out the window. "I knew a little of that story, but not all of it. Did you tell mom and dad about this?"
Copper felt her cheeks redden a little, but with a laugh she shrugged. "Uhm, no, not at the time. But if they want to know I would tell them now."
"You mean," Sandy said, staring up at Copper in awe, "mommy and daddy still don't know?"
"They can know whenever they want to," Copper responded firmly.
Reaching over, she took a cloth and wiped Sandy's face, settling herself back once more. Her mind wandered back to that walk home, those next couple days in misery, and the time that passed from her first sighting of Raika. "Those were the hardest weeks of my life. I couldn't tell anyone what had happened, for fear I would be made fun of since meeting a Skrill is next to impossible. So I kept it to myself. I silently suffered inside, trying to hold back my fears and emotions and sadness, but it was showing. Mom and Dad were concerned, my classmates even noticed. I think Emil figured out I had been there when they'd been talking about me, for he was extra nice to me over the next couple weeks. I couldn't figure out what I should do, I didn't know how to handle all of these emotions and feelings and desires. But then, one day when I'd gone on a walk by myself for some solitude..."
Copper picked up a rock and threw it, trying to vent her frustration out that way. Her mind was still on Raika, that beautiful purple Skrill, wondering where it had flown off to. Why did that Stormcutter take her away?
No matter how she tried to figure everything out, she couldn't. The Stormcutter seemed more aggressive than the Skrill, hard to believe since from the Book of Dragons, Stormcutters were stated as a more docile dragon. Of course, no one had ever seen one but Bork the Bold, so that statement could be translated differently using today's dragon gentling methods.
Rock after rock she threw, hitting nine out of ten targets. A cliff edge near the water that she enjoyed jumping off of now and then entered her mind, but she decided it against it. She didn't need an adrenaline rush right now, she needed a dragon. A friend. Raika, that Skrill.
She wanted to find that dragon so badly.
At first she thought her imagination was playing tricks on her, so she quickly put it out of her mind. But as she continued to wander near one of the less traveled areas of the island of Berk, she thought she picked up the sound of a dragon call.
And not just any dragon call. This one had a very guttural, very distinct sound. Almost like that of a...
She couldn't believe it. Before she could stop herself she found she was running, running toward the sound with everything that was in her. The dragon call didn't sound like a distress call, it sounded like that of a reptile who was looking for something, or someone.
It was looking for her.
She didn't think, she only moved in the direction of the creature, finding her voice before Copper even knew she'd begun to call. "Raika, Raika, where are you?"
In response, the dragon's screech grew more insistent, until Raika came around the corner...
And there she was. The beautiful, purple Skrill, sitting on her haunches with a very pleased look on her face. She made eye contact with Copper and almost looked like she wanted to smile. The large reptile dropped down and slid toward Copper, watching her warily but with a pleasant aura around her.
Copper's throat caught, her heart slowed down until she almost wasn't breathing. This just can't...
But it was. Raika sniffed Copper's hand, and begun to trill like she had before. She licked her lips and sat up again, towering over Copper with a curious expression, head tilting. Unconsciously Copper reached out and touched Raika's nose, the dragon leaning into her touch.
"Hi, Raika," she murmured, amazed at the calmness in her voice as her hand trembled. "You came back to see me, huh?"
Of a sudden, Raika bounded away from her, pausing to look back at Copper and make a questioning roar.
She took a step after the dragon. And then another.
Raika moved forward, leaping around on her forewings like a dog. The female Skrill raced onward, and Copper followed blindly, laughing.
It was like nothing she had ever experienced before, she had no idea why she was doing this or following such a dangerous creature. And yet it felt so right. She raced after the Skrill with determination, concentrated on following the purple creature as she dodged around trees and hopped around, occasionally flying up above Copper in a playful fashion.
She's playing with me.
This Skrill was playing with her, Copper, and it was fun!
She had no idea where they were headed or what they were doing. All Copperblaze knew was this dragon and her were playing, this powerful winged reptile was playing with her, Copper, the girl who didn't own a dragon. Who didn't connect with dragons. Who wasn't a Dragon Rider.
Is this a connection?
Copper didn't let herself dwell on it anymore, she was having too much fun. Raika ducked behind a boulder and popped back up, like she was playing hide and seek. Giggling, Copper did the same and hid behind a tree, until Raika sneaked up to the base and popped her head around the tree. Copper took off running, laughing, and the purple Skrill chased her down. She wasn't the least bit afraid, though her mind warned her she should be. This was one of the most dangerous dragons known to the vikings...
And yet here she was, playing with it, letting it chase her down! She didn't care, this was the most fun she'd had in forever!
When at long last Copper began to lose her breath and Raika seemed to be ready to stop playing, both human and dragon stood across from each other, panting. "You're a nice girl," Copper managed between breaths. "Full of mischief."
Raika, it seemed, liked this word, for she tossed her head in agreement. However it also seemed to spark something in the beady eyes of the beast, for she turned around and headed off in a separate direction, looking back once to beckon Copper to follow with pleading eyes.
"You want me to go with you?" Copper asked.
Raika, in turn, threw her head in the air and gave off a Skrill call, racing through the woods.
Copper knew nothing else than to follow, she wasn't about to let this dragon out of her sight. Already, thoughts of flying Raika back to the academy filled her mind. What would everyone think of me if I came flying in on the back of this girl? she thought with a grin.
Of course, that was too much to consider right now. Best to keep that thought for later, she didn't want to get her hopes up.
But oh, if this is what a connection with a dragon was supposed to feel like, if this was how she would know that this was the right dragon for her...
Copper followed Raika through the trees and toward the cliffs that she had spent many years as a child exploring and jumping off of into the waters below. The purple Skrill sauntered over to a small grove of cloudberry plants, nosing around the rocks as if she was searching for something. Copperblaze cautiously came closer, until she was standing at the hip of the dragon and watching the female reptile nose through the rocks.
"Whatcha looking for?" Copper said, unsure if her new friend could understand her questions or not.
Raika responded by using her hard, scaly head to throw a rock to the side, revealing a small hole that Copper had never noticed before in the side of the rocky cliff side.
"What on earth..." she murmured, but Raika wasn't finished yet.
Three more throws sent the rocks flying to the side, until the hole was big enough for the Skrill to fit through. Copper watched, dismayed, as the creature slithered her way through the entrance and down below, making dragon noises that sounded like she was telling Copper to follow.
It was very, very dark in that hole. Copper realized, somewhat in awe, that it was a cave. I have never found a cave in this area during all the years I've spent here.
And she knew these cliffs well. Copper had crawled, climbed, jumped around every edge of these hills. She knew them like the back of her hand. And yet here comes this Skrill from who knows where and she was showing her a cave that Copper had no idea existed.
The only sensible thing would be to follow inside, of course. She wouldn't dream of staying out here and waiting for her new dragon friend to come back. Raika was trying to show her something, and she darn well was going to find out how this dragon knew of the cave when Copper herself had never discovered it!
Without anymore thought on the matter, Copper hopped down into the hole and found herself sliding across a gritty, dirty surface. She yelped in surprise, but hit the bottom of the cavern within seconds. Raika was down on the floor, her body pulsing with electricity-filled light. The Skrill turned to Copper, sniffed, then hopped away from her, running down what appeared to be a tunnel of some sort.
The ground around Copper rumbled, a few loose rocks fell from above.
Something triggered in her brain, and she realized what was going on.
"Raika!" she hissed, alarmed. She knew better than to raise her voice. "Hey girl, come back! Slowly, quietly!"
But Raika had no understanding of Copper's main way of communication—verbal, that is—and merely turned on her haunches and raced back.
The rumbles grew louder, Copper screeched and flung herself forward as more rocks fell from above. "Its unstable!" she cried out. "Raika, stop running, this cave is too unstable—"
Alas, it was too late! The little light that had streamed through earlier disappeared at the shouts of Copper's voice, plunging the cave into complete darkness with the exception of Raika's glowing skin. Copper caught her breath, a large rock having missed her by a mere inch or so.
Raika's excitement had caused tremors in the unstable cave. The large dragon had bounced too much, and the rocks had slid from the dirt...
It suddenly occurred to Copper how bad of a situation this really was. She was in a unstable cave with a loud and excitable Skrill she had not bonded with and didn't know if it could be "officially" bonded with, and no one knew where she was. Let alone this cave, if she didn't know about it, chances were, no one knew about it. She turned to the Skrill helplessly, temporarily blinded by the light the purple creature was emitting. It amazed her she had such a storage of light in her, she'd thought only when the Skrill was charged with lightning that it could create light.
Perhaps they couldn't fire when they hadn't been charged up, but had a reservoir for the dark.
The Skrill seemed nervous, she began to sniff around the cave and claw at the walls like a chicken scratching for grain. Her eyes grew bigger and bigger with each futile attempt to free the cave open. More rocks fell, and Copper realized they were in danger of a full-fledged cave in if she didn't calm Raika down now.
"Hey girl," she said gently, putting her hand out.
Raika turned rapidly, blinked, and let out a small hiss. She wasn't happy about this situation, anymore than Copper was.
"You need to calm down," Copper continued, keeping eye contact with the dragon while picking up a rock. "You're going to cause this whole place to cave in. Let me show you."
Gently she threw the rock against the wall, and several small stones trickled down.
Raika seemed to make the connection and lowered her back legs, folding her wings up with a long sigh. Slowly, yet with confidence, Copper crept forward and put her hand out to the dragon, letting the reptile smell her hand from a distance of about four inches.
"That's right, we have to be calm, we have to be quiet. Together we can figure this out," she encouraged. "What were you showing me in the first place, girl?"
If she'd doubted the dragon could pick up on communication earlier, she doubted it no longer. It almost seemed as if Raika lit up. She opened her mouth to let out an excited roar—then snapped her mouth shut in realization. If the situation wasn't as serious as it was, Copper would consider laughing, but she knew better. The slightest sound could send this cave crashing down.
"Lead me down the tunnels, girl, let's get out of here," she whispered.
Raika gazed at Copper tentatively, as if she was trying to decide if their previous playtime warranted any sort of connection now. Stepping forward, she lowered her head, pushed her snout into Raika's hand, and closed her eyes with a sigh.
There was no excitement in her body language, no trembling, no racing of her heart, all Copepr felt was...peace.
Then a pulse of electricity struck through Raika's nose and hit Copper, sending her flying back with a sizzle. Oh yeah, right, she's a Skrill.
Raika bounced forward, concerned, but Copper lifted her hand with a quiet laugh and got back to her feet, her hair standing on end.
Somehow, she knew, they were going to be okay. They had to get out of here, it was true, but Copper had full confidence in her new friend to lead her out. "Show me the way."
The tunnels were long and crooked, short in some areas, tall in others. Raika led the way, her glowing scales casting creepy shadows on the walls. At one point the large Skrill stopped, tilted her head, and took a different direction through the cave. Copper followed behind to discover it dead ended in a beautiful, glowing room full of glowworms and glowworm...waste. She wasn't sure what else to call it. The whole room glittered, dripping with the colorful droppings of the glow worms.
"It's gorgeous," Copper breathed. "And kind of gross. That's poop, you know. Is this what you were trying to show me?"
Raika snorted through her nose and tossed her head up and down, her eyes glittering with excitement despite their precarious situation. Copper could see why the dragon would want to bring her here, it simply was amazing. Who knew this was all underneath her favorite cliffs? Certainly not Copper. How the Skrill knew, she didn't know, but she appreciated the motion and effort Raika had gone through to get her here.
Now to figure out how to get out of here.
After leaving the glowworm room and continuing down the corridors of the cave, Copper wasn't sure if Raika was leading the way or if she was. It seemed each turn was familiar and yet different, the young girl was so turned around she began to feel her chest tighten as anxiety threatened to settle in. What if we can't find our way out of here?
On top of that, she heard some familiar whispers in the caves.
The very sound sent chills down her spine, and Copper shuddered. Raika, too, seemed to bristle at the sound, her beady eyes squinting in the darkness. It appeared Copperblaze wasn't the only one worried by the sound.
"We should go the other way," Copper suggested, when it hit her.
They tunneled. And sometimes, if chased...
They would tunnel up.
"That's it!" she exclaimed, swallowing down her fear at the thought of what she was about to do. "Hey girl, Raika!"
Raika turned her scaly head to face Copper, tilting it just so in that quizzical, questioning look she got when she didn't quite understand something.
"The Whispering Deaths," Copper explained. "Find the Whispering Deaths and shock 'em. Shock 'em good!"
Copper demonstrated what she meant by turning on her heel and heading in the direction of the whispers of death, knowing full well this was not the brightest idea she'd ever had. However it wasn't the worst thing she'd ever done, either. No, the worst thing she'd ever done was trying to bond with one of those creepy reptiles...
Raika was right behind her, the dragon testing the air with her tongue in a distaste. She knew as well as Copper the threat those beasts presented, but onward she went, her light leading the way for Copper to take the lead.
The closer they came to the creatures of the dark the more Copper's neck hair stood on end. She felt her heart pounding against her chest, but she pressed on, determined to continue, determined to get out of here, determined to bring that Skrill back top.
Aha, there they were! She caught a flash of movement and she skidded to a halt, ducking under the wing of the large reptile. "Raika, now!"
Before the Whispering Death was able to clasp its jaws shut on both of them, Raika leapt forward and slapped the disgusting creature with her electric tail, sending the Whispering Death scampering for above.
For higher ground.
Toward the light.
Copper screeched with joy and hopped around, hollering at the top of her lungs and scaring the other Whispering Deaths away. A small shaft of light appeared from above where the Whispering Death had ascended from the depths, and Raika let out a screech of joy. She spread her wings to take flight and leave the cave—
But stopped, and turned to Copper with a soft look in her eyes.
And Copper knew without a doubt what that look meant.
Raika stopped her pulsing electricity, darkening the cave temporarily. Copper didn't care, she simply threw herself onto the back of the Skrill and grabbed a hold of the spines behind her head, clutching the dragon's neck as she hoisted herself into the air and through the Whispering Death hole.
They were free, free, free from that cave! But not only that...
Copper was on the back of a Skrill. A wild Skrill. And she knew that's where she belonged.
Copperblaze settled back in her chair and eyed the boys warily. They seemed to not be paying attention anymore, and were currently drawing pictures with their fingers in imaginary lines on the table. "Raika and I were made for each other in the end, and I wouldn't have it any other way. It's true that I had to wait longer than everyone else, but in the end, it was worth it. How much more worth it if you boys wait until it's right for you to be able to ride dragons."
Sandyleap looked up and met Copper's eyes, his face solemn and contemplative. Far more so than earlier, perhaps he had been listening. "What did everyone at the school do when you showed up on Raika?"
Copper laughed at the memory, standing to clear the dishes away from their snack. "Oh you know, they gaped and were shock and in awe. Hiccup wasn't so sure about Raika first, and neither was Windchaser when she finally caught up with us. Windchaser, as Raika's "adopted mother" Stormcutter was furious I had stolen her baby from her, but that's another story. In the end, it all worked out. Raika and I bonded and we're friends, Windchaser is now our friend, and you two," she paused, glancing at the boys with stern looks, "will wait until you're old enough to ride dragons. No buts."
"But if you're right about waiting," Foxy mused, scratching his chin, "it will all be worth it in the end, right?"
"I suppose I can wait until later to be the best Dragon Rider ever," Sandy piped up.
Foxy glared at him and shoved him out of his chair. "No way, I'm going to be the best dragon rider when it's time!"
Copper barely had time to separate the two boys from strangling each other before their parents walked in, but, again, such was the way of life in their house. She was just glad that, despite the fact they still argued the same stupid argument over who was the best Dragon Rider in the land, they at least understood the morale of the story.
Good things come to those who wait, and those who wait the longest are often the most blessed.