“Thor Bonecrusher?” Hiccup muttered to himself, “This’ll be great.”
He flinched as he saw Fishlegs, or Thor Bonecrusher, heave a yak over his head with one hand, yelling out challenges to all those around him claiming to be the strongest man on Berk.
“Well,” Astrid chimed in, “It might be an improvement.”
Hiccup just sighed and pinched the bridge to his nose.
“Okay, we can fix this. Fishlegs thinks he’s the greatest warrior on Berk. We just need to send the actual greatest warrior we have against him and that should knock some sense into him, right?” He looked around the small group of vikings for better ideas.
“Uh, I have a question.” Ruffnut put in raising her hand, “Who here is the best warrior? Cause ‘the best’ is a little, hmm…”
“Subjective.” Tuffnut finished for his sister, who then nodded.
“Well,” Hiccup smiled, “Who do you guys think is the best warrior on Berk right now? And the answer can’t be Thor Bonecrusher, because we can’t send Fishlegs to fight himself.”
“Ohh.” Snotlout chuckled as he strutted forward, “You, my dear cousin, are far too kind.”
Astrid rolled her eyes before throwing the Jorgensen 15 feet from their position.
“I think we all know who the best warrior here is.” She smirked at the brunette who was now on the ground.
“Of course you prefer the blonde.” He muttered to himself.
“I guess we just need to go find her then.” Tuffnut shrugged.
“Shouldn’t be too hard,” Ruffnut shrugged back, “Last I checked she was bringing stuff to Gothi’s hut. If we’re in luck she’s there now.”
“Uh, who are we talking about?” Astrid hissed at the twins.
“Sigrid.” Hiccup smiled at her, Astrid’s face dropped into a painful scowl, “Everyone knows she’s an amazing fighter. She’s been taking on fully grown adults since she was 10. And now with her knowledge from training under Gothi, she knows just about everything about the body. Fishlegs will not stand a chance!”
“What do you mean she’s gone!?” Hiccup exclaimed hearing what his father had to say.
“Just that.” Stoik said grimly, “Gone. Last anyone saw her was early this morning.”
“But, but, where would she go? It’s dangerous out there! Didn’t she leave like a note? Or, or a sign? Or, something?”
Stoik just shook his head, “Nothing of the sort.”
“Not true chief.” Gobber cut in, all eyes then fell on the large, blonde man.
“You see, she was working well into the night last night on more arrows. Lass with never let me make any for her, says I never balance them right.”
“Gobber,” Hiccup all but snarled at the man, “Where is my sister?”
“No idea.” He told him, “But she left this on the bench when she left. I only found it when I went in this morning.”
He handed a rolled up piece of parchment to Stoik.
“What is this?” Stoik demanded.
“I believe it’s a wanted poster of Norman the Nimrod, chief.” Gobber explained, “Seems like Sigrid is taking that offer seriously.”
“What?” Hiccup cut in, “What offer? What poster? What happened? Who’s this Norman character? Where’s Sigrid gone?”
Stoik handed his son the piece of parchment for him to look over.
“A bounty hunter by the name of Philip came by a couple of weeks ago, when Sigrid was still ill. He was asking around for that man, had under good account that he was here. No one had seen hide nor hair of him. But children had been saying that there was a scauldron up in the deep forests of the mountain and were frightened. Sigrid seemed to put two and two together and went out to find this ‘scauldron’. She came back with this Nimrod chained to her saddle. Handed him over to Philip, who then insisted in splitting the gold with her. I guess when he came back she got that poster from him. And with the gold she received, she must have made her decision.”
“She was offered a position working for this bounty hunter?” Hiccup questioned, looking up from the parchment.
Stoik shook his head, “He said that she should consider a path in bounty hunting, she was good at it. She must have agreed.”
“I don’t get it though.” Hiccup breathed, “She was so happy learning to be a healer. Why would she leave?”
Gothi poked his arm to gain his attention then started scratching around in the dirt.
“Happy as she thought she was,” Gobber translated, “That girl has the firey spirit of a warrior in her veins. There’s nothing to be done to quench it. I knew she wouldn’t be a healer since the day she asked me to teach her, she might have thought she wanted to heal but what she learned was for ulterior motives. Combine the knowledge of how the body works, with knowledge of medicines and poisons and her own fighting methods, she would be a lethal advercelery. Advercelery?”
Gothi smacked Gobber upside the head again.
“Ow! Sorry, adversary!” He corrected himself, “She really would be when you consider that. And the timberjack she’s got too. I wouldn’t want her on my tail that’s for sure.”
“Why would she want to become a bounty hunter?” Hiccup asked the old woman, “They aren’t good people! She knows that!”
Gothi kicked over the dirt before scribbling on it again.
“She knows that.” Gobber translated, “But we’re at peace now. There is no need for blood shed or war. Many of the people here have become complacent. Sigrid is not the kind of viking to sit idly by while the world goes on around her. The night she hunted that wanted man she must have felt something spark in her. The thrill of the hunt, finding your prey, the thought of an ensuing battle afterwards, the careful calculations that go into ambushes and traps. Sigrid is a good girl, but she is not for village life. She is a warrior, a fighter, a hunter. She is everything but easy prey. And the girl probably doesn’t even know that yet herself. That’s why she didn’t say anything about to anyone and just left. She needs some freedom. She needs some blood. She needs a healthy kick of adrenaline constantly. My only advice would be to support her. Believe me, she’s not the one who’s going to get hurt out there.”
Hiccup was furiously shaking his head, “We need to go and get her. Come on, bud!”
“Hiccup!” Astrid called after him, causing the brunette to pause, “We have bigger issues here first and foremost. Sigrid is a warrior. She can take care of herself.”
“But she’s out there!” Hiccup argued.
“And Shadowsplinter is with her. If this is what she wants she’ll know what she’s doing. Think of it as, she’s away on a hunting trip for big game.” Astrid gave a crooked, nervous smile.
Hiccup sighed and stepped back from where he was about to mount Toothless.
“I’m being stupid, aren’t I?” He asked.
“You’re not being stupid, son.” Stoik assured, “You’re worried about her. You’re protective of her. It’s normal when you care for someone. Sigrid and I actually got into an argument the day she turned Norman over to Philip. I knew she thought I was underestimating her abilities. And to be fair, in a way, I was. But she’s my daughter as much as she’s your sister. We get concerned when we think she might get hurt. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s we need to trust in her. She’s been your right hand when it came to dragon training, and she didn’t disappoint you then, did she?”
“Then she won’t disappoint us now. She might come back with scrapes and burns, but she’ll come back. And we need to trust her to do that.” Stoik smiled at his son and Hiccup smiled back at him.
How could he think that? Sigrid had always taken care of all of them. Something like this she would take on easily. And with Shadowsplinter with her the world would soon be trembling before them.
“Besides, it would seem you have bigger issues to deal with right now.” Stoik nodded to where Thor Bonecrusher was strutting down the street with the red head’s ax in his hands.
“Uh, right.” Hiccup half laughed, “Getting on that