The Witch’s Cauldron

Hiccup glanced up, the dark beast’s eyes pleaded with him.

“Move, Toothless! I have to do this bud, now get out of the way!” Toothless gave a little whimper, but shook his head and glanced down at the steaming cauldron below. “No, Toothless, don’t!” Hiccup moved to grab Toothless’ foreleg, but the dragon had already jumped, headfirst into the cauldron. “Toothless! No!” Fiery-red lights rippled through the air when Toothless’ body hit the water inside it, pulling the pale green smoke back into the cauldron. “No, no!!” He rushed down to the platform where the cauldron sat, Merida and MacIntosh on his tail.

“What are you going to do?” asked Merida when she saw Hiccup turn towards the cauldron.

“I have to see if there’s a chance Toothless made it. You two go on ahead, I’ll meet up with you.”  

“Alright, if you insist,” stated MacIntosh, grabbing Merida’s hand and racing off, leaving Hiccup to face the cauldron alone. Letting out a breath, he took a step forward before things began to go downhill. The wind sucking the green smoke into the cauldron picked up speed, quickly becoming a gale. A yell escaped Hiccup’s lips as he fell, the wind’s current starting to pull him towards the cauldron. He fought the wind long enough that he found a handle he could hold on to, hoping the wind would let down long enough for him to find Toothless and get out. But a gnarly voice caught his attention, and he glanced up, letting out a gasp, there stood the Bear King, his eyes seemed to glow with an angry fire.

“You, you’ve ruined everything!” growled the Bear King, his bear claws grabbing Hiccup’s face. With a muffled yell, Hiccup swung his legs around and kicked the Bear King as hard as he could, causing Mor’du to release him and tumble into the grasp of the wind. Hiccup tried to pull around, but Mor’du got a firm grip on him. “No, you will not escape. You shall appease the cauldron’s hunger.” And picking up the tiny form, he tossed Hiccup at the cauldron,, the boy landing hard at the cold, bottom step. But the cauldron seemed to have other ideas as the wind whipped around harder, apparently having found its prey.

“No! You cannot have me! My power cannot be taken from me!” screamed Mor’du as the cauldron’s power pulled him closer. Hiccup watched with fear and astonishment as the cauldron seemed to peel everything away from the Bear King before he completely disappeared in a burst of flame. The ground began to shake before the cauldron fell through the floor, the stairs falling after it, giving Hiccup barely any time to get to his feet. He ran out of the room, right as the floor toppled into the water below.

“Merida! MacIntosh!”

“Hiccup! Over here!” Merida waved him over.

“Oh, thank goodness you’re safe. We’ve got to get out of here, the castle’s crumbling apart!”

“We can see that! Let’s get going!” MacIntosh yelped as he pushed the other two forward. Hiccup grabbed Merida’s hand and led the way through the castle, the floors crumbling mere seconds after MacIntosh’s feet left the spot. Hiccup led them down corridors and stairs, finally getting them to the very bottom of the castle.

“Hiccup, there’s a boat,” Merida pointed out as Hiccup took a step down the stone path.

“Oh, good.” He went to untie the rope while the other two got into the boat. He grabbed a pole and handed it to MacIntosh. “Push us off!”

“What? Why me?”

“Just do it!” snapped Merida.

“Oh fine,” he grumbled, and pushed off, the boat drifting into the river.

“Oh no,” gasped Merida. The other two glanced up, Merida pointed at a gate in their path, closed and bound with iron chains. “Hiccup!” The teen had jumped out of the boat and waded towards the gate.

“I’m going to try and open it!” he announced as he worked at the iron chains.

“Oh! Hurry it up! That back wall looks like it’s about to collapse on us!” Hiccup unwound the chains as fast as he could and pushed open the gate. He waded back to the boat and helped MacIntosh push the boat through the gate before trying to hoist himself back into the boat. MacIntosh turned to help him, and saw the back wall. “Ah! The wall’s going to cave in!” He pulled Hiccup into the boat just as the wall fell into the water, sending the boat and its screaming passengers flying through the tunnel and into the bay. The three finally managed to surface, coughing up whatever water they had accidentally swallowed and climbed onto the overturned boat. MacIntosh found the pole and began pushing them towards shore. The three alighted when they reached the shore, thrilled to have the sturdy ground beneath their feet.

Hiccup gasped, “Look!” Not far from where they had landed, the cauldron bubbled up to the surface. “Toothless,” he muttered sadly.

“Aha, there it is! Well, well, and look at this, there you are too!” cackled the old witch. Her boat came up next to the cauldron. It took her some effort, but she managed to lug it onto her boat without capsizing it and rowed to shore. “Thanks so much for getting rid of that pesky Bear King, he was such a nuisance! Oh, here’s your sword back, as thanks for taking care of this.” She got out of the boat with the elegant blade.

Hiccup reached out to grab the sword, then paused, sighing, “No, if you could, I would like Toothless back.”

Witch blinked, “Huh?”

“H-he’s the one who jumped into the cauldron.” The witch blinked some more before shoving the sword  and scabbard into Hiccup’s arms and got back into her boat to look into the cauldron.

“Eh? Toothless can fit in here?”

“What?” Hiccup dropped the sword and rushed to the cauldron. “Toothless!! You’re, you’re alive!” Merida gave a squeal when the black head popped out of the cauldron. HIccup laughed as the dragon licked him. “OK, bud, OK, I’m happy to see you to. Come on, get out of there!” Toothless more than willingly obliged as he bounded out of the cauldron and knocked Hiccup onto the beach. Toothless landed on the beach more gracefully, giving him room to shake his scales and stretch after such a tight squeeze in the cauldron. Merida rushed forward to give the dragon a great big hug.

“Oh, we did miss you,” cooed Merida as a low, humming sound emitted from Toothless’ throat. Hiccup had risen and joined them in the hug.

“H-hey, where you going? What about the sword?” Hiccup, Merida, and Toothless glanced behind them, the witch was rowing away.

“Huh? Eh, keep it! I have a feeling you’re going to need it soon anyway!” She waved and in a few minutes, she and the cauldron were out of sight, a crow following in their wake. Hiccup went to pick up the sword and scabbard, attaching the scabbard to his hilt and sheathing the sword.

“Well, now you look like real hero.”

“Yeah, well, I still don’t exactly feel like one.”

“What? Well, real heroes get kisses from real princesses.” Merida marched forward and pulled Hiccup forward, planting a nice big kiss on his lips.

“Wow, I could get used to this.”

“Of course you could.” They kissed again, only to be interrupted by Toothless’ snorting. Merida walked back to him and began scratching him.

“Thank you, you useless reptile. I was enjoying that!” The others laughed. “Well, what you do say we all go home.”

“It’s about time!”

Merida giggled, “I think that’s a good idea.” Toothless bounced up and down, showing his excitement.

“Ok, bud, calm down. You have to stay still so we can get on.” HIccup hoisted himself onto the dragon’s saddle and held out a hand to help Merida up, MacIntosh taking up the rear. “Alright, everybody ready?”

“Yup!”

“Then let’s go!” Toothless spread his wings and took off, all heading off to home, at Gobber’s smithy.

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