Now, I may have already done an AU story on the ending of LBT VII, but I thought I'd give it another go and see if I could do better.
Now, I will say that not only is this going to be my entry for the August prompt, referring to an emotional parting, but I regret to inform you that this will be my last LBT story for 2018.
I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the 2018 prompts, and I can't wait to see what 2019 has to offer, although these last few prompts have resulted in rather dark, depressing stories from my part.
In that case, here is my last prompt entry for 2018, unless I somehow come up with one for December should it be a prompt that I CAN respond to.
A BROKEN FAMILY
Dozens of dinosaurs gathered in the Rock Circle, patiently waiting for any news on their dreadful situation involving the children of the Circle of Elders. The Elders' Swimmer's daughter, Ducky, had been kidnapped in the middle of the night by another member of the Elder's families. No one could come to a conclusion as to what to do. The closest they came was Mama Swimmer's insistence that she go off into the Mysterious Beyond on her own to find her daughter and give "that cursed Flyer" a piece of her mind, but everyone else thought this idea to be ridiculous, particularly her mate, so she stayed put. However, they failed to realize until too late that their ignorantly long arguing had unwittingly led to their children sneaking out of the valley to search for their loyal Swimmer friend, and in response, Mama Flyer was sent to find the children with help from another Flyer.
Now, they were left waiting for any news about the children, and Mama Flyer. Some of them could care less about what happened to Pterano if he was still out there.
Mama Swimmer was the most frantic of all. She had not seen her daughter since the last time she and Spike went to sleep that night. She had noticed that Ducky was having a hard time sleeping, but thought nothing of it, but now she deeply regretted it. If she had only known that Ducky was going to sneak off in the middle of the night. Anything could have happened to her after Pterano abducted her. She could even be dead as a result of that Flyer's appalling actions.
"I swear! If I ever see Pterano again, I will seriously consider giving him a piece of my mind for what he has done to my precious daughter! Mark my words!" she hissed, "Ducky could be anywhere! She could be dead or alive! I'll never forgive that cursed Flyer for his despicable actions!"
"Darling, please calm down!" her mate spoke gently to her, "Ducky will be back before you know it. Ms. Flyer will do everything she can."
"She'd better!" Mama Swimmer retorted, "After what her own brother has done, I don't know if I can trust anyone right now!"
"Mrs. Swimmer, please relax!" reassured Grandpa Longneck, "We all know this is a very dreadful situation, but I assure you, our children will be back soon."
"All of them," added Grandma Longneck.
Mama Swimmer didn't feel much better, but she refused to speak another word and decided she would save whatever energy she had left for any potential confrontation with the Flyer whom had taken her daughter away from her.
"It was one thing for him to lure my family to a Sharptooth, but kidnapping children!?" shouted Topps, "This is a step too far! I'm more than willing to give him the maximum punishment we can give him!"
"He deserves to be banished permanently for all I care!" agreed Mama Swimmer, "My dear Ducky is in danger because of him, and I could care less what happens to him!"
"We'll have to wait and see if we get any news," said Grandpa Longneck, "If our children come back safely, then Pterano will be punished accordingly."
"Agreed," said a majority of the other dinosaurs in the group.
Suddenly, there came the sound of a Flyer's screech. The Elders immediately looked up at the orange sky for any signs of Flyers soaring over them, and there came a heartwarming sight … plus a not so heartwarming one …
"That can't possibly be Pterano! What in the blazes is he doing here!?" hissed Topps.
"Wait! I see Ms. Flyer!" said Grandpa Longneck.
"And I think I see the children!" shouted Grandma Longneck excitedly, her eyes catching the sight of what just might have been her grandson's head on one of the Flyers.
"Please tell me my Ducky is among them!" begged Mama Swimmer in desperation.
Soon, three Flyers came down toward the Rock Circle. Two of them were carrying children on their backs, and that sight alone was enough to enlighten the moods on many of the Elders, but from Mama Swimmer's view, she couldn't tell who was on who's back.
Mama Flyer landed softly in the middle of the Rock Circle. Next to her, a much bigger Flyer came down and lowered his back. The Elders smiled with joy once they saw Littlefoot, Cera and Spike step off the Flyer's back and emerge, appearing to be completely unharmed after everything they must have been through.
"Littlefoot!" the two elderly Longnecks shouted with joy.
"Cera!" Topps sighed with relief.
"Spike!" cheered Papa Swimmer.
Littlefoot, Cera and Spike ran towards their respective families and shared a very brief smile with them, but those smiles faded just as quickly.
"We were so worried about you," said Grandpa Longneck, "Do you have any idea how much trouble you've put us through?"
"We just … wanted to save Ducky," answered Littlefoot.
Cera nodded in agreement, not wanting to say a word that would further infuriate her father more than he already was.
"Well, the way I see it, you kids have quite a knack for making us worry sick about you, always running off like that, but I think we can save your explanations for later!" said Topps sternly.
The children nodded and turned their heads away from their parents and to each other. They didn't know how they could explain the journey they had just endured. Who would believe they had not only traveled the Mysterious Beyond to save Ducky, but also to find the Stone of Cold Fire just to see if it really was magical, … with Petrie's own uncle on their trail. Littlefoot and Cera agreed that it was best if this story was kept amongst themselves, Ducky, Petrie and Spike.
However, everyone's eyes then turned to an orange and brown Flyer who landed next to Mama Flyer. All of them were glaring at him with pure hatred, and he simply returned the gestures with a look that told them that he knew what was coming to him.
"Well, Pterano, you've got some nerve!" shouted Topps, "What makes you think you can kidnap a young, defenseless Swimmer in the middle of the night!?"
"He's quite right, Pterano! You have a lot of explaining to do!" agreed Grandpa Longneck.
"WHERE IS MY DAUGHTER!?" Mama Swimmer screamed, and she began to charge at the Flyer, but her mate held her back at the last possible moment just before she could reach him, and she stepped back, maintaining a ferocious glare that seemed as if it alone could kill.
"Now, now! I can explain everything!" said a shaking Pterano, "I'll be hap-"
"You can begin by telling me where my daughter is!" retorted Mama Swimmer, "What have you done to her!?"
Pterano looked at his sister, and she gave him a simple nod. He looked at Mama Swimmer again, and he lowered himself to reveal his own nephew sitting on his back, but the sight sitting next to Petrie earned a huge gasp from Mama Swimmer.
"DUCKY!?" she squealed in delight as she saw her daughter alive and well with very little harm appearing to have been done to her.
"Mama!" said Ducky happily.
Mama Swimmer's instincts kicked in in an instant, and she grabbed her daughter off Pterano's back and hugged her tightly.
"Oh, my! Ducky! I am so happy to see you again!" she shouted with such joy that she thought she would never stop feeling so happy that her precious child was safe and sound.
"I am so happy to see you, too, Mama!" sniffled Ducky.
"Oh, my dear Ducky! I thought I'd never see you again! I thought you were dead! I thought …," Mama Swimmer couldn't say another word, as her happy tears started streaming down her cheeks.
"It is okay, Mama," reassured Ducky, "I am home. Yep, yep, yep."
Everyone watched the joyful reunion between the two Swimmers. Some of them had tears in their eyes as they took in the heartwarming scene. Papa Swimmer was just as tearful, and he didn't hesitate to step in and nuzzle his mate and daughter.
"We're so glad you're back, Ducky," he spoke gently, "We're so happy you're home now, dear."
"Me, too, Daddy," smiled Ducky.
In a moment, however, the joyfulness of the Swimmers' reunion died down, and everyone had their eyes fixed on Pterano again.
"The kids can explain their story later, but for the moment, I think that YOU, Pterano, are the one to do the explaining!" announced Grandpa Longneck, "Do you have any idea how much trouble you caused by kidnapping Ducky in the middle of the night!? Not only did you put her in grave danger, but you put her friends in danger, too, … including, if I may, … your own nephew!"
Pterano shivered coldly as Petrie lifted himself off his back and came down next to him. He knew his story of the recent events would receive lots of backlash, but he knew he had to take his only chance if he was willing to live any longer. He looked at Petrie, then at his sister, and finally the children whom he had endangered with his foolishness and stupidity. He closed his eyes and sighed, and he stepped up to the center of the Rock Circle, now with the attention of everyone surrounding him.
"You do know that causing harm to children in any way, directly or indirectly, is a serious crime in this valley, and such actions never go unpunished!" said Grandpa Longneck, "What gave you the idea that such an act was acceptable!?"
"You can explain from the beginning!" added Topps wrathfully.
Pterano opened his eyes and cleared his throat …
"Alright. I confess," he began, "I overheard a conversation you had the other day … about an alleged Stone of Cold Fire."
"Oh, this nonsense again!?" snorted Topps, "Don't tell me it got into your head, too!"
"It did," said Pterano hesitantly, "I truly believed that this stone was magical, and I wanted to use it to create a paradise."
"That is one of the stupidest excuses I've ever heard!" shouted a Swimmer within the crowded adults.
"Me try to tell Uncle Pterano, Great Valley alrea-," Petrie began before his mother intervened by closing his beak with her hand.
"Don't interrupt, Petrie," she said sternly.
Petrie closed his beak and didn't say another word.
Pterano waited until he was sure his nephew wouldn't speak again, and after a moment, he went on.
"Anyway, … after I finished listening in to your conversation, … I met my nephew's friends for the first time, … and I wanted to get information from Littlefoot on where he said the stone might have landed."
"So, that's why you kidnapped my daughter!?" hissed Mama Swimmer.
"No!" replied Pterano.
"Then, what did!?" asked Papa Swimmer.
Pterano sighed as he shuddered to think about his next detail.
"Before I took Ducky, … I did something which I think might have been the worst thing an uncle could do," he said sadly.
"What are you talking about, Pterano?" his sister asked him, panting as if she was thinking that her brother might have done something horrible to her son.
"I secretly told Petrie to ask Littlefoot where he thought the stone landed and bring that information back to me so that I could find the stone myself," admitted Pterano.
"You mean, you used Petrie, your own nephew, as a tool for your own gain!?" Mama Flyer yelled in horror, "I can't believe you could do such a thing! Sometimes I wonder why I'm related to you!"
Petrie cringed at this, and he tried to beg his mother to stop yelling at him, but she once again shut him up before a single word could come out of his beak.
"It was that night when my two associates and I found Ducky wandering aimlessly around the valley, and we knew that she was one of my nephew's associates, … so … we took her in order to get more information on the stone," said Pterano.
Ducky looked speechlessly at Pterano, very surprised to hear those words. She knew this wasn't true, but she guessed that perhaps Pterano was willing to accept full responsibility for his, Rinkus and Sierra's actions, rather than blame it on his lackeys, and also not to make her look guilty for eavesdropping on them.
"All of this over a stone that doesn't even exist!?" hissed Mama Swimmer, "You're despicable!"
"Well, I would see to it that since all of this was over some rubbish stone that has nothing magical about it, an extraordinarily severe punishment is in order!" announced Topps.
"I quite agree!" said Mama Swimmer, glaring murderously at Pterano.
"For harming our children for absolutely no reason whatsoever, I hereby sentence you, Pterano, … to PERMANENT BANISHMENT! This is-"
Everyone jumped as Petrie ran to his uncle, screaming, and stepped in front of him as if he were trying to protect him from a Sharptooth.
"Petrie, what are you doing!?" shouted Mama Flyer.
"Me no let you take Uncle Pterano away!" yelled Petrie.
"Of course, I shouldn't be surprised that his own nephew would try to put a stop to this!" roared Topps viciously.
The Gang gasped in horror and stared at Petrie. He seemed to be putting his own life in danger by defending his uncle after everything he had done to them.
"Petrie, please step aside," said Grandma Longneck as gently as she could.
"No!" replied Petrie with wet eyes, "Me no let you banish me Uncle Pterano forever! Not after he save Ducky from falling off cliff!"
Everyone was stunned into silence. Pterano saving Ducky from falling off a cliff? That was the last thing they expected to hear.
"Petrie, what are you talking about?" asked Papa Swimmer.
Petrie panted and tried to think of the best possible answer, but his uncle tapped him on the shoulder and gently gestured to him to step aside. The young Flyer reluctantly backed away from him, and Mama Flyer pulled him back.
Pterano sighed and cleared his throat again.
"After we found the Stone of Cold Fire, and we realized it wasn't magical, … the Smoking Mountain blew, … and the cliffside collapsed. Ducky was standing on that cliff when it crumbled right under her feet. I knew that I couldn't endanger her any more than I had already done, so after I had taken so many lives in the past, I thought I'd give one back."
"Is this not true, Ms. Flyer?" asked Mama Swimmer, and the Flyer nodded in confirmation.
"Ducky fell off the cliff, and if it wasn't for Pterano's quick thinking, she wouldn't be here with us right now," she said.
"Is it true, Ducky?" Papa Swimmer asked his daughter.
"It is true. It is, it is," confirmed Ducky hesitantly, "The ground gave way right beneath me, and I began to fall before Pterano swept underneath me and saved-ed me. He did, he did."
Nobody knew what to say. Silence befell among the gathered dinosaurs in the Rock Circle for almost a whole minute. Littlefoot's grandparents whispered something to each other, possibly contemplating some alternative decisions.
"Mr. Threehorn, could I have a word with you for a moment?" asked Grandpa Longneck.
"This better be quick! I can't stand looking at this Flyer any longer!" replied Topps, and the two whispered something to each other. The suspense among Pterano and the children lasted for several minutes. Nobody knew what would happen next. Cera suspected that this might have regarded Pterano's fate, but she stayed silent.
Many of the adults then whispered some things to each other, and many of them nodded their heads. This went on and on until the children felt dizzy and confused.
Finally, the Elders turned to face Pterano again, and Grandpa Longneck cleared his throat.
"We have come to a decision regarding your fate, Pterano," he spoke.
"I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I will willingly accept any punishment given to me," replied Pterano, sinking his head in shame and humiliation, "But before you give out my sentence, … I have one last thing to say."
"Very well," said Grandma Longneck, "Get on with it."
"I'm sorry to everyone in the Great Valley for what I've done," said Pterano solemnly, "I'm sorry to the children for the danger I put them in. I'm sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Swimmer, for any harm that might have come to your daughter as a result of my stupidity." He turned to his sister, "I'm sorry, my dear sister, for once again proving that I am not the kind of brother you can trust." He paused and looked down at Petrie, tears leaking down his cheeks as he saw the tears come down from Petrie's eyes, "Most of all, however, … I'm sorry, Petrie, … my dear nephew. I used you for my own gain, and I abused you in one of the worst ways possible. I put you in terrible danger, Petrie, … I put all your friends in danger, and I may have damaged your relationship with your friends. If Littlefoot and the others are suddenly wanting to see less of you, then you know it's because of me. I've been the worst uncle anyone could ever be, and I don't deserve to be the father figure you've wanted since the day your father left us to find a new home and never came back. I … I'm so sorry, Petrie, … and I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me for what I've done."
Petrie's beak quivered as he listened to his uncle's sincere words, and he took slow baby steps until he was right in front of him. Pterano looked down and noticed the depressing sight of his nephew looking directly up at him with wet cheeks and a droopy beak. It was a sight that broke the Flyer's heart, and he wished more than ever that he hadn't treated him the way he did.
"Me … forgive you, … Uncle Pterano," whispered Petrie, and he held out his hand.
Pterano, shocked beyond words, hesitated for a moment before he accepted the gesture and shook his nephew's hand.
"You have my eternal gratitude, dear nephew," he whispered, and they let go before Petrie backed up next to his mother again.
"Is that all you wish to say, Pterano?" asked Grandma Longneck.
"Yes," sighed Pterano.
"Quite frankly, Pterano, your behavior has been inexcusable!" said Grandpa Longneck, "But, in light of the fact that you helped save the children, your punishment will be reduced."
Pterano was stunned. His heart almost skipped a beat in anticipation of something that could brighten his spirits. Petrie was panting nervously, hoping that his uncle would face anything but permanent banishment.
"It will?" asked Pterano, perking up with newfound hope.
"Yes," announced Grandpa Longneck for everyone to hear, "We have decided that you should be banished to the Mysterious Beyond until five of the Cold Times have passed!"
"Five Cold Times!?" thought Petrie, his heart almost stopping with horror. Five Cold Times? It may have been right considering what Pterano had done, but Petrie couldn't imagine his uncle being away from him for five Cold Times. What if Pterano couldn't survive the cruel dangers and deserts of the Mysterious Beyond for that long? The mere thought of it was something the young Flyer couldn't bear.
"Five Cold Times!?" he protested, "That so long!"
"Yes!" retorted Topps, "And some of us think it should be a lot longer!"
Petrie was about to counter again when Pterano spoke up.
"Oh, now please. None of the Far Walkers want anything to do with me. I'll be alone and defenseless in the Mysterious Beyond. Is that really fair?"
"YES!" all the adults shouted simultaneously.
Petrie thought his head was about to explode. Everyone had come to their final decision, and it seemed there was nothing he could do to keep his uncle in the Great Valley. As far as he was concerned, Pterano seemed doomed to suffer a tragic, humiliating fate.
"Oh! Let him stay!" he begged to everyone, "He very sorry!"
Mama Flyer stepped in front of her son to stop him running aimlessly around the place, and Petrie stopped and noticed his mother giving him a look of sympathy.
"That may be," she said, before her expression turned more serious, "But that doesn't change what he did, and he must be responsible for that!"
"But!?" Petrie started, but it was the only word that escaped from his mouth before his uncle stopped him.
"Petrie, … she's right."
Petrie turned to his uncle, and he felt tears beginning to well up in his eyes. He was beginning to have a hunch that this was the last time he may ever see his "dear old uncle."
"We must all be accountable for our actions," Pterano spoke, and he crouched down towards his nephew, "I'll be fine."
This failed to convince Petrie that he would be fine. Five cold times felt like such a long time to survive in the Mysterious Beyond, … alone and defenseless.
"I will miss you, uncle," sniffled Petrie as the tears began to escape from his eyes and trickle down his beak. It took him everything to not break down in tears in front of dozens of valley civilians whom wanted Pterano out of their home.
"And someday I shall return to the herd and prove that I can be trustworthy," said Pterano, "I know there's much I can contribute if given the chance."
Petrie couldn't take it anymore, and he jumped into his uncle's arm and cuddled into him in an attempt to shield his wet face from everyone else. He felt Pterano's warm arm gently wrapping around his back to return the embrace.
"I shall miss you, too, Petrie," finished Pterano.
Everyone was silent for a moment as the two Flyers shared what could possibly be their final embrace. They all knew this would be hard for Petrie, but he had to face the fact that his uncle was a traitorous criminal and a fraud, and punishments had to be given to all criminals, relatives or not.
Petrie opened his beak and was about to say something to Pterano, but before he could utter a single word, he was interrupted by a stern growl.
"Go on, you!" came Topps' furious voice as he eyed Pterano murderously as if looks could kill, "You, scoot!"
Pterano immediately placed Petrie back on the ground just before Topps reached them, and he turned his back on them and ran before flapping his wings and lifting himself off the ground.
"SCOOT!" Topps roared before he let out a fearsome, intimidating roar.
Petrie stood up after accidentally being knocked down by Topps, and he reached his hand out as if he wanted to say something, but again no words could come out of his beak.
"Then again," hissed Pterano as he eyed the Threehorn loathingly, "There are others I shan't miss at all!"
Petrie could only watch as his uncle took to the orange skies, and he maintained eye contact as his form grew smaller and smaller, until he disappeared completely.
"Me … no get to say … 'goodbye'," the young Flyer whispered to himself as his heart sank, and his beak quivered as his eyesight became watery. He blinked a few times, and the tears started running down his face like waterfalls.
"Do you think there ever really was a Stone of Cold Fire?" came Ducky's voice, but Petrie paid next to no attention. He was so torn up over losing his uncle, even though he knew now that he was not as smart as he had once thought him to be.
"Well, … it was cold, and there was fire around it," answered Littlefoot.
"Oh, please!" retorted Cera, "Like I said, that was just a dumb old flying rock! There wasn't anything magic about it!"
"Besides, what do we need with magic, when we have each other?" said Ducky, "Right, Petrie?"
The Gang focused on Petrie, but he didn't even look at them. He had his back turned on them, silently bawling his eyes out as he struggled to accept the fact that his uncle was a criminal and had to spend the next five Cold Times away from a place he could have happily called home.
"Petrie?" said Ducky worryingly, "Are you okay?"
"Hey!" Littlefoot gasped suddenly, instantly gaining the attention of the others, "The Far Walkers are about to leave! Let's watch them go!"
The Longneck ran as fast as he could and left Cera and Ducky staring worryingly at their Flyer friend for a moment. However, Cera turned her back just as quickly and wandered off to find Littlefoot. Ducky cast one last glance at Petrie before Spike lifted her onto his back and ran after Littlefoot and Cera.
"I am so happy our little Ducky is safe," Papa Swimmer sighed with relief once the children were out of sight.
"As are we all," nodded Grandpa Longneck, "The same goes for our own kids as well."
"I'm going to give Cera a piece of my mind one of these days!" snapped Topps, "The way she keeps running off with Littlefoot and the others like that! It's driving me insane!"
"But we can at least be thankful that their actions ensured Ducky's safety and return to our valley," Mama Swimmer pointed out.
"But it doesn't change the fact that they did it without our permission!" argued Topps.
"Okay, I think we should stop the arguing for now and call it a night," intervened Grandma Longneck.
"Agreed," her mate replied, and he turned to the many other gathered adults in the Rock Circle, "The rest of you may return to your homes for the night! This meeting is over!"
One by one, the huge assembly of dinosaurs dispersed from the Rock Circle, until only Grandpa and Grandma Longneck, Topps, Mama and Papa Swimmer, Mama Flyer and Petrie were left. It was only then that most of the Elders realized that the young Flyer was still among them, crying silently as he tried to hide his face.
Papa Swimmer tapped Mama Flyer on the shoulder to get her attention, and he pointed to his left. The Flyer promptly looked in that direction, and she saw that her son was still there.
"Petrie?" she said as she approached her son.
Petrie didn't reply. He didn't even show any signs of acknowledging his mother's presence.
"Petrie? Would you like to watch the Far Walkers leave? Your friends must be wondering what's keeping you behind," insisted Mama Flyer.
"No one wonder what keep me behind," responded Petrie in a muffled voice, still covering his face with one of his wings, "No one know how me feel at all."
Mama Flyer sighed despondently. She knew that her brother's banishment would have a negative effect on Petrie, and it took no time at all before it showed.
"Me no get to say 'goodbye' to him," he lamented, and his mother gently rubbed his back and shoulders.
"Now, now, Petrie," she whispered to him, "You'll see him again after the next five Cold Times have come and gone."
"Me no think Uncle Pterano can take five Cold Times in Mysterious Beyond," sniffled Petrie, "Me may never see him again."
"You will, dear," his mother assured him, "Someday, your uncle will be back, and he'll prove himself worthy of being in the family again."
"Me no can wait that long," pouted Petrie, and he took a few steps away from his mother and crossed his wings, still looking away from the grownups.
"Oh, Petrie," sighed Mama Flyer sympathetically, "What am I going to do?"
"What's his problem!?" said Topps unexpectedly, and Mama Flyer quickly turned to the Threehorn with a warning glare.
"I think you know the answer to that question very well!" she retorted.
"Pah! He'd best get over his good-for-nothing uncle's banishment quickly, because if I had my way, it would have been a lot longer than five Cold Times!" ranted Topps, "Need I remind you all of what that idiot did to my family!?"
"Yes, we already know the whole story," said Grandma Longneck, "There's no need for it to be told again."
"I'd be much happier if I never saw him again! He could go burn in a fire for all I care!" hissed Topps.
"Don't use those words in the presence of my son!" warned Mama Flyer, but it was too late …
Petrie turned to face the adults, panting heavily and staring at them as if he had just seen a Sharptooth.
"What you say?" he said as his wings began to shake. He couldn't believe the words that had just come out of the Threehorn's mouth. Pterano burning in a fire until all that was left were charred bones? The mere thought of it made him shiver coldly, and his heart seemed to skip a few beats as he took in what Topps had just spoken.
"This cannot end well," Papa Swimmer whispered to his mate, and she shook her head in agreement.
"What … you … SAY!?" Petrie screamed, and his mother jolted back in shock.
"You heard perfectly well what I said, Petrie!" answered Topps, "I don't care what you think about your uncle! In my personal opinion, he is a good-for-nothing beak brain, and he's as good as gone!"
"Take that back!" yelled Petrie as his mother tried to hold him back.
"That's enough of this! Leave the poor kid alone!" ordered Grandpa Longneck, but his words fell on deaf ears.
"Or what!? You'll commit such an evil act yourself by doing something horrible to your friends just like he did!? You know, I never really could stand younger Flyers, especially those of your age, easily believing anything that anyone says! The way they've been taught by a majority of their families have led them to committing such terrible crimes, and perhaps from what your good-for-nothing uncle's taught you, perhaps you'll grow up to become a criminal worthy of nothing but exile, just like him, unless your mother manages to set you straight!"
Huge gasps escaped the mouths of everyone else present. Petrie's heart exploded, and his beak was wide open with tears leaking from his eyes, as if he was frozen in place. This had to be the worst anti-Flyer prejudice he had ever faced in his life. He was just a sweet, innocent boy whom had only been living in this world for five Cold Times, and he had four great friends he spent every day playing with. There was nothing about him that could be considered dangerous, and yet he had just been shammed, humiliated, and berated all because of something he didn't do. It felt so wrong to be treated this way only because someone in his family was a criminal. It seemed that he and his entire family were about to get a bad reputation among the Great Valley, and he began to consider running away from this horrible, undeserved treatment and unimaginable emotional pain.
"Mr. Threehorn! That is just absurd!" said Grandma Longneck furiously.
"Unthinkable!" added Mama Swimmer, "Petrie's just a little boy! How could you make such ridiculous predictions!?"
"What makes you think my son will become just like my brother!?" yelled Mama Flyer, "How dare you berate Petrie like that! I can't believe you, Mr. Threehorn!"
Everyone's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of crying, and they all saw that Petrie was trying so hard not to break down and start weeping babyishly in front of them.
"You know what, then!?" he whimpered, "If something bad happen to Uncle Pterano before-"
"Don't you dare use that name again, young man!" roared Topps furiously.
"Me no care! He me uncle and me can use name whenever me want!" retorted Petrie, "And if something bad happen to Uncle Pterano before five Cold Times up, then me hope something bad happen to you!"
"Petrie!" gasped Mama Flyer.
"EXCUSE ME!?" screamed Topps.
"You hear me! Now leave me alone!" cried Petrie.
"WHY, YOU, INSOLENT, LITTLE BRAT!" Topps began charging at the little Flyer despite the others' frantic attempts to hold him back, but Petrie abruptly lifted himself off the ground before the Threehorn could possibly kill him on the spot, "That's right, you little beak brain! Get outta my sight!"
"MR. THREEHORN!" the Elders all roared at him to lure his attention away from the little Flyer.
"We never treat our children that way!" shouted Grandpa Longneck.
"There's a reason why we call these adult conversations!" said Papa Swimmer, "Those are not the kind of words that our children should be exposed to!"
Mama Flyer watched as her son disappeared into the orange sky, and she tried calling out to him, but within seconds, Petrie was gone.
"Do you ever consider treating your own child that way!?" Grandma Longneck asked Topps.
"Don't you tell me how to raise my daughter!" retorted Topps, "Now, if you all don't mind, I'm going home, before anybody else has any other reason to criticize me … or bring up that cursed Flyer's name again!"
The Threehorn was just about to leave, when Mama Flyer stepped in front of him, looking as furious as she had ever been in her life. She could not believe that anyone could treat her precious son so cruelly, and she would ensure that the one responsible for that would not go scot-free.
"I will tell you this now, and I will tell you this only once," she hissed.
"And what might that be?" pouted Topps.
"I won't forget this!" said Mama Flyer in a deep, threatening voice, and before Topps could even think of a response, she lifted herself up into the sky and flew away in the same direction her son had taken off.
Petrie flew as fast as he could, crying the whole way. He didn't care where he landed, nor did he even care where he was going. He just wanted to get away from everyone by any means necessary. He simply wished to be alone and try to get those cold words from Topps out of his head, while at the same time grieving over his uncle's exile. The poor kid knew he didn't deserve this kind of treatment from his peers after such a catastrophe that wasn't even his fault, but fate was against him, and now he felt as if he didn't deserve to stay in this valley. He just wanted to be alone, even if he didn't know how long he wanted to be alone.
The Flyer flew over a beautiful stream of water with colorful plants and rocks surrounding either side of it, but he couldn't decide if he wanted to pass the time by admiring the gorgeous sight. He soon looked back and decided that it wouldn't be a good idea, as he noticed his mother pursuing him, and he obviously knew why.
Not wanting to face his mother as a consequence of his recent actions, Petrie shifted his direction to the right, and he found himself heading straight for a small, narrow cave. He gasped in shock and closed his eyes in anticipation of an inevitable crash.
He felt the setting Bright Circle's rays no longer hitting his eyelids just before his right wing scraped against a rough, rocky surface.
"OW!" he cried as he opened his eyes and crashed beak-first into the cave's floor, and he tumbled numerous times with painful thuds before he finally slid across the floor with his chest down and came to a stop, "AWWWHOWHOWHOWWWWW!"
The poor kid coughed and winced as he felt dreadful pain in his right wing from his collision with the cave wall, and he clumsily stood back up and brushed himself off. He shook his head to shake off the dizziness of his multiple rolls, and he took deep breaths to regain his breathing pattern.
"Me guess me deserve that!" he lamented to himself before he suddenly saw another ray of orange light straight ahead. He quickly realized that this cave was more of a tunnel than just some place to hide in, "Me wonder what in other side of this cave?"
Petrie took some slow, curious steps to see what was beyond this tunnel. Could it be another forest? Could there be another stream of delicious water underneath those trees?
He was almost at the exit, when …
Petrie stopped and hung his head down in despair. He knew that voice anywhere.
The Flyer looked behind him and saw the easily recognizable sight of his mother looking down at him as if she was suspicious about something.
"M-Me just wanted to be alone," he stuttered nervously, "Me so upset about me Uncle Pterano, and Mr. Threehorn make it so much worse! Why he say such bad stuff about me!? If he think me grow up to be bad Flyer, maybe me should find somewhere else to live!"
"Not unless I say so, Petrie!" said his mother sternly, "I understand you're upset about Pterano and that you've had your feelings hurt, but that is no reason to run away."
"R-R-Run away!?" said a shocked Petrie, "What you mean, run away!? Me no want to run away! Me just want to be by myself for while!"
"In case you haven't noticed, the Mysterious Beyond is just past that hole," Mama Flyer said, pointing at the exit that Petrie was so close to peeking out of, "I think that fleeing the valley would be a terrible mistake when you still have so much life ahead of you, some good friends, and at least part of a good family, … and a bad wound I must say."
"Bad wound?" said a confused Petrie.
"Your wing is bleeding," said Mama Flyer.
Petrie looked at his right wing and gasped when he noticed that it was covered in his own blood.
"I noticed some rocks had fallen loose from the wall, and after that came a small pile of sand and a trail of red drops," said Mama Flyer, "You must have taken quite a hit, Petrie."
"With all those reasons, I'd consider you a fool if you made that rash decision," came another voice that sounded so familiar to them.
The two Flyers slowly made their way to the exit, and when they looked to their left, they noticed none other than Pterano sitting on the ledge, staring at the Bright Circle lighting up the orange and purple skies.
"Uncle Pterano?" gasped Petrie.
"What are you doing here?" questioned Mama Flyer, crossing her arms, not so extraordinarily joyful to see her brother still within valley territory when he had no place being here, "You've got some nerve showing your face here!"
"Using my last few moments of contemplation before I make that flight I shall endure for the next five Cold Times," answered Pterano, "I've done this before, sister, even when you and I were about Petrie's age."
"Well, I suppose you'd best make this quick before someone else finds you here," said Mama Flyer.
"And also because, … we didn't get to properly say 'goodbye'," admitted Pterano.
"M-me wanted to say 'goodbye' to you, … but me no get to," sniffled Petrie.
Mama Flyer sighed and patted her son on the back, "I guess we could spend these last few moments we have together and get it over with."
"That was a very noble thing you did back there, Petrie," said Pterano admiringly, "But I feel as if I don't deserve it."
"Me just … no want to lose you forever," replied Petrie, "Me know deep down that there such good inside you."
"That really means a lot to me, in spite of what I've done," said Pterano, "I may have proven myself an unworthy disgrace to our family, but if you really believe in me, then I'm sure that one day, … I will be worthy again."
"You always …," Petrie stopped when he noticed his uncle frowning at him.
"Oh, my. Petrie, your wing looks terrible," gasped Pterano as he noticed the bloody wound on his nephew's right wing, "Let me treat that for you … as a final act before I make my leave."
The brown Flyer grabbed a tree star and wrapped it gently around Petrie's wing, tying a knot on top to make sure it wouldn't fall off.
"That should stop the bleeding, and hopefully you'll be back in the air tomorrow," said Pterano, "Just … don't tell anybody it was me who healed it, otherwise they might get suspicious."
Petrie nodded his head and frowned at his uncle, still feeling uneasy about the fact that this may be the last time he may ever see him. He wanted this goodbye to be a very heartful one. He wanted his uncle to know how much he truly cared for him and loved him despite his wrongdoings and the fact that he had manipulated him, used him against his friends' wills, and almost killed one of them.
"I honestly don't know you anymore, Pterano," said Mama Flyer, "It was one thing for you to lead all those innocent dinosaurs to their deaths, but almost doing the same to children just blows me away! My mate once told me he thought you'd become despicable, and I must agree now that I've seen it for myself."
"In case you don't remember, sister, your mate told me before he left that if he never came back, he'd rely on me to become the father figure to your children," Pterano reminded her, "He trusted me, and I swore to keep the promise I made to him."
"Oh, really!?" hissed Mama Flyer, "Someone like you!? Please! You just got so blinded by your views over time, and you simply became this untrustworthy disgrace to our whole family!"
"In fact, so did many others on our father's side of the family!" said Pterano, "It's a common thing for us Flyers! Who could blame me!?"
"Many of those on our father's side of the family were lunatics, and you know it all too well, Pterano! My mate would never have trusted you if it had slipped to him that you were slowly turning into a-"
Mama Flyer and Pterano froze in place and looked down at Petrie. The little Flyer was trembling with fear from watching his own mother and uncle fighting each other. The mere thought of it scared him, and he did not wish for his family to turn on each other just because of Pterano's bad deeds and their contrasting views.
"P-Please! Don't fight!" the kid stuttered with a sniffle, "Me no like it when me family fight each other! Please stop!"
The two older Flyers sighed down at their younger relative, then they looked at each other as if they were completely confused, although they knew full well that they should stop lashing out at each other as long as Petrie was in their presence.
"You're right, Petrie," said Mama Flyer, "We're sorry we scared you."
"Same," Pterano simply put in.
"Pterano?" said Petrie nervously.
"Yes, Petrie?" replied Pterano.
"It true … that … you really want to be like daddy to me?" asked Petrie.
"I did," sighed Pterano, and he chose his next words carefully, "In the event that your father never returned, he'd trust me with being the father figure to you that he otherwise wouldn't be able to be … in his … absence."
"What happen to Daddy?" questioned Petrie.
"Ahem!" coughed Mama Flyer, glaring at her brother, "That story will have to wait until Petrie is older."
"But, Mama!? Me really want to know what happen to Daddy!" whined Petrie.
"I'm sorry, Petrie, but I think that someone your age would not be able to understand," said Mama Flyer.
"She's right, nephew. That would be a story for another time," agreed Pterano.
Petrie saw right through his mother and uncle's excuses, and he decided that he would not stop begging until he got the answer to a question he had been wanting to ask practically his entire life.
"Me no understand!? What about Littlefoot!?"
"In the case of Littlefoot, that was different, dear. He watched his mother die right in front of him. You, on the other hand, only have a memory of when you last saw your father take off from our old family nest," explained Mama Flyer.
"To do what!?" shouted Petrie aggressively.
"Don't you start shouting at me, young man!" his mother replied sternly, "We will tell you the story when you're older, and that's final!"
Petrie jolted with a scream and lost his footing, and he stared in shock at his mother with tears leaking from his eyes. He knew his mother could get somewhat frightening when he disobeyed her, but not this frightening.
Mama Flyer saw how scared Petrie was, and when she noticed the tears coming down, she regretted what she had just done to him, especially since it was simply over a tragic story she did not want to tell him yet.
"Petrie, I'm sorry," she said gently, realizing her mistake, "I didn't mean to scare you like that. It was wrong of me. I'm sorry."
She slowly picked up her distraught son and hugged him gently, and Petrie slowly regained his composure and looked up at her.
"Me one who should be sorry," he lamented tearfully, "Me just, … me have no memory of Daddy at all, … and … me just wish me could know him or at least know what happen to him, … if he even still around or not. Now me about to lose me uncle Pterano, and me no have any Daddy or anyone like Daddy."
"I understand, Petrie, but it won't stay that way forever," assured Mama Flyer.
"It will only be for five Cold Times, Petrie," said Pterano, "Those Cold Times will come and go before you know it."
"Me no sure if me can wait that long," cried Petrie doubtfully.
"You must have faith, nephew," insisted Pterano, "It is the one thing that will keep you going. You already have a family in the valley."
"Except me brothers and sisters always make fun of me," pouted Petrie, "Sometimes, they tease Petrie so bad, it make me feel like Mama only one who treat me like family."
"Now, now, Petrie. Everyone has a brother or sister that picks on them from time to time," consoled Mama Flyer.
"But especially me!" said an annoyed Petrie, "All me brothers and sisters rudely wake me up almost every morning, and they tease me about how me talk!"
"I can teach them to stop waking you up rudely, but other than that, only time can do the rest," said Mama Flyer.
Petrie pouted in response and looked away.
"Petrie, please stop being so surly," said Mama Flyer, "You've been through one rough evening already, and I think you should take it easy for a while."
"Why me can do that when everything-"
"Petrie, … I really hate to say this, … but … my time here is nearly gone," said Pterano, "Since you wished you wanted to say 'goodbye' to me properly, we mind as well do it now before I take my leave for the Mysterious Beyond."
Mama Flyer shared a brief grin with her brother as she lowered Petrie back on his feet. She knew it was really an excuse to get Petrie to stop with his bad tempers, but she was also aware that he wanted to make sure that the two got their proper goodbyes in case, by the stupidest of chances, he would never return to the Great Valley.
Petrie slowly approached his uncle and felt more tears building up in his eyes. He was still unsure if Pterano would survive five Cold Times in the Mysterious Beyond, but if faith was what it took to believe that he would return one day, then faith was what he would give it.
Pterano lifted his nephew up and enveloped him in a hug even tighter than the one he had given him a short while ago in the Rock Circle. Petrie did not hesitate to return the embrace, wrapping his arms around his uncle's neck and rubbing him beak-to-beak.
"I will miss you, Uncle Pterano!" he sobbed, "Me will miss you so much!"
"I will miss you, too, Petrie," Pterano replied calmly, "I know it may feel like a long time, but I'll be fine. I'll be back before you know it, nephew. Trust me."
Petrie had his doubts, but he didn't want to push it any further, so he said nothing and continued to let his uncle cuddle him for as long as he could let him. He wished this moment would last forever, but alas, time was cruel, and any moment could be the last he may ever see of him.
"Me hope you come back soon," sobbed Petrie.
"Don't worry, Petrie. I will," assured Pterano.
"Mr. Threehorn say he never want you to come back," lamented Petrie.
"Now, now, Petrie. Don't ever listen to what Mr. Threehorn has to say," said Pterano in a comforting manner.
"Ahem," interrupted Mama Flyer, "Um, I don't think such a lesson like that will be useful in the long term, Pterano. Perhaps you could stop trying to teach Petrie what you believe is right, because, in fact, it isn't."
Petrie felt dreadful when he heard this, and now he didn't know if his uncle could really teach him something useful or not.
"You're right, sister," said Pterano shamefully.
"Petrie," said Mama Flyer to get her son's attention, "In case you're wondering if there's anything you have learned from your uncle, … it's what not to do, … and how not to be. I hope you remember that."
"M-Me remember that, Mama," said Petrie with a shaking beak.
"That's my good little boy," smiled Mama Flyer, "While I'm not pleased with you and your friends running off into the Mysterious Beyond yet again, I am, however, astounded, because you did it for the sake of a friend, you showed your uncle the error of his ways, and you've shown great nobility and loyalty. For those reasons, I'm proud of you, son."
"R-Really?" muttered a surprised Petrie.
"Of course, dear," said Mama Flyer, patting her son on the head whilst Pterano continued to hug him, then she looked at her brother and her smile slowly faded, "As for you, Pterano, I hope to have a much better brother the next time we meet."
"I swear on my life that I will return in five cold times a much different Flyer than I am now," promised Pterano.
Mama Flyer silently nodded, and Petrie looked at his uncle.
"Petrie, … you be a good little one … for me, … okay?" said Pterano.
"O-Okay," sniffled Petrie, sensing that the dreadful moment was very near.
"I'm afraid I must go now, … so … I guess this means … goodbye," said Pterano.
That last word instantly triggered a fresh stream of tears to fall from Petrie's eyes, and he instinctively hugged his uncle around the neck again, refusing to let go.
"Petrie, it's time for you to let go, dear," said Mama Flyer.
"N-No! P-please! Just few more moments!" begged Petrie through sobs.
"I'm dreadfully sorry, Petrie, but my time is up," sighed Pterano sadly, "I'm gonna have to ask you to let go, nephew."
"No!" wailed Petrie, "Me no ready yet!"
"Sister? Could you please?" Pterano asked his sister, and Mama Flyer obliged and gently pulled her son back.
The instant Petrie felt his wings no longer being in contact with his uncle's neck, he buried his face within his wings as he felt his mother hugging him. It took almost a minute for him to calm down, and he exchanged tearful looks with his mother and uncle.
"Goodbye, sister. Tell your children I'm wishing them well during my absence," said Pterano.
"I will," replied Mama Flyer, and she turned her son around so that he was facing Pterano, "This is your chance, Petrie. Say the words. It's now or never."
Petrie hesitated for a moment before he finally gathered the courage to speak the words he couldn't have imagined speaking to someone whom he wished was like a father to him.
"G-Go-Goodbye," he said in a weak, sad voice, his heart torn to pieces, "Goodbye, Pterano! M-me love you, uncle, … and me wish you one day be just like Daddy to me!"
Pterano was touched by his nephew's words, and a single tear escaped from his eye as he rubbed Petrie's beak.
"Goodbye, Petrie. I love you, too. May the valley give you a wonderful life, and I promise to return to you … as the father-like Flyer you've longed to have," the older Flyer replied.
Petrie's heart was beating abnormally quickly. He not only felt so touched by the fact that his uncle loved him like a son, but he was still doubtful if he may ever make his return lest something happen to him.
After a moment's hesitation, Pterano stepped right up to the ledge of the cliff they were standing on, and he began flapping his wings to lift himself off his feet and into the air. Petrie tried to follow him, but his mother kept him in a tight hug to prevent him from doing so, shaking her head. The poor boy kept his wet eyes on his uncle as his form slowly grew smaller and smaller within the orange sky before he disappeared altogether.
The instant Pterano was gone, Petrie's floodgates opened, and he started openly crying like a baby. His tears landed on his mother's shoulders as he cried his heart out. Mama Flyer gently hugged her son and cradled him lovingly. Petrie had tried his best to keep those tears in for so long, but watching his uncle disappear for possibly the last time had triggered his emotional breakdown, and now he could keep nothing in any longer. He had to let it all out now.
"There, there, Petrie," Mama Flyer soothed her son, "I know, dear."
Petrie cried uncontrollably for several minutes before he could even try to recompose himself. Once he let all his tears out, to the point in which there were practically none left, he finally started to take deep breaths with his loud crying dying down to excessive sniffles and hiccups.
"Are you okay now, Petrie?" asked Mama Flyer once she was sure that Petrie had emptied his tears.
"M-Me … n-n-no … know," stuttered Petrie in between sniffles.
"I know this will be very hard for you, dear, but your uncle has to face the consequences for committing such unforgivable crimes, particularly after what he did to you and your friends," said Mama Flyer.
"Me know," replied Petrie glumly, "He very sorry, though."
"You and I both know he regrets what he's done, but you can't change the past, Petrie," explained Mama Flyer, "Many of us still haven't forgotten his despicable act that killed a good portion of our herd, and kidnapping Ducky was the last straw."
"Me still wish he could stay," lamented Petrie.
"I know, dear, but the fact that he participated in an act that could be considered evil has created a scar that cannot be removed. After all, causing harm to children is one of the worst things any dinosaur could do," said Mama Flyer, rubbing her son's back.
"Scar?" said a confused Petrie, "Pterano no have scar."
"No, Petrie. I'm not talking about the scars you get when you're hurt. I'm referring to emotional scars, the ones you get when something so terrible happens that leaves you feeling so sad that it seems as if you may never be happy again. Pterano has left a permanent scar on all of us because we will never be able to forget what he did. Not only did he emotionally scar us, … but I'm afraid to say that he did the same … to himself."
Petrie was shocked by this explanation. He began to understand the damage Pterano had done, but he knew deep down that his uncle had no intentions of causing harm to him or his friends.
Suddenly, a frightening thought crossed his mind. Was this why Topps insulted him in front of everyone? Had the Threehorn suddenly changed his opinion of him just because of his uncle's actions? Was he keen on turning against the entire Flyer family just because of the actions of one member of that family that they believed to be so cruel and unforgivable?
"What is it, Petrie?" asked Mama Flyer as she noticed that Petrie was seemingly frozen in thought.
"Is … that why … Mr. Threehorn … h-hate me now?" sobbed Petrie as his eyes began to water again. Now he wondered just how many tears he still had left.
"Oh, Petrie," sighed Mama Flyer sympathetically, "I don't think Mr. Threehorn hates you. He's just … upset right now. Just give him some time, and he'll come around and hopefully apologize for what he said to you."
"Me hope he sorry for offending me!" said Petrie angrily, "Me never forgive him if he no sorry!"
"Now, now, Petrie. You two will have to forgive each other eventually. What would happen if you never forgave him? Cera would probably not want to be your friend anymore," said Mama Flyer.
Petrie moaned dreadfully, and his mother patted his back three times to get him to look at her.
"Speaking of your friends, I think you should fly along and join them. You may have missed the Far Walkers, but you still have those whom you care about, and right now, your friends are much more important than missing your uncle," she said with a warm grin.
Petrie wasn't sure if his friends were eager to see him after they had likely heard about what had just happened, particularly Cera. After his heated exchange with Topps, he felt certain that Cera may have wanted nothing to do with him.
"Me no think friends want to see me," sniffled Petrie.
"Oh, Petrie," sighed Mama Flyer, "I know your friends may be thinking differently of you after what Pterano did, but they still care about you, and they would be willing to help you during this difficult time."
"What if Cera no care? She blame me for Pterano taking Ducky away, and she probably hear from her daddy that me get mad at him," said Petrie.
"That's just the way Threehorns tend to be, Petrie, but deep down, they have good hearts and care for those around them. You just don't see it very often," explained Mama Flyer, "Cera and her father are no exception."
Petrie sighed as his mind was again filled with sad thoughts that only made him want to lament and blame himself for everything that had happened, even though he knew it wasn't truly his fault at all.
"Come on, Petrie" said Mama Flyer, placing her son on her back, "Let's go back and join the others."
Petrie didn't reply as he wrapped his wings around his mother's neck, and she walked back through the cave before lifting herself off her feet and into the air on their way back home.
The Night Circle had risen into the sky. Littlefoot, Cera and Ducky were conversing. Spike was simply observing the conversation with Ducky on his back. After everything they had been through, they were glad to finally return to their peaceful lives in the valley, and in just a matter of time, it would seem like it had never happened, with the exception of Pterano having received the punishment he very well deserved for his crimes.
One thing seemed off, though. Petrie had not joined them to watch the Far Walkers leave, and even now there was still no sign of him. Littlefoot and Ducky were concerned for their Flyer friend, but Cera was skeptical as she knew why Petrie hadn't joined them.
"Where is Petrie?" asked Ducky, "It is not like him to miss out on what we do together. No, no, no."
"I'm sure he'll come along soon," assured Littlefoot, "He just … needs time."
"Time to get over what his own uncle did to us!" retorted Cera, "I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't join us for a couple of days after this!"
"I don't think he'll stay sad for that long," argued Littlefoot.
"You saw the way he reacted when they threw Pterano out of the valley," hissed Cera, "He looked as though he had just lost his father."
"I do not think we should make such a big deal out of this," protested Ducky, "Petrie will be okay soon enough. He will, he will."
"Speak for yourself," sighed Cera, "Anyways, I think I'll be going-"
She stopped mid-sentence as she looked up at the sky and saw a familiar sight coming down to land towards them. The other children noticed her staring intently, and they turned to see Mama Flyer come down to land in front of them with Petrie on her back.
"Well, well, well, where have you been?" asked Cera.
"Don't!" responded Littlefoot with a warning glare.
"Are you okay, Petrie? You missed-ed the Far Walkers. You did, you did," said Ducky worryingly.
"Me sorry," said Petrie as he jumped off his mother's back and slowly walked up to his friends, "Me just … so sad and tired."
"Be sure to come back home once you've all finished conversing here, okay?" instructed Mama Flyer.
"Okay, Mama," her son responded.
"We will, Ms. Flyer, and thanks for the help," added Littlefoot.
"No problem, kids," grinned Mama Flyer, "Well, goodnight to you all."
The elder Flyer quickly lifted herself off the ground and soared away.
"Goodnight, Ms. Flyer!" Littlefoot and Ducky called as she disappeared from their sight.
Cera looked closely at Petrie and noticed something very strange …
A blood-soaked tree star on his right wing.
"Petrie, what happened to you?" she asked awkwardly.
Petrie noticed what she was talking about, and he felt his heart racing as he tried to come up with a coverup story.
"Me feel so sad after me uncle get banished, and me wanted to fly somewhere quiet so me could think, but me crash land," he said sheepishly, "Mama find me, though, and help me."
"Does it hurt, Petrie?" asked Ducky with concern.
"It hurt a little, but maybe okay soon," answered Petrie.
The Flyer was utterly surprised to find that his friends found his made-up story to be so believable.
"So … what me miss … beside Far Walkers?" he asked, rather embarrassingly.
"I was asking Littlefoot the same thing," said Cera, shifting her gaze to the Longneck with an awkward stare.
"Like I said, that would be telling, wouldn't it?" smirked Littlefoot.
Cera could only sigh in annoyance, while Ducky simply chuckled at the idea of there being such secrets that would be so hard to uncover in this world.
"What you know we no know?" asked Petrie curiously.
"Oh, Petrie. There's so much we don't know, but that's part of the fun, thinking about how much we still have to learn," said Littlefoot wisely.
"Hey! I know lots!" argued Cera.
"Me, too!" added Petrie, "Me know more than Uncle Pterano, that for sure. He not so smart after all!"
"Oh, no, no, no!" giggled Ducky, "But we are plenty smart, right, Spike?"
Spike simply murmured in agreement.
"Well, guys, … this has been quite an adventure, and I think I'm going to head home," said Littlefoot before letting out a yawn he had been holding in for quite some time.
"Me, too, before my dad has another panic attack," sighed Cera.
"Me will have to walk home," lamented Petrie, "Me no can fly with wing hurt."
"Would you like me to take you home?" offered Ducky, and she leaped off Spike's back and held her hand out in front of her close Flyer friend.
"You know, … me especially happy you safe again, … so … me really happy if we walk alone together," said Petrie, his beak forming a genuine smile for the first time in what felt like days. Only a few minutes ago, he was all torn up over losing Pterano, but with the presence of his friends, he could find a way to overcome his emotions and find that sense of happiness from the fact that he still held those who cared for him by his side each and every day.
"I am so happy we are safe together, too," chuckled Ducky.
Spike nuzzled his sister, and she let out a cute laugh as she patted his head.
"I am going to take Petrie home, Spike. I am sure you know the way home, don't you?" said Ducky.
Spike simply nodded and turned away.
"I think he does. Yep, yep, yep," commented Ducky.
"Well, goodnight, everyone," yawned Littlefoot, and he made his leave with Cera right behind him.
"Goodnight, Littlefoot. Goodnight, Cera," responded Ducky.
Before long, the Swimmer and Flyer were alone, and the two held hands and slowly began their peaceful walk.
"Me no know when last time we spend any time alone together," said Petrie, unable to recall any memories of when it was just him and Ducky with nobody else around.
"Me neither, but it sure does feel nice. Yep, yep, yep," replied Ducky.
Petrie chuckled a little and smiled at such a happy thought.
"You know, Petrie, … I felt-ed very bad when Cera argued-ed with you about your uncle Pterano," confessed Ducky, "The night that … he kidnapped-ed me, … I actually sneaked-ed out of my family nest … so I could come to see you and make you feel better."
Petrie looked at his Swimmer friend in shock. It hadn't dawned on him until now why Ducky would mysteriously sneak off in the middle of the night, but now that he knew that Pterano had kidnapped Ducky primarily because of him, he began to feel guilty for indirectly leading his best friend into grave danger.
"So … it my fault that Pterano kidnap you?" the Flyer gasped.
"No, Petrie. It was not your fault at all. No, no, no," assured Ducky, "It was mine because I was not careful when trying to hide from Pterano and the other Flyers. Please do not blame yourself, Petrie. You had no control over what happened-ed, … and I know you never meant to put us in danger. You will always be my best-est friend, Petrie."
Petrie stared wondrously at Ducky in stunned silence. Compared to his other friends, Ducky always seemed determined to put a smile on his face, even at times when no one else could. There was something about her that made her such a warm presence to him compared to Littlefoot, Cera and Spike, … and maybe even his own mother.
"M-me so happy … you always be me best-est friend, too," Petrie spoke in a soft voice that Ducky thought sounded so adorable.
Ducky smiled and pulled Petrie closer to her so that she could comfortably hug him while being careful not to cause further strain on his injured wing.
"I am sorry about your uncle, Petrie. I feel somewhat responsible for what happened-ed," Ducky apologized.
"That okay, Ducky. Me sorry me actions seem to lead you in danger," replied Petrie, wrapping his good wing around Ducky's back in return.
"It is okay, Petrie," smiled Ducky, "At least we got quite an adventure out of it, and we discovered-ed that we do not really need magic after all."
"Yeah," agreed Petrie with a cute grin, "Besides, what we need with magic when we got each other?"
The two chuckled and laughed together as they made their slow walk under the dim light of the Night Circle. They wished this night would last much longer, but, as cruel as nature was, they needed their sleep after such an exhausting adventure, and Petrie needed a little more time to emotionally recover from his uncle's banishment.
With no further words said, the two best friends made their way to the large rock that Petrie and his family called home, and they saw Mama Flyer waiting anxiously for her son.
"Oh, Petrie. I'm so glad to see you made it home," she said as she soared from the cliff in front of her cave down to the ground in front of them, "Hello again, Ducky."
"Hi, Ms. Flyer," greeted Ducky, "I just thought I would help bring Petrie home since he was hurt-ed and I wanted-ed to spend a few minutes alone with him."
"Thanks so much, Ducky," grinned Mama Flyer, "It means a lot to Petrie."
Petrie blushed as he heard this, and only Ducky seemed to notice, but she didn't press it further.
"I am just being a very good friend. Yep, yep, yep," she said cheerfully, "And I wanted-ed to apologize to him for kinda … getting us in a little trouble."
"You have nothing to be ashamed of, Ducky," assured Mama Flyer, "You were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. In fact, neither of you have anything to be ashamed of."
"You sure, Mama?" asked Petrie doubtfully.
"Of course, dear," his mother answered, "I don't blame either of you for what has happened in the past few days. It was just by pure coincidence that my crazy brother just so happened to turn out here."
"I am sure there is some good inside Pterano, Ms. Flyer," said Ducky thoughtfully, "He can be good if he just thinks about those around him, like we do."
"I suppose," sighed Mama Flyer doubtfully.
"Me know me Uncle Pterano not so smart after all, but me know he good if he set his mind to it," said Petrie.
"Listen, kids," said Mama Flyer, "I'm glad that you still have the heart to speak kindly of my brother despite what he's done, and maybe one day you may be proven right. What I will say is that there's one important lesson you and your friends all learned."
"What that, Mama?" asked Petrie.
"Knowing who to trust and who not to trust," his mother answered, "Just because someone is a member of your own family doesn't make him as trustworthy as you may think them to be."
"Oh, I certainly know who to trust and who not to trust. Yep, yep, yep," said Ducky.
"Me, too, … me guess," added Petrie, scratching his head.
"Thanks again for bringing Petrie home, Ducky," smiled Mama Flyer.
"You are welcome, Ms. Flyer," replied Ducky cheerfully, and she hugged Petrie gently for a moment, making him feel nervous yet warm at the same time, "I will see you soon, Petrie."
"You, too, Ducky," said Petrie softly before the Swimmer broke off.
"I guess I had better be going home now," said Ducky.
"I suppose your parents are going to have quite a serious talk with you," Mama Flyer predicted, "After all, they were worried sick while you were gone."
Ducky gulped nervously and began to hesitantly walk away as she anticipated somewhat overprotective behavior from her parents the instant she returned home.
"I just hope they … do not keep me awake all night," she said, shuddering, "Well, … I will see you later, Petrie."
"See you later, Ducky," replied Petrie, looking thoughtfully at his Swimmer friend.
"Bye, Ms. Flyer," said Ducky, waving her hand at the elder Flyer before she turned and walked off into some nearby trees.
"Bye, Ducky," Mama Flyer called back before the Swimmer was out of sight.
Petrie and his mother looked at each other, and Mama Flyer noticed a hint of sadness on her son's face. It was quite apparent that he was thinking about Pterano again, and she knew deep down that it would take a long time for him to get over his uncle's exile, along with being humiliated by Topps. She wanted to lash out at the Threehorn for berating her son so cruelly, but now was not the time. She had to comfort Petrie in his moment of need, and she knew it would start by making sure he got a good night's sleep.
"Okay, Petrie. I think it's time someone got some shuteye," the Flyer spoke to her son, and she gently picked him up and placed him on her back before she lifted herself off the grass and soared up to the ledge in front of their home.
"Me no sure … what me going to do tomorrow," sighed Petrie as he slid off his mother's back and slowly walked into their cave.
As he and his mother walked into their home, he was very surprised to find his brothers and sisters all asleep. He began to wonder who had taken care of them while their mother was out in the Mysterious Beyond looking for him and his friends.
"In case you're wondering, I had another Flyer stay here and keep an eye on your brothers and sisters while I went out looking for you," said Mama Flyer as if she was reading his mind, "And what to do tomorrow is entirely up to you, Petrie. You can play with your friends like you always do, now that everyone is safe again, or you could find some nice peaceful spot somewhere in our valley where you can think happy thoughts. It's the best way to start off fresh again after everything you've been through, you know."
"Me guess," murmured Petrie with his heavy doubts.
"I just want you to know that you still have all of us by your side, too, Petrie," said Mama Flyer, "Don't ever forget that, dear."
Petrie sighed sadly, but when he looked up and saw his mother grinning lovingly at him, he couldn't help but chuckle and grin back.
"I love you, Petrie," smiled Mama Flyer, and she kissed her son on the head and nuzzled him affectionately.
"Me love you, too, Mama," said Petrie softly.
"Now, let's get some sleep so we can really start fresh again," said Mama Flyer, and she spotted Petrie's snuggling stuck and handed it to him.
"Thanks, Mama," said Petrie as he grasped his stick tightly in his wings and rubbed his cheek against it.
Mama Flyer lied down on her side and gently patted her precious child.
"Goodnight, Petrie," she whispered to him.
"Goodnight, Mom," Petrie replied weakly before he lied down in front of his mother and placed his cheek over his snuggling stick while keeping it wrapped within his wings.
Mama Flyer watched intently for a few minutes as Petrie struggled to fall asleep, obviously deep in thought, but the little Flyer eventually gave in and closed his eyes. She knew this would not be an easy time for Petrie, no matter what happened in the forseeable future. He may have still been very upset on the inside that his uncle was gone, and a particular Threehorn had harshly shammed the poor boy in front of everybody, but with friends and family by his side, Petrie could hopefully stop himself from dwelling on his uncle's absence for the next five Cold Times until he made his return to reintegrate into society. It would be a long path ahead for Petrie, but his mother knew that there was hope it would be a happy one.
Well, that will be the last of my prompt entries for this year. Even though some of my stories have been depressing, I hope that next year's prompts will see some happy stories from me. I will admit that I have quite a thing for romance stories, such as the DuckyxPetrie story I wrote last year but have yet to post on this forum. Anyways, I'll be back with a new story probably at some point early next year. Until then, happy autumn (or spring if you're in the southern half of the planet)!