Well, it may have taken me probably two whole months, but after spending way too much time procrastinating, double-tasking and being distracted by other things, I've finished my entry for the April prompt, revolving around April Fool's Day, a day which I personally do NOT enjoy.
Just imagine if there was some sort of prehistoric predecessor to April Fool's Day. Just how would it all end? Probably not in a favorable way ...
GONE TOO FAR
Petrie felt light penetrating through his eyelids as he struggled to stay asleep. The Bright Circle's light was penetrating its way into the cave his family lived in to reveal a bright new morning. However, he really wanted just a few more minutes of sleep before he would feel ready to start a new day, but fate seemed to be against that in more ways than one …
He could hear footsteps around him, and from how they sounded, he knew it could only be at least one of his siblings. His mother's footsteps didn't sound like this.
"Well, is the little wimp gonna get up or not!?" came the unmistakable voice of Donnie, the oldest and, in Petrie's eyes, the worst of the whole clutch.
Donnie was the self-proclaimed ringleader of all the heartless bullying and pranks on Petrie. He would find many ways to humiliate him any chance he got. From the time they started talking as babies, Petrie was the almost daily subject of Donnie's bullying, and the younger Flyer longed for it to be over.
"Wake up, you little runt!" yelled Donnie, and he gave his little brother a hard kick on the back.
"OW!" Petrie wailed in pain as the kick scared him nearly to the point of having a heart attack, and he opened his eyes and was met with the sight of Donnie's evil smile on his beak, an expression that told Petrie he was up to no good.
"So, the crybaby finally wakes up from his sweet little spot!" the black Flyer said teasingly.
Petrie glared at his older brother with pure hatred in his eyes. He had always hated it whenever any of his four older siblings would rudely wake him up, but today it just seemed to go a step too far. He wanted to give this so-called "brother" of his a piece of his mind …
"Ahem!" came a voice as a shadow loomed over them.
Petrie couldn't help but chuckle in relief and make an evil glance back at Donnie as he knew the older Flyer wouldn't be going any further with his bullying as long as their mother was watching them.
"How many times do I have to tell you, Donnie?" scolded Mama Flyer crossly, "Petrie doesn't like being awakened this early in the morning."
"Yeah!" agreed Petrie, glaring as he stood up …
… then a sudden stench hung in the air.
"Eew!" Petrie exclaimed as he covered his beak with his wings, "What that smell!?"
"Did you wet yourself again, dear?" sighed Mama Flyer.
Petrie put his snuggling stick down and took one more sniff, … and something suddenly seemed … odd …
The nasty stench didn't smell like his own urine at all, … but rather it smelled like somebody else's …
He looked down and saw that his chest and wings were drenched in urine that wasn't his own …
Donnie let out a tiny chuckle, and that prompted Petrie to slowly raise his head and glare at his older brother, his beak shaking, his teeth clattering with rage. His arms and wings were shaking, and his hands closed into fists.
"YOU!" he screamed, "You do this to me!?"
Wanting to punch Donnie's beak in for this completely unthinkable prank, Petrie began to charge at him, but the other siblings suddenly stepped in and pulled the two brothers away from each other. Pearlwing was pulling Petrie back while Terra and Skybeak stood between him and Donnie to block his way.
"Donnie!" screeched Mama Flyer, "How could you!? Did you really do this to your own little brother just for your own amusement!?"
"Perhaps I just wanted to get back at him for wetting Mama's wing, huh!?" smirked Donnie, earning himself a hard slap on the face from his mother.
"How dare you!" yelled Mama Flyer, "What in the name of the Bright Circle made you think you could get away with such a disgusting joke!? This is not funny, Donnie! You should know that by now!"
"ME HATE YOU, DONNIE!" cried Petrie, "ME HATE YOU! ME HATE YOU!"
"Calm down, Petrie," said Pearlwing hesitantly.
"Me no calm down until me get cleaned up!" retorted Petrie, "How many baths gonna get this off!?"
"Donnie, apologize to your brother at once!" ordered Mama Flyer.
"No way," sneered Donnie.
"You dare to deliberately disobey me!?" yelled Mama Flyer furiously, "I said apologize to Petrie right now or you're grounded!"
Donnie simply smiled evilly at Petrie, and the younger Flyer glared right back and tried once again to charge at him. He wanted to beat him senseless. He wanted to harm him anyway he could.
"THAT IT!" he cried, "ME GONNA KI-"
"Petrie!" shouted Mama Flyer, pulling her son away from Donnie and into her wings, "We are not going to start doing that in here. Just calm down and I'll give you a bath, okay?"
"As if that make me feel any better!" groaned Petrie, turning away and crossing his arms.
Mama Flyer sighed and gently set Petrie back on his feet, and she turned towards the other kids, giving Donnie a hateful glare.
"Don't move from that spot until I get back!" she hissed at her oldest son.
Donnie simply sneered in triumph, clearly pleased with himself for what he had so heartlessly done, and his mother shook her head and turned away, unable to look at him for another moment.
"Come with me, Petrie," she spoke kindly, and she stepped outside and lifted herself off the ledge in front of the cave, and Petrie followed closely.
Before long, the two Flyers came down next to the nearby river and landed softly. Mama Flyer motioned for Petrie to come and sit on her lap, and he obliged, sniffling as he tried to hold back tears of hurt and humiliation. The older Flyer grabbed a tree star and dipped it into the water to soak it, and she began rubbing her son with it to eliminate the wet spots. They had gotten used to doing this whenever Petrie would wake up from night terrors and accidentally wet himself, but for Donnie to do this to him was just so heartless and morbid. Petrie wanted to bash Donnie's skull in for this unthinkable act. He seethed his teeth just from thinking about him. The simplest picture of him in his mind filled his head with rage and hatred.
Mama Flyer took notice of how Petrie's beak was shaking, and his eyes were looking quite furious, and she instinctively hugged him to calm him down.
"There, there, Petrie. Calm down," she said soothingly.
"Why Donnie do this to me!?" hissed Petrie, "Me hate him so much!"
"Now, now, dear. Let's not start saying such bad things," said Mama Flyer as she finished rinsing the wet spots off, "Just settle down and have some breakfast, and you can go find your friends, okay?"
"And let them make fun of Petrie?" retorted Petrie, earning a sad sigh from his mother.
"Petrie, your friends won't make fun of you. I'm sure they'll sympathize with you," she assured him, but he didn't believe a word of that.
"Cera definitely make fun of me, and maybe many others, too," lamented Petrie, "Why me stupid brothers and sisters always have to make me look like stupid, little, nest-wetting crybaby!?"
"Petrie, I'm doing everything I can to get them to stop," said Mama Flyer.
"Maybe you no do enough!" Petrie fired back.
"Don't yell at me, Petrie," his mother warned him sternly, "I know you're upset, but that doesn't give you the right to shout at me. I will do whatever more I can to put a stop to their antics, alright? Please settle down."
Petrie simply looked away and crossed his wings, staring down at the river and looking at the reflection of his own furious glare. All he could think about was wanting to knock Donnie into next week. He seriously wanted to harm him anyway he could. He wanted revenge in a way his older brother would never forget. He wanted to teach him a very valuable lesson.
"Petrie?" said Mama Flyer, "My little one?"
"What?" responded Petrie dully.
Mama Flyer sighed at this response. It seemed as though her poor son wouldn't be able to get over this for quite some time.
"Are you feeling okay?" she asked cautiously.
"Okay?" responded Petrie as if she had just asked an incredibly stupid question with such an obvious answer, "After what happen this morning?"
"I just want to make sure you're alright, dear. You know I only want you to be happy," his mother said gently as she gave him a ground star.
Petrie softened only a little and looked up at her with a somewhat blank expression while he took the ground star and took a small bite out of it. She couldn't quite tell just how fed up he was about his brother's morbid bullying or how sorry he felt for lashing out at her.
"I'm sorry about your brother's behavior, Petrie. You know that as your mother I love you very much, and it hurts me to see you upset. I'll do what I can to put Donnie in the right place," said Mama Flyer.
"Punish him for whole Night Circle cycle or something," suggested Petrie glumly, "Ground him. Do something."
"I will punish Donnie accordingly, my little one, but that is none of your business. Don't worry about him right now, Petrie. For now, you should fly around for a little while and let the fresh air blow around you, then you should go find your friends and play around. Are you okay doing that, dear?"
Petrie sighed softly, finished his ground star, and looked up at the beautifully blue sky. There was barely a single cloud to be seen amongst the blueness above. He listened for any signs of wind, and the response he got was a very soothing sound that reminded him of every time he slept in his mother's wings and listened to her calm breathing. The thought of it made him smile, just the idea of a bright day with very calm winds. It was the perfect day to go out and fly for a little exercise. For the first time all morning, Petrie actually felt excited about something, even if it didn't involve anyone but himself.
The little Flyer smiled at his mother and gave her a beaming answer, "You come up with such nice ideas, Mama."
"Of course, I do, sweetie," chuckled Mama Flyer, "I know what's best for you when you want to just have a good time."
She held Petrie by his sides and lifted him over her head and allowed him to stretch his wings while he stood right in her hands. He giggled as he knew what she was about to do. It was something they had not done together for the longest time.
"Ready, Petrie?" asked Mama Flyer.
"Me ready, Mama," answered Petrie, gazing up at the sky.
Mama Flyer lifted her son up and down while counting down from three, and once she lifted him for the fourth time, she held her hands up as high as she could and playfully launched Petrie into the air. The younger Flyer felt a rush of calm wind blow around him as he shot upwards and began flapping his wings. He whistled excitedly and soared over his mother with a smile.
"Have a good time, my little Petrie!" she called out to him, "See you soon!"
"Thank you, Mama!" replied Petrie, "See you soon, too!"
Mama Flyer watched happily as her precious little boy soared across the skies and out of sight, and once he was gone, she lifted herself into the air and made her way back home … to teach Donnie a valuable lesson.
Petrie hummed to himself as he flew over the Great Valley and admired all the gorgeous sights from above. From his height, everywhere looked so beautiful it could only have felt like a sleep story becoming reality, and before long he had all but forgotten about his brother's atrocious antics. All he could think about was the calmness of flying on such a warm, bright day with soothing winds. After such a rough morning, this was just what he needed to brighten his day.
Petrie gasped as he heard that scream. It sounded like that of a young girl. It could have been Cera, it could have been Ruby, … or it could have been …
"D-Ducky!?" he shrieked as he dived his way down toward where he thought the scream must have come from, worried for his dearest friend, "Hold on! Me coming!"
The little Flyer dived through a small gap in between two large rocks and found himself in a lush forest. There was plenty of open space for the Bright Circle to shine down on, giving it quite a beautiful vibe, but that was the farthest thing from Petrie's mind as he rushed his way to rescue whomever must have been in danger.
Soon, he came down after crossing a narrow, shallow creek and hesitantly walked right up to some shaking bushes. He knew someone must have been in there, crying for help. There had been no signs of any danger other than that scream. There couldn't have possibly been any Sharpteeth around, so Petrie deduced it might have been a couple of bullies up to no good.
"Hello?" he called nervously to the shaking bush, "Anyone in there?"
Someone suddenly jumped out of the bush right in front of Petrie with a loud roar.
"AAAAAAAH!" Petrie screamed in fright as he stumbled backwards and suddenly lost his balance.
He shut his eyes as he felt himself fall into something with a splash. Something pleasantly warm coated his body all over as he sat up and opened his eyes.
He looked down and noticed he was covered in mud from head to toe, and from wingtip to wingtip.
"Eeewwww!" he groaned in disgust before he saw just who it was that had scared him into falling into this puddle of mud, the unmistakable bright orange flesh gave out the answer immediately …
"Aaahahahahahaha!" Cera laughed evilly, "You should've seen your face!"
"Cera!" gasped Petrie, glaring at him with furiously shaking teeth, "You stupid Threehorn!"
"The one who's afraid of everything just can't stop being afraid of everything!" bragged Cera, "So ridiculous!"
"First Donnie, and now you!?" hissed Petrie as he realized that the whole thing had been another prank.
"Oh, whatever did your brother do to you?" mocked Cera, giggling mischievously.
"Me no tell you since you so grossed out by everything!" retorted Petrie.
"Oh, let me guess. Did he wet on you this morning just like all your siblings like to do?" guessed Cera before letting out a hard laugh.
"How you know about that!?" gasped Petrie.
"Just a lucky guess," smirked Cera.
"Why, you, stinkbug!" shouted Petrie in rage, "You never truly care about Petrie, do you!?"
"Of course, I do," argued Cera, trying to fight off a couple of laughs.
"No, you don't!" countered Petrie, "You never stop making fun of me whenever you can! Me already have bad morning! Me no need to have it be worse! Just leave me alone, you thickhead!"
Cera stopped laughing upon hearing that last word and cast a glare at her Flyer … "friend."
"Well, excuse me! What did you just call me!?" she hissed at him.
"You hear me, Cera! Now leave me alone!" Petrie fired back, and he tried flapping his wings, but the mud all over him prevented him from being able to take off.
"Well, well, well, no escape route this time, Petrie!" teased Cera, "Perhaps a little lesson for calling me a thickhead is in order!"
"No! Leave me alone!" panicked Petrie, and he made a run for it, only for the Threehorn to easily catch up as the mud slowed him down.
"You won't be getting away from me that easily, you gullible Flyer!" she boasted.
Before long, the Threehorn caught the Flyer using her single nose horn and used her head to throw him straight into a nearby field of foul-smelling plants. Poor Petrie screamed helplessly as he came down and crashed into the plants. Almost instantaneously, a very repulsive stench filled his sniffer, and he covered his beak as he struggled his way out.
"EEEWWWW!" he screamed, and quite suddenly he bumped into something else, "Ow!"
He rubbed his beak as he felt it for pain, and he looked up to see the unwelcoming sight of Topps towering over him with a strange smirk on his face. The Flyer's face flushed in embarrassment. He knew just what was coming next.
"So, I see my daughter taught you a really valuable lesson," he smirked.
"Oh, really!?" argued Petrie, "After she trick me into falling into mud!? How about if you teach her lesson!?"
"How's about if you weren't so gullible, Petrie!?" said Cera gruffly, before letting out another evil laugh.
"Especially serves you right for calling her a thickhead, and wash that disgusting smell off of you," said Topps, shooting Petrie a warning glare before turning away.
Petrie just stood there with his beak wide open, completely speechless and humiliated. This felt just as unjustified as being picked on by his siblings. His morning had gone from bad to worse in just a matter of seconds. He had been the subject of two heartless pranks in one morning, and almost everyone thought he deserved it. This was just not his day at all.
The poor Flyer could only stare at the Threehorns as they turned their backs on him and walked away. As much as he wanted to give them a piece of his mind for what had just happened, he knew that seeking revenge against someone so rigid would certainly mean big trouble, so he turned around and walked in the other direction with tears trickling down his face. It was so unfair that he couldn't find any way to have justice for what had been done to him, and he was especially saddened by the fact that his day only seemed to be getting worse just when it seemed as if things could finally get better.
Petrie clumsily walked through the valley, no longer in the mood for flying and having washed himself again with water from the river. He didn't have a clue what to do now. He began to feel as if his day was filled with bad luck, from one occurrence of unjustified bullying and a bath straight to another one. He just wanted to have a nice day, but it seemed his siblings and maybe even his friends had other plans for him today.
"What make everyone want to pick on me suddenly?" he asked himself in a sad voice, "Why everyone always pick on Petrie?"
Sniffling and holding back tears, the little Flyer walked down the riverbank and back to the open neighborhood where he, Ducky and Spike lived. It was the one place he felt was more peaceful than anywhere else, not counting his own home. He sat down and dipped his feet into the water, and he sighed as he thought of how rough his morning had been.
"Me wish somebody here to be with me," he said sadly to himself.
As if on cue, something suddenly shot up from the river, throwing water all over Petrie. He shut his eyes and turned his head away to dodge some of the water being sprayed at him. The Flyer coughed a little before he felt the spray subside, and when he opened his eyes and looked around, he noticed a certain green Swimmer standing right next to him, drying herself off with a ground star.
Ducky let out a deep sigh of pleasure and relaxation, "That was so refreshing. Yep, yep, yep."
Then, she noticed her very dear friend sitting beside her, looking up at her with a gaze as if he was dazzled by her appearance, although Ducky knew Petrie well and was sure that he was probably just surprised by her sudden arrival.
"Oh. Hi, Petrie," the Swimmer greeted him, "How are you today?"
Petrie sighed and looked down at the water again, and it took no time for Ducky to make a guess.
"Are you not having a good morning?" the Swimmer said.
"Everyone play tricks on me today," pouted Petrie, "First me brother Donnie wet on me while me sleeping and me wake up smelling horrible, then while me try to fly and relax, Cera trick me and scare me into falling into mud and stinky plants!"
"Oh, my!" gasped Ducky.
"Why everyone want to pick on Petrie today!?" said Petrie, crossing his wings and refusing to take his gaze off the reflection of his angry eyes.
"I wish there was something I could do about your brothers and sisters. They are quite annoying sometimes. Yes, yes, yes," said Ducky.
"Sometimes!?" retorted Petrie, "They annoying ALL the time! Every single day they laugh at me! Every day they try to do something horrible to me! Me Mama try everything but she no can stop them!"
Ducky took a step back, quite taken aback by her friend's outburst. She gulped nervously as she tried to think of words that would calm him down.
"I … I am sorry, Petrie. I … I just want to help," she spoke carefully.
"No one can help," lamented Petrie with a sniffle, "No one know how me feel. Cera only make things worse, and now me no know anymore."
"Petrie?" said Ducky.
"What!?" shouted Petrie, turning to look at the Swimmer dead in the eye.
Ducky jolted and backed away a little more. It seemed to her as if it would be best if Petrie was left in peace for a while. She slowly began to turn away and prepared to make her leave …
Ducky stopped where she was and turned back to her Flyer friend.
Petrie's expression had so suddenly changed from furious to pleading, as if he didn't want her to leave just yet. A moment ago, it seemed that he wanted to be alone, but deep down he knew he needed company, but not just any company; someone who could understand his troubles and be there for him; someone he could confide in.
Ducky slowly walked up to Petrie and sat down next to him before a single word could come out of his open beak. He didn't even have to say anything to confirm to Ducky that he needed her right now. She knew what he wanted before he even knew how to ask her.
The Swimmer wrapped an arm around the Flyer's back, and within a moment Petrie felt a sense of warmth throughout his body just from having his best friend caressing him in almost the same way his mother would. It felt so soothing and relaxing, and he took a deep breath and settled down, but Ducky's warm presence couldn't quite put a smile on his beak.
"Me sorry, Ducky," he spoke as he regretted being so harsh on her.
"It is okay, Petrie," replied Ducky kindly, "I know how it feels to have a day like this."
Petrie sighed as he recalled listening to one of Ducky's very sad stories. It seemed as though they were both outcasts in their youth, not able to make friends because of traits that other children deemed as humiliating and made them inferior. Petrie was glad that one of his biggest faults was no longer in his life, but he never forgot how negatively it affected his early childhood.
"Sometimes, me wish me Mama's only child," he sighed.
"I hope you do not tell that to your Mommy, Petrie," gulped Ducky worryingly.
"Me already did … by accident," admitted Petrie, "One night, me brothers and sisters humiliate me after we try to practice for Great Day of Flyers. Me say me wish me have whole nother family, and Mama overhear me. Me no know until next cold time when she finally say she hear me."
"Did you say you were sorry?" asked Ducky.
"Me did, and she forgive me, because me love me Mommy, but me really hate me brothers and sisters. Sometimes, me wish it just me and her. They never stop making fun of Petrie."
The little Flyer frowned at his reflection in the river and let out a sad sigh. Ever since they had arrived in the Great Valley, the one thing that hadn't changed for Petrie was that his siblings continued to harass him to no end. It didn't seem to matter that he wasn't a flightless Flyer anymore. He longed for all the suffering to be over and that he could live a peaceful life in the valley. Whenever he was away from home, it seemed to be one adventure after another, and whenever he was home, he only had his mother for comfort, as was the case before that life-changing Earth Shake. Some things just wouldn't change.
"Petrie, … would you like to play with me for a while?" offered Ducky, "It could help take your mind off of this. Yes, yes, yes."
Petrie perked up and looked into Ducky's eyes. He noticed her sweet smile that told him she was here to be that favorite, selfless friend she always had been from the moment they met. She wanted to do whatever it took to make sure Petrie had a good time, and there was no way the Flyer could turn down such a sweet offer.
"Me think me would like that," Petrie answered in a soft voice, sounding as if he was on the verge of hesitating.
The answer instantly earned some delightful chuckles from Ducky as she broke into her cheerful mood that everyone loved her for.
"Oh, I am so glad!" she beamed, "Come on, Petrie! I know some very fun games you and I can play! Yep, yep, yep!"
Petrie couldn't hold back a laugh as he watched his Swimmer friend break into a happy dance. She pulled him up, and the two held hands as they playfully trotted into the forest, eager to play some games that would surely brighten Petrie's sour morning.
That afternoon, after engaging in some quite playful shenanigans with Ducky, and eating a sweet, juicy lunch, Petrie was back to flying by himself for a while. The air was still as calm as it had been that morning, and it brought back that feeling of being refreshed by the breeze that reminded him of his mother's gentle caressing. He only hoped it would last.
He still hadn't completely gotten over those pranks pulled on him that morning, and he tended to get wary whenever he looked down. He hoped Cera wouldn't be up to her cunning tricks again, or any of his other friends, for that matter. He knew Ducky would not be one to play tricks on him, but he wasn't sure if he could trust anyone else.
After a few minutes, Petrie soared his way down towards a tree and gently touched down on one of the narrow branches to catch his breath and regain his strength. He took a few deep breaths before he sat down to let the air gently blow on him. The soft winds gave off a sensation as if something was blowing on his side and blowing any sweat away until he was perfectly comfortable.
The little Flyer sighed in content, "This more like it. Breezy and quiet. Just what Petrie want."
Quite suddenly, he heard someone chuckling ever so softly, and he instinctively looked around in all directions in a panicky state to make sure no one else was near him.
"Who there!?" he called.
There came no reply. All he could hear was the wind.
Petrie gulped as fear once again took over him. He was sure someone must have been stalking him. Someone else just had to be around, trying to play another trick on him. He knew he wasn't safe on this tree, or even on the ground below.
"Me no think me should stay here," he said to himself, and he jumped and flapped his wings to keep himself airborne before he soared as far away from the tree as he could …
Suddenly, Petrie felt something smash him hard on the head, and he shut his eyes as he felt himself falling. He screamed and didn't even think about opening his eyes until he hit the ground with a painful "Thud!"
His whole body ached as he struggled himself back onto his feet. He opened his eyes and found himself covered in sticky red juice. The area surrounding him was covered in broken pieces of red sweets. It could only have indicated that someone just had to be heartless enough to throw one at him from above as some form of joke.
"Who do this!?" he shouted as he looked up … to find his four siblings on the tree, laughing so hard they almost fell off their branches.
Petrie was shocked as he watched them laughing. He could swear his mother had tried to put some sense into Donnie that same morning, but it seemed as if nothing would hold Donnie back from picking on Petrie any chance he could, not even the most severe scolding from their mother. There was just no stopping them, and it seemed that poor Petrie wasn't safe anywhere at any given time.
"You, stupid beak brains!" yelled Petrie loudly.
"Oooh. That's not very nice, now is it?" replied Donnie, "Perhaps the little crybaby should be shown some manners!"
"Why you never leave me alone!?" whined Petrie, "Can me ever get just five minutes away from you!?"
"You just did … for a long time!" mocked Donnie.
Petrie snorted and turned away towards the forest …
Petrie screamed and jumped as Chomper suddenly jumped out of the bush right in front of him. The little Flyer fell on his back and was so frightened that he completely lost control of himself … in a way that the Sharptooth certainly did not expect …
Chomper watched and laughed as Petrie clumsily stood on all fours and took heavy gasps to get over his moment of sheer fright, but his laughter quickly died down once he took one glimpse towards Petrie's legs …
Urine was controllably squirting its way out of Petrie and dampening the grassy ground he was standing on. It went on for five seconds before it stopped, and it didn't take long before Petrie found out just what had happened.
The Flyer looked down and saw that the grass was suddenly damp and darkened, and he glanced down and saw that his legs were drenched. He gasped in shock and looked up at Chomper, who appeared to be just as shocked as he was.
"Chomper, … w-why you … d-do this to me!?"
Before the Sharptooth could utter a single word, the other Flyers erupted into laughter again.
"YES!" cried Donnie with delight, "Our plan worked flawlessly! Look just who's the wetting baby now!"
"Stupid little Petrie!" teased Terra.
Petrie stared up at his four siblings and saw three of them laughing their heads off. Pearlwing seemed to look a little … worried, but the others clearly showed no signs of any remorse or heartfulness.
"Nice job, Chomper!" said Skybeak, "I'd love to see that again!"
Petrie glanced at Chomper and noticed the Sharptooth looking extremely horrified by what he had done.
"Y-you tricked me," he said.
"You let me brothers and sisters trick you into scaring me!?" accused Petrie.
"Petrie, … I'm sorry. I … I didn't know," said Chomper nervously.
"You no know that me brothers and sisters no can be trusted!?" retorted Petrie, "You should know that by now!"
"Petrie, I'm really sorry!" cried Chomper.
"Sorry for a scaredy-egg like Petrie!?" came another voice.
Petrie turned to find Cera once again giggling at the mess he had once again become, but she wasn't alone. Littlefoot was right behind her, along with Spike, who had Ducky on his back.
"Chomper, that was not nice!" came the voice of a particular Fast Runner as she stepped out from the bush Chomper had jumped out from.
"I was tricked, Ruby! I swear!" panted Chomper, "They wanted me to scare someone they thought was a nuisance, but I didn't think it'd be Petrie! You gotta believe me!"
"Oh, I sure believe ya, because Petrie very well deserves it for being so scared and gullible all the time!" replied Cera.
"Cera!" snapped Ducky, "That is rude! It is, it is!"
"Well, how about the Longneck who claims that everything looks scary to Petrie?" mocked Cera as she gestured towards Littlefoot.
"Hey! I wasn't serious when I said that, okay!?" the Longneck protested, "It was only a joke!"
"A joke!?" cried Petrie, "Just like everything else be today!? What today!? Joke Day!? That why everyone want to pull tricks on me and make me so messy and call me names so everyone laugh at me!? What wrong with everyone today!?"
"Petrie, I didn't mean that, okay!?" said Littlefoot defensively, "I'm sorry!"
"But you're right, though!" bragged Donnie, "You should have seen Petrie the moment he hatched! He was scared of Mommy the very first time he looked at her!"
"And Uncle Pterano!"
"If you ask me, he's nothing more than a little weakling! He'll probably remain a coward even once he's past his Time of Great Growing!" Donnie finished as he and his siblings persistently berated Petrie with mocking laughs.
"Remember when he almost killed us just because he was even scared of harmless sky puffies!?" sneered Terra.
"Oh, and the day before, he was distracted by all of you!" spat Skybeak.
The poor little Flyer felt his blood turning cold as everyone stared at him. It had been one thing for him to receive this daily torture at the hands of his siblings whenever they were home, but now it was open for all his friends to see. Cera was laughing just as hard as the other Flyers. Chomper and Ruby just stood in shock as they listened to their horrible lies. Spike simply stayed silent as if he wasn't even listening, Littlefoot was trying so hard not to laugh, and Ducky facepalmed and shook her head, clearly disgusted by the Flyers' bantering. He had become the center of attention for the wrong reasons.
Finally, Petrie couldn't bear it anymore, and he let out an ear-piercing scream before he attempted to flap his wings to lift himself into the sky, forgetting that he was still covered in gooey sweet juice. He had closed his eyes just for a moment, and he failed to notice another mud pool right in front of him … until it was too late.
"PETRIE!" screamed Ducky, "LOOK OUT!"
She could only watch as her dearest friend slipped and fell into the mud with a splash. Mud splattered all over his juice-covered body and urine-soaked legs. The warm sensations did nothing to brighten the moment. He only found it more humiliating to be covered in so many messes at once. From the moment he woke up, all day it had been nothing but pranks, messes and accidents, and now he wished he hadn't even bothered to wake up that morning. His whole day was ruined, and his friends had all gotten to see him just as the way his siblings had described him; a messy, scaredy, wetting crybaby.
Having no energy to even try to get back up, Petrie slumped on his chest and let his wings sink into the mud, and he began wailing loudly.
Ducky ran to the mud puddle and grabbed Petrie's feet, and she pulled her friend out and crouched next to him. The only response she got was crying, and she could only watch as Petrie balled his eyes out and Cera and the other Flyers kept laughing teasingly at him. After everything the Swimmer had done to try and make his day better, everything had backfired and now his day had gone from bad to worse, … maybe even worst as far as Petrie was concerned. The last time he had been teased so much in one single day was during those dreadful first five years of his life when he had absolutely no friends, or in fact anyone to turn to at all except his mother, and now that it was open for everyone to see, this could only be the worst day of his life, even over his wetting accident during the most recent cold time.
"Petrie?" whispered Ducky.
Petrie just stared at Ducky and whimpered miserably before he turned his gaze towards his siblings and other friends, most of whom were still laughing. He started hearing some ringing in his head from all the endless laughter. He couldn't take anymore of it. His face slowly formed a glare as he gritted his teeth and his eyebrows turned to fury. This was more than enough, and he would make sure everyone heard of it.
The little Flyer let out another loud scream to shut everyone up, and he yelled as loud as he could, "THAT IT! ME DONE WITH YOU! ME WISH ME NO HAVE BROTHERS, SISTERS AND FRIENDS WHO ACT LIKE STUPID STINKBUGS!"
Everyone was stunned into silence after hearing that sentence, and they fixed their eyes on Petrie as he shook himself to get as much of the mess off him as possible. Ducky backed away and shielded her face to keep the mud and juice from hitting her eyes. The Flyer then flapped his wings and was able to get himself into the air, wailing loudly as he flew away.
"Petrie!?" called Ducky, but she got no reply, and in no time, poor Petrie had disappeared.
The little Swimmer sniffled as she thought of her poor friend and how he had been so harshly treated.
"Poor Petrie," she cried, "Poor, poor Petrie."
"Oh, he'll get over it!" huffed Cera.
"I'm … not so sure about that," replied Littlefoot doubtfully.
Ducky cast an uncharacteristically furious glare towards Cera, and another towards Petrie's heartless siblings, before she stormed away in the direction he had flown off.
The rest of the kids just looked at each other, unable to comprehend what had just happened, and still stunned by Petrie's sudden outburst.
"I s-swear I never meant to scare Petrie," Chomper spoke hesitantly.
"Hmph! Like I said, he'll get over it! It's not like he's going to seek revenge or something!" said Cera gruffly.
"That's exactly what worries me," sighed Littlefoot.
Without another word, the remaining friends decided to go their separate ways for the time, being.
Mama Flyer was feeling rather uneasy as she sat on the ledge in front of her home. She sighed sadly as she thought about Petrie's rough morning. She still couldn't imagine how Donnie's imagination could be so morbid. She wouldn't be able to forgive him after that completely heartless joke he had pulled on his poor little brother. They had all teased Petrie about wetting the nest in the past, but to have Donnie do such an unthinkable act to humiliate him about it was one step too far. She had asked the rest of her kids to take an exercise flight that morning so that she could be left alone to think about what she could do to help Petrie and put the rest of her children in their place … once and for all.
Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted by what sounded like sobbing coming from the sky, and once she looked in the direction the sound was coming from, she was crushed to find Petrie flying right up to her, crying and weeping in flight and once again in a mess. Mud and sweet juice dripped off him and fell a hundred feet to the valley ground below. His face was soaked in tears and his beak was stained in a mixture of tears, juice and mud. He looked awful. Mama Flyer could only guess just what had happened …
"Petrie!?" she gasped as her son landed beside her, "Aw, dear. What happened, my little Petrie?"
"Ask Cera and me stupid brothers and sisters!" replied Petrie through angry tears, "Everyone play tricks on me today like it some kind of joke day in Great Valley!"
Mama Flyer sighed sadly, and only then did she notice that Petrie's legs were drenched in what could only have been his own urine. Something just didn't seem to add up.
"Why are your legs wet?" she asked suspiciously.
"Me brothers and sisters trick Chomper into scaring me!" answered Petrie, "Everyone so mean to me! Petrie so sick of everything! Me no want to take this anymore!"
"Petrie, calm down!" his mother said calmly, "Follow me to the river. I'll give you another bath and you can tell me what happened, okay?"
Petrie didn't say a word as he leaped off the ledge and soared his way down towards the river just a short flight distance away. His mother followed him closely, and once they came down, Mama Flyer once again started bathing Petrie with wet tree stars. She started with his face, being sure not to miss a single spot, and once his head was all clean again, she moved down to his neck and shoulders.
"Now, Petrie, … tell me everything. Mommy is listening," said Mama Flyer in a soothing voice to help him calm down enough to at least tell her what had happened.
Petrie sniffled as he wished he could forget the events of that day but being forced to keep them fresh on his mind dismayed him tremendously.
"Me go for relaxing flight just like you say, but then me hear someone screaming. Me thought it Ducky, so me go down to see if she in trouble, but then Cera suddenly pop out from bush and scare me so much me stumble backward into pool of mud. Cera and her dad both make fun of me for being gullible and just leave me there in muddy mess."
Mama Flyer sighed as she stared off into space for a moment. She knew Cera had a knack for poking fun at Petrie every now and then, but for her father to do the same thing seemed somewhat uncharacteristic for him, until she remembered just how Threehorns were still pretty rigid when it came to interacting with anyone outside their own kind.
"Then, after me wash meself, Ducky come to cheer me up and we play some games," continued Petrie as his mother finished bathing his wings and moved down to his legs, "She help make me feel happy for a while, but then after me go for another relaxing flight, me land on tree to stop and me hear someone near me. Me try to take off again, but then me suddenly hit with tree sweet and fall down. Then suddenly, Chomper come out of bush and scare me so much that me wet meself!"
"Why would Chomper suddenly want to scare you?" asked Mama Flyer in disbelief.
"Me brothers and sisters set trap for me with tree sweet and trick Chomper into scaring me, and then me other friends come! Everyone start laughing at me, especially Cera! Me feel so terrible that me try to fly away, but me covered in sticky juice and fall into mud pool again! Everyone ruin me day! Everyone make fun of Petrie! It feel like those days before me could fly all over again! Why everyone make fun of me!? What wrong with everyone!? Why me!? Why it no could be someone else!?"
"Oh, Petrie," sighed Mama Flyer, having finished bathing her son, "I don't really know the answer to that question, dear."
"Everyone act like it joke day or something!" whimpered Petrie, "There no such thing as joke day, is there!?"
"Of course, not, Petrie," answered Mama Flyer, "I guess your brothers and sisters must have decided they were in the mood to cause you more trouble."
"Me thought you going to punish Donnie!" said Petrie, "Why you no punish him!?"
"I needed some time alone to consider how I was going to do it, but I suppose …"
"Suppose you no should have done that! Now look what happen to me!" accused Petrie.
"Now, Petrie! Don't start accusing me of leaving your brothers and sisters free to bully you!" said his mother sternly, "Sometimes, a mother needs to be alone when considering how to punish her children."
"But it never work!" yelled Petrie, "Nothing ever work! Me no can take this anymore! Me want them-"
Before Petrie could finish his sentence, his mother closed his beak with her hand.
"That's enough, Petrie!" she said, "I will punish them accordingly! If you think I'm going to just throw them out, you're greatly mistaken! How I punish your brothers and sisters is none of your business! It is my decision, and mine alone! Please understand that, okay!?"
Petrie fell on his back and pulled himself away from his mother, shaking and quivering as her shouting frightened him. Any time she used a raised voice directed at him, it scared him and turned his blood cold. He knew she never meant to frighten him, but he could never take her yelling at him, even at times when he yelled at her.
Mama Flyer calmed herself down as she noticed her son shaking and defensively holding out his hand as a gesture to "not hurt him." She patiently waited until Petrie was calm enough to allow her to approach him, and once he had let out a single gulp, that was enough to confirm to her that he would be okay.
"There, there, Petrie. I'm sorry," she spoke gently, "I didn't mean to raise my voice at you like that."
"M-me sorry me yell at you," replied Petrie, "Me was just … an-angry."
"I understand, Petrie, but you know I don't like it when you shout at me. I'm only trying to help you, and I don't want you to get the impression that I'm making it worse," said Mama Flyer, "You know I love you, Petrie, and I don't like to yell at you or make you feel bad. We shouldn't be yelling at each other. We should be looking out for each other. I'm your mother, and I want to help you."
"Me no feel like anything can help me," lamented Petrie, "Me brothers and sisters going to keep picking on me until me no have to live with them anymore."
"Petrie," Mama Flyer sighed despondently, "That's just not true, dear. I will find a way to get them to stop. It just takes time."
"Too much time for Petrie," replied Petrie.
Before Mama Flyer could respond, her son stood up and began walking away. She was puzzled as she thought of just what he could possibly be thinking about.
"Petrie? Where are you going?" she asked him.
"Me think me need to be by meself for a while, Mama," whimpered Petrie, "Me just want to be alone."
"Petrie, come back here and have a little talk with me," she said as kindly as she could, but her son refused to comply, "Please?"
"No!" cried Petrie, "Me need to be alone!"
The little Flyer ran as fast as his feet would let him, and he opened out his wings and jumped into the air. Mama Flyer could only watch with a heavy heart, and before long, her poor son had disappeared just as emotionally broken as he was when he arrived.
"My poor little baby," she sniffled solemnly, thinking of all the pain he had suffered for so long and had never deserved, and she took to the skies herself and flew in the direction he had gone, hoping to catch up with him and at least listen in to his thoughts. All she wanted was for Petrie to be happy, but some days, like today, it seemed impossible. Anytime it did become impossible, she was always determined to brighten his day, no matter what it took, even if it meant leaving her comfort zone just to make him happy again.
Mama Flyer found herself approaching the Thundering Falls as she discreetly kept in pursuit of her son, and she found him landing on one of the trees and crossing his wings. None of the many dinosaurs relaxing in the river took any notice of him as he began sulking.
She landed behind the tree and gazed up at the branch Petrie was sitting on. His face looked half-furious, … half … mischievous. She knew exactly what that look meant …
"Me no let them get away with this," Petrie hissed to himself, "Me want justice for what they do to me."
There was no doubt in Mama Flyer's mind that her son must have been planning some form of revenge for everything that had been done to him. He wanted to give them a piece of his mind for all the wrongful and inexcusable bullying and pranking that had ruined his day before it had even started. He had had enough of it all, and if his mother couldn't do enough to put his siblings in their place, and if no one would be able to put Cera in her place, then he'd take matters into his own wings and make undoubtedly sure they would not go unpunished for their unspeakable acts …
That evening, once the Night Circle had risen into the sky, some of the Gang had gathered in the Secret Caverns. Littlefoot had wanted to gather up everyone to discuss a rather troubling issue, but out of all the friends he tried to round up, only Cera was willing to join him. Ducky was in no mood to talk after seeing what had happened to Petrie, and Spike was not about to leave her side. Petrie was obviously not going to have anything to do with his friends as far as Littlefoot was concerned, so he thought it was best that he be left alone.
Chomper was still glum after what had happened, and Ruby was still trying to assure him that everything would be alright in good time by the time Littlefoot returned with Cera.
"Where are the others?" asked Ruby.
"Ducky didn't want to come, and I guess I know why," sighed Littlefoot.
"I'm not surprised that Petrie isn't here," said Cera gruffly.
"In case you didn't know, that is exactly why we're here in the first place!" snorted Littlefoot.
"Where's Spike?" asked Chomper.
"He didn't want to leave Ducky alone, so I just left them in peace," answered Littlefoot, "I think she's still upset."
"With good reason," said Ruby, "So, … what are we going to do?"
"Well, for one thing, I know a certain someone has yet to apologize to Petrie for this mess we've gotten into!" said Littlefoot, directing his glare toward Cera.
"Hey! I couldn't help it! Alright!?" the Threehorn argued, "What I wanna know is what the rest of us are going to do!"
"Find a way to get Petrie to forgive all of us, so that we can all be friends again. Friends we can all be again," replied Ruby.
"And how do we do that?" asked a downcast Cera, unable to comprehend anything that could possibly cheer up someone like Petrie after such awful humiliation.
"That's what we're here for," said Littlefoot, "We are going to find a way to help Petrie. His mother couldn't do it, so if she can't, only we can."
"I … don't know," said Chomper, scratching his head, "I don't know what Petrie's favorite … anything … is. All I know is that he loves flying."
"He's a Flyer. What do you expect?" said Cera.
Littlefoot and Ruby cast glares at Cera to tell her that the attitude she was showing was not going to get them anywhere at a time like this.
"Chomper, Ruby, you may not have known this, but Petrie has had a very rough family history," said Littlefoot.
"I know his brothers and sisters are just rotten, rotten they are to him," said Ruby as she thought of just how morbid Petrie's siblings tended to be when bullying him.
"But it's not just his brothers and sisters, Ruby," added Littlefoot, shaking his head, "His family troubles go beyond that."
"Don't even think about getting me started on that other beak face!" hissed Cera, not wanting a certain 'someone' to be brought up.
"Uh, … w-who are we talking abou-,"
"No, Chomper! I refuse to hear that name after all the atrocities he committed! He's as good as gone!" Cera ranted, preventing the Sharptooth from finishing his question.
Not wanting to get on the Threehorn's bad side, Chomper didn't say another word and simply looked away.
"So, … what do you know that Petrie really likes … besides flying?" asked Ruby.
"Well, I know he really likes tree stars," answered Littlefoot.
"Everyone in the valley eats tree stars!" grunted Cera, "That should be no surprise at all!"
"Well, … anything else?" asked Chomper.
"Hmm, … Petrie does have a soft spot for tree sweets. I heard he especially loves sweet bubbles," Littlefoot recalled.
At that moment, Chomper began to sense just what his Longneck friend was planning, and a smile crept its way onto the Sharptooth's face.
"Littlefoot, are you thinking what I'm thinking?" he said excitedly.
"Oh, great," sighed Cera, "More hunting for sweet bubbles."
"It'll be fun, Cera. You'll see," assured Littlefoot.
"Oh, really!? At this time of the night!?" retorted Cera, "It's dark out and everyone's asleep! We can't possibly go searching for sweet bubbles at a time like this!"
"Cera, we don't have to-," Littlefoot began before the Threehorn cut her off.
"I'm so not doing this when it's this late and the grownups will be frantically searching for us just because of something I did to Petrie!" she fumed, "If you can't think of any other way to cheer that Flyer up, and until the Bright Circle comes up again, I'm going home! This conversation's going nowhere for me!"
Before the others could respond, Cera turned her back on them and began to leave, but then she suddenly froze where she stood, not moving a muscle in her body.
"Cera, … what is it?" asked Littlefoot once he noticed just how long the orange Threehorn had stood in the same spot, "Cera!?"
Her eyes were fixed on some particular spot on one of the cave walls, and the Longneck turned to see just what she was looking at …
A big spot on one of the walls had some strange light shining on it, as if the Bright Circle was peeking through a hole in the wall on the other side, … but it was dark out, and the Night Circle didn't shine that brightly.
"It must be those little shiny bugs," said Littlefoot.
"What else could it be?" said Chomper, shrugging.
"Yeah, but why are they interested in that particular spot?" said Cera nervously, "Something just doesn't add up!"
"You're right," said a deep voice, "Something doesn't add up at all."
The four kids all gasped and frantically looked around the cave for any sign of the one whom had just so suddenly intruded, but no one could be seen anywhere.
"Who said that?" panted Littlefoot.
There came no reply, and this only raised the uneasiness of their situation.
"Who's there!?" yelled Cera.
"Cera, look!" gasped Littlefoot, and when the Threehorn turned around to look at the spotlight again, she gasped in great shock.
Within the spotlight, the shadow of a mysterious figure had appeared. It seemed to take the shape of a very old creature, but its head seemed to resemble sticks, and the rest of its body from the shoulders down seemed to look like tree stars. It appeared to be some very weak creature that was aging fast and extraordinarily sick, as if it was taking its final breaths. The mere sight of it made the kids retch.
"W-who are you?" stuttered Chomper.
"Who am I, you say?" said the shadowy creature, "I am, perhaps, everyone's worst sleep story."
"What do you mean?" asked a baffled Littlefoot.
The creature seemed to pause and gaze at the Longneck, but it looked at him not with eyes, but with an unwavering pose that made his blood turn cold. He had to look away just for a moment to regain his composure.
"I know just what you've been up to. I know what the whole valley has been up to with all their cruel jokes and tricks," the creature answered in a somewhat aggressive voice as if anger was building inside of it.
"Just how would you know that?" huffed Cera dismissively.
"Everywhere I go during this time of the season, I see poor children getting tortured by others," answered the creature, "All those heartless dinosaurs do is harass those innocent kids in countless ways."
The kids stared at the shadow in utter disbelief. They found it unimaginable that this could be happening just about anywhere in the world and that Petrie was not the first victim of what seemed like pranks spreading around the world to places known and unknown.
"Oh, please!" spat an unfazed Cera, "It's probably just your stupid imagination! I've never been to any place where kids pick on each other day after day! You made it all up, didn't you!?"
"Why do you think I've gotten this weak, you silly girl!?" the shadowy figure suddenly screamed, causing Littlefoot, Chomper and Ruby to duck behind a rock. They never dared to face the wrath of someone they had never met.
"Uh, … I don't like this," shivered Chomper.
"Maybe because you're so old!" Cera snorted at the shadow.
"That may be!" growled the creature, "But in my youth, I was the subject of torture in one of the most hideous ways imaginable! I was beaten on such a regular basis that my growth was stunted, and I spent many of my cold times desperately trying to survive in such a weak state! I've been like this nearly my whole life, and now I hear someone else is about to suffer the same disgraceful fate unless this comes to an end!"
"Remind you of anyone, Cera?" said Littlefoot, casting a glare at Cera as some bad memories came back to him.
"Hmph! Like anyone could be capable of doing that!" retorted Cera.
"Oh, but how about you?" countered the creature, "You have spent quite some time torturing someone who should be your friend, but how could he want to be your friend now if you don't treat him like one?"
"Hey, I don't torture anyone!" claimed Cera, "I never mean to harm my friends!"
"But what if you did one day?" said the shadow, "One day, that innocent little Flyer will want to run away and find a new life! I am well aware that his family life is no better, and no one has bothered to help him with it. He has no one to turn to, and he will suffer the same fate as those before him who wanted to run away."
"Yeah, right!" spat Cera.
"Or maybe even those who were the instigators," added the shadow, and the Threehorn seemed to suddenly freeze in place as if she was taken aback, "Where I came from, torturers were punished in the worst way possible. They weren't grounded, beaten or exiled. When the cold time came and the frozen sky water came with it, instigators were taken by the leaders of their herds and left alone in some unforgiving place while the frozen sky water blew on top of them with the relentless winds. I suppose that unless you stop doing such horrible things to your so-called 'friend,' the same may possibly happen to you when the cold time returns."
"W-what!?" panted Cera as panic and fear took over her.
"You'll be left in some place in the middle of nowhere! Frozen sky water will fall on you until you can see no more! You'll be BURIED ALIVE!"
The children all let out huge, terrified gasps, but none louder and more terrified than Cera. She was never one to believe in silly stories, but the sincerity of this old creature seemed so real to her that she had to question herself whether this was true or not.
The creature started laughing maniacally while taking huge gasps in between laughs. It seemed to show just how old and weak he was. Every second he laughed, it became harder for him to breathe.
"BURIED ALIVE! AAAAAH, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA!" he laughed like a psychopath.
The kids could only watch in shock as the creature began coughing violently and taking huge gasps as his laughter died down to dark chuckles even as he fell to the ground and kept trying so hard to breathe.
"Remember … my … last … words," he gasped, "You … will all … see … the error … of your ways."
With those words, his gasps and laughs became softer until the spotlight on the wall disintegrated into tiny spots again as the fireflies took off. Before the kids knew it, everything was dark and silent again.
The mysterious shadow had died laughing.
Littlefoot, Chomper and Ruby stepped out from behind the rock and looked at Cera. The orange Threehorn was seemingly frozen in place, just staring at the spot where the creature's shadow had been cast. She looked as if she had woken up from a terrifying sleep story, something that was unsurprisingly rare for her, being what she was.
"Cera, … are you alright?" asked Littlefoot cautiously.
Cera didn't answer. She just kept staring at that wall for a few more moments before she slowly turned away and walked out the exit back into the valley. The others followed her out, and once they saw her again, she was running far away as quickly as she could. She was already out of their hearing range by the time they spotted her.
"I can only guess where this will go," sighed Littlefoot.
"Her dad just has to know about everything, doesn't he?" said Chomper sarcastically.
"I'm not even sure if that mysterious dinosaur was real or not," said Littlefoot, his thoughts beginning to trouble him, "None of it made any sense at all."
"It didn't look real, either," agreed Ruby, "Maybe it wasn't real, real it must not have been."
"Uh, Littlefoot, … h-how are we going to explain this to anyone who wasn't there?" asked Chomper, only to find that the Longneck was staring off into space, clearly contemplating some rather questionable thoughts, "Littlefoot?"
Littlefoot still didn't answer. He was wondering just how some random unknown dinosaur would have knowledge of everything that had happened that day. Clearly, someone else would have to have seen it all, … or maybe, just maybe, … his hunch that Petrie would find some way to seek vengeance for all the bullying that had victimized him … may have come true. Maybe he was behind this mysterious shadow. It could even have been his own shadow. It could have all been done to scare Cera as payback.
"Littlefoot!?" shouted Chomper after the silence had dragged on for quite some time.
The Longneck jolted and snapped out of his thoughts before he panted and looked at his two friends.
"Sorry, I was just … thinking," he said, "I need to go refresh myself. I'll, uh, see you in the morning."
Without another word, he walked back into the open valley, leaving a dumbfounded Chomper and Ruby behind with no answer to their questions. He knew they would find out soon enough, … and maybe so would everyone else …
The Bright Circle shone over the Great Valley to signal the start of another new day. For Petrie, it simply felt like a day when he could finally relax. After everything that had happened yesterday, he hoped today would be a much better day without anymore of the bullying or torture from his siblings, but especially from Cera.
The little Flyer stepped outside to breathe in some fresh morning air. The valley looked beautiful under the glow of the Bright Circle, and the air felt just as soothing as the day before. He let out a sigh of relaxation and finally smiled for the first time in what felt like a long time.
"It so beautiful today," he sighed to himself.
Before long, he felt his mother's presence next to him, and he looked up to see a warm smile on her face.
"Good morning, my little one," she said soothingly to her son.
"Good morning, Mama," replied Petrie with a beaming smile.
"You look pretty cheerful this morning," commented Mama Flyer.
"Me just happy that today be beautiful, … and me no wake up to Donnie's tricks again," said Petrie.
Almost immediately, Mama Flyer's smile died down to a worrisome frown. Ever since she had seen that questionable look on Petrie's face at the Thundering Falls, she had been worried that he had been up to something … suspicious. It only seemed right to think that after he had been tormented in so many ways in a single day.
"Petrie, I have to ask you something," she spoke in a more serious tone.
"W-what is it, Mama?" asked Petrie nervously.
"Yesterday, … while you were at the Thundering Falls, I-."
"Petrie? Ms. Flyer? Would you two come to the Rock Circle please? Something rather … strange has worried some of the children," came Grandma Longneck's voice as she arrived so suddenly almost without them even noticing.
The Flyers' moment of near-fright quickly died down, and they regained their composure and looked into the Longneck's eyes.
"What is it, Mrs. Longneck?" asked Mama Flyer.
"I can't explain it in an understandable manner," replied Grandma Longneck, "That's why we're asking you two to come with me to the Rock Circle, so you can hear all the details."
Petrie and his mother glanced at each other and shrugged, although inside, Petrie was beginning to feel dreadfully nervous about something, … something he didn't feel comfortable talking about.
"I suppose we'll have to talk about this later, dear," Mama Flyer told him just as she noticed how quiet he had suddenly become, and she could tell right away that this may have had something to do with him. Surely, he must have been hiding something from her.
Mama Flyer gently tapped her son's back to get his attention, and Petrie snapped out of his thoughts and lifted himself off the ledge.
"Are you alright, Petrie?" she asked him as she followed him up, "You're so suddenly quiet."
"Uh, m-me no know, Mama," Petrie answered, and the two began their flight over the valley, "Me just … not over yesterday."
"Something tells me it's more than that. I know my children's problems when I see one," said Mama Flyer, her motherly instincts telling her that he was certainly not telling the truth.
"Really, me fine, Mama!" said Petrie, tired of his mother being able to read his thoughts so easily like a wise mother.
"Okay, dear. If you say so," said Mama Flyer, not wanting to put too much pressure on her son.
The two Flyers spoke no further words as they slowly flew to the Rock Circle with Grandma Longneck. Petrie only got more nervous as the Rock Circle came within sight, and all his friends and their families were already there.
"Ah, there you are," Grandpa Longneck greeted them, "I know this must have been quite abrupt for you, but we have a very serious matter to discuss that requires your attention."
Petrie and his mother landed within the small gathering, and once Grandma Longneck stood next to her mate, Topps stepped up.
"Now that everyone is here, we can begin," he said, and he cleared his throat, "So, last night, Cera arrived home just a little later than I would have wanted, and she told me this story … of how she and her friends gathered together in the Secret Caverns to … have some sort of chat. I wouldn't have known just what they were talking about. Anyways, during their 'little meeting,' she says that some strange creature appeared from nowhere and claimed to have come from some unknown place where he was bullied on a regular basis … and where bullies were left to die and, in his exact words, 'be buried alive'!"
"What!?" gasped Mama Swimmer.
"That is just absurd!" said Grandma Longneck.
"Which is exactly what I thought, too!" agreed Topps, "Now, obviously we Threehorns don't believe in such things, but the creature's words were so convincing that my daughter didn't know what to believe. I had to constantly reassure her that none of it was true, and it was just a lie made up to scare her."
"What did the creature look like, Cera?" asked Mama Flyer.
Still shaky from her dreadful experience last night, Cera shyly stepped forward and took a deep breath.
"W-well, … first, … dozens of fireflies put some light on the wall of the cave, and someone spoke in some deep, terrifying voice," she began, shivering, "Then, … w-we saw its shadow appear within that little spot of light. Its body almost looked like tree stars, and its head looked as if it was made of sticks. It looked … so … old … and weak."
"Did you get a glimpse of its face?" asked Papa Swimmer.
"N-no," answered Cera, "All we saw was its shadow. We never saw its face. It had a way of shielding its identity."
"Are you certain it was a male?" asked Grandpa Longneck.
"Yes, Grandpa," answered Littlefoot, "Its voice was definitely male."
"You mentioned something about bullying?" said Papa Swimmer.
"Yes," nodded Cera.
"I suppose we'd better ask this, then," said Grandma Longneck, "When have there been recent incidents of bullying involving our children?"
Just as she was finishing her question, Mama Flyer spoke up.
"Well, my son Petrie went through quite a horrible day yesterday, … from the very moment he woke up," she recalled.
"And does this involve the rest of the kids?" questioned Topps.
"At the very least, a few of them," answered Mama Flyer.
"Petrie, would you care to tell us what happened yesterday? It could give us a good idea," said Grandpa Longneck gently.
Gulping with dread, the little Flyer shyly made his way to the center of the circle. All eyes were fixed on him as he prepared to share the details of his horrible day.
"Well, … it all start when me wake up, and me find urine all over me and it not even me own," he began, and nearly everyone gasped and retched at such a sickening description, "Me brother Donnie start laughing at me, and me realize right then that he wet on me while me sleep."
"Oh, my!" gasped Grandma Longneck in disbelief.
"Then, after Mama wash me, she say me should fly for relaxation, and me do that, but then suddenly me hear someone scream, and it girl," continued Petrie, "At first, me thought it Ducky, but when me land in front of bush, Cera suddenly pop out and scare me, and me fall into puddle of mud."
"Well, Cera, what do you have to say to yourself for that?" said Tria sternly to her stepdaughter.
"Then, after Cera make fun of me, Mr. Threehorn make fun of me, too, and say me should be less gullible in future!" hissed Petrie.
"Topps!?" said Tria, shifting her gaze over to her mate, "How could you have made fun of an innocent child so heartlessly?"
"Uh, w-well, I, … um, didn't mean it … in that regard," stuttered Topps, realizing he was losing his dominance and pride over the situation.
"You've had quite a history of humiliating Petrie in the past, Mr. Threehorn," reminded Mama Flyer, "I'm still trying to get over that horrible thing you said about him after my brother was banished."
"Listen, I'm sorry! Okay!?" Topps suddenly roared, "What happened that night, I was angry, alright!? And what happened yesterday, I was merely defending my daughter's actions!"
"Defending something Cera should not have done!" snorted Tria.
"QUIET!" yelled Grandpa Longneck, and the arguments suddenly fell silent, "That's enough of that! Let's let Petrie continue his story!"
Nobody else spoke a word before Petrie cleared his throat again and resumed his narrative …
"Thank you. So then, me have to wash meself again, and then Ducky invite me to play with her for a while, and that lots of fun, then me decide to fly some more. Then, me land on tree and me hear someone laughing, so me take off but then me suddenly hit with red tree sweet and fall down. Me look up and see me stupid brothers and sisters again, and suddenly Chomper come out and scare me, and me wet meself in front of them!"
"Chomper, you've got some nerve!" roared Topps.
"Petrie's brothers and sisters tricked me into scaring Petrie!" said Chomper defensively, "They didn't even tell me it was him I was scaring! I swear! It's true!"
The other kids all nodded in confirmation that the Sharptooth was being completely honest and truthful. They all understood that Chomper would never orchestrate a prank on someone whom was a dear friend of his.
"Me friends come to see what happen, and Cera and me brothers and sisters start laughing and making fun of me again! Me try to fly away, but me covered in sticky sweet juice and me fall into mud again! No one try to comfort me except Ducky. Everyone else either stay silent or laugh at me!"
"Sounds like you must have had a very trying day, Petrie," said Mama Swimmer sympathetically, her mate nodding alongside her.
Most of the adults were shaking their heads in disbelief after hearing the details of Petrie's rather tragic day.
"Is there more to the story or was that the end of it all?" asked Grandma Longneck.
"Me fly away to me Mama, and she wash me … again, … and then me just go relax at Thundering Falls. Me just wanted to be alone then, and me be alone for rest of day," finished Petrie.
"That still doesn't solve the problem concerning that mysterious creature who scared my daughter!" said Topps, "He is still out there somewhere, and we need to find him!"
"Mr. Threehorn, … the creature is … dead," said Littlefoot.
"What!? Dead!?" responded Topps, not believing his words.
"He laughed so hard that he couldn't breathe anymore, and he fell to the ground taking his last breaths," explained Littlefoot.
"He … died laughing," added Ruby, "Laughing as he died."
"So, … I guess … it doesn't matter anymore," said Chomper nervously, "He's, well, … gone."
"That doesn't make me feel any better," said Topps.
"Who was in the Secret Caverns last night when the creature appeared?" asked Grandma Longneck.
"Me, Cera, Chomper and Ruby," answered Littlefoot.
"And what were you doing?" asked Tria.
"All four of us were trying to think of a way to apologize to Petrie, and then the creature suddenly appeared and told us that frightening story," said Chomper.
"And you believed it?" snorted Topps.
"I wasn't so sure," admitted Littlefoot, "I didn't think such a place he described was real. I don't even know if the creature was real."
"But Cera told me it was very real!" argued Topps, "Surely, someone else was in there last night!"
"Ducky, Spike, where were you last night?" asked Tria.
"Spike and I were asleep in our nest. Yes, yes, yes," answered Ducky, "Littlefoot tried-ed to ask me to follow him, but I was too tired-ed and falled back to sleep."
"Well, I suppose that cancels them out," sighed Tria.
"If Littlefoot says that the creature must not have been real, and Ducky and Spike were in their nest, … then I think there's only one other possibility, … considering just what that creature was talking about, … and, if I may, who it may have been referring to," concluded Grandma Longneck.
"Y-you don't mean!?" gasped Cera.
At that instant, everyone's eyes fixed on Petrie. The little Flyer's eyes went wide, and his heart started pounding as he realized a terrible truth …
"So, Petrie, it was you, wasn't it!?" shouted Topps.
"I should have known it was you!" said Cera, "You did this to get back at me, didn't you!?"
"I was afraid it might have been him," gulped Littlefoot, "I just … wasn't sure."
"I could swear that when I followed you to the Thundering Falls, I saw some … scheming look on your face," Mama Flyer said, giving her son a look of suspicion, "You were plotting revenge on Cera for the part she played in the pranks on you, weren't you, Petrie?"
Petrie's beak quivered as he tried to stay silent. He knew he was busted. He had been found out. His revenge plot had been exposed, and now he was sure he was in for trouble which he felt was unjustified all because his evil brothers and sisters had allowed Cera to join them in their pranks against him. For once, it seemed as though his horrible siblings would triumph over him, which he felt was the most humiliating thing ever.
"Petrie, explain yourself," ordered Grandpa Longneck.
"You had the sick, twisted audacity to frighten my daughter!" growled Topps, "I don't care who started it, but we are going to be the ones to finish it once and for all!"
Petrie shut his eyes as he tried to hide his stream of tears, his beak pointing towards the ground.
"Confess," said Tria, "What have you done?"
Finally, with his pride completely shattered, Petrie began sobbing as he regretfully began his much-dreaded confession …
"It was me," he began in a soft, sad voice, "Me … wanted to get back at Cera for scaring me and pushing me around like a bully, just like Hyp."
"How dare you compare me to that brat!?" spat Cera.
"Quiet, Cera!" shouted Tria.
Petrie waited until he was sure no one else would interrupt him, and he spoke again.
"Me … meet up with Guido at Thundering Falls, and me convince him to help me with me plan," he confessed, "After we finish making our plan, me overhear Littlefoot say he want to bring our friends to Secret Caverns, so me and Guido go there. Then, that night, they come to caverns and we catch some fireflies and light wall."
"Petrie, Guido is your friend," said Mama Flyer sternly, "You shouldn't goad your friends into doing something they don't want to do."
"Does that explain the creature's voice?" pondered Littlefoot.
"Y-yes," admitted Petrie, "Me was shadow, and Guido was voice."
"You're despicable!" hissed Topps.
"Let him finish!" Tria scolded her mate.
"So, … we tell them about land where bullies no tolerated, and their way of justice be to leave bullies to rot and die, or be buried alive by frozen sky water," said Petrie.
"There is no such place in the world where anyone does that, … is there?" said Grandpa Longneck, glancing at his mate.
"None that I know of," she replied, "I think the whole thing was so cleverly made up just as a way to frighten Cera into leaving Petrie alone whenever he is in a sour mood."
"Well, you don't say!" replied Topps.
"Petrie, we know how upsetting it can be to have troublemakers around but telling lies and making up stories to scare them cannot be tolerated in our valley," said Papa Swimmer.
"Me know," cried Petrie solemnly.
"Scaring your friends is not the way to stop the bullying against you, Petrie," his mother spoke to him, "If you tell us about it, we can put a stop to it, and certainly not by telling a story to frighten them."
"Seeing as you not only terrified Cera out of her wits, but you must have also done the same to our grandson," added Grandma Longneck.
"And two of your other friends," put in Mama Swimmer.
"Petrie, what do you have to say for yourself?" said Grandpa Longneck.
Completely broken inside, utterly humiliated and defeated, Petrie sunk his head in deep shame and disgrace, and let a fresh stream of tears soak the ground he was standing on. He wasn't sure that a remorseful apology would be anywhere near enough to atone for his sins, and he knew it would probably be a long time before he regained the trust of everyone surrounding him.
"Me so sorry, everyone!" he wailed, "Me know you may never forgive me, and me disgrace meself in eyes of everyone, … b-but me sorry for what me done! Me only wanted bullying to stop, but now me realize me do it in such horrible way! Me only ask that you please forgive me, even if it no happen for maybe many cold times!"
Most of the adults sighed after the Flyer finished his tearful apology, but Topps and Cera maintained their hateful glares that seemed to indicate to him that he would have next to no chance of ever earning their forgiveness.
"Petrie, I'm clearly at a loss as to what your punishment shall be," sighed Grandpa Longneck, "This reminds me of when we had to banish your uncle after the atrocities he committed. You can at least consider yourself lucky that you will face nowhere near the punishment he received because you are a child. What you did last night could questionably have earned you perhaps one of our rather harsher methods of atonement considering that this is a valley matter and not merely a Flyer herd matter. In light of the fact that you were truly the victim of all the bullying, we will not force you into such an atonement, but because you still committed quite an unacceptable act last night, it is mandatory that you be punished."
Petrie sighed with dread as he turned his head away from the elders. He cast a brief glance at his mother, and she let out a deep sigh as if she was agreeing with him that this felt rather unjustified, considering that his brothers and sisters had started the whole chain reaction that had gotten him into this sticky situation. He shook his head at her as if he was pleading her for something, and she discreetly nodded in return while no one had their eyes on her.
"We are going to place a limit on where you can be or where you can fly around. You will not be allowed to leave the neighborhood area where you live. This means you will not be allowed to enter the forest to the east of your neighborhood or fly over it. Furthermore, we will have to separate you from your friends for as long as this punishment is in effect," said Grandpa Longneck.
Petrie's heart sank as he listened to the details of his punishment. It may have been right considering what he had done, but on the other hand, it didn't feel right because of a situation he had had absolutely no control of whatsoever.
"H-how long?" he sniffled.
"I suppose until the end of the next Night Circle cycle," answered Grandma Longneck, "It should be long enough for you to learn from your mistakes."
Petrie opened his beak as if he wanted to speak again, but he couldn't think of anything to say, and no words came out of his beak.
"In terms of separating you from your friends, we will make one exception," added Grandpa Longneck, "Since Ducky and Spike's family live in the same neighborhood as you, we will allow you to visit them, and for them to visit you while you serve your punishment."
"You can at least be fortunate that you won't be alone," his mate added.
"I will be happy to play with you so that you will not be alone, Petrie," said Ducky, nodding her head and giving Petrie a reassuring smile, "Yes, yes, yes."
Spike nodded along with the Swimmer, and Petrie managed a faint grin before his gaze fell to the ground again.
"I'd much rather prefer he'd be left alone in some dark cave, but I guess I can't put a stop to that," grunted Topps.
"There has to be a compromise, Mr. Threehorn," reminded Grandpa Longneck, "After all, they're only children, and children should not be punished as severely as grownups would be."
"Pah! Fine!" replied Topps in disgust.
"Just calm down, Topps," said Tria.
"I'm telling you, he's becoming just like his un-,"
"Don't say it!" Mama Flyer hissed before the Threehorn could finish his sentence.
Topps closed his mouth and led his family away from the group. All the while he fixed his gaze on Petrie with a loathsome glare.
"Consider yourself lucky I didn't have my way, Flyer," he spat at him before he turned away and left with Tria, Cera and Tricia closely following.
"I suppose … this meeting is over then," sighed Grandma Longneck.
"Ms. Flyer, … I'm gonna have to ask you to please take your son back home, and make sure he doesn't leave your neighborhood until the end of the next Night Circle cycle. He will not be allowed to have contact with any of his friends except Ducky and Spike," informed Grandpa Longneck.
"You have my word," replied Mama Flyer, and she approached her son and tapped his shoulder three times, "Petrie?"
Petrie looked up at his mother with a sigh of despair. He wasn't sure if he would be able to stand being confined to just one small area of the valley until the end of the next Night Circle cycle. Having only two friends to talk to instead of six felt rather empty, and to not be allowed to fly as far and wide as he always loved doing felt like being deprived of the one thing he always enjoyed and what made him what he was. This punishment alone felt bad enough even for being light compared to exile or humiliation. For the first time, it seemed as though his "evil" brothers and sisters … had defeated him. He could already picture their triumphant smiles on their beaks once he returned home to find them celebrating his punishment for something they caused.
"Come with me, please," she told him, and she lifted herself into the sky with Petrie reluctantly following him without even turning to say goodbye to his friends. He was too upset to even look at anyone right now. All he wanted was to just be alone after his desire for justice had completely backfired and had gotten himself punished instead of Cera. Now he felt stupid for even bothering to find his own way of justice. It seemed that he would always be a victim no matter the consequences, and that hurt him more than anything at a time like this.
Soon, Petrie saw the familiar sight of his home just ahead, and he watched as his mother came down on the foot of the cave entrance. He stopped and hovered, and he looked away before he heard her calling his name. Reluctantly, he landed in front of her and refused to make eye contact.
"Petrie, please look at me," she said calmly.
Petrie shut his eyes and shook his head, and his mother placed one hand on his back and pressed her other hand against his beak to turn his head so that he was facing her. The little Flyer quivered and opened his eyes to see his mother's look of disappointment in him, which was just what he had been afraid of from the moment he confessed his act of vengeance.
"I'm not gonna lie, Petrie. I didn't wish this upon you, either, but nevertheless, I'm very disappointed in you," she said sternly.
"Me know," sniffled Petrie as he felt those shameful tears welling in his eyes.
"You may have been the victim of inexcusable bullying, but revenge is not the way to counter it," she continued, "Revenge will only make bullies stronger, and you'll only find that you may have just made life a little harder for yourself."
"B-but … m-me just wanted t-to … g-get Cera to stop," sobbed Petrie.
"Petrie, … Cera is a Threehorn, and it's in her nature," sighed Mama Flyer, "If anything, don't be surprised if she starts picking on you again once your confinement is over."
"Why Cera no be punished!?" yelled Petrie, "She prank me, she humiliate me, and even her daddy humiliate me! Why me have to be punished instead of her!?"
"Okay, Petrie. Not so loud," said Mama Flyer sternly, and she softened a little, "Firstly, I will talk with the Longnecks and see to it that Cera is rightfully punished. Secondly, you were punished because of what you did as payback."
Petrie fell to his knees in despair and defeat. In the eyes of the world, he seemed to have been such an idiot with his foolish act of vengeance, and now he began to wonder what point he even had in pulling off such an idiotic move.
"I know you wanted poetic justice, but that's not the way we do things in this valley," said Mama Flyer.
"Like nothing can be done to stop it," lamented Petrie.
"Petrie, I want you to listen to me very carefully," said Mama Flyer, once again lifting her son's beak with her hand to ensure he would make eye contact with her, "If you ever find yourself the subject of their bullying again, tell me or the other elders, and we'll take care of everything. You don't need to take matters into your own hands. That's our job. You should only worry about yourself and those who care for you and let us do the rest. The Great Valley is a very peaceful place, but your actions last night caused quite a disturbance to our sense of peace."
Petrie sighed shamefully after hearing that last sentence. He had always been all for peace, but the idea that he had brought any sense of insecurity to his friends had placed a great burden on him that he knew would take a long time to take off his shoulders.
"Me so sorry, Mama," he sniffled.
"I know how you feel, dear, and I'll make sure that those who bullied you will never do so again," replied Mama Flyer softly, "I'd also like you to promise me that you'll never do such a foolish thing like that again."
"M-me promise, Mommy," nodded Petrie tearfully.
As his mother gently hugged him, Petrie looked inside the cave and caught a glance at his four siblings all snickering evilly at him in apparent triumph and victory, just as he had feared. He glared at them with pure hatred, and they returned it with evil smiles of pride.
"As for YOU!" Mama Flyer's voice suddenly rang out, and Petrie watched as the smiles instantly disappeared from their beaks, "You've been worse! In fact, a lot worse! You made the disturbance! You were behind this entire mess! Your despicable bullying led Petrie to commit an atrocious act last night! Do you have any idea what you've just put your brother through!?"
"See if I care!" hissed Donnie, "He deserves his punishment!"
"Punishment for an act of revenge against something that you orchestrated!" snapped Mama Flyer, "You effectively took away his happiness and most of his freedom all in one day, and thanks to you, he'll be in disgrace in the eyes of everyone else until the end of the next Night Circle cycle! It completely pisses me off that I have five children who can't treat themselves equally because four of them think that the youngest one is worthless and inferior to them! I've told you this a million times, but you just won't listen to me! I can't even begin to say just how absolutely disgusted I am by your abysmal day-to-day games of 'let's make Petrie's life as miserable as possible'! I'm beginning to wonder if you'll ever learn."
"Fitting for someone so hopeless!" huffed Terra.
"That's enough!" raged Mama Flyer, "Leave Petrie alone! You think it's right for him to make his life miserable just because you think he makes your lives miserable!? Why can't you ever treat him like family!? He's just an innocent child who's still learning and growing up, and you're not making it any easier for him, and now you've just ruined the next Night Circle cycle for him! Everyone is blaming him for what happened last night, but I blame it on you! You clearly had some motive behind everything you did yesterday, and I can't even begin to tell you just what the consequences will be for the four of you!"
"Uh, M-Mama?" shivered Pearlwing.
"But he's just so-," Skybeak said before his mother cut him off.
"NO! No buts! Not another word!" she screamed, "I've had enough of hearing it! You clearly have no excuses and just want to torment Petrie until you've driven him to insanity or suicide! I will not let that happen! He is my son, and I do not want my children to start driving each other to the verge of death!"
Terra opened her beak, but Mama Flyer stopped her before she could utter a single word.
"No! Get inside! All of you! Go! Scoot!" she yelled, pointing a finger inside their cave, her beak turning bright red in unimaginable fury, "NOW!"
Shivering with fright, all four children scurried inside the cave and cowered against the walls. At times like these, it would only take a fit of rage for Mama Flyer to be able to put her children in their place, and once this happened, they never dared to further test her wrath.
The blue Flyer maintained her glare until she couldn't stand looking at them any longer, and she turned back to Petrie, who was also staring at her with wide eyes and shivering with fright. It became obvious that she had not only scared the living daylights out of her four scheming children, but also her youngest son.
"M-Mama, … y-you scare me," stammered Petrie.
"There, there, Petrie. I'm sorry," Mama Flyer apologized in a gentle voice to reassure her son, "You know I didn't mean to frighten you."
"Me know, but … m-me no like seeing you get so angry," quivered Petrie.
"I understand, dear," nodded Mama Flyer, "I'm sure you realize that I'm just as mad at your brothers and sisters as you are."
"W-what you going to do?" asked Petrie.
Mama Flyer sighed as she tried to come up with an answer that would satisfy Petrie. Thinking of a suitable punishment for something as heinous as what those kids did was no easy task for her. If their punishment for what happened during the cold time wasn't enough, then what was? How would she ever be able to teach her children to treat each other equally and with the compassion she shared with Petrie? Her family had already gone through so much that had ripped them apart, and it seemed that any day it could happen again.
"That is for me to decide, Petrie," she said, "For now, have some breakfast. I just remembered you hadn't eaten since you woke up."
Just as Petrie's stomach growled to indicate just how right she was, she handed him a tree star, and the little Flyer calmed down and took it. Once he took a few bites, he couldn't help but smile after he realized just how long he had been on an empty stomach.
"After that, I think it'd be best if you took a little nap," added Mama Flyer.
"What!?" protested Petrie, "But me only just wake up to all this, and now me have to sleep some more!?"
"I'm just kidding, Petrie," chuckled Mama Flyer.
Petrie immediately sensed just where his mother was going with this conversation.
"Oh, me see how it is. You start playing jokes on me, too!?" he said with a glare.
"Really? You can't take a joke even that light? Whatever happened to your sense of humor, Petrie? Did it just fly away overnight?" teased Mama Flyer playfully.
"That not funny, Mama!" shouted Petrie.
"Lighten up, my little one," said Mama Flyer, "What happened to the happy Petrie I know who loves to smile and laugh with me?"
"Maybe he flying somewhere in Mysterious Beyond," said Petrie sarcastically, and he pointed a finger towards the sky, "Maybe that him!"
Mama Flyer looked in the direction her son had pointed but saw nothing but blue sky. Shaking it off as a simple trick, she turned back only to find that Petrie had suddenly vanished.
"Petrie!?" she gasped, then she knew right away what had happened, "Why you, sneaky little rascal!"
Not wasting a second, the cerulean Flyer took off and scanned the valley below for any sign of her son. It didn't take long for her to spot him diving towards a group of rocks on the soft grass.
"So, that's how he's going to play around with me," she chuckled to herself, "You can't hide from me forever, Petrie."
Below, Petrie had landed in front of the rocks that were just big enough to shield him from sight, and he scurried into the tiny maze just before he saw the shadow of his mother coming down to land. He tiptoed behind one of the rocks that was closest to one of the large rock formations that bordered the grassy pathway, and he closed his beak and tried his best to stay completely silent.
"Alright, Petrie. I know you're behind one of those rocks," he heard his mother say in a playful, teasing manner, "Come out, come out, wherever you are."
Petrie just barely held back a chuckle as her voice brought back a few vague memories of when they played hide and seek together in those painful days before the Earth Shake. For him, it gave him a sense of nostalgia.
The little Flyer kept frantically shifting his eyes from one direction to another while keeping still. He could see his mother's shadow coming closer with every second that passed. His only goal was to stay hidden for as long as possible. He knew she would inevitably find him.
Suddenly, he noticed a shadow was looming directly over him. He gulped and looked up, and he saw his mother standing right above him with a smirk on her face.
"Just as we thought the tricks were over, huh?" she chuckled.
Petrie tried to make a run for it, but Mama Flyer acted quicker and managed to grab him by the arms.
"Hey! Let Petrie go!" he begged as he swung his feet back and forth and tried pulling himself free to no avail.
"Not so fast, little guy!" teased Mama Flyer, "I haven't seen my fair share of satisfaction just yet. You know what happens when you play tricks on me?"
"Oops," gulped Petrie, realizing what she was about to do, "Uh, … um, …"
Before he could answer, his mother sat him down on her lap and held him from behind with one hand, preventing him from moving his arms and wings. His teeth clattered as he watched her other hand slowly approaching his feet, its fingers making wiggling motions that indicated just what was about to happen.
"N-no! Please! Mama! No do it!" he begged in desperation.
"Consider this one last thing to add to your punishment," teased Mama Flyer.
Petrie gasped in disbelief, and before he could register the next thought, his mother's fingers made contact with his feet, and she began wiggling his tiny toes. Instantly, the new sensations jolted through his body in a way that brought giggles out of his beak.
"N-no! Mama! Stop! Stahahahahahahahop!" the little Flyer giggled, "Pleeheeheehease! Me sorreeheeheeheehy!"
"I know what's music to your ears, but do you know what's music to my ears?" said Mama Flyer playfully.
"Whahahahat!?" laughed Petrie.
"The sound of your laughs that tell me that my cute little baby is happy!" answered Mama Flyer.
Petrie's cheeks turned red as that name embarrassed him, but there was little he could do about it as long as he was being tickled.
"Mommeeheeheehy! No call me babeeheeheeheehy!" he giggled as saliva began to leak from his beak uncontrollably.
"Well, it's true, Petrie. Even how old you are now, you're still my precious little baby!" teased Mama Flyer lovingly.
"Stahahahahop!" laughed Petrie sheepishly, and his mother's fingers moved up to his chest, "Ooh! Oohoohoohehehehehehehee!"
"Now there's that happy voice I've wanted to hear for some time!" giggled Mama Flyer.
"Mmmhmmhmmhmmkeeheeheeheeheeheeheeeee!" chortled Petrie as the ticklishness drove him into uncontrollable laughter that prevented him from forming words and instead brought saliva out of his mouth.
Mama Flyer then started tickling Petrie's neck, which only made him laugh even harder, and finally she poked on his most sensitive spot of all: his shoulders.
"EEK! OOH! OOH! AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Petrie's laughs echoed into the distance, "MOMMEEHEEHEEHEEHEEHEE!"
"I love the sound of my little Petrie's happy voice in the morning!" his mother teased.
"ME GIVE! ME GIHIHIHIHIVE!" Petrie laughed as tears began streaming from his eyes due to excessive laughter.
"You haven't said the magic word yet, Petrie!" laughed Mama Flyer.
"UNCLEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE!" Petrie screamed through laughter.
Seeing that her son had finally gone through enough tickle torture, Mama Flyer promptly stopped the tickling and lovingly held him in her wings to help him relax and regain his breath. Petrie panted for a whole minute before he was able to shake his head and look up at his mother.
"Me could go without that!" he complained.
"Well, how else was I going to teach you a lesson for teasing me?" replied Mama Flyer with a smirk, "Sometimes, you need to have a little lesson just like everyone else when they play their pranks."
Feeling defeated, Petrie slumped his head against his mother's chest and let out a pouty sigh. Before he could complain any further, though, he felt a sudden warm sensation on his forehead. He knew right away that it was his mother's beak planting a loving motherly kiss on him to show her undying love and care for her son. He sighed and smiled as the warmth of the kiss sunk in and warmed his heart.
"I love you, my little Petrie," said Mama Flyer once she had pulled her beak away.
"Me love you, too, Mama," replied Petrie, letting out a tiny chuckle.
"Now then, are you going to stop complaining?" asked Mama Flyer playfully.
"Yes, Mama," sighed Petrie in slight annoyance.
"Sounds like someone's been taught quite a lesson," came another chuckling voice, and Petrie suddenly noticed Mama Swimmer in their presence, along with Ducky and Spike.
"Uh," stammered Petrie in embarrassment.
"We could hear you laughing from quite a long way. It sounded-ed like you were quite ticklish, Petrie. Yep, yep, yep," giggled Ducky, and Spike nodded in agreement, making the Flyer blush sheepishly.
"Don't worry," said Mama Flyer, "I think my little one's learned his lesson."
"Mama," sighed Petrie.
"I just wanted to tell you, Ms. Flyer, that the Longnecks wanted to speak with you," informed Mama Swimmer, "I suppose you wouldn't mind if I looked after Petrie for you while Ducky and Spike play with him."
"Of course, I don't mind, Mrs. Swimmer," replied Mama Flyer, and she set her son back down on his feet.
Once his feet were touching the ground again, Petrie ran right up to Ducky and gave the Swimmer a tight hug that genuinely surprised her, and she returned the gesture with a tight hug of her own. Before long, the two were squeezed into Spike's forepaws as he pulled them in for one big hug. Their mothers laughed at the adorable sight.
"I think Petrie's in good hands," commented Mama Swimmer.
"Well, I guess I'd better be off then," said Mama Flyer, "I'll be back before lunch, okay, Petrie?"
"Okay, Mama," responded Petrie, and he watched as his mother took off into the blue skies and disappeared.
"Okay, kids. Wanna come play in the river?" offered Mama Swimmer.
"Oh, yes, yes, yes!" Ducky instantly answered cheerfully, and she and Petrie climbed onto Spike's back and let the Spiketail give them an enjoyable ride to the river with Mama Swimmer accompanying them.
Once they arrived at the river next to the Swimmer nest, Spike excitedly jumped in, and Ducky and Petrie had to cling on tightly to keep from falling off. The little Swimmer and Flyer laughed as they jumped off and the three began splashing each other with Mama Swimmer soon joining in on the fun.
For the Swimmers, this seemed to feel like the start of another happy moment of their everyday fun, but for Petrie, it felt like the start of what just might be the happiest moment of a time he knew would be very hard for him. Confinement felt like one of the worst punishments for a Flyer, but if he wanted to stay on everyone's good side, he had to play along and accept whatever would come to him. He still felt it was unjustified that he was punished instead of Cera, but maybe, in good time, the Threehorn would eventually learn her lesson, too, and everyone would be even and be able to forgive each other.
Until then, Petrie would find many fun ways to pass the time and enjoy what he could until he would finally once more have all the freedom he could wish for and enjoy a Flyer's life to the fullest.
Well, that will wrap up my story for the April prompt. This is probably the most morbid story I've written on the Gang of Five forum so far, even though most of my previous stories were also quite dark. After writing that marathon-length "Secret Love" story, I suffered writer's block on multiple occasions while writing this story. Sometimes, it seems that writing a very long story can effect my ability in writing my future stories. You start to run out of ideas and may need a little break for a few months or so. Still, I hope my efforts paid off with this entry.
You may have noticed by now how my stories seem to be recurring around the theme of Petrie being bullied by his siblings on a regular basis, and him and Ducky seeming to be the only characters I've been able to effectively write about, possibly due to them being my favorite characters in the series. That doesn't mean to say that I'm biased or anything. I've never truly taken the time to look into characters other than those two. Maybe that's why I'm beginning to run out of ideas.
Anyways, I think I'll just relax for a while now that I have another story out of the way. June is on the way, and I'm rather excited about it! :D Take care of yourselves and each other, and have a good day, everyone! See ya later!