Chapter 6: Victims of Vocalization
A dumbfounded Mo simply gaped at Lagda as the sharptooth surged up to the surface. He could only stare at the sight, wasting precious time on his end as his stunned mind feebly tried to comprehend the situation.
No-o-o-o! This can't be happening to him… why couldn't he catch a break?
He'd spent so much effort stranding the swimming sharptooth back downstream, sneakily abandoning the predator who had been waiting to ambush him by the falls. Mo had made the presumption that the problem was taken care of after he had cleverly ditched Lagda, and yet it seemed like the sharptooth had returned with a vengeance when he least expected it.
But how exactly did Lagda find him? The swimming sharptooth himself had arrogantly bragged that there was nothing but a waterfall enriching the torrential river… he couldn't have known that there was a way past the falls!
So how had Lagda managed to follow him past the apparent dead end and into the newly-formed body of water? The flooded water path above the rock face would have dried up when the sky water stopped, severing any connection between the river and the accumulated body of sky water. Likewise, it would also cut Mo off from the vicious predator which had relentlessly pursued him all the way up the river.
The only apparent solution as to how Lagda had caught up to him made Mo frown in agitation. Hoo, it was not one which he liked at all.
Lagda must have noticed that the flooded river allowed access past the rocky bluffs and worked out Mo's escape route on his own. In retrospect, Mo had to admit that it was an obvious water path if one was looking for it, and the only reason Lagda hadn't noticed was because he had waited downstream to ambush his target and didn't realize that the trapped Mo actually had a way out.
Stating that he had lay in wait for him through the night further confirmed that hypothesis — Lagda hadn't garnered that something was amiss until dawn broke and he still didn't see Mo trying to swim past him. The sharptooth's thinning patience must have overwritten his sadism at that point and Lagda must have tried to finish Mo off himself, sick of waiting for his prey to surrender upon realizing there was no other option.
But that time, there was another option…
It was pure happenstance, and therefore just sheer bad luck that Lagda had gotten impatient and swam upwards to get him when the awful weather cleared, thereby noticing the path into the valley below before it had drained away.
And now, his conniving enemy was targeting his new landwalker friends as petty revenge for Mo outsmarting him earlier during the chase, the swimming sharptooth going for a low blow just so he could hurt his agile nemesis where it counted.
A determined frown adorning his face, Mo made up his mind, charging alongside the underfin of the swimming sharptooth.
Mo no let you take new mud brothers when Mo just got fri-e-e-e-nds!
What irony. On his way here from the Big Water he was frantically swimming away from Lagda, and now he was instead swimming parallel to the fearsome predator in the exact same direction. If one of his water kin were here watching the scene, they'd call him mad for swimming towards the jaws of a swimming sharptooth.
Mo shook off those thoughts. With a burst of energy, he darted through the water, leaving pockets of air in his wake as he overtook the large Lagda with the help of his smaller stature.
Bursting out of the water, Mo faced towards the blissfully unaware landwalkers and shrieked their way, warning them of the looming danger that was silently skulking towards them. "Run for it, fri-i-iends!" he clapped his fins together while using his water foot to balance his body upright on the surface, "Bad swimmer want eat you!"
To Mo's utter surprise, they didn't flee. Instead of heeding his words, they ended up gawking at him with wide eyes, any and all traces of concern absent from their faces.
Mo grimaced, memories of his futile pleas in front of his former water kin at the fateful meeting with Tenor coming back to hit him hard.
…they hadn't believed his defense there either.
It looked like it was the same thing here even with his new friends. They were not taking him seriously.
Couldn't they see the danger that they were in? Why weren't they listening?!
In desperation, he dived back into the water, further exaggerating his movements to demonstrate his words and repeating his vocalized warning in the hope that they would understand his urgency. "Bad swimmer down the-e-r-re come for you! Run away, run aw-a-y-y-y!"
"Hahaha! Mo sound funny," Petrie remarked as Ducky giggled alongside him, causing Mo to halt his warning in alarm, his body going stiff when he heard the comment.
It slowly dawned on Mo that he had made a terrible mistake. Then, and only then, was the full scope of the situation made clear to him.
Of course they didn't react to his words. His vocalized words.
Littlefoot and the others hadn't the faintest idea of what his words meant. Mo had told them that a sharptooth was coming, but had instinctively vocalized his warning to them through his species' swimmer lingo, a language which the landwalkers were not at all familiar with. It was likely a deep-rooted habit from the old days, but in that split second it had completely slipped Mo's mind that he wasn't shouting out a cautionary warning to the swimmers in his water kin, but rather sounding them out to his new friends, who could not understand the significance of his high-pitched and frenzied vocalizations until it was too late.
By the time Mo realized his terrible error, the waves beneath the swimmer were so choppy that his fight-or-flight response kicked in, screaming at him to duck out of Lagda's way before his failed warning was painfully silenced by the emerging rows of large, sharpened teeth.
This time round, there was no confusion. Unlike his misinterpreted verbal warning, there could be no mistaking a sharptooth in the flesh, and the screams of the frightened landwalkers certainly showed it.
"Run for it!"
Mo certainly didn't need to be told that twice. He leapt out of the way as Lagda lunged at him and the others, the splash from the sharptooth as it used its ferocious jaw to slam down into the spot where he'd just been situated at a moment ago creating a ripple wave which helped propel Mo behind the predator and away from danger.
Now hanging just under the surface and safely out of the surging sharptooth's way, Mo was able to truly take in the situation playing out in front of his eyes.
Oh no… what had he done…?
He'd wasted precious time confusing his friends due to his own folly, and now Lagda had made it to the surface and was free to carry out his threat.
When Mo decided to chance a look and witnessed the frightful sight of Littlefoot and the others getting drenched by the wave that broke upon the shore, his already-large eyes widened further as he realized just how much danger they were in.
They were too close to the banks… they wouldn't be able to escape in time!
With a terrifying jolt, Mo realized that if Lagda beached and launched himself onto land, the sharptooth could use his large body to ensnare the land-dwelling dinosaurs within his jaws. Lagda commanded an impressive body length, and the small landwalkers wouldn't be able to outpace him if he used that size to propel himself forward.
They wouldn't stand a chance. Mo had to keep him away from them… but how?
Guilt tore at him as he wracked his brain for any possible idea to stop the sharptooth from going after the landwalkers, realizing with a sinking heart that it was his botched warning that gave Lagda the headstart that he did.
If only he hadn't been so stupid…
"Don't you see, Mo? Because of your striking colors, you are a prominent target who can easily be seen from afar. In other words, you could attract the swimming sharpteeth to us! You're a danger to us all, and you have been for many Cold Times!"
Orca's piercing words regarding his attention-seeking nature and colors stabbed him hard as his forecast about Mo unintentionally attracting danger towards those around him rang true.
His fault again.
Mo wilted like a shriveled water treestar. No, no, no-o-o-o! It wasn't supposed to end this way!
Wa-i-i-i-t, water treestar?
The allegory to his penitent mood caused Mo to get an idea, the swimmer frantically looking about until he saw a murky green shimmering in the water.
Just what he was looking for! Ensnared around an underwater stump was a vine.
His mind turned as he considered the possibility. It looked firm and strong, so it could hold if needed…
Time seemed to slow as Mo glanced up to check Lagda's position and realized that he was out of options. It was either this or nothing.
Without a moment to waste, Mo bit down on one end of the vine and stealthily caught up towards the sharptooth, loosely coiling the plant around the body of his adversary. He held firm as he felt the line go taut, pulling against his teeth as the plant managed to catch on Lagda's tail.
The looped vine he had carefully entangled around Lagda's torso stopped the surging sharptooth right in his tracks as the surprised Lagda felt unexpected resistance coming from his hind, preventing him from going any further right as he was about to chomp down on his prey.
He resisted the urge to cheer when he heard Lagda's cry of fury, the few bubbles frothing by his impassive face was the only hint to the excitement he felt. He didn't have to ascend up to the surface to know that his plan had worked. Mo had caused Lagda to fall behind at a critical moment, his swift attack falling short right when he was about to lunge forward and ensnare his prey.
With the sneak attack ruined, Mo had earned enough time for what had been the sharptooth's prospective prey to get further inland, keeping well away from his jaws. With no further need to restrain Lagda, Mo let go of the winding plant and hurriedly swam away before the sharptooth could investigate.
Barely a moment later, Mo heard a chomping noise rip through the water, furtively glancing back to see the vine that was previously snaked around Lagda now suspended in tattered pieces behind him.
Laying there in the distance was a very angry Lagda. Despite every fiber of his being screaming at Mo to flee, Mo stayed in the sharptooth's line of sight. He was worried that if he ran and lost sight of Lagda, he might be ambushed by his predator from an angle he could not see. The lack of any apparent attack for the moment also played to Lagda's tendency to gloat at him arrogantly, giving Mo time to observe his surroundings and come up with another escape plan.
Mo held his breath, tensing as he saw the sharptooth slowly paddle his way, the beast locking eyes with his vibrant sky-colored body as he neared.
"You! It was you who let those landwalkers get away!" Lagda was cross, vexed eyes and a vicious snarl betraying his controlled tone of voice. "You must think you're sooooo smart, huh? Managing to outwit the great Lagda like that twice in a row?" There was a slight pause as Lagda put aside his vitriolic tone for a more affable one, speaking to Mo as though the swimmer hadn't just interfered with his food. "But don't you get too cocky, prey. After your little stunt, it's back to you and me again," he vainly stated, flashing his teeth at the uncomfortable Mo.
"As retribution for all of that tasty landwalker food you let escape from me, you're going to be the main course again!" Lagda's eyes gleamed, taking perverse pleasure when he saw Mo squirm at the thought. "That's right… I'm going to devour you from fin to tail, and I'll personally make sure to make it as slow and excruciating as I possibly can so that you will suffer an unbelievably painful death for all the trouble you've given me, you slippery swimmer!"
Mo lost his nerve at the declaration, darting aside right as Lagda suddenly thrust all four limbs down to propel right at him with an open jaw.
"You can't get away from me, swimmer!" Lagda yelled, the large predator slowly changing directions by veering his body towards his smaller escaping prey. "This isn't the Big Water! Swim all you want, but you've nowhere to hide here in this tiny enclosed area! You'll exhaust yourself eventually, and then you'll be mine for the picking!"
Mo ignored the sharptooth, already knowing that everything he had said was true. Lagda really wasn't underestimating him this time. There wasn't a way out of here that he knew of, and Mo knew that he couldn't swim forever without taking a break either.
But fortunately for Mo, all of that turned out to be moot as his active mind had come up with a plan while Lagda was monologuing at him in explicit detail.
Mo hope this idea work! Mo really in trouble if it go wrong…
As Mo was being pursued, he inched near the surface to make it easier for himself just in case he had to perform evasive maneuvers to avoid Lagda. However, being in shallow water meant that his sensitive ears could once again hear what his new landwalker companions were saying despite him being out of sight.
"I knew the grownups were right…" Mo could pick up a whining voice which he quickly identified as belonging to the one whom he'd nicknamed Landwalker Kelp. "…we should have never gone near the new water!" Cera's voice was uneasy yet firm as she berated everyone for their foolishness regarding the situation. "Come on, we're going home!"
To Mo's glee, she was then interjected by good 'ol Littlefoot. "But Cera, we can't just leave Mo," he begged, almost incessantly. "He's my mud brother!"
Mo cheerfully nodded at that, making a flip into the air in an attempt to reassure his new friends that he was still okay for now.
The midair jump was also the first good look that he had of the five landwalkers after Lagda's attack. Mo was relieved to see that they were all safe and sound, gathered together at a point that was considerably further inland after being ambushed by the shore.
"Some 'brother'!" he heard her sneer as he splashed back down beneath the surface. "He thinks this whole thing was funny!"
Mo frowned at Cera's interpretation of the event. No-o-o-t true, he wanted to insist, but instead kept himself silent, biding his time from his underwater vantage point to eavesdrop on more of their back-and-forth.
"No!" Littlefoot protested against Cera's callous remarks, earning an appreciative smile from Mo. "Mo's just happy to see us. He tried to warn us!"
Mo froze at his mud brother's rebuttal, his facial expression morphing to one of horror.
That botched warning about the approaching sharptooth attack in his native tongue…
And sure enough, Cera used that opening to strike back. "We don't know that for sure," she barked at Littlefoot, speaking the words that were similarly haunting Mo's mind. "We don't know anything about him. Other than he's so much fun."
Mo grit his teeth. Even without his sensitive hearing he could clearly detect the sarcasm that was laced in the last three words.
"There you are, you cowardly pest!"
A gasp escaped Mo as he realized that he had dwelled on the conversation for far too long. Right as Lagda surged forward, he used the element of surprise to make four consecutive short hops out of the water, nimbly dodging the oncoming attack.
The final thing Mo could make out from the landwalkers as he hurriedly made his getaway was a passing remark from Littlefoot. "But we can't just leave him in the new water with that monster! We've got to help him!"
Mo grinned at Littlefoot's concern as he sped away from the shore. Mo already got that part down, no you worry!
Deciding he had nothing to lose and hoping that Lagda had dropped his guard enough after Mo had led him around in circles, he made his way over to the landmark which he'd seen earlier by the stump with the vine.
A half-submerged water cavern. Exactly what he had been looking for.
Back when he was a part of the water kin, Mo had been warned that recklessly venturing into an underwater cave was tantamount to throwing your life away since a shrewd predator could easily block the only way out, trapping any foolish swimmers within. Mo had never listened, of course, and was rewarded for his insolent bravery with a visual treat for his eyes, as such locales often contained many unusual and pretty things within them.
While coral formations were favored by his species for allowing them to blend into the structure with their bodies, the curious Mo sometimes hid away in the comparatively more boring and dangerous cave instead. It was then that he would discover that they were also beautiful in their own way, often littered with shiny objects known as sky-colored stones that were as colorful as the outside coral.
However, in his pursuit of admiring the glistening sky-colored stones that often lay within such caves, Mo had discovered an intriguing property of the location which he was now going to capitalize upon.
"You and your acrobatics! You're definitely the most amusing and simultaneously the most annoying swimmer that I've ever come across! Try all you want, you git! But sooner or later you'll be too exhausted to dodge, and then I'll skewer your whole body in half!"
Mo gulped as he heard the threat. Carefree as he was, even he knew that making a mistake here would be fatal for him. Distracting Lagda by using himself as bait was already a risky play, and now he was actively going to further goad Lagda by backing himself into a metaphorical dead end.
One wrong move, however, and that metaphorical dead end could very well be an actual physical dead end, spelling disaster and quite possibly the end for him.
Taking in a deep breath, Mo committed to his plan and charged into the cave, waiting for Lagda to follow him.
"Are you mad, swimmer?" Lagda raised a brow when he saw Mo take his position within the waterlogged rocky cavern. "Either you've given up or don't know that an underwater cave like that is a clear dead end." His eyes twinkled with a mix of hunger and madness as Lagda eyed his target, who had the courtesy to look shocked when he realized that he was cornered for good. "Regardless, you're finished! There's no escape for you this time!"
Without wasting a beat, Lagda surged forward, plowing forward into the cave and opening his mouth to scoop Mo up into his waiting jaws.
Right as Lagda was inside the cave and almost upon his prey, Mo dropped his shocked expression, cheekily grinning at the racing Lagda.
"Oh, Mo already know cave dead end! Hah-heh!"
With a whoop of excitement, Mo swam right for the sharptooth's mouth. Never did Lagda anticipate for Mo to actually swim directly forward in the direction of his teeth, and thus Mo's unorthodox action caused the astonished Lagda to hesitate for just a moment.
That brief moment of hesitation was all the time that a crafty Mo needed to use the momentum and speed that he had built up in his short sprint to launch himself above the incoming jaws.
"You bigger and meaner than Mo, but Mo smart-e-e-r!"
In a repeat of when he had caught the crest of the upstream wave on the apex of his jump during his perilous journey the previous day, the airborne Mo landed on top of a startled Lagda's head, using his water foot to gain a foothold which he then used as leverage to propel himself past the rest of Lagda's body and back out into the open.
"How did you… ahhhhh!"
Moving way too fast now to stop on a dime or even change his course, Lagda unceremoniously proceeded to slam right into the far side of the cave, the vibrations made by the combined velocity and size of his body hitting against the rock wall shaking the entire cavern.
Lagda squinted his eyes shut in pain, the sharptooth slowly shifting his wounded body over to face the entrance, where he saw a triumphant and unscathed Mo observing his plight from the outside.
In a truly ironic fashion, Mo had somehow managed to make his way around Lagda, and performing that outmaneuver was something that he'd threatened the small swimmer to do successfully by the falls yesterday in order for Mo to survive his onslaught when he'd cornered him then.
Evidently, Mo had taken that challenge to heart.
"Y-yo… you! Why, you little—"
The rest of his words were drowned out by the entrance of the cavern collapsing into itself.
"Hee-ha-hee! Serve you right, bad swimmer! Mo hope you stay stuck there for long, lon-n-g-g-g time!"
It had worked like a charm. Mo had learned that the ceiling of such caves was inherently unstable and prone to collapse after one unfortunate misadventure, and deftly made use of that fact to lure Lagda into a trap. The swimming sharptooth was so full of himself that he hadn't even stopped to consider that he was being duped, and from the injuries Mo saw him sustain from slamming into a rock wall head-first, he could conclude that Lagda hadn't managed to brace himself for impact either.
Mo did find it unusual that the tremors weren't stopping, but decided to dismiss it. Lagda must have really big-g-g-g head, he concluded while admiring his handiwork.
A cavalcade of dislodged rocks completely blocked what used to be the entrance to the cavern. Lagda definitely wouldn't be causing him any problems now.
With that problem finally resolved, it was time for him to get serious and focus on the task at hand. Mo had let the fantasy of this obtuse Big Land color his perception—pun intended, hee-hah—and distract him ever since his initial arrival, but the rush of a deadly chase brought things back into perspective.
Mo dove down as the vibrations got worse, trying to lay low as he contemplated things. He had to now decide what to do considering that he'd managed to successfully complete the first part of Tenor's challenge.
It all led back to the same indeterminable question — was it worth returning back to the water kin? He already knew that they weren't likely to accept him for who he was, regardless of whether Tenor meant to keep his word. While there was the off chance that Tenor had actually made preparations in case Mo did return in one piece, the chances of him spewing out hypocritical drivel just to placate and calm Mo down had a substantially higher probability.
But even if Tenor was prepared for him to return, would a second outcry from the rest of the water kin when he tried to re-induct Mo cause the young leader to renege on his deal?
He new Old One, Mo had to remind himself. Better Tenor than Mo-o-o…
An argument trying to justify that Mo's swimming ability could make up for his vibrant coloration already seemed shaky compared to all the other irrefutable counterpoints which had been made against him, and Mo had only Tenor's word that he would be able to sway the others into seeing their way.
"If you have enough perseverance to survive a trip of such magnitude, someone of my rank can fervently fight in your favor. Who can argue with hard facts when you have proven yourself a most capable swimmer, able to survive anything that the Big Water can throw at you in spite of your physical deficiency?"
Mo no know about that, he sighed. Come to think of it, Tenor was likely underestimating the grudge and fear that the others had for him. Hearing Cera's agitated opinion regarding his behavior earlier only sealed the deal.
He knew that his fellow water kin had already made up their minds.
Despite his heart yelling at him otherwise, Mo couldn't trust his fellow swimmers. Orca and Kelp were the only two who had the decency to express that disgust outwardly. The rest only showed their true feelings with subtle tells that weren't immediately obvious until everyone was called to make a stand.
The water kin, even Tenor… they'd all lied to him. They all lie to Mo-o-o-o!
What hurt Mo the most about it was that he couldn't even blame his fellow water kin for acting this way. Mo had always treasured his eccentric uniqueness until it was savagely used as points against him in the water kin meeting. With his eyes opened after that and taking a more objective view of the way he behaved around others, Mo was very well aware that he might be strange enough to some of them that they would actively want to avoid him.
But that didn't even bother him almost as much as the other reason he had been exiled from his kind and left all by his lonesome.
"You're a danger to us all, and you have been for many Cold Times!"
That was right… directly or indirectly, his own blunders would be his undoing. And when they saw him as someone who would only bring them nothing but trouble, he'd be abandoned, just like he always had before.
Anyone he got close to inevitably got hurt, and then they'd leave him out of fear.
Mo had deliberately kept quiet when recounting about certain details regarding his journey to Big Land because he didn't want his new friends to leave him again, but with a sense of dread he realized that his egregious error in failing to warn them about Lagda's approach earlier ended up souring their perception of him regardless.
Oh-h-h-h, speaking of his new friends…
The swimmer jerked his head towards Littlefoot's voice, ringing out from the shore in the distance. "Mo, are you out there?" he repeated again after a short while.
That Mo cue-e-e!
Bursting out into the open, he let out an eager trill. "O-o-o-o-oh! Me here, Yittlefoot!"
Relief washed across Littlefoot's face when he saw that his mud brother was safe and sound. At least unlike his former water kin, Littlefoot seemed genuine. "Oh, I was hoping you'd be okay…" his head drooped, "That earthshake was really bad!"
Mo's eyes bulged at the new knowledge. An earthshake? Now that explained the choppy water and persistent tremors!
It also gave him a convenient excuse since he didn't want to take credit for trapping Lagda himself in case it became apparent that the sharptooth had followed him here in the first place. "No-o-o-o! Earthshake good." Mo shook his head at Littlefoot, before facing the ruined cavern where Lagda lay. "It trap bad swimmer! He no leave, ever never!"
An irate Lagda was able to hear Mo's ecstatic declaration from within his prison and fired a rumbling growl at him.
"Just you wait…"
Mo simply grinned in response, even though he knew the swimming sharptooth couldn't possibly see it.
"Wait a minute," Littlefoot suddenly said, a hint of excitement creeping into his voice as he took in the collapsed cavern. "If he's trapped in that cave, then he can't get us. And if he can't get us, it'd be safe for us to help you get home!" he rationalized.
"Ho-o-o-me…?" Mo drawled the word, conjuring images in his mind of his former home.
"Yeah, back to the Big Water! You do want to go there, don't you?"
Did he, though? There didn't seem to be a point when he was rationalizing about it earlier.
And yet, as tempting as it was, Mo knew he couldn't stay here forever. Lagda was correct when he'd stated earlier that the new water which Mo was currently dwelling in was pretty small. Mo did not enjoy being confined to the relatively small body of water, especially since he liked to explore his surroundings wherever he went and so much of it was off-limits to him because he wasn't a landwalker. Seriously, he would literally finish exploring every last drop of water that he was swimming in now by the end of the day.
All of that wasn't even mentioning that the accumulated water he'd taken refuge in was merely temporary, with the flooding attributed to the heavy sky water during the Days of Rising Water. With changing weather conditions, the water he was dwelling in would eventually dry up, and he'd have no choice but to migrate.
Plus, if Mo were to be truthful, as much as he liked the unusual sights and vegetation of the Big Land, he knew it could never quite compare to the vast Big Water where he had originated from.
He was a Big Water swimmer, and he was mighty proud of it!
But while he was keen on leaving the premises, Mo also did not want to sacrifice the bond he'd made with Littlefoot. It was the first genuine friendship he'd made.
Mo found himself reluctant to go back to the Big Water if it meant that he was returning without Littlefoot. Why, wishing for company was the reason he had taken Tenor's offer to begin with, just for a futile grasp at the prospect of being around others once more.
But at the same time, he didn't want to disappoint Littlefoot by declining…
As he rolled Littlefoot's offer on his tongue, the swimmer suddenly noticed an out.
"It'd be safe for us to help you get home!"
His mud brother Littlefoot was insinuating that all of them would accompany him back down to Big Water!
With that, his decision was easy. Though it was certainly uncouth to take advantage of an impulsive proposition made on the spot, as that was definitely something more along the lines of what Orca and Kelp would do, but when faced with the alternative of remaining by himself for the rest of his life…
"Ah-h-h-h… uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh!" Mo nodded as he trilled in delight, beaming to show his approval.
"Then stay right there!" Littlefoot ordered, spinning on his heel and running back up the hill.
Mo watched Littlefoot leave, eagerly running off to fetch the rest. "Ho-o-o-me…" he murmured nostalgically.
If all else failed, Mo could at least fall back on his personal life philosophy. When you have more friends by your side, you will have more fu-u-u-un!
Yes, this was his chance, his lucky break. It was at least a day's journey, and thanks to Littlefoot's word, Mo would be able to take all of them over to the Big Water with him.
With any luck, he would be able to get them to remain his friends along the way.
Good plan, go-o-o-d plan!
Yes, Mo was going to make sure that his new mud brothers stayed by his side, whatever the cost.
Hi, I'm back! This chapter actually turned out a lot longer than I'd expected, and part of the reason was because I wanted to bring light to an unusual mistake made by Mo in the movie — Mo accidentally uses his species' language to articulate a warning regarding the oncoming sharptooth to Littlefoot and the gang. Aside from the brief discussion between Cera and Littlefoot on whether Mo was having fun or actually trying to warn them, this error is never brought up again.
While the blunder can probably be chalked up to a genuine error so as to fuel Cera's adamance in what she perceives as Mo's carelessness later in the film (if Mo had properly warned them, she would have more reason to trust him), the fact that Mo made the error of making the warning using articulated cries instead of the landwalker language that he'd just been using prior purely for the sake of plot bothers me more than it should. So for this chapter, I decided to expand greatly on how that mistake affects Mo's psyche and emotions instead of it being just shrugged aside.
zero fullbuster: Again, thank you for your continued interest in this story! I suppose you like Mo as a character?
Keijo6: I do agree that this is definitely an unusual take on Mo, but I wanted him to be a bit more three-dimensional of a character. I will admit that it is definitely tricky to balance both his canon carefree personality with shades of an introspective and cunning swimmer… because, yeah, it's Mo.
Anagnos: Yeah, this chapter isn't just focused on the sharptooth attack, but rather the unseen aftermath of it too. I do find it interesting that you noted that Mo made correlations between himself and Petrie, as back when this was a oneshot that similarity between them would've had far more plot significance.
Rhombus: You're right, Mo is definitely having to build trust in both himself and his new prospective friends, and that is something that will continue to persist as he continues to struggle with his internal thoughts. I did make Lagda a bit more personal of a foe towards Mo in this fic, but to be fair Mo got the jump on the swimming sharptooth a lot in the movie too. And a lot of that is offscreen, for shame.
Next chapter marks the start of the journey back to the Big Water! Funnily enough, just like the movie, the river journey doesn't happen until the literal halfway point. :)