I'll be honest, I was actually planning on skipping this prompt, but you know me by now, things never quite go as planned. The author's note at the end goes into detail on why this story exists, but till then, the theme for Gang of Five Fanfic Prompt of April 2020 is: Misadventure.
"Chomper, the friendly sharptooth! Heh, how could I forget? Heheheheh… y-you're still friendly, right?"
— Guido, The Hermit of Black Rock
Panicky Plumed Predicament
You ever just wake up in the morning and felt a sinking feeling in your gut that told you that nothing was going to go as you'd planned for the day ahead?
…to be honest, I probably should have listened to my gut on this one.
Okay, I'll admit that I had nonchalantly waved it off as I awoke, assuming that the reason I felt funny inside was because I munched on too many ground crawlers before I went to sleep last night. But can one really blame me for shrugging it off? I was tired! The Bright Circle had barely made it over the Great Wall when I found myself being jolted from a pleasant sleep story, for crying out loud! And as if to punctuate that point, I let out a loud yawn and stretched my wings up towards the slowly lightening dawn sky.
It was then that I noticed a brown blur in the distance out of the corner of my peripheral vision, which prompted a cloudy-minded me to stumble out of my sleeping area and investigate. But as it turned out, I didn't have to go through the trouble of doing that at all. In the midst of rubbing my eyes in an attempt to clear my hazy vision so that I could make out the fussy object, I heard someone calling my name.
Despite my grogginess, my head perked up at the distinctive boyish voice that was calling me. Even though my eyesight was now clear and I could make out the speaker, I didn't actually require any visual cues to know who it was.
There was only one dinosaur that voice could have belonged to, and that was my totally awesome flyer friend, Petrie!
Okay, I'll admit that maybe I overreacted there, but allow me to preface this by saying that Petrie was a very good buddy of mine. In fact, I could probably add in like maybe twenty more 'very's onto the previous sentence just to highlight how amazing of a friend he is to me, but that'll be too much of a hassle to say, so I'll settle with just one.
Nevertheless, Petrie and I are both creatures of the air by trade… or at least, we try. Apparently after a long and tedious process of trial and error my peers worked out that amnesiac 'ol me was actually supposed to be a glider… albeit with one teeny-weeny minor caveat — namely that I wasn't exactly what you would call skilled at gliding. Heck, I wasn't even on a level that you could call 'good' with that repertoire.
Gotta say that learning that wasn't exactly very motivating to me, but hey, one's gotta deal with what life hands ya. And likewise, Petrie happened to be a flyer who was merely average at flying, and wasn't really much good at fitting in as well. Was it any coincidence that we clicked from the very start?
Waving a feathered wing at Petrie as he approached, I made sure to greet my flyer friend warmly. "Hey there! Nice seeing you visit me so early in the day, Petrie. So, uh, what brings you here?" I prodded for a response.
Petrie didn't waste any time, launching into an explanation relatively quickly. "Ahhh… well, me need biiggggg favor from you! It about Cera!"
I cocked my head. Petrie accentuated the word 'big', and he usually did that only when he was flustered or worried about something, and it seemed to be the former this time. "Cera?" I mused, placing my hand to my chin before raising a digit into the air as it clicked for me, "Ohhhh…" I drawled in realization, "…is that the bad-tempered threehorn who's usually with you?"
Petrie flinched at my blunt words, my good friend apparently a bit more cautious with what he chose to say out loud. Cautiously peering his eyes around as though he was afraid of a possible comeuppance, he then exhaled a hasty and relieved breath when nothing happened. "Be careful what you say, Guido! You no know who listening!" Petrie proceeded to reprimand me with a harsh whisper in a manner that kinda reminded me of myself, "If you hurt her brag-bone, Cera definitely gonna pummel you!"
"Geez, I'm sorry!" I hurriedly beat out an apology to cut Petrie off, before leaning my body forward and whispering into his ear. "So, uh, did I happen to be right with what I just said, by any chance?"
Petrie snorted. "Yeah. That definitely Cera, alright," he confirmed.
"Um, so what's this favor about, then?" I apprehensively twiddled my fingers together, "I didn't insult her or her father without knowing, did I? Ack… wait, did I?" Alas, I started to second-guess myself the more I dwelled about the subject. "Oh, no… d-did you come here to ask me to apologize to her? Did you, Petrie?"
"Nah," Petrie reassured, walking behind me to place a comforting wing on my shoulder. "No be worried, Guido," he said as I turned to look at the flyer. "It not that at all. Me here because me need your help with Tricia!"
The name sounded familiar, tickling at the edge of my mind as I tapped my beak in contemplation. "Tricia… oh hey, I remember her! She was the young threehorn who I managed to rescue from going over the Thundering Falls during the Day of the Flyers, right?"
Even before Petrie nodded his head in concurrence I already knew that I was right, though I admit it was nice to have that reassurance. But still, that incident in question was what had spurred me to take flight for the first time. Once the link between the threehorn and my actions was established, there was no way I could mistake Tricia since the memory of what'd happened that day was seared into my head.
But then the second part of Petrie's request hit me, causing my beak to drop right open. "Wait… you need my help?" I repeated, scratching my head in befuddlement. "Me? Like, actually me?"
Petrie must have seen me pointing a digit of my wing to myself, because he nodded with a pensive expression. "That right. Cera dad ask her babysit Tricia, but we actually want Cera play with us today, so…"
That apprehensive tone, the hesitation in his body language. Even before he concluded, I immediately knew which way the wind was blowing. Before Petrie could so much as vocalize the suggestion, I made sure to decline him. "Uh-uh," I stated, continuing to wag my finger. "I don't know about this."
"Oh, come on Petrie, you know I'm not good at stuff like this," I continued to dissuade, shaking my head. "Maybe you should go and ask someone else who's more suited for the role, heh heh… I think they'll do a much better job than me!"
Really, if I didn't have a choice I wouldn't mind, but did I have to be his first choice? Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Petrie's trust in my abilities, but in my humble opinion there were plenty of others he could find who were arguably more suitable for the task at hand than quirky 'ol me.
"Come on," Petrie coaxed, "me begging you, Guido! Cera no can play with Petrie and friends if she busy taking care of Tricia!"
"But—" I tried to formulate a response, only for Petrie to interject.
"Oh, please Guido! You only one who me can count on! All me siblings refuse when Petrie ask them!" He clasped his wings together, pleading as he pressed his point. "Me just want have fun, and every other friend of mine free today except Cera! If you help babysit Tricia in her place, she can play together with us! Please please please…"
After hearing enough 'please's that could put that swimmer friend of Petrie's tendency to repeat words to shame, I finally relented. "Oh, alright!" I huffed out reluctantly, slouching in defeat. "I'll do it!"
What can I say? I'm a sucker when it comes to stuff like this, and I just couldn't say no to a face like Petrie's.
"Yay!" Petrie's eyes lit up, jumping for joy before sprinting forward and embracing me in a thankful hug.
"Wh-whoa…" I managed to get out, returning the gesture by wrapping my wings around him.
Eventually Petrie pulled away, and when I let go of my friend I could see a satisfied grin gracing his beak. "Thanks, Guido!" he beamed. "You the best!"
"Heh heh… no problem." I scratched the back of my neck before widening my eyes when I saw Petrie spreading his wings, making preparations to take off to the skies. "Wait, hold up!" I called out to him. "You didn't give me any details, Petrie! What am I supposed to do?!"
"Go look for Cera dad near threehorn sleeping area!" Petrie shouted, already airborne. "You tell him that you take over Cera!"
My outstretched wing was quickly raised in protest. "Wait… wha—"
"Good luck, Guido! Me counting on you! You can do it!"
It was only when Petrie left the premises that the full ramifications of what I'd just agreed to started sinking in. Just like that, I had found myself coerced into taking over the threehorns' charge on Cera's behalf.
My shoulders sagged with the weight of responsibility that had been thrust upon me. Oh, who was I kidding? I knew absolutely nothing about babysitting! What was I thinking? There was no way that this was going to go well. I should have just turned over and gone back to sleep so that I wouldn't have ended up shouldering this new responsibility!
As a myriad of negative possibilities and all sorts of worst-case scenarios swamped my mind, one overarching thought loomed above all else.
I was so going to mess this up!
"So you're supposed to be Cera's replacement?"
I swallowed, my gulp probably audible to all three threehorns in the vicinity. Just his tone of voice alone made the adult male threehorn's intentions as clear as day. "Oh, that's right…" I chuckled in response, raising a shaky wing as a peace greeting. "Um, hi…?"
Mr. Threehorn raised a judging eyebrow, causing me to shrink back in fear. He must have taken great pleasure in intimidating me, because he carried on staring me down as he continued his rant. "Why are you still here, glider? You expect me to simply relinquish Cera's duties to you just because she went and got herself a replacement behind my back?"
Normally I'm averse to getting myself into a sticky situation and would be content to stay by the sidelines, but by this point I'd already dug myself into a hole, so with nothing left to lose I chose to answer his rhetorical question with a perfectly straight face. "Oh, yes, sir." My hind leg was shifting about as I spoke, a nervous tic of mine. "At least, that's kinda what I had been told…"
Hey, at least I was being honest about it!
Unfortunately, Mr. Threehorn didn't quite see it that way, making me almost wish that I'd prudently clamped my beak shut instead. I found myself cowering as he fired off a furious glare and stormed my way. "Why, you smart little aleck…"
"Topsy, lay off the fella. You're scaring the poor little guy." The soothing voice of Mrs. Threehorn was my saving grace. I broke eye contact with the male and felt at ease when his mate marched forward and came to my defense. "It's not his fault in my eyes, he wasn't told that you never agreed to Cera's arrangement," she carried on with a warm smile, "And you know, maybe we should give Cera some leeway. Aside from disappearing and handing her duties off without informing us today, she's been rather well-behaved recently."
"Oh, yes!" I hastily agreed, frantically nodding my head alongside her before appending a meek addendum, "Maybe do that…"
Mr. Threehorn gruffed, the sound causing me to briefly garner the courage to peek at his face. I almost wish I didn't when I saw exactly how agitated he was. "You keep your wing out of this," he deadpanned, though this time his remark was made more out of frustration than anger.
"You know what?" I smacked both my wings together with a resounding clap. "I do think that that's an excellent idea!" I made sure to stress, taking the opportunity to concede and comply as I slowly backed away. "Yes, that's a most wonderful suggestion, so uh, I think I'll just wait over here by this tree until you settle things with Mrs. Threehorn, m'kay?"
"Just go already!"
"A-aye! G-Gotcha, loud and clear! You don't need to tell me twice, no siree!"
I probably said that in a more panicked voice than I should've, considering that for all intents and purposes I'd just been let off the hook.
Now I have to say that even though we'd made amends in the past, I wasn't exactly on close terms with that grouchy-face Mr. Threehorn, especially now when his daughter was nowhere to be seen and I had to be the bearer of bad news. But at the very least his mate had my tail, if the supportive smile she flashed me as I darted off to hide behind a tree with my tail between my legs was any indicator to go by.
Tree was sturdy. Tree couldn't talk to me in a scathing voice. Tree didn't look like it wanted to murder me. Tree was a comforting bastion of support, the one singular constant I could rely upon on this kooky day.
And thus it was behind tree where I seeked shelter, listening to bits and pieces of a small argument between the threehorns which basically involved them disputing over whether I was a suitable replacement for Cera.
Eventually I realized that I got the gig when Mrs. Threehorn brought up my act of heroism that had saved Tricia in the first place. I hadn't thought to use the Day of the Flyers as a selling point, but seeing Mr. Threehorn shut up afterwards felt pretty good.
It was then that I felt something pressing against my wing. On instinct I drew back, only to see a bubbling pink threehorn looking at me perplexedly, wondering why the dinosaur who she was nuzzling was so jumpy that it was running away from her show of affection.
Poor girl. Judging from her wide eyes, her little mind looked blown by the concept. I really felt for her… being threehorns, her parents and step-sister were probably not this jittery around her. Oops…
"Dah…" she gurgled as she eyed me.
"Besides, it seems like Tricia likes him, Topsy." Cera's mom teased her mate with a knowing smirk, "Looks like she remembers Guido from before."
Seeing that he was outnumbered was probably what finally let the old threehorn give me his blessing. "Gah, okay. You win, Tria. I'll let him take over Cera just this once. But this better not become a habit, you got that?" he made sure to warn me with a firm look as he strutted off.
"Don't worry, Mr. and Mrs. Threehorn! I won't disappoint you! Your baby is safe with me, I promise!" I called out to the two adults as they disappeared into the distance.
I gotta admit, it was kinda flattering that they put so much trust onto me and my abilities. Hey, y'know, maybe I got this!
Then Tricia let out a laugh, and the gravitas of my situation hit me like the first rays of the Bright Circle shining directly into my eye.
Oh who am I kidding, I don't have this under control at all! I don't know how to take care of a hatchling… I don't even have a hatchling of my own! I mean, before I can even consider getting experience in that I'd need to find another glider, and I haven't so much as thought about settling—stop it, Guido… focus, you have to focus!
Realizing that I was hyperventilating, I inhaled a deep breath to calm myself. I had to repeat inwardly to myself that I was massively overreacting. My only task was to take care of Tricia while her parents were gone.
No biggie. If Cera could do it, I could too! I mean, how hard could taking care of obedient little Tricia possibly be?
"So Tricia, what do you want to do today?" I asked, kneeling down on one knee to make better eye contact with her as she was around my size. "As long as it's within reason, your new babysitter Guido will gladly assist you!"
Tricia tilted her frill slightly upwards, appearing to be deep in thought. She remained silent for a while though while she was pondering, and I had to say, the suspense was killing me.
Her response, however, took me completely by surprise. It wasn't a request, but rather a single word.
Hold on, did she just…
"It's not Greeny, it's Guido!"
Alright, I admit, that came out harsher than I'd intended. But I couldn't help it… my name was the only thing which carried over from a past which I couldn't recall. Admittedly annoyed by the butchering—I mean mispronunciation—of my name, I proceeded to correct Tricia, even going to the trouble of slowly enunciating every syllable of my name in hopes that she would emulate me.
"Gui-do," I emphasized, gently patting my chest with a wing, "Say it with me, now. Gui… do."
The little pink threehorn puffed her cheeks out as she followed my lead, rolling her tongue about in her mouth before miming me. "Gwe… wo?"
Well… close enough.
Still, I could feel the corners of my mouth curl upwards in delight at her accomplishment. To Tricia's credit, I have to admit that her articulation was a decent attempt for a hatchling. Maybe if I had some memory of how I acted when I was a hatchling myself I would have a better benchmark to compare to, but alas, I literally remember zilch about my life before the Great Valley.
Nevertheless, a thumbs-up was raised in response to her valiant attempt. "Great job, Tricia!" I congratulated her. "Atta girl!"
Tricia wallowed in the praise, soaking it up as she held her head up high with a wide smile on her face. Darn, I could almost see shades of Cera in her already. Have to say that specific trait runs in the family.
With a sudden battle cry, Tricia abruptly darted forward with a playful grin. Before I could react or so much as move my foot to dodge the pink blur rapidly headed my way, she leapt into the air and pounced right at my chest.
"Ow!" I fell onto my back as Tricia landed a direct hit with her horn, the hatchling cheekily standing on top of my prone body as she giggled. "Tr-Tricia!" I yelped, wincing in pain as she continued to step on my bruised chest. "That hurts! Yowch! G-Get off me, please!"
The hurt in my voice must have gotten through to Tricia because she instantly put a stop to her antics and hopped off my body. Letting out a groan, I shakily got to my feet, rubbing the fresh bruise that I'd received from Tricia's playful tackle.
Was this what it was like to have kids? Owie… at least I'll have a long way to go before even considering that… ow, my back!
Glowering as I brushed the dirt off my wings, I came to a hard decision. Alright, no more Mr. Nice Guido!
"That wasn't nice, Tricia," I told her with a disappointed voice. I will admit that my body wasn't the only thing bruised by Tricia… my pride was, too. Getting trampled on by a hatchling was not how I'd anticipated my day going.
"Sowwy…" Tricia caught on to my emotions rather quickly. "I dast wanted zu thawk you."
Wait… thank me? "O-Oh… um, by any chance… were you trying to express your gratitude just now?" I asked, face drooping when she nodded in the affirmative.
It didn't take long for me to feel really bad for lashing out at her after that. Of course… Tricia was a threehorn. Being abrasive as a means of showing affection… I should have seen it coming! Why didn't I think of it? Gah, I'm so dumb!
"Tricia, I'm really, truly sorry. I didn't know," I apologized, opening my wings wide to let her get a free shot at me in return. It was only the right thing to do. "Here, I'll let you hit me again, okay?" I offered.
Her eyes sparkled, and she immediately charged at me. I had to fight against my fight-or-flight instinct yelling at me to get out of the way and squeezed my eyes shut to brace for impact, only for me to squint them slightly open when I felt a small jab against the side of my foot, realizing that Tricia had fortunately toned down the strength of her lunge right before hitting me.
"Ahha!" Tricia let out a snicker, and it was only then—when I saw her expression—that I realized that the reduced impact wasn't coincidental at all. She'd charged forward at full speed only to slow down at the last moment purely to mess with me — likely her idea of revenge for me rounding onto her earlier, I wager.
Even though it was a jab—literally, too!—at my expense, I couldn't help but admit that it was in fact pretty funny. That was quite intelligent of her, not going to lie. She totally got me! Besides, the prideful smile Tricia had on her face was contagious, and I wound up chuckling at her prank as well.
Heh heh, and here I was thinking that babysitting would be an arduous task! Guess I made a whole big deal out of nothing. It was actually really enjoyable!
But alas, all good things had to come to an end, and this was no exception.
A pair of gleaming red eyes hidden within the foliage of a nearby treestar bush was what ended up setting me off. I serendipitously happened to notice them, and my mind immediately sprang into action.
Given that I'd just had an uptick with my relationship with the infant Tricia, I tried to quash my anxiety, telling myself that it was probably no big deal.
Fate then proceeded to laugh at me when said hidden observer emerged from the bushes, causing my eyes to nearly bulge out of their sockets when I made out the purple figure's species.
N-no way… a sharptooth… here in the v-valley? Oh, why now? Why here? Why me!?
I'd once found myself in the jaws of a sharptooth before, and it was certainly not an especially pleasant experience for me to recall. To this very day I could still remember my plumed coat of teal feathers being matted with icky slimy spit. It is one of the worst feelings in the whole Mysterious Beyond, and something which I have no wish to ever experience again for the rest of my natural life if I could help it. Yuck!
The adrenaline I'd felt then was once again pumping through me as I found myself once again in the line of danger. Eep! My poor heart! It's fluttering like an airborne flyer, beating so hard that it felt as though it could possibly give out at any time.
While the sharptooth in question wasn't a grown adult, it was still physically imposing and quickly headed my way.
E-eek! I don't want to be eaten!
Hold up, what was I doing!? I'm a glider, I could easily get out of this if I just stopped to think rationally. Extending both my wings out to their full wingspan, I began flapping them as hard as I possibly could.
It was times like this where being a glider and not a flyer like Petrie was a burden, as takeoffs were always rough for me. Not to mention that the physical blow which I'd sustained from Tricia earlier ended up taking its toll here, as despite the massive effort I was exerting I could not garner the momentum to lift my body off the ground beyond a certain height.
Thankfully a low-hanging tree branch was my savior, and through sheer determination I managed to perch on it, wiping my brow in relief now that I was out of harm's way.
…until I heard a familiar giggle emanating from below.
Oh no… Tricia!
Peering down with a sickening sense of dread, I felt sick to my stomach when I saw that the young threehorn was still frolicking around in the grassy fields below, blissfully oblivious to the mortal danger she was in.
Not on my watch!
Without thinking twice, I immediately jumped down from my perch, spreading my wings open as I fell so that I could go into a glide and rescue Tricia. But unfortunately, the branch was so low that with a dawning realization of horror I realized I was free falling instead of soaring since my spreadeagled wings couldn't catch the wind or an updraft in time.
I opened my mouth to yell before a bolt of searing pain coursed through my body as it connected with the ground.
That… was not my wisest moment. Everything hurt, ow…
Slamming into the ground at least had a silver lining though, as Tricia ended up running to my side. At least I could protect her, which had been my intention when I descended back down in the first place. And on the bright side, I landed belly-first, which helped cushion some of the blow.
Propping myself on one knee and holding on to Tricia's body as a foothold, I managed to stand upright, only for an involuntary gasp to escape me when I saw the sharptooth heading in my direction.
I found myself rooted to the ground as the predator drew closer. The sharptooth was now towering over me, and despite my brain screaming at me to run, every fervent attempt to move my muscles were futile — my body was frozen in terror. I couldn't even shout for help.
All I could do was squeeze my eyes tightly shut as I gripped Tricia, awaiting the end.
A youthful voice cut in from out of nowhere, causing me to jolt my eyes open in fresh hopes that someone else had miraculously come to our rescue. But as my eyes darted around, my heart sank. There was no one in sight.
It made no sense, though. I know that wasn't Tricia's voice, so who—
"Hiya!" The sharptooth opened his jaw, and to my shock it turned out that he was the source of the youthful voice I'd just heard. "I've never seen you in the valley before!"
Slack-jawed, I eventually managed to let go of Tricia and point a trembling wing at him. "Y-You can talk?"
He nodded his head. "Sure can! I'm Chomper!" he greeted, placing his small arms by his sides. "Nice to meet you!"
I wanted to say something—anything—in response, but my mind was a complete haze. I mean, can one really blame me? I was not prepared for any of this!
Thankfully, I was saved from coming up with a reply by another newcomer.
"It's no fun if you are out in the open when I am 'it', Chomper." A dinosaur about twice my size sprinted over from the distance, her body adorned a shade of pink that was very close to Tricia's. "You should be keeping yourself hidden when you're supposed to be hiding."
"Sorry, Ruby." Chomper appeared sheepish as he was being reprimanded, which I will wholeheartedly admit was a look that I never thought I'd ever see plastered on a sharptooth's face. "I came out of my hiding spot because of him," he said, gesturing towards me as his face took on a contemplative expression. "He kinda looks a little like you, Ruby. He's got those weird things sticking out of his body, just like you do. Maybe he's a tiny fast runner!"
It looked to me as if Ruby didn't quite buy that hypothesis either. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Chomper. He sure doesn't look like a fast runner to me…"
"Um, that's because I'm not whatever a fast runner is. I'm a glider," I offered, before recoiling as I snapped back to reality. "Wait, what am I doing?" I yelped, wildly flailing my wings about. "Get him away from me!"
"Oh, don't worry," Ruby reassured me as she placed an arm around Chomper's neck. "Chomper here is a friendly sharptooth."
Wha… a friendly sharptooth? I've never heard of such a thing! When swimmers fly, maybe!
This was real life, right? I was almost convinced all of this was a hallucination, a mere figment of my imagination. I had even considered the possibility of this whole ordeal being a sleep story earlier on, at least until my aching body majorly disagreed with that assessment.
But the more I thought about it, the more Ruby's explanation made sense to me. After all, Tricia and I hadn't been mauled yet. I could only let out a shaky chuckle. In spite of the reprieve which I'd been given, I still felt a tad uneasy.
To keep my thoughts away from that's a sharptooth Guido don't just stand there run run run I diverted my attention to another topic, namely Chomper's observation about the similarities in my own plumage with Ruby's. Holding my feathered wing out in front of my face, I slowly looked back and forth between my outstretched arm and the intermittently spread-out feathers on Ruby's body.
Now to be fair, Chomper did have a point — Ruby and I did share some visual similarities between us. We both had feathers sticking out of our arms, and Ruby even had a vibrant red crest on the back of her head which sort of resembled my own unkempt light green feathered crest. But in spite of that, she wasn't covered from head to toe with feathers like I was, and her long neck and thicker tail was enough to convince me that we weren't the same.
"Yeah, I admit, you're the only one I've seen who looks kinda like me, I guess, but I really don't think you're a glider like me…" I informed her, before jumping back in fright. "Hey, easy with the snout!" My voice went high-pitched as Chomper decided to scrutinize me himself, making me uncomfortable as he inched towards me and unintentionally intruded onto my personal space.
"Guess you and Ruby aren't the same species after all…" He seemed a bit disappointed with that conclusion.
"Hey, if it helps any, your friend isn't alone in that regard," I consoled him with a shrug of my shoulders, "I may be a glider, but I'm the only one like me I've ever seen."
Ruby went pensive at my words, solemnly looking up to the sky with a soft smile. "It's okay. You're not alone in feeling this way. I'm the only one like me too, at least over here, and that's because I'm the one and only fast runner who lives here in the Great Valley."
"And I'm the only sharptooth in the Great Valley!" Chomper piped up. "Pretty neat, huh?"
I couldn't help but roll my eyes. "Yeah, I'll be concerned if you weren't."
As I leaned forward and wrapped my wings around my chest as a means of comforting myself, I suddenly realized something peculiar about the way that they were both interacting with me. "Say, you guys are acting like everyone in the valley knows about him," I accused, looking at Chomper suspiciously.
"That's because they do!" Chomper exclaimed. "There was this big meeting—" he gesticulated his scrawny arms around as a show of exaggeration to show just how big the meeting he was describing actually was, "—where the grown-ups decided whether or not Ruby and I could stay here in the valley so that I can stay safe from Red Claw. And in the end, they said okay, as long as we stayed in the Secret Caverns and promised that we wouldn't eat anyone!"
Ah, that explained a lot. I've heard enough rumors about the fearsome Red Claw to know that he was bad news. All in all, it seemed like a valid enough explanation, even though I was still somewhat miffed that all this knowledge had somehow evaded me.
"Well, I wasn't informed about this development," I grumbled, pacing about in frustration.
"Aw, I'm sorry for scaring you," Chomper apologized, but quickly perked right back up as a new thought crossed his mind. "Hey, I forgot to ask earlier, but what's your name?"
"G-Guido…" I introduced, fidgeting with my tail. "Y-yeah, that's my name…"
"Cool!" he replied, grinning with a smile that flashed his front teeth. I know I'm being mean, but I prefer it if Chomper kept his jaw closed! Those sharp fangs of his scare me!
It was then that a nudge at my foot and a merry laugh reminded me of what I had been doing before the duo had interrupted me. "You know, as much as I'd like to stay and chat—" I bent down and gestured to the giggling threehorn by my side, who was currently trying to pretend that she hadn't just poked me with her horn, "—you can probably see that I kinda have something to do at the moment…"
While I did feel a bit bad for using Tricia as a means of closing off the conversation, truth be told I was still uncomfortable and terrified of Chomper, friendly or not. Perhaps some other time in future I would be in a more impartial frame of mind to converse with him without constantly feeling the urge to fly away to safety.
"You're Tricia's babysitter?" Ruby remarked in surprise. "So that's how she got out of it, that sly little…" the fast runner smirked, cutting herself off with a final remark of, "well played, well played."
An amused Ruby then spun on her heel, beckoning Chomper to follow her. "Come on now, Chomper. Let's get back to the others. You're the last one I found, so I guess you'll be 'it' for the next game."
"Oh boy, I can't wait!" Chomper cheered as he skipped next to Ruby. Right before leaving, he turned back and waved goodbye to me. "Bye, Guido! Be seeing you!"
"Right back at ya!" I returned, heaving a sigh of relief when they finally disappeared into the distance.
Turning back to Tricia, I tried my best to return things back to status quo.
"So, uh… what do you wanna do now?"
After the Chomper and Ruby incident, the rest of my session with Tricia was practically smooth sailing by comparison. By the end of it all when her parents returned, I actually found myself reluctant to part ways with the eager hatchling.
I might have initially thought myself crazy for impulsively accepting the job in the lead-up to actually babysitting Tricia, but hey, it all worked out fine in the end. Call me crazy, but I'll put my best foot forward and get the job done one way or another, darn it!
Before I left I opened my arms wide, inviting Tricia to give me a hug. It was an invitation she readily accepted, nuzzling my belly and prompting me to wrap my wings around her and basically smother her with my feathers as I gladly reciprocated her display of affection.
Truth be told, despite the near death scare I had, I greatly enjoyed the experience overall, and that warm fuzzy feeling inside my chest was what led me to pay Petrie a visit at his nest.
"Yo, Petrie!" I waved to my friend as I approached, causing him to grin and fly over to me.
Smiling as he landed, Petrie proceeded to thank me profusely. "Thanks for earlier, Guido! We had extra fun game of hide-and-seek because you help Cera! We no can do it without your help!"
"Eh, don't mention it. It was no big deal." I decided to downplay the severity of the precarious predicament I had found myself in earlier. I didn't want to burden my friend with the knowledge that taking his offer had caused me to have such an… eventful day.
Besides, in the end the pros of my experience had outweighed the cons. I was just about to ask Petrie if he could help put a word in to tell the threehorns that I was open to babysitting Tricia in future when he said something that caused my blood to run cold.
"Me kinda upset Ruby beat me today. Usually me best one at hide-and-seek."
I swung my head around at Petrie so quickly that I almost had whiplash.
Did Petrie just say he had been playing with Ruby?
So that's how she got out of it, that sly little…
The context behind Ruby's parting words had eluded me at the time, but as everything fell into place I realized what the fast runner was referring to through her offhand remark… she had been talking about Cera!
Plus, when I'd first encountered Chomper, the sharptooth was hiding in the bushes. Of course he was… because he was a participant in the ongoing game of hide-and-seek. The two of them had even made vague references to it throughout our conversation.
How did I not catch on to that!? It was so obvious in hindsight!
I couldn't keep it bottled inside me any longer. Raising to my full height, I jabbed an accusatory wing at Petrie and yelled right at his unsuspecting face. "You know about Chomper and Ruby!?"
"Yeah. Chomper and Ruby part of gang," he proceeded to say as though it was no big deal, seemingly confused by my sudden irate outburst. "We all friends together!"
"Whoa whoa whoa there," I placatively held my arms out to cut Petrie off, feeling myself getting a teeny bit steamed as the ramifications of what he'd just said began to click. "You mean to tell me you actually knew about this all along!?" I raised my voice, flinging my wings up to the air in frustration as I confronted him. "And you didn't think to tell me!?"
Petrie scratched the scruff of his neck, letting out a nervous chuckle before sputtering out an apology. "Eheheheh… sorry me no tell you about Chomper. He no come up before! Me just no think about it!"
"Sorry won't cut it, Petrie!" I yelled, squinting my eyes shut as a mental image of a ferocious Chomper flashed across my mind, causing me to shiver involuntarily. Taking in a deep breath, I managed to get out the rest of my rant in a single breath. "I was scared to death when I ran into Chomper, you know? I thought that Tricia and I were total goners! You owe me for this!"
There was silence after I let my sentence hang. The only sound that could be heard for a while after that was my heavy breathing.
"So… no hard feelings?" A timid Petrie eventually broke the silence. "We good?"
Gah, the hurt expression on Petrie's face was killing me. I swear that his beak was trembling, I tell ya! I almost felt like forgiving the guy right then and there due to how somber and sorry he looked.
Just then, a devious idea crossed my mind.
I could forgive Petrie for what was probably an honest mistake, but I wasn't going to just let him walk off scot-free.
"Only if you do me a favor of your own in return," I smiled. "You'll have to earn my forgiveness."
Petrie squirmed when he heard the crafty tone laced into my voice. "What favor?" he asked, looking at me apprehensively.
"When I was trying to escape from Chomper, I kinda realized that my gliding skills weren't quite up to snuff. Ended up hitting the ground after a botched attempt, yeah, kinda embarrassing, I know." I extended my wings out and flapped them, mimicking the motion of flying. "But I would really like to be able to fly consistently and not just in blowy weather, so maybe you can help me get better at it with some flying lessons?"
"Flying lessons?" Petrie's beak dropped as his facial expression contorted to one of dread, which I admit was quite cathartic to watch after everything I've been through. "Oh, me no know about this…" he moaned, "…me have to deal with enough of that from Mom."
I folded my wings, pouting at his refusal. "Ah, come on. Fair is fair, Petrie. I took the time out of my day to help you and Cera out, the least you can do to make up for Chomper scaring me to the Bright Circle and back is to sacrifice some of your free time too! Plus, you've made it through the Day of the Flyers! You're much better at flying than I am! Surely you can make time for me!"
"Guuiiddddooo! No do this to Petrie…" he whined, but I remained steadfast.
"Flying lessons when you're free." I made it clear I wasn't taking no as an answer, strolling away from the flyer's nest as I whistled. "Take it or leave it."
Indeed, it was a complete role reversal from what had happened in the morning. Now, it was Petrie's turn to get a taste of his own medicine. When I was a good distance away I peered back to catch a glimpse of Petrie, and I knew the moment I saw his resigned face that things between us were patched up again.
Take that, apprehensive gut feeling! All's well that ends well! I'd even managed to earn free flying lessons out of this! Woo, go me!
As I marched back home and prepared to get ready to sleep, however, I told myself that hopefully tomorrow would be a significantly less eventful day.
But no matter what the following day brought, I had a feeling that my sleep stories for tonight would most likely involve a giggling threehorn, and maybe, just maybe, a friendly sharptooth and feathered fast runner as well.
So this is something different coming from me — a purely humorous slice-of-life LBT fic for once. :p
I'd always wanted to write about Guido—he's one of my favorite Land Before Time characters—and in fact I had originally planned to do just that for the June 2020 fanfic prompt — "adapting to a new home and culture can be difficult. Write a story where a character (canon or otherwise) must adapt to a new home and herd/pack."
Yep, my June prompt was originally a fun timeskip tale about how Guido would adapt to life in the valley between The Great Day of the Flyers and The Hermit of Black Rock. Needless to say, such a story would necessitate delving into the Tricia and Chomper incident mentioned in that episode. But then I ended up having a much better idea in mind to (hopefully) use for the future June prompt, and thus the original idea was shelved… until this PM with a friend happened.
OwlsCantRead 26-May-20 11:10 AM
Let me be an awkward Guido in peace
At least when he panics he has energy
Friend 26-May-20 11:10 AM
I WANNT TO SEE HOW GUIDO MET CHOMPEr
OwlsCantRead 26-May-20 11:11 AM
I wanted to write that once upon a time
I know it was offscreened
Friend 26-May-20 11:11 AM
I hate when important things get offscreened
OwlsCantRead 26-May-20 11:12 AM
Someday lol I have no energy to write
(some time later)
OwlsCantRead 26-May-20 07:56 PM
you know what
im writing the guido story
After mulling over that conversation and coming to the realization that I don't want to just abandon this plot bunny and leave it in concept limbo for all eternity, the scraps of ideas that I had for the original interquel idea was recycled into a standalone fic which solely focused on the incident at hand.
As you might deduce from the timestamps, I had only five days to write this and still be able to make the deadline, so hopefully it turned out okay. Given how expressive and whimsical Guido can be, I decided to go for the first-person perspective in this fic. It's hard to do, but I hope I managed to successfully capture Guido's pure innate dorkiness. ^^